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.