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Archive for July, 2010

I absolutely love the egg sandwiches you can get at various fast food joints.  This summer, my daughter and I have been on a huge kick, eating egg and muffin sandwiches for breakfast, sometimes snacks, and sometimes for lunch.  They are so easy to make and quite inexpensive.  For one sandwich, here’s all you need:

1 English muffin

1 egg

butter to fry egg

cheddar cheese (one slice just slightly smaller than your English Muffin)

one slice deli ham

Have all your ingredients out and ready to go.  Begin heating a small frying pan over medium heat.  Begin toasting muffin in toaster.  Butter your pan.  I just grab a stick of butter and swipe it quickly around your pan.  You can prepare your egg however you prefer.  We like ours scrambled.  I usually just crack the egg into the pan and scramble in the pan.  As the egg starts to set up, begin to scrape it into a pile about the size of your english muffin.  When muffin pops out of toaster, put the cheddar cheese on one side of muffin, then set the other side on top to start softening the cheese.  When your egg pile is set up enough to turn, flip it, and continue cooking until done.  Put egg on top of cheese on muffin, put ham on top of egg, put other size of muffin on your sandwich and you are ready to go!  Yum!!  I can make one of these in just a few minutes and my daughter says they give her a lot of energy to get her through a morning of summer PE.

Here are a few tips:

I shop for English Muffins at the day old bread store (where I also try to buy all my bread).  Last time I was in, they had Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) on English muffins and bagels.  You can’t beat 2 packs of english muffins or bagels for a total of 89 cents – less than 8 cents per muffin.  Stock up – bread products freeze great!

I buy a 2 lb block of cheddar at Sam’s club for about 5 bucks.  It keeps great and is good for snacks and cooking.  I probably use less than 1/2 an ounce of cheese on the muffin sandwiches, so the cheese costs about 8 cents per muffin also.

I really like the Egglands Best Eggs.  We were buying an 18 pack at Sam’s Club for about 3 bucks, but many of my magazines had 50 cent off coupons for EB eggs lately, so I clipped them all.  My Kroger doubles coupons, which results in a 12 pack of Eggland Best Eggs for 1.59.  That works out to about 13 cents an egg.  If you want to buy store brand eggs, you can often get them on sale for about a buck a dozen.

Finally, I have been buying Oscar Mayer prepackaged deli ham.  The round slices work perfectly for these muffins, which is the main use I have for the ham.  One 7 oz. pack can be found on sale for about 3 bucks or less.  There is probably at least 30 slices per container, so about a dime per piece of ham.  They usually have a long shelf life both before and after opening.

So, my total for a muffin would be:  8+8+13+10=39 cents.  Add a penny or two for butter and electricity for toaster and stove if you like.  Not too bad!

Enjoy!

Lynn

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I’m all about good food, but also like to save money and save time.  This recipe covers all the bases.  First off, one of my main grocery shopping strategies is to take advantage of sale meats.  Last week, Kroger had pork shoulder on sale for about 1.39 per pound, so I bought a 6 pound roast and threw it in my garage fridge (check the sell by date – mine was good for a couple weeks).  Yesterday morning around 8 am, I started the Pork Shoulder in the crockpot.   By 6pm, we were ready to eat.   Here’s the recipe:

Crockpot Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder (6 lbs is a good size and fits in a large crockpot)

olive oil to sear pork

1 can beer

1 onion, cut in half then sliced

salt and pepper

Put the sliced onion in the bottom of your crockpot, add some salt and pepper (use your judgement), and a splash of beer.  Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium high heat and sear the pork as best you can on all sides.  I think you could just throw the pork directly in the crockpot, but I like to sear mine first.  Add pork to crockpot and pour over some more beer.  Add more salt and pepper.  Put the cover on the crockpot and heat on low for at least 8 hours.  I usually like to flip my roast about half way through cooking, but you don’t have to.  About an hour before you want to eat, pull out the pork and set it on a plate to cool, breaking into some chunks if you can.   Let cool for about 1/2 an hour.  You can leave the lid off the crockpot and let the onions and juice cook down a bit.   After 1/2 an hour, don some gloves if you have them (this helps keep your hands clean and also seems to help mitigate the heat a little bit), and start pulling any fat off the meat, take out the bone, and shred the meat back into the crockpot.  The gloves really help with this (I keep a bag of plastic disposable gloves in my kitchen and they are great for lots of things.) and you can usually shred the meat in about 15 minutes or so.  The dog is my best friend while I am doing this!  At this point, the meat is pretty much ready to go, but you can let it sit in the hot broth with the cover on for a while longer until whenever you are ready to eat.

To serve, we eat this on buns, with a little BBQ sauce served table side for those who desire it.  For a family of 4, we got one dinner the night I cooked this, plus I bagged enough to freeze for another generous dinner, and had enough leftover for a couple of lunch sandwiches.

Not bad – 2 dinners and a couple lunches for under ten bucks!

Enjoy!

Lynn

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Yesterday my daughter was bored and I had been toying with the idea of trying to make doggie brownies, so we headed out to do a little shopping.  Her destination was the bookstore and mine was the health food store nearby to buy carob for my dog brownies.  While at the bookstore, I decided to look at dog cookbooks, since scrounging the internet for recipes is not quite as relaxing as thumbing through a book.  I had a stack of about 5 cookbooks when my daughter was done finding what she wanted and so I had to do a speed selection of which one I was going to buy.  My daughter saw that one of the books had a section of Doggie Biscotti recipes, and she thought we should get that one, so I did.

Over to the health food store for a can of carob powder and some carob chips from the bulk food section and I was on my way.  It was too late to cook yesterday (and too hot) but I got started this morning after I took the dog for his walk.  My first recipe was adapted from one I found on the internet.  Here is a link to many good pages of dog recipes:

http://www.searchlikeme.com/slmpages/1047/

First I made Bacon Carob Dog Brownies.  These do have more sugar (in the form of a half cup of honey) than I typically would put in a dog treat, so I plan on trying to reduce that a bit the next time I make them.  I happen to have some leftover bacon grease and subbed that for about half of the oil originally called for.  I also have a ton of whole grain from a wholesome breadmaking phase so I try to use fresh ground whole wheat flour as much as possible, but if you don’t have that, all purpose works as well.  Just remember that dogs cannot tolerate chocolate, which is why this recipe uses carob instead.

Bacon Carob Dog Brownies

1 1/2 c. flour (I used whole wheat)

3 T. carob powder

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 c. canola oil (I used about 1/4 c. bacon drippings plus 1/4 c. canola oil)

1/2 c. honey

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  I baked these in a convection oven.  Grease an 8×8 baking pan.

In large bowl, mix oil and honey.  If using bacon drippings, melt first.  Stir in eggs.  Stir in dry ingredients until just mixed.

***  Note that if you have heated oil or honey (I have to heat honey sometimes to get it out of the jar), you should not add the eggs to the hot mixture or they will curdle.  If this is the case, add eggs AFTER dry ingredients.

Pour mixture into baking pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Unlike human brownies, I wanted these a bit solid, so I went the whole 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes.  Cut the brownies into the desired size.  I cut first into 5 strips then cross-wise into 5 strips for 25 brownies.  These came out about 1 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in which seems a good treat size.  Let cool completely them put into container.  Use within a few days or freeze.

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My second recipe came from the new cookbook I just bought:  The Everything Cooking for Dogs Book by Lisa Fortunato.  I modified her recipe slightly.

Peanut Butter and Carob Doggie Biscotti

2 c. flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose)

2 t. baking powder

2 T. carob chips

1/2 c. peanut butter (I used crunchy, so there were bits of peanuts in my finished biscotti)

1/4 c. water, plus up to about another 1/4 c. as needed

Preheat oven to 325 F.  I used convection very successfully.  Cover a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment.  If you don’t have parchment, I suggest you buy some because it makes baking so much easier, but you can probably get by with greasing the cookie sheet instead.

Mix flour, baking powder and carob chips in large bowl.  In separate bowl or measuring cup, stir peanut butter and water together.  Don’t use hot water or it will melt the carob chips.    Add peanut butter liquid to dry ingredients and mix.  I found this mix to be very crumbly, so continued to add water until I got a dough I could handle that was not sticky.  Flatten dough with your hands into a disk, then put on cookie sheet and continue to press down and spread the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 18-25 minutes until it feels dry and somewhat firm on top.  Take it out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes – I slid the entire parchment sheet onto a cooling rack.  When the baked piece is cool enough to comfortably handle (but still warm), slice into 1/2 inch slices.  A sharp knife works fine.  Author suggests a pizza cutter.  I then cut the long biscotti cross-wise into about 2-3 inch cookies.  Author suggests cutting them into 1/2 inch pieces cross-wise, but I have a big dog who only gets treats like these once a day.  Lay the biscotti back on the parchment on the baking sheet on their sides and bake another 15-20 minutes.  The biscotti should be nice and hard now.  Cool on a rack and then store in a container.

My neighbor is threatening to eat these instead of giving them to his dog, and my dog thought they were so good that after taste testing both varieties, he snuck up on the counter and treated himself to another biscotti when my back was turned for only a moment!

Enjoy!

Lynn

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