Saturday, May 2, 2009

Low Cost and Little Effort Main Dishes

We have been working during fat and lean times alike to be wise with our budget. This is especially important in the food department because when we tracked our spending (we have learned SO much from Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial Ministries) and food is one of the biggest expenses.

A cookbook very helpful in this area (I've mentioned it before) is:
Farm Journal's Country Cookbok. I have three really good recipes (tried and true) and at least two families LOVED all of them. Simple ingredients, quick and easy to make and comfort foods... great all around. I've included the recipes with the notes from the cookbook under the recipe title.
Note: I've also tried one or two of the egg recipes in this book and it was so good (along with excellent info) that I'll be sharing alot more from here!


You spoon seasoned meat mixture over hot buns --- quick, easy, and good.

1 T. shortening
½ c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped green pepper
¼ c. chopped celery
1 1b. ground beef (I used ground venison)
¼ c. cheddar cheese, diced
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 T. vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
4 or 5 toasted hamburger buns, split in halves

• Melt shortening in top of chafing dish or heavy skillet directly over heat. Add onion, green pepper and celery; cook until lightly browned.
Add beef; stir with fork or spoon while meat browns.

Add remaining ingredients, except buns. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, spoon onto warm buns. Eat with fork. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Our oldest son, his wife and our grandbabies joined us for this meal and the men and children were outside. When we called them in for this one --- they went on and on!
All of us inside had the same reaction and decided on repeating these regularly.

Hamburger/Cheese Biscuit Ring

Savory meat mixture waits for tardy people. Add biscuits and bake when they arrive. Or fix meat a day ahead, chill and reheat at serving time.

2 lbs. ground beef (I used ground venison)
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
½ c. tomato juice
¾ c. beef bouillon
¼ c. ketchup
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ c. sliced pimento –stuffed olives

Cheese biscuits
Sliced pimento-stuffed olives (for top)

*Brown ground beef and onion in large skillet; pour off excess fat.
Add all ingredients except biscuits; simmer until slightly thickened.
* To serve, spoon meat into center of platter and surround with hot Cheese biscuits. Garnish with sliced pimiento- stuffed olives. Makes 6 servings.
Cheese Biscuits: Cut ¼ c. shortening and 1/3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese and 2 c. all-purpose buttermilk biscuit mix. Add 2/3 c. milk; stir with fork to make a soft dough; beat 15 strokes. Drop tablespoons full of dough onto greased baking sheet. Bake in a very hot oven (425) 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 12 large biscuits.

(This could be very versatile. It was tasty following the recipe and I love the idea of having it convenient for differing serving times. My husband is an independent business owner and his meal times are very erratic most of the time. This gives me an old fashioned and hearty meal to have ready at short notice.

Easy Burgers

Egg and milk help hold the meat together in these drop patties

2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 T. flour
1 T. finely chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef (I used ground venison)
¼ c. milk or cream
2 T. fat

• Beat together eggs, seasonings and flour until smooth. Stir in onion, beef and milk; mix well.
• Drop 12 spoonfuls into hot fat in skillet; flatten to make small patties.
• Cook 2 to 3 minutes; turn and cook on other side. Serve between slices of buttered bread or in toasted buns. Makes about 12 thin patties.

(We tried these before we put them in buttered bread and they were so delicious! We have decided next time to eat them without any bread.)

I served these with fried okra.
I soaked cut okra (partially thawed from the freezer) in an egg and milk mixture for a few minutes.

Next, I just poured some Cornmeal Mix into a bowl and added some Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I heated oil in a cast iron skillet and as each little "batch" got coated completely, I fried until lightly browned. The entire platter and bowl full of them was gone by the end of lunch! We had a rare treat because my DIL had these on a Wednesday (we spend Wednesday's together with the grandkids) and both of our husbands managed to be here to eat with us!

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