Some Easy and Inexpensive Recipes….

I’ve been talking to a bunch of friends lately about recipes and food in general.  We all are affected by the economy, and those of us with families to feed are noticing that food bills are going UP not down.  I don’t know how stores can in all honesty charge MORE for food right now, because people have less to spend on these necessities.

Whatever….I think we can make out better with a bit of time and effort.  Perhaps these times will make us better cooks, too.

I have been thinking of our own diet.  I have cooking responsibilities for a husband and son.  The son will be going very soon off to the Navy…so it will be just my dear husband and I.  But I think we need to lessen the impact of meat on our bodies and health and I don’t feel so guilty doing that with the kid not around.

I have been making beef and chicken broths a lot lately.  It’s easy and formed the basis for a lot of good meals….and combined with a crockpot…what’s not to love?

I admit we have a rather wanky diet.  I cook Japanese a lot…or did until recently.  We do still make miso-based soups and we make sushi about once a week. But a steady diet of tofu is not to ‘the boys’ taste…though they will eat their way through rolls of sushi with no complaint.  It’ s just that the nova has become very expensive, and it’s the basis of our sushi.

So…back to the broths.  A good beef broth can’t be beat.  I use it for the basis of French Onion Soup and the guys like it a lot.

FRENCH ONION SOUP

5 large onions, sliced thinly,

2 teaspoons of olive oil

saute the onions until transparent.

Add thinly sliced carrots, celery, with s/p and 1/2 cup (or more) of sherry..not cooking sherry….DRINKING sherry.

a good two quarts of beef stock and simmer on very low for about an hour.  The usual toast rounds with Gruyere cheese or something compatible.  Under the broiler for a few minutes.

BEAN SOUP

I buy bags of red kidney beans/Navy or white beans/lentils/split pea/garbanzo beans/ and mix them together in a container.  It gives more for later and is actually cheaper.

I saute some sausage (link or kielbasa) and onions together until sausage browned, and then add  about 1 or two cups of bean mixture.  In goes about 3 quarts of pre-made beef broth.

In a crockpot this can be a leisurely simmer for hours.  In a Brown Betty on the stove top…about one and 1/2 hours.

Generally, it’s a good cook who keeps onions/garlic/potatoes/pumpkins, root crops in some quantity.  In a root cellar.  If we don’t formally have those, use a bin somewhere….a plastic one is fine with a cover…in the basement or cellar…where it’s cold or cool.

Oh..one of my favorite dishes from a friend in Australia…Nick:

ROAST PUMPKINS….GOOD FOR USING THOSE JACK ‘O LANTRENS

Cut up in chunks….(de string the inners)

Bake in a 350 oven with cinnamon/brown sugar/butter/s/p.

Until tender.  A great and different starch for a meal.

Cut up/raw pumpkin is frozen easily….just pack in ziploc bags.

Lady Nyo who is heading towards the kitchen for some roast pumpkin…taste tester here.

And from Berowne:

Here’s a favorite of our own creation:
RATATOUILLE

1 large onion, chopped coarsely
1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, cut into squares
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 cup fresh mushrooms, whole or sliced
1 15-oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano

In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid, saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until soft; stir in eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute a few minutes more. Add tomato and seasonings. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are well cooked.

Uncover and allow liquid to evaporate, to taste; turn up heat if necessary.
Serves 4-6.
Variations include addition of a large potato cut in chunks, and carrot rounds.

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10 Responses to “Some Easy and Inexpensive Recipes….”

  1. Berowne Says:

    I like the idea of using meat as an accent, as opposed to laying a giant slab of it on the plate. When I was in law school we practically lived out of the “Berkeley Co-op Low-Cost Cookbook” which had a number of dollar-stretchers. Invariably when we think back to those days one of us will say “at least we don’t have to count meatballs any more”; back then we made a number divisible by four: two meals each for the two of us.

    Here’s a favorite of our own creation:
    RATATOUILLE

    1 large onion, chopped coarsely
    1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
    1 bell pepper, cut into squares
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
    1 cup fresh mushrooms, whole or sliced
    1 15-oz. can stewed tomatoes
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon basil
    1/2 teaspoon oregano

    In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid, saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until soft; stir in eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute a few minutes more. Add tomato and seasonings. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are well cooked.

    Uncover and allow liquid to evaporate, to taste; turn up heat if necessary.
    Serves 4-6.
    Variations include addition of a large potato cut in chunks, and carrot rounds.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Berowne,

    “Count meatballs anymore”…..LOL!!

    Well, I remember my own student days of thrift.

    This recipe sounds lovely…..I will make it this week because I am running out of different recipes to use.

    Tomorrow it’s a roast chicken with my chutney….baked pumpkin and a salad.

    Eggplant is such a versicle veggie. We brush it with olive oil and grill it down here…

    I make an Eggplant Parmesan without breading the eggplant.

    Thanks for this good recipe above.

    Oh! I have lost the Salmon recipe I gave you….can you give it back? It was good and I trolled the internet looking for exactly the same one, and I can’t find it.

    I think generally I know…but I can’t remember if there were eggs in it…

    I think not.

    Have you ever roasted pumpkin? Good stuff…I am thinking of pumpkin soup….perhaps in that gallon of beef stock I made last night, but perhaps in a cream base??

    Ah…I can feel the seams screaming right now….

    Like

  3. Berowne Says:

    > I have lost the Salmon recipe I gave you….can you give it back?

    Done (I changed it slightly to indicate the amount of salmon, since “1 can” was unclear).

    And you might like this; I simplified from an old Gourmet magazine:

    PUMPKIN RISOTTO

    Takes about 1 hour

    1 1/4 cups diced (1/4 inch cubes) peeled seeded fresh pumpkin
    2 cups chicken stock
    2 cups water
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    3/4 cup Arborio rice
    1 oz (1/3 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    Cook diced pumpkin in a medium saucepan two-thirds full of simmering water until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander.

    Bring stock and 2 cups water to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a bare simmer.

    Cook onion in oil in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

    Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

    Add 1 cup simmering stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed.

    Continue simmering, adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)

    Remove from heat and stir in diced pumpkin, cheese, and butter; stir until butter melted. Season with salt and pepper, cover to keep warm.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you!

    And I like this Risotto VERY much…will use up some pumpkin on this one!!

    Lady Nyo…and thanks for the return of the Salmon recipe….I, for some reason, had lost it!

    Like

  5. Rose Says:

    “We all are effected by the economy…”

    Arrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh. That’s “affected” not “effected.”

    Sorry, I just couldn’t ignore it. 😀

    Rose

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Rose…what would I do without you?????

    mind going a million different directions…..

    Like

  7. shia1 Says:

    Good recipes! I am going to try them. I have to cut back too. Don’t we all? I think soups and chili’s are good for the winter. So are casserole dishes. Nice to keep the oven on and get the house warm.

    I bet your pumpkin and spices makes your house smell good.

    I am looking for some good recipes for apples. Got a few and want to do something with them

    shia

    Like

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Yep! Pumpkin and cinnamon can’t be beat…unless it’s apples.

    Baked apples are great….but so is pie, applesauce, etc.

    Like

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    Like

  10. ladynyo Says:

    I’m so sorry that you post went to spam! Don’t know why that happens….

    I will bookmark your recipe site and thank you for stopping by.

    Come back and share recipes!

    Lady Nyo

    Like

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