Have a Happy, No Waste New Year!

My oldest son works at a business on our Coastal California waterfront that sells (among other things) cinnamon rolls. He’ll often bring home the leftovers at the end of the day; they can’t be sold the following day, and we share them with neighbors or others. On New Year’s Eve he arrived home with far too many rolls. He’d tried to drop them off at the fire station and police department, but no one was available to accept them. We’re loathe to throw out any food which can be useful.

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This might not look especially appealing, but using cubed, stale cinnamon rolls, eggs, milk, butter and applesauce, I baked up a pan of what I’m calling “Cinnamon-Apple Bread Pudding”. Basically I made two layers of the cubed rolls with pats of butter and applesauce in between, poured three cups of milk, one cup of water and four eggs over all in the greased pan before adding the last layer of applesauce, let sit for just under an hour and baked at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cooled (but still warm), it’s terrific with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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Another option, which I also baked up this morning, is a bit easier. I cut the bottoms and sides off of several cinnamon rolls and arranged them in a well greased baking dish. Next, I poured the entire contents of 2 (14 ounce) cans of pears in light syrup into a blender, added three eggs, blended smooth and poured the liquid over the cinnamon rolls. I covered this and let is sit on the counter until the stale rolls had absorbed most of the pureed liquid.

Because I had about 3 cups of leftover Great Grains cereal in my cupboard, I melted a stick of margarine, tossed the cereal with the butter, and spread the topping over the cinnamon rolls before baking, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Cooled and sliced like cake, this can also be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Either choice is a terrific way to prepare a lower-sugar, high fiber treat for your family, friends or co-workers while utilizing ingredients which might otherwise be discarded.

Best wishes for eating well for less in 2015!

Whether From Garden or Farmer’s Market… Make Your Own Convenience!

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Fall has arrived. Carrots are “in season”… as are potatoes of all sorts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash and so much more! Here’s a tip; one night, as you’re about to settle in for TV while a load of laundry is in the dryer, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, peel, trim and layer carrots in one lasagna sized baking dish. Next, fill another baking dish with scrubbed,skin on potatoes. If you have some fresh cabbage, chop that up and put it into a casserole dish with 1/2 cup of water. cover each dish and roast in your oven for up to one hour. Remove from oven, cool and refrigerate.

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The following evening, cut up your roasted carrots and potatoes. Store half in the refrigerator, and half in your freezer for future recipes. Also, cut up celery and onion, and store that in either your freezer or refrigerator. Then you have the makings of dinner-in-a-flash! Otherwise known as “homemade convenience”.

The onions, potatoes, cabbage and carrots—with meat (or without if you’re vegan)—become anything from a soup or stew in very little time after a long day. Pictured above is a family favorite… German-Style Beef Sausage & Potato Stew. Below is a recipe using whatever sausage (including vegan) and lentil soup…

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Shown includes chopped, fresh kale, and the lentil soup is topped with chopped, hard boiled eggs.

You could also make a mixed vegetable soup or stew with any leftover meat, frozen peas, any other veggies of choice—with or without canned, drained beans—and 8 ounces of pasta for family sized minestrone.

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The bottom line? With very little active time, you can save a lot of money by making your own convenience!

Turkey Isn’t Just For November…

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I started with a sale priced turkey breast that had been nestled in our large freezer for a few months. Thawed in the refrigerator for two days, then rubbed in olive oil, seasoned and roasted at 325 degrees for one and one half hours, the easily sliced meat was first used for grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches on hoagie rolls; that was dinner and lunch for the first bit.

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After carving and storing slices… with clean hands I picked all remaining meat that was easily pulled off, and shredded that into a bowl for a total of 4 cups. The shredded turkey meat was stored in the fridge for an upcoming meal, while the skin and carcass were boiled in 2 quarts of water with about a teaspoon of salt.

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After 30 minutes of boiling, I removed the bones and skin, added 1 pound each of carrots, corn, green beans, peas, 1/2 diced onion, 2 medium, leftover roasted red potatoes (diced), 1 (15 ounce) can of light red kidney beans (drained and rinsed), and 8 ounces of uncooked pasta. That boiled for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables and pasta were tender. One pot of minestrone yields up to three family dinners plus take-to-work lunches from leftovers.

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The shredded turkey was combined with one can of un-drained Ranch Style beans, 4 diced tomatoes and shredded cheddar-jack cheese, wrapped in warmed tortillas, topped with enchilada sauce, sprinkled with the remaining cheese (2 cups of shredded cheese total), covered and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes to make 8 large enchiladas.

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Remaining turkey breast slices were cut into cubes; the meat went into a medium pot with a mushroom soup base, water and 2 tablespoons margarine. That was brought to a low boil, 1/3 of a 16 ounce package of large egg noodles was stirred in, and the mixture cooked over low heat until the pasta was tender (about 12 minutes). I used a scoop ladle to remove about 1/2 cup of liquid that I whisked together with two egg yolks, pouring the mixture back into the pot and stirring. As it thickened somewhat, I stirred in a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and turned off the burner. The sauce thickens as it cools.

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Transferred to a casserole dish, it can be refrigerated and reheated “as is”, or topped first with a buttery bread crumb mixture using leftover bread with butter or margarine. This casserole is easily enough to serve four with lunchtime leftovers for one or two.

One sale priced turkey breast, therefore, provided no less than six family dinners and several lunches! That’s what my coastal cooking blog is all about… making the most mileage from fresh or frozen ingredients, using some store-bought convenience, and making a little convenience of your own. It’s about eating healthy on a budget.