Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pork cutlets with raspberry sauce and parsley carrots

For lunch today, I served lunch for four at a cost of probably about $2 per person.

I had some leg of pork cutlets I got from Wegmans with a coupon for $2. I seasoned them and made my raspberry sauce with champagne vinegar, Chambord, and organic raspberry jam. (Pretty much equal parts each in the skillet with the meat juices after the pork is cooked. See the pork recipe in May for the full version.)

I took lots of parsley from my garden and cooked 3/4 bag baby carrots. I made a butter-parsley sauce.

Then I served with my homemade rye rolls.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gayle's fundraising dinner

Last night was Gayle's fundraising dinner. She's walking in two fundraising/awareness events in October to benefit breast cancer research. One weekend she'll walk 40 miles in NYC and 60 miles in Philadelphia the next.

Last night she hosted her Italian dinner: real salad, rolls with garlic butter, cheesy shells, spaghetti with red sauce, spaghetti with meat sauce, sausage meatballs, and ziti with or without meat.

I manned the bake sale table. A difficult position for me.

I spent $54: $30 for our family to eat, $12 on raffle tickets for prizes, and $12 on baked goods. I won a $10 gift card for the Giant Supermarket. I brought home a pumpkin roll and put it in the freezer. We ate some mini cheesecakes while there. I bought a Harvey Wallbanger cake out of curiosity, some cookies for my daughter, and two big old brownies to make sundaes of at some point.

Then Gayle gave us some leftover clam sauce and several pounds of dry spaghetti and some lettuce.

So, today my husband worked from 11-4. So we had a small meal at ten so he would make it through the day. At noon, I ate the leftovers from my daughter's meal when we went out to dinner Thursday.

Creative reuse is half the battle when you're watching the budget.

My daughter had a salad for lunch, with the matchstick carrots and broccoli from her party last week, topped with some ring bologna and colby jack (colby jack also from the party) for protein. Then we had a treat.

I took two smallish cookies... larger than a half dollar but not as big around as a drinking glass, and took some of the Birthday Cake Batter ice cream also leftover from her birthday party and made a little ice cream sandwich. I topped with whipped cream.

I did something similar for myself but I used the Harvey Wallbanger cake.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How to recycle Chicken Franchese pasta

Between our daughter's birthday and our big dinner out the other night, we've eaten a lot of leftovers. Plus, last night I had a board meeting to discuss an endowment over pizza and homegrown salad.

So today I came home from the writers group meeting, hungry because I'd had a slice of multigrain toast for breakfast and some Entemann's mini-donuts and a couple carrots at the board meeting. I ate a slice of ring bologna to get some protein in my system. Then I followed up by heating my leftovers from Little Italy Food Center in Pohatcong, N.J.

I had Chicken Franchese, even though it was an Italian restaurant, because it's one of my all-time favorites and such a simple dish. It included two huge chicken breasts so I could have saved one and not been a glutton, but I didn't. I brought home the linguini. Today, I added some chopped fresh broccoli and reheated.

It was fabulous.

Tonight is Gayle's fundraiser for the Susan Kromen and Avon walks... I'll blog about the food there tomorrow...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


We're having salads for lunch today for two reasons. No, make that three. 1. It's hot. 2. We have leftover veggies, meats and cheese that would be perfect in a salad. 3. We're going out to dinner with family.

So, my daughter's salad will be dressed with organic ranch. My husband will get creamy Italian. And I will have the red wine vinagrette.

The salad greens will be organic spinach, arugula and radicchio (coupon). I will use the broccoli I chopped for the pizzas and any leftover black olives. The matchstick carrots, pepperoni, and some chopped ring bologna. Maybe some raisins. And shredded parmesan and any white shredded cheddar or ricotta salata that's left.

Served with a tall glass of my fresh brewed pomegranate iced green tea.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pizza birthday

We had several neighborhood kids over for make-your-own pizzas with from scratch homemade pizza dough.

Toppings: pepperoni, pineapple, shredded carrots, fresh garlic, broccoli, black olives

wegmans pizza sauce

a jar of yeast

5 lbs of flour

cheese: parmesan, colby jack, pizza blend, mozzerella and white cheddar

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rye dinner rolls

As I type this, my tomorrow-will-be-five-year-old and I are in the midst of our initial batch of rye bread. I'm using the recipe from the back of the Hodgson Mill rye flour bag, without the carraway seeds, wheat germ and the onion. And I used a slightly expired batch of Hodgson Mill multigrain yeast. And I forgot the water in the recipe and had to add it later.

And now that I reread the recipe, I realize I added three cups rye flour. Oops. No wonder it was super dry until I added that extra water.

It might be a miracle if these rolls turn out.

My first experience with rye bread...

Hodgson Mill Onion-Rye dinner rolls
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 packages (5/16 ounce) yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees)
3 cups white flour
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
6 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 to 1 1/4 cups rye flour

For an egg wash
1 egg
2 teaspoons water

Scald milk and combine in mixing bowl with honey, salt and butter. Stir well, cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in water and combine with milk. Add white flour and beat vigorously one minute until batter is very smooth. Add caraway seeds, onion, wheat germ and enough rye flour so dough is firm enough to knead. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead 8 minutes.

Put in greased bowl, turning once so dough is evenly coated. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled (one hour). Punch down dough and roll by hand into long rope about 1.5 inches thick. Cut into 1.5 inch pieces and shape into buns. Place two inches apart on oiled baking sheet. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare egg wash (beat egg with water) and brush top of buns. Bake 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned. Yield: 18-24 rolls.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spinach-Herb-Apple Meatloaf and simple mac n cheese

My husband's three favorite foods are meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I have never made mashed potatoes so I went with the other two options for a fantastic Father's Day dinner. This will be one of those posts where I give you the original Betty Crocker recipe and then my own variation.

Betty Crocker's Macaroni and Cheese
7 ounces macaroni, prepare according to package instructions
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
8 0unces of your favorite cheeses

Preheat oven to 375. Heat butter in three-quart saucepan over medium. Cook onion in margarine about three minutes. Stir in flour, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until mix is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. After one minute remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Add macaroni and stir until coated. Pour into ungreased 1.5 quart casserole. Bake about 30 minutes until bubbly and light brown.

Angel's Macaroni and Cheese with Chives
My instinct says this will be one of my blandest mac and cheese batches ever.
WAY TOO MUCH macaroni
3.5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh chives from the garden
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon fresh ground four peppercorn blend
1/2 teaspoon idiozed sea salt
2 tablespoons organic ranch dressing
4 cups milk
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar
3/4 cup grated parmesan and romano
2.5 cups broccoli

(See directions above and use chives instead of onion. Add broccoli into pasta as your stirring the noodles into the sauce.)

Betty Crocker Meat Loaf
1.5 pounds ground beef, pork and turkey
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1 small onion chopped
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350. Mix everything but ketchup. Form loaf and place in pan. Spoon ketchup over the top. Cook 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Angel's Apple-Spinach-Herb meatloaf
1/2 pound ground beef from the farm (will make a very greasy meatloaf)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups garden fresh spinach
1 cup apple, peeled with a potato peeler
2 tablespoons garden fresh parsley
2 tablespoons garden fresh oregano
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs
1 egg
Ketchup for the top

I loved the spinach-apple meatloaf. Every bite was different. Though I wasn't keen on the ketchup on top


I found this recipe close to ten years ago in an issue of Bon Appetit. It's for iced hot chocolate, though it works just fine without the "iced." I made this for a rainy, chilly Father's Day treat. I made a half batch, because we had limited amounts of milk.

This is one of those recipes that needs to remain gourmet to retain its yumminess. And it's not cheap, but it certainly can dress up any occassion. Food can be mix and match like fashion, a blend of high-low style. Serve a cheap or plain cookie with fancy drink. Heck, this recipe is so delicious I would settle for a slice of bread.

My ingredients:
3.5 ounces Lindt Swiss bittersweet chocolate (about $3)
1/6 cup organic sugar (I bought it a long time ago with a coupon and save it for special recipes)
1.5 cups farm fresh milk (I recommend Klein farm for those in the Lehigh Valley. Store-bought milk is NOT the same)
1/6 cup water

For garnish:
Whipped cream (I used light)
rainbow sprinkles
two m&m's for each glass

The recipe as originally printed:
Iced Hot Chocolate
This iced chocolate is served at Ladurée. For best flavor, use a good quality imported bittersweet chocolate.

4 servings*

3 3/4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup water
6 ounces imported bittersweet, not unsweetened, chocolate, very finely chopped

12 ice cubes

Bring three cups milk, 1/3 cup water, and sugar to summer in heavy large saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate about four hours until well chilled.

Mix 3/4 cups milk into chocolate mixture. Working in batches, blend chocolate mixture in blender until frothy. Put three ice cubes in bottom of each glass and divide liquid evenly.

*My ingredients, the 'halved' recipe, as listed on top yielded the three servings in the photo.

Notes: I have never used a whisk on this. Or the blender. I serve hot or cold. And the chocolate usually leaves the milk looking mottled, as opposed to one consistent color.

Splurge: Tomato Basil Pizza

My daughter went to visit her Mimi for a while yesterday and like most of the weather around here recently, it's wet and miserable. So it felt like a pizza-and-movie day.

We stopped at the warehouse store and spent about $25 on food: two 30-count packages of Nature Valley granola bars (in my eyes the only ones with adequate nutritional value), a 2 lb block of cheddar, and two huge jars of JIF peanut butter. I leave the granola bars where my daughter can reach them. That way when she wakes up early on days we could sleep in, and says she's hungry, she can help herself to a snack.

On the way home, we stopped by a nearby Italian restaurant and ordered a tomato-basil pizza. We also got a chicken-bacon-ranch super slice to snack on while we waited. It was a $22 splurge. The tomato basil pizza had fresh mozzarella balls that melted it the oven, fresh cut tomatoes and basil. Bruschetta and fresh cheese on a pizza crust. We didn't eat dinner last night because we were so full. We have three slices left for lunch today.

And I could have gotten a pie of the chicken-bacon-ranch, but that had no redeeming nutritional qualities and this seemed the healthier choice.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Leftover Chicken and Spinach Salad

As I suspected, last night's chicken reheated wonderfully and the basil and ginger flavor really came through after sitting. We served it for dinner with a small side salad of spinach that our daughter picked from the garden. My husband and daughter ate theirs with organic ranch, I used a Wish Bone red wine spritzer. And we still had some vouvray left to wash it down...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

End of groceries for June?

I went to Wegmans today. I think I'd spent between $110 and $150 so far in June on groceries. And we went out to dinner once, which cost $35. I spent $92 at Wegmans today which means I'm done for the month, at least according to the budget.

I went to Wegmans with a list:
  • Whipped cream
  • Creamer
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh basil
  • mango salsa
  • unbleached flour
  • rye flour
  • chicken
  • snack bags
  • freezer bags
  • sugar
  • bittersweet chocolate
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • pizza sauce
  • Nutella
  • lemons
I forgot the lemons and the baggies.

I think I did well, because I bought:
  • 1/2 gallon coffeemate French vanilla creamer, $5.49
  • whipped cream, $1.69
  • shredded cheddar, 8 0z., $1.50*
  • shredded mozerrella, 8 oz., $1.50 (2)*
  • shredded pizza blend 8 oz., $1.50 (2)*
  • shredded colby jack 8 oz., $1.50*
  • unsalted butter, 16 oz., $1.69 (2)
  • frozen chopped spinach, $ 0.99 (3)
  • Ghiradelli 60% dark, $3.49
  • Ghiradelli twilight, %72, $2.69
  • Lindt, 70%, $2.59
  • Nutella, $2.89
  • red cooking wine, $2.99 (2)
  • rye flour, $3.09
  • unbleached white flour, $1.59
  • sugar, $2.39
  • vinegar, one gallon, $2.29
  • Wegmans shells & cheddar, $0.79 (2)
  • mango salsa, $2.99 (2)
  • Wegmans chunky pizza sauce, $0.99, (4)*
  • pizza sauce, $1.29*
  • Morningstar vegetarian sausage patties, $3.49
  • pork cutlet, $3.18 (minus $1 coupon)
  • skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 10 breasts, $11.18
  • baguette, $2
  • fresh ginger, $0.45
  • fresh garlic, $0.52
  • baby carrots, 16 oz., $0.99
  • one broccoli crown, $0.88
  • organic radicchio, arugula, spinach, 5 oz., $3.49 (minus $1 coupon)
  • fresh hydroponic basil, $2.79
  • seedless watermelon, $3.99
**My daughter's fifth birthday is next week and I've invited several of her friends over to make homemade pizza dough and personal pizzas.

And my family ate the whole watermelon in a couple hours.

Chicken Sauteed in Ginger and Basil

Well, as usual, my dinner didn't end up anything like the picture in the cookbook. In this case, it's because I was translating an Asian-style recipe from my French cookbook, Venez Dîner C'est Prêt by Dominique Malet. The cookbook was a souvenir from France from my friend Jessica.

This recipe was Poulet Sauté au Gingembre et au basilic. (Chicken Sauteed in ginger and basil)

Please, please understand that while this turned out delicious, I relied on my own brain for the translation and I may not have read the recipe correctly.

Four chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, cut into stir fry pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped (I'm going to up this next time)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated fine (I may double this next time)
One 15-ounce can chicken broth*
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (weird, eh?)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 handfuls basil leaves (I used a lot and I shredded mine by hand, next time I may double)
Sesame seeds for decoration

*The original recipe called for three tablespoons bouillon, prepared, but I have no idea how much that would be so I just used a can and made extra sauce to cook broccoli and pour on the rice. Maybe that's why mine tasted mild. And I ended up cooking the meat in juice, as opposed to stir-frying it in a wok. My wok is too small for all that chicken.

Gather ingredients so they are easily at hand for cooking.
Heat oil in pan. (on high)
Add garlic and ginger. Cook for several seconds. Add chicken and cook for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add sugar, soy sauce and then the broth. Cook five more minutes. (I cooked longer, my chicken chunks were on the thick side.) At the end of five minutes, add sesame oil and basil leaves.
Serve immediately with rice. Garnish with basil leaves and/or sesame seeds. I also poured a Vouvray, though the book recommended a meursault (bourgogne).

I pulled all the chicken out of the juice and then cooked some fresh broccoli in it. I also put a fresh baguette on the table.

What happened?

I've been home, with no work, and somehow my culinary abilities/housework are not in use. Yesterday I had a conference call/webinar for the office at noon, so I whipped up an odd little lunch to keep the family fed and quiet.

The husband got pepper jack cheese, Aldi brand Ritz-style crackers, chips, and my special banana treat.

My daughter got what I call a "kiddie sandwich" which my husband thought was gross and the kid adored. I took two crackers and placed them side-by-side. I added ketchup to each, then a slice of cheddar cheese across both, and put two more crackers on top and called it a "train."

The banana treat... Well, the bananas are getting overripe so I sliced them. topped with peanut butter and added raisins to make faces.

This lunch was meant to be fun... and it was.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homemade pasties?

This morning we had farm-fresh strawberries and bananas (obviously not local bananas) for a first round of food.

At ten a.m. my daughter and I had my first and her second breakfast. I got two of my wheat biscuits from the freezer. Then I mixed one egg, some garlic pepper and some fresh milk from Klein Farm and fried it up. I added a slice of cheddar cheese and placed on the biscuit. We had some strawberry-banana drinkable yogurt, also from Klein Farm.

For lunch, I plan on using the leftover strawberry syrup and local strawberries to make crêpes again. Of course, the milk and eggs for the crêpe batter will be from Klein Farm.

For dinner, I hope to use a store-bought pie crust to whip up some vegetable beef pasties. I'm going to fry some hamburger from Klein Farm and use vegetable soup as a sauce.

Later that afternoon...
I only have one pie crust so I'm going to put it in a bread pan and make a giant pastie or a small pot pie...

I fried some hamburger and added some peas as it cooked. Then I added a can of condensed vegetarian vegetable soup, garlic pepper, four-peppercorn blend. and a half can of milk from the farm. When that simmers for a while and gets a little thicker, I'll pour it into my crust and then cover my concoction will foil before baking. About 15-20 minutes before it's done I'll remove the foil.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Klein Farm

Lots of people go to Klein Farm for the cheese... I go for milk.

Klein Dairy sells their homemade cheese, yogurt and raw milk. We've probably been going there for as long as my daughter has been around and they keep expanding their products, and they work with other farmers and bakers to have yummy stuff. I'm going to investigate a CSA through them.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I did one years ago thanks to my colleague Lisa at the Chronicle. You buy a share and the farmer gives you produce every week, whatever is harvested. I swear that's why my daughter is a good eater, because we exposed her to everything when she was one...

But today we bought a half-gallon of milk, a yogurt for me to eat right away, a larger container of the smoothie-yogurt in strawberry banana, brown eggs, three packages of ground beef, one package of beef cubes and one package of bacon. $33.

We're at the midpoint of the month and I've now spent about $11o on food.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Crêpes with strawberry-banana filling

I decided to make crêpes with strawberry filling.

That may sound unremarkable, but somewhere I stumbled off the tried and true path and started experimenting.

Ingredients for Strawberry-Banana Crêpes
Lots of fresh strawberries, sliced
2 to 3 bananas
powdered sugar (for dusting)
1/2 cup flour
canola oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons Chambord
4 teaspoons organic raspberry jam
4 teaspoons organic sugar
sea salt
3/4 cup milk (or in my case, soy milk)

I had my husband slice about a quart of fresh strawberries. While he did that, my daughter and I poured two tablespoons Chambord and the jam into the bottom of a one-cup pyrex measuring glass. We added water so it would hit the one cup mark. We put it in a small saucepan and boiled. Then we added the strawberries and the four teaspoons sugar. We ended up adding some corn starch later to thicken the mix, and we boiled it so long the strawberries were reduced to a lumpy syrup, but oh, well, lesson for next time.

For the crêpe batter, we put the flour and a pinch of salt in the bottom of a mixing bowl. We stirred in the milk and the egg. And then a drizzle of canola oil, about half a teaspoon. We stirred until smooth and then I whisked until my arm got sore. Crêpes cannot be lumpy. This batter ended up my smoothest yet.

I rinsed out the glass measuring cup and poured the batter inside, for two reasons: 1. to make sure there were no lumps and 2. for better control pouring the batter into the pan.

I took a sliver of real butter and heated it in the skillet over medium high. Once the pan was hot, I swirled the butter in the skillet and, preferably with the skillet not on the heat, poured about 1/8 of a cup batter. I eye-balled it, aiming for a pot about the size of my palm and thinner than a pancake. Then I swirl the pan so I can get it as thin as paper. I returned the pan to the heat. It only takes about 30 seconds for the crêpe to cook. It won't exactly bubble like a pancake, but it will solidfy. I have heard that a crêpe that is appropriately thin will not need to be flipped. But mine need to be flipped for about ten seconds.

Add new butter every third crêpe or so.

When all the crêpes are done, arranged those to serve on plates. Arrange sliced bananas in a line down the center. Add some syrup (because that's what the strawberries became). Roll. Add more syrup and sprinkled powdered sugar.

Friday, June 12, 2009


The other day I had a craving for cheesesteaks. My husband went to the story and spent $26 on creamer, coffee, salad, deodorant and cheesesteak supplies.

It looks like the $7 of cheesesteak meat will make 2 dinners. The fancy rolls he bought were $3 for 6. We added block cheddar cheese and seasoned our own sauce with herbs and Franks Red Hot Buffalo sauce.

The daughter and mommy both asked for seconds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Midmorning Tea Party

I normally eat my breakfast around 9:30 a.m. This morning, another rainy day, I whipped out the tea set and made a tea party for my little girl.

I diluted my usual homebrewed iced tea for the teapot, prepared a platter of yesterday's homemade biscuits, and scrambled some eggs. I also peeled a pear.

And voilà... One happy little girl who ate two biscuits, a scrambled egg and a pear.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Garden Chili

I wanted to make something a little different for dinner, something we hadn't had in a while and chili seemed right. But we're seriously lacking ingredients, so I had to make do with what I had. So this is what I call "Garden Chili."

Garden Chili
In a big pot, combine:
About three teaspoons fresh oregano
One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
About 1/4 cup fresh spinach, shredded
About 3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley

Cook until spices are aromatic and tender.

Two tablespoons tomato sauce (it was leftover, certainly not 'needed')
Two tablespoons garlic powder
Three tablespoons commercial chili seasoning

Cook until well combined.

14.5 ounce can diced tomatos with basil, oregano and garlic
10 ounces crushed pineapple 1/2 teaspoon Indian chili powder
2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix and bring to a boil on high. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

15.5 ounce can black beans
15.5 ounce can dark kidney beans, organic

Return to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.

15.5 ounces of sweet yellow corn (Del Monte in this case)
Cook for 15 minutes.

These were literally the only things in my garden and cabinets that would remotely work for chili. We'll be eating at five. I'll edit this post to report in on if it's gross, indifferent or yummy.

And the verdict is: Two bowls each husband and chef, daughter ate all of her bowl and ate well. It was the best bowl of chili I've made in a long time. Not spicy, yet flavorful.

Brown Biscuits

I decided to experiment with Brenda's biscuit recipe that I found the other day:

Brenda Hyde's Homemade Biscuits

2 cups sifted flour

2 tsp. baking powder

4 tablespoons butter or shortening

1/2 tsp. salt

about 3/4 cup milk Sift Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cut in shortening or butter. (this is where I use my hands by rubbing the butter into the flour). Add milk gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed. Turn out on slightly floured board and lightly "knead" for 30 seconds, enough to shape. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 inch floured biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased sheet in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits. You can also make tiny tea biscuits that are only 1 1/2 inches wide with a small cutter or glass bottom. These are great served with tea, jam or honey. Makes 24.

I wanted to double it, and somehow my efforts went crazy. So I decided to make brown biscuits.

Angel's Brown (Wheat) Biscuits
(Which once we made them we ate with maple syrup or with peanut butter and raspberry organic fruit spread)
2 cups white flour
3 cups wheat flour
1.5 cups dehydrated milk
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
4-5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
@1.5 cups water

I mixed the flours, the baking powder and the dry milk. Then I added the salt. Then I added the butter. Then I whisked together the soy milk and molasses and diluted with about a half cup of water. I worked the dough with my hands, adding additional water as needed. I think I ended up using 3/4 of the cup. So my estimate on how much water is 1.25 cups total.

For lunch, we made broccoli/mozzerella biscuit pizzas.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ah, Monday

Daughter had a big bowl of cereal for breakfast, husband and I had a slice of toast.

For lunch, we had tons of fresh raw broccoli and baby carrots with organic ranch dressing and half a tuna sandwich each on wheat store-brought bread (again, the loaf from the father-in-law). We had some pretzels, and my husband finished his mother's mac n cheese.

For snack, my daughter devoured a pear and is now eating a bowl of cashews.

My dad called and invited us up for dinner, which is why food today has been simple and veggie intensive, so the little one can eat whatever she wants for dinner.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ice Cream Man and Spaghetti

My daughter had a meltdown today when I told her we didn't have money for the ice cream man. She must have cried for ten minutes. A little while after she settled down, I offered her an ice cream cone Mommy-style and she enthusiastically said yes. I warned her this would be the best ice cream cone ever.

I started with a wafer cone, the kind my father-in-law brings. I packed in some vanilla bean ice cream and lined the top with Goldfish honey grahams, a gift from a neighbor who visited the Pepperidge Farm Outlet. I spooned on some butterscotch topping, added another portion of ice cream and topped the whole mess with rainbow sprinkles.

My daughter is so over the ice cream man.

For dinner, I wanted to use the leftover beef BBQ. My daughter had eaten most of it for lunch yesterday. I opted for spaghetti. We made meat sauce with the beef BBQ and then served with grated parmesan and shredded mozzerella. We all had two big plates.

Frozen baked goods and picnic

For breakfast, we pulled some sticky buns out of the freezer. The link below for sticky buns should take you to the recipe.

For lunch I packed a picnic and we took it to Monocacy Park where we inadvertently ended up watching fishermen trying to catch the final smart fish from the stocked creek.

The lunch consisted of a big bottle of ice water, two turkey sandwiches with butter lettuce and soy mayo on store-bought wheat bread from my father-in-law (cut into fingers so everyone didn't notice I only had enough meat for each person to have 2/3 of a traditional sandwich), baby carrots, pretzels, and fresh pears.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lots of Leftovers and Mother-in-Law cooking

We've eaten a lot of leftovers and simple meals... especially since I went to a conference yesterday and was out of the house all day. My mother-in-law made dinner, and it's funny because when she makes dinner, she brings every ingredient from her house.

Last night, she made hamburger b-b-q, hot bacon dressing with farm fresh greens, and the strangest mac and cheese I ever tasted. My daughter wouldn't eat it.

This morning, we had toast for breakfast and my daughter had pineapple and strawberries with that. At 11, I made myself a salad of greens, vegetarian chicken and leftover hot bacon dressing. My daughter wanted fresh mango, the BBQ without a roll, and baby carrots with organic ranch dressing. She's washing it down with chocolate soy milk.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Terri Rigatoni

It's a positively frigid June day, and it's raining, and I have company coming tonight after dinner... On top of all that, my contractor called at 1:30 and said he had the windows I ordered in April and he wanted to know if he could come install them.


I said sure. I guess I need more chaos in my life. He wanted to make a rainy day productive.

They arrived around 3 and had the windows installed before 5. My guests might arrive around 7:30, but I told one she could come early. Between trying to keep the cats from jumping out the windowless windows and my almost-five-year-old from getting under foot, dinner was not a concern.

I went so far as to request cheesesteaks. But, I opted to cook, because my friends are bringing goodies and I don't want to be too full to eat them.

So, as my husband chopped fresh broccoli into his trademark teeny-tiny pieces and cooked the remaining portion of Aldi spinach rigatoni, I got my skillet and about four tablespoons of olive oil. I sprinkled about two tablespoons of garlic powder in. My husband chopped and grated the last hunk of ricotta salata. I tossed the chunks into the skillet, then the broccoli. I sprinkled some of the rigatoni seasoning on it.

Then, I warmed the leftover elbow macaroni in the microwave. I put the cooked rigatoni in the skillet and added more mystery seasoning. I combibed the elbows and the skillet mixture and sprinkled in the last of the grated asiago. When I dished it onto plates, I added grated ricotta salata on top.

Aldi and $40

I went to the Mac machine this morning and retrieved $40 from my checking account. I'm wondering if I can feed the family on $40 a week... This is my first attempt... And I still have $4 left.

I have no meal plan. I had no shopping list. Toothpaste and toilet paper (Colgate and 12 double rolls) ate up $7 off the top.

I knew we needed produce, so I opted for the following:

4 pears, $1.89; 1 mango, from Guatemala, 99 cents; frozen peas, 95 cents; frozen asparagus, $1.99; 2 large cans chunk pineapple, 89 cents each; butter lettuce for the tortoise, $1.69; 2 green peppers, 99 cents; 2 broccoli crowns, 99 cents; 16 ounces of baby carrots, 99 cents.

As for the dairy department:

soy milk, one quart, $1.39; 2- 8 oz blocks of cheese, one mozzerella, one cheddar, $1.29 each; one dozen large eggs, 85 cents.


8 tiny cans of tomato sauce, 25 cents each; the Aldi brand of peanut butter captain crunch, 14 ounces, $1.89; extra virgin olive oil, 16.9 ounces, $4.29; canola oil, 48 ounces, $2.79.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sausage and biscuits

We were watching the Waltons today when it suddenly started to rain. In the episode, Olivia said something about hot biscuits. That got me thinking I wanted biscuits for dinner. My first stop was my Betty Crocker cookbook, but it called for shortening and I don't have any so I did a quick internet search to find an alternative or to verify that I could substitute another fat.

Butter works just fine, it seems.

Among several other recipes I found this one, which is just what I had in mind, an old-fashioned biscuit recipe from 1933.

Brenda Hyde's Homemade Biscuits

2 cups sifted flour

2 tsp. baking powder

4 tablespoons butter or shortening

1/2 tsp. salt

about 3/4 cup milk

Sift Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cut in shortening or butter. (this is where I use my hands by rubbing the butter into the flour). Add milk gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed. Turn out on slightly floured board and lightly "knead" for 30 seconds, enough to shape. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 inch floured biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased sheet in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits. You can also make tiny tea biscuits that are only 1 1/2 inches wide with a small cutter or glass bottom. These are great served with tea, jam or honey. Makes 24.

My daughter and I tried the recipe. It proved quick and easy. We even used a gingerbread cookie cutter for some of them. I didn't have any milk so I mixed powdered milk in with the flour and used water as the liquid.

Believe it or not, other than that I didn't deviate from the recipe.

I'm going to serve with Morningstar vegetarian sausages, the only remotely meat-like substance in the house right now. And I keep thinking maybe green beans, but I don't know if I have any.

But now, I have to go taste the biscuits while they're hot, with a touch of raspberry jam.

And the verdict is: yum! and with a touch of raspberry jam: FABULOUS!

The final meal is pictured: Homebrewed unsweetened iced tea, Mott's unsweetened blueberry applesauce, vegetarian sausage on a biscuit with no salt added ketchup and a gingerbread man shaped biscuit with organic raspberry fruit spread.

Mystery Quiche

My daughter and I just whipped up a quiche that may turn out odd. We started with a store-bought crust, added two strips Morningstar vegetarian bacon in crumbles in the bottom, about a half cup frozen peas, and about a half cup each frozen broccoli and frozen cauliflower. (It was California Medley but we picked out the carrots.) Then we added about 2.5 ounces of cheddar and about 3 ounces gruyere.

In a separate dish, I poured almost two cups of soymilk, a big tablespoon of sour cream, four eggs and a container of Papa John's garlic butter sauce. My daughter whisked it until smooth and we poured it into the pie crust with the other goodies. It's baking now, so we'll see...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sesame Pork with Pears

Tonight for dinner I really wanted to make Dominique Malet's Sesame Pork with Pineapple and Coriander. Except I don't have pineapple. Or coriander. Or sunflower oil. So... I winged it. Big shock, right?

Angel's Marinated Sesame Pork with Pears (served over Asian-style store-bought salad)

Four thin pork chops sliced into stir-fry strips

For the marinade:
Two(2) teaspoons cornmeal
Two (2) tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
One (1) tablespoon champagne vinegar
One (1) tablespoon Chambord
Two (2) tablespoons sesame oil*

Prepare marinade in the order listed, so the liquids dilute the corn meal.

Soak pork in marinade for about 15 minutes at room temperature. I prepare mine on a deep plate and sprinkled liberally with roasted sesame seeds I purchased at Forks Mediterranean Deli. I always get my sesame seeds there, they're way too expensive at the grocery store. Spices, too.

While the meat marinades, prep the following:
For the stir fry:
Fresh garlic or garlic powder
soy sauce

Prepare a wok with canola oil. Heat oil. Add meat. Stir-fry meat for about three minutes on high. Sprinkle with about two teaspoons garlic powder and a pinch of ginger. Add pears in desired size of chunks and sprinkle with one tablespoon soy sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon ginger and stir-fry for two more minutes, stirring constantly.

I'm going to serve mine over a Dole Asian Crunch Salad. Which I am augmenting with fresh spinach from my garden. This was my favorite meal in the last week or so...

*Special cooking oils and vinegars: like sesame oil, champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and cooking wines can look expensive, but when you use sparingly to produce an authentic flavor or a special meal... it can really make a standard cheap cut of meat taste incredible.

Pasta with vegetables and artichoke hearts

I intended to make Dominique Malet's "Orecchiette Aux Brocolis" for lunch, but the laissez-faire state of our groceries contradicted that.
So I based a dish on hers.

Ingredients for Pasta with Vegetables and Artichokes
Pasta of your choice
About 3 cups frozen cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, cooked
About 2 cups frozen artichoke hearts, cooked
About four tablespoons garlic powder
one teaspoon garlic pepper
two teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
About 1/2 cup milk
grated cheeses

I cooked about 400 grams of elbow pasta.

While that cooked, I heated the olive oil in a skillet with the milk and garlic powder, garlic pepper and fresh ground pepper. Once it became bubbly I added the almond, the artichokes and the vegetables. I cooked them until good and hot.

I put the cooked noodles in a big serving dish. I poured the sauce over the noodles, holding the vegetables, artichokes and nuts back in the pan and returning them to the burner on high to try and brown them.

While they cooked, I stirred the noodles and noticed I didn't make much sauce.

I added the vegetable mixture to the noodles. As I served, I generously added grated parmesan, romano and asiago. The sauce was just enough to make the cheese stick to the noodles, but the vegetables soaked up most of the moisture.

The family devoured it, which surprised me because last time we had artichokes my daughter hated them.

For dessert, we had a small dish of vanilla ice cream.

Venez Dîner, C'est Prêt

Yesterday my friend Jessica came to visit after her semester in France, in the northern city of Rennes. I asked her to bring me home a cookbook, a real French one in French. She selected Venez Dîner, C'est Prêt by Dominique Malet. (Come to dine, it's ready) As the cover says, "300 menu gourmands pour gagner du temps."

The book offers a mix-and-match approach to quick entertaining, assuming that you're having guests after work or when busy. I flipped through most of it before my brain kicked in and started translating basic things like teaspoon and tablespoon (or, at least that's what I hope coffee spoons and soup spoons are).

It includes pantry lists and mix-and-match menus, based on what you hope to serve (like veal, fish or game) and how many courses you had in mind (appetizer, main course, dessert) or (main course/side and dessert). It even includes a few vegetarian recipes.

I was thinking of attempting one for lunch, or maybe just throwing together a quiche. I don't have many groceries right now as I've been waiting for June to come before spending more money... but I think I could do an approximation of the one broccoli and noodle dish for lunch and for dinner, I can try the pork with pineapple and serve it with the Asian salad I bought yesterday. Another one of those Dole salads.