April 10, 2016

My Simple Method for Cooking Beans from Scratch

Easy Method for Preparing Dried Beans from Scratch

I just love beans, I really do. They are a good source of plant-based protein, with the added bonuses of being tasty and economical. While I always keep beans on hand in my pantry in both canned and dried versions, my favorite approach to cooking with beans is to cook dried beans in big batches, then store them in smaller, convenient portions in my freezer.  I find this to be a cheap and easy way to have quick access to beans for use in soups, stews, chili, side dishes, salads, and for stretching out the ground meat in recipes.

February 22, 2016

Cuban-Style Picadillo

Easy Cuban Picadillo (Ground Beef Stew)

I find that ground beef recipes are always real time-savers in the kitchen, and frequently turn to them when I need to get something on the table fast. And while ground beef isn't super-cheap the way it has been in days gone by (and this is probably a good thing), when you make it casserole-style, or serve it with a pile of rice and vegetables, it can still be a frugal meal. Ground beef recipes tend to be flexible, too, so if beef isn't your thing, or you don't have any on-hand, you can always substitute another ground meat, like turkey or lamb. You can often even make a decent vegetarian meal from a ground beef recipe by substituting cooked lentils, or other meat substitute. 

February 5, 2016

How to Not Waste Tomato Paste (Without Buying it in a Tube)

How to not waste an open can of tomato paste

Tomato paste is an essential part of my pantry storage. It gives great, concentrated tomato flavor to so many recipes, but only takes up only a little bit of space on the shelf. The down side of tomato paste, of course, is the waste. It’s only very rarely that I will use an entire six-ounce can of tomato paste in one recipe (mainly spaghetti sauce and big pots of chili).

January 22, 2016

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup


"Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?"
-Lewis Carroll

A steamy bowl of soup for supper on a cold winter evening is truly a beautiful thing. When it's made in a slow cooker, with only minimal effort, it's even better. This time of year is the worst for me - the short, chilly days, and long, dark nights. Even in the deep south, we get more cold weather than suits my taste. Plus, let's be honest here, as much as I love the holidays, they can be exhausting. There is the cooking, the shopping, parties, visiting with family and friends. I'm really just now starting to recover. My energy is low and something easy, homey and comforting is exactly what I crave.
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