Monday, January 11, 2010


I am trying really hard to cut down on our grocery bill. Am I the only one shopping for 5 people that spends close to $500.00 a month? I loved Jade's idea for "food storage" meals. But I was wondering if anyone had some good Vegetarian/meat free meals. I'm not a veggie lover, but I'd like to cut down on our meat intake. If you can help I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6

1 package (6 ounces) long-grain and wild rice mix, prepared according to package directions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (about 8 oz. total) boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped (OR USE ½ ROTISSERIE CHICKEN INSTEAD)
2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed (I left it out the first time, still good)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Sliced green onions (optional)
Toasted slivered almonds (optional)

HEAT vegetable oil in large saucepan. Add chicken, mushrooms, chopped onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink.

ADD rice, broth, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine small amount of evaporated milk and cornstarch in small bowl; stir until smooth. Add to saucepan with remaining evaporated milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until soup is thickened. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

PREPARE as above; do not top with green onions and almonds. Cool soup completely. Place in airtight container; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.
HEAT in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with green onions and almonds.

Easy Baked Ziti

1 package Ziti noodles (or Rotini or Penne) (1 lb.)
1-2 jars pasta sauce (depending on how saucy you like it)
1 package sliced provolone cheese (not the processed kind)
Ground beef (desired amount- 1 lb. or more)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried parsley
Cottage cheese (about 8 ounces)

Parmesan cheese

Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, drain then add the garlic and parsley and sauté a minute or two longer. Cook the pasta, drain then add half the noodles to a dish smeared with pasta sauce. Spread a small amount of cottage cheese on the noodles, then layer with ½ of the ground beef, one jar of sauce and a layer of sliced provolone. Repeat the layer with the remaining ingredients. Top with the remaining cheese slices, sprinkle with parmesan and parsley. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is lightly brown.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed Potato Casserole

2-3 pounds potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese
1 t. garlic salt
¼ t. pepper
½ cup sour cream
2 T. butter

Make mashed potatoes however you usually make them – you can use instant, if you want to. Beat into mashed potatoes the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic salt and pepper (use some sort of blender to get out the lumps). Pour into baking dish, dot with small pieces of butter and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes (until top is golden brown).

* Yummy, yummy. I always serve as a side dish to porcupine meatballs, along with a salad *

Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
¼ cup chopped onion (if I don’t have an onion, I’ll use dehydrated onion, found in the spice isle)
¼ cup water
1 t. salt
Dash of pepper

Combine beef, rice, onion, water, salt and pepper. Shape into small balls (1 – 1.5 inches in diameter).

1 can condensed tomato soup (can use store brand, doesn’t taste any different than Campbell’s)
½ t. chili powder
½ cup water

Blend soup, chili powder and water into a saucepan. Add meatballs. Bring to boil, then cover and turn down heat to simmer. Takes about 45 minutes or so (depends on how hot your stove is). When meatballs are cooked through, you’ll know it’s done.

Homemade Pancakes

1 ½ cup flour
3 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 – 1 ¼ cup milk
1 egg
3 T. canola or vegetable oil

Beat together until smooth. Sometimes I cut the sugar in half and do half white flour and half whole
wheat flour. I’m too lazy to measure the milk; I add enough ‘til I get the consistency I want.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicken Won Ton Salad

This is an easy to throw together salad that we use as a main dish or a side dish.  You can eat a ton of it, so get plenty of lettuce.  All the amounts are personal preference.  Hope you enjoy!

Lettuce (green leaf/Romaine with iceberg)
Chicken breasts diced and sautéed
Sesame seeds-toasted with little oil
Won ton wrappers lightly fried

Tear lettuce to bite-sized pieces, top with sautéed chicken, and toasted sesame seeds.  Top with dressing and slightly crushed fried won tons.

½ c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
2 Tbsp salt

Combine the ingredient in a pan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Let cool, then add:
½ tsp pepper
½ c vegetable oil

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fresh-free ingredients

We recently had a week-long family reunion where we based all our meals off food storage -- meaning, rather than having to go buy tons of stuff to feed all 17 solid-food-eating people (the three babies were easy), we chose recipes for which the ingredients were already stocked up in our pantries. We ate great food, and we only spent about $200, which included all the food for an extended-family feast on Christmas Eve (which was not food-storage themed).

Aside from saving money, it was great to not have our fridge overloaded with stuff. During past reunions, the fridge has been overloaded with all sorts of things that we needed for each meal, leaving little room for the real important things of life, like leftover pie.

Sooooo ... this whole thing has me itching for more recipes that don't require fresh ingredients. I'm itching so much, in fact, that I'm interested in putting together a little cookbook full of fresh-free recipes.

By fresh free I mean any recipe that you can store all the ingredients, unrefrigerated, in your pantry or closet or whatever. That doesn't mean it has to be meat free -- canned chicken is easy enough to come by, and I know you can personally can just about anything. Instead of milk you can use dry milk, instead of butter ... um, churned dried milk?

If you have any recipes you can share, PLEASE post them or e-mail me at stellmonquarterly AT gmail DOT com.