Seasonal Foods

Thursday, June 30, 2011

End of the school year!

I have to say, having kids means that at the end of the school year is super busy! Especially when one of your children is finishing elementary school, and taking the leap in the fall to high school! Not to mention...well I will mention it...My eldest son's Birthday falls at this time as well. He definately has big ideas, and that requires going all over town to get things that he needs. I'm not complaining, it's fun to see how he makes decisions about spending his own money, and sometimes I guide him. He wanted to buy a ton of drinks for the party, which I couldn't talk him out of, and I figured worse case scenareo was that he'd have gatorade for a while this summer. He also had his party at his Granparent's house, so he didn't want them having to pay for all the drinks.

So we have been quite busy, as I am sure everyone has been. Summer is a wonderful time of year, the sun, the greenery, the liesure. I guess you can tell that summer is my favorite time of year, but I know that there's alot of work to be done. I have a garden plot at a nice gentleman's house. I was allotted it around the 16th, and I had to work the ground a bit, because the hard rains had compressed the dirt. My youngest and I weeded the plot first, then put peatmoss on top, then we dug in and flipped as much of the dirt as we could. The goal was to get as much of the peat moss underground as possible, and mix it up a little with the ground dirt. I'm hoping tht by this weekend I will have my garden planted. I know, it should be done already, but as I said, my family obligations are important to me. These are the choices that everyone makes. In making this decision, I know that my garden may not make it to it's full potential before the frost, but I am going to try anyways. I have only put in $16 into my garden, with the peat moss, and about three hours labour. Once it gets going, I hope to be as frugal as possible, and hopefully reap some tasty rewards at the end of the summer!  :)

I know that you are hoping that I'd be posting what we've been eating lately, but with the rush of goings on, and my son's Birthday party, we haven't been cooking much. I will leave you with a wonderful website that will give you a TON of frugal recipes for you to check out and try! Don't let the name fool you, it's fine frugal dining!

Hope you all enjoy the site, and hope to post again soon!  :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This past week

For this past week I have been a bit busy, and not really in a cooking mood. That's also not to mention that alot of the meat I have in my home right now was given to us. Some of these meats are from them having their animals butchered, and made up by those butchers.

Take last night for dinner, we had hot sausage with some curly fries for dinner. The sausage came wrapped in brown butcher's paper, and naray a price in sight, so I can not even begin to guess how much it might truely have cost.

The night before, we beens and weinies, which is super easy to calculate!

2 cans beans $1.00/can, makes them $2.00
1 can of pinapple, juice drained $1.29
6 wieners (we use chicken wieners, because they are cheaper) $1.98/package, so $0.99
Making the grand total of that meal $4.28

Another night this past week I made homemade pizza, with meat that I had seen reduced and placed promptly into my freezer for a night like this! Making your own crust only costs about a dollar to make, but for some, that's more than they can do. My solution is that a dollar store in town carries pizza crust and the pizza sauce for $2.00 each. I will include my pizza recipe after worries!   ;)
Price breakdown:
1 Pizza crust, $1 for homemade (makes two), $2.00/each for prebought $4
1 can pizza sauce $0.99 (only if you made your own crust)
1 package of peperoni sausage $2.99
1/2 package of ham end pieces $3.24/package $1.62
500g cheese $4.99

Homemade Pizza Sauce
1 can tomaote paste $0.50
1tbsp oregano $0.09 (for
1 tsp garlic, basil $0.06, $0.07 respectivly
up to 3 tbsp water, depending on how thick you like your pizza sauce.  Free from the tap.

So here are the price totals:
With dollar store crust: $14.59
With homemade crust and boght sauce: $11.59
The pice completely homemade: $11.32

I know that the sauce doesn't make that much of a difference in this instance, but if I had waited to stock up on my tomatoe paste when it was on sale 3/$1...that could have meant a savings of $0.17 more cents. The biggest problem is the price of meat and cheese, getting these on sale is the best way to save more money. My family is big on cheese, so I am constantly buying cheese when it's onsale, and freezing it until we need it. If I can finde pregrated cheese on sale...I buy it HAPPILY, just because I usually hurt myself on the grater. Apparently people want you to work so hard that there is blood sweat and tears, but when it come to there food...not so much, go figure!  ;)

I will be posting the recipe for the homemade pizza dough later today, so have fun until then!  :)

You can use any bread dough recipie to make pizza dough, but alot of people prefer the recipes that are specifically for pizza, and I have to say that it does turn out tastier. The recipe that I am giving you is to make ALOT of pizza crusts. I know...who wants to make 20 pizza crusts at once? Well...I can freeze it as soon as you have it rolled or "Toss" it to the pizza size (I am not that adventurous), or you can bake the crust for a few minutes and then freeze (this ensures that it won't do any rising after it thaws). I prefer to freeze after I get them in their shape, or else to freeze them after they are "dressed" with toppings. When I make this amount, however, I tend to go for just freezing the crust, because it makes it easier. I also have a bunch of aluminum round pie pans for just this purpose. You're asking yourself, why aluminum pie pans, I'll tell you why. My family like to have "create your own pizza night", which means individual sized pizzas. The pie pan bottoms are the right size, I can get them fairly cheeply, I can rewash them, and they take up less space than regular pie pans. I can also freeze them in stacks like that, and once frozen, I can remove them easily from the pans, and place them into freezer bags in stacks of four.

I usually go with the toppings that our family likes, and I only get enough for the one meal, but if you want to follow this recipe to a "T", you can always freeze them for later!  :) long is the recipe I use from "Growlie's For Groups Online Cook Book", who is a fellow British Columbian...

Pizza Crust

100 servings

1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp Active dry yeast*
2 qt + 1/2 cup Water, warm ( 110 F)
6 1/4 qt All purpose or bread flour
2/3 cup Vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup + 2 tsp Sugar
1 cup Cornmeal

Place flour in large mixer bowl. Make well in the center.
Pour in dissolved yeast, oil, salt and sugar. Gradually work into the
flour using dough hook on low speed. Knead for 15 minutes at medium speed.
Divide and shape dough into 5 balls, 2 lb 4 oz each. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Lightly oil 5 sheet pans ( 18 ''x 26''x1''). Sprinkle each pan with 1 oz ( 3 Tbsp) cornmeal.
Place 1 dough ball in center of each pan. Flatten dough by rolling or spreading
dough 1/8 '' thick to rim of pans. Keep edges thicker than center.
For topping, baking and portioning directions, see Pizza With Cheese Topping Recipe.
Dissolve dry yeast in warm water. Let stand for 4- 5 minutes.
For best results, have all ingredients and utensils at room temperature.

Plain Cheese Pizza

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Flaked basil
2 tsp Black pepper
1/2 No. 10 can Tomato paste
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Flaked oregano
5 sheet pans Pizza dough in pans
1qt + 1 1/4 cups Fresh onions, chopped
3 1/2 qt Water
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Flaked marjoram
1 Tbsp Flaked thyme
3 + 1/4 gal Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder

Combine onions, garlic powder, pepper, tomato paste, water, and seasonings.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle 12 oz ( 3 cups) shredded cheese evenly over each pizza crust.
Spread 1 qt tomato mixture over cheese in each pan. Sprinkle 1 lb 12 oz ( 1 3/4 qt )
shredded cheese evenly over tomato mixture in each pan.
Bake until crust is lightly browned: Conventional oven: 475 F for 15 -18 minutes, Convection oven: 450 F for 15 minutes.
Cut each pan 4x5 ( 20 pieces per pan).

Add more toppings if desired 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

slackin' again

I know, you are all eagerly awaiting my next food post, but I have definately hit a snag with it. I am not always the one buying the food, sometimes we are given it. With our finances not as pretty as they once were, my Mother and Father-In-Law have been picking up meat for us from Costcos when they go to Kamloops to visit family. It is in Zipper seal bags, and I have no idea how much they cost, as I do not grocery shop very often.

I shall endevor to find out the approximate pricing for you, and write it up in another post. For now, I shall leave you with a few frugal family dinners we have made recently!  :)
Sweet Thai Chili Chiken Thighs

9 pieces of chicken thighs
1 Jar Sweet Thai chili sauce (I bought it at a dollar store for $1)
2 cups rice
1 trunk broccoli, chopped to tiny bits
mushroom soup

To start with, you place the chicken in the fridge with the marinade sauce on it (I use an old tupperware* container that I got from the Salvation Army* that is meant for marinading in, but any wide container will do). Start cooking the rice with the broccoli bits, and mushroom soup, cutting the water for the usual rice directions by about 1/2 cup. Shake the marinading chicken, to ensure that all of the chicken comes into contact with the sauce. Bake chicken on a baking pan at 350 for about a half hour, turning midway through.

Once chicken is done, the rice mixture should be ready, so serve away!  :)

Sausages for Dinner?

I am a believer that anything is possible, including using breakfast sausage for the meat portion of our dinner.

12 breakfast sausages
6 medium potatoes
1/4 milk
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups frozen veggies
1/3 cup barbeque sauce

Get out a baking pan, place the sausages onto the pan without them touching one another. Use a fork, and puncture a few holes on all sides of the sausage (this is to help the grease to escape), place in an 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cut up potatoes, and put into a pot, fill pot with water and let boil until potatoes can easily be punctured by a lightly pressed fork. Heat up Frozen vegetables. After the 20 minutes are up, turn sausages over, and smother them with barbeque sause. Bake for five more minutes, flip again, and smother in barbeque sauce. Shut oven off and let sit until the potatoes are ready. Once potatoes are ready, drain water, and start mashing (if you don't like peels in your mashed potatoes, you may remove the skins). Add the milk and margarine/butter, and mash until they are of a creamy consistancy. Serve when meal all the meal is finished cooking, and enjoy!  :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

About the pricing

I know, you probably think I've gone nuts, or off the deep end about my guestimating the costs for my dinner. I have to tell you, the amount of math I've done just to tell you how much I paid for a teaspoon of garlic'd be shocked! I actually had to find a website that could give me changes of measurement from teaspoons to grams, just so that I could find out how many grams of garlic powder goes into a half teaspoon, then figure out how much I paid per gram in the container I got. That would be how I got to the amount listed, instead of the previous posts where I just told you what I paid for the bottle.
Believe me, the amount of work and effort to get to the process was long a tedious, but I felt that if I was giving you how much it costs per meal, I had better go off of the assumption that everyone has basic staples. I also have to assume that you paid as much as I did for that specific item.
So with that said, I hope you like the new way of me calculating the costs, and hope it is helpful!  :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monday night's dinner

I got my son to make dinner last night, because I still wasn't feeling that well. I got him to make Sloppy Joes' from scratch! He followed the recipe to a "T", too bad I never wrote in there the one change I ahd made, but anywho...
This recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks "Not Just Beans" by Tawra Jean Kellam, which has been reprinted as "Dining On A Dime Cookbook", and is available online at (and no, I don't make money from advertising, but it's a great cookbook, and is not available for some reason in any local library)

Sloppy Joes

1lb ground beef  $3
1 medium onion, chopped, or 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.50 for an onion/$0.03 for the powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder $0.03
5 Tbsp. ketchup $0.04
2 tsp. brown sugar $0.04
1/8 tsp lemon juice $0.01
1 TBSP. Worcesershire sauce  $0.14
1/2 tsp. salt $0.01
6 hamburger buns $0.50

All prices are approximate, and the grand total is $4.27!
Now, this is the original recipe, but I make personall preferance changes to the recipe when I make it. I usually use a can of tomato paste instead of the ketchup, and add more lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to make up the moisture difference. I also usually use 1.5lb of ground beef for the recipe instead of the 1lb, because that's the amount that I usually put into a freezer bag when I freeze my ground beef (odd I know, but my family are big meat eaters!).
Anyways, here's the instructions: Brown ground beef and onion until tender. Drain fat. Add other ingredients and heat thoroughly. Serve on hamburger buns. Serves 6.

Tonight it was a fend for yourself night, so leftovers, or whatever they could make (like grilled cheese sandwiches), since I hadn't planned anything and didn't feel like cooking (besides...there's plenty for them to choose from!).