Orange Glazed Pork Chops

Orange glazed pork chops

salt and pepper chops, brown in pan, flip, cover, brown briefly, set aside in covered bowl or platter (covering is important).
Add some oil, garlic, and fresh squeezed orange juice from an orange or two to the pan, simmer until slightly thickened. Then uncover chops and put them and the drippings that should have accumulated from the covered bowl into the pan (it won’t be a lot, but you want it), and cook another five minutes.

Serve with baked or steamed potatoes and a salad. Or try the potatoes fan cut– it looks elegant, tastes delicious, is suitable for company, and isn’t very expensive.

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Savoury Walnut Chicken

Savory Walnut Chicken
[Serves 4 to 6]

3 Tbsp vegetable oil (I would use coconut oil, fat reserved from other cooking, or walnut oil)
1/2 cup walnut halves
OR any broken walnut pieces

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil. Immediately add walnuts. Stir and fry 1 to 2 minutes utnil light golden brown. Remove from Wok. Set aside for later use.

1/2 chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces [yes, that’s half a chicken. In my book there’s a nice diagram for cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Feasters must pick the bones out? I just dice boneless, skinless chicken pieces ~dhm]
2 Tbsp arrowroot starch

Lightly dust chicken pieces with arrowroot. Add to wok. Stir and fry 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.

1 green onion, chopped
2 thin slices fresh ginger root, minced

Add to chicken. Stir and fry 1 minute until well mixed with chicken and green onions and ginger are tender.

1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sake
OR dry sherry
OR rice vinegar
2 tsp mild honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

Add to chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cover. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is tender and sauce thickens. Add fried walnuts. Mix well. Heat 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot. An excellent hot-pungent course feast dish. Good cold, mixed with salad greens for lunch.

From The Thursday night feast and good plain meals cookbook: Natural foods of the Eastern Hemisphere, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, the Middle East

Vegetarian alternatives are always provided for meat dishes. Ingredients are generally easy to find

There is a great review of The Thursday Night Feast Cookbook here.

Linked at Real Food Wednesdays

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Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken stock
OR soybean stock

Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan.

2 green onions, julienned
3 thin slices fresh ginger root, julienned
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
OR green beans cut into pea-sized pieces, presteamed 3 to 5 minutes.

Add ingredients to stock and mix well. Bring stock to a full rolling boil again.

3 eggs slightly beaten

If eggs are too well mixed will not form threads. Pour eggs into boiling stock in a fine thread. Stir stock with chopsticks while pouring. Stir with circular motion in same direction so long threads form. Speed of stirring determines whether eggs are globular (slow stirring), threads (medium stirring, or fine bits (brisk stirring). Thin threads are the desired result. When stock clears after addition of eggs, soup is done. Remove from heat and serve hot. Good, quick dinner soup. Good hot or cold for lunch the next day.

We like egg drop soup when we are feeling sick. Most of us would rather have this than chicken soup. Those of us who are married, well, most of our spouses are perfectly content for us to be the ones eating the egg drop soup.
When we make it we use garlic as well.

From The Thursday night feast and good plain meals cookbook: Natural foods of the Eastern Hemisphere, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, the Middle East

Posted in Asian, frugal, soup | 1 Response

Wisconsin Cheese Soup

What do you do when on Thursday, you daughter calls to tell you Muenster cheese is on sale for 3.00 a pound at her grocery store?  You tell her to buy five pounds.

What do you do when her mother-in-law calls you the next day and tells you that several large blocks of cheese are on sale at the Amish store where she’s having a little getaway vacation with her spouse- and it’s 2.00 a pound?  You tell her you’ll split whatever she wants to get with her, as long as it’s not American.

And then you plan meals like this one into your menu:

2 large carrots
2 ribs celery
1/2 onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup butter (or other fat)
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teasoon paprika
dash pepper
2 cups chicken broth– the original recipe calls for condensed vegetable broth (1 cup, with 1 cup water).  I’d just use a cup of my own bone broth, or mix some up with bouillon powder.
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups milk
2 Tbs white whine
1 cup grated cheese, your choice of flavors

Finely chop the carrots, celery, and onion (I usually just grate the carrot).  In large saucepan, cook vegetables and garlic in butter until tender. Combine flour, paprika, and pepper, stir into vegetables.*  Gradually add broth to mixture, stirring or whisking well to make a smooth roux, or sauce.  Stir until mixture begins to thicken.  Add cream cheese and stir until it melts in.  Add milk, cooking wine, and grated cheese, whisking and heating gently so the cheese melts and blends in well.

Serve immediately.  Makes about 3-4 servings.  It does keep well in the fridge and is delicious reheated.  I don’t know if it freezes well or not.

*I prefer to use an immersion blender and blend the vegetables until smooth at this point.

Linked up at:
Simple Lives Thursday
 Turning the Table Thursday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

The Common Room, our regular blog has been nominated in the Homeschool Blog Awards in the following categories:
Best Homeschool Variety
Best Current Events and Opinions
Best Family or Group Blog

Voting ends midnight, November 18th.

Posted in dairy, soup | 3 Responses

Spinach Lasagna

This lasagna recipe was a big hit with my family. For years it was what some of them requested as a birthday meal. They didn’t even know lasagna could be made with meat until the oldest was around 13 years old!
I love it because you don’t cook the noodles. YOu can also make it ahead, wrap and freeze it, defrosting and baking it another day.


1 pkg spaghetti sauce mix, seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, garlic, you know)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cup cold water
2 eggs
1 15 oz container Ricotta or a pound of cottage cheese (I also sometimes substitute half tofu and half ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 t. salt
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I would save the drained spinach for a vegetable soup base)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb uncooked lasagna noodles, break them as needed to fit the pan.

Empty spaghetti sauce mix (or spices) into saucepan, add tomato paste, sauce, and water. Heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Beat eggs in a large bowl and add Ricotta or cottage cheese, spinach, salt and half the Parmesan. mix well.

Lightly grease the bottom of a 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Ladle a thin bit of sauce in the bottom (I tilt the pan to make sure there’s a bit of sauce all over, but it’s such a thin layer it’s translucent).
Now layer:
Noodles (dry, uncooked lasagna noodles)
half of the cheese/spinach stuff
half the mozzarella slices, and half the tomato sauce.
Repeat layers and top the final layer with remaining Parmesan.

Lightly grease a sheet of aluminum foil OR the bottom of a cookie sheet, cover the dish with the oiled foil or cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (I almost never preheat) for 60 minutes (we generally find it takes about 45, your milage may vary), or until you can stick a fork in the noodles and they aren’t crunchy.
Remove covering and let stand for ten minutes before cutting and serving. This serves 8, allegedly, but we always doubled it because we were 9 and sometimes company, and we do like extras for leftovers.

GF Variation (GF means Gluten Free)- make this using strips of summer squash for the noodles. You can also make individual lasagnas for lunches by cutting the pasta in the round, laying it with the cheeses and sauces in a small individual ramekin style dish:

Linked at Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays

Melt In Your Mouth Mondays

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Key Limish Pie Dessert (crustless, gluten free)

Crustless ‘Key Lime’ Dessert

This is based on a recipe from Sugar Bust for Life!

Package of sugar free jello (lime or lemon). Make the gelatin according to directions or make with slightly less water than calls for. Begin chilling before you start the filling.

8 egg yolks
2 sticks of butter
3 1/2 teaspoons splenda
6 tablespoons lime juice
3 teaspoons lime zest
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

For ‘Key Lime’

Beat the egg yolks until lemon colored. Add butter and beat again. Heat this mixture in a double boiler over medium high heat. When it begins to coat the sides of the pot or the back of the spoon, remove from stove and the Splenda, lime juice and peel.

Beat this until smooth as cream with flecks of lime peel.

IN a separate bowl, whip cream with 1/2 teaspoon of Splenda. Whip cream until stiff. Fold this into the lime cream mixture.

Combine this with slightly thickened gelatin, pour into two pie pans (or a 9X13) and chill for at least two hours, until thick.

Posted in dessert, GF, low-carb | Leave a comment

Food Stamp Challenge Meal Ideas

chicken breasts .99 a pound

organic. celery $1,
8 pounds oranges for $5,

cheese 2.99 #

Turkey is .79 pound

At random, I looked up Kroger sales fliers and found this one in Clarksburg, West Virginia. I mainly picked the area because I am assuming it’s going to be more expensive. That’s where the above prices come from. I also looked up Kroger in Houston, and found the cheese is there for the same price, chicken leg quarters are only .59 a pound, and I am jealous because almonds are only 3.99 a pound, although that’s still out of range for food stamps.

Organic baby carrots are 2.00 a pound, so I assume the nonorganic ones are less.

What to do with five pounds of oranges? Well, in my large family of fruit fiends, I hide them so they last more than a day. But in a family of two or three- eat them for dessert, eat them with breakfast, have them for a snack, juice them, or slice them thin and put them in the glasses of water you should be drinking liberally, especially if you are not used to just drinking water. Save the peels in the freezer.

Going by what’s on sale, it looks like we have the makings of a basic crockpot chicken adobo– all you absolutely must have for this recipe, in my opinion, is the chicken, and it needn’t be boneless, vinegar, and grated carrots and onions. You can even skip the garlic and soy sauce if you are penny pinching, and we are for our purposes, or use powdered garlic.

Save the skins from the onion and garlic (if you used them)- in fact, keep the onion and garlic skins and bits of vegetables and broth from cooking water in the freezer for soup later, keep this going all winter long, cooking soup whenever your container is full. Save the orange peels in the freezer, too, for a separate purpose.

Meanwhile, cook the crockpot chicken adobo, pull all the meat off the bones (save the bones), serve it over rice, or with extra water in it as a soup. Have an orange for dessert. Freeze leftovers, or have them again the next day for lunch, or use them in a pot pie you make from scratch, or have them in a white sauce over toast, pasta, or over a baked potato (or over sun chokes if you’re going low carb, thought those are harder to find, they are in season. Having leftovers in an omelette might be a better bet).

What to do with the bones? Make the most nourishing soup broth you’ve ever had, of course. The same principles for making this turkey bone broth apply to any bone broth.

Hamburger was about 1.99 on sale at most of the Kroger ads I looked at- potatoes are always cheap, and the cheese is on sale, so I’d probably make this cheeseburger soup (use your home-made broth instead of storebought, or use water and a bouillion cube for the broth). It serves five people- and the food stamp challenge allows you 7.50 for a full meal for 5 people, so this meal (and all of these) comes in far below that. You have enough leftover for some salad vegetables and salad dressings, a bag of flour for future baking, and maybe even another pound of chicken.

Other cheap meals with hamburger meat: homemade hamburger ‘assistant.’=)

Use for the meat in 15 minute chow mein, reserving the fat for stir frying whatever vegetables you have on hand or were on sale this week.

Orange Peel
Why have you been saving orange peels in the freezer? It’s easier to get the zest that way. The zest is the bright orange part of the peel, and it has a lovely, er, zesty, bright orange flavor to salad dressings as well as to breakfast oats, and baked goods. If you do not have a zesting tool, it’s easiest to get at this by using a vegetable peeler to take thin orange strips off the frozen orange peels. Discard the rest. What to do with it?
Add it with a pinch of cinnamon to your slow cooked grain cereal, your soaked oats in the morning (muesli, essentially- just combine uncooked oats, not instant, with milk or yogurt and let it soak until the texture you prefer) or to your home-made granola. Be sure to buy your oats in bulk with a friend, or at least from the bulk section of a natural foods store. Oats in cartons are being sold to you at ridiculously high prices. I also like to add the flavor boost of orange zest to cookie doughs, muffins, and coffee cakes.

Make a meat marinade of 4 tablespoons oil or other fat, a teaspoon worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon grated orange peel, 2 teaspoons of mustard, and a teaspoon rosemary, and just enough liquid to cover the meat- you can use wine, water, broth, and even, actually, a carbonated clear soft drink.

Well, I had more, but I have to run. Picking and choosing carefully from the above will feed a large family more than generously on an average food stamp budget. I’ll link to part II on Monday.

Posted in frugal | 1 Response

WFand GF Pumpkin Nut Muffins

Somebody sent me this recipe, but I forgot to make a note of who or where it came from:

Pumpkin Nut Muffins
(wheat-free and gluten-free)

½ cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
OR 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mixture
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, whisked
4 Tablespoons coconut oil (or unsalted butter), melted
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans OR walnuts
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan(s) well or use aluminum disposable muffin liners (muffins stick too much to paper liners).
Sift coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices into small bowl. Stir to blend well and set aside.
In medium bowl blend eggs, melted coconut oil or butter, maple syrup, spices, and vanilla extract.
Add flour mixture to egg mixture and blend well with a whisk until most of the lumps have disappeared, but don’t stir more than necessary to blend. Gently fold in nuts, if using.
Spoon into greased muffin pan or cup liners, about ½ to 2/3 full, distributing evenly.
Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, until light golden brown on top (just starting to develop “brown spots” and toothpick inserted into center of a muffin is “clean” when removed.
Turn out and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

Linked up at Hoosier Housewife’s Cupcake Tuesdays

Posted in breakfast, low-carb, muffins | 1 Response

Quinoa and Fennel, a Salad for Autumn

Quinoa Salad
3 c. cooked quinoa
2 each apples and pears, diced and peeled, sprinkle iwth lemon juice
small fennel bulb, trim, dice
1/2 cup dried currants
2 shallots, minced fine
1/2 cup orange juice
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
freshly grated rinds of 1 lemon and 1 orange
salt to taste
pepper to taste (fresh ground better)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Combine solids
Mix liquids and grated rinds, combine well, top with walnuts

The One-Dish Vegetarian: 100 Recipes for Quick and Easy Vegetarian Meals

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"Pumpkin" Shake

I totally got this idea from Created by Diane. It’s a delicious idea. I made some changes, but they are the sort of changes like using whole, raw milk instead of skim milk, and whole milk yogurt instead of non-fat. And, since I like mine sweeter, I added maple syrup (the real stuff).  Vegetarians could make it with almond or soy milk and a bit of tofu or tofu yogurt.
Scroll down for super low carb version

It’s a little unbelieveable how much this tastes like pumpkin when there is no pumpkin in it.

There’s one sweet potato, which I baked in the microwave in a cup with an inch or two of water in it. That was cooled and peeled.

Then it went into the blender along with:
1/2 cup milk (almond milk works)
1/2 cup yogurt (I used vanilla)
a tablespoon of real maple syrup (optional, but I liked it better sweeter)-
some pumpkin pie spice (make your own!)


The consistency is pretty thick- I ate it with a spoon, more like a pumpkin pudding.

I think this would be really yummy with some melted cream cheese stirred in well, and then poured into a pie shell and chilled.

I wondered about putting some frozen coffee (we freeze leftover coffee for cold coffee drinks) in it in the blender, too.

Low carb version:

1 sweet potato, baked or boiled, peeled

Put into the blender along with:
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
or whole whipping cream, more for a more liquid consistency.
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
Liquid Stevia
to taste (or Stevia Powder or the artificial sweetener of your choice – possibly Da Vinci syrups?)
some pumpkin pie spice (make your own!)
Vanilla, if desired.

Add extra coconut milk or cream if necessary.

Linked at:
Designs by GOllum

Totally Tasty Tuesday

This Chick Cooks

Lady Behind the Curtain

Posted in beverages, dessert, frugal, low-carb | Leave a comment