admin / March 7, 2011

The Blog-Pancakes

Many of you know that I grew up in London, England and a tradition there is to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday…the day before Ash Wednesday. These aren’t the sort of pancakes you’ll find at IHOP but more like a crepe. My grandmother was the expert in the family at making these tasty treats. I don’t think she ever followed a recipe but had learned everything from watching her own mother make them. Mine never turn out as well as hers but I keep trying. Tomorrow I’ll be serving them for dessert which got me thinking about some of the old food traditions and recipes. Most are made from inexpensive items and very budget friendly. In the case of these pancakes, flour, eggs and milk and then some lemon juice and sugar when you serve them. If you’d also like to try your hand at making them I found this site on YahooUK http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/food-drink/make-pancakes-article-hku7.html

It uses metric measurements but here’s a site that lets you convert everything http://www.botanical.com/botanical/cvcookix.html

And here’s something I saw featured in one of the newsletters I receive.  If you type in your zipcode it will show you local cinemas where they show free screenings of new movies-http://www.gofobo.com/screenings/search 

This week on Budget Smart Girl-why frozen foods can be a budget cook’s best friend and a bargain buy-split green peas, including one of my favorite soups using this inexpensive item.

Have a good week.

admin / February 18, 2011

Bargain Foods-Black Beans

One of my favorite budget foods are beans…and they’re good for you too. No fat,  lots of protein and high in fiber which experts say most of us don’t get enough of these days. Plus, with so many varieties you might never get bored.

Once upon a time I purchased canned beans thinking you couldn’t get much cheaper than that. I had tried dried beans but didn’t like the hassle of soaking them and then standing over the pan to make sure they didn’t boil over on the stove or worse still, stick to the saucepan.

Well, that was until I heard about using the slow cooker. Now I’m hooked and won’t go back to using canned beans other than keeping a few in the pantry for emergency meals.

Slow Cooker to the Rescue

If you have a slow cooker, cooking beans is simple. First of all I wash the beans and then soak them in the slow cooker. Add the beans and enough water to cover them plus about another inch. I let them soak for about four hours then drain and rinse them. I add them back to the slow cooker and add water to cover them plus about 3-4 more inches and let them cook on low for about 6 hours. I’ve been doing this overnight so when I wake up in the morning the beans are cooked and ready for any recipe I want to try.

They Go a Long Way

I estimated that the one pound bag of dried beans I bought for just 99 cents netted about 3 1/2 cans so it’s cheaper and doesn’t take that much time and effort.

Black Beans

This week’s focus is on black beans. They’re great in soups, Mexican dishes and even some stews.

Last week I cooked a one pound back of beans and netted eight black bean and roasted vegetable burgers, a batch of black bean soup for the freezer and some smoky black bean nachos which I’ll give you the recipe for. Not bad for my intial investment of 99 cents.

Black Bean Recipes

There are lots of black bean recipes out there and here is a link to some you might want to try-

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/cat/365/

Smoky Black Bean Nachos

These are easy to make and taste great as an appetizer or even lunch, and if you wanted to make more of a meal you could add chopped leftover chicken too.

1 cup cooked black beans

1 package Tostitos roasted garlic and black bean flavored Artisan tortilla chips

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Hickory Smoked Swiss

2 slices Borden Singles Sensations-Chipotle Chedder

And if you like more cheese 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Sour cream and salsa for dipping

Set the tortilla chips on a baking pan, sprinkle with black beans and tear up the 4 slices of Singles Sensation evenly over the chips, then add the shredded cheese and heat in the oven for about 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until all the cheese has melted.

If you can’t find the Bordens cheese, try tossing the beans with some smoked paprika before adding them to the chips for a smoky flavor, same goes for the chipotle. If you can’t find this cheese trying sprinkling some chipotle seasoning over regular cheese.

Serves 2 as a meal or 4-6 as an appetizer

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