May 27, 2008

Frugal Meal Idea

I am going to add a new feature to the blog- Frugal Meals. Like, a full meal's worth of recipes. It's so helpful to see what others are doing to reduce spending on groceries yet still eat well. Today I made lentil stew with dumplings in the crockpot, an apple/waldorf type salad and bread. (I made that yesterday)

Lentil Stew and Dumplings

The night before:
1 regular sized package of dried lentils

put lentils in a bowl, cover with water and add a tablespoon of either kefir, buttermilk, whey, yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice. Allow to soak at least 7 hours.

The next morning:

Drain and rinse lentils. Add to crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients:

2 stalks celery chopped
1 half a medium onion, or more if you prefer
2 peeled and sliced carrots
2 chicken bouillion cubes (MSG I know, that's what I had)
1/4 cup of butter
water to cover lentils by an inch

Cook on low for 8 hrs.

20 minutes before dinner, turn crockpot on high and make the dumplings.

1 cup flour- white or whole wheat
1.5 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T butter
2/3 cup of milk
chopped fresh parsely

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in butter with a fork. Add milk and parsley and stir to mix well. Drop tablespoons of dough into crockpot. Cover with lid. Let cook for 15 minutes or until the dumplings aren't shiny and 'wet' looking on top.

Ladle into bowls and season with more salt/pepper if desire.

Summer Apple Salad

1 chopped sweet or tart apple
2 stalks chopped celery
1 peeled and grated carrot
1/8 cup of sliced almonds or other nut
1/2 c of pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple (I had crushed)
1 t lemon juice
3 T mayonnaise
3-4T buttermilk OR, 1/2 cup sour cream
2 t honey or sugar
a handful of dried cranberries or raisins

Whisk mayo, buttermilk, honey and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl. (recipe called for sour cream- I didn't have any and substituted with the mayo) Chop the rest of the ingredients and toss together in the bowl. Let chill at least 30 minutes.

***This salad was frugal because I had all the ingredients on hand. I bought dried cranberries in bulk over two months ago and still have plenty. I hit a sale on pineapple a few months ago, have half a large jar of honey left and always have the other stuff on hand.

Tasty White Bread
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees F), divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup water; let stand for 10 minutes. Combine salt, remaining sugar and water; add to yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; shape into two loaves. Place in two 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans that have coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yes, I made white bread, from unbleached all purpose flour. I had made a heavier whole wheat bread, and it was good, yet not ideal for sandwiches etc, so I whipped up the above recipe, and while simple, it is AWESOME! I couldn't get enough of it. I may try it with whole wheat flour some time. Nice for when you are in a pinch for bread. Serve with butter, mmm.


Val said...

What a great idea! I am always looking for more frugal meals, and I look forward to hearing new ideas :)

Sonja said...

Hello. I've been checking out your blog for the past week now and it's very interesting. I found your blog from Candy's site (Keeping The Home) and the frugal meal ideas sound great! I'm all for learning how to stretch the pennies. :)

Thanks for writing...

Anneatheart said...

Hi Sonja, thanks for visiting. I am learning more and more about stretching food and money in general. I'll pass on whatever I learn!