Yesterday we received a box of treats from friends in Ramona. What a fun time that was! It was really like Christmas. In this box there were so many goodies but one in particular was such a blessing: brown sugar! Thank you ladies for this gift! Today I’m making the Original Toll house cookie recipe. I learned from my daughters to bake some of the cookies to serve right away and then drop the rest of the cookie dough by spoonfuls on a tray and freeze them. When frozen, put them all in a baggie and freeze for baking later. You all probably know this ricipe by heart, but here it is anyway:
Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION:
PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
Today in the mail I received some brown sugar from some dear friends in the USA. This looks like a great recipe for this rainy day to make. Brown sugar has been my ‘missing ingredient’. I am happy! Tomorrow chocolate cookies!
2/3 cup ground coffee
3- 3 inch long cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 cups cold water
Place coffee in filter in brew basket of coffee maker. Place cinnamon and sugar in empty pot of coffee maker. Add water to coffee maker, brew. When brewing is complete stir until well mixed. Fill cups being careful the cinnamon sticks remain in the pot. Serve with milk and additional sugar, if desired.
Today I made this healthy snack again. It’s one of our favorite snacks and you can use any spices you like. I like to use olive oil instead of the spray.
While the oven is on, I like to throw in some potatoes to bake for meals during the week to save on energy. When I’m done using the oven, I leave the oven door open to heat the kitchen in the winter. One other thing, this recipe is off the web but I find that after rinsing the beans I toss everything in a large ziplock bag and then spread it out on a baking pan and toss the greasy bag in the trash.
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, heaping
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
cayenne, to taste
Drain garbanzo’s in a strainer and rinse well with cool water. Shake to help remove water. Let sit to drain while proceeding.
Cover a rimmed cookie sheet or shallow casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour garbanzos on the foil and spread them into a single layer. Take a few sheets of paper towel and gently press over the top of the beans just to remove any extra liquid- speeds cooking time too.
Spray top of beans with cooking spray and sprinkle seasonings over the beans. Shake pan to help distribute the seasoning and make sure the beans are all in a single layer.
Place pan in an oven and set to 350 F- no need to preheat. Use lowest rack on oven and return every 15-20 minutes or so to shake the pan so nothing burns. Be gentle or they may spill over the sides. Cook until beans are browned and crispy. About 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour into a plastic bowl with tight fitting lid to cool. Careful they are HOT to the touch!
Snack away! Keep these stored in the bowl for best freshness or in a ziploc bag.
“I would rather have my people laugh at my economics than weep for my extravagance.” ~ King Oscar of Sweden (1829-1907)
I like that quote. I’ve found that when I challenge myself to make do with what I already have on hand, we can usually eat pretty well and we can save a lot of money in the process! I’m attempting to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible and sharing my results on my blog. Now, let me say that I am not going to completely avoid buying groceries each month. I always need that odd ingredient or soap & toilet paper. I don’t need to buy a lot of vegetables because I’m growing all our own lettuce & mesclun, arugula, radishes, etc and we do get 3 eggs a day from the hens. So, salad is on the menu each day. We also eat John’s home-cured olives each day on our salads. I seasoned each jar with different flavors like cumin, garlic, red pepper to just name a few.
In this recipe which I will make today, I’ll use all I have in the pantry. See my comments next to each ingredient below.
Asian-Style Fried Rice and Beans
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced, or one 8 ounce can pineapple slices-I had some canned pineapple in the freezer
1tablespoon vegetable oil-I used oilve oil
2 medium carrots, thinly biased-sliced-John sliced this for me… last 2 I have
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger*-I’m using ground
2 cups cooked brown rice**-I made extra so I can make a rice crust for a quiche later this week.
1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained-I had cooked & canned these last year.
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro-I planted a whole row in my garden and we are enjoying it almost daily in our salads too.
1 lime, halved- I’m using lemons from our lemon tree
Fresh cilantro leaves
1. Quarter pineapple slices. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add pineapple; cook about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet; set aside.
2. Pour the remaining 1 teaspoon oil into the hot skillet. Add carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add garlic and ginger; cook for 30 seconds.
3. Stir in brown rice, garbanzo beans, and peas. Add soy sauce. Cook and stir about 4 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the 1/3 cup cilantro. Return pineapple to skillet; heat through.
4. To serve, squeeze lime over pineapple mixture. If desired, top with additional cilantro leaves.
This could be a main dish with a salad but I’m serving it with fish and using yet another pantry item that I need to ‘move’. This time it’s a seasoning packet for fish that I think will be really good with the Asian Rice dish. Here is the packet of the seasoning I will be using:
- Fresh ginger is a freezer gem. Place unpeeled ginger in a freezer bag. When a recipe calls for fresh ginger, peel and grate in its frozen state, no thawing required.
- Leftover or quick-cooking microwaveable rice also works great.
Here are the 6 packets of Sloppy Joe mixes I have in the cupboard and it’s time to get serious about pushing through these… I mean really, how long should they be kept in the pantry? I used one packet yesterday with this recipe that I found on the McCormick website.
Texas- Style Sloppy Joes
1 pound ground beef- I used a jar of ground beef that I had canned last year- very handy to have canned meat on the shelf
1 package McCormick® Sloppy Joes Seasoning Mix
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed- I didn’t have pinto beans so I used Cannellini Beans
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can (4 1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles
8 hamburger rolls or flour tortillas- I used the flour tortillas because they were in the pantry.
Shredded cheese (optional)-Not optional for me
1. Brown ground beef in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
2. Stir in Seasoning Mix, pinto beans, tomato sauce, ketchup and chiles. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
3. Serve in rolls. Or, place 3 tablespoons meat mixture along center of each warmed flour tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, if desired. Fold over edges of tortillas to serve. I filled the flour tortillas with the cheese added and then fried them.
These burritos were good. Not gourmet but a good use of the ingredients on hand in the pantry.
No doubt about it, the Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet is the most commonly served dish in Spain. It is also called Tortilla de Patata or Potato Omelet. Bars and cafés serve it as a tapa or appetizer, but it is often served as a light dinner in Spanish homes. Because it is easy to transport, the Spanish make bocadillos or sandwiches by placing a piece between two pieces of a baguette.
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
1 whole yellow onion
5-6 large eggs- best if they are from your own sweet red hen
2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
Salt to taste
This tortilla espanola or tortilla de patata makes 8-10 servings as an appetizer, or 6 servings as a main course.
Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8″ thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook.
Peel and chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.
In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes (that means LOTS). You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn. It’s like boiling potatoes but using all good quality olive oil instead. You do ot want your potatoes to have color, just cooked.
Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.
Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a small, non-stick frying pan (aprox. 9-10”) and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn – or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.
When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.
Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve sliced French bread on the side.
If you are serving as an appetizer, slice a baguette into pieces about 1/2 inch think. Cut the tortilla into 1.5” squares and place a piece on top of each slice of bread.
It is simply delicious served with sofrito, fried tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers and olive oil sautéed in a frying pan.
It is not necessary to slice the potatoes paper thin, and it is best not to use a food processor because most will slice the potatoes too thin, and they stick together.
How do you know when oil is hot enough to fry the potatoes and onions? Drop a single piece of potato or a bit of bread into the oil. It should sizzle.
Remember to watch the heat while frying. If the oil is too hot, the potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside, but will be raw on the inside.
After frying potatoes, place the potato and onion mixture in a colander for a few minutes to allow more oil to drain. If you do this, place a plate underneath to catch the olive oil and you can use it again.
The following are a few of the most popular variations to the classic Tortilla Espanola.
Green Pepper – Add 1 green or red bell pepper (chopped) to the potatoes and onions and fry.
Chorizo – Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage and add to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Or, simply slice Spanish chorizo and combine with beaten eggs in the frying pan.
Ham – Using a couple thick slices (1/4″) ham, finely chop them. Then add the pieces to the potato and onion mixture after frying. Canadian bacon or smoked ham that you buy in a deli work well for this variation. Be careful to adjust the salt accordingly, since ham may be salty!
That would be salad dressing. They are so easy to whip with items you already have in the pantry. Think of the cash you can save by making your own, not to mention all those bottles that clog up the fridge. I put everything in a jar and just shake it up. When I don’t want to make one, I use the Spanish default: generous olive oil, vinegar and salt. I also make the salad and dress it before serving. Any of these on greens are fab or try it with potato salad or macaroni salad. One of our daughters uses Ranch dressing in her yummy potato salad.
If you are missing a spice… just leave it out. They can be very forgiving.
Bleu Cheese Dressing
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons onions, finely minced
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Creamy Buttermilk Dressing
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup soybean oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Curry Yogurt Dressing
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 whole allspice berry
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
I’ve needed to use some canned garbanzo beans that I had in the pantry, and happened to have lemons from the tree. I also bought a lot of garlic on sale at the local food warehouse, so this was perfect for a light supper with some homemade pita. John helped with the pita bread because of my broken finger. We still have some corn dogs that I made last week so that will be added to our supper.
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.
Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).
Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.
In my desire to use what I have and not spend any extra money, I found this recipe for 1/2 of the red cabbage that I bought on sale a week ago. I usually make a recipe with apple but since I really don’t want to spend anymore cash I hunted up a recipe using the ingredients that I have.
My menu using this recipe is:
1st plate- Cream of Zuchinni soup with pita bread (I made yesterday)
2nd plate- Meat & spicy gravy over couscous, Sauteed red cabbage (recipe below) and a green salad (I have to use that last bit of Romaine lettuce in the fridge because my garden greens are getting ready to pick.
If you have a good recipe for the other ½of the cabbage, let me know! In the meantime I will be searching the web.
Sautéed Red Cabbage
4 side dish servings
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, sliced
• 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
• 1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar, eyeball it
• 2 rounded tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon mustard seed
• Salt and pepper
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sautéing it until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and turn the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
I made this really easy loaf of white bread yesterday and had it mixed up and rising before heading off to the post office. It saves me money to use what what I have in the pantry instead of buying at the market.
17½ oz (500 grams) of flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup of warm water
Pour the warm water into a bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Put the flour, salt and oil into another mixing bowl.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the frothy water & yeast mixture to make a kneadable dough.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead approx. 10 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bread pan (or make a bagguette like I did) and set in a warm place until doubled in size
Bake in the oven at 375° F (190 C) for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown in color.
This is a simple and classic meal. Very cheap too but full of nutrition. I like to add a handful of frozen cooked peas for a bit of color. I got this recipe from a British cookbook I bought and use often. See below.
Friday pasta days/nights are my effort to use all the dried pasta that I have in the pantry.
2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp butter
6 oz bacon, chopped
6 tbsp dry white wine
12 oz. spaghetti
3 egg yolks
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Heat the oil and fry the onion & garlic until soft but not brown. Add the butter and bacon and fry until crisp. Add the wine, bring to a boil and simmer until the wine has evaporated.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in hot water. Beat the egg yolks with the cheese and parsley and season to taste. Toss the spaghetti with the egg mixture, then mix in the bacon mixture. The heat from the spaghetti will be sufficient to cook the eggs. Serve immediately.
Friday is Pasta Day! Again, my goal is to ‘work through’ and use up all the pasta I have. I usually buy in bulk or when on sale, but the time has come when I need to use what I have, and save the money. I have wanted a special trip for just John and me to celebrate a recent accomplishment, but the funds are just not there…. so, I double down on my efforts to save every penny. The grocery budget is where I can do this most easily. Some months are more bountiful for us than others. The month of May will be lean, but it can be a learning time as well.
So… after taking stock of what I have, I’ve chosen this recipe to use up some ‘elbow’ macaroni I have.
Hamburger Cheese Hot Dish
3/4 pound ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups dried medium noodles ( 8 ounces) I am using elbow macaroni
1 cup cream-style cottage cheese -Using the lite variety
½ of an 8-ounce package of cream cheese- I use the lite variety
1/3 cup of sliced green onions- I have these growing in a pot which will save me a little cash
¼ cup dairy sour cream- In Spain I use quark- non-fat.
¼ cup chopped green sweet pepper- I grew these last summer and froze them diced, which will save me money
¼ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, sugar & salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile cook noodles/pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine, cottage cheese, cream cheese, green onion, sour cream and sweet pepper; set aside.
- Spread half the noodles in and ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture. Top with the cottage cheese mixture. Top with remaining noodles and meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake covered, in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes. Uncover. Bake about 15 minutes more or until heated through
Serves 6 @ 351 calories per serving.
I found this recipe in: Biggest Book of Casseroles which I recommend. I have used many of the 380 recipes included.