This week got away from me, I was determined to get a few yard projects finished while the weather was cooperating.  Living in Minnesota, that’s often a rare event!  So, we had a sandwich week, and we’re allowed those now and again.  However, I did try several new recipes this week, regardless.  It won’t be so rounded out, and I didn’t get around to doing an ethnic meal this week-sorry!

Below, you will find recipe ideas and honest reviews, based on what I realistically made for my family within the last week.  These are taken from my Pinterest boards, around the internet, cookbooks, and hand-me-down recipe cards.  Usually, you will also find one ethnic family recipe each week, as well as a grocery-saving tip or two.  In ethnic recipes, I look for a dish that would typically be found in a home other than America; one that other mamas readily make their families, instead of an over-the-top delicacy we often see in restaurants and magazines.  It’s also a fun walk through what are likely their staple ingredients, which widely vary!  If you have an ethnic family recipe you would like me to try, let me know!

BREAKFAST

Roasted Potatoes and Bacon – Here’s a simple and filling breakfast.  Simply chop five or six red potatoes into bite-sizes, and uncooked bacon into half inch strips making them also bite-sized (I used turkey bacon this week, it was half the price as regular bacon, and a lot less salt).  If you like onions, peppers, squash, etc, you can also add those.  Put everything you chopped into a bowl, add black pepper and Italian-type seasoning (like thyme, rosemary, oregano), and enough EVOO to coat everything when tossed.  Pour everything onto a prepared cookie sheet, and roast in a 425 degree oven for a half hour, “roughing” them up at least once halfway through to turn and move them around.

BREAD

After years of this sandwich bread pin from Life’s a Jornie being on my Breads board, I finally got around to try it.  She claims it’s easy, so I obviously had to try it.  Stephanie didn’t disappoint, for a yeasted bread it was pretty darn easy!  I ended up melting the butter in a saucepan and then heating the milk and water in the same saucepan towards the end of the butter melting, because I’m one of those that prefer not to use microwaves.  She has photos of every step, so it’s easy to see the consistency and rising level she’s describing-I LOVE when bakers do that.  I ended up making a lighter loaf and a darker loaf.  We ate the lighter loaf right away (slathered in butter, obviously as our dinner that night), and the darker was sliced into the next day.  I’m usually one for lighter crusts, but actually, the darker was fantastic for sandwiches, and the little hunk we still had on the third day made delicious toast.  A lot of breads boast, but fall short when they crumble in my toaster or rip apart when smeared with peanut butter or mayo.  Not this stuff, it’s going into my weekly rotation!

MAIN DISHES

Chili – Chili is the taco bar of meal making…a little of this, a little of that, you can add this, but skip that!  It’s wonderful for feeding the family when money gets tight, as you don’t really have to follow a recipe.  This week, I grabbed whatever could go into chili that we had on hand, periodically tasted it, and added until it was delicious and the consistency I was looking for.  As long as you know what typically makes up a chili, you can make it however you’d like!

  • Meat or soy product, like chicken, beef, pork, or tofu
  • Tomato product, like canned crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, or ketchup
  • Bean, typically black, red, kidney, pinto, or a white variety like Northern
  • Chopped veggies, such as any variety of pepper, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, or mushrooms
  • Spices, like chili powder, cumin, paprika
  • Liquid to cover ingredients, keep adding as it evaporates or ingredients soak it in.  You liquid could be chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, water, beer, red wine or a combination
  • Some areas prefer a sweeter chili, and add things like “cookie spices” (allspice, cinnamon, and cloves) and bakers chocolate.

Mennonite Rollkuchen – If you’re looking for cheap, easy, or something using leftovers, look no further than the Mennonite culture.  Mennonites are known for their cleverness in being thrifty, and you can tell by their recipes.  I actually made the chili above so I could have leftovers to try these Mennonite Rollkuchen from Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a favorite blog of mine.  It’s a recipe and faith blog produced by ten ladies that put a huge value on hospitality…so you know the food’s good.  I used half and half, because I poorly planned and let the Little drink the rest of the milk earlier in the day.  Don’t think you can cheat by just adding flour until it doesn’t stick…it will make it elastic, and hard to roll out.  As the author says, periodically throw more flour out as you roll it, but not when mixing it.  I overfilled several of mine, so the leftover dough after cutting with the glass (a technique I will always use from now on) had chili on it, so I ended up roughly rolling the leftover dough out, adding a few tablespoons of chili, and rolling it up, like a pinwheel/cinnamon roll and baking it in a 350 degree oven for about twenty minutes.  This dough is delicious…light and lets the leftovers shine.  The chili really toned down in spice, but we didn’t mind.  The Little even gobbled hers up, and although my husband will never eat leftovers, he made really quick work and didn’t leave any leftovers of this!  It didn’t seem like leftovers at all, even though we had had the first round of chili the night before.

Money-saving tip – Homemade bread is the best kept budget secret of our grandparents, and absolutely how they were able to feed large families for less.  A loaf of bread can easily be made for about a quarter, and most recipes make two.  It’s much healthier for a family, because there aren’t preservatives making it possible to sit on a store shelf in pristine condition for a week or more.  It can be frozen, so one can easily spend an afternoon and make bread to last several weeks.  It’s a great filler in any meal, to ensure there’s enough of your main dish to go around.  Whether you choose a yeasted or a variety that doesn’t use yeast, baking your own bread is a huge budget saver and a great health choice.  Plus, who doesn’t LOVE the smell of baking bread or soft warm bread fresh from the oven?

I’ve got some exciting recipes to try this next week, to make up for this week, so come back next Friday!

See last week’s Foodie here.

Have a wholesome week,

Ashley

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