Friday, October 18, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are super yummy.  I make them so often, the ingredients are on the sticky note inside my cabinet with the tortilla recipe. They're from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. However, I disobey him. He says not to bother souring milk, but I find the soured milk version to be super fantastic, and so so much better than spending money on buttermilk that I'm not going to use all of it anyway. But anyhow, here's how much it costs. 


2 Cups Flour - $0.26
1 tsp salt - $0.01
3 tsp Baking Powder - $0.12
1 tsp Baking Soda -  $0.03
5 T Butter, cold, chopped into bits - $0.31
(nota bene - Mark says use 2-5, more being better,
 I'm with him. More. Also, BJ's is awesome - 
I got salted butter for $1.95/pound) 
A jot less than 7/8 Cup of Milk (I use whole) - $0.19 (my gal was 3.18)
1 T Lemon Juice - $0.06

First make the buttermilk by pouring the milk into a liquid measuring cup. Eyeball it, so it's about halfway between 3/4 and 7/8 of a cup. Add the lemon juice and stir. Set aside. Don't take too long moving on, here.

Look, you can see it souring. Cool, huh?

Mix together dry ingredients. Toss in butter pieces and rub between your fingers to mix. Speedy like, cause your hands will melt the butter. Then add in the buttermilk and stir nice and juicy like. 
Pour some flour on a countertop. Wipe the batter onto the flour. Add some more flour to the top, and pat down. Give a cute little girl a glass, and let her shape the biscuits.

Place on non-stick cookie sheets, bake in pre-heated oven at 450 for around 7 minutes. Judge your oven for yourself. Mine has some hotspots, a tendency not to be hot enough, and is gas. So that's mine.

Sorry no picture of done-ones. They get eaten too fast. I like to double the recipe and freeze half. If you do this, make sure to defrost your dough or you get uncooked middles.

Total Cost for 12 Biscuits (1 recipe): $0.98

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pasta Challenge - Week 2 - Shanghai Noodles

Week 2 brings us Shanghai Noodles. This recipe is fantastic, and the leftovers are just as good. We had a ton leftover, and all was gone in two days. We're giving it a 5 out of 5 stars. I also will be adding this recipe to my store of staples, as the price is good as well as the flavor.


6 T oil - $0.18
2-4 T sesame oil - $0.40 (I used 4T)
4 C shredded cabbage (I used a head) - $2.29
1 C chopped green onion - $1.99
16 ounces angel hair pasta - $1.29
4-8 T soy sauce (I used 6 and more at table) - $0.64
8 ounces sliced cooked chicken breasts - $2.46
2 cans bean sprouts - $2.49 (I used only 1 can, as I was running out of space in my wok).
 1 yellow onion - $0.45

This meal is really easy, too, but you have to have a huge pan or a wok if you want to make as much as I did all at once, and if you do, still expect a mess. I made quite a mess on the stovetop. 
First, grab a few chicken breasts and steam them in your rice cooker. If you can't steam 'em, you can saute', broil, or boil them. As you wish. I like the rice steamin' idea, though, as they end up moist and delish if you toss in an onion.

ewww, raw stuff
Cook that angel hair pasta, but not too long at all. Boil the water and stir the pasta about for maybe four minutes. Remember it's going to cook again in the wok.

I liked this brand of pasta. yum

boiley, boiley
For the rest of my cooking experience this meal, I was holding my cute lil yum-tastic baby, so I didn't get any more cooking shots.

Would you deny him mama-time? Super cuteness.
Heat the oils in the wok/super big pan. Add the cabbage and chopped green onion and saute for about 10 minutes. Yes, the recipe on says 5, but it's not possible to do so. I'm telling you. There's way too much cabbage to move it all around that fast. Add pasta, soy sauce, chicken, and bean sprouts. (PS - you can totally go sans chicken on a meal-less Friday or just for money saving spectacularness). Stir it about for what feel like you've just done some serious lat-pulling. Then do it some more, so it's all mixed up and even-like. Here's what you get. It'll be sticky and delicious. Sriracha is a fantastic addition if you like spicy. 

oh yes. yum.
Here's what happens if you serve this.

Total Cost for 2 Adults, 2 Children, and 4 leftover lunches and 1 more leftover dinner: $12.19. Imagine no chicken: It moves down to: $9.73.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pasta Challenge! Week 1 - Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

I have received a challenge from my husband to make a new kind of pasta - one I've never made before - every Sunday. Today I begin with something simple, having had to do the shopping and cooking today. This meal is great to make fast, though it has ingredients you probably don't already have stocked, so you have to go to the store. It's also a little pricy, but pretty tasty. Definitely don't use a pound of asparagus. It cost too much, and it was too much asparagus. Oh, and I shopped at Safeway this time, just so you know where my costs come from. Overall, we give it a 3 out of 5 stars. The recipe I used is from Food & Wine


I didn't mention the chocolate in the ingredients, as I ate that separately.
 1 pound Asparagus - $9.08 (yikes!)
3/4 pound Fettuccine - $1.13
1  Cup Heavy Cream - $1.60
pinch nutmeg - $0.02
3/4 tsp salt - $0.01
1/8 tsp ground black pepper - $0.03
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan + more for serving - $2.33 
(We used about a third of a wedge).
Just now I realize I should have tossed some of my fresh
parsley from my window box on to make it extra pretty.
But I didn't.

Everyone waiting for the yum.

This meal is just about the simplest one to make of all meals ever. No, really. First, put some water on to boil your fettuccine in. Then you tear off the bottoms of the asparagus. If you've never cooked with asparagus, it's really easy, you hold the stalk in one hand and with the other, grab the bottom and just snap it off. It snaps off right where it needs to. Then chop them into 1" pieces. Or so. Whatever you like, really.

Go ahead and chop your butter into bits and grate your cheese and have your milk ready. I usually like to use the big grate on my cheese, but since this cheese is part of a sauce, I went for the thin grate.

Look at that lovely mound of cheese and butter. Mmmhmm.

Cook the pasta for 8 minutes. Then add the asparagus straight into the pasta. Real gentle-like.

Be sure to have Darius Rucker singing "Wagon Wheel" stuck in your head the whole time, too. Good song. Drain. Toss in the rest of the ingredients and serve. Ta-Da. Yum. I served mine with bread and olive oil with salt & pepper upon a lovely navy gingham tablecloth. You can use whatever tablecloth you have available, of course.


Total Cost 2 Adults, 2 kids (2 & 6), one lunch serving left over:  $14.20
If I'd gone with half the asparagus, it would have run at a much more reasonable $9.66.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spinach-Cheese Swirls

This recipe is from the back of the Puff Pastry Sheets box (Pepperidge Farm brand).

Ingredients & Prices

1/2 of a 17.3 oz. pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet) - $1.45
1 egg - $0.15
1 Tbsp Water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese (I used MJ) - $0.45
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese - $0.63
1 green onion, chopped - $0.17
1/8 tsp garlic powder (I used 1 clove minced garlic instead) - $0.03
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained - $0.95


Follow instructions for thawing pastry sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix egg and water. 

Lay out pastry sheet and brush with about half of egg mixture, maybe a little less. 

Stir cheeses, onion, and garlic together. Top pastry sheet with cheese mixture and spinach. Roll it up. Good luck. It's hard. Try to get it tight and pinch the ends. Make sure your counter has some flour on it before you put down the pastry sheet. Else, badness ensues. Really.

Slice into 20 1/2 inch slices. I got about 15. 

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Wait for the golden. It's worth it.

Warm or at room temp, yummy.

Sorry that the pictures aren't super crazy awesome. But still, they look yummy. 

Total Price for 15 Spinach-Cheese Amazings: $3.83

We ate these (about half of them) andouille sausage and rice. Today, my five year old and I finished them at lunch. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mark Bittman's Fastest Yeast Bread

Ingredients & Prices

3 Cups Flour - $0.36
2 tsp quick rise yeast - $0.43
1 tsp salt - $0.01
1/4 Cup Olive Oil - $0.44
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt - $0.03
1 Cup Warm Water

Total Cost 1 Loaf Bittman's Bread: $1.27

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday - Things I Haven't Posted


Alright, y'all. I know it, I'm a terrible blogger. I have not been true to you. I even had only one child this whole week and have spent the time chasing the other child, planning, cleaning, and going to Co-op, so I have not posted. As an apology and in effort to keep a reader or two, I will post on all three blogs today. Thanks for hosting Quick Takes, Jen, y'all head over there when you finish with me.


This was last night's white rice fried in veggie oil with onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and kosher salt. The largest expense here would probably be the lime juice. I'd recommend buying limes to save money but the juice in large quantities to save time. It really depends on your kid situation. When my kids are grown, I'll buy limes. We had this for dinner last night with the enchiladas below. My husband and I didn't get much of the rice, since my one year old daughter loved it so much and ate most of it before the sposo got home.

Sorry for the TERRIBLE picture here. I suddenly realized that I ought to be taking a picture, as I had enough stuffing left for one enchilada. These enchiladas were great and cheaper than the pork ones I made. I just used some leftover taco meat and added in fresh ground beef after sauteeing an onion, a clove of garlic, a jalapeno and a half of a green pepper (both from the garden!) in about a tablespoon on butter. Then I tossed in about 2 tablespoons of sour cream to make it more liquidy and about a cup and a half or so of shredded cheddar. I tossed them into warmed up corn tortillas, like before, and covered them in some Old El Paso enchilada sauce. I know. I could make home made sauce. I just have not yet discovered a recipe for ancho sauce/enchilada sauce anywhere near as good as Texas. As Larry's. You know, on the bridge in Richmond? Oh, how I would love to make their sauce. Alas.


Spaghetti with tomato sauce, well seasoned from the garden (basil and oregano from garden) with a hearty-sized garlic clove and butter cooked spinach greens in there somewhere. Super cheap sans meat and the kids looooove it. With even more o's, but I don't want to annoy you.


I made this cake for the first time last Michaelmas (Sept. 29). It came from Catholic Cuisine, one of my favorite websites for Saint Day food ideas. This delicious apple cake is now a tradition. Two years in a row! Not pictured is the fantastic caramel glaze, but you can see that at my other blog on last year's cake.


See that foam standing up on its own? Yum. If you have an espresso machine, I suggest that you let the milk warm on the counter in your steam cup for five to ten minutes (ten better) to get better foam. Just on the counter, don't cook it.  In Italy, when I worked at the capp bar on campus, the milk wasn't even refrigerated. It was boxed milk kept in the closet. Wild, eh?


This is PW's chicken fried steak with our own garden green beans (we didn't get many) and my very own heavy butter and creamed mashed sweet taters. So delish. The steak was very time consuming and hands on, but the result was worth it, and if you can catch the meat on sale, it's cheap. You have all of the ingredients, save the steak, on hand already. Promise.


This was some really awesome pizza my husband made. That's bbq sauce swirled on top of the green peppers, cheese, banana peppers, and jalapenos. (last two garden) The only problem is the cheese. Cheese is super expensive. I'm in search of an alternate cheese that tastes as good as mozzarella. I bought some super cheap store brand mozz, but it stayed hard after melting. It tasted kinda papery. Yuck. Let me know if you find the awesome and inexpensive cheese. Or should I just buy that at Sam's? I haven't before, but mayhaps...can you freeze cheese?


I was planning on entering a contest with this roast, but I didn't get a picture of it after it was done. Super delicious. I got the roast on sale at Bottom Dollar for like $3 for a good 2 1/2 pounds. Sweet. There's freshly chopped celery, potatoes, and carrots, basil, rosemary, and oregano from the garden, and chicken broth (only about a cup), water, lemon juice, a tiny bit of soy and a couple of decent squirts worth of Worchestershire sauce. Also, of course, kosher (my new love) salt and about ten peppercorns and three bay leaves. 

and one to grow on 

Farfalle pasta with "pestish" - that means it was supposed to be pesto, but I failed. I put a bunch of basil, parm, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in, but too much cheese and NO PINE NUTS! What in the world was going through my mind!? Anyhow. It was still okay, but really needed the pine nuts and ... olive oil. I used butter and it was too thick, as you can see, tons of the noodles were dry. Sad times. Ah well. I promise to post again in the next week. No idea topic, but I will not leave you high and dry.