Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year New Goal...

Am I the only one who feels like they need to rob a bank to buy groceries these days.  man, they have gotten really expensive.  So that has made me think.... how much does it really cost to feed a family of four. That and I need to cut my grocery bill by at least 1/3!  It'll be a little easier now that little one has braces.  That will cut down on the junk food!

Today, I went to that store I hate, and won't name, to buy the can and box items and a few frozen things.  Then I went to Winn-Dixie, I love them, and bought my meat.  They have this wonderful thing where they put selected meats on sale for BOGO.  That's how a make my menu.  I buy whats on sale and build around it.

After I returned from the store I broke everything into meal portions and put them in the freezer.  Then I took a sheet of paper and planned a week worth of meals around what I had and what I bought.  In perfect honesty there are 3 things I have to go back for, but they are on sale so it's OK.

After I mad the menu, I took my receipt and figured out what each meal costs per person.  This has problems when you expect leftovers.  I didn't add in cost of making homemade baked goods or using rice.  I'll have to wait until I buy those supplies again and then figure it out.  So the cost may not be totally honest.  But it's the best I can do.

So what's on the menu for tonight?  Tonight is our splurge.

T-bone steaks  ($4.78 per person)
Roasted red potatoes ($.25 pp)
Broccoli ($. 50 pp)

For a total of $5.53 per person.

Now that assumes everyone eats a whole steak, which they won't.  At some point I see stir fry with the leftovers.

Happy Eating

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apples Abound...

We have an abundance of apples.  We bought a 1/2 peck of Johnathon apples, which my kids thought were too tart.  So I made a pie.
I'm still getting over shingles, so I cheated and bought a pie crust.  This is a Westmorland Pie, the recipe is from Southern Living.  The recipe calls for a crumb crust, but my husband balked at that.

I did cut little leaves out of the top crust and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.  It was wonderful.

Then my in laws returned from the smokies with a 1/2 peck of apples.  Not sure what type.  So I made my favorite skillet apple pie.  This is not my recipe, it is a variation from a Martha Stewart recipe.  Hers called for pears.  I don't like pears.  I grew up on the local sand pears (YUK).

I still have apples left.  Haven't decided what to make next.

Happy baking

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cornbread or Biscuits?

I have come to realize there are 2 kinds of people in the world:  those who prefer cornbread and those who prefer biscuits.  Both are huge in the South.  Some marriages exist because the wife makes amazing biscuits,  although fewer seem to rely on cornbread for marital bliss.
I am a cornbread person.  I would eat it every day if possible.  I love it plain or with add-ins.  I even like it fried and called dodgers (hush puppies for those above the mason-dixon line.  My husband is a biscuit person, DUH.  It would be too easy for us both to appreciate the same bread.  I like biscuits.  They are a great receptacle for jelly and syrup.  But I hate making biscuits.  Flour goes everywhere and makes me sneeze.  Not to mention it can be temperamental if you over mix it.  But the worst offense is, it's made with shortening.  As far as I'm concerned, shortening only belongs in one place, frosting!

Today I thought I would share with you my recipe for Cornbread.  Actually it's my mother's recipe, who got it from her mother.  But it's mine now!  This MUST be made in a cast iron skillet. ( Cornbread is also a great way to season your skillet!)

serves 3-4
Oven 425, preheat

1.  Heat the skillet on the stove, on high.  Add 1 TBLS. of oil and swirl around the pan to coat.  While the pan heats make the cornbread.

2.  In a mixing bowl combine:
    1/4 c. self-rising flour
    3/4 c. corn meal mix

3.  In a small bowl combine:
     1 egg
     1/2 c. milk
     Oil, from the hot skillet, be careful it is hot and can burn.

4.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture.  Stir until well blended.
5.  Pour mixture into the hot, greased skillet (small cast iron skillet), about 8in.
6.  Cook in a hot oven for 25 mins.

This can be easily doubled for a crowd.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beef Stirfry with Veggies's Chinese for dinner.  I love Chinese food.  A few years ago my Sweetie Pie gave me a wok and two Chinese cookbooks for Christmas.  One book turned out to be awesome and is now dog eared.  I think it's called the Thousand Recipe Cookbook (it's listed on the side under favorite cookbooks).  Anyway back to dinner.

Before we start let me say that this recipe can be changed based on tastes.  The great thing about stir fry is, you start with a basic recipe and the stir fry technique and go on from there.  Unlike baking, it's not science!

Beef Stir fry with Veggies

Marinade:  (not my recipe so here is the basis, you can figure out the measurements)
  3 parts soy sauce
  1 part sherry (or rice wine if you can find it)

My part of the recipe:
  1 lb. stir fry cut beef
   3 cups hot cooked rice
  2 large carrots, cut into thin coins
  1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  1/2 bell pepper, cut into chunks
  2 green onions, diced
  2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces, not tiny about the size of a nickel or quarter
   3 Tbls. oil, divided

1) Mix marinade in a bowl, add beef.  Toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
2) Prepare and chop all veggies.  Once you start cooking you will not have time to cut anything up.  It must be ready to go.
3)  Heat wok or large pan to HIGH.  Add 2Tbls of oil.  Swirl around pan to coat.
4)  Stir fry onions and peppers for 2 minutes.  Add beef, reserve marinade, stir fry about 5 mins.  Until the beef is cooked through.  Keep stirring.
5)  Remove beef and veggies with tongs and set aside.   There should be a little liquid left, not to much.  If a lot of liquid has accumulated pour it into a bowl.  You can use it later.
6)  Add 1 Tbls. oil and heat.
7)  Add green onions and carrots.  Stir fry 1 minute.  Add broccoli and stir fry.  Pour the reserved marinade into the wok.  Stir fry a few times then cover with the lid.  Let cook for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked to desired tenderness.  I like mine crunchy.

Serve with hot rice and egg rolls.

It is surprisingly easy and quick to make.  Bottled sauces can be used instead of the marinade.  Leftovers make great fried rice the next day.  Of course, we didn't have any left over.

Happy cooking

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cookie of the Week- Brown Sugar Spice

Perfect time for afternoon tea!  I am feeling much better today.  So much so, I made cookies.  Of course now I just want to rest.  This is my recipe for Brown Sugar Spice Cookies.  When fall hits I crave spice cookies.  This one has a sugar cookie base, made with....brown sugar.  I prefer them cut into small cookies, the kids prefer them large :)

These can be made into drop cookies or freezer cookies.

This is what you need:

Brown Sugar Spice Cookies

2/3 c. butter
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Course sugar to decorate, optional

1.  Beat butter and sugar until smooth, scraping sides of mixer.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Beat in flour and spices, a little at a time, until mixed well.  You might need to move to stirring by hand if you don't use a stand up mixer.

2.  Place the dough on surface covered with plastic wrap.  Form into a disk, wrap, and chill for 1 - 3 hours.  This dough is very sticky, the longer it sits in the refrigerator the better.  If you plan on making drop cookies skip this part.

3.  On a lightly floured surface take half of the dough and roll out.  Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on size.

4.  Cool on a rack and then eat ;)

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies. 

Hope you enjoy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Taco Casserole

Tonight I made Aunt Jamina's Taco Casserole.  Daughter #1 loves Tacos, so I thought she would enjoy this.  I altered the recipe, of course.  I added a can of drained kidney beans and 1/3c -1/2c of taco sauce.  It looked really dry when I mixed it up, the taco sauce helped.
Food photography is not as easy as you would think! 

Anyway, it turned out pretty good.  Both of the girls ate it, and the added beans made it heartier.  Very quick and easy to make.  I would definitely make it again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Casserole

Over the weekend a case of Shingles has crept up.  The kitchen has seen very little action.  I did make an altered version of the Pillsbury Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Casserole.  It turned out pretty good. 
I added crushed red pepper and garlic.  I also didn't have ready made biscuits, so those are from scratch.  You may not be aware of this, but I came a cornbread girl not a biscuit girl!  But that's a conversation for another time.

Sweetie Pie said the casserole needed less chicken and less broccoli and double the alfredo sauce!    Don't know if I will make it again!

Happy cooking