Tag Archives: freezer

Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

I’m back.  Sorry for the hiatus.  There were colds, holidays, travel, life, yada, yada, yada.  Anyway, I’m back, and I have lots of ideas for new posts.  Today’s is about oranges.  And baked deliciousness.

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This time of year my mind turns to citrus.  There’s something magical about the sunshine a Florida orange or Texas grapefruit represents on your breakfast plate when the weather in your neck of the woods is dark and dreary.

Growing up in New England, we relished such treats from faraway lands.  When I was young, my great-grandfather wintered in Florida and every year he’d ship a box of grapefruits to us.  I can still picture where the case sat on the bench in our mudroom, just off the kitchen.  My mother would ration them, reminding us each time she prepared one for us (all those little cuts being a true act of love, wouldn’t you say?), that this was a treat to have them shipped to us.  I can’t explain why that makes them superior to those that had been shipped to the grocery store, but I still (perhaps irrationally) agree.

Alas, this is not a recipe inspired by exotic treats shipped from distant groves by a loved one.  No, it’s an updated version of a family favorite, busted out to use up our sadly sour oranges.

Allow me to share a bit of background.  Continue reading Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

Make-ahead breakfast: Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

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We eat a lot of oatmeal around here.  Rolled and steel-cut.  Simmered and microwaved.  Baked in muffin tins and in slabs.  So when I came across a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal, you knew I had to try it.  (It is pumpkin season here at Economist at Home, after all!)  The prep for this version is quick and easy, but it requires a long lead time – 24 hours to soak the oats before cooking and 40 minutes to bake before serving.

So, pick a day you could realistically pop this in the oven 40 minutes before breakfast and not have your whole day thrown off (a weekend perhaps?).  Working backwards, set aside 5 minutes two nights prior to your baking day to soak the oats and another 10 minutes the next night to mix in the other ingredients. Continue reading Make-ahead breakfast: Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

I’m a convert…to slow cooker “roasted” chicken

I have never perfected the timeless art of roasting a chicken.  I can handle a turkey (perhaps because everyone’s expectations of the bird are pretty low, let’s be honest).  But roasted chicken has me stumped.  I’ve tried numerous can’t-miss recipes (techniques really) and I still failed.  Usually they come out undercooked, so I put them back in the oven and let it go a little longer, which turns out to be too long.  Dry chicken.  Boo!

I’ve roasted whole birds on a rack and on a bed of root vegetables and a rack over a bed of root vegetables.  I’ve slid butter and herbs under the skin (ew!), roasted it breast side up and breast side down, and even flipped it part way through.  Stuffed it.  Left the cavity empty.  You name it, I’ve tried it.  To no avail.

With breast meat that tends to dry out and thigh meat that determines the proper cooking temperature, I feel like the deck is stacked against me.  It’s like betting against the house in Vegas  – I’m gonna lose, it’s just a matter of how badly.

But then I spotted a tip for cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker.  I was skeptical, but I tried it.  It was okay, but too plain for me, and lacking the glory of a true roasted chicken.  It tasted of compromise somehow.  Continue reading I’m a convert…to slow cooker “roasted” chicken

Stone soup. Not really, it’s Minestrone.

I had in my mind that I didn’t like minestrone. I probably got that idea from the numerous cans of it I’ve eaten over the years, with their suspicious cubed carrots and potatoes. All the chunks have the same texture, except the beans, which are mealy. And the taste of tin pervades each bite. Restaurant soup, with few exceptions, isn’t much better. It tastes like nothing more than tomato, holds no surprises, and is still a bit tinny. So I was convinced minestrone itself was deeply flawed.

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Folks, I was wrong. (See, honey, I can admit it.) Continue reading Stone soup. Not really, it’s Minestrone.

Mom down! Mom down!

This weekend a cold took me down like a lion fells a gazelle.  It snuck up from behind, bit me in the ass and laid me flat.  Like that poor wounded animal I kept trying to get up and escape my fate.  In my case it was to attend to my family and home, trying to carry on as usual, but I ended up splayed out and whimpering shortly after each attempt.

Before I succumbed completely, I did manage to whip up a quick broth-based soup with noodles and veggies.  The broth I made last week never made it into the freezer, so it was easy to just dump in some chopped carrots, celery and kale and a handful of tiny pasta.  Man, did that taste good.  And it made me feel better, too.

It's difficult to get a clear photo of a steaming hot soup!  Hubby blew on it while I snapped the pic, but it's still a little blurry.
It’s difficult to get a clear photo of a steaming hot soup! Hubby blew on it while I snapped the pic – I’m sure that’s how the pros do it – but it’s still a little blurry.

Sunday, after a nap, I had another fit of mom-guilt insanity Continue reading Mom down! Mom down!

$200/month grocery challenge – Part III

This is the third installment of a 5-part series.  Missed the first two parts?  Go here and here

My family and I recently completed a 4-week long experiment in which we aimed to drastically reduce our spending on groceries and continue to eat well, perhaps even better than before.  If you’re curious, here are our weekly meal plans for the month.

Seasonal produce: A dilemma
Did we make it?  Yes and no.  Yesterday I explained the way in which we succeeded.   Today I’ll expand on how and why we didn’t.

Abundance brought on our failure.
Abundance fueled our failure

Continue reading $200/month grocery challenge – Part III

Lentil soup

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Recently I inherited a package of pre-cooked lentils when my sister left for a business trip.  I’m not sure if she thought they’d expire while she was away (they wouldn’t have) or was just taking pity on my family while we conducted a $200/month grocery experiment (read all about it next week!).  Either way, I gratefully accepted them, and then privately scoffed the frivolity of her purchase.  Lentils are so easy and inexpensive to prepare.  Plus, our mom’s lentil salad is one of my sister’s favorites, and I promise you that recipe does not start with pre-cooked lentils.  What could she have been thinking?

I couldn’t imagine buying those little vacuum-sealed packs.  However, they were delicious.  They had been simmered with a variety of herbs that gave them a lovely flavor.  But most importantly they were a wonderful variety (French, I think).  Small, firm, black.  Like vegan caviar.  Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.  But still, they were great.  A little balsamic vinegar and olive oil really made them sing.  The only sour note (aside from my ugly moment of judginess) Continue reading Lentil soup

Zucchini quinoa cakes

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After making zucchini fritters I had some leftover grated zucchini.  I also had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge.  I don’t love quinoa, but I’m trying to work on our relationship as I know it is a worthy staple.  Inexpensive, fast, easy and nutritious.  Gotta love that.  Just not the taste and texture so much.  But I thought I’d give it a second (er, twelfth?) chance as a supporting character and with a twice-cooked approach to alter the texture.  Big improvement.  Continue reading Zucchini quinoa cakes

Nectarine sauce

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A few nights ago my favorite peach vendor at the farmer’s market sold me an 8-lb bag of nectarines and peaches for a song.  They all had minor blemishes, but were still perfectly delicious.  The peaches I washed, halved and froze to be reincarnated later as peach pie smoothies (look for a future post with that recipe).

As the evenings are beginning to get cool around here, I thought it would be fun to make something warm with the nectarines without all the work of baking.  Continue reading Nectarine sauce

Zucchini rice cakes

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Two events coincided to provide the opportunity for me to create this recipe.  Being two and a half weeks into my $200 grocery month challenge (see a future post on this), I’m digging deep into the freezer these days.  Recently my hunt yielded a bag of frozen, cooked rice.  Couple that with the fact that my miracle zucchini plant is still producing more than 5 medium to large zucchinis each week, and you get zucchini rice cakes!  Continue reading Zucchini rice cakes