Wednesday, December 31, 2008

market basket gift card giveaway!

To celebrate the launching of this new site to hold all our recipes, we are offering a $20 gift card to our favorite grocery store, Market Basket. Or, as we fondly call it:Dirty DeMoulas. We joke because we care.

This photo, which came from a complaint site in Somerville, Massachusetts, slays me. The only thing missing are a couple of random geezers standing in the middle of the aisle contemplating the purchase of Lemon Junket while their long suffering wives do the actual shopping.

One winner will be chosen at random from all who comment on either this site or our regular blog, frugal feasts. The winner will be announced on January 20th, because I am hopeful that by that date Robin and I will have all the old recipes up and cataloged.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

december 30, 2008: frugal feasts the meatloaf recipes

photo by Ken Williams of the Concord Monitor

Suzanne's Meatloaf:

Beef! Bacon! Worcestershire! What's not to like?

2 pounds ground pork
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
Fresh breadcrumbs from 4 slices bread
2 eggs
1/2 cup light cream or milk
4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste -- approximately 8 grindings
2/3 cup ketchup
4-6 slices bacon

Put the ground meats into a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, milk, worcestershire sauce, onion, parsley, sat and pepper. Blend well and add to the meats. Using your bare hands, gently mix everything together making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Mixtures should be loose and lumpy.

Dump onto a foil lined cookie sheet and shape into a wide, low loaf shape. Frost with the ketchup and drape with the bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8 with some leftovers for sandwiches.

Robin's Meatloaf:

A delicious concoction of onion soup, barbeque sauce and parmesan!

This serves 10 with no leftovers at $1.30 per serving
Preheat oven 375
1lb lean ground pork
1lb sweet Italian sausage
2.5 lbs 80% ground beef
1 8oz. container grated parmesan cheese
10 slices bread, torn into dime sized pieces
1.5 cups evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)
4 cloves garlic crushed
1packge dried onion soup mix
¼-cup barbecue sauce
¼-cup Worcestershire sauce
2tbls parsley fresh 1tbls dry
Barbecue sauce for top

Place bread in large bowl and cover with the evaporated milk. Add parmesan cheese, garlic, Worcestershire, dried parsley, 1/4 cup barbeque sauce, onion soup mix and blend well. Add the meats and mix until combined. Drop into a 13x9 inch baking pan and mold into a loaf. Cover with additional barbeque sauce. Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees until cooked through. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

december 30: frugal feasts ultimate meatloaf sandwich

For each sandwich:

left over meat loaf
kosher salt
2 slices soft sandwich bread

Slice the meatloaf as thinly as possible. Butter one side of each of two slices soft sandwich bread. Pepperidge Farm White is the best here, but whole wheat is delish too.

Layer the meatloaf onto one slice of bread and add some mayo, a pinch of kosher salt and a couple of grinds of fresh pepper. Close the sandwich and cut in half.

Squirt some ketchup onto the plate for dipping.

Please note that in order to have any meatloaf left to make this sandwich, I had to slap some hands on Monday night. I should have specified in the column that my meatloaf serves seven with some left over for sandwiches ONLY if you are ready to go to battle to keep the teenagers away from the platter. Good luck.

december 30, 2008: frugal feasts party potatoes

There is no way to overstate how delicious these are.

They are also nuclear and stay hot for a really long time--it must be the cream cheese, but whatever it is, with this recipe you never have to serve cold mashed pots again.

Don't believe how good they are? For Christmas I had each of my five darlings write a letter and draw a picture for my Mother in Law. Three of the five mentioned her potatoes in their love letters. Seriously.

This is her recipe and it would not be a holiday at the Ellinwoods without them.

Party Potatoes

To serve at least 10:

1 five pound bag of yukon gold potatoes (my favorite but really any potatoes will do)
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
fresh ground pepper
approximately 1/2 cup light cream or whole milk

Peel the potatoes and cut them into even sized pieces of about an inch. Cover with cold water, add a half teaspoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Boil in salted water until fork tender.

Drain well.

While the potatoes are cooking, nuke the butter and the cream cheese for about 90 seconds to heat and partially melt. Set aside.

Beat the drained potatoes using a stand or hand mixer until completely lump free and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is totally mixed.

Add the butter/cream cheese mixture and continue to beat. Add salt and pepper and mix again. Taste the potaotes. Add more salt if needed. (Doubtful). Add cream if needed to have the texture be smooth and light.

These potatoes can be served now, or stored in an oven safe cassarole dish and reheated for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover with foil to reheat. I've made these as much as 5 days ahead and they reheat perfectly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

december 17, 2008: the frugal fete

Photo by Ken Williams of The Concord Monitor

Curried Eggs:
These are so retro, so easy and so delicious, so make a bunch. A frugal classic, and the whole batch costs just $2.25.

1 dozen jumbo eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons hot madras curry powder or (other curry powder, to taste)
1 scallion trimmed and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Additional minced scallion or ground paprika, as garnish (optional)

Place the eggs in a single layer in a large stock pot. Cover by 2 inches with cool water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. When water starts to boil, set the timer for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 15 minutes. Drain the pan and cool the eggs. When the eggs are cool, peel them and slice in half lengthwise. Pop out the yolks into a small bowl and set the whites aside on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap if not using immediately. Mash the egg yolks with a fork until no large hunks remain. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to mash out the lumps until you have a fairly smooth paste the consistency of frosting. If the mixture is too thick, add additional mayo by the tablespoon until it reaches the desired consistency. Spoon the mixture into a zip lock bag. Seal the bag. When ready to serve, snip the corner of the bag and squeeze the filling into the egg whites. Garnish with the scallion and or paprika if using. If you don’t have a special plate for filled eggs, use a bed of parsley to keep the eggs from rolling around.

Spicy Sausage Bites
Our version of a Southern Living Magazine staple with a total cost of $10.84 for about 16 servings.
1 28 ounce jar barbeque sauce (we like the hot ones)
1 18 ounce jar cherry or other preserves (the chunky kind, store brand is fine)
3 canned chipotle peppers, minced fine
1 Tablespoon sauce from the same can, or more or less to taste
½ cup water stirred together with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 pounds cocktail sized smoked sausages
2 scallions, sliced thinly as garnish (optional)

Whisk together the first five ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sausages and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Put in a chafing dish over a small candle and serve with toothpicks.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

A secret recipe that tastes like way more work than it is.
8 ½ cup servings @ $4.00 for the batch
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread available in all Concord grocery stores, usually next to the peanut butter)
Chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings or chopped hazelnuts as garnish (optional)

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the Nutella with a spatula and slowly combine the two, stirring softly until completely combined. This will take several minutes but is well worth the effort. Spoon into decorative glasses or teacups, garnish if you like and chill until serving.

Dry, delicious and refreshing. The fruit juice both extends and dilutes the wine, making it perfect for an afternoon event. We made three batches and there was not a drop left!
For one batch @ $5.00
1 bottle dry red wine (we like the Five Oaks brand Cabernet)
1 cup of orange juice (we like the extra pulpy kind)
Juice from one fresh lemon
2 limes thinly sliced
2 navel oranges thinly sliced
1 cup club soda
The night before the party, combine the first five ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate until serving time. Pour into a pretty pitcher and add the club soda. Serve in wine glasses, making sure each portion gets some of the marinated fruit.

Slushy Punch
One batch makes about 20 servings, at about $5.00 (without alcohol)
From Quirky and delicious, with rum or without!

2 ½ cups sugar
6 cups water
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry Jell-O
1 46 ounce can pineapple juice
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice from 3 lemons
1 quart orange juice
2 2-liter bottles lemon-lime soda
4 cups white rum (optional)
On the night before you plan to serve the punch, combine the sugar, water and Jell-O in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the next three ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into two lidded plastic containers and freeze for at least 12 hours. When ready to serve, put one container of frozen punch in a bowl. Pour one bottle of soda over and 2 cups rum if using. Stir together until punch is slushy. Serve in small glasses. When the bowl is empty, repeat.
If you forget ordon’t have time to freeze the punch, it is still delicious served over ice

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

december 3, 2008: frugal feasts tortellini soup and hot rolls

Tortellini Soup
Serves 6
1 26 ounce jar of tomato sauce with mushrooms or garden vegetables
1 48 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried oregano
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
½ pound fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small fennel bulb, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 16 ounce bag frozen tortellini,
1 tablespoon minced fennel fronds
Fresh grated parmesan, optional

In a large Crock-pot combine the tomato sauce, chicken broth, carrots and green beans. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. ½ hour before serving, add the tortellini and chickpeas. Stir well and re-cover the crock-pot. Cook for an additional 30 minutes, until tortellini are floating and cooked. Garnish with the fennel and the parmesan if using.

Hot Rolls
Serves 6-8
(2) 1 pound loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil mixed with 2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pinch each loaf into 10 pieces. Roll into balls and place in a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan. Brush tops with the oil and garlic mixture. Sprinkle with the parmesan and red pepper flakes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

november 19, 2008: frugal feasts make ahead side dishes for thanksgiving

Photo by Ken Williams of the Concord Monitor

Mashed Potatoes:
These potatoes are an Ellinwood family staple. For some reason (most likely the cream cheese) they stay hot for at least an hour, and they are so creamy and delicious we always make more than we think we could possibly need.
For ten servings:
5 pound bag of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
8 ounces regular cream cheese
8 ounces of butter (2 sticks)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Put the potatoes into a big pot of cold water and bring to a boil on the stove. Cook, stirring infrequently, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot.
Meanwhile, put the remaining ingredients into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 1 minute at high power to soften the butter and the cream cheese. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, mix the potatoes until they are creamy and completely lump free. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture and beat until well mixed and fluffy—5 or 6 minutes to really whip them up. Spoon into an oven safe covered dish. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Dot top with more butter to serve.

Make Ahead Gravy
Enough for 10 servings, plus some leftovers
Making gravy on Thanksgiving is a nightmare. Everything else is ready to go, people are wandering through the kitchen picking at the turkey platter and the clock ticks as you frantically try to get the gravy thickened. Forget that. Make this on Tuesday, and as the roasted turkey is resting on the counter, all you’ll need to do is nuke the gravy and put it into the boat. And it is so delicious, you’ll never want to crack open a jar again.
2 turkey wings (the markets are full of them this time of year)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 cans turkey broth (or chicken broth in a pinch)
3 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons brandy (optional but really delicious)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Smear the turkey wings with the butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a small pan along with the onions, in a 375 degree oven for an hour or until the wings are dark and cooked through. Remove the wings from the pan and place the pan on the stove top. Remove the wings from the pan and set aside for another use – like turkey salad or soup.
In a small jar with a lid (take one from your recycling) mix together the cornstarch and about a half a cup of cold turkey broth. Shake hard for about 45 seconds until the mixture is smooth and lump free.
Add the remaining broth to the pan and cook on medium heat until it simmers, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the drippings. When the mixture is starting to bubble, add the cornstarch mixture and whisk the gravy until it thickens. Taste and adjust the salt and the pepper to taste. Add the brandy and cook for 1 additional minute. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, reheat covered in the microwave for about 3 minutes on high. Stir before filling the gravy boat.

New Hampshire Style Sweet Potato Puree
A Broadbent Family Classic!
For 10 servings:
6 large sweet potatoes
8 ounce tub of whipped cream cheese, softened
½ cup real maple syrup
Roast the sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for about one hour, until potatoes are very soft.
Remove from oven and scrape from skins into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about one minute until very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process for another 30 seconds until well mixed and velvety. Keeps in the fridge for about a week, so make this one today! Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes on high power, stirring once. Dot with butter before serving. If you don’t have a food processor, use a hand mixer and mix for about 3 minutes before adding the other ingredients. Mix for another minute or so, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

Becky’s Truly Delicious Turnip Casserole

This comes from a good friend. If turnips are a tradition at your house, try this. It is sweet and a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. And since turnips are just the worst things in the world to cut and peel, this is a great one to do ahead!
10 small servings

3 pounds turnips or rutebegas, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs from 4 slices fresh bread
1 tablespoon melted butter

Put the turnips into a large pot of cold water and sprinkle in ¼ cup sugar. Boil until turnips are tender, and drain well. Mash by hand until pretty well broken up – some lumps are ok. Mix with the eggs, the remaining ¼ cup sugar, salt and pepper. Put into an oven safe dish. Keeps for about a week in the fridge.
When ready to cook, mix the breadcrumbs with the butter and sprinkle on the top of the turnips. Bake for about a half hour until hot and browned.

Jaime’s Apple Cranberry Bake

Have the kids make this. Really!
4 granny smith or other apples, cored and sliced into about 8-10 slices each. (a wheel shaped apple corer/slicer is perfect for this, but if you don’t have one, help the kids with this task.)
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 package oatmeal or sugar cookie mix
1 egg
1 stick of softened butter.
2 tablespoons decorative or sanding sugar, optional
Vanilla ice cream, optional

In a pie plate or other shallow baking dish mix the apples and the can of cranberry sauce. In a medium bowl, sitr together the cookie mix, egg and butter until it forms a sticky dough. Make sure to scrape to the bottom of the bowl to get everything combined.

Use a spoon to drop clumps of the sugar cookie mixture on top of the apples and cranberries. Use all the dough, and don’t worry if there are cracks and spaces in the topping. Sprinkle with the decorative sugar if using.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the cookie topping is crisp and cooked and the apples have bubbled up. This can sit, uncovered, on the counter for 2 days. Reheat for 15 minutes before serving if desired.

Serve with Vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

november 5, 2008: frugal feasts red state/blue state stews

beef with baby vegetables
Hearty Pork Stew
Pork Stew
Serves 6 at $1.75 per serving

1 ½ lbs pork butt, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
1/4 cup of butter, divided
8 ounces fresh button mushrooms halved or quartered
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound bag frozen crinkle cut carrots
3 tablespoons all -purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:

Hot buttered noodles

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle pork with sage and mint. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 12 inch oven proof skillet with lid or other heavy lidded pot over medium heat. Brown the pork in the butter, turning often. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Stir in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaf, salt and pepper and the browned pork. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Stir in the carrots and return to the oven for another 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.

Melt the remaining butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring constantly for one minute and remove from heat.

Transfer the pan from the oven to the stove top and bring the pork to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour mixture and stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for two minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf and serve over hot buttered noodles.

Beef Stew with Baby Vegetables
Inspired by our favorite blue state cook, Ina Garten.
6 servings at $2.00 per serving
2 strips uncooked bacon, cut into small dice
2 lb package beef chuck for stew , cut into bite sized pieces, approx ½ inch.
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper,
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1 bottle red wine, 1 can beef broth or a mixture of both
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, plus more for garnish
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen pearl onions thawed and drained
1 cup frozen baby carrots, thawed and drained
For Serving:
1 medium sized loaf of skinny French bread, cut into thin slices
1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
Cook the bacon in a heavy lidded pot over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Sprinkle the beef with the salt and the pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat in the bacon fat over medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally until at least one side of each beef piece is brown.
Add the minced garlic and stir around with the meat for one minute. Add the wine and broth if using, and the can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Keep the meat at a simmer for approximately 1 hour, until the beef is tender when pierced with a fork. Add the thawed vegetables and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are warmed through.
Rub the bread slices with garlic. Put two slices in the bottom of each of 6 soup bowls. Ladle the beef and vegetables over the bread. Garnish with some additional rosemary and serve hot.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

october 22, 2008: frugal feasts calzones!

Family Style Calzones
Each makes four generous servings
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
For each Calzone you'll need one 18.5 ounce bag of refrigerated store brand pizza dough.

To prepare dough: dust the counter with flour. Dump the pizza dough out on the flour. Using your hands and a rolling pin, slowly stretch the dough into a rectangle approximately 19 inches by 12 inches. Take your time, the dough is very springy. If you tear a hole in the dough, just wet the edges and pinch the hole closed.

Spread the filling over the dough leaving at least an inch border around all four sides. Slowly stretch the dough up and over the filling and pinch together in the center to make a central seam. Fold the ends over and pinch them too. Place on a cookie sheet. Brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with the seasonings. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and cooked through. Serve at room temperature.

Pepperoni, Tomato and Cheese Calzone
1/2 of a 4.5 ounce bag of turkey pepperoni (lower fat and still delicious)
8 ounces sharp provolone cheese, shredded
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained well
1 teaspoon rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Mix together the pepperoni, cheese, tomatoes and half the rosemary. Sprinkle the remainder of the rosemary and the red pepper flakes on the top of the calzone before baking.

White Garlic Calzone
1 cup part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, well beaten
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil

Beat together the ricotta, parmesan, garlic, egg, mozzarella , pepper, salt and half the Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the remainder of the Italian seasoning on top of the calzone before baking.
Cool to warm room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

october 8, 2008: frugal feasts crockpot chicken

Crockpot Chicken

You’ll need 2-3 breast halves for each recipe. The cooked chicken makes killer chicken salad mixed with nothing more than mayo, salt and pepper, so don’t be afraid to buy the big package of breasts when they are on sale.

Trim all the fat off boneless skinless breasts and nestle them into the bottom of the Crockpot. Splash on some cream, just enough to moisten the breasts, about ½ cup and put the cover on. Crank the dial to low and leave for 6 hours. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks.

Chicken Enchiladas
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen shoepeg corn, defrosted
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1 package small sized whole wheat tortillas
1 large can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream and chopped green onions, optional

In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, mushroom soup, milk or cream and the spices. Add the beans, corn, chicken and celery and stir to combine.
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. With one of the short sides of the dish towards you, lay a tortilla out across the pan. Spread about 2/3 cup chicken mixture onto the tortilla in a line across the middle of the tortilla, to within a half inch of each side. Flip one side of the tortilla over the filling and roll the whole thing up. Slide it towards you to the end of the dish. Repeat filling and rolling the tortillas until the pan is full. Scrunch the filled tortillas towards you to make room in the pan to work. You can also do this on the counter but it can be hard not to drop filling out whe n you transfer it to the dish.
Pour the enchilada sauce down the middle of the pan, making a fairly wide stripe of sauce on top of the enchiladas. Wrap the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil, sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with sour cream and chopped green onions, if using.

Chicken Potpie
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
1 stick of butter
½ of a small onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
4 cups of any combination of milk and light cream or half and half, microwaved for 4 minutes to warm
2 packages chicken bouillon mix
3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 package frozen small pearl onions, thawed
1 package premade, rolled pie crusts
1 egg, beaten (optional)

Make the white sauce. In a very large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked but not brown, stirring a few times. Add the flour and stir around making sure that the flour is combined with the butter. Cook for 2 minutes on low heat, stirring constantly. Add the milk/cream mixture all at once and stir vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pan. A whisk is great for this. Add both packages of chicken buillion powder and stir to incorporate thoroughly. Bring this sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken right up. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put the chicken, peas and carrots and onions into a large casserole dish. Stir to make sure that everything is evenly distributed. Pour all of the cream sauce over the dish and using a fork, stir to combine everything together. Unroll the two pie crusts. Wet one edge of one of the crusts with some water, and overlap the two crusts together. Lightly roll with a rolling pin to make the combined crusts big enough to cover your dish. Wet the top edge of the casserole dish with water. Place the crusts on top of the casserole dish and smoosh the edges of the crust into the top edge of the dish, scrunching the cru st to fit along the edges. It’s perfectly okay if the crust is wrinkly or if there are gaps – it just makes it look more homemade. Poke some holes in the crust with a fork.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg if using.
Put the potpie in the oven and immediately turn the temp down to 375 degrees. Cook for 50 minutes, until dish is bubbling and crust is golden. If the crust looks too brown and the filling isn’t yet bubbling, loosely lay a sheet of foil over the top and continue baking until bubbly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

september 24, 2008: frugal feasts lasagna

Photo by Ken Williams of the Concord Monitor

Lasagna The Frugal Feasts Way

Basic Recipe-makes 1 11 by 15 pan, at least 20 servings.
Fewer if the eaters are really depressed.
1 32 ounce jar marinara sauce - Prego is good here, but whatever is on sale works fine
1 1/2 cups water
6 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
16 ounce tub of ricotta cheese
small bottle Wishbone Italian dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste - approx ½ teaspoon each
1 large package no boil lasagna noodles

Mix together the jar of sauce and the water in a pitcher and set aside.In a medium sized bowl beat together the ricotta, parmesan, 3 cups of mozzarella, eggs, Italian dressing, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.

Optional fillings

Sausage: remove skins from one package sweet Italian sausage with fennel and place in a large skillet over medium heat. Break into small pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until sausage is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce in the pitcher.

Roasted Veggies: Roughly chop 1 pound of mixed veggies (we like zucchini and summer squash but red pepper, onion and mushroom would also be delicious) into 1 inch pieces. Place on baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 375 degrees until cooked and starting to brown (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add to ricotta mixture.

Assembling the lasagna:Pour about 1 1/2 cups of sauce into the bottom of an 11X15 inch pan. Place 4 no-boil noodles in bottom of pan. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Spread another 1 1/2 cups sauce on top of the ricotta. Top with four more noodles. Top with the rest of the ricotta. Top with another 1 1/2 cups sauce and four more noodles. Cover the top with sauce, making sure that all of the top layer of noodles is covered. Cover the whole dish with two sheets with foil and seal well. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Remove the foil and cover the top of the lasagna with the rest of the cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

september 10, 2008: frugal feasts pasta puttanesca, peter's garlic bread

Puttanesca Sauce
8 Generous servings at $.93/serving
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons capers
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Fresh ground pepper, about ½ teaspoon or to taste
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 large or 4 small cans diced tomatoes, undrained
Shredded parmesan or romano cheese and chopped parsley for serving (optional).
1 ½ boxes thin spaghetti or linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Start the sauce (directions below)
When the water boils, add the spaghetti and cook just until done. Drain and put in a large serving bowl. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
Sauce Directions:
Warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer while the spaghetti cooks. Serve on top of the pasta.

Peter’s Garlic Bread
8 generous servings at $.75 per serving
2 sticks of butter at soft room temp
1 cup shredded parmesan or parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoons “Texas Pete” hot sauce OR several dashes of Tabasco or to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 large loaf of Italian bread—just the regular, fat, unsliced loaf from the grocery store

Slice the loaf lengthwise but keep the side attached. Open flat onto a piece of foil large enough to wrap loaf in.
Mash together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Using a spatula, smear the butter mixture all over both sides of the bread. Close and wrap in the foil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove, cut into inch wide slices and serve in a napkin lined basket.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

august 27, 2008: frugal feasts grilled up and gorgeous

Marinated Vegetable Salad
Serves 8:
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 red or yellow or green sweet pepper, chopped
1 can small black pitted olives
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 tablespoons cider or balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano or ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
Leaf lettuce (optional)

Put the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the onion, vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add to the veggies and toss gently. Chill until serving.

When ready to serve, line a salad bowl with leaf lettuce (optional). Spoon in the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with the feta cheese, and maybe a little more of the herbs.

Roasted Pepper Sandwiches
Serves 8:
4 large Sweet Bell Peppers
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 pound deli sliced cheddar or other sliced cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
8 burger buns, toasted

Hold the pepper upright on a cutting board by the stem. Cut straight down the side of the pepper with a sharp knife taking off the entire side in one slice. Cut off the remaining three sides so that you have four fairly large, flat pieces of pepper. Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put the slices skin side down on a medium hot grill, turning when the peppers look soft and slightly charred.
Fit a slice of cheese into the pepper and leave on the grill until the cheese melts.

Serve 2 pieces on each bun and top with dilled Mayonnaise

Dilled Mayonnaise

This spread is a quick and easy way to add some flavor to even a standard burger. Robin likes the new mayo made with olive oil by Kraft -- yummy!

1cup of Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste—start with ¼ teaspoon of each

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. This tastes best if made a few hours in advance.

Grilled Burgers with Garlic and Provolone

2 ½ lbs 80% lean ground beef
1 cup coarsely chopped provolone—1 small (4 ounce) package of sliced or a ¼ pound chunk from the deli counter.
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs – sage is good here
1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 burger buns, toasted

Put all ingredients into a large bowl. Gently combine all ingredients by hand. Shape into 8 patties and refrigerate.

Grill on a medium hot grill for 4 minutes on each side for medium.

Serve with fresh lettuce and dill mayo for a nice twist on an old favorite

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

august 13, 2008: frugal feasts fritatta and fruit crisp

3 tablespoons Olive oil
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin
1 small onion, cut in half and then into very thin slices
1 medium zucchini, chopped into small chunks
2 medium tomatoes, chopped into small chunks
8 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
teaspoon salt and and pepper to taste.
Chopped fresh herbs or ½ teaspoon dried sage or thyme
½ cup shredded cheese – cheddar or monteray jack
Salsa and more sour cream for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Boil the potatoes for 3 minutes in salted water. Drain well and set aside
Heat a cast iron skillet or another heavy pan that can go into the oven oven on the stove over medium heat. Warm the olive oil and add the drained potatoes and onion. Push around the pan for about 6-7 minutes on medium heat, until the potatoes start to brown and the onions are soft. Add the zucchini and the tomatoes and continue cooking until the zucchini softens, about 3 minutes. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with a whisk. Add the sour cream and the herbs and beat until combined. Add the cheese. Add the salt and several grindings of black pepper. Pour the egg mixture on top of the vegetables and slide the skillet into the oven. Roast until the eggs are set in the center, about 20 minutes Remove from the oven and cut into 8 wedges. Serve hot or at warm room temperature.
Makes 6 generous servings @ $.86/serving

Fruit Crisp – for eight. If this is too much, halve all ingredients and bake in an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup quick cook oats (not instant)
1 stick butter, very soft
4 cups fresh fruit: 6 medium peaches and 1 cup raspberries or
any combination of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or 8 medium peaches or
8 apples peeled and sliced.
Approx ½ cup sugar
Vanilla ice cream, optional.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Put the fruit into a large shallow baking pan, like a pyrex or decorative ceramic dish. Add the ½ cup sugar or more to taste and mix well. Set aside.
Dump the flour, sugar oats and butter into a medium bowl. Mash together with a fork, working in the butter until the mixture comes together into clumps. Sprinkle this over the fruit making a thick even covering. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the topping is dark brown and the fruit is bubbling.
Serve warm with ice cream if desired.
Makes 8 generous servings @ $.81/serving

Sunday, July 27, 2008

july 27, 2008: frugal feasts mussels and green bean salad

Mussels over Fettuccini
To serve 8
This recipe can be adapted to what you have on hand. If you have a bottle of white wine, use a cup of it here, and drain the canned tomatoes before using. If you don’t have a bottle of white wine (or don’t want to waste it on cooking), use the tomatoes with their juice.
For the linguine:
2 pounds dried fettuccini or spaghetti
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
For the mussels:
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 can diced tomatoes, 15 ounce size
1 cup white wine or juice from tomatoes, see note above
2 bags mussels, opened, and inspected. Toss any with broken shells
3/4 cup half and half or light cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook according to package directions until done. Drain, place in a large shallow bowl and add the butter or oil. Toss and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large, lidded pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and push it around until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Dump in the tomatoes and wine (if using) and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Let cook for about 6 minutes, just until the shells open and the mussels look firm and opaque.
Scoop the mussels out with a slotted spoon and put them on top of the linguine in the bowl. Raise the heat up to high and boil the cooking liquid for a few minutes to cook off some of the juice. Add the cream and stir well to mix. It should coat the back of a spoon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (you shouldn’t need much salt). Pour this sauce over the mussels in the bowl. Top with the chopped parsley and serve in cereal bowls, passing crushed red pepper flakes to the brave ones. Have a large bowl available for the shells.
Cost per serving: $1.42

Fresh Green Bean Salad
For eight servings
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4-5 oil cured sun dried tomatoes, chopped into bits
Large handful fresh basil or other herb, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin slivers
2 pounds fresh green beans, stems removed
5-6 more sun dried tomatoes cut into slivers, or a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup pine nuts
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dump in the cut up green beans and cook. For a crunchier texture cook the beans for 5 minutes . For a softer texture, cook for 9-11 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cooked, drained green beans and toss to coat with the dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cost per serving: $.45 without optional ingredients, $.73 per serving with grape tomatoes and pine nuts

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

july 16, 2008: frugal feasts freezer favorites

Frozen Chicken Breasts
- one half per person plus a couple extras-left , overs make awesome chicken salad.
2 tablespoons olive oil or a spritz of cooking spray like Pam
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup mayonnaise-more or less
½ cup breadcrumbs (made from 3 pieces of fresh bread or from a can-Italian style are nice here)
½ cup grated parmesan (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Smear or spray the pan with the oil and put in the chicken breasts. Don't worry about unclumping them if you have used the minimalist approach.
Season with salt and pepper.
Frost them with mayonnaise, using about a tablespoon per breast.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan if using.
Cover the pan with foil and roast until the breasts are cooked through.
This will take about 30 minutes for the mashed and separated ones and more like 45 minutes for the clumped ones.
Take the foil off for the last 5 minutes to crisp up the crumbs, and serve hot.

Freezer Steak
There is a cut of meat that is known as the Butcher's Secret. We don't know what part of the cow it comes from, all we know is that it is tender, delicious and about $3.99 per pound. The actual name is First Cut Chuck Steak, Boneless. 3 pounds of steak should feed 8 people, but we need to warn you that it is so delicious and tender that it is hard to stop at one serving.
A half pound per person is a better serving size.
These too can go directly from the freezer to the fire.
Pull out the steaks and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Throw them onto a medium hot grill.
Close the cover and leave them alone for 10 minutes.
Flip the steaks, reclose the cover and leave them for another ten minutes.
They will be perfectly medium rare.

Freezer Corn Salad
The hardest part of this recipe is finding the can opener. We specify shoe peg corn because it is crunchier and tastes more like fresh corn, but use what you can get.
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp garlic salt or ½ tsp regular salt
one clove garlic minced
Several grindings of fresh ground pepper
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 pound bag of frozen "shoepeg" corn, rinsed under warm water to separate
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-5 leaves fresh basil or other fresh herb, chopped, optional
In a medium sized serving bowl stir together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.

Stay Fresh Salad
The great thing about this salad is its longevity, it will last 2-3 days before going south. The secret is no wet stuff if you know what I mean.
We love to have a salad most nights and once again time is a big factor here. make it ahead a couple times a week, cukes tomatoes on the side and it is on the menu most nights.
1 bag of romain hearts, usally three to a pkg. chop all three
1/2 bag of soy sprouts (look for the dryest pkg of these) in the produce section the red package ,not the green which is bean sprouts ( the big market basket has these most of the time )
1 medium red onion sliced very thin
3/4 shredded cheddar cheese
toss well and serve, with your favorite dressing, tonite and tommorrow as well

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

july 2, 2008: frugal feasts grilled brats, orzo bake and onion relish

Brats in Beer
Makes 15—enough to generously serve 8 – 10 people
15 bratwurst – the ones we buy come 5 to a package
2 packages “Coney Island” style hot dog rolls
2 bottles dark beer such as IPA
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
Pour the beer into a large covered pan. Add the garlic and the brats and bring to a very low simmer. (The surface of the liquid should be just barely moving).
Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat, until sausages are cooked though.
Grill, turning frequently, until slightly charred and heated through.

Sweet and Sour Onion Relish
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ pound onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and lightly colored.
Add remaining ingredients and cook another minute or two, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted and onions are shiny.
Beer Brats with Onions and Rolls serves 8-10 generously and costs $1.02 per brat

Ricotta Orzo Bake
Serves 8-10
1 pound orzo or other small pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch leeks, (approximately 1.5 pounds), trimmed, chopped into ½ inch pieces and rinsed well. To clean leeks, slice in half lengthwise, chop and place in colander.
Put colander under running water and stir around with your hand until all the grit is washed away
2 cups frozen petite peas
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 slices vegetarian bacon, or regular bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cup whole milk
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or other herb of your choice such as chives, basil or oregano Zest and juice of one lemon
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
Bread crumbs made from three slices wheat or white bread, in food processor or blender, or 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Fill a large pot with water and a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped leeks.
Cook until the leeks soften and turn bright green, about 3 minutes.
Add the peas, salt and pepper and cook for one > minute. Remove from heat. Add the ricotta, milk, lemon, salt and pepper and mix well. Put the orzo mixture into a 4 quart casserole dish, and smooth surface with a spatula.
Top with the br eadcrumbs and drizzle with the melted butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, > until hot and bubbly around the edges. Serve hot or at room temp.
Ricotta bake serves 8-10 generously and costs $1.05 per serving.
A note on our costs per serving: All the ingredients were purchased at area grocery stores.
The prices do not include small amounts of household pantry staples like salt, pepper, vinegar and breadcrumbs.