Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Mama's Cranberry Relish

This year for Thanksgiving I brought the cranberry relish.  Usually, this is my mom's usual contribution, but I was glad for the chance to learn this family recipe that has made an annual appearance as long as I've been alive. It a simple twist on traditional cranberry relish. I like the freshness and texture that it brings to the table. It's also a great addition to a leftover turkey sandwich. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
Serves: 10-12
Cost: Approx. $5.00

1 lb of deli cranberry relish (I prefer Marsh groceries) : $3.99
2 small packages of dark cherry jello ($1.00)
1 stalk of celery cut finely ($.10)
1-2 apples cut into cubes ($.50)
1/2 cup of pecans ($.50)
1 cup boiling water

Dissolve jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Add to cranberry relish and stir well. Stir in nuts and apples. Let set 1 hour. Serve cool.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Smoothie

This smoothie is tops any ice cream shake I've ever tried.  True.  It is green, but don't let that deter you.  This has become my lunch staple recently.  It's truly filling and chases away any afternoon cravings for sweets.  Whenever I make it, the kids beg me for sips. There is not even a hint of spinach flavor. Promise.    I tell you, this green smoothie is like having dessert for a nutritious, satisfying meal. 

I spent some time looking up the nutritional value. Pretty Impressive.

Calories: 375
Fat: 13 g
Fiber 8 g
Calcium 54%
Vit. B 25%
B12 50%
Vit E 50%
Vit A 125%
Riboflavin 25%
Zinc 10%
Vit C 65%
Iron 15%
Vit D 25%

Green Smoothie

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Yields: Approx. 20 oz
Cost:  Approx $1.50

1 1/2 Frozen Sliced Bananas ($.50)
1 Cup vanilla almond milk ($.50)
2 Tbsp of Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter  ($. 25)
3 cups spinach (3 oz) ($.25)

In a blender mix together bananas, milk and peanut butter until smooth.  (For an icy drink add 1 cup of crushed ice.)  Add spinach and continue blending until smooth.  If the drink is too thick add almond milk until desired consistency.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a comfort food to me. It's also a favorite go to meal when the cupboards are bare and I'm resisting the urge to go out to eat. Of course, it can be tailored to suite your taste and what you have on hand. It makes a quick lunch, or paired with egg drop soup and be served as a dinner meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (to cook rice)
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 8
Cost: Approx. $3.00 (or free if your using left overs)

3 cups dry rice
6 cups water
Soy sauce
2 Tbsp butter
Left over meat (pork, chicken, beef, fish)
3-4 eggs
2 carrots chopped
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 small onion finely chopped

1. Gather your ingredients. Cook rice.

2. Cut meat into bite sized pieces and until no longer pink and set aside. I often just set aside a piece of meat from a previous meal for this very purpose.

3. Melt butter. Place onion and carrots on griddle and cover with a layer of rice. Generously cover in soy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn and add more soy sauce.

4. After turning rice make a hole in the middle in which to crack the eggs. Scramble slightly and let eggs cook until they begin to harden. Incorporate into rice buy tossing like your a chef at a Japanese restaurant. (That's my favorite part.)

5. Mix in meat and peas. Serve hot.

Now wasn't that easy?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Easy Apple Crisp

Somehow dinner doesn't seem complete until there's something sweet on the palate. In the summer, fruit easily fits the bill. After the rich desserts and candies of the holidays, apple crisp with a cup of tea is a healthy and quick solution for the end of a wintertime meal.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time 20-25 minutes
Serves: 8
Cost: Approx. $2.00

1 can of apple pie filling ($1.87)
2 1/2 cups of oats ($.30)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
4 Tbsp butter
3 T water
dash of salt

Melt butter. Add oats, sugar and cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add water to apple pie filling and place in pie pan. Top with oatmeal mixture. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. d

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wet Tacos

Who doesn't like some spicy food on a cold winter night? These tacos were a pleasant change from our regular Mexican dishes. I froze the tacos directly in the pan and kept the enchilada sauce separate until it was time to bake. Shredded lettuce and sour cream were a cool compliment to complete this meal.

I found it best to make a large batch and split it into two meals- one for now and one for later.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 18 (2 meals)
Cost: Approx. $11.00 or $5.50/meal

2 pounds ground beef ($4.00)
1 cup diced onion ($.25)
1 tsp. ground chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($3.00)
18 flour tortillas ($2.00)
2 cans enchilada sauce ($2.00)

White Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 cups warmed milk

Brown meat and onions. Meanwhile, make white sauce by melting butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in flour and bouillon granules to form a paste. Slowly add warmed milk and continuing whisking until smooth sauce has formed.

Combine white sauce, enchilada sauce, cumin, chili powder, and 2 cups of cheese. Warm until cheese has melted.

Add about 3/4 cup of sauce to meat and mix well.

Place about 1/4 cup of meat in the center of tortilla along with refried beans, black beans, corn.... or anything else you desire. Fold and place in aluminum pan. Top with remaining cheese and sauce.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

**To freeze: Place tacos in pan and cover will with foil and freeze. Place sauce and cheese in zip lock bags and freeze. To serve, thaw completely and bake as directed above.**

Please note, this recipe was adapted from 30 Day Gourmet's Big Book of Freezer Cooking.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feeding a Growing Flock

Just as the cost of food has been rising over the past several years so has the appetites of our children. I seems that just a short time ago we had about 6 1/2 mouths to feed. Now I can count on 9 full servings to satisfy our family and more if I want to count on some leftovers.

At the same time, our schedule has transformed from mildly busy to CRAZY, yet I am committed to get us around the table as much as possible each week. Our evening meals are often needed early or pushed back until after dark due to evening commitments. Convenience meals are what are needed but without the high cost and chemicals, please.

Therefore, I'm finding myself relying on freezer cooking more than ever. My goal for 2012 is to feed our family of nine for an average of $20 a day. Yep. I know it's crazy, but I'm convinced it can be done. I'm budgeting $10 for breakfast/lunch and $10 for dinner. I see some serious couponing, bargain shopping and ingenuity in my future.

Today we joined together and cooked a total of 56 main dishes. That's 14 meals that we will rotate through 4 times. The total cost of all the food and supplies was $371, which averages to be $6.70/meal. The remaining $3.30 will be spent on side dishes and desserts.

We started shopping at 8:30 this morning and washed the last pan at 7:30 tonight. It was a hard day's work, but I am thankful for eager hands and and hearts. I love spending time with my family in the kitchen and letting them make big messes with me. Tonight I heard one of them proclaim proudly, "Today I learned how to spell sausage!" "Well, I learned how to spell lasagna!!" the other replied. Yes, there is much to be learned in the kitchen. My sister even came by to lend a hand and bring us lunch. I know that I'm going to be grateful for of lots of hot meals and stress free evenings ahead.

Here are the recipes we made. What I plan to later serve as side dishes or desserts are is listed in parenthesis:

Taco Soup (Jello)
Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine (Garlic Bread, Salad)
Barbecue Chicken Pizza (Fruit Salad)
Bourbon Mustard Pork Tenderloin (Potatoes, Green Beans)
Lasagna (Italian Salad)
Broccoli Cheese Soup (Baked white or sweet Potato and Fruit Plate)
Shrimp Jambalaya (Cheesy Bread)
Homestyle Mac and Cheese (Baked Beans, Cole Slaw)
Egg Sausage Casserole (Yogurt Smoothies, Muffins/Coffee Cake)
Sweet and Sour Meatballs (Rice, Peas, Applesauce)
Wet Tacos (Shredded lettuce with salad, Fruit Salad)
Lentils and Rice (Salad, Garlic Toast)
Barbecue Joes (Cole Slaw, Veggie Plate)

My main source for freezer cooking remains the 30 Day Gourmet. The recipes are excellent and the system seamless. I plan to post one recipe each week here at the Full Table as we eat our way through our freezer in the coming weeks. Hope you plan to join us!

What do all the kids eat on cooking day? Taco Bell, of course.

Ready. Set. Go.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stove Top Granola

I love granola, but I refuse to buy it because I can't justify spending that much money for some fancy oats. Though I've made it successfully in the past, I always run into the problem of burning it in the oven. Not good. So I've been experimenting and combining some recipes to solve this inevitable problem. I've created a granola recipe that is super quick and burn proof. With some decorative packaging, I think this would make an original and healthy treat for teachers and friends this year.

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 minutes
Yields: 12 servings (1/3 cup each)
Cost: approx. $2.00

4 1/2 cups rolled oats ($.25- from salvage store)
2 Tbsp. olive oil ($.25)
1/4 cup butter ($.25)
1/2 cup honey ($.50)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Set oven to 400 degrees. When preheated turn off.
Heat oil in skillet. Add oats and toast stirring often. When oats turn golden brown remove from heat. Melt butter. Add honey and vanilla. Cook and stir until bubbly. Add honey mixture to toasted oats and incorporate well. Spread granola onto large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place in heated oven for one hour. When cooled add dried fruits, nuts as desired and store in an airtight container.

** For peanut butter granola, add 3 Tbsp of peanut butter to melted butter along with the honey.**