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Food Pantry Blog - Eggplant

Friday, August 01, 2014

Here's this week's food pantry blog, featuring eggplant. Most of the recipes are low carb or can be made that way, except for the Dutch Pancakes and Baked Peach Pancake. I'm not including links to those recipes, but you can find them from the link to the blog itself. And of course you need to limit the fresh fruit.


Yikes! Itís August already! Where has the summer gone?

Itís been a strange summer, hasnít it? It started late and has been unseasonably cool. Not that Iím complaining, mind you! I donít like heat and I especially donít like heat and humidity. I canít help but wonder, though, how the farmers like this weather. I am reassured, though, by the wonderful produce at the Farmers Market.

The grocery ads feature some great deals on produce, but not meat. Again. I keep hearing contradictory news Ė world food prices are coming down but our food prices are going up. The U.S. is supposed to have a bumper corn crop this year and eventually itís supposed to be reflected in our meat prices. I sure hope so! It canít happen too soon, as far as Iím concerned.

With no meat specials to talk about, Iím going to focus on eggplant this week. Itís plentiful at the Farmers Market, and Kayte expects the Hub to have lots of it soon, when the Hoosier Hillsí crop comes in. She says they planted lots of it this year. Donít forget you can exchange up to $18 of food stamps for up to $36 of Market Bucks, so you basically get stuff half off at the Farmers Market. Iím going to assume youíre paying full price, though, when I cost out the meals.

Just a reminder, before I get on to the sales. The average food stamp benefit actually received per person is about $4.15 per day. I figure that that breaks down to about $1.50 for supper, $1.25 for lunch and $1.00 for breakfast, plus about $12.00 or so for things like buying more of something than youíre actually going to use this month. Like buying a big jar of mayo because itís cheaper than buying a little jar, or taking advantage of a sale on something. My goal is to come up with at least three supper menus that come in at or under $1.50 per person for the whole meal. That means at least three main dishes plus sides. I also usually give at least one menu for either lunch or breakfast that costs less than average - $1.00 or less for lunch or 50 cents or less for breakfast. Thatís to give you a little extra wiggle room for supper or stocking up on something or just because sometimes (usually?) you need a bit of help with the budget. Or at least I do.

But first, the sales.

Kroger has pork spare ribs for $1.77 per pound. Itís not a bad price per pound, but remember that thereís an awful lot of bone there. Youíre paying a lot for the pleasure (and I do agree that itís a pleasure!) of gnawing on the bones. Seedless red, white or black grapes are 99 cents a pound. Eggs are four dozen for $5.00, or $1.25 per dozen. Boneless (and presumably skinless) chicken breast is $1.99 per pound. Itís not a great price Ė you can find it somewhere at that price most weeks Ė but itís lower than the regular price anywhere. Smoked sausage is two packages (13 -14 ounces each) for $5.00, or $2.50 each. Thatís about $3.00 per pound, and, like the chicken breast, is a normal sales price. Ground chuck is $2.99 per pound in three-pound packages ($8.97 per three-pound package.) Cheese is $2.99 for twelve to sixteen ounce packages. Again, a normal sales price, and a good price for sixteen ounces but not for twelve. ďLocalĒ cabbage is 39 cents a pound, which is a great price. ďLocalĒ cucumbers are 50 cents each. Red and black plums are 99 cents per pound.

Marsh has Georgia peaches for 98 cents a pound. Perdue boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 per pound in the family pack. Family packs of ground chuck are $2.99 per pound.

Aldi has red and green grapes, peaches, plums and nectarines, all 99 cents a pound in two-pound packages, or $1.98 per package. Blueberries are 99 cents, too, but per pint instead of per pound. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 in family packs. One pound rolls of pork sausage are $2.89. Heat-n-serve sausage links are $1.09 for 6.4 ounces, which may come out about the same, since some of the shrinkage should be gone from the pre-cooked links. Baby carrots are 69 cents per pound. Peanut butter prices have come down. Itís now $1.49 for eighteen ounces of regular peanut butter or sixteen ounces of ďnaturalĒ peanut butter (just peanuts and salt), or $2.99 for forty ounces of regular peanut butter.

Some prices off the top of my head from the Farmers Market last week. Donít forget that they vary by vendor and also by week, depending on how the crops is doing. Zucchini and summer squash were usually 75 cents each or three for $2.00. Eggplants were 75 cents or $1.00 each. Tomato prices varied from about $2.50 per pound to about $4.00 per pound. Heirloom tomatoes were more, standard tomatoes were less. Cucumbers were 50 to 75 cents each. Sweet ďCandyĒ onions were about $1.00 each for big onions. Green beans were about $3.50 per box but the size of boxes varied. Thatís about all I remember. Again, if you have food stamps, you can get stuff ďhalf priceĒ by exchanging your food stamps for Market Bucks.

And now on to the recipes and menus, featuring eggplants. Iím going to assume that youíre getting big eggplants for $1.00 each.

EASIER EGGPLANT AND SAUSAGE CASSEROLE is easier because the original recipe was called Easy Eggplant and Sausage Casserole and I made it easier by peeling the eggplant and mixing up all the ingredients instead of cutting the eggplant out of the shell and then stuffing the shells with the eggplant and sausage mixture. I usually go for the easy way. A batch will cost about $3.85. Serve it with COLESLAW for another 80 cents and serve peaches and blueberries for dessert Ė a pound of peaches, sliced, and half a pint of blueberries. The whole meal comes to $6.15, but you can keep it down to $6.00 if your peaches are a bit small or by using not quite half a pint of blueberries. By the way, you can save the peach skins and pits and, when you get enough of them and other fruit scraps, make FRUIT SCRAP JUICE (http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2013/12
/homemade-fruit-juice-from-scraps.html) or FRUIT JUICE VINEGAR (http://thenourishingcook.com/how-to-make-
fruit-scrap-vinegar/). Iím giving links rather than recipes because thatís the way the online posts come and thereís a lot of explanation. They both look easy enough, just time consuming.

Most eggplant recipes include tomatoes and peppers. Frequently zucchini, too, but almost always tomatoes and peppers. Like EGGPLANT CASSEROLE, for example. It makes a lot Ė a 9x13 panful, so figure on eight servings. You could bake it in two 8x8 baking dishes instead of a 9x13 pan. That way you know youíll get eight servings. A recipe will cost about $7.10, but letís call it $7.20 so it divides nicely by eight. Thatís $3.60 for four servings, or 90 cents each. Serve it with a salad of half a head of lettuce, half a cucumber, and four ounces of baby carrots (sliced), plus some Italian dressing, for about $1.20. Add some fresh fruit for dessert.

Eggplant can be part of the main dish (or, for a vegetarian meal, can be the main dish itself) or it can be served as a vegetable side dish. EGGPLANT WITH YOGURT SAUCE can be served either way. Iím going to use it as a side dish, with ROASTED CHICKEN LEGS. The eggplant dish costs about $1.60, assuming you use HOMEMADE YOGURT. It will cost about 35 cents more if you buy commercial yogurt by the quart. (Itís usually cheapest at Aldi.) The chicken will cost about $2.40 for a leg quarter per person. Thatís a drumstick and a thigh, and donít forget to save the piece of back to make CHICKEN STOCK. How about splurging and having ice cream topped with fresh peaches for dessert.

Last week I forgot to give a budget breakfast or lunch, so Iíll give two of them today. First, a simple lunch dish of SLICED FRITATTA WITH TOMATO SAUCE. It will cost about $2.35, which leaves room for a salad. There are lots of possibilities there Ė lettuce and a few other veggies, or cucumber and onion in sour cream or vinegar, or, better yet, a nice fruit salad. I know Iím using fresh fruit a lot these days, but it has such a short season that itís a shame not to.

A Dutch Baby is a baked German pancake. At least, they say thatís where the name comes from. At its simplest, itís nothing more than eggs, flour and milk baked in one piece in butter in a big skillet. From there, the skyís the limit! Theyíre usually served with fruit, or at least lemon juice and powdered sugar, though I used to make them with hamburger and cheddar cheese. Hereís the basic recipe for GERMAN PANCAKES, that I got from my German uncle almost 50 years ago, and a more recent version with fresh peaches, BAKED PEACH PANCAKE. The basic German Pancakes should cost about 55 cents, plus whatever you add, and will serve four generously. A Pancake with powdered sugar and a pint of blueberries would be about $1.75. Serve either one for breakfast, for less than 50 cents per serving, or with a big salad for lunch for less than $1.00 per serving. It sounds sort of strange, now that I think about it, but I used to have coleslaw with it.

And donít forget that with HOMEMADE YOGURT and the fresh fruit thatís on sale, you should be able to serve smoothies for about 50 cents, too.

Enjoy this delightful weather, and take advantage of the summer produce while we can!

Mary Anne

post on blog -

EASIER EGGPLANT AND SAUSAGE CASSEROLE - gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/20





Today's Frugality

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Forgot to eat before I went off to work at the food pantry, so no lunch. That's one way to save money!

For supper I sauteed a couple of mushrooms, part of an onion, some grated zucchini and some kale in the fat from the drippings from meatloaf I made a couple of days ago. Added some eggs and leftover pizza sauce and then topped it with mozzarella cheese. Pretty good. I had planned to make meatloaf but I did a bit of weeding first. I washed my hands really well, but I'm just not confident I got all the dirt out from under my nails, and it mattered since I mix up my meatloaf with my bare hands!. I'll make it tomorrow, instead.

While I was weeding I pulled up some purslane and some sorrel. Both edible weeds. There was just a tiny bit of purslane. Maybe 1/4 cup. So I just ate it. The sorrel may get tossed.

In terms of food waste, I tossed part of an onion that had been sitting out and didn't look very good. If I had put it in the fridge when I used the first half it would have been fine. And tossed two eggs that were cracked. Don't know why, but I've had a lot of cracked eggs lately. And do eggshells count as food waste? I guess they do, technically, but I'm not counting them. There are limits, after all! I did put them in my compost bucket, though, and will put them in the compost barrel.

How did you do today?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 7/30/2014 12:11AM

    I don't count eggshells as food, never plan to eat one.

Didn't waste any food today, but still haven't got the fridge cleared out.

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Waste Free Friday

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When I was doing some research online about preventing food waste, I came across the idea of Waste Free Friday. Apparently some bloggers report (or did at at one time - I'm not sure if they're still doing it as I didn't check the dates) each Friday on any food waste at their home, and include creative things they did to prevent food waste.

Did you know that the average American household wastes 20 pounds of food each week? Or that as a nation, we waste $165,000,000,000 of food each year? That's 165 Billion (with a B!) dollars! If we cut our food waste by just 15% we could feed a quarter of a million people! If we cut world-wide food waste we could feed every single person in the world! Of course, it's not that easy. When I was a kid, mothers would tell their children to clean up their plates - "remember the starving children in China or India or wherever." There was no way to get the food I didn't want to eat to those starving children, and there's no way to get most of the food I waste to hungry Americans, either. But if I cut my food waste I can cut my food budget and use that money to help feed hungry Americans. Or hungry folks world wide.

End of sermon. I'll get down off my soap box now and get on to the challenge. My challenge for the week is to have absolutely no waste for the rest of the week. None. Zilch. Nada. I cleaned out the fridge yesterday so I'm starting with a clean slate. It's amazing how much room I have in there now! It really needed to be done. I found part of a can of dog food in there - and I haven't had a dog since March!

I'm also going to report on "creative" or at least unusual (for me, anyway) things I do to reduce food waste in my home. For example, there's the zucchini I processed yesterday.

Yesterday I processed a huge zucchini. I got it at the Farmers Market wondering if it could be shredded and used to make BZM (Basic Zucchini Mixture). I think I posted about it here. I did somewhere, anyway. The idea is to shred big zucchini, cook them slightly and then drain them to get most of the moisture out. Then you can use the shredded zucchini in lots of different ways. This is based on an article from philly.com articles.philly.com/1990-09-02/food/
which gives the recipe for BZM and then 50 different ways to use it.

Anyway, the zucchini was HUGE! At least 10 pounds, since even half of it was more than my kitchen scale could handle, and it goes up to 5 pounds. I had to peel the zucchini (or I thought I did anyway), and the middle was kind of like a pumpkin, in that the seed area was very distinct. It had sort of fluffy stuff around the seeds instead of the stringy stuff that pumpkins have. I took out the middle seedy stuff, too, then grated the rest. I got about 16 cups of shredded zucchini. I'll make it into BZM today.

I saved the seeds and am going to try roasting them like pumpkin seeds today. Did you know that you can roast watermelon seeds, too, and the seeds from other melons? Neither did I, but apparently you can.

After cooking the zucchini for BZM, you drain it. I got about a quart of liquid out of the zucchini I processed a couple of days ago. I added it to some bone broth I made. I'll cook up the broth plus the zucchini juice and can it to use when I make soup, which I usually do in the winter when it's cold and not in the summer when it's hot. I'll add the zucchini juice from yesterday's monster zucchini to it, too. I'll put the fluff around the seeds in the broth, too, and cook it all up together for a bit, then strain out the fluff.

I hated to throw out all of that peel, and wondered whether there was anything I could do with it besides composting it. I looked online and lo and behold there are recipes for making "chips" out of pumpkin peel and marrow (giant zucchini-like things they eat in England) peel, so I tried that. I cut the peel into pieces about the length and width of my finger, tossed it in some olive oil, sprinkled some of them with a mixture of chili powder and pumpkin pie spice (I know, but that's what it said!) and all of them with salt. I left them in the oven turned to the lowest temperature for about 4 hours, then left them in the closed but off oven overnight. You're supposed to bake them at 135 with the the door slightly ajar overnight but I couldn't figure out how to make the oven door slightly ajar. The other way is to use a dehydrator, but I don't have one.

They turned out sort of chewy instead of crisp, probably because they didn't dry overnight like they were supposed to. But not bad. In fact, I had them for breakfast. I wonder what the nutrition profile is for zucchini skin?

So there you have it. I used (or will use) the whole monster zucchini! Well, not exactly, because I had thrown the skin into the compost pail and just pulled out the pieces on top that hadn't touched any of the other stuff in there. So I did "waste" some of it, though it's going in the compost barrel. But I think I did pretty good! And I got all of this from one 75 cent zucchini that would otherwise have been tossed (but used productively, I'm sure - either composted or fed to the farm animals).

Anyone else want to join me in this challenge? I'm not doing the official challenge, posting pictures on my blog and all, since I don't have a blog. But I am going to try to have zero food waste this week. How about you? Want to try it, too?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVEDAILY 8/1/2014 12:09AM

    My goal this week will be to eat out of my kitchen. I have many meals awaiting me in the frig!! Need to have a cleaner fridge by mid month, when I go away on vacation.

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NAYPOOIE 7/29/2014 3:59PM

    Absolutely using up leftovers is preventing waste.

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BUDGETMAW 7/29/2014 11:39AM

  I definitely need to clean out my freezer, too, Naypooie. One step at a time. I got the fridge cleaned out!

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BUDGETMAW 7/29/2014 11:38AM

  Using up party leftovers definitely counts as reducing waste in my book!

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NAYPOOIE 7/29/2014 11:30AM

    I like it! But I definitely need to clean out my fridge, and maybe freezer. I've got some stuff in there I have no idea how old it is.

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LJOYCE55 7/29/2014 11:22AM

  I don't want to join the challenge since I am in the middle of trying to use up party leftovers, but I wish you luck.

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Vegetarian Zucchini Recipes

Monday, July 28, 2014

This is the food pantry blog post from July 18, but without the specials, since they're all over by now. There was practically nothing, anyway. I usually build my Friday posts around a meat that's on sale, but there was nothing to use that week. The recipes are vegetarian this week, but they're still low carb.


I don't usually do anything vegetarian, but thereís nothing inspiring in the grocery ads again this week, and zucchini is out in full force at the Farmers Market and at the Hub, so Iím going to stick with zucchini this week. Iíll still give you recipes and menus that stay at or under $1.50 per person for a full meal, but Iíll build them around zucchini instead of meat. And they still wonít rely on bread or rice or potatoes or pasta or noodles or beans other ďfillersĒ of that sort. Donít forget to check out all the zucchini and summer squash recipes already posted, too.

Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian dish that uses eggplant instead of meat. You can do the same thing with zucchini, too, as in this recipe for ZUCCHINI PARMESAN. The zucchini is breaded, but itís baked instead of fried, which makes it a lot easier and less messy. And less time spent over a hot stove, too! The flavor of the marinara sauce is critical to this recipe, so either use a good (and therefore more expensive) sauce or doctor up a cheap sauce with an onion and garlic sautťed in oil and added to the sauce. You might need to add some Italian Herbs, too. Assuming you use a can of Huntís pasta sauce ($1.00 a can several places), an onion and two cloves of garlic to make the sauce, and you make your own breadcrumbs, a batch of this will run about $5.75. The recipe says it makes six servings, though, so each serving would cost just under $1.00, and my usual four servings would run about $4.00. That leaves room in the budget for a big salad of lettuce and fresh tomatoes with a simple vinaigrette dressing and some fresh fruit for dessert. Say a mixture of fresh pineapple and fresh strawberries.

An article appeared at philly.com (the online branch of The Philadelphia Enquirer) with the title ďThe Zucchini Wars. Has Your Kitchen Been Overrun by the Summer Squash? Donít Despair. Here Are 50 Ways to Bring the Vegetable Invasion Under Control.Ē I think the author must have been being paid by the word. Anyway, the idea behind the 50 ways is to grate the zucchini and sautť it in butter with some onion and garlic, and then use the ďBZMĒ (BASIC ZUCCHINI MIXTURE) in 50 different ways. The author says that you need the onion and garlic even if youíre going to put the zucchini in something like a cake, because otherwise the zucchini slurps up all of the flavor of the other ingredients and doesnít leave any flavor for you. He swears that you wonít taste the onion or garlic in zucchini cake or zucchini bread. Donít know about that. I havenít tried them. But it is OK for the onion and garlic to come through in ZUCCHINI MINESTRONE. A batch of the BZM will run about $2.00, so each cup of the BZM will run about 25 cents. A batch of the Minestrone will cost about $4.00 and will make four really big servings. Serve it with Deviled Eggs (use your own recipe) and some fresh fruit. How about combining blueberries and peaches this time? Donít forget to save the liquid that you drain from the zucchini and add it to soups, stews and so forth when you need some liquid, or cook your rice or pasta in it.

Finally, GRILLED ZUCCHINI PIZZAS. Iím giving you the basic recipe Ė just pizza sauce and cheese Ė but you could add other toppings. A few slices of pepperoni, some chopped green pepper or onion, sausage, olives, whatever. Left plain, a batch will cost about $3.00 and will make 8 to 12 slices, depending on the size of your zucchini. You use slices of zucchini as the base of the pizzas, you see, instead of the usual pizza crust. Serve with a big salad and fresh fruit. I have no idea where I got the recipe or Iíd tell you and give them credit.

Budget Lunches - Lunch for under $1.00 per person

(To keep my menus under the average food stamp benefit received in Indiana of about $4.15 per person per day, I figure $1.00 for breakfast, $1.25 for lunch, and $1.50 for supper. However, things don't always work out as planned - a meal costs more than you budget for, or you have to buy a big jar of something and you don't use it all up that month. That's where my Budge Lunches and Budget Breakfasts come in. Each week I give either a breakfast or lunch recipe (or menu, if applicable) that costs no more than 50 cents for breakfast or $1.00 for lunch. That gives you a little bit of wiggle room for those unexpected costs.)

This week I'm giving a lunch menu. COTTAGE CHEESE ZUCCHINI PANCAKES are similar to Potato Pancakes or Latkes, but with grated zucchini instead of grated potatoes. Actually, they use BZM, or BASIC ZUCCHINI MIXTURE, which is a make-ahead mixture of slightly cooked and drained grated zucchini. A batch of pancakes costs about $1.70 and makes four servings of three to four pancakes each. Top with applesauce and serve with COLESLAW or top with half a cup each of whipped cream and strawberries or blueberries per person. Either way, lunch will be less than $1.00 per person. To make it even cheaper, use YOGURT instead of the whipped cream, and bring the cost down to about 75 cents per person.


(adapted from a recipe and reviews at food.com)

2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb total)
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil
2 c dry Italian seasoned BREADCRUMBS
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)
3 Ė 4 cups marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 425. Grease cookie sheet lightly with olive oil. Dip zucchini slices in the egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Put in a single layer on the cookie sheet (it may take more than one) and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip, then continue baking until second side is also golden brown. Reduce heat to 375.

Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Add a single layer of the zucchini, more sauce, and then some of each of the cheeses. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, sauce and cheeses, making as many layers as the ingredients permit. Finish with sauce and then cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the top layer of cheese is melted.


Breadcrumbs can be made out of any kind of bread and can be either soft (fresh) or dry. Dry breadcrumbs are used for breading foods and make a crispy coating. Soft breadcrumbs make a softer crust or stuffing.

To make dry breadcrumbs, start with stale bread (it can be very stale) and dry in a slow oven (200 degrees) until very dry. Let cool completely, then process in a blender or food processor, or break into pieces, put in a plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin. Add seasoning if you like. Some Italian Herbs added to the bread before itís processed turns plain breadcrumbs into Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.

To make soft breadcrumbs, start with slightly stale bread and dry it just a bit in a 200 degree oven. Process it in a blender or a food processor; a rolling pin wonít work. Season it if desired.

To make fresh breadcrumbs, start with fresh bread and donít dry it in the oven. Process it in a food processor or blender (a rolling pin wonít work) and season as desired.

It depends on the size of your slices, of course, but figure on about four slices of bread to make one cup of dry bread crumbs or three slices of bread to make a cup of soft breadcrumbs.

You may be able to substitute crushed crackers, pretzels, stuffing mix, cornflakes, etc., depending on the recipe. Old fashioned oatmeal can be used instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf and similar dishes. If you avoid grains, finely crushed pork rinds work.

(based on a recipe at http://articles.philly.com/1990-09-02/food

1 c chopped onion
White part of 1 leek, chopped (or another half cup of chopped onion)
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 sliced carrots
2 sliced celery ribs
3 c BZM (Basic Zucchini Mixture)
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried savory
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried sage
4 chopped canned tomatoes
5 c chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 T wine vinegar
1 T tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c Grated parmesan cheese to serve (2 oz)

Cook the onion, leek and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the carrots, celery, zucchini and bell pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Add the herbs and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, vinegar, tomato paste, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

(based on a recipe at http://articles.philly.com/1990-09-02/food

1 c finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T butter
1 T oil
5 lb grated zucchini (about 2 great big ones)

Cook the onion and garlic in the butter and oil until soft. Add the grated zucchini and stir for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze through a clean towel to remove most of the moisture before using. Yields about 8 cups of drained BZM. The onion and garlic will not affect the taste of cakes, breads, etc. made with the BZM.

(donít know where this is from)

1 large zucchini (really big, like 2 to 3 lbs)
1/2 c butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 of a 14-oz can pizza sauce

Slice the zucchini into thick rounds. Combine the butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside. When the coals on your grill are almost burned down, lay the zucchini slices carefully on the grill. (Careful Ė theyíll try to slip through!) Cook for three minutes then turn over and brush with the butter/garlic mixture. Cook for another three minutes, turn over again, and brush with the butter/garlic mixture. Cover the slices with pizza sauce and cheese and cook until the sauce is hot and the cheese starts to melt.


2 c BZM (Basic Zucchini Mixture)
1 c drained cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T flour
Salt and pepper
Tomato sauce or sour cream to serve

Combine BZM, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Fry heaping spoonfuls in hot vegetable oil until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve with tomato sauce or sour cream.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUDGETMAW 7/28/2014 7:48PM

  Sounds good! I used to do something along the lines of your second "recipe" back when I ate corn. I think I got the idea from a vegetarian cookbook. I'd forgotten about it. I wonder how it would be without the corn?

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LIVEDAILY 7/28/2014 7:20PM

    Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas and the recipes!! I love to make ratatoille in the summer, which is just a very fancy name for zucchini vegetable stew. I also make a zucchini mix up of sliced pan sauteed zucchini, sliced onion, corn (fresh -cut off the cob or from a can), and sliced tomato, all sauteed together, pepper and some basil and oregano, then topped off with grated cheddar cheese.

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Ground Beef and Summer Veggies

Monday, July 28, 2014

Here's this week's food pantry blog. I've got almost all of my recipes posted to the new blog and have completely revamped the organization. Check out the recipes and the blog posts at gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com I've started doing a Monday post as well as the Weekly Specials posts on Friday, plus a few others now and then. The Monday posts are generally budget but don't necessarily fit into the $1.50 per person framework of the Friday posts.



Kroger has regular ground beef (73% lean) for $1.99 a pound in five pound chubs. Thatís $9.95 for the chub. Cherries are $1.88 a pound. A four-pound bag of sugar is 99 cents. Eckrich franks are 88 cents for 14 ounces, which I assume is eight franks. Buns are 88 cents for eight hamburger or hot dog buns. Thatís 11 cents each for the franks and the buns. (Itís not particularly healthy what with the processed frank and the white flour bun, but thatís only 22 cents for a hot dog, or say 30 cents with ketchup and so on. Not bad for a summer supper Ė once in a while!) Local muskmelons (which as far as I know is just another name for cantaloupe) are two for $3.00, or $1.50 each. Peaches, plums and nectarines are 99 cents a pound. You may have noticed that there arenít many peaches at the Farmers Market this year. The long cold winter damaged the blossoms so thereís a very small crop of peaches locally. Sour cream is ten for $10.00 or $1.00 per pint (16 ounces). Yellow squash, zucchini, broccoli crowns, and green beans are all 99 cents a pound. Cherry tomatoes are two 10.5-ounce boxes for $3.00, or $1.50 per box. Cheese is two packages of 12 Ė 16 ounces each for $7.00, or $3.50 per package. Thatís a good price if you get the 16 ounce packages. Indiana sweet corn on the cob is ten for $3.00, or 30 cents each. I didnít see it in their ad, but when I was in the store on Thursday I saw ďjumboĒ seedless watermelons for $3.99 each. (I have no idea how the ďseedless watermelonsĒ for $2.49 at Aldi compare to the ďjumbo seedless watermelonsĒ for $3.99 at Kroger.) Prices are good through Wednesday, July 30.

Aldi has sweet onions, two pounds for 69 cents, or 35 cents a pound. I usually stock up on yellow onions when theyíre three pounds for 99 cents, or 33 cents a pound. Same price. Corn on the cob is four ears for 99 cents, or 25 cents each. Seedless watermelon are $2.49 each. (I have no idea how the ďseedless watermelonsĒ for $2.49 at Aldi compare to the ďjumbo seedless watermelonsĒ for $3.99 at Kroger.) Mushrooms are 99 cents for 8 ounces. Zucchini (the smallish regular size ones, not the big ones like you can get at the Farmers Market) are three for $1.49, or 50 cents each. Green peppers are also $1.49 for a three pack. Organic baby carrots are 99 cents a pound, which isnít a bad price even for conventional baby carrots. Ground turkey is $5.99 for a three pound chub, or $2.00 a pound. Plain non-fat yogurt is $1.69 a quart (32 ounces). Prices are good through Tuesday, July 29. They werenít advertised, but the last few times Iíve been to Aldi milk was $1.69 a gallon and eggs were $1.19 a dozen.

Iíll go with the ground beef this week. Fortunately vegetables are cheap and can be used to stretch the meat. Hurray for the Farmers Market! (And donít forget to double your food stamps with Market Bucks!) And while weíre talking about the Farmers Market and doubling food stamps and ground beef, the Market Bucks you get in exchange for your food stamps can be used to buy meat, too, which makes ground beef there about the same price as at Kroger. The one place I remember looking had ground beef for $5.50 a pound, or $2.25 with the 2-for1 Market Bucks. And you can probably find it cheaper than that at other stalls.

Zucchini (Or is it zucchinis? It sure sounds wrong with the s on the end, but thatís what the dictionary I looked at said was correct. Iíll go with what sounds right.) abound these days. Theyíre one of those bland foods that you can add quite a bit of because it doesnít have much flavor of its own, as long as itís fixed with other foods that do have a lot of flavor. That works best with grated zucchini, which sort of disappears. Do you remember the BZM (BASIC ZUCCHINI MIXTURE) I talked about last week? Recipes are available at the Hub near the zucchini, in case you didnít get it last week. You can use the big zucchini that are so cheap this time of year, make up a batch or two of BZM and freeze it in two or three cup portions and use them all year long. Like in BZM-MHC ZUCCHINI MEATLOAF. Itís just a basic meatloaf except you add some BZM to it. You donít even notice the zucchini. A big loaf of it costs about $5.10 and makes six good servings at 85 cents each, or $3.40 for four servings. Add CARROT SALAD or COLESLAW for about $1.00 each for four servings and an ear of corn apiece for another $1.00 and youíve got a big meal for only about $5.40 per person. Depending on the size of the watermelons, you might be able to squeeze out watermelon for everyone. If not, make ORANGE MILK SHAKES (about 50 cents if you make a double batch and give everyone about a cup and half each, or you can give them more if you add some ice and make it into a smoothie) or ORANGE ICE POPS (25 cents for a whole batch of them. How many it makes depends on how big you make them. If you donít have popsicle molds, just use small paper cups and popsicle sticks.)

The zucchini in ZUCCHINI AND GROUND BEEF CASSEROLE is cut into ľĒ dice, so it doesnít disappear like the grated zucchini, but the pieces are small enough to soak up all the flavor. Assuming that you use one large zucchini (they seem to be pretty much 75 cents each regardless of size at the Farmers Market), it should cost about $3.45. Serve it over half a head of lettuce with a cup each of shredded cheddar and sour cream (1/4 cup each per serving) for a total cost of $5.40. Half a cantaloupe at 75 cents would bring the meal to $6.15, or just over my goal of $1.50 per person. Or serve WATERMELON ICE POPS or homemade vanilla yogurt to keep it under $1.50. (Just add a bit of sweetener and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract to a quart of HOMEMADE YOGURT.) Not that you really need a dessert, of course. You could save that extra 60 cents and use it another day, instead. Iím just trying to show you how much food you can get for $1.50 per person.

When I was at the Hub on Tuesday (Did you go to the Hub Family Lunch? What a delicious bunch of food! And a lot of it came from things they had grown in the various gardens.), they had beautiful carrots with fresh feathery tops. When I saw the recipe for CARROT AND GROUND BEEF SKILLET, and especially the description of the little truly-baby carrots the author gets from her local farmer (about the size of her finger), it reminded me of those carrots. Not in size, of course, but in the fresh crisp sweetness of them. Actually, it seems a shame to use those Hub carrots in cooking; they should be savored raw and plain and fresh. Just buy some at the store. It wonít be as good as using the super-fresh carrots, but a lot more practical. A batch of this should cost about $4.75, assuming that you have to buy the green onions. If you happen to have some in your garden that need to be thinned anyway, youíll save $1.00, and it will only cost about $3.75. But Iíll assume that youíre going to be buying them. You shouldnít need much to go with it. How about a seedless cucumber (50 cents at the Market last Saturday) in either sour cream or vinegar and oil? Or some fresh fruit Ė maybe a couple of peaches diced and added to homemade yogurt? Two peaches and a quart (4 cups) of yogurt and youíre still under $6.00. Or the cucumbers for a total of about $5.50. You canít have both, unfortunately. But you could have the cucumbers and either ORANGE ICE POPS or WATERMELON ICE POPS and stay under $6.00.

Eggplant (another of those words that I donít know whether to add an ďsĒ to) is not nearly as prolific as zucchini, but itís widely available at the Farmers Market, too. They were running 75 cents to a dollar each on Saturday. It seemed to depend in part on the size but also on the vendor. If you have time, check around for the best deal. The original recipe for EGGPLANT AND GROUND BEEF CASSEROLE called for slicing four medium eggplants, sautťing them in butter, and then layering them with the meat sauce. Using one big eggplant, dicing it and combining it with the sauce makes the casserole a lot quicker and easier to make. Itís not as pretty, but lots, lots easier. The cost of $4.60 leaves room in the budget for a pound and a half of green beans or broocoli.

The final recipe, TERRIFIC TURKEY LOAF, is meatloaf with ground turkey instead of ground beef. Since itís on sale for the same price, I thought Iíd include it. The problem is that with all the veggies in it, it costs $5.15 for a loaf. You can either go with four big slices and just have a simple salad or a pile of buttered zucchini to go with it, or you can get six smaller slices out of it. With six slices, four servings are just $3.90 and you can have a salad and/or ZUCCHINI AND CARROTS and/or some fruit for dessert. Any two out of three should keep it under $6.00.


(based on a recipe at http://articles.philly.com/1990-09-02/food

1 c finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T butter
1 T oil
5 lb grated zucchini (about 1 - 2 great big ones)

Cook the onion and garlic in the butter and oil until soft. Add the grated zucchini and stir for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze through a clean towel to remove most of the moisture before using. Yields about 8 cups of drained BZM. The onion and garlic will not affect the taste of cakes, breads, etc. made with the BZM.

(based on a recipe at http://articles.philly.com/1990-09-02/food
ipes-onion - which, by the way, includes 50 recipes for using up overgrown zucchini!)

2 slices bread, crusts removed (save crusts to make breadcrumbs)
1/2 c milk
2 lbs ground meat (all ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork, veal, sausage, chicken or turkey)
1 medium onion, minced
2 eggs
1/2 c ketchup (or tomato sauce Ė it has a lot less sugar than ketchup)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t mustard
2 c BZM (see below)

Start by getting out the pan youíre going to be using to bake the meatloaf. You can use a small, rimmed (definitely rimmed!) baking sheet, or a 6 cup casserole or a 9x5 loaf pan. The reason for getting the pan out first is that your hands are going to be really messy and if you have everything out you donít have to wash your hands in between steps.

Soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes while you mix up the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and BZM. The best way to mix it is to get in there with your (clean!) hands and mix it up good. If you really canít stand the idea of raw egg and raw meat on your hands, you can wear clean plastic gloves, but bare hands work better. Youíre going to give them a really good wash when youíre through, anyway. Crumble the soaked bread on top of the meat mixture, pour any remaining milk over it, and mix it all up together. Form it into a rough loaf on the baking sheet, casserole or loaf pan you got out first. Now youíre done mixing things with your hands, so go ahead and wash them. Really well. Including under your fingernails. Bake it at 375 for about an hour.

3 or 4 carrots, grated or chopped
1/4 c mayo
Dash cinnamon
1/2 c toasted salted sunflower seeds (or slivered almonds)

Just mix everything up and serve.

(closely based on a recipe in 500 Low-Carb Recipes, by Dana Carpender, 2002)

1 head green cabbage, finely shredded (about 3 pounds)
1/4 sweet red onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup or 2 ounces)

Coleslaw Dressing:
1/2 c mayo
1/2 c sour cream
1 to 1-1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1 to 1-1/2 t prepared mustard
1/2 to 1 t salt
1 to 2 t sugar (or 1/2 to 1 packet artificial sweetener)
Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Combine the cabbage and onion in a big bowl, pour on some of the dressing, and toss well. You may want to use all of the dressing, or you may not. Or you may want to use more, in which case youíll need to make another batch of the dressing. In any case, itís a lot easier to add more dressing than to take some back if thereís too much.

(based on a recipe from Summer Desserts Super Value Pack Ė 450 Recipes for Frozen Desserts Like Ice Cream, Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt and More, by Pamela Kazmierczak)

1 c orange juice
1 T sugar
1-1/2 c milk
ľ t vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

For Ice Pops, pour into ice-pop molds. Insert stick and freeze for about 6 hours or until completely firm.

For Milk Shakes, put all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and frothy.

(based on a recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-and-gr

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 oz)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 c salsa with tomatoes, onions and chilis
1 t ground cumin
12 oz zucchini, in 1/4Ē dice (if seeds are big, remove them before weighing), about 2 medium or 1 large or part of a really big one

Brown ground beef with chopped onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until meat is well done. Add salsa and cumin. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the zucchini, cover and cook for about 10 minutes longer. Zucchini should be cooked but not mushy.


4 c seeded watermelon chunks
1 T lime juice (bottled is fine, fresh is better)
Sweetener to taste

Start by tasting the watermelon. If itís really ripe it should be sweet enough that you donít need any sweetener.

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. (Or put into a deep container and use a stick or immersion blender.) Pour into popsicle sticks or small paper cups, add sticks, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Remove paper cups and serve, outside and/or with plenty of napkins.

(based on a recipe at http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/me

2 lbs carrots
1 bunch green onions
2 T olive oil or rendered chicken or pork fat
2 t cumin
Ĺ t cayenne, or to taste
1 t salt
1 lb ground beef
2 T lemon juice or lime juice, or 1 lemon or 1 lime

Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks about 4Ē long and ĹĒ wide. Slice the green onions, separating the white and green parts.

Heat the oil or fat in a large skillet. Add the carrots and the white part of the onions. Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne and salt; stir well to combine. Cover the skillet but leave the lid slightly ajar and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the carrots are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Crumbled the ground beef into the skillet and mix it with the carrots. Add the green part of the green onions and cook for another 5 Ė 10 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with the lemon or lime juice and serve immediately. If using the whole lime or lemon, serve the beef and carrots and immediately and give each person a quarter of the fruit to squeeze over their own serving.

(based on a recipe at cooks.com)

1 big eggplant, diced
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2/3 c. tomato paste
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

Saute chopped onion in butter until golden. Add ground beef and cook, stirring constantly, until it is crumbled and browned. Combine tomato paste with water, add salt and pepper and pour mixture over meat. Add diced eggplant, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Put the beef and eggplant mixture in a baking dish and bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven until eggplant is tender, about 20 minutes.

(based on a recipe from Jane Brodyís Good Food Book)

1 T vegetable oil
2 t minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 c finely chopped celery (2 large stalks)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
Ĺ lb thinly sliced mushrooms
1-1/4 lb ground turkey
1 egg white or 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
Dash nutmeg
1/2 c minced fresh parsley or 2 T dried parsley flakes

In a large skillet, heat the oil briefly and saute the garlic, celery, onion, and pepper, stirring the vegetables until they are slightly softened, about 3 - 5 minutes. Do not let them burn. Stir the mushrooms into the vegetable mixture, cover the skillet for a few minutes until the mushrooms start to give up their moisture, then remove the cover and saute the vegetables, stirring them, until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the vegetables and combine the ingredients well. Put turkey mixture in a lightly greased loaf pan (approximately 8x4 inches) and bake loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the loaf rest for 15 minutes, then remove it from its pan for slicing. Makes 4 generous servings.


Cut a medium size (about three quarters of a pound) zucchini and a few carrots (about half a pound) into matchstick sized pieces. Nuke them for 2 minutes, then check them. They should be tender-crisp. If theyíre not done to your liking, nuke them for another 30 seconds. Add a bit of butter, if you like.


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