Sunday, March 11, 2012
I'm doing my menus in closer to real time now. I did all my January menus at once and just figured out when I was done for the month what I "bought." For February, I'm doing my menus daily and posting them every couple of days, and doing my purchasing as I go along. It's closer to being realistic, anyway.
So, for the first two weeks of February (1 - 11, since I'm figuring weeks ending on Saturday), I've "spent" $86.58 of my $100. That sounds like a lot, but there were some sales this week that I took advantage of. I have 3 pounds of cheddar left, and about 25 pounds of meat (bacon, pork chops, pork roast, and chicken). Also quite a few veggies. I just hope that I don't regret having stocked up on meat!
My menus through February 11 are posted now in my tracker, and they look much better. I'm aiming for around 1600 calories per day; an average of between 90 and 100 grams of protein, but at least 80 grams per day; and around 20 net carbs. I'm pretty close most of the time. Much closer than I was in January, anyway.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
You know, of course, that eggs are a great budget low carb food. One of my favorite ways to eat them is as quiche.
BASIC QUICHE RECIPE
4 - 6 eggs
1 - 2 c heavy cream
1 - 2 c grated cheese
2 - 4 c cooked meat and/or veggies
Put the eggs, cream, cheese and seasonings in the blender and blend it well. Really well. Like for a few minutes.
Put the cooked meat and/or veggies in a 9" or 10" deep dish pie pan or a 9" square cake pan. If all the quantities are at the higher end you could probably use a 9"x13" cake pan instead.
Pour the egg mixture over the top and bake at 350 until done, somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes.
Makes about 4-6 servings with the smaller quantities, 6-8 servings with the larger quantities.
Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. By itself (or with bacon or sausage or whatever) for breakfast, with a salad for lunch, or with a salad and maybe a hot vegetable for a light supper.
Problems, notes and warnings:
1. The meat and veggies do need to be cooked.
2. The meat should be at least sort of drained. If there's a lot fat and you want to use it, mix it in with the eggs before you add them to the pan.
3. The veggies need to be pretty dry. So squeeze out your frozen spinach and really cook your mushrooms.
4. Any kind of cheese will do. (Except possibly the kinds that don't melt? I can't think of their names, but I know one is Mexican and can be fried.) Pick whatever is cheapest. Or keep a bag of mixed cheeses from the tail ends of bags when there's not enough to do anything with alone.
5. Ditto with meat and veggies. A quiche is a great way to use up leftovers.
6. A dollop of sour cream on top makes a quiche extra special.
7. Some recipes say to combine everything in a bowl before putting it in the pan. Or to mix the eggs and cream together in a bowl instead of the blender and treat the cheese as part of the stuff instead of part of the custard. Or save out some of the cheese to sprinkle on top. I like my way. I think it's easier and works for almost all recipes.
Here's a recipe that I modified last night to use on my February 8 menu. I had some chicken I needed to use up (mostly because I was out of broth and wanted to use up all the chicken before I cooked a bunch more) and decided to use it in a quiche. I figure this should run about 75 cents per serving for 6 servings.
CRUSTLESS CHICKEN QUICHE - .70
(modified from tasteofhome.com)
1 large sweet onion, chopped (6 oz)
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 t garlic powder
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
5 oz bacon, cooked and crumbled
In a small skillet, saute onion in bacon grease until tender.
In a blender, combine eggs, cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend well.
Put cooked onions, chicken, cheese and bacon in a 9” deep dish pie pan or a 9”x9” cake pan and spread evenly. Pour the egg mixture over it.
Bake at 375° for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
As I said yesterday, I save my chicken bones to make chicken broth. I do the same with beef and pork bones, too. And turkey, of course. Probably just about all bones except fish and lamb. Though come to think of it, I got a bag of lamb bones at the Farmers Market last summer to make some lamb broth.
Sometimes I make a batch of broth from just one kind of bones. Like chicken broth. Or beef broth. And sometimes I collect bones from a variety of sources and make a batch of mixed broth. For the kinds of soup of I make, it doesn't usually matter.
The process is pretty much the same. Put the bones in a pot of water and simmer them a long time. Add some veggies and/or herbs and spices if you want to. Strain out the solids, then freeze or refrigerate.
For chicken broth, take most of the meat off the bone, then use the bones for the broth. Put them in a big pot (I like my 8 qt crockpot, I used to use my 4 or 5 qt crockpot until I got my big one, or you can use a stockpot on top of the stove or a big pot in the oven) with a tablespoon or so of vinegar. Add some onion, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley, as desired. Big chunks is fine, since they'll cook for a long time. Add a couple of bay leaves, some pepper corns, whole cloves, maybe some poultry seasoning, or whatever. Simmer for 12 to 24 hours. Don't boil, as this is supposed to make the broth bitter, though I can't say I've ever noticed this.
For beef broth, if you're starting with cooked bones (like from shortribs or steak or roast bones you've accumulated), the process is like that for chicken broth. You might want to change the herbs a bit. If you're starting with uncooked soup bones, you can roast them at 400 until nicely browned but not burned. Roast the veggies with the bones, too. Then put the bones and veggies in your pot, use a bit of vinegar and/or water to deglaze the pan and add that to the pot, too. I've never gone to this much bother, myself.
You can add pork bones (from spareribs, pork chops, etc.) with either the chicken bones or the beef bones, or use them in a mixed broth.
Home made broth will probably have a lot more gelatin to it than store bought broth. It will become close to solid (but jiggly) when refrigerated. The gelatin is supposed to be good for you. You can increase the gelatin by including a pig's foot or ham hock or a calves foot with the bones.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
I tried another MIM/OMM this morning, following the suggestions given here. I used no cinnamon, 1 t of splenda, and 1/2 t of vanilla. I didn't melt the butter or beat the egg before adding them to the dry ingredients. I just mixed the dry ingredients in the bowl, then added the egg, vanilla and soft butter and mixed it up really well. No problems there. It came out fine.
I split it in half, buttered one half and put a slice of cheese on the other, then ran them under the broiler until the cheese melted. It turned out much more like bread this way. The broiling sort of dried it out so it wasn't so cakey or hot cereal-y or something. I did butter the buttered half again. Next time I won't butter it before broiling it.
So there you have it, two very different results from basically the same recipe. My first attempt, with lots of splenda and not broiled, was very good, but more like a sweet muffin. The texture was soft and moist and not really very bread-like. The second attempt, with less splenda and the addition of the vanilla and then broiled, was much more like bread. In fact, as I was eating the half with the cheese on it, I wondered if it was enough like bread to trigger bread cravings. A really good substitute for something I used to binge on can do that to me.
And now on to the "real" January 3, 2010 menu.
Tea with splenda
Scramble – garlic, onion, frozen spinach sautéed in butter, eggs and cream, all scrambled together in chicken fat
Chicken with Carrots and Cabbage (recipe added to my Recipe Box)
Tea with cream (twice)
1427 calories, 108 grams of fat, 77 grams of protein, 30 net carbs, 12 grams of fiber
I'll add the recipe for the Chicken with Carrots and Cabbage to my Recipe Box at SparkRecipes. As I recall, it was ok but not great. I don't think I've made it since the 2010 challenge, but I didn't kick it out of my recipe file, either.
I would love to hear from you if you have budget recipes or ideas!
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Here’s what I ate on January 2, 2010, when I was actually doing the Food Stamps Challenge. As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten it all figured out yet.
3 eggs scrambled in 1 T of butter
Broccoli Cheese Soup – 8 oz frozen broccoli, 2 c home made chicken broth, 1 T butter, 1 oz cheddar
A sort of a stir fried sort of thing – 8 oz raw ground chuck, 180 grams of cabbage, 75 grams of carrots, ½ cup of onions, fried in 2 T drippings
1 cup of tea with 1 T of cream, times two
1297 calories, 81 grams of protein, 94 grams of fat, 25 net carbs, 14 grams of fiber.
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