Saturday, March 24, 2018

Restaurant Copycat Bacon Lentil Soup

A friend and I used to love to meet for lunch on Mondays to enjoy a bowl of bacon lentil soup and a slice of the restaurant's famous cheesecake.

So, when times changed and our visits didn't often occur on Mondays, I started searching for a way to make that tasty soup at home.  This is what I came up with.

Several slices of bacon chopped into small pieces ( or some leftover Easter ham)
2 cups chopped onion
2 carrots diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or equivalent of garlic powder
12 cups of chicken broth.  I used homemade.  You could use bouillon cubes.
1/2 Tbs. Thyme
1/2 tsp.  ground celery
1 1/2 c. Lentils. (As they cook they will be absorbing some of that broth)

Put all ingredients in your crockpot and cook overnight or all day.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easy eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a wonderful Easter brunch.  And it doesn't have to be hard to make.

First, toast three English muffins and butter.

Heat up thin slices of ham and place on muffin halves.

Poach six eggs (I use a microwave poacher).

Put one egg on each muffin.

Prepare some blender hollandaise sauce.

Blender hollandaise:

3 egg yolks, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne
Combine in a blender, blending until light in color then slowly blend in  10 Tbs of melted butter.

Spoon sauce over each half and serve.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 1-15: Buying and Eating

We have $381.30 allocated for the month to cover the cost of groceries and meals eaten out for the two of us.  We also have a cushion of $498.91, with $172.31 being from this year, of money allocated but not yet spent.

What We Ate:  Buffalo chicken dip with homemade toasted tortilla chips, Italian green beans,  Mexican fried cheese and strawberries; tilapia with Parmesan crust, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce, grilled asparagus;  sausage in sauce, garlic cheese bread, Italian green beans, zucchini pancakes, chocolate-peanut butter protein pancakes;  Mexican hamburgers and leftover vegetables;  Dutch oven roasted chicken, cranberry sauce, fried green beans, salad and homemade chocolate pudding; Chicken Paprikash Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; leftovers for Sandy; leftover smorgasbord; eggplant Parmesan, asparagus, roasted cauliflower and broccoli; Thai red chili chicken and vegetables curry with Asian onion pancakes and strawberries; venison, spinach and feta pie, salad; boneless pork chops, cheddar and cabbage bake, asparagus, blueberries; ham, green beans, beets, garlic cheese bread; chicken Paprikash Soup from the freezer, cheese bread, frozen strawberries

What We Bought:

Aldi:  eggs (4), Romaine lettuce, cucumber, Bleu cheese, Parmesan cheese, strawberries (2), grape tomatoes, sweet peppers (3)   $18.27

Giant Eagle:  cheese (11pkgs)  $20.68

Price Rite:  Goya beans (3), cabbage, celery (3), hotdogs, roasting chicken (7.5 lbs), cheese (3pkgs)  $15.29

Aldi:  peanuts, almonds, cream (2)   $10.86

Giant Eagle:  Chobani yogurt drink. Free with coupon

 Price Rite:  cheese (10pkgs),  olives, roaster chicken, bacon, corned beef point cut, fresh garlic (2 lbs).  $44.71

Aldi:  Greek yogurt, Pam, cream. $7.17

Whole Foods:  yeast. $1.50

Bread Store:  rye bread, cinnamon raisin bread, English muffins, everything bagels (2)  $4.55

Sam's:  yeast (2#)  $4.78

Total spent on groceries: $123.81

Eating Out:
Lunch with Jim and Robin:  $20.59
Mike Barstool Sailing:  $7.47
Lunch with Girls:  $10.66

Total spent eating out:  $38.71

TOTAL this two week period:  $218.78

We stocked up on cheese, taking advantage of some good sales.  I also invested in quite a bit of meat, including 2 roasting chicken and a corned beef.
Over the next two weeks I will looking to be investing in a ham or two, maybe some butter if it's on special and eggs which are almost always on special around Easter.  Of course, there is always asparagus, the taste of spring.

For the rest of the month I have $218.78 of the monthly allotment remaining.  If necessary, I will go into the cushion of $498.91, $172.31 of which comes from this year.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Low Battery Diet

I inadvertently started a new diet yesterday.

When I stepped on our digital scale it told me I had lost 17 pounds in 24 hours!

Boy did I like the look of that number!

However, I have a feeling I will be gaining it all back very quickly.

Mike is going to replace the batteries today.

I have a sinking feeling the number won't be nearly as nice.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Irish Chocolate Cake: Made Easy With a Mix

I found a recipe for a scrumptious chocolate cake with coffee, Irish whiskey, and dark chocolate chips.  It sounded wonderful but time consuming.  So, I decided to simplify it.

In December, I bought some cake mixes at a great price.  One of them was for a Devil's Food cake.  So, that is where I started.

One chocolate cake mix
1 cup Irish whiskey (to take the place of the liquid called for in the recipe, don't worry, the alcohol cooks out leaving only the flavor)
2 Tbs. Instant coffee granules
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix and bake as directed on the box, adding the chocolate chips at the end of the mixing.
Sift confectioners sugar over the top of the cooked cake.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Homemade Asian Feast

Going through the freezer I discovered some peeled halos, an orange and some citrus peels.  My brain immediately went to Asian cuisine.  Using several recipes as a base, this is what I came up with.

Orange Rice Salad:

3 servings cooked rice. ( I had some in the freezer to use up)
1 orange, peel and all, zapped in the food processor
1/4 cup sugar
One fourth onion, chopped fine
Red or orange pepper, chopped fine
Tablespoon of sesame oil
Dash of vinegar
Crushed red pepper to taste
Halo orange sections

Mix all together.  Can be served cold as a salad or heated through to use as a warm side dish.

Orange Glazed Shrimp:

5 halo oranges, with peel, zapped in the food processor
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbs sesame oil
Dash of soy sauce
Crushed red pepper to taste
1 Tbs. Corn starch

Mix all together and cook until thick.

I cooked some battered shrimp and then tossed them in the sauce to coat.
This turned out really well.

Sesame Peas:

Frozen peas
Dash of soy sauce
1 /2 tsp sesame oil

Mix and cook in microwave.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Homemade Snack Mix: All the Taste, Half the Cost

50 ounces of Chez Mix costs about $5 when homemade or about $10 when bought at Wal-Mart.

  And, homemade has no preservatives or other ingredients you can't pronounce.

We also like to tell ourselves it's healthier than other snacks.  (Leave us with our delusion.)

I tweak what I put into it every time I make it, depending on what I have in my cupboards that I manage to get good sale prices on.

Today I used a box of rice chex ($1.50),  a box of cheerios (50 cents), a bag of pretzels (99cents), and a box of cheese crackers ($1.44).  Add some butter, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, cook slowly in the oven and enjoy.

Get creative with what you use.  Your imagination is your only limit.  Bagel chips?  Goldfish crackers?  Nuts?  Dry roasted edamame or garbanzo beans?  Small size wheat crackers?

I'm already planning the next batch.  :)