Category Archives: Cheap and Friendly Family Meals

What To Do With Leftover Turkey

I like to buy those Jennie-O Turkey Breast Tenderloins. They’re so simple to prepare and I wind up with a good amount of leftovers.
HMMM…
I was trying to dream up something different to do with those leftovers and came up with this

Make something like a Turkey Pot Pie filling, but instead of putting it between Pie Crust, serve it over Buttered Eggs Noodles.

Very delicious!

Cook for your family!

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

Chicken Broccoli

I’m sure that you’ve all heard of and/or eaten Beef Broccoli, but what about using Chicken instead?
(I may have mentioned once or twice that DH and I “cluck”, since we eat so much Chicken )

Here was a game changer for me, as I am not the biggest fan of Broccoli. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it, but it’s not my first choice for a veg. DH loves the stuff, so I’ve been looking for a way that it would be more palatable for me. Peel the stalk first!   Really! I was watching a video and the gal was peeling the Broccoli stalk and I thought, I gotta try this!

 

Chicken Broccoli

serves 2

1 B/S Chicken Thigh, diced
1/2 lb. fresh Broccoli
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 C. White Onion, diced
1 Tb. Peanut Oil (or whatever you have)
pinch of White Pepper

Easy Stir Fry Sauce

makes about a cup

1/4 C. Chicken Broth
1/2 Tb. Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry
1 Tb. Soy Sauce (and you know I only use Aloha Brand Shoyu!)
1 Tb. Oyster Sauce
1/2 Tb. Sesame Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/8 tsp. White Pepper
1/2 Tb. Corn Starch

Add all of the sauce ingredients into a jar and shake well before each use. This sauce will keep in the `fridge for a week.

Wash and peel the Broccoli stalk, up to the crown.
Slice the stalk thinly; slice the florets into bite sized pieces.
Heat a large pan over medium-high add the Broccoli stalk “coins” along with about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam until very crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add in the florets and steam as well to your liking.  Once done, set aside on a plate.
Wipe out that pan and bring it back to heat with the Oil.
Stir fry the Chicken until just done; add in the Onion and Garlic and cook until soft.
Add back in the Broccoli and stir fry to re-heat.
At this point add as much Sauce as you like and bring to a simmer to thicken, stirring all the while.

Serve warm over steamed Rice or Noodles, or just by it’s self.

*Cook’s Note: Here’s another eye opener for me. By using Peanut Oil, White Pepper and Shaoxing Wine in my Chinese-Inspired dishes, I think, they taste more like they really should.

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea,
take it and make it your own. 

Cook for your Family!

Instant Pot® Egg Bites, My Way

Okay, so this is IP cooking for only my 6th time, so
here we go.

 

I saw some Egg Bites for sale in our local market for a fairly good chunk of change,
and I thought, I could make these for far less money in my Instant Pot®.

Game on!

I did some research on the WWW on Egg Bites and did
my usual of a mish-mash from different recipes
to create my own version.
Mainly because, almost all of the recipes called for Cottage Cheese,
which I know darn well that DH WILL NOT EAT! Never tried that with him, nor will I ever 

Here’s what I did:

 

Clean 3 four ounce mason jars (well 2 + an 8 oz’er `cuz that’s all I had)
Butter the inside of each jar, well (ssshhh! don’t tell DH )

In a 2 C. measuring cup, whisk together:
2 large Eggs
1/4 C. Whole Milk
2 Tbsp. grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
S&P to taste

In the bottom of each jar, sprinkle about 1 tsp. Bacon Bits
(reads as to your taste)

(I cheated, photo courtesy of Walmart.com)

Pour in the Egg mixture to fill each jar about half way.
Cover with tin foil.
In your Instant Pot®, place the trivet along with 1 cup of water.

Carefully place the filled jars onto the trivet.
Close and seal your IP.
“Steam” on “Normal” for 8 minutes.
Do a Natural Release for 10 minutes.

Release the vent value and using a jar lifter (or a pot holder works too),
remove the jars to a cooling rack.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese between the 3 Egg Bite tops.

Run a butter knife around the edge of the Egg Bites, extricate to your plate…

… and devour while still warm.

Our opinions?
Both DH and I said the same thing, it’s okay, but we don’t see all the hop-la over these.  They’re basically omelets.
I think if I were hosting say a Sunday Brunch Buffet, I would serve these, but for just us two, meh, NO!

Now, to be fair, I will try this again using the Cottage Cheese, just not when I’m feeding DH 

So, how did I do on beating the price of the pre-made Egg Bites you may be saying?

Here’s how I figured it:

Eggs: $2.50/dz. = 20¢/Egg
Bacon Bits: ($1.33/30 Tbsp.) ÷ 3) ÷ 3 = 2¢
Cheese: (38¢/oz. X 2) ÷ 3 = 25¢
Milk: ($1.90/qt. ÷ 16) ÷ 3 = 4¢
Butter: (22¢/oz.) I used about 1 tsp. total = 11¢ ÷ 3 = 4¢

I come up with 55¢ per Egg Bite.

Now, granted, I’m not the best in math, but …

These prices are based solely on what I paid here in Arizona at my local markets. Of course your costs may vary, but still, it gives a pretty good picture…

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

What’s For Dinner?

*** I’ve been thinking alot about what each dish I serve costs us per serving.  I’ve re-reading, again, alot of my older posts.  This particular one is from February 2, 2013 — WOW!  Over SEVEN years ago!  What I’ve done here, again, is to add the cost of items and then the total per serving in RED. ***

 

How often in your lifetime have you heard that question? DH has been watching very carefully what he’s been eating, I think I said that already, but it bears repeating. I not only plan and cook meals that are low in calories, but shop for them too. My method is to seek and conquer. I go to 4 different places to do my food shopping and it’s a blast! Since I’m retired, I have all the time in the world to just meander through and see what I see. It’s kind of like being on a scavenger hunt in a way. What to make, what to make?

Last week I was in Wal-Mart and normally I don’t buy produce there, I go to a green grocery down the road a piece more. This Wal-Mart Super Store is set up so that as you come in the half of the building with the food goods, you have to go past the fruits and vegetables. At the end of the aisle, for some odd reason, something caught my eye, Broccoli Slaw in a bag.

 

It’s just julienne broccoli stems, carrots and some cabbage. HHMMMM! That would make a great stir fry, DING DING DING, did you hear that? As I sat down to share this idea with the class and was perusing the Internet, I found several brands that put out this same thing, why have I never seen this before. Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp, Tofu, leftover whatever anything will make for a scrumptious stir fry.  When I told my husband how many calories were on his plate, he didn’t believe me; I didn’t give him any noodles.  This was my plate.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken-Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, sliced into thin strips   $2.99/lb — I used about 1/2 pound so $1.50

1 tsp. Cornstarch

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (we’ve talk about this, look for Aloha Shoyu)

1 tsp Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame oil    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Combine all of the above in a bowl and set aside for about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix:

1/2 C. Chicken broth    Approx. 38¢

2Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1tsp. Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

1/2 tsp Corn starch

Mince up 2 Garlic cloves and 1Tbsp. fresh Ginger    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Set aside 1 bag of Broccoli Slaw    $1.99

____________________________________________________________________________________

Total $4.87 ÷ 2 servings (not including any starch) = $2.43/plate

 

Over medium-high, heat a non-stick skillet with a scant tablespoon of canola oil. Toss in the marinated chicken and spread it out in a single layer in the pan, now, DON’T TOUCH IT!   Once the edges of the chicken starts to turn white, give a good stir with a wooden spoon (you don’t want to scratch that non-stick pan, do you?). When the chicken is almost done (and nicely caramelized), clear a small spot in the pan and add a little oil to heat and add the garlic and ginger; once you can smell it, stir everything up again. Dump in the entire bag of slaw, toss that around, just for a minute. Add the broth mixture, it’ll bubble and thicken up; stir everything together and serve. In our house we have this with either steamed white rice or Asian noodles.

Add or delete what you and your family like. Try some more veg in there like onions or peppers, mushrooms; make that protein stretch farther.  I was going for an easy dinner and really, all I did was cut up the chicken, garlic and ginger.  How much easier could a fresh, home cooked meal be?

Remember, a recipe is just someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.

Hamburger Curry Stew, Cheap And Friendly

***

I’m re-blogging this post from February 6, 2018.  Why you ask?  Well, I’ve been re-reading my Blog and thinking about how much of my “Cheap And Friendly Family Meal” recipes actual cost.

So what I’m doing here is adding the cost of each ingredient in Red and then a total as well.

Now keep in mind that prices in your area may be different from what I calculated, but still, this is an inexpensive meal, period!

And ya know, during this whole SIP Mode that we’ve been in, it’s getting harder and harder to come with something out of the box to put on your table, I know I’ve been stump many a night.  I sure hope this will help you.

***

 

Most of you know that I am from Hawaii and we MUST  be careful with our pennies, because EVERYTHING is so expensive over there.  Ground Beef is something that is readily available as well as an inexpensive protein.  You can even find this dish on menus in restaurants in Hawaii, that’s how much we like it!

I was challenged the other day by an “online pal” to come up with Budget-Friendly dishes that featured Hamburger, Root Vegetables, Beans, Potatoes, Lentils, Rice, canned Tomatoes and frozen Vegetables.  There are so many ways you could put that list of ingredients together and come up with a super supper!

But my mind kept creeping back to an old favorite from my childhood.  I didn’t really have a recipe per se, I usually cook by feel but wanted to put together a recipe for her that would make sense.  I did a search on the WWW and found a YouTube vid from CookingandCrafting; it hit a note for me and I took it from there (Mahalo Beth).

Auntie Doni’s Hamburger Curry Stew

(4-6 Servings)

 

1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey or Chicken)  $5.00

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil  $0.03

½ -3/4 C. Sweet White Onion, diced  $0.15

1 Celery Stalk, sliced  $0.10

2-3 C. Beef Broth  $2.00

2 C. Potatoes, diced (use whatever kinda of `spud you have)  $0.88

1-2 Tbsp. Curry Powder (to taste)  $0.25 – including the S&P and Flour

S&P to taste (you GOTTA  taste as you go!)

1 ½ C. frozen Mixed Vegetables (or just Peas and Carrots too, any kind is good)  $2.00

1 Tbsp. Flour

______________________________________________________________________________

Total: $8.41

4 servings = $2.10/serving

6 servings = $1.41/serving 

In a good sized pan, heat the oil over medium-high; add the Onions and cook until just translucent.  Now toss in the ground Beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, brown well.  Drain off any excuse fat.  At this juncture add the Celery, Broth, Potatoes, Curry Powder and S&P to taste.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a good simmer and cook for about 15 minutes (maybe 20 if you cut the Potato kinda big-ish), or until the Potatoes are tender.  Add the frozen Veg, bring back to a boil and mix the Flour in a cup with some extra Broth; slowly add this to the pot to make some good kine GRAVY!!!

Simmer until thickened and the Veg is heated through but not soggy and falling apart.  Taste it again, howzit, good?  Adjust at this point, more Salt, no?  Pepper?  Curry?  How’z the gravy?  Maybe some more broth?  Me, I couldn’t stop TASTING!

MMM!

Serve over steamed White Rice or as is, any which way, it’s ONO (that’s delicious in Hawaiian)!

Enjoy!

And as always, remember a recipe is just someone else’s idea, take and make it your own.

The BEST Sloppy Joe I’ve Ever Had, REALLY!!

I’m not sure if I made mention that I subscribe to YouTube; I even have my own channel. Anywhos, I follow Chef John on the Food Wishes channel, he’s great! I was watching this one episode awhiles back on making Sloppy Joe’s, sounds kinda mundane, but trust me when I tell you watch this video and print out this recipe and make it,
today!

Here’s what I gathered together for my rendition.

I made slight changes to accommodate my 1 pound of ground Beef that I always have stocked in my deep freeze. As you can see on the Allrecipe website, you can adjust the number of servings to best make those changes.

OH BABY BABY!
Them’s some good eats! Note to self: let’s make this again real soon!!!

I added some Hot Cherry Peppers on DH’s Sloppy Joe and none for me, thanks, I’m a light weight when it comes to heat.

As Chef John says, “… ENJOY!”

Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam

I posted this article back in April of 2013.  Here we are, about the same time SEVEN years later in the middle of a SIP Mode, and I’ve been needing to come up with more meal ideas than usual 🙂

So, I’ve been using my blog as a resource for different dishes to make with what I have on hand.  I’ve always got at least one can of Spam® in my pantry!

 

Spam is a wonderful thing, I’m talking about the canned meat, not that junk in your email box. In Hawaii, we make something called Spam Musubi (moo-sue-bee), it’s something like sushi I guess you could say.

I knew that Spam became very popular there during World War II, as well as much of the Pacific. The USArmy found that it was the most effect way to get meat to the soldiers.

I did a Google search on Spam and was simply fascinated. I won’t do any lengthy copy&paste for you, I’ll just hyperlink the Wikipedia article for you to read. One fact I do want to point out to you though, in the United States, Hawaii residents consume the most Spam per capita. Do I still count?

Teriyaki Spam Musubi

5 ½ – 6 cups cooked medium grain white Rice

1 can Spam, sliced equally into 8 pieces

2 sheets of Musubi Nori

Sauce:

¼ cup Brown Sugar

½ cup Soy Sauce (I love low sodium Aloha Shoyu)

1 Garlic clove, smashed

Steam the rice and allow to cool down enough to handle, but still warm.

In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients until the sugar dissolves, set aside.

In a dry skillet, brown the Spam well; set aside. Wipe out the pan, add in the sauce and bring to a bubble; add back in the spam, turning occasionally, until sauce thickens.

Time to assemble!

Place a piece a plastic wrap over a board. Cut each sheet of Nori in 4 equal pieces, there should be perforations to follow on the sheets. Place a piece of Nori shiny side down on the plastic and the Musubi form over the middle of it.

Fill the form with rice; press down very firmly with the top piece of the form that has been moistened with water.  While still holding down the handle of the top, carefully remove the form and top piece.

Place a slice of Spam over the rice; wrap the Nori tightly over the Spam and rice, damping the last edge with water to ensure it sticks to itself.

Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes, this softens the Nori a bit and makes much more pleasant to eat.

Unwrap and enjoy a little piece of Hawaii, preferable at the beach!  Back home, these yummy treats are enjoyed anytime of day or night.  They can be found just about anywhere, even at gas stations.

ALOHA!

Save Those Bones!

Talking about Soup … In my last post, I talked about making your own Stock.  This makes a wonderful base for many dishes, not just Soup.

 

 

Ever since the World fell off it’s axis and went bonkers, I have had a hard time finding Boneless-Skinless Chicken that I keep in my Deep Freeze.  No problem!  I found a 12 pound package of Bone-In/Skin-On fresh Chicken at Costco.  It’s honestly not that difficult to de-bone that bag of Yardbird, but please, please, PLEASE save those bones, oh and the skin too 😉

Get yourself a half sheet rimmed baking sheet, filled with those salvaged bones along with whatever Veggies you have that aren’t quite pretty enough for a meal.  I used limp Carrots, Celery and Onions from the Veg Bin. Toss the lot with some Olive Oil and S&P.  Pop that all into a hot oven, 450°, for about 30-40 minutes or until everything turns a lovely golden brown.

Next, break out a large Stock Pot, fill it with 8-12 cups of cool water.  Chuck in the contents of that sheet pan, along with about 2-3 Garlic Cloves-smashed (you don’t need to bother peeling them either), 2-3 tablespoons of whole Black Pepper Corns, 2-3 Bay Leaves and some leftover Parsley Stems, yes stems, they give the Stock and better taste than using the Leaves.

Bring this all to a gentle boil; reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off that “foam” that collects on the surface.  I like to cook this for about 4 hours or until any of that meat from the Bones falls off and the Veg Matter is quite soft.

 

 

Strain off the solids and reserve as much of the beautiful Stock as you can possibly squeeze out through a mesh strainer.  Now you can discard those Bones, they’ve given up all they can.

 

Save your cooled Homemade Stock however you like.  I’ll freeze some of it in an Ice Cube tray for recipes that call for a coupla tablespoons of Stock or Broth.

You just made about 2-3 quarts of lovely goodness that is low in sodium, fat and cost you NOTHING! 

Look What I Found!

 

Say what?!

16 ounces of Commercially made Soup for $4.99 + local taxes, I think anyways, is pretty dawg-gone steep!  That’s about 2 servings of Soup – a cup a piece.

 

 

I make my own broth …

 

 

… and then I make my own pot of Soup for pennies per serving.  Also, when you cook from scratch, you know exactly what’s in your dish.  Store bought or prepared foods, have SOOOOOO much sodium in it that’s not  good for you!  Whatever is leftover, I freeze for later in portion sizes.

Cook for your family!

 

 

Chicken and Mushroom Hot Dish

My husband and I have been in the SIP Mode now for just about TEN WEEKS! And it’s getting harder and harder to dream up dinner ideas. 

I stand there in front of the open `fridge or stare at the Deep Freeze Inventory Dry Erase Board and try to think of interesting, tasty, not-what-we-ate-last-night dishes.

I had de-frosted two boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, had a handful of fresh Cremini Mushrooms that needed to get used up, 2 or 3 cups of Homemade Chicken Stock that should really go into the freezer, the ever present pot of steamed White Rice and of course my well stocked pantry with Onions and Garlic

Let’s throw this all together and call it a Hot Dish!

Chicken & Mushroom Hot Dish
Serves Two

2 B/S Chicken Thighs (or Breast Meat, whatever you have), diced
1 C. fresh Mushrooms, diced (Button, Cremini, even canned if you must, just heat those through)
1/2 C. Sweet White Onion, diced
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
2 Tbsp. Oil (Olive, Vegetable, Canola, what’s in your pantry)
1 Tbsp. fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, minced or 1 tsp. dried Parsley
2 C. Chicken Gravy **
S&P to taste

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the Oil over medium-high, once you see wisps of smoke, add the Mushrooms and sauté them to light golden.
Next add the Onion and cook til translucent; stir in the Garlic until it’s just fragrant. Transfer everything to a plate and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of Oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers; sauté the Chicken until cooked through, set aside with the Mushroom mixture.

** At this point, you can make your own Gravy in a snap.
Add 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth/Stock and scrape up any bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pan; bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium heat.
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of Broth/Stock with 1/4 cup of Flour, whisk until there’s no more lumps. Slowly whisk this into the hot Broth/Stock and simmer until thickened. Taste of S&P.

OR

Add just a little water to the pan to de-glaze it, scraping up those lovely bits and add in a store bought Gravy and bring it to a simmer.

Either way, now we add back into the pan that Chicken and Mushroom mixture, give it a really good stir and bring it all to a simmer. Add in the Parsley and check for seasoning.


Serve warm over cooked Rice or Noodles.

And remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.