Archive for the ‘Frugal recipes’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Corn Souffle

Corn souffle is part of our Sunday or weekend meal.  I normally make a roast of some kind and souffle has to be one of the sides.  It is easy (don’t let anyone tell you souffle has to be hard), does not cost much and taste wonderful.  This recipe is the very basic and still Yummy!


Corn Souffle Recipe
1 can creamed corn
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk

Whisk the 3 eggs together until it has small bubbles, about 1 minute with an electric mixer.


Add the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix for another minute.  Add the creamed corn.

Pour the mixture into a greased oven proof dish.  I used an 8x9x2.

Bake at 350 ‘F for 30-45minutes.  If you are not sure, insert a knife and if it comes out clean it is done.

Emily does not eat it (I think it has to do with the texture since she does not eat whipped foods), but the rest of us will gobble the whole thing up in one sitting.  Did I just admit that in public………?

PostHeaderIcon Breakfast Sausage Patties

Before living in the South (of USA)  I had never heard of sausage patties for breakfast.  Sausages came in casings and was either cooked on the braai (coals from burning wood), fried in a pan along with fresh tomatoes and onion or simmered with sauerkraut and beer.  I never did meet a sausage without his little see-through jacket until I landed here.

We have a great selection of breakfast sausages here in South, some are hot and spicy, others have a milder flavor and are filled with herbs and you even get the sweeter sausages that have maple syrup in them.  Because of the kids I tend to buy the milder flavored sausage, Emily and Alexia love having sausage for breakfast, James will eat it any way I make it and along with eating it for breakfast I use it in my stuffing for pork chops or dressing.

One of our local grocery stores had a special on pork butt roast and this was the perfect time to try making my own.  Our last attempt at sausage was a success in one way, but James did not like the flavor of them.  Instead of following a recipe this time, I found a few examples online and used them all to come up with something that we would like.  It was a great hit.  James loved it, I think his words were something like; “yum, this is so good, how did you get it to taste so smokey?”  Don’t tell him or the kids that it has several herbs in it or none of them will eat it!

Breakfast Sausage Patties:

2 pounds pork butt, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup Bacon fat choped (I trimmed the fat from a packet of bacon I had in the fridge)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped Thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg

Combine all the above ingredients well and feed it through your meat grinder.
(I used an old fashioned crank grinder and it worked great, as long as you put the blades in the right way around, lessons learned from our last attempt)

Refrigerate the ground sausage for an hour or longer then form the breakfast patties.  The recipe makes about 20 small patties.  You can either fry them up immediately or freeze them for later use.

I froze 12 of them, we had 4 for brunch and I have 2 more in the fridge waiting to be used to stuff pork chops or turned into dressing.

I am off to the grocery store to buy another pork butt to make more sausage for the freezer.  I was also thinking of  changing the recipe up a bit and making sausage links for a sausage and mushroom dish that I make.  This is another grocery item that I no longer need to buy,  I get to control what goes into the sausage, no preservatives, no fillers, just the good stuff.

PostHeaderIcon Sandwich Bread

Years ago I found this recipe on the back of a King Arthur bag of flour and I have made it ever since.  This is one loaf of bread that always comes out really well.  The only problem with it is that half the loaf gets eaten within minutes of it coming out of the oven!  I have made it twice this week and plan to make a third loaf on Sunday.  Between the Ciabatta bread and this loaf I really have no reason to buy bread any longer.  Here is the link to the recipe and a few pictures of the bread baked in my kitchen.

King Arthur Flour – Classic Sandwich Bread Recipe


For this recipe I used 2 cups of All purpose flour and 1 cup Whole wheat flour.  My second loaf was half white and half wheat and it came out just as great.


After an hour of rising the dough goes from looking like this to ….




After another hour of rising.


The loaf.  Isn’t it pretty!!  I LOVE bread, the smell, the taste just the process is magical…. well scientific actually, but it feels like magic.


No words…….aaahhhhh

PostHeaderIcon No-knead ciabatta bread


My mom and sister have been visiting us for a month from South Africa and although we did a lot of cooking, eating and generally having a great time around the table, there was no time for blogging about it.  Life is back to normal now and I am ready to try a few new things.

Last night while looking through a copy of Cooking light magazine (thanks to my 2 free trial issues) I saw a delicious looking sandwich made with ciabatta bread and roasted veggies.  I figured since I have not had much luck with my sour dough bread and ciabatta bread is already flatter than normal sandwich breads it would be a good intro back to bread making.  I came across this blog called Foodwishes and it a has a great little video attached that shows you exactly how to make a no-knead ciabatta bread.   The blog has everything that you need to make this bread and the video is a hoot so I did not take many pictures of the process, just a few of the final bread and what I ate for lunch today.


This was a very easy bread to make and the taste is fantastic! The crust is hard and chewy and the inside is soft with loads of air bubbles.   Emily (my soft white bread lover) gobbled it up and asked for more.  I ate it for lunch with last nights left overs.  A tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar salad on one slice and left over pork, and roasted veggies on another.  The kids ate theirs with a generous amount of homemade butter.


The Recipe:
4 cups bread flour or 3 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients using a spatula until you have a sticky wet dough.  Depending on the temperature of your house let it rise between 12-18 hours.  I left mine for 18 hours in a very hot house and it did not over-rise, so the dough is very forgiving.

After the 18 hours, punch the dough down using the spatula and transfer to plastic wrap or as I did parchment paper.

The only thing that I did differently, (it made things a little easier) is using parchment paper.  Instead of shaping the dough on plastic wrap and later transferring it to the baking sheet as suggested in the video, I shaped it on parchment paper.  Lightly oil the paper with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal.  Shape the loaf, punching out the air bubbles as you move and shape the dough.

Let the shaped dough rise for 2 more hours on the parchment paper.  Then pull the parchment paper onto your baking sheet, I used a pizza stone, but you can use any cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 ‘F for 35-45 min – mine took about 40 min to get that nice brown color.

This bread will be great with soups and stews during the cold months and a great building block for a rustic hardy sandwich.  You have got to try it, it is so easy!

PostHeaderIcon Thai Veggie and Oats Patties

The girls had oats for breakfast this morning and when I  make oats I always end up with more than I need.  I was looking for a recipe to use the extra oats in and I came across a suggestion to add it to veggie burgers.  Most veggie burgers have mushrooms or beans in them, but since I had neither in the house, I had to come up with my own veggies to put in it. I pulled out the broccoli and figured that was a good start. I also had loads of peppers in the fridge, cilantro, lime and fresh tomatoes from the garden. It seemed like an unlikely veggie burger, but more like a Thai curry so that was my inspiration.  I have been craving a good Thai curry for months now and have not gotten around to making one so this was a good solution. Here is what I did.

2/3 cup leftover cooked oats
1/2 cup broccoli cut into tiny pieces
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow pepper
bread crumbs (enough to firm up your mixture)
1 egg
1 tablespoon cilantro or taste
1-2 teaspoons red curry paste
lime juice to taste
Salt and pepper

Mix together oats, broccoli, tomatoes, onion, peppers, salt, pepper, cilantro, egg, curry paste and a squeeze of lime juice.  The mixture will be very wet, add enough bread crumbs just so that the mixture is firm enough to form patties.  They will still be sticky patties.  Pan fry the patties in a small amount of olive oil or non stick spray if you prefer until they are browned on both sides.  Serve with extra fresh cilantro and lime slices.

I ate mine on a slice of firm tomato with the cilantro, lime juice and crushed black pepper.  The flavors were great, I really got my Thai fix with this one.  Tonight I made brown rice as a side to our dinner (this was lunch), so I may try to make these with the left over brown rice as well.

PostHeaderIcon Taco Seasoning

I have a ridiculous amount of dried herbs and spices and when I was looking at a recipe that called for Taco seasoning, there was no way I would run out and buy any.  Instead I looked online for ideas to make my own.  I found many recipes that were similar in ingredients, but with different amounts.  I ended up blending my own amounts to come up with one that works for us.  I had to tone the heat down a little since I am catering for little ones tastes as well as adults.

Here is my recipe for Taco seasoning and the recipe that I used it in tonight.

Taco seasoning

4 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoons paprika (increase to 2 tablespoons for adults)
6 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper (use up to 4 teaspoons if you are making this for adults)

Mix all of the ingredients together until combined.  Store it in an airtight container.  The recipe makes 4 servings.

Salsa Chicken
There is no real recipe to this one.  I took 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Sprinkled them generously with the Taco seasoning on both sides.  Place the chicken in a oven proof dish and cover with salsa.  Bake in a 350′F oven for 25 minutes covered with foil.  Remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese (I used a cheddar and mozzarella blend).  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve on rice along with sour cream and tortilla chips.

This is my new “need to make dinner fast” meal.  Our grocery stores have regular specials on salsa and I am all stocked up.  It would cost me twice as much to make the salsa myself and since it is an all natural product I don’t feel too bad that it is a convenience food.

PostHeaderIcon Sourdough Bread Round 2

I have had my sourdough break and am ready to jump back in with both feet.  The last week I spent getting my starter pet back to health again and within 3 days it was looking healthy and frothy after a feeding.  I actually managed to make a half decent loaf of bread, it was not very risen, but it gave me hope that a successful sourdough bread may still be in my future.  Here is a picture of the first bread I made yesterday.  James and I ate most of it as soon as it came out of the oven at about 9:30 pm.  The rest he had for lunch at work.

Today I made another loaf , but it was very flat.  I think my problem is not the rise of the sourdough since you can see from the second picture below, the sourdough gets a good rise.  I think it is that I am making the dough too soft, not adding enough flour to give it substance to rise.  I have another starter proofing right now and hope to have better success tomorrow.

I used this recipe to make the bread and will continue to try it a few more times before I give up on it.


This was after the first kneading.


After 3 hours this is what it looked like.


My poor little disk of a bread.  It was very tasty and the girls and I each had a slice to eat.  However I could not get over the fact that it was very flat so I turned it into….


…croutons.  I cut the bread up into blocks and tossed them into herbed olive oil.  They are now in the dehydrator and will stay in there until the morning.  The girls and I love salads with croutons we also add them to our soups and Emily has already asked me to make vegetable soup tomorrow (yes in this heat).

Tomorrow I continue my quest for the perfect (or at least more than 2″ high) sourdough bread!

PostHeaderIcon Lemon Balm and Mint Tea

I drink a lot of hot tea. Mostly Rooibos (red tea) and Ceylon and I drink both with milk and honey on most days.  I can drink up to 4 cups a day in the summer and in the winter this number goes way up.

This afternoon I felt like a cup of tea, but was looking for something different. I have Lemon Balm growing in a flower garden, but I mainly grow it for the fragrance and never really gave it much thought as to what I was going to do with it. It is growing like a weed and I do not like the idea of cutting it back without using the leaves so I made a cup of tea from it today along with chocolate mint that I have growing in a pot. I loved it and will definitely be making more tomorrow. The lemon, mint and hint of chocolate was so good together, I was happy that I tried this one. Here is what I did.

Lemon Balm and Mint Tea

10 lemon balm leaves
1 spring of mint

I have the most adorable little cup strainer that fits right into a cup for the tea to steep in, but do you think that I could find it today? So I pulled out my coffee plunger and made my tea in there. It worked really well though.  I let the leaves steep for 3-5 minutes, poured the tea into a cup and let it cool a little more before I drank it.


In my search for recipes using Lemon Balm I came across one for Lemon balm cheese cake.  I may need to try that one day.

PostHeaderIcon Sourdough starter pet

One of the sourdough websites that I have been reading refers to a sourdough starter as a pet.  I think this is such an apt description since you are constantly feeding and allowing it to rest and taking care of it as you do a pet.  For the last 3 days I have had my little pet eating, growing and sleeping in the kitchen and it seems to be doing very well.

The first time that I tried to start a sourdough pet, it was a total disaster.  I had more mold growing than bacteria and the two are enemies when it comes to sourdough starters.  So when I inquired on a Natural living forum about sourdough, the same lady who gave me my SCOBY offered to give me a sourdough starter.  It has been stored in the fridge and not fed for some time and needed to be revived, but that I read was much easier to do than to start your own so I was happy to give it a try.  Information about sourdough starters are also sketchy on the internet.  There are many people who make it, but everyone has different advice so it was hard to sort through all the information.  Fortunately this pet came with a great internet link that has been very easy to follow.  Here is a photo diary of my new pet.

This is what the starter looked like on day 1
This is my first attempt at reviving it.  I took 1 tablespoon of starter, 1 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup of warm water (75′F), mixed it together and let it proof for 24 hours.
Here is what it looked like after 24 hours.  When I saw the amount of bubbles and smelt the aroma, I was excited.  I was convinced that my pet was now ready to make bread.  I searched online and found that this was only the beginning stage of reviving the starter so I let it rest in the refrigerator for 12 hours then, I gave it one more feeding and let it proof.
Now there is a visible foam layer on the top along with lots of bubbles throughout the starter.  Tomorrow morning I will evaluate it again and see if I can finally make my first ever sourdough bread.

PostHeaderIcon Sun dried tomatoes and dressing recipe

I have four tomato plants growing, two are in a tiny little garden and two are planted in pots around the outside of the house.  The kids and I tend to pick and eat the cherry tomatoes as they ripen and the roma tomatoes we keep for salads, sandwiches or other meals.  The tomato plants have been yielding a good supply lately and the kids and I are about as filled up on then as we can be, so it was time to look for ways to preserve or use them before they went bad.  I thought of making a pot of tomato sauce for pizza and pasta, but there were not enough tomatoes for that so I made sun dried tomatoes instead.

This was my first time and I liked the way they came out.  Instead of the basic sun dried tomatoes that requires no additional ingredients brushed them with a little garlic oil and dried basil to give it extra flavor.  I loved the result so much that I had to make a dressing immediately to eat on my salad.  It was wonderful!  I have posted both the sun dried tomato recipe and the dressing below.

Sun dried tomato recipe (no one really dries them in the sun right?)
Tomatoes (Roma work well)
Garlic oil
Dried or fresh herbs (I used basil)


Start by cutting the tomatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the fleshy part and it should look like the picture below.
I mixed the Oregano and oil together and brushed the tomatoes with the oil a little goes a long way, do not make them soggy, they just need to have a sheen.  Then, placed them in the dehydrator over night.



Here is the final result.  Since this was my first time I did not want to make a big batch in case they did not work well, but they came out great.  I already have 5-6 halves soaking in garlic oil for my dressing in the above picture.  I make the garlic oil by peeling fresh garlic cloves and placing them in olive oil.  I use both the oil and the cloves as I need them.  The remaining tomatoes I will store in an airtight container to use on my pizza next Friday and I was thinking of making a sun dried tomato and herb loaf and sun dried tomato and basil omelet.

Sun dried tomato dressing:
5-6 sun dried tomatoes soaked in 1/4 cup olive oil for a few hours (the tomatoes and oil both go in the dressing)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (you could start with less if you prefer)
1/4 -1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
3 fresh basil leaves (use dried herbs if you prefer)

Mix the ingredients together in a blender until finely blended.

This was really very good.  I had the dressing on a salad with lettuce, spinach, olives and croutons.  I wish I had feta or farmer’s cheese to put in the salad as well, but we finished that last week so it is time to make cheese soon.

Emily, my 5 year old just wanted croutons and olives and poured the dressing on and ate that as part of her lunch today.

If you do not have a dehydrator you can make this in your oven, by placing the tomatoes on a cookie sheet or even better on a metal cooling rack on a cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven at 200′F for about 6-12 hours.


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