Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

Homefries in a hurry

Easy, really. Cut up a potato into small chunks. I used a small red potato, but I’ll probably do it again with a Yukon gold. Microwave for a minute, stir, microwave another minute. The potato chunks tend to stick together, which is why it’s good to stir/break apart halfway through. Maybe lightly coat them with oil before hand?

Heat a pan (I used non-stick) to medium high. Add a tablespoon of oil. Add the potato chunks, cook until as brown as you like, stir to prevent clumping. I was happy with them after 5 or 6 minutes, but that’s me. If you want a bigger potato, or more potatoes, just increase cooking time. I think it probably works best, though, if you do one potato at a time.

Dang, this could be more dangerous than the microwave brownies!

Read Full Post »

I’ve often said that if learn from your mistakes, I should be a mega-genius, as I’ve made more than a few. Like today.

One of my favorite sandwiches from childhood was bologna and cheese. Mom would make it for me quite often for lunch. As I grew older, I got away from sandwiches, and cooked more meals for myself. Now that I’m trying to eat more inexpensively and simply, I’m returning to old likes. Plus bologna is frequently on sale, so it’s a win-win.

Anyway, I didn’t have sliced cheese on hand, but I always have various sorts of shredded cheese around. Usually frozen, to keep longer. Since it’s shredded, it’s quick to defrost/melt. So I took a slice of bread and sprinkled liberally with shredded mozzarella. Then I stuck in the toast oven and toasted until the cheese had mostly melted. Maybe a minute? On another slice of bread, I put two slices of bologna. I didn’t toast that slice, because I wanted to see what the contrast in textures would be like.

Now, the mistake. Minor, really. I have several kinds of mustard in the fridge. Good for sandwiches, and some recipes. I really hate mayonnaise, so if I make a sandwich, I’ll usually put on mustard. Ketchup is mostly for burgers. So the kinds of mustard I have are regular yellow, spicy brown, dijon, and honey. Well, I wasn’t looking at the label of the bottle I took out. It looked like spicy brown, which I like on sandwiches. And hot dogs.

Have you guessed? It was honey mustard. My first bite, I wondered why it was so sweet. Then I looked back in the fridge, and saw what I’d done. Have to say, I liked it. I don’t tend to use the honey mustard much, as I think it’s more for glazing meat or other special recipes. I think I’ll have to change that. And another step closer to mega-genius-hood.

Read Full Post »

Quick lazy soup

Looking in the fridge, I saw I had a tomato that was likely to go bad soon and a half-can of red kidney beans. So I figured, “Hey, soup!”. Well, my first thought was chili. But I had a couple of 24 oz cans of spaghetti sauce I’d got for 50 cents each (dented, but still fine), and a box of Wolfgang Puck brand beef broth that I’d got for a dollar. See NOTE below for more info.

Anyway, I used pasta fagioli as an inspiration, but used rice. All simple stuff I had around the house. Frankly, the results turned out better than I expected. I always like pleasant surprises like that.

So, the recipe, such as it is.

  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder (see NOTE)
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • small onion
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 can kidney beans
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • dried basil
  • garlic powder
  1. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder to water. Add rice and cook it. Go traditional (2 parts water to 1 part rice, boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes) or how I did it (8 parts water to 1 part rice, boil in microwave for 10 minutes, check that there’s still enough water, microwave for 10 minutes more) (the rice can be a bit gummy in the microwave version, but that’s fine for soup).
  2. Dice the onion and saute (I tossed the pieces in some oil and microwaved for 2-1/2 minutes).
  3. Dice the tomato.
  4. The advantage of the microwave version: If you use a very large container to cook the rice, you can dump all the other ingredients in with it after the rice is done. Which is what I did.
  5. Seasonings: To taste. Call it a couple teaspoons of the herbs, and a few shakes of salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  6. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, microwave for 3-5 minutes more.
  7. Eat and be full.

I used the small bowl above, for portion control. One of those, and I was comfortably full. But that was a few hours ago, so I think I’ll go back for more. Plus I wanted to let it cool some before portioning it out and putting in the fridge.

Which is one of my problems, so word to the wise. If you cook a large amount of food, divide it into portions as soon as possible, to keep you from eating the whole dam pot/plate/whatever.

NOTE: Btw, if you have a dent-and-bent store in your area, it’s a godsend for food budgets. Or the near-out-of-date rack at your grocery store. Use judgement, but a lot of the stuff is perfectly fine, even though it doesn’t look pretty. The spaghetti sauce and beef broth I got at the Family Dollar, which is rather ironic.

NOTE: Got the garlic powder at what used to be Mother Earth’s, but is now Earth Origins. I’m not into the “organic” stuff, mostly since it’s frightfully more expensive. Plus you can get a lot of the veggies cheaper at your local farmers market. But for bulk spices, you can’t beat it. I love thyme, for example, but it’s 3 to 4 dollars a bottle in the store. So are most herbs. But at Earth Origins, I can get enough to fill a bottle for 50 cents, or less. And it’s fresher. Or I can buy half a bottle’s worth, which means it’s that much fresher.

You should clean out your herbs and spices at least once a year if they’ve not been used. But if you get them from your whole foods store, you can get just what you need (or a bit more), and replenish as you like. Thus, no stale herbs. And honestly, herbs and spices are a terrificly inexpensive way to add flavor to your food. Just because you may have to eat cheaply doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Peasants across the world have been doing so for centuries.

Read Full Post »

Colcannon and soup

So when I made my corned beef and cabbage, I added so many other veggies to the crockpot that I had no room for the cabbage. Therefore the head I bought sat in the fridge unused for many days. I stumbled on the recipe for Colcannon, and being an Irish boy and never having made it, I went for it.

I started with this recipe as a base. I had to up the quantities, since I went with half the head to use it up. I could have used more, but I didn’t know how much I’d like it, so didn’t want to make that much.

As it turned out, I did rather like it. The most expensive bit is the butter, but for the amount you use versus the total amount of food that you get, it’s not bad at all. I managed to fill a 9×13 pan, and ate it on and off for days afterwards. I know, though, for next time to chop the cabbage more finely, like cole slaw. I was lazy, and wound up with large shreds. I think it’ll be better with the potatoes and cabbage more evenly distributed.

The other half of the cabbage. Well, it sat in the fridge even longer. I finally realized I needed to do something with it, since parts were going black. So I did a cream of various vegetables soup. Cut off the black bits, chopped up the cabbage, then some other vegetables, sauteed them a bit, made a roux, added the veggies and some spices, added beef stock and water to cover, then the milk to make it creamy. I’d not made a cream soup in a while, and wanted something different than your standard clear soup.

Result? A very large pot of soup of which I still have some frozen servings. You might want to take some Beano before eating a large amount of cabbage, by the way. Your loved ones will thank you.

Sorry for not giving a recipe for the soup, but there wasn’t one. I’ve made various types of soup so often, I don’t really need one. For a specialized soup like French Onion, yeah, but  a generic soup like what I made, not so much. Soup is one of my go-to foods for refrigerator cleanout. Whatever you have in the fridge that you’re afraid might go bad soon, chop it up and throw it in a pot with some spices and water and/or stock (and maybe some wine), cook for a while and you have soup. If you want, there’s a gazillion recipes you can find on the web. But making soup isn’t advanced calculus.

If you don’t already, try making it on a semi-regular basis. Depending on what you use, it can provide many inexpensive and nutrituous and filling meals. Or occasionally expensive, if you want to go fancy now and then.

Read Full Post »

For a change, I made a microwave brownie “serving” in a square plastic container, about 6 inches square. It didn’t puff up much, and didn’t taste quite the same. Not bad, but it reminded me of something else. Then it hit me what that was. Pancakes. The more I thought, the more I realized that oil and flour are the basics for pancake batter.

So I made another “serving”, but this time doubling the recipe. I only added about a tablespoon of sugar, and no cocoa powder. Also I added some melted margarine. I cooked it for twice as long, flipping it semi-accidentally about half way through. It was so-so. The bottom was moist and a bit slimy. I think some of the oil settled to the bottom and didn’t fully incorporate.

Looking through pancake recipes, I also see a key ingredient is eggs. So I’ll try it again with an egg, and see what happens. I like pancakes, and haven’t had them in quite a while. If this works, it’ll give me another quick and easy breakfast option. The only down side is only being able to make one at a time.

Though as I’m thinking about it, maybe I can put some sort of divider in-between to make several at a time. Maybe parchment paper? Something that won’t burn. I suppose I could do several small bowls at once that would fit inside, and make something like silver dollar pancakes. I do know at the rate I’m going, I’m going to have to buy another bag of flour. Which is weird, ’cause I hardly ever use flour. When I make my brownies normally, I use boxed mix. It’ll be interesting what I can come up with, and what other tangents may result. Stay tuned!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »