Showing posts with label frugal cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal cooking. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baked Swai with Pesto and Ricotta

A simple sauce of prepared pesto and ricotta cheese makes a moist and  flavorful coating for fish, pasta, or roasted vegetables

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the photos of my first cheese-making efforts.  I got a gallon of milk marked down and made 2 balls of mozzarella with a cheese making kit I bought from Standing Stone Farms.  With the leftover whey (boy howdy there's a lot of whey) I made a bonus batch of ricotta cheese.
There was still a lot of whey leftover after making the ricotta and mozzarella, and I've been experimenting with it.  So far whey-soaked oven oatcake is a hit, and pizza crust using whey instead of water is also a winner.  Details to come.
Here's the thing, though--normally I'll use ricotta in something hearty, like my Quadruple Roasted Mock Lasagna.  This summer has been gloriously--and unusually--cool, but not cool enough for that.  I decided to use up the very last cubes of last fall's pestopalooza with the ricotta cheese, and play around.

All of the recipes I'm sharing today involve the oven or stovetop, but when it's really hot I think it'd be great to toss freshly grilled items (chicken thighs, fish fillets, eggplant or zucchini) with this ricotta-pesto mixture and keep your kitchen cool.  It would be delicious as the dressing in a pasta salad, with cherry tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and squash.  It's probably good on a cracker.  Since I thawed my put-up pesto to make these dishes, I'm positive this idea will work with winter fare (peeled, sliced, roasted sweet potatoes or delicata squash?).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Chicken Adobo Summer Rolls (A repurposed leftover)

Even though I live with people who are happy to eat leftovers 90% of the time, I love recipes that transform a leftover entree into an entirely new dish.  One of these repurposed leftover ideas is to make summer rolls.  You can stick just about anything in a summer roll!
I wrote this post the second month of my blog, since the chicken adobo we repurposed was from this post, my 11th post.  I've been sitting on this recipe for months, since by the time I was ready to post we were fully into the Fall season and it would not have been appropriate. There's a lot of sat upon posts appearing this week on the blog.  Something about the beginning of June marks summer eating for me, even if we won't hit the solstice for a few more weeks.

I love summer rolls but shy away from planning to make them because I often think they require too many fresh herbs that I don't have in my garden.  (This year I've planted a stealth herb garden with mint near the downspout by the driveway, and rosemary nestled under the dogwood. I'm attempting to fool whoever has been "going out to eat" in my raised beds, decimating the first round of parsley, dill, and fennel I've planted thus far this spring.)
The basic ingredients for a summer roll, however, are shelf-stable.  Once you've stocked your pantry with rice paper wrappers and rice noodles, you're set when the right herbs, vegetables, and even protein collide in your farm share, garden, or farmer's market.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Buttermilk Crust Pizza with Pepperoni and Four Cheese Topping

Do you keep buttermilk in your fridge?  I do.  Sometimes I make my own, sometimes I find it marked down at the grocery store and buy it.  Once I saw a half gallon for 15 cents (on the sell-by date).  You bet I snagged that bottle in a hot minute. 15 cents!
What do I do with all this buttermilk? I'm glad you asked.  I use it in a bunch of different muffin recipes.  The key recipe is here, and there are many more variations to the right ------> in my Recipe Index by Category.  I also use buttermilk in waffle batter such as this one.  I'm encouraging my son to pick up the skill of biscuits, so he'll be following this recipe.  And this summer, once all the bottles on the door of the fridge are used up, I am going to make this Buttermilk salad dressing.  But today, because it is Friday, I want to talk about pizza dough.
Buttermilk in dough makes a tender crust.  It's also got subtle tang that works great with sweet (ok, more like sweeter, I have yet to make a dessert pizza) and savory toppings, as you'll see today and in the future.  My recipe is from my favorite pizza book, The Best Pizza Is Made at Home (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks), by Donna Rathmell German.  I kept it basic this time, but there are more variations on tap (and currently in my fridge!  Check my FB page for the pizzas we're eating tonight using a whole wheatier Buttermilk Pesto Dough).

Generally, when I am sharing a new dough variation, I tend to keep the toppings pretty normal.  I mean I didn't want to freak you out like I did with the beet crust dough for vegans, vegetarians, or omnivores.  Today is no exception--as you can see by the title, it's a pepperoni pizza.  Like my Not So Simple Cheese Pizza, this pizza uses the wonderful Fresh Tomato Pesto I discovered when Heather put it up on In Her Chucks.  Since I spent fall and winter figuring out how to make, put up, and subsequently use many variations of that pesto, it has earned its own "how to" blog post which will be coming out next week.  Around these parts, that's before the fresh tomatoes show up--but don't run out and buy a well-traveled tomato.  Wait.  Patience is a virtue. Local tomatoes, like local strawberries and local celery, just taste better.  Life is too short to eat tasteless food.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Very Veggie Sloppy Joes for a Crowd

Sloppy joes are a kid-friendly meal. Add finely shredded vegetables to the beef and you'll be boosting the nutrition of this crowd favorite!
Lesson #4 in action.

I went through a long stretch of adulthood without eating sloppy joes.  All Lunch Lady joking aside, I have no idea why that was.  I like my joes.  That long stretch was finally broken one lunchtime when a bunch of moms gathered with their kids at my friend Miho's house.  She served a big pot of sloppy joes and all of a sudden I remembered loving them as a kid.  My kids tried them for the first time and thought they were pretty tasty.  I started making them for my family, and I'm pleased I can stretch a pound of ground meat into multiple meals.

When I signed up to bring lunch at the thrift shop, I wanted to make something that would appeal to a variety of meat eaters (I knew there were no vegetarians that day).  I also wanted something with veggies, and something that could sit in a crock pot unattended all morning while I was busy out front.  Very Veggie Sloppy Joes fit the bill.  I fixed this the afternoon before and brought my crock pot and rice cooker in to the store to provide everyone with options*.
*I am all about the options, I realize.  Even the composting pigs get a choice of sleeping compartment each night when we put the Pigloo, the Woodland Hideaway, and the SnackShack into their cage.  Two pigs, three bedrooms.  Back to the topic at hand.

My friend Cathy mentioned that her family enjoys the Pioneer Woman's sloppy joe recipe, so I used that as a jumping off point for this recipe, but added more veggies since I've put them up from my CSA farm share.  We like our first round of joes on buns, with a slice of cheese and a squirt of yellow mustard.  The leftovers get served over rice, with an optional cheese slice sandwiched between the joe and the rice.  My kids enjoy this in a thermos at school, or come home for lunch and eat it here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mu Shu -ish (Leftover) Chicken Burritos (Quick Take)

When I was a little kid, I used to hate Chinese food.  Luckily, my parents' desire to expose us to new foods was undeterred.  My mom would bring a chicken sandwich along in a baggie when we'd go out to a Chinese restaurant.
I wasn't so nice the first time we brought our kids to an Ethiopian restaurant.  I figured they could find something to eat, and they did:  they subsisted on injera and copious amounts of water from their constantly replenished water glasses.  I had no idea how much water they were drinking until we had multiple potty emergencies during the subway ride home.
Eventually I learned to like Chinese food, and my favorite dish was Mu Shu Pork.  I'm not sure if I liked assembling and rolling my dinner or the flavor of the hoisin sauce best, but it was my favorite thing to order.  Now my favorite dish is Ma Po tofu from the Great Wall Szechuan House near Logan Circle in Washington, DC, and when my brother returns from overseas I bet he will pack some in a cooler, hop on a plane, and we'll enjoy some together.

You wouldn't think from the title of this recipe that this is a 'kitchen sink' dish, but it is.  I had leftover roasted chicken, half a savoy cabbage, some mushrooms that were on their last stems, and we needed dinner.  This came together quickly, tasted great, and was a big flavor difference from the original chicken meal--my favorite way to cook once and eat twice.  This is not true a true Mu Shu--the mushrooms are all wrong and there's no egg for starters, hence the addition of -ish to the title.  Consider this if you've got a roast chicken and want to change it up a bit.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Frugal Refrigerator Bran Muffins
The tops are cracked open already because I just nestled in the butter to melt.

Having a bucket of muffin batter in your fridge is a happy thing.  It means that warm, tasty goodness is 15 minutes + oven preheating away.  It's been a while since I've done a Monday Muffins post, so I wanted to give you an inexpensive, long-lasting recipe that just does a body good.

I first tried these muffins when Debbie, of Salmon with Oranges fame, gave me a hot one oozing with a pat of butter.  Oh goodness, that was delish!  Of course, I asked for the recipe.  It involved buying a name brand bran cereal and soaking it in hot water until the cereal turned into mush.  So--I'd first pay to have that bran processed into a cereal shape, then in order to use it in the recipe I'd undo the processing I'd already paid for?  Must be a more frugal way, I thought.

And there is!  Buying a box of unprocessed bran saves a bunch of money on these muffins.  Making your own buttermilk saves a bit more!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taco Farro
When I was a kid, back when a spade was called a spade in the breakfast cereal realm, there was a cereal called Sugar Smacks.  A jumping frog would do a double 'low five' with kids and their outstretched hands would then be filled with a bowl of cereal.  I'm sure I ate it, though my favorite aptly named cereal was Sugar Pops.  When my family would go camping and get those individual serving cereal boxes [which have increased in size since then, I observe] I always schemed to get the Sugar Pops over the Sugar Smacks or the Sugar Frosted Flakes, though really any of them were a rare treat. 
This memory has nothing to do with tonight's dinner except for one thing:  cooked farro looks exactly like Sugar Smacks to me.  I'm tempted to coat it in a honey glaze, bake it like granola, and call it DIY Homemade Whole Grain Sugar Smacks.  But my kids did not get the we-want-to-eat-breakfast-cereal gene, so I'll leave that to someone else.  
Some time between my non Sugar Pops-filled childhood and present day, I saw a post about cooking with farro.  Recently I saw another one, and put farro on the Trader Joe's shopping list.  An hour after returning from the store with my lil blue bag of farro I saw this farro salad with sun dried tomato, spinach, and cashews.  Since I'd already thawed leftover taco meat for dinner, I decided to switch it up and make Taco Farro instead.

As I mentioned, I bought the little blue bag of precooked farro from Trader Joe's.  The Nutrition Facts state that it serves 3, and the bag is so small I had some concerns.  However, once cooked (10 to 12 minutes in a pot of beef broth for me, since this is not a vegetarian dish--that will come on Wednesday) the farro swelled to 5 cups of cooked grain which was way more than enough for the four of us.
[If I cared to, I'd insert my observation here about the increase in size of single serving cereal boxes, paired with the observation that 1 2/3 cups of cooked farro is a huge serving size.  Just sayin'.]

I learned of the technique (combining leftover taco meat with a cooked grain, and salsa, to make a repurposed leftover meal) from my friend Lee-Ann.  When I stretch a pound of ground meat with my CSA veggies and refried beans, the four of us eat about half the concoction the first night, so we always have leftovers.  Thanks to Lee-Ann we all look forward to this re-purposed dish--it's delicious.  I am making it here with farro, but you're welcome to substitute any kind of cooked rice, or branch out to quinoa, barley, amaranth, bulgur, or whatever floats your boat.

What I love about this dish is how easily customizable it is for each member of the family.  I cooked one skillet of food, and everyone got to fix their meal their way.  Here's a shot of each of our plates:
Can you guess which are parent plates and which are kid plates?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(Leftover Ham Week) Ham and Broccoli Stem Quesadillas (Quick Take)

I can appreciate the head-scratching that a vegetarian would do upon seeing me wash the farm share broccoli, remove the cabbage white caterpillars that had been feasting on it, escort them outside--away from my garden but with a leaf so they won't starve--then head back inside to dice ham.

What can I say?  I love food, and currently have no medical reason prohibiting me from eating all of it.  Not all at once, of course.  And I love that my farm share doesn't use pesticides on the food my family and I eat.  I can escort a few bugs outside knowing that the food us critters are eating is safe.

I'm happy to say I've finally mailed in my check for this year's summer CSA.  I'd been meaning to for weeks, but now it's a done deal.  Let the countdown begin!  I don't know how we'll handle a large farm share with only 3 eaters, so expect a lot of posts about the 'putting up' of anything that I can put up.  Thanks to Tammy of Agrigirl I've got ideas for lettuces, but today, we're talking about broccoli stems.

You know I hate to waste Swiss chard stems, and broccoli stems are no different.  While living in Richmond I learned how to make a delicious black bean soup that called for diced broccoli stem, and ever since then haven't looked at them as an afterthought.
Note to self--make that soup and blog about it.

After I wrote up this post, I saw this post by Karen of Soup Addict about making an open faced quesadilla with a fried egg on top.  Next time, I'm totally trying that--ham and eggs and broccoli? Yum!

Monday, March 11, 2013

(48.3% Meat)Loaf Stretching Meat Part 3
(I know this is not meatloaf.  This is the sweet and white potato mash with cottage cheese I plopped on Loaf #2)

You know I'm all about the Frugal Eco Farm Fresh Feasting, how I stretch meat by making tacos, and burgers.  I do not hide vegetables in other dishes.  I am completely aboveboard with my family when it comes to adding additional vegetables in traditionally non-additional-vegetable foods (like eggplant in the spaghetti sauce or spinach in the pizza crust).

Ok, I lied, in fact I've totally been known to slip a beet into a blueberry smoothie, though I try to own up to it if I'm asked a direct question involving specific vegetables.

But when I make meatloaf, the family totally knows that there's more than just meat in that loaf. When I saw ground pork marked down at the store, I knew it was time to make up a batch of meatloaf, Farm Fresh Feast style.

Today, we weighed the ingredients (and apparently didn't take photos), did the math, and in fact, this "meat" loaf contains 48.3% meat.  What's the rest?  I'm glad you asked. Meatloaf for me is more of a concept recipe, as Alanna of A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade would say.  I use a mix of meats (usually ground beef and pork), a bunch of veggies, something dry, and some sauce.  Sometimes I add an egg or two if it seems too loose.  Sometimes I add salt and pepper or other seasonings. I make this into 2 small loaves and freeze one uncooked for a later meal.  Luckily I took some photos of the second time 'round.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tremendously Green Pizza (Bacon, Cabbage, Caramelized Onion, Leek and Potato Pizza on a Spinach Crust) Pizza Night!

Oh goodness, where to start?  If I was all about pink pizzas last month for Valentine's day, this month I'm into green pizzas.  Well, there's also a mushroom medley coming up, and a salmon/arugula one for Good Friday, but still . . .  here at Farm Fresh Feasts, March comes in like a green pizza.

You'd better get a fork and knife for this pizza.  The crust barely has a chance to stand up to the onslaught of ingredients.  I mean, I knew that potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon worked well together.  Everything goes better with bacon.  But when I got leeks in the farm share I couldn't help myself.  It also seems very appropriate for a St Patty's Day pizza, what with the potatoes and cabbage and utter green-ness of the thing.  Went well with beer, too.

I'd planned to do a leek, potato, and bacon pizza.  Three toppings, the title of the post wouldn't be too long, no biggie.  Leek and potatoes go together like salmon and oranges, zucchini and nutella, peanut butter and jelly.  But when I was snuffling around in my little fruit and veg freezer (which also happens to be the Extra Pizza Items freezer) debating between garlic oil or  _____ for the 'sauce', I saw the packet of caramelized onions I'd carefully saved.  Why not a layer of caramelized onions as the sauce?

So far, we've got a layer of caramelized onions, topped with potato slices, and leeks, and bacon.  That sounds pretty tasty, no?  Then I opened the fridge and saw the bags of Chinese cabbage and spinach from the farm share.  They were not getting any younger.  I know I love a spinach crust, and it was time to inflict a spinach crust on the rest of the family.  So the spinach went into the crust.  The cabbage (and you could use any cabbage you got for this, I'd think, though red cabbage would necessarily change the title), why not add that just to push this pizza over the edge?  Done!

Really,  if you've put up the ingredients as they come to you ripe/in season/on sale, this sort of thing isn't as crazy as it sounds.  It's not like I went to the store specifically to get the ingredients for this pizza. Ha!  I think the only thing I go to the store specifically for these days is milk, beer, and grapes.  Everything else just kind of happens.  Like my life!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Savory Sauerkraut Sausage Stuffing Skillet Supper

I've been experimenting with adding day-old bread to all sorts of dishes lately.  I used to think all day-old bread, in the wintertime, would be destined just for bread crumbs.  In the summertime, day-old bread is destined for panzanella.

Not any more!  Now that I've found the winter comfort foods of panade and this dish, I look forward to transforming day-old bread into all sorts of savory dishes.  These bread dishes aren't exactly gorgeous, it's true, but they are warm and comforting.

While browsing the internet I stumbled across this recipe and got inspired to use the day-old brat & sausage rolls in the fridge for stuffing.  My family doesn't love stuffing like they love mashed potatoes, so I knew I needed to change it up a bit to make it into a meal.  Coincidentally, I had half a package of smoked sausage in the freezer, and coupons for sauerkraut.  And thus, the magic is born!

Or, at least, there's a plan for dinner.  Always good to have a plan. Or twelve.
This dish is cooked in one skillet (ok, and a baking sheet, and a bowl to toss the bread cubes in, but it was pretty easy to clean up anyway).  It's very savory, and was right up my alley for a Sunday supper on a winter night.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quadruple Roasted Vegetable Mock Florentine Mock Lasagna

I've been tweaking the blog a bit.  If you look over that way ----> you'll see a clickable Recipe Index.  Thanks to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes for the code to make that work.  Moving the recipe index off the top bar gave me room for some essays (recipe-free ramblings, really) I wrote way back in the fall :) when I started this blog in case you just feel like reading a bit.
Let me know (comments or on my FB page) what you think!  On to the food.

This, probably more than anything else, illustrates how I feed my family from our CSA farm share all year 'round.

This dish contains 4 roasted veggies:  garlic, roasted after I harvested it and frozen in early summer, eggplant and bell peppers, marinated in a vinaigrette and roasted and frozen when I was overwhelmed with veggies in late summer, and sweet potato, roasted for another use and left over in the fridge.

The mock florentine refers to the liberal use of Swiss chard in lieu of spinach.  I used a bunch of fresh chard (stems in the sauce, leaves with the noodles) in addition to incorporating leftover Creamed Swiss Chard.  (If you're keeping track, the Leftover Score is now at 2).

The mock lasagna refers to the fact that, although I have a well-stocked pantry, I didn't have any lasagna noodles.  Yes,  I could go out and buy some, I'd rather use up what I already got.

Hence the crazy convoluted name.

I walked in the door after an afternoon wheelchair basketball exhibition game with the idea that I wanted "something good" for dinner but having no clue what that would be.  Seventy-five minutes later I was putting this dish in the oven.  It's not a 'quick take', but to go from cluelessly scratching my head in the middle of the kitchen to completed, ready-to-bake Quadruple Roasted Mock Palooza impresses me.  Then again, I'm easily impressed.

Having the roasted veggies and the prepared pesto put up, and a freezer full of potential pizza toppings, means that making this truly does illustrate my goal of feeding my family from our farm share--all year long.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mindless Sweet Potato Hash (introducing the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve)

It's been several weeks since my last CSA delivery.  The spinach has been eaten mostly in pizzas, the cabbage went into breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and the carrots and celery jumped into both hummus and soup (not at the same time, they divided into teams and the cool kids went to the hummus and the rest went for the soup).  The eggs are so long gone that I've had to buy eggs several times!

However, I still have some unprocessed CSA produce to cook with.  On CSA days, once I get home from pick up, I perform "vegetable triage".  What vegetables are most perishable?  They go in the fridge, right in front, so I can cook with them first.  What else is perishable?  In the crisper for a few days.  Something that I know I won't cook in the next week (like the week I got turnips with greens, kale, mustard greens, and cabbage?  We eat greens, but come on!) gets put up in the freezer for later cooking. [I chopped the turnip greens, the kale, and the mustard greens together, then blanched them, spun them dry, and packed them into quart size freezer bags.]  That leaves the longer-storing produce.
Ready to go in the oven!

All Fall, unless I was roasting it for this or that, I have been piling up the pumpkins, balancing the butternuts, stacking the sweet potatoes, and arranging the acorns in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve.  It's in a cold corner of my breakfast nook (55 degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny January afternoon!) and though it's chilly to sit here and write about it, it's a pretty good spot for semi-long term storage.  Cool, definitely yes.  Dark, not so much, but there's no sunbeams slanting in either.

Once I've used all the more perishable produce from my farm share, I turn to the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve for inspiration.  Another source of inspiration is from the leftovers I am blessed with.  During the holidays we had a nice time with the relatives, and I came home with leftover pork steak.  This is a new cut of meat to me, and since we rarely eat a steak, quite a treat to have some leftover delicious cooked pork steak.  I literally lay awake planning a pizza using the pork (stay tuned!) but I had a lot to work with, so I decided to try my hand at making hash.

I consulted my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook for advice, and loosely adapted their Corned Beef Hash to what you see here.  The best part was when I read the oven baking directions.  How simple is that?  A bit of cooking on the stove, then chuck the whole mess in the oven (ok, BHG said to transfer to a casserole, but I skipped that bit by starting with an oven safe cast iron skillet).

This tasted great, used up both leftover cooked meat as well as some items from the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve, and was mindless to make.  If you've got leftovers (of the meat or winter squash variety) consider this dish.

Do you perform vegetable triage?
Do you like getting leftovers from relatives?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alfredo-Pesto Holiday Ravioli Carbo Loading-Quick Take

This was before some ravioli exploded, so it's the prettiest shot.

I don't know about you, but life doesn't slow down during the winter holiday season.  Far from it!  So I'm always looking for quick meals to put on the table utilizing the produce I've put up earlier in the season.
A fun way to get in your carbo-loading for your all night gift wrapping or card-addressing or cookie-baking marathons (or the Jingle Bell Run or an actual marathon if you're into that sort of thing) is this fun shaped and filled pasta.  I get it at Costco but have seen it in other stores.  I fixed my loved ones red heart-shaped cheese ravioli for Valentines day, and when I saw this green, red, and white star- and bell-shaped I knew it would be a big hit.
When I hit the grocery store I cruise the perimeter looking for marked down stuff:  mushrooms and bananas in the produce section, milk in the organic section, day old bread in the bread section, fancy cheese in the fancy cheese section, and if I'm wanting it, I cruise past the prepared foods section looking for Alfredo sauce.  More often than not, I'll find a container marked down.  Then I know I'll be fixing up a quick pasta dish like this, or using it on a pizza like this, or for tonight's meal.  If I don't find any, I'll check back later in the week--the kids drink milk like calves--so I just rearrange the meal plan. Snort.  Like there's a plan.
But when I saw the holiday shaped ravioli I thought it would look nice with a green sauce. (And a red sauce too, but I had some beets to use and couldn't figure out how to make a red sauce from beets that didn't become a fuschia sauce--anyone?)
One of the reasons I put up stuff when I've got it is for nights like this--I can come home and toss together a fast meal with some wholesome ingredients in a flash.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tangerine Waffles (Fruit Fundraiser #1)

When you open up the fridge and see this, it's time to find recipes that put your Fruit Fundraiser produce to work for you.  I got an early start with the 'I've got a case of oranges what do I do?' phase when my young son's wheelchair basketball team did a fundraiser so they could buy equipment. (A basic pair of court shoes costs $50, a basketball chair costs $2K!).  Over the years I've gathered a few recipes for using citrus fruit and, now that I've got Band Fundraiser fruit filling up the fridge I am compelled to share them.

Let's start with breakfast, shall we?

This recipe takes its start from this waffle recipe, and its finish from this waffle recipe. The bright tangerine flavor really comes through but is not overpowering.  If you have a blender that crushes ice, don't knock yourself out seeding the tangerines, just pick out any obvious ones and the rest will get ground up.  I particularly liked this with pear butter, but the kids preferred maple syrup.  I think it'd be great with mini chocolate chips tossed into the batter too!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beef and Bok Choy Pie

The inspiration for this pie came from my family's love of pasties (the Cornish hand held meat pie) combined with my interest in tourtiere (the Canadian meat pie), coupled with a pile of bok choy from the CSA farm share and a freezer full of cow.  The result is very tasty (there was fighting over the leftovers).  Definitely a keeper.  I bet you could swap the bok choy for Swiss chard, tat soi, collard greens, or kohlrabi.  I stopped short of calling this a pot pie-the filling was moist but not really gravy-like.  If you are not lucky enough to live near a Penzey's, look near the chicken stock/vegetable broth aisle for jars of spoonable soup base.  It really makes the dish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shepherd's Pie--Thanksgiving Leftover Remake

I hate to throw out food, so I am grateful for a family who willingly eats leftovers for lunch or, when we've got enough, for Leftover Night.  When I can turn leftovers into something completely different, it's a bonus.  When I can use 3 different leftovers in one new dish, it's a hat trick.

Making this the other night I scored a Leftover Hat Trick.  I had leftover mashed potatoes, from this dish.  I had leftover green beans, simply sautéed with a bit of bacon.  And my kid wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch so I had half a can (prepared) of tomato soup left.

I did what any self-respecting frugal home cook would do.  I combined them all to make Shepherd's pie!  This may not be the Shepherd's pie of your childhood, but it very nearly is the shepherd's pie of mine, so try it.  You may like it!

My kids are not fans of green beans, but will eat them in this dish and take the obligatory bite of the World's Best Green Bean Casserole (they are even more non-fans of mushrooms than they are of green beans).  For them, I chop the beans pretty small in my shepherd's pie.

If I were feeding green bean and mushroom lovers, I'd try to combine the entire leftover WBGBC with the ground beef and seasonings--without the soup--top it with leftover mashed potatoes, and call it Post-Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie.  But for now, I'll stick with simply prepared beans and be happy when I hit the jackpot and the leftovers are as good as the original dishes they came from.

Try this if you happen to have 3 or 4 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, 1 1/2 to 2 cups of leftover green beans, and a can of tomato soup in the pantry.

What are your favorite ways to remake Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals?

Monday, November 5, 2012

French Green Lentil Soup (and How to Make Brown Stock, Frugal Farm Fresh Feast Style)

You know how I keep yammering on about saving all the unused bits and pieces of your farm share veggies in a Soup Pack?  Today I'm going to show you how I use a soup pack to make a brown (beef) stock, then use some of that stock to make soup.

This soup got started with the cow taking up residence in my freezer.  I asked for all the odds and ends of the beast, from tongue to tail and odd bits in between.  We got several packages of "soup bones" and today I got one out, along with a soup pack.  Instead of randomly throwing ingredients and insufficient salt into the pot, like I usually do, I decided to <gasp!> follow a recipe.  Well, loosely.

I consulted my handy 1950 Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook.  I was interested to read "Store covered in jars in the refrigerator.  The layer of fat on top will help preserve the stock." I usually freeze soup stock, and at this time of year freezer space is at a premium, so I gave it a go.  I heated the jars as if I was going to can the stock, then poured the strained (ooh!  used my cheesecloth! bonus!) stock into the hot jars.  I used my plastic screw top lids since they work in the fridge or freezer.  When I was ready to make soup I scooped off the fat layer (reminded me of my mom's wax on top of jam) and poured out the stock.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Quick Take-Sausage and Peppers

Life sometimes gets in the way of dinner, but that doesn't mean that you can't make a quick meal using your farm fresh ingredients.  I had peppers from the farm share, a good coupon for some smoked sausage, one for pierogies, and found brat & sausage rolls marked down when I stopped at the store.  Quick meal in under 20 minutes!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Triple Green (Pepper, Olive, and Onion) and Sausage Pizza (Pizza Night)

Fresh green peppers and onions, with preserved green olives and sausage, in a family-friendly homemade pizza.

Around here, Friday nights are Pizza Nights.  Except now we live in a place with a lighted football field and have a kid marching in the band, so Pizza Night becomes Pizza Sometime On The Weekend During Football/Marching Band Season.
Eh, I'm flexible.  I bet I make easily 100 pies a year (2 pies each Pizza Night and although I don't make pizza every weekend, I do make it rather often.

I love having farm fresh ingredients handy, so I can make whatever pizza floats my boat depending on what I've got available.  And one cheese/meat for the kids, of course.

Today's pizza is no exception.

For other pizza recipes, please see my Visual Pizza Recipe Index as well as my Friday Night Pizza Night board on Pinterest.
For other recipes using peppers, please see my Pepper Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. If you'd like to know how to Use This Blog, click here.