Stretching your Food Dollars w/ economical recipes for large families

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Stretching your Food Dollars w/ economical recipes for large families Empty Stretching your Food Dollars w/ economical recipes for large families

Post  Printessa / Admin on Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:57 pm

Main dishes
Chicken pot pie:

2 cups cooked chicken, boned and cut up, or 1 pint canned chicken
3 carrots, sliced
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, sliced thinly
1 cup canned sweet corn, drained
1 pint chicken gravy made from canned chicken broth or bouillon, thickened with flour
2 pie crusts, unbaked

Mix all together and pour into an unbaked pie shell in a large, deep dish pie pan. Put top crust on and crimp edges so they stand up to hold in any juices that boil. Bake at 375° F for about thirty minutes. You can substitute beef, venison, or turkey in your recipe, making gravy to match.

Boston baked beans:

1 lb. (2 cups) navy or great northern beans
1 medium onion, diced
½ lb. diced ham or bacon
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. molasses
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Cover dry beans with plenty of water in large saucepan. Heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Add water to cover beans; simmer uncovered 50 minutes or until tender. Drain beans, reserving liquid. Heat oven to 300° F. Layer ham or bacon with beans and onion in ungreased casserole pan. Stir remaining ingredients and 1 cup of the reserved liquid; pour over beans. Add enough of the remaining reserved liquid (or water, if necessary), to cover the beans. Cover and bake 3½ to 4 hours, removing the cover for the last half hour of baking time. If beans get dry, stir and add a bit of liquid, if necessary.

Cabbage and hamburger bake:

1 head cabbage, shredded
1 lb. hamburger
1 green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups cooked rice
1 quart tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steam cabbage until limp; drain. Fry hamburger until brown. Drain off excessive grease, then add green pepper, onion, and cabbage. Fry lightly. Place rice on bottom of ungreased casserole, then add cabbage/hamburger mix. Pour tomato sauce over it and press down to cover with the sauce. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes, add cheese, then bake for another 10 minutes.

Baked spaghetti squash:

2 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb. hamburger
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
¼ tsp. basil
¼ tsp. oregano
1 qt. seasoned tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut spaghetti squash in halves and fluff up strings, removing any seeds. Brown hamburger adding onions, garlic, and spices at the last. Add tomato sauce and simmer 10 minutes. Place spaghetti squash on cookie sheet and pour tomato sauce mixture over it carefully, keeping sauce on top of fluffed up squash strings. Bake at 350° F until squash is fork tender. Add grated cheese and bake until cheese is melted and just browning. Serve with garlic bread or bread sticks. Very good!

These are all easy, quick to fix recipes that use ingredients common in gardening homes, and all are great, too. Most of us love our potatoes, which also grow in most gardens. Besides the old standbys—mashed, baked and boiled—there are many other great ways to serve this filling, tasty, comfort food. Here are a few:

Potato dishes
Potato salad:

4 cups cooked, diced potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
½ medium sweet onion, diced
¾ cup diced celery


1 cup mayo or salad dressing
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1¼ Tbsp. vinegar
1¼ tsp. salt
dash of milk
¾ cup sugar

Mix together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, salt, milk, and sugar. When smooth, add to remaining ingredients. Mix gently but well. Refrigerate at least overnight. May double or triple recipe. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator just fine.

Fancy baked potatoes:

2 lbs. potatoes
1 pint chicken broth, thickened (2 Tbsp. butter, melted, 2 Tbsp. flour mixed in, then a bit of broth; stir into broth and stir until thickened)
½ cup celery, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 pint sour cream
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheese (optional)
½ cup butter
bread crumbs or cornflakes

Peel and slice potatoes, boil until just done—not too soft. Mix the rest of the ingredients, except butter and bread crumbs, stir well, then add potatoes. Put into casserole and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Top with bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes, drizzle with ½ cup butter and bake until crumbs are golden.

Potato cakes:

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 large egg
1½ Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. cream
2 Tbsp. minced onion
4 Tbsp. melted shortening

Mix ingredients except shortening, and shape into flat cakes. Fry to a golden brown on both sides in shortening. This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes in a way that tastes entirely different.

Potato chowder:

6 cups diced potatoes
1 small onion, minced
½ cup celery, diced
3 Tbsp. margarine
3 Tbsp. flour
6 cups milk
2 tsp. salt
½ pint canned sweet corn, drained

Cook potatoes, celery, and onions in 1 cup water until soft. Add all but a few tablespoons of the milk. Melt margarine in a small skillet. Mix in flour. Slowly add a little bit of milk, then slowly blend into potato mixture. Add corn and salt. (For a thicker chowder, use more margarine and flour, for a thinner chowder, just add more milk.) Continue to cook over medium heat until hot. Great with homemade breads, hot out of the oven.

As you see, there are a whole lot of varied uses for those ‘taters, which make cooking for a bunch a lot easier. And speaking of easier, perhaps one of the most challenging meals to make un-boring is breakfast! When there are just two of you, it can be fancy and fun. But when there's eight or twelve people elbowing up to the breakfast table, it's easy to get into the oatmeal/cold cereal/fried egg and toast routine.

Oatmeal peach breakfast cake:

½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
11/3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. soda
1 quart canned peaches with liquid

Mix first seven ingredients together well and pour over the peaches. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes. Serve warm with butter and sweetened milk, whipped cream, or even ice cream for a breakfast to remember.

Blueberry muffins:

2 eggs
1½ cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 cups fresh or canned blueberries, drained

Grease bottoms only of 24 medium muffin cups. Beat eggs; stir in milk and oil. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until just moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from pan to prevent sticking.

Caramel pecan cinnamon rolls:

1½ cups scalded milk
¼ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yeast
2 eggs, beaten
5-6 cups flour

For topping, melt together:

1½ cups brown sugar
6 Tbsp. margarine
4 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla


brown sugar

Spread topping in bottom of two 9" x 13" cake pans and sprinkle with pecans. Scald milk and pour over sugar, shortening, and salt. Dissolve yeast in a little warm water. When milk has cooled, add yeast and beaten eggs. Beat well. Add flour gradually, mixing well. Make a moist but not sticky dough. Place in a well-greased bowl, cover with a warm moist towel, and let rise in a warm place until double. Divide dough in half and roll each half out into an oblong piece. Spread with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll jelly roll style and cut into 1-inch thick pieces. Place slices 1 inch apart in pans. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn upside down on cooling racks and remove from pans while hot.

Of all the things we cook, the most fun to make and eat is dessert. Sure, we'd like to make a dessert for each main meal, but when we're cooking for a bunch, that sometimes just doesn't happen. I never want anyone at my table to feel deprived, so my remedy for that is to make big batches of cookies of different kinds to have on hand for those meals when I'm just too busy to make a special dessert. They also do double duty for snacks when someone gets the hungries during the day.

Here are a few quick, cheap, and easy recipes for satisfying cookies everyone will enjoy:

Dishpan cookies:

2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3½ cups flour
5 cups rolled oats
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cream shortening and sugars together well. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Pour in flour and other dry ingredients slowly and mix. You may also add raisins, chopped nuts, or baking chips if you'd like.

Bake on a very lightly greased cookie sheet at 350° F until the edges are just starting to brown.

Chocolate chip cookies:

4 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3½ cups shortening
8 eggs, beaten
4 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
9 cups flour
1 package of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts if desired

Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Then add dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and nuts. Mix well again. Place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° F until edges are just starting to brown.

Sour cream cookies:

¾ cup shortening
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2½ cups flour

Mix shortening, sugar, and vanilla well. Add eggs and sour cream. Mix well. Add dry ingredients slowly, mixing all the while. Spoon out onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F until just starting to brown edges.

Besides cookies, sometimes we'd like to serve something extra special. When all my kids were at home, I'd try to do this when we were all working together on a heavy-duty project, like splitting our winter's wood, tilling the garden, or making hay. These three easy desserts make for a delicious reward when you've finished a big job:

EZ carrot cake:

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups shredded carrots


1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream sugar, oil, and eggs together well. Add dry ingredients. Stir in carrots. Pour into a greased 9" x 12" cake pan and bake at 350° F until the top springs back when touched. Cool. When cool, mix up a large package of cream cheese (8 oz.) with a cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla, then spread on top of the cake.

Raised donuts:

2 cups scalded milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
4 eggs, beaten
4 pkgs. yeast
7-1/3 cups flour
grease or oil to fry

Scald milk. Mix in sugar, salt, and shortening. Let cool to room temperature. Add eggs. Then add yeast, let dissolve. Add flour, mix well, then knead into smooth dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a dampened kitchen towel, and let sit in a warm place until risen double. Punch dough down and let rise again. Punch down and roll out to about ¾ of an inch thick and cut with a donut cutter (if you don't have a donut cutter you can just cut squares). Lay out on a lightly floured board or countertop and let rise for 15 minutes. Deep fry in hot grease or oil. If the oil is hot enough, the donuts immediately rise to the surface. If they stay on the bottom, the grease is not hot enough. (Never let the grease get so hot it smokes!)

Apple crisp:

10 cups sliced apples
1 cup brown sugar
1½ cups flour
1½ cups rolled oats
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup melted margarine or butter

Place sliced apples in a greased 9" x 12" cake pan. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl, then pour melted butter over them, mixing until crumbly. Spread over apples and bake for about 45 minutes at 350° F. Good served with ice cream or sweetened milk.

I don't have room to give you more recipe ideas, but you get the picture. For more great, simple recipes for large families, check out a few Amish recipe books or the magazine Taste Of Home. Cooking for a bunch of people isn't hard once you get the hang of it. My biggest challenge was going from nine or ten people down to three! It's a great idea to share some of the cooking. This is a huge stress reliever. On those "Eeekkk!" days, it's wonderful to have your kids, mom, or even your sweetie pitch in and turn out a great meal for the family. And on any day, it really helps when the cook doesn't have to turn around and wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. I was lucky; my daughters handled that chore for me many days. And there wasn't a day that it was not truly appreciated. We not only made great meals, but great memories, as well.
Printessa / Admin
Printessa / Admin

Posts : 96
Join date : 2009-04-09
Age : 40
Location : Texas

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