Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday: Phony Phried Rice

It's Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family;  be sure to swing by and check out all the great tips!

I love the flavor of fried rice, but haven't ever achieved comparable taste and texture to that of a Chinese restaurant.  As a young mom, however, it occurred to me that trying beef broth in cooking my rice might provide something reasonably close.  By substituting a can of beef broth for part of the liquid, I achieved a brown color, and a great flavor.  As I experimented over the years, I found that a dash, or two, of soy sauce also complemented the flavor.  Further, frying up small diced pieces of my meat of choice (pork, chicken, whatever was on hand) and cooking a small bag of mixed veggies, then adding to the finished rice, makes a nice side, or in a pinch, main dish.

Broth in the rice makes for great flavor, which works for me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday: Kid Pleasing Mac N' Cheese Variation

It's Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That sure to check out the great tips!

This is a simple trick, and makes the difference between a "blah Mac N' Cheese from the box" night, and a "Mom, are there seconds?" Mac N' Cheese night.

My simple Navy Bean Crockpot Soup was on the menu plan.  However, in the midst of Algebra, long division, and the like, along with an hour of garden watering in high winds, during which eldest, seeking more algebra help, inadvertently stepped into a hidden mud hole made of dampened poof dirt, losing her shoe in the murky mess, the crockpot soup slipped my mind.  Never fear, I just loaded up on boxed Macaroni and Cheese, and Spaghetti sauce, during Kroger's semi-annual case lot sale.  Dinner is saved!

Prepare your boxed macaroni and cheese according to instructions, but simply omit the milk, and in it's place, use a can of Spaghetti sauce.  Simple.  Yes, use butter or margarine.  Or, if you have a finicky gall bladder, try olive oil.  Of course, if you do have a finicky gall bladder, you probably shouldn't be eating the cheese. 

My crew of 8 kiddos will easily go through 4 boxes of this dish, and be left begging for more.  This time, I did 5 boxes, leaving some leftovers.  The cost breakdown:  $1.67 for Mac N' Cheese, .75 for Spaghetti sauce, and about .18 for the margarine. 

8-10 servings @ $2.60, based on my case sale deals.  Not many times will the kids be satisfied at less than .30/serving.  No, the nutritional value isn't great, but in a pinch, during a busy garden-sports-end of school year time frame, a definite sanity saver.  Keep it under $5.00 while amping up the heartiness, by adding a pound of ground beef, thoroughly cooked, or ground turkey. 

That's time saving taste that doesn't waste:  Works For Me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Angel Hair...Don't Pull YOUR Hair Out!

This was a big hit!  Our Smith's stores had a great stocker upper sale, buy 8, get $4.00 off:  the pastas were .49 per 1 lb. package, after the discount.  I meant to get all spaghetti, but some Angel Hair found its way into the mix.  A quick, cheap lunch, I boiled water, cooked 2 lbs. of the pasta.  Added 3 small cans of tomato sauce, garlic salt to taste, and stirred.  In retrospect, a little more tomato sauce and some parmesan would have been nice, but the cupboards were a little bare.  The kids loved it!  Not the healthiest meal, but definitely frugal, filling, and satisfying!  Great for an improv moment when the hungries hit, it came in at $1.82 for the whole pot, just .91/meal, as it spanned two lunches.  Further, it served 9 of us, working out to a grand total of approximately .10/serving.  Thin the noodles to one package, add some chopped onion, chicken bouillion, and water, and that will drop to about .06/serving for a sopa fideo!  ¡Delicioso!