Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great cooks of the world, I NEED you...

Hi everyone,

Right this very minute, my sister in law is having a baby. He should be here within the hour. Yippeeee. The first cousin on my husbands side (thank the heavens.....) and our first one that lives close by.... I am so nervous for them and so excited........... She is adorable and tiny. This is her about a week ago. She is one of those people that doesn't look pregnant until she turns around. Not in her face, arms, bum, nothing. She just glued a watermelon to her abs. Congrats to the new family and we are DYING to see the little man.........

**Update...the little man is here!! We just got the call here at about 11:30. They have kept his name a big secret for the whole pregnancy. All they would say was it was the only name that Erin ever wanted for a child ever since she was small. They named him Derek, after my husband. How sweet is that. I cried when I heard. Derek and his sister are very close and this means a lot to all of us. Big D and little D (we may just end up calling him Skeletor....). Anyway,


Anyway, speaking of family. One of my sisters (I have many and they are all very talented in their own ways....) is writing a cookbook. She has written a book before and has been a book editor for years. She used to edit for the "Home and Hearth" division of a major publishing company. One day she decided that she had an idea for a cookbook and now she is writing it!!! Clever girl. This is the kind of book where they even gave her an advance... none of this "sure, go ahead and write and book and we will wait and see if it sells and THEN give you money" for her. Bravo Jen!

Here is an excerpt from the description she sent me.... and she needs a few more recipe's to round things out and she wants them to be awesome... I know that many of you readers are great and frugal cooks. Please, please, please send a recipe if you have one that fits. If they are used in the book your name will be credited (you could even credit it to your mom or grandma and when the book is printed you have a great Christmas present!!! Do you love how I am selling this, Jen?). Also, recipe's are not copyrighted, so if you have one that you use that you got from a cookbook or website, that is ok. We just change them a little bit (and who doesn't do that anyway?). For example, I made the Chicken Stew with biscuits from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook all the time, but by now it is a totally different recipe. I use different veggies and like my stew a little thicker than she makes it. Now, it isn't the same recipe so it is ok to use. There are a few criteria that you need to follow, so not every recipe will work.....

"The average American family of four spends more than $8000 per year on groceries, usually the second biggest monthly expense after a mortgage or rent. Cutting that by a third or by half can make a huge difference in a family budget. There's no doubt that food is the best place to cut wasteful spending, but until now families looking for a way to trim the fat from their grocery expenditures usually relied on endless nights of spaghetti'the tried and true budget meal. Now there's a way to eat well on a dime.

Gather your hungry family around the dinner table with this amazing book full of budget-conscious recipes. The book features 150 dollar-friendly delicious dinner recipes that cost $6 or less to make. There are also helpful hints on smart grocery shopping (for before you go and while you are there), and the dollar-saving budget 'buddy meal' system. Also included are tips on budget-smart substitutions for your favorite recipes, a list of ways to add a touch of gourmet to any meal with little cost, the top 25 pantry must-haves, and advice on when NOT to be cheap. The budget shopper's greatest secret 'the price list' is also revealed here with step-by-step instructions on how to begin. With this unique cookbook and lifestyle guide to frugal cooking, your family and your wallet will be full and happy!

I need soups, salads, side dishes and main courses. Also if anyone has a great recipe that incorporates leftovers, I have a leftovers section as well. I have plenty of desserts and don't need bread ('cause you can't make things any cheaper than a mix!). Think high yield, high impact, low cost, low ingredient #. I'm also including a substitute list where we'll list an expensive recipe item and show a low cost alternative (shrimp vs. imitation crab meat) so people can begin to convery some of their higher cost recipes to low cost.

Please send any submissions to (my business email) and if I use the recipe in the book, I'll include their full name in the Acknowledgments! I'd be ever so grateful as I know you have a LOT of mom readers. I fully plan on having you be my alpha manuscript reviewer, if you don't mind. I'd love your input."

Now, I enjoy a fancy meal as much as the next guy, but the weeks that I spend too much at Hanna Andersson, Pottery Barn or the gas station I love these krecipes recpies...... The goal is for them to come in under 6$ or less per recipe, but some things you don't have to count.... things that you would already have in the cupboard, ie, oil, chicken broth, basic spices, etc.....

I would really love to see these as well so either send them to the email addy above or post them in the comments..... Lisa, I think your turkey cutlet thingy's would be good (and they can leave off the nuts....) and you can piggy back that recipe w/ Shephards Pie to used the rest of the turkey and potatoes..... Julie, I already sent her your Fiesta Corn one, great stuff. GcQ and Azucar, you MUST have some in your box that would work, you too Compulsive, Lucky RH, CJane, Design Mom, Tracy M, Julie, Julie... anyone? anyone?

P.S. I have to admit that I don't think I have ever made something that cost less than 6$ per recipe... I am a fan of things like goat cheese and meat and that pretty much takes me over the 6$ limit, but I have been eyeing some fun pillows and that money has to come out of some part of the budget. I am dying to try there. (Note: I am pretty sure that when most people cut their grocery budget, it isn't so they can dump it right back into Pottery Barn.....).

The ones that she already has seem great!!! Also, we will be testing these in the next phase so let me know if you would be willing to make some of them and give an honest review....

You guys are the best!! Thanks for your help, and my sister thanks you. :-)


Karianne said...

Hey Bek, I found your blog through Family Found, and believe that I also have a family like yours! Anyway I posted a recipe recently for Sausage, Peppers and Pasta that may fit the bill for your sis over on my blog this week. If you think it will work, go ahead and take it!
Nice to read you!

tracy m said...

Ok, I have a fabulous substitute for goat cheese- really, truly good.

Take a large container of whole milk plain yogurt, and place in cheese cloth, in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Drain for 2 hours.

After the two hours, put the thickened yogurt in a bowl, add salt (always) to taste, and whatever else you might like in your cheese- herbs or garlic or cracked pepper. Stir to combine, and put back in cheesecloth, sieve and over a bowl. Weight down with a large heavy can and let drain for another 2-3 hours, or overnight, even better.

When you unwrap this little gem, you will have enough cheese to form two nice sized disks of cheese. Roll the edges in herbs or pepper or nothing, and eat like you would any soft goat cheese.

This is fabulous, and fail-safe, and only costs the $2 for tub of whole milk plain yogurt.

lisa v. clark said...

Congrats to Erin! What a great name :0)! That was really, really sweet!

I'll send along some recipes!

Ana said...

I have a few -- will try to type up and send this weekend.

- pasta with pumpkin sauce
- white beans with sage and tomatoes
- vegetarian pad thai (on the blog a couple of months back)

Maybe some others, too. I will have to look through my books and see what I can find.

Tracy, I want some of that yogurt cheese RIGHT NOW ...

Britmum said...

What about a very British recipe for Bubble and Squeak?

Let me know and I could post that.

Great post. You are a great writer Bek.

Take care xx

Lucky Red Hen said...

I wanna be a tester! I like trying new meals.

Barbecued Sausage Over Rice

Smoked Sausage in the horseshoe-shape packaging by the hot dogs (sliced into coins about 1/4-1/2" then sometimes cut in 1/2 if you're feeding little kids) on sale $2.50 or less, 1/2 bottle of barbecue sauce (usually less than a dollar for the bottle) thinned a bit with water. Sautee the sausage to brown a little (don't burn like I often do) then add sauce and serve over rice.

Syd said...

Yes, I want to be a taste tester too!! Congrats on your new nephew. That is SO sweet that they named him Skeletor, I mean Derek!! :)

Here is one of my fav's. It feels really cheap to me b/c I always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and everything else on hand, I only have to buy broccoli when I make it, but I think it would still come in under $6.00 if you had to buy the chicken too.

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned & cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp peanut oil, or veg oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 to 4 c sliced broccoli or spinach

In a small bowl, blend peanut butter, water, soy sauce and sugar; set aside. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add garlic and pepper; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add chicken, stir-fry until firm and white, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli or spinach, stir-fry until bright green, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Serves 4.

When I make it, we double the saucy portion (but triple the brown sugar). We like it saucy and sweet. And we serve it over rice. Oh, and we use chunky peanut butter. It's one of my favorite meals. Oh, and we got it off I'll try to think of some others.

Carrotjello said...

I don't like tomatoes, but I love this...
Stewed Tomatoes and Dumplings:
1 Med. Onion diced
2 large stalks of celery chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
3 cans stewed tomatoes broken into pieces
1 1/2 T fresh parsley chopped (must be fresh!)
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 large bay leaf
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp. corriander
Saute onion and celery in about 2T oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil about 5 minutes while making dumplings.
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix together well. In a cup combine 2/3 cup milk and 2T. salad oil. Slowly stir into flour until soft dough forms. Drop by heaping teaspoons into boiling tomatoes. Turn down heat to low and cover with a lid. Open lid in 20 minutes. Bon Appetit!

Miriam said...

How about burritos? They're a staple around here. If I'm reaaally rushed and lazy, then I'll even just nuke them- dinner in 2 minutes 30 seconds.

The best way to make them, though, is to skillet up some hamburger in very little oil with garlic, onion and cayenne pepper. I like to add a bit of Worchestershire, and sometimes a dash of soy sauce, too. My hubby does the tasting here because I'm a vegetarian, so adjust to taste.

Remove the burger with a fork to drain and pour most the grease off the pan. Lightly grill each side of a tortilla and set nearby, keeping the skillet hot.

Put a dollop of your favorite canned beans- refried, black, I even like cannelini- in the pan with a little bit of cheese to heat it up. When it's hot & melty, scoop it to the side, put the tortilla back in the pan and cover it with the beans, cheese and hamburger. Let the tortilla get a little crispy with all the goodies inside.

Slide the burrito onto a plate, garnish with sour cream & salsa (chipotle-flavored Tabasco is GREAT!) and voila!

When I make these, I often freeze half the pound of burger with some pre-cut garlic and onion in a freezer bag so it's all ready to dump in a pan the next time around. You can also add bell peppers, broccoli, olives, any veggie you like in mexifood.

Cheap, fast, yum!

And congrats on the new family member!

Miriam said...

Oooh, I also love to make bisquik pie. Stir up a can of cream of whichever soup with a couple cups of frozen veggies. You can add chunks of cooked chicken or beef and any fresh veggies you like, too.

Top that with a layer of bisquik (or the equivalent mix of actual flour and stuff if you're amazing that way) mixed with enough milk to make it biscuit-dough-like.

Put the veggie/cream mix in the bottom of a square pan and cover with a layer of the bisquik stuff. If you're feeling fancy, add some grated parmesan and oregano or thyme to the top.

Bake until golden (about 35-40 minutes) in a 350 degree oven.