I don't know where to begin with this blog post, as I am opening up a little on some things.
First of all, I am sorry that my posting can sometimes be sporadic, but I have some tough health issues happening. I am constantly battling with my stomach. You see all this awesome, and sometimes not so awesome, food that I make, and I can't always eat it because I am sick to my stomach. It's a bummer, but I am okay. At least I get to taste it!
Right now, I am waiting on results from a biopsy done to my gut when they found inflammation again. Signs are pointing to an inflammatory disease, which means that I will have to specialize in a completely different diet and my recipes are subject to big changes in the future. Until I know anything, I eat what I want in moderation (mostly) and in the meantime, I will post regular recipes.
I bring this up because I am thinking this means a new format for some of my recipes... Do I do two recipes, a regular one and then the specialized one like I was doing before? I don't know yet. Hopefully, I will know what is going on before too long so I can have a plan of action.
I also want to bring up that I have done several recipes in the last few weeks to try and get ahead, but I did get really ill in the last few weeks, hence me not posting. I am going to go ahead with the one freshest on my pallet.
Thank you for your support and understanding!
Chicken Fried Steak!!
This is another one of those non diet foods, you're forewarned!
I have avoided the making of chicken fried steak like the plague for the longest time. The first time I ate it, it was disgusting... There was a certain flavor to it that I found rather gross that I couldn't put my finger on. Add to that, I still had a diversion to gravy at the time. I don't remember quite how this happened, but if memory does serve me right? Well, I think my mom bought already breaded cubed steak to fry up one time for chicken fried steak, and there was a certain sour taste to it.
If I had to pin point this flavor after looking through different recipes for this food, it would probably be buttermilk. I am almost 99% positive that this is what it was! Half of the recipes that I saw had buttermilk in them, which makes sense because fried chicken sometimes has buttermilk in it that works well with chicken but I don't think it does for beef. I could be wrong, but I wasn't about to use it.
So yeah, I made it, and I dubiously tried a tiny little piece off the end of one fillet, curling my lips defiantly in the process of bringing the food to my pie hole... Then I gingerly took the piece in, chewed, and to my delight, it was delicious. I decided to plate stuff before I could devour the rest of my portion, leaving nothing to be pictured.
My husband was quite please that I made this meal, too, and he gave me a kiss for doing it because he knew that I was kind of on the fence about making it... But I owe it to you, my readers, and myself, to revisit my old foes so that I can make recipes about them. And yes, this recipe is based on ones from around the internet, but I didn't stick to them, I took liberties and it worked.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe as much as I did, but I will probably not be eating this very much at all because, well... Obvious reasons. That is not to say I am telling people not to eat this stuff, so much as to eat it in moderation!
A little history lesson, it is believed that chicken fried steak came from German influence back in the mid 1800's, I can concur that it is much like wienerschnitzel! It did remind me of that, something I had the pleasure of trying in culinary school.
The batter is nice and crispy, there was no sour taste to the steak. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe and I promised my husband that I would make it again.
Fair warning, there is a LOT of math involved in this lenghty post.
I've read a lot about this so called Food Stamp Diet off and on over the last few years. Celebrities and elected officials alike trying it out and failing or just being outright miserable through the whole ordeal. As if people who have a bit of money somehow forgot how to eat and count! Lessons your mother and father should have taught you include 1) What food is nutritious 2) Where to find it 3) How much it costs and, most importantly, 4) What it is worth. The cost of a particular thing is of little significance in most situations as the VALUE of that thing tends to dictate the cost. Nutritious food costs dollars. Good tasting nutritious food costs more dollars. CONVENIENT food costs the most dollars of all but usually doesn't hold much in the way of nutrition.
My name is Rebecca and, not only am I a survivor of the Real Life Food Stamp Diet but, I work in a grocery store and live in a food desert! Well, more accurately, I live on the boundary between a food desert and NOT a food desert because the demographic area to the north/northeast of me is measured by city standards and the area to the south/southwest of me is measured by rural standards. I'm sitting smack on the border between the two areas. It isn't fun, I can tell you!
Okay, so, back to the "diet" thingamajiggy. What we have to do first is define how much the government has decided a person should get per person per meal. We will use the information we have available on the internet. This chart from www.cbpp.org is handy, indeed.
SNAP Benefits by Household Size
Household Size Maximum Monthly Benefit, Estimated Average Monthly
Fiscal Year 2018 Benefit, Fiscal Year 2017
1 $192 $142
2 $352 $253
3 $504 $379
4 $640 $465
5 $760 $556
6 $913 $657
7 $1,009 $697
8 $1,153 $870
Each additional person $144
As you can see, the maximum amount of food stamps you can get for a single person is $192 for a whole month. Break that down by the day with some simple math. The average month has 30 days, so 192/30=6.40. That's $6.40 per day or $2.13 per meal to feed one person. 6.4x7=44.8 or $44.80 for a week. But, as the chart shows, most people don't get the maximum amount in food stamps. A single person usually gets only $142 per month according to this chart, so we will use THAT number for our exploration okay? OKAY! Maths, I do them. 142/30=4.7333333. That is $4.73 per day or $1.57 per meal to feed one person. 4.7333333x7=33.133333 or $33.13 per week. That isn't so bad at all when you consider that the creators of this challenging diet estimated the costs to be $1 per person per meal! We have 50% to 100% more money to spend on feeding ourselves if we use real world numbers, you silly celebrities! We are going to use the smaller number because that is the amount the AVERAGE person on food stamp benefits receives. It is important to note that food stamp purchases are not taxed where I'm from, so we are free to use all of the money up to the last penny even if in reality we have to spend a bit extra to cover the taxes because we are trying to make it on a food stamp budget here. To be realistic we have to pretend that the taxes don't exist.
Are you ready to dive into buying food to feed a single person with only $33.13 for an entire week? Let's try!
First, we're going to think about how many times per week we will want to eat meat. We're getting 21 meals and for most people, meat is eaten at least once per day. The USDA (those guys who actually issue food stamps) recommends at least 2 servings of meat or protein per day, so we will estimate two servings of meat per day which means we will need 14 servings.
Second, we're going to need dairy. The USDA recommends at least 2 servings per day, so we will estimate 14 servings of this also.
Third, we will need veggies. The USDA recommends at least 3 servings per day, so we will estimate 21 servings of this for the week.
Fourth, we need to think about fruits. The USDA recommends at least 2 servings per day, so we will estimate 14 servings for the week.
Fifth, we need to think about grains. The USDA recommends at least 6 servings per day, so we are going to estimate 42 servings of this for the week. (GOSH that's A LOT OF GRAINS!)
Lastly, we need to consider extra things like spices, sauces, spreads, etc because we all use that stuff and it's what makes things more interesting and allows us to vary the flavors of what we're consuming so that it doesn't become monotonous.
Since I work in a mid range priced grocery store, I'm planning to use pricing available there for my estimates. Full disclosure, I am not comparison shopping here, I am just giving you the breakdown of what you can get on average. Okay? OKAY?
Let's start from the top! We need meat! A serving of meat is 3-4 oz. You read that right and I did not stutter. What are we going to buy to fill this? Oh me, oh my!
Let's start with a pound of boneless skinless chicken breast. Most weeks it only costs $1.99 from the butcher counter and a pound of it will make at least three servings of meat. Mmmmm chicken! We'll round that up to $2.15 because no one ever gets it exactly at a pound. Then we can scootch over and pick up a 12 oz package of smoked sausage for just $1.29. That's another four servings of meat. A pound of ground beef $3.19, that's another four servings of meat. For our last three servings, we will pick up a package of bologna for $1.19 (it's actually more than three servings, but we can save the leftovers for next week or use them as a little snack this week). So there we have more than the amount of meat we actually need for a total of $7.82. We now have $25.31 left.
Dairy. Serving sizes vary depending on the medium.
So, we will pick up a half gallon of milk for $1.50 to start. That's 8 servings of dairy (8 0z per serving) so we're already halfway there! We will then pick up a quarter pound of cheese from the deli counter because we're feeling fancy today! On average a quarter pound of cheese will cost you about $1.50 and offers an average of 4 servings. (I strongly recommend you skip the Kraft and Velveeta style singles because most of them do not contain much in the way of real dairy. Read the label. They don't say CHEESE. They say "Singles" or "Slices" or "Pasteurized Processed Cheese Food" because they don't contain enough milk to be legally labeled cheese. The stuff you get at the deli counter is actually cheese). Then we will pick up a four pack of yogurt for $1.98 which rounds out our dairy needs for a total of $4.98. We now have $20.33
Veggies. A half cup of cooked veggies is a serving.
Let's pick up a bag of salad mix for $1.59. That bag of salad mix will offer you a whopping 8 servings of veggies for the week, but we will want dressing to go with it and a small generic bottle costs $1.29. We can pick up a can of black beans for $0.69 which will offer us two servings. Grab a 5 lb bag of potatoes for $2.59 and get another 10 servings of veggies (these can be substituted for meat or grains due to their high starch and protein content). We will need margarine sticks to go with the potatoes, so add $0.89. And we can grab a bag of frozen broccoli or carrots for $1. A bag of frozen onions for another $1. This fulfills our veggie requirement and gives us some seasonings that can be used for other things if needed for a total of $9.05. We now have $11.28 left. We're getting low on funds now. Can we make it?
To fulfill our fruit requirements, we can substitute some juices so long as they are 100% juices. These may be high in sugar content though, so use them sparingly. A 64 oz bottle of apple, grape, or cranberry juice will cost about $2.59 and one serving is 4 oz. This one bottle of juice offers us 16 servings of fruit but it doesn't have to be consumed immediately, so we can pick up a pound of whatever apple or peach is on sale for $1.59 per pound this week to fill things out a bit and offer four servings of fiber rich fruit pulp. Round that up to $1.75 because nature is not keen on exact weights! So we have 20 servings of fruit available for $4.34. We now have $6.94.
Grains. Our biggest challenge.
We will start with two loaves of bread for $1.70. Each loaf contains a whopping 11 servings which is a quarter of our needs. We're halfway there! We'll grab a box of quick oats bringing us another 10 servings of grains for $1.39. And a pound of brown rice for $0.79 will give us the last 10 servings we need for a total of $3.88. That leaves $3.08 for spices.
We'll grab garlic powder, chili powder, and salt this week. They will last longer than the week and they're a good investment because of their shelf life. This will cost you $2.59 and leave you $0.47 to rollover to next week's grocery bill! We did it!
Maybe next week I will post a few recipes that you can make from this list of groceries I've provided. :)
When I was a little girl, my mom tried to make cabbage rolls because she wanted us to try new things. I remember watching her prepare them in a completely different manner than I do, but only because she didn't know how to do it from scratch. She used ground beef and minute rice she didn't cook, egg to bind, maybe salt and pepper, then wrapped in the cabbage leaves and poured some off brand of spaghetti sauce over them before baking, as opposed to the way I do it. Needless to say, we were a bit young to understand cabbage rolls and it wasn't very popular in our household. Mom got discouraged and never tried it again.
I was running my old blog and was looking for ideas on what to do for a post, and then I fell asleep while watching Martha Stewart. The episode I woke up to was the one where she was making cabbage rolls, and I thought back to my childhood when mom was trying to get us to eat them. So thus, I went looking for a good recipe through my family, as opposed to online, because I really wanted to pay homage to my mom and my great aunts. My grandmother ended up handing me a cookbook that had a receipt in it, and I opened it up... It was right on the page with cabbage rolls! Thanks, Grandma! It was funny because she didn't put the receipt there knowing that I wanted to do this.
I brought the cook book home, and then I took the recipe there, the methods I saw Martha doing with blanching the whole head of cabbage and peeling leaves, added seasonings I thought would work besides just paprika and parsley, and cooked it on the stove instead of in the oven (another method I saw Martha use). If you cannot tell, her shows are my guilty pleasure. Don't hate.
What ended up happening was beautiful. Not only did I make something that I used to loathe and really liked it, but I bonded with my mother over it, as well as my grandmother. It just goes to show that food isn't just about sustenance, but also the joy that it can bring and the memories. The best part of having done these that first time was the look of enjoyment on my mom's face, she ended up liking my version so much that sometimes she would go and buy the ingredients and say, "Hint, hint."
Fair warning to those of you who have never made these before, they are a labor of love. You have a lot of prep work to do just to get them from point A, to point B, but it is completely worth it in the end. Golabki (Pronounced Golumki) are made different by people in Poland, as well as those of us in the US who love to make it. The recipe I saw on a youtube channel ran by an infamous former talk show host, well... She used mushrooms in hers. I wrinkled my nose but to each their own (besides, I am allergic).
Either way you look at it, these are high on the list of comfort foods to eat and enjoyed by many.
I hope you enjoyed this reblog as much as I did with making it. Please do enjoy this comfort food, it is one of the tastiest things if you like cabbage!
Sometimes the joy of food blogging is more than just about getting to try new things... It is also about getting to interact with my readers, offering to take requests for recipes because sometimes it's good to learn about foods you didn't necessarily know about before. For instance, I had no idea that I would get to make this kind of thing and never even heard about Frittelle before this experience. My friend didn't directly request this particular recipe, but a recipe from Italy, or more specifically, from Venice, as she is big into Venetian and Italian culture. I went looking for the perfect recipe that I could hopefully afford, and I saw Frittelle.
This was a new experience for me in general... Not just the fact that I get to make Italian donuts, but the fact that I had never fried a donut in my life. I worked in a department store bakery where the donuts were frozen and had to go into the ovens at night to get packaged for mornings so people could grab their breakfast and go... Furthermore, rum soaked raisins? I had never gotten to make those before either and I will tell you how to do that too. My grandmother actually gave me an entire, unopened fifth of rum to play with, but otherwise, the booze is the only expensive part and it's optional to put the raisins in anyways. I suggest you do it just for the experience, however, as the flavors somehow work.
I had so much fun playing when it came to this food. The rum soaked raisins are so easy that there is no need for a recipe... You just take a container (I used a plastic jar), put as many raisins as you are going to use and pour in enough rum to cover the top of them. That's it. Once you are done with the raisins, don't get rid of that rum -- You can put more raisins in or use it in another recipe (like rum balls). Let the raisins soak for at least 24 hours, though the longer you let them pickle, the better they will be.
The making of the donut pastry itself was easy peasy and didn't take much ingredients at all. The best thing about it was the smell of the lemon zest, which definitely added a certain amount of freshness to the experience. I initially thought that the rum raisins would be weird in there after tasting one, but it actually worked really well with that citrus. All in all, I was glad to have been able to have this experience and I think I will definitely be making these again!
This tastes so fresh and has a light crisp as opposed to that heavy feel you might get with some donuts. I suggest a light dusting with the powdered sugar as opposed to completely coating it so that you can show off the pastry (that and it doesn't really need a heavy hand with the sugar). As I said, I had SO much fun with these and I showed restraint by only making three at a time (and I gave some of the dough away). They were so yummy that it was hard not to want to eat a bunch!
If you have a request recipe, please do let me know! I had a blast! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Happy Eating, foodie friends!
Flank steak is something I rarely get to work with due to the cost. It's a really delicious cut of meat, but it can be more than $7/lb, which is more than I can afford. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a 2 lb slab of it for free, which made me very excited and delighted; I had not tasted flank steak since I was a culinary student. I remember it well, that first taste... It was the first time I tasted what a rare steak was like, and it changed my thoughts about steak in general. This was one of several things that helped to shape my pallet into what it is today.
I wasn't sure what to do with it at first, considering the many possibilities you are presented with this particular cut... I could have done Philly Cheesesteaks, or Fajitas, so many things would have worked ut I chose to do something I just came up with.
I took the steak and cut it into two across the grain, thinking I could make one more done than the other. I ended up with both of them being a little too rare even though I had cooked them on the highest temperature I could with the indoor grill (which I am sure I am ready to do a review on soon) and I do not know if if was hot enough or if I simply didn't leave it on long enough (I flipped in ten minutes). It still tasted pretty good when paired with the pasta and ala minute.
This turned out to be super flavorful. The sauce was light and just the right amount for the pasta, and the steak was juicy. They definitely complemented each other very well and I only wished that I had some fresh parmesan cheese to shred over the top, I think it would have taken it to perfection, as would adding just a tiny bit of tomato sauce to make it slightly more robust.
I hope you enjoy this brainchild of mine... Feel free to use a cheaper cut of steak, I know how it goes!
Good eating, foodies
Back when I was a little snot, my mom used to make cheesy potatoes, which, of course, was a hit. That is... unless she called them "au gratin," which would cause my sisters and I to recoil with horror and yell out, "ALL ROTTEN POTATOES! EEEEEWWW!!" Seriously, we thought our mom was talking about rotten potatoes, so she started calling them Cheesy Potatoes, which other people call them too. Later in life, she told me the story of how we used to react and I still find it amusing to this day. In fact, yesterday when I took my taters to potluck, I had to laugh because my brother in law teased me and called them "Potato's All Rotten," and I explained that was what I used to call them. Apparently, it has been a nickname through many generations where kids would call them "All Rotten" and such, at least in our family!
Now, I don't make these very often because peeling almost a whole, 3 lb bag of potatoes for this can be tedious... Add to that, there is a lot of love you need to put in the dish. The dish is totally worth all the work, so every now and then I will get a bug up my butt to do it. This time, it just happened to be that I had an invitation to a potluck, pretty much last minute due to certain circumstances, and I didn't have money or time to plan something out. I had planned to make these potatoes for my birthday because I have been craving them, but I can do something else to go with that particular dinner.
We've all been there, last minute invitations or unexpected company coming over and you need to whip up something awesome but don't have cash or time to think. Potatoes are a pantry staple, and cheese... Well, I always have cheese, but I don't know about the rest of you. I told my husband that whatever cheese we had left (block and shredded) would be for this, and then the potluck came up.
I spent an hour on prepping and another hour at home just to bake, a half hour to set, lastly, another bit of time to heat back up (although, they would have tasted okay cold, just sayin'.) So I spent 3 hours making them, and they were nearly gone in fifteen minutes. I guess when taters are good, they are good!
Before I get to the recipe, let me warn you that although my recipe is reduced fat, it is still not diet food and you should proceed with full disclosure. Normally, they are made with heavy cream and butter, and my recipe does not use either, yet they are still pretty fantastic and rich enough without them that I am sure you wouldn't miss those things.
It's such a comfort food to eat, and it is one of those things that you know everyone will eat unless they can't do dairy. This dish is great to serve with pretty much any protein, and could even become a main dish when you add a protein. I would suggest bacon or ham, though roast beef would work lovely as would roast chicken. Broccoli would be awesome as a veggie to go in there (or cauliflower)... I am sure that peas would be pretty good too. It is up to you, really! With the richness of the cheese, you definitely won't miss the heavy cream and the butter if you are looking to cut at least a little bit of fat out. The great thing about potatoes is that they are better for diabetics to eat than bread and rice, though you still want to eat in moderation because of all that cheese.
I had a lot of fun serving this to my family last night and was delighted at how quickly it was eaten. I hope you enjoy this recipe too!
Happy Eating, my Foodies,
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.