Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard 12/1

I can't believe today is the first of December.  I am sure many have been feasting on leftovers from Thanksgiving and also squirreling some away in the freezer for later on.  I didn't cook at home this year, went to DD's, so I had no leftovers and sure miss them.

Friday when everyone was eating leftovers, we had leftovers also but some of the pork roast that we had last week.  Made a sweet and sour pork over rice.  It wasn't bad but Norma please don't look.  Had enough left over that one meal was put up for a TV dinner for some night in the future.  Cost $1.29  Green Peppers came from the freezer.
The TV Dinner that includes a Roll.  So guess I did have some leftovers from Thanksgiving

  Sweet and Sour left over pork
    3 cups cooked pork, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 large egg
    1/2 tablespoon flour
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup pineapple juice
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1 teaspoon soy sauce
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, well drained (reserve juice)
    2 cups cooked rice

    1 Toss pork pieces with salt and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
    2Mix egg and flour to make a batter.
    3 Dip pork pieces into batter with slotted spoon.
    4 Fry in hot oil until nicely browned.
    5 Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
    6 In a deep skillet, mix sugar and cornstarch; stir in water, pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce and vinegar.
   7 Bring to a boil, sirring constantly, until thickened.
   8 Continue cooking and stirring for two minutes.
   9 Add green pepper and onion; cook for five minutes.
 10   Add pineapple chunks and pork pieces and simmer, uncovered, for six to eight minutes or until pork pieces are heated through.
I didn't have any pineapple chunks so used a small can of pineapple juice and used all cornstarch no flour.

Weekends I have to prepare lunches for my brother.  Saturday I made a creamy turkey soup from turkey stock I had in the pantry.  The stock had meat in it also.  A carrot from the garden, a quarter of an onion and should have been a stalk of celery however the most mortal sin of all there was no celery in the house.  However I dry all the leaves from my celery so rehydrated some of them, a hand full of thin egg noodles and 1/4 c of my condensed cream soup mix had bologna in the freezer I had gotten on a managers special for $.99 for 12 oz. so all in all a very inexpensive lunch for 2 days.

Saturday night dinner was open face Reubens made with left over corned beef from last weeks boiled dinner, home made sauerkraut, home made Thousand Island Dressing, a loaf of rye bread from the freezer and swiss cheese that was bought for a big gathering in September.  Since the cost of the meat has already been declared the balance of the meal was about a $1.00.

We went all out for Sunday dinner.  Filet Mignon with red wine sauce, Baked Potato and pan roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon glazed in balsamic vinegar.  Only thing from the garden was the Brussels Sprouts from a year ago.  Cost $3.25
 Monday night tacos sounded good so decided to make my own taco shells.  It was an experience but they were edible.  Got as far as making the tortilla but then it went a little downhill on making them into taco shells.  Will try a different method next time with the tortilla shells that are now in the freezer.  They were not worthy of a picture but the total cost was about $3.00 for dinner for 2.

Make your own taco seasoning.

Taco Seasoning Mix

3/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. each cornstarch, crushed dried red pepper,
dried minced garlic, ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and seal in ziploc or vacuum seal bag (or jar).

To Use: 2 T Mix, 1/2 c. water & 1 lb ground beef, simmer altogether.

Taco Bell's Hot taco sauce

1 6-oz can tomato paste
3 cups water
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
2 tablespoons canned jalapeno slices ("nacho slices")

1. Combine the tomato past with the water in a saucepan over medium
heat. Stir until smooth.

2. Add the cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, cornstarch, vinegar,
and dried onion. Stir.

3. Chop the jalapeno slices very fine. You can use a food processor,
but don't puree. The best kind of jalapeno to use are those bottled
for nachos or pizza. Add them to the mixture.

4. Heat the mixture to boiling. Continue to stir about 3 minutes and
remove from the heat.

5. Let the sauce stand until cool, and then put in a tightly sealed
container and refrigerate. This will last 1 to 2 months. Makes 3-1/2

Tuesday DB had the rest of the corned beef in another Reuben Sandwich so no real cost there and I had Linguini with white clam sauce.  Total cost for the Linguini was $4.50 but there are 3 meals in the freezer for another time.  Also had brown and serve rolls from the freezer with a garlic cheese spread for an Italian bread.

Wednesday is usually my night not to cook since DB is out to dinner that night.  I just made myself a hot hamburger sandwich and french fries smothered in gravy and fried onions. Cost $1.00

The manager's specials were good to me this week.  Got 1 1/2 pounds of white mushrooms for $2.97 and that is about what 1/2 pound normally cost.  The went into the dehydrator immediately.  Also got 2 lovely red peppers for $.87.  Didn't weigh them by a pound is about $2.49.  Here are the peppers.
Didn't use a lot from the garden this week but all came from the freezer or pantry and were originally purchased on sale.  Also the use of homemade mixes make meal getting easy and much less expensive than the prepackaged stuff.

Don't forget to visit The Gardener of Eden and see what others are cooking from their cupboards this week. 


  1. I continue to be impressed by your ingenuity.

  2. Thanks Marcia, it is a matter of survival. I once promised myself no matter how short I am on money, I will always be warm and will always eat well if I have nothing else at all. So far I have been able to keep that promise to myself and these are the only 2 materialistic things I need are my nice warm house and food.

  3. You are something wilderness! You post such great recipes!

    I freeze all of my celery leaves and small stalks and use them in cooking. They work very well. I really should have dried some of the leaves though. I guess I will do that next year!

  4. I keep bags of sliced celery in the freezer to use for cooking - it is a great way to have celery, chopped onions, and diced peppers always on hand for cooking. Easy way to put the summer harvests of these items by for later use too. No fuss, no blanching required... just rinse, chop, and freeze.

    Your meals make me hungry reading about them and you are obviously a power shopper too - getting good deals on what you do purchase.

  5. I finally broke down and bought a little taco shell rack that you put in the oven. It does a pretty good job of making baked taco shells. I've never tried frying them.

    I'm with Marcia, you are creative in the kitchen!

  6. Could you can the Hot sauce so it would last longer? That way you could give it as gifts.

  7. Robin, I have never froze celery. I don't grow it and when I buy it I use it right up. I cook with a lot of celery. Glad you like the recipes.

    Laura,I watch food sales like a hawk. Unfortunately I only have one store to shop in so not much choice unless I go to the city 45 miles away and with the cost of gas unless a number of stores have good sales at one time it is not worth the trip for me. However I am thinking of going soon and stocking up on some staples at a discount store there. Need to take pantry inventory first.

    Dave thanks. I live in the kitchen or the garden. I will try frying next time just to see if it helps the texture at all. Do you make your own tortillas. Would be interested especially if you make corn tortillas.

    Anonymous I don't see any reason why you couldn't can it. Would make a great gift. Mine has been in the refrig a lot longer than it suggests and it is still just fine. I use so little of it that I think a batch would last me a year.

  8. what great recipes and some great deals on some equally great looking meals

  9. Mrs. Pickles thanks. Glad you like the recipes. Anyone can have great meals at a reasonable price with a little planning. First is to stay way from prepackaged food. So many young people fall into that trap thinking it is faster and just as good. Granted I spend a lot of time in the kitchen but even when I worked and had a family to feed we ate the same way. Just better time management back then.

  10. Wilderness,
    Your sweetand sour pork over rice sounds delicious. Love your recipes, so creative. You must be a very organized and methodical person.

  11. Sweet and sour pork! Thank you! Now I know what to do with that leftover pork I have! And filet mignon - oh, la la! It looks great, but I was really drooling over the brussels sprouts! They're one of my favorite vegetables! Tacos sound good, too. Love all the dinner ideas I'm getting from you!

  12. Norma glad you liked the pork recipe and other recipes. Organized is so funny, maybe organized chaos might be a better description. Methodical yes I spend a lot of time thinking about what I what and/or should do but accomplish very little of it. As far as creative, when it comes to food maybe.

    Holley that sweet and sour pork wasn't bad. If only I could use a recipe the way it is written but it just ain't going to happen. If I think about it I could go for a month easy and never eat the same meal twice but sometimes get into a rut. When that happens I write out a menu for a whole month. I need to start doing that again.

  13. I thought this post was extremely interesting! I loved that you included your costs of each meal... definitely makes you realize just how much cheaper (and more delicious) home cooked meals are.