Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Pie Crust in a Pinch!

I tried out a new recipe for Silky Chocolate Pie on Sunday.  All was going well until I went to my pantry and discovered that my store bought chocolate crust had some how vanished.  It was Sunday so going to the store was not an option.  What to do?  Here's the recipe for what I ended up making. It was delicious.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
 1 package graham crackers, fine crumbs
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Direction:  Combine all ingredients.  Press into pie pan.  Bake 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool and fill.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weight update: 169 Pounds. I have lost 7 pounds in a month.

Yesterday for breakfast we had cold cereal.  Yes, we eat cold cereal at our house on occasion! 
For lunch I ate left-overs: Green salad, tilapia and pasta in a blue cheese sauce.
In the evening, I had a presentation at the West Jordan Library. I made Chorizo Pasta for the participants.  This recipe is in my latest book Quality Cooking at a Fraction of the Cost.
Chorizo Pasta: Total cost $5.27; Adult servings 6
When I got home I needed a little pick-me-up to sip while I washed my dishes from the cooking demonstration.  I decided to make a strawberry lemon frappe.  Here's the recipe:
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
8-10 strawberries (Mine were frozen)
1 cup of water
Sugar to taste.  I like mine on the tart side.
Directions: Pop all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and slushy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breakfast- Left over strata.

Lunch- Spaghetti and meat balls with green salad and homemade French bread.  The cost: EntrĂ©e- 2 pounds diet lean hamburger $4.94, angel hair pasta 0.99 cents, spaghetti sauce 1.98 cents, 2 eggs 0.16 cents, 1 bun 0.50 and spices; green salad- lettuce 0.99 cents, cucumber 0.35 cents, tomato 0.33 cents, match stix carrots 0.50, green onions 0.29 cents.  Homemade French bread 0.42 cents, 2 cans green beans $1.00.
Serves 10 adults
Total cost- $12.45

Dinner- Meat loaf with green salad, steamed asparagus and fresh pineapple for dessert
2 pounds diet lean hamburger $4.94, 2 eggs 0.16, 1 bun 0.25, and spices.  Green salad green salad- lettuce 0.99 cents, cucumber 0.35 cents, tomato 0.33 cents, match stix carrots 0.50, green onions 0.29 cents and fresh pineapple $3.76.
Serves 8 adults
Total cost- $11.57

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What to do with extra buns? Cream Cheese Apple Strata

Today for breakfast I'm creating a Cream Cheese Apple Strata.  Why? To use up the buns I bought a few days ago for the BBQ beef sandwiches.  The cost for the strata is's delicious...and it is something special for the beginning of conference weekend!

Cream Cheese Apple Strata

Cream Cheese Apple Strata
4 buns
1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced to 1/8 of an inch
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, sliced into 1/8 inch pieces
12 eggs
4 cups milk
Sugar to taste, I like about 1 1/2 cups
Cinnamon to taste, I like about 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Directions- Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Tear up 2 buns into bite sized pieces and cover bottom of baking dish.  Cover bun pieces with apple slices then cream cheese.  Whisk liquid ingredients together and pour over bread.  Lightly smoosh down mixture with back of a spoon.  I don't think "smoosh" is a word; but, you know what I mean.  Top with chopped almonds.  Cover and let rest for at least one hour or over night in refrigerator.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Servings- 12

Total Cost for 12 servings $6.07!- Buns $1.00, 1 dozen eggs 0.88, 1-8 ounce package cream cheese 0.99 cents, 1 large apple 0.33 cents,  Milk 0.87 cents, Sugar and cinnamon maybe 0.50 cents, and almonds $1.50.

For lunch I will be taking my Sweetheart out to eat between conference sessions.  Trent enjoys Thai food and this place in Syracuse offers a buffet on the first Saturday of each month.  Hope he likes it.

Dinner will be something quick and easy since the men will be heading off to Priesthood session.  I am thinking BBQ blue cheese burgers with caramelized onions, homemade fries and Strawberry Frappes. 

Total Cost for 4 servings - $9.34!  Diet lean hamburger $2.47/pound.  Buns $1.00 for four.  Onions 0.29 cents/pound, blue cheese $1.99 6 ounces, fries made from 2 pounds of potatoes 0.27 cents (I bought 15 pounds of number one potatoes for $1.99) tomatoes 0.66 cents, lettuce 0.25cents, 1 pound strawberries $1.50, 2 lemons 0.66 cents and sugar about 0.25 cents.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A manly picnic and an emergency meal for a neighbor

I was cleaning up after making Spicy Breakfast Crepes Trent asked if I would like to go fishing.  I love to fish!  I jumped at the chance.  Trent told me to get ready and he would make us a picnic. 
We went fishing and had a wonderful time being outdoors.  Trent's picnic consisted of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, Doritos and an apple.  I haven't had a peanut butter and honey sandwich since I was a kid.  It brought back memories and touched my heart knowing that my sweetheart made it for us.

Around 3:30 I needed to make an emergency dinner for a neighbor.  I hopped in the car and drove to the grocery store leaving Trent to fish until 6:00.  Luck was with me because when I got to the store I found many manager specials and reduced items to make a lovely dinner.  I found 20 ounce Buitoni 3 Cheese Tortellini for $4.99 (reduced from $8.99) and fresh grated parmesan cheese for $3.49 for 6 ounces.  Lettuce was 0.99 a head, tomatoes 0.99/pound, and cucumbers were 0.59/ea.
Another woman was going to make dinner rolls, which was a big relief, with no time for dough to rise. For dessert I made Nutella Cookies. They turned out delicious!  A keeper for sure.
Number of servings - 5 adult portions
Total Cost- $10.83 (This doesn't include the price of making the rolls)

Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Nutella
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars, add vanilla, Nutella, and eggs. Mix well adding dry ingredients.  When mixed add chocolate chips and scoop onto parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow cookies to rest for 5 minutes then transfer from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Makes 36 cookies.

What do I do with a recipe that makes 36 crepes?

Crepe batter can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Just stir it up and cook.  You can also freeze crepes.  Simply, cook, cool and separate crepes with waxed paper or parchment and store in an air tight container.  Make sure crepes are completely thawed before separating.  I have had my keep for over 3 months before picking up the freezer taste.  Or you just might like to make what the Snow Family had for breakfast this fine rainy day.

Spicy Breakfast Crepes

Spicy Breakfast Crepes

5 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 pound spicy sausage, cooked
Salsa to taste
Garnish: Cilantro
6 crepes, cooked

In a 12 inch pan cook sausage.  Place cooked sausage in a bowl.  Wipe out pan with a paper towel.  Mix eggs and cottage cheese together in pan and cook.  Add cooked sausage.  Place in center of crepe and fold.  Top with salsa and cilantro.

Serving size: This feeds our family of four with the men eating two and my daughter and I eating one each.

Loss leader info-  Today my 5 eggs at 0.07 cents each is 0.35 cents.  The cottage cheese was $1.99 for 24 oz., I only needed 4 ounces for that is 0.44 cents in cottage cheese.  The sausage was $1.99 a pound for Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage and I used half a pound, that makes the cost $1.00.  Salsa was on sale for 0.98 cents a jar; I used 1/4 of a jar so that makes the cost for salsa 0.25 cents.  And cilantro was 0.69 a bunch, I clipped maybe an 1/8 of the bunch; this makes the cilantro cost 0.9 cents.  My crepes were free because I charge my budget for them yesterday.

Cost for 6 breakfast crepes: $2.13
(We also had milk to drink so the cost for the entire meal came to $3.01 for 4 people!)

Left overs:  3 eggs, most of the cottage cheese, salsa, cilantro, and 1/2 a pound of sausage.  Oh, and more crepes!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

People have been asking...

Over the last week, I have had four people ask if I would post my daily menu and recipes.  I asked why they wanted my menu plan and they each said they would like to shop using lost leaders.  Well, the problem with their request is even grocery store chains have different advertised specials based on geographical regions i.e. A Davis County Fresh Market will have a different weekly ad than a Fresh Market in Utah County.
So here is my compromise, I will post my menu and ingredient prices for the week and some of my favorite recipes that could not be included in my published books, due to page count limitations.

Breakfast- Crepes filled with Nutella and Banana slices or Sweetened Cream and Strawberries
Strawberries were $1.88 a carton, large eggs 0.88 cents a dozen, whipping cream 0.69 cents, bananas 0.59/pound, and Nutella was $3.99 a jar.

Never Fail Crepes with Sweetened Cream and Strawberries

Never Fail Crepes
(I love this recipe because you do not have to let it rest for an hour before using)
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:  Place in blender and blend until smooth.  Heat Teflon coated 12 inch pan on medium heat, once heated, pour 1/4 cup crepe batter in pan.  Swirl until pan bottom is evenly coated.  Cook about 15 seconds.  Flip using a plastic spatula and cook for about 5 more seconds.  Fill as desired. 
Serving Size- Makes about 35 crepes.  Each of us at 2 crepes for a total of 8 crepes.
Total cost- $2.57
Left overs: I have 1/2 the strawberries left over, most of the crepe batter, 8 eggs, 1/2 the whipping cream and 3/4 of the Nutella jar for another day.

Lunch- BBQ sandwiches from left over roast that I bought for $2.99 a pound.  Buns 12 count for $2.99.  Cole Slaw with mandarin oranges, strawberries and pineapple.  Cabbage 0.29/pound, mandarin oranges 0.65 a can, fresh pineapple $0.79/pound, green onions 0.69 a bunch, match stix carrots $1.29 a bag, dressing $2.99 a bottle and the left over strawberries $1.00.

Dinner- No dinner needed due to attending an Appreciation Dinner.