Well, this was supposed to be a "Finish it up Friday" post, but I just didn't get to it this week…grrr…though I did manage to finish drawing all the sewing lines on the citrus charms for the table topper I first mentioned here.
I also managed to clean up the mess I have been making on the kitchen table, so I can finally get back to some actual sewing!!!
I had two, yes TWO, foodie flops this week…arggh! The above casserole was a Velveeta cheese recipe I have been wanting to try. I decided to make a basic cheese sauce instead of using the Velveeta…wrong!!! Then the Hubs said he wanted chicken in it too. I thought that would be okay, so I sauteed up a couple of chicken breasts and chopped them into the casserole dish. This recipe also calls for medium salsa. Really, it is basically 3 ingredients-Velveeta, cooked pasta, salsa and a few spices…how could I get it so wrong??? My guys liked it, but to me it tasted weird, and not in a good way. Maybe it was because I had been thinking about using the Velveeta and the real cheese sauce tasted different…who knows…I sure won't be using that recipe again.
Fast forward to two days later…I got a craving for Sloppy Joes and didn't want to use the crappy powder mix you can buy in the store. No, I wanted it to be more healthy and less chemically…wrong, wrong, wrong!!! I searched for a recipe online and found one with mostly whole ingredients. So, I cooked it all up and called everybody for supper. O.M.G., it was awful…really gross. BLECK!
The recipe called for some vinegar(which I did think was odd at the time) and some brown sugar. There was no chilli powder mentioned, so I just added some. Well, the chilli powder was the only thing that tasted good! The mix was vinegary and overly sweet, all at the same time. UGGGG!
We had sandwiches for supper.
I am banished from using recipes I find online for a while. (OOPS!!!)
We went to Costco this week, and among other things I picked up a big package of lean hamburger meat, and a couple of jumbo cans of diced tomatoes. I did the math before we went and there is the equivalent of 3.5 x 28 oz. cans in one jumbo one(100 oz.) at Costco. So, it is way cheaper to purchase the jumbo can and divide it up into 3 freezer bags, than it is to buy 3 x 28 oz. cans. There is a lot less packaging used as well.
The next day I set myself to making up a jumbo batch of spaghetti sauce base.
Here's my recipe and cost breakdown…in CA$:
4 lbs. lean hamburger meat(~$15)
1 jumbo can of diced tomatoes($4)
3 cans of tomato paste($1 ea=$3)
1 20 ox. can tomato sauce( $2)
1/3rd of a jar of roasted red peppers(on sale $3, so $1), chopped*
4 onions($1), chopped
half a bunch of celery($2), chopped
4 cloves of garlic(in house), grated
pepper, half a handful of italian spice mix, 1 T pepper flakes(all in house)
* I use roasted red peppers in the jar as fresh red peppers are overly expensive here at this time of the year.
Total cost $28.00
Here's some basic instructions:
Cook hamburger in large skillet. Transfer well-cooked(i.e.: no pink showing) hamburger to a large plate lined with several paper towels to drain out some of the fat. Saute the chopped onions and celery in the skillet with the leftover fat. Pour the entire contents of the can of diced tomatoes into a very large pot. Add your tomato paste, tomato sauce, chopped roasted red peppers, sautéed onions and celery, grated garlic and spices.
Bring the ingredients in the pot to a simmer, stirring everything together. You can see that I have 2 spoons in the pot; I find it much easier to mix/stir such a heavy sauce with a spoon in each hand, stirring two figure-eights. Once all of your ingredients are well-mixed, add the cooked and drained hamburger meat. Now here comes the long part! Stir the contents of the pot, while at medium-high heat. Keep stirring till the sauce starts to boil…this will take a while, so put on a CD of your favourite tunes-I am partial to Frank Sinatra while I am at the stove! Once the sauce boils, turn the temperature down and let simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring often.
Now your spaghetti sauce base is done! Let cool on the stove(or you could spread it out in a large lasagna pan so it will cool faster). Once totally cool, separate into 4 large zip-style freezer bags(I use my 2-cup pyrex to do this). Flatten the bags full of sauce somewhat and pop into the freezer. The reason you flatten it out is so it freezes quicker and it also defrosts quicker(just in case you forgot to take something out of the freezer for supper)!!!
We used a quarter of the base for supper that night, so now have 3 in the freezer. The reason I call it a "base", is because you are going to want to add a 20 oz. can of spaghetti sauce to the base when you warm it up, to make a nice rich sauce.
So, for cost per meal for a family of 4(we are 3, but had more than enough leftover for the Hubs' giant lunch the next day) would be $12, as below:
Base $28/4= $7
Spag sauce tin $2(but is often on sale)
Garlic bread $2
..not a bad price..a good meal and healthy too!
What do you think about FREE food? Like it??? Last post I told you how to save your herbs before they go bad, and today I'll show you how to make FREE vegetable stock!
Did you know that every time you cut up vegetables for supper, or as an ingredient for a certain dish, you are throwing food away? You cut the tops and bottoms off of celery, carrots & etc. and throw them away. Same goes for vegetable and fruit peels.
The next time you have to prepare some veggies, you can follow this neat trick…put all the off-cuts into a zip-style freezer bag, and keep it in your little freezer on the top of the fridge. That way it is readily accessible and you won't forget about it. You can do the same with peels(though not citrus or banana…that would be yucky) too, as long as you clean the vegetable first! I also add cut up apples, herbs that are a little old and anything in the crisper that is starting to go off. I just cut the nasty bits off and throw it all into my freezer bag. The above bag only took about a week to fill!
So, what do you do with it? Make vegetable stock!
Fill a large pot with water, empty your frozen veggie bag into the water and put it on high heat. Then you can add some pepper corns, several bay leafs and a little bit of red pepper flakes. Let it boil for at least 30-45 minutes. Then put a large, empty container in the sink and position a sieve or strainer on top of it. Carefully pour the vegetable stock over the strainer. Discard the cooked vegetable ends. Now you have a lovely stock, with no chemicals or salt to use when you make chicken soup or anywhere you would need to use a cooking stock. I like using this broth to cook rice in, instead of plain water!
I found a few FREEBIES around the web and though you might like them too!
Craftsy has a lot of FREE little classes(I like Bag-making Basics by Kristen Link) and e-guides(like the one about using your scraps)…just waiting for you to enjoy. It's a great was to try out Craftsy before purchasing to see if you like it(though I am sure you will).
If you do find a class that you'd like to purchase, the greatest part is that you will own it forever and can keep on going back to watch it for as many times as you like! I know I have gone back to Playful Piecing by Camille Roskelly more than a few times!!!
There are several e-guides and mini-classes on quilting/sewing/crafts too, but I thought you might like to check these ones out(all are completely FREE):
Food & Cooking
This is a FREE online magasine-sharing site. Check it out!!!
http://www.issuu.comJust enter what you are looking for in the SEARCH window at the top of the page. I found several quilting/sewing/embroidery/crafts titles and I am still looking! You just create a free account and save the titles you like so that you can look at them later…cool eh?
Sew Sister's Quilt Shop has all their Christmas fabric at 40% off!
Select patterns are 40% off! I'm loving that Giggles pattern by Jaybird Quilts! But then again, I am a real Jaybird junkie!!! I have 3 of her rulers and several patterns.
Don't forget their awesome Clearance section, where prices average $7.99(CA$) a meter!
Check out their value-priced shipping:
Don't forget to enter my Sew Sister's giveaway here!
Giveaway is closed and has been awarded. Thanks!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!