A quick way to have tender, barbecue pulled beef is to start by having a roast a day or two before.
On Sunday, I cooked a nearly 4-pound roast. Once it was done, and before my family could dive into it, I cut it in half. The first half was carved into slices for dinner. The second half went in the fridge for another day. I used some storebought BBQ sauce this time, but if you'd like to get a recipe for a simple from-scratch sauce, see Mom's Barbecue Sauce.Today's version was served over fresh rosemary bread made with a little bit of orange marmalade mixed in. That was a delicious combination- the bread, rosemary, orange, and barbecue!
Weeknight BBQ Beef1 1/2- 2 lbs. cooked roast (you can use burger if you don't mind a different texture)1 cup water1 cup bottled barbecue sauce*Combine in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid; simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Shred meat using two forks. The meat will absorb more of the liquid as it cools some; if it's too thick, add more water; if too thin, simmer a few minutes with the lid off to let water evaporate.That's it!*For a less sweet sauce, use 1/2 c. plain tomato sauce and 1/2 c. bottled BBQ sauce
You know how they say "great minds think alike"? Three neighbors gave me cheeseballs as a Christmas gift. One of them (Juliette's) was so good I made a batch of Juliette's Green Chili Cheese Ball
to give out (and eat too). The result was that I had a tad
too much cheeseball in the fridge. Granted, it will last a couple weeks if wrapped well-
but I also had some leftover smashed potatoes.
And the two leftovers turned out to make a beautiful couple. What's a cheeseball? Cream cheese, shredded cheese, seasonings... all stuff that goes well with potatoes.
Maybe you'll find a cheeseball on clearance at the grocery store, or maybe get handed the leftovers at a party, or maybe you'll make one...
At any rate, here's a new favorite side dish. I cooked some leftover-from New-Year's-Eve sliced summer sausage to go along with it, and served with a salad and sliced apples. I'd even eat it as a main dish; we often cook meatless meals. (It's cheaper. And probably healthier.)Leftover Cheese Ball Potatoes
4-6 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup (4 oz) leftover cheese ball
2 eggs (these make the casserole puff as it cooks, plus adds protein)
Mash everything together and spread in an 8x8 pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
OR, to make it faster, reheat the mashed potatoes in the microwave before adding everything, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then move it to the top rack in the oven. Broil for 2-4 minutes (check at two minutes!!), until browned on top.
About six years ago I discovered my boys had a vocabulary problem. They were using one word to describe everything that tasted good: 'heavenly'.
This bothered me for two reasons- one, I'm sure heaven is much better than the best food, and two, they weren't expanding their vocabulary. This was a perfect time. So we pulled out a thesaurus and looked up 'delicious' to come up with a new word to use. 'Toothsome' had them rolling on the floor laughing, so that became the new favorite.
I've discouraged them using 'heavenly' very often- but I'll tell you, that was the first word that popped into my head (I didn't say it!) when the first spoonful of moist, custardy, caramel-y, pumpkin dessert hit my tastebuds.
My apologies to Heaven. This is a modified version of Caramel Bread Pudding. (
The link has other ways of using up stale bread, too.) The spices in this play a supporting role to the pumpkin flavor: just enough there to help you notice the pumpkin, not the spice. If you want to taste the cinnamon, double or triple the amount here.Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding-
fills a 9x13 pan
15 slices good-quality white bread, cut into 1” pieces (about 16 cups or 20-24 ounces)- baked until crisp (about 10 minutes at 450 degrees)
1 ½ sticks butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
¼ c. honey or corn syrup
5 tsp. vanilla, divided
2 1/2 c. half-and-half, or use the last ½ cup evaporated milk from your can (above); use whole milk for the remaining 2 cups here.
5 large eggs1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. cinnamon OR 2 tiny drops
cinnamon essential oil
1/4 tsp. ground cloves OR 1 tiny drop
clove essential oil
1/2 c. toasted nuts, optional
Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stir about 4 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Remove from heat and stir in cream or evaporated milk, corn syrup, and 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour one cup of this caramel into a greased 9x13 pan.
Set aside one more cup of caramel, to use as topping later.
To the remaining caramel, add the half-and-half (or mixture of evaporated milk and whole milk). Beat the eggs together, then whisk in pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves. Whisk in the half-and-half mixture. Add remaining vanilla. Fold in the bread, and let sit until soaked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Put bread mixture into the 9x13 pan, bake about 40-45 minutes, until the top is crisp and the custard is barely set. Sprinkle with toasted nuts. Serve warm, with the reserved cup of caramel drizzled on top.
If you're making homemade bread, you're bound to have a few crumbs. Most of the crumbs come from slicing the bread, but there are always a few in the bottom of the empty bread bags, too.
It's common to just shake them into the sink or the garbage, but is there anything else!
Since they're already dry, they don't spoil if kept fairly airtight. I scoop them into a plastic container with a lid and save up until there's enough to do something with them.
Add to hamburger
to extend it a bit
Use in Meatballsor Zucchini Cakescoating for Chicken Nuggets
You can even use them as a substitute for oats or flour in recipes- 1/2 c. crumbs = 1/2 c. rolled oats, 1/2 c. crumbs = 1/4 c. flour
Or use them in place of graham cracker crumbs for a pie crust. See below.Crumb Crusts
1 ½ c. graham cracker crumbs
¼ c. sugar
5-6 Tbsp. melted butter
Stir together crumbs and sugar, mix in butter. Press firmly and evenly in a 9” pie pan. Chill 1 hour OR bake at 375 degrees 6-9 minutes, til edges are brown (and it smells wonderful).
Use a blender to crush the cookies/crackers, or a cereal box liner or big zip top baggie and a rolling pinBreadcrumb crust
:use dry breadcrumbs, increase sugar to 1/3 c. You’d never know!Chocolate Crus
t: use 1 ½ c. crushed chocolate cookies (take out creme filling), don’t use the sugar in the crust recipe.Gingersnap Crus
t: use all gingersnap crumbs or part gingersnap, part graham. Leave out sugar.Nut crust
: add 1/3 c. finely chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, or other to any crumb crust.Vanilla Crust
: use crushed vanilla wafers, leave out the added sugar.
Try it! (Now, won't you feel thrifty?)
They are the bane of some people's existence, the best friend of others. Some people turn them into casseroles, but they often turn into soup at my house.
What are they?
Yup, love 'em or hate 'em, we often have 'em sitting in the fridge or pantry. That last half-cup of gravy, a lonely bowl of chili, a stack of day-old (OK, maybe several-day-old) corn tortillas...
They call out to be useful. To be loved. To be eaten. Maybe disguised first.
Dinner tonight was Tortilla Soup, sort of a Mexican twist on chicken noodle soup. So how does this tie into using leftovers? Those dry tortillas got cut into strips, then toasted in the oven while the soup cooked. The soup itself was made using water, some Mexican-type fat free salad dressing (like a watery lime-cilantro salsa, a great flavor base), a cup of leftover meatless chili (for fiber, heartiness, and deeper flavor), that aforementioned 1/2 cup of gravy (providing a little body and more chicken flavor), a package of frozen cooked turkey from just after last Christmas, and a can of corn (sweetness, saltiness from the 'juice', and a pleasant 'pop'). The tortilla strips were stirred in at the last minute because they disintegrate if you cook them much. If I had any fresh cilantro or sour cream it would have gone on top as a garnish. Cheese would be delicious there, too.
Take a look in your fridge and see- what can you do to give those leftovers another shot at life?
Leftover Tortilla Soup the way I made it. Feel free to improvise; that's what this is!
10-12 corn tortillas, cut in 1/2" wide strips
1 quart water
1 (14 oz.) can whole kernel corn, WITH the juices
10-16 oz. salsa or similar
1 cup of chili or 1 (14 oz.) can of beans
2 cups cooked diced chicken or turkey
Spread tortilla strips on a baking sheet, put them in the oven about 8" under the broiler, just long enough to toast them a bit, about 2-8 minutes, depending. (The idea is that if they're toasted, they might not disintegrate as quickly in the soup. I might be wrong. They at least have a better flavor when toasted.)
Combine the water, corn, salsa, beans/chili and chicken/turkey in a 3-quart or larger pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to combine flavors. Remove from heat and stir in tortilla strips. Taste, then add salt and pepper if needed. If it needs more flavor, a little lime juice, chopped cilantro, chicken bouillon, or chili powder would taste good.
Just about everyone seems to know about potato bread, or potato rolls, and how moist and tender they are. There was even a while when mashed potatoes were added to raised doughnut dough (which is essentially the same as roll dough anyway); the finished product ones were called "Spudnuts". Potatoes aren't your only option here, but here's how to use them:
Adding about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes for every 3 cups of flour in the recipe seems to be about as high as you'd want to go. Potatoes don't have gluten, so adding too much would result in a dense, heavy bread. I like to reduce the water in the recipe by about 1/4 cup for each 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes, since they have a lot of water in them. You can use the basic bread recipe
for this, or any other one you like. If you don't have mashed potatoes, add potato flakes in place of some of the flour. Even using the water you cooked potatoes in,
as the liquid in your bread, will help with moistness.
You can make a 'fully loaded' potato bread by adding some sour cream (reduce your water again!), bacon pieces, cheese, chives, or whatever else. See TheFreshLoaf
for one version of this. Just remember- adding high-water ingredients- like the mashed potatoes, or sour cream- will require you to either reduce your water, OR add more flour. Adding mix-ins, like the bacon, cheese, chives, etc, doesn't affect the dough. However, it's easier to knead the bread without them, so add them last.
Now- for more options-
Use other purees! Use up to the same ratio as above, for the same reason. This will work best if the purees are warm, to help the dough's yeast grow. 110-120 degrees F is ideal.
- plain (which you won't taste), or with some cinnamon and pecans added!
-Mashed sweet potato
- good for using up overripe things, or old bottled fruit that's turning darker (as long as the jar's still sealed). You might want to reduce the sugar in the recipe; too much actually slows down (but doesn't kill) the yeast.
- I've used green beans (up to 1-2 cups puree in the 6-loaf batch), pureed corn, chiles, olives, carrots, etc. Unless you want that particulat flavor, though, its best to avoid the cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower family. Just remember to reduce salt if you're using salted veggies, reduce by 1/4 tsp. for each cup of puree.
-Mashed cooked beans
or other legumes.
-Cooked hot cereal
- this includes leftover breakfast oatmeal, cooked 7-grain cereal, Cream of Wheat, cooked millet or amaranth, or whatever you happen to have. I've even added an abandoned, soggy bowl of cold cereal before.This is a good way to use up little bits of (clean) leftovers- imagine the flavors of bread you can create! Just keep in mind that if you add something that has meat in it, you'll need to refrigerate the finished bread.
What things have you added to bread?
Have you ever made tartar sauce? It's simple, delicious, and has only the ingredients YOU put in it! (No questionable preservatives, etc.)
Homemade Tartar Sauce
½ c. mayonnaise
1 T. chopped pickles (or use pickle relish)
1 T. minced onion
1 T. lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
This is best if chilled at least 30 minutes, but still good if eaten right away. Makes about 2/3 cup.
Now, how often do you really use all of that tartar sauce? You can stir it with a couple boiled and cubed potatoes, to make it into potato salad, or try this.....
Second-Day Tartar Sauce- Ranch Dip!
To a half batch of tartar sauce (about 1/3 cup), add
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. onion powder (recipe here)
1 ½ tsp. minced chives
a dash of garlic powder, opt.
There were NO leftovers this time. :D
photo courtesy of photos8.com
Does it always seem like too much of your budget goes to food? Do you wonder what amount of money is 'normal'? If so, go to the Official USDA Food Plans pdf.
This page will give you the 2010 averages, based on nutritionally balanced diets cooked at home. Now that you see how frugal you really are, here are some tips to help even more; pick just one or two to try so it's not overwhelming. Then all that's left is deciding how that new-found money is going to better use! Ways to eat well on less money
*Buy on sale and get extras so you never pay full price.
*Buy the fresh fruits/veggies that are $1/lb or less.
*Find ways to throw away less- only serve up what you will eat, save wilted veggies in the freezer for soup later, re-purpose leftovers.
*Use meat mostly as a flavoring (mixed in with other ingredients), not as its own dish.
*Buy meats that you can get for $2/lb or less, or whatever is bargain-price for your area.
*When you buy meat, get a bunch on sale, then cook it all at once. Package and freeze most of it for future, faster, meals.
*Buy flour, sugar in bulk, make more things from scratch.
*Keep your kitchen clean so you like being there! (You don't need to do it all yourself! Doing dishes 'all the time' causes depression for me- once I added that to my kids' job charts, I felt much better!)
*Grow a garden where you used to have some lawn- you get the same water bill, more food. Packets of seeds can last 4-5 years if kept cool and dark. Or split packets with a friend.
*Make your own bread instead of buying it.
How much can you save on bread? Cost varies by recipe, but mine comes out to less than $ .50 per loaf ($. 42), including the electricity for baking, for top-quality whole-wheat bread. (Well, frankly, the quality varies by week....) If you eat two loaves a week, that saves you $200/year when compared to $2.50/loaf of bread. We go through 6 loaves a week, so we’re saving over $600 per year. Yes, a stand mixer and grain mill definitely pay for themselves! For the recipe I use, see Basic Bread
on my website.
Yesterday the Teachers' Quorum (14-15 yr. old boys) came to my house for their weekly activity. They've been learning about nutrition and safe food handling, so they all pitched in and cooked a meal. Their handout included budget-friendly, adaptable, and fairly fast recipes; the kind that would be especially valuable when in college or on missions. For these recipes, click on Quick & Cheap Meals
. The boys did great with them, I think you'll like them, too.
Happy cooking and budgeting!
(originally from 6/24/10)First I need to make a clarification from last week- for those of you wondering what “wheat berries” are, that’s just the chef’s term for what we simply call WHEAT. Uncooked, whole, wheat; what we buy in those 25- or 50-pound bags. Here’s a great link, and while I disagree slightly with what the author calls “healthy”, there are some good recipes in it. Here it is:Free e-book of healthy snacks http://www.favediets.com/Snacks/The-Ultimate-List-of-Healthy-Snacks-40-Healthy-Snack-Recipes-Free-eCookbook#This is one of the recipes in it- something sweet, cold, and delicious for these hot days we’re now getting into…. Banana PopsSlice bananas into disks.Roll banana discs into PLAIN yogurt (you can use vanilla yogurt or other flavored yogurt; it's just sweeter)Add any kind of topping you wish. We rolled our disks in chopped pecans. I know that's expensive, but we love pecans so much. After freezing these we ate them and you wouldn't believe the taste! It was like eating a frozen candy bar. Okay, maybe not that good, but they were sweet and refreshing, and I didn't have to put a limit on how many the kids could eat.Other toppings that work well: chopped raisins, granola, any kind of nut (cashew, peanuts, almonds), peanut butter (this would be without the yogurt), and of course, melted chocolate or chocolate chips.My son is not a fan of bananas, but he really liked this treat. You can even eat them plain. Oh, yeah, another topping we did was a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Believe it or not, it was good too!I will warn you that it's messy because of the yogurt. And super messy if the kids help! But you don't have the guilt of giving them something unhealthy, and it's a cheap "popsicle."
Hi everyone,Are you ready to vote? I felt I should share some statements our church leaders have made. Below, you will find some great web resources to help you be informed on the candidates, ballot items, and judges in our area. I’m sure there are more out there; these are the ones I’m aware of.Joseph Smith said: "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction." In other places, Joseph referred to this time being when the Constitution would hang by a thread. What is this last thread that is holding up the Constitution? President Ezra Taft Benson told us that this “our franchise (a right granted) to vote." John Taylor said that the Elders of Israel (remember that women couldn’t vote, yet) should “understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious” (Journal of Discourses, 9:340)“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic- communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during ‘the war in heaven.’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Secret Combinations, Conference Report, October 1961.)Also see Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution- A Heavenly Banner, and D&C 98:6-10 This year there are four proposed amendments to the Utah Constitution, a number of races including the State Board of Education, a proposition for a bond, and 37 judges to vote on. If you go to https://vote.utah.gov/ you will find a box at the bottom of the page that says "What's On My Ballot?". Click on this and it will ask you some basic questions that verify if you are a registered voter. After this, it takes you to a screen that shows exactly what will be on your ballot when you go to vote. There are lots of links there to learn more about everything on your ballot.Vote.Utah.gov - you can click on race by judicial district. You can find your district at https://secure.slco.org/clerk/elections/index.cfm Full Listing of Utah Candidates Project Vote Smart 2010 Ballot Measures, or Constitutional Amendments 2010 Voter Information PamphletAs for voting on the judges, they each have a 'scorecard', found online on the Utah Voter Information Pamphlet, staring on page 37. The scores are determined by the Utah Judicial Council, see http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/members.cgi?comm=1 for who this includes. Please read what their definitions are, because that affects the judges' scores (for instance, their definition of 'integrity' doesn't completely match mine). Good luck, do your homework, and go vote! + + + + + + + + +
Here are some simple things to do with Halloween candy, from Living On A Dime.com:"After the kids are done Halloweening, I grab 24 candies for each child to save for a countdown to Christmas instead of buying the calendars in the stores. I usually keep them in a bag but you can get the kids to decorate shoe boxes or stick the candy to a calendar with tape." Candy Bar Milk Shakes
1 cup mini candy bars, chopped2 cups (1 pint) ice cream (chocolate or vanilla)1/2 cup chocolate syrup1 1/4 cups milkChop candies in a blender or food processor. This is easier if they are partially frozen. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until blended. This makes a thick shake. Add 1/4 cup milk for a thinner shake. Makes 2 milkshakes, about 16 oz. each, or 5 shakes if you make them 6 oz. each!