Friday, August 19, 2011

Poor Man's Kitchen

I figured I would give you all a look at what I'm working with. There are my two main cooking instruments. The non-stick frying pan was only recently replaced, on account of the old one's handle falling off. The sauce pan has been with me for ages...or 7 years. I cook almost everything in that sauce pan - sauce, rice, pasta. And I don't need no stinkin' lids...foil works just fine.

I know you're asking, Why would you live like this, when we can see a hint of an ice cream machine to the side. Answer: it works for me. Am I going to be making gourmet meals for twenty? Probably not. Will I be stewing chuck broils or brazing rack of lamb? Most likely no.

So this is what I have, which works great for making simple cupboard meals in a snap.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not Quiche

So, it's getting towards the end of the week, fridge is looking a little empty. Looking around to see what I have - half a dozen eggs that have to be used by the 25th, some veggies in the freezer. I love frozen vegetables, because they're usually cheaper than fresh. I have a package of broccoli, that actually comes in a cheese sauce, that I got for like $1.49. Sweet deal. And this is starting to sound like the beginnings of a really great quiche.

Quiche? Really? You know my favorite part, more than the savory, eggy, fresh, cheesy goodness on top, is that crust. Crumbly, nutty crust that melts in your mouth-- mmmmmm. Unfortch, we don't have that today. Here is what I was able to come up with without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Bon apetit.

* * * * *
4 eggs

1 cup uncooked rice

10 oz. package frozen broccoli and cheese sauce (or any vegetable and cheese sauce)

2 slices bread

2 slices bacon, or sausage, or coldcut meat (optional)

4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced (optional, got them from mom the other day when she came to visit)


Salt & pepper

Cook the rice, follow the directions on your package. I usually add a pinch of salt and pepper to the water before cooking.

Preheat over to 375.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in sliced tomatoes and set aside.

In a sauce pan, add about 1/2 cup of water and frozen vegetables. Cook on medium heat and stir frequently. Cook until vegetables are unfrozen, warm throughout, and cheese sauce is creamy.

In your frying pan, fry up the two slices of bacon. Remove bacon, and pour out grease, but leave just a little bit of grease in the pan. Add a pat of butter, and toast both sides of the bread in the butter/grease mixture. If you don't have bacon, you can just melt a little butter in your pan and then toast the bread. When the bread is toasted on both sides, remove from the pan and cut into 1" squares. Also, break up your bacon into pieces.

Mix rice and vegetables and cheese sauce into a pan until combined. Add egg mixture. Sprinkle with another pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the egg mixture into the rice mixture until well blended, and consistency is the same throughout.

Place pan in over, cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, or firm. Let cool, and serve

* * * * *

Now I know you're going to want to eat this as soon as it comes out of the oven, but I promise you that it is a thousand times better once it has had a little time to cool. This would also be great with some onions, or any leftover crutons or garlic bread. Mmm, maybe some jarred roasted peppers, add a little tang and texture. You can also add more bread, and less rice, if maybe you don't have one or the other. You can make whatever variation you want, depending on what you have in your cupboard. Definitely a good recipe to have when you're at the end of your week, and in need of a warm meal

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Cinnamon Buns

Last night, I was craving cinnamon buns, hard. With the white icing, and the sticky spiral layers. So good.

Well, neither Cinnabon nor a trip to the mall are in my budget right now. And I try as much as possible to stick to basics at the grocery store. So, rummaging through my cupboard, I came up with this pretty tasty substitute.

* * *
Peanut Butter Brown Sugar French Toast Minis

1 slice whole wheat bread
Peanut butter
Brown sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute /or/ 2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Slice the bread longways into three strips
Spread the peanut butter evenly on the bread strips
Spread the brown sugar evenly on top of the peanut butter

Roll bread strips into spirals*

*Tip: The spirals will need to be held together with something. I didn't have toothpicks last night, so I made mini-skewers out of a chopstick. I always make sure to ask for chopsticks everytime I get Chinese takeout-- they're usually free, and they come in handy with a lot of projects. To make the mini-skewers, I took a knife and took thick shavings from the chopsticks.

Beat eggs and vanilla for one minute
Roll the bread spirals in the egg mixture

Over medium heat, melt a pat of butter into 1 1/2 tsp olive oil in a non-stick pan
Toast the bread spirals in the butter on both sides, and around the perimeter-- about one minute per side

Plate and drizzle with powdered sugar icing, maple syrup, or place a pat of butter on top

* * *

I have no powerded sugar, or maple syrup, so it was butter for me. But man, these were good! The outside got that golden buttery crisp that you get making french toast, and the inside was warm and the brown sugar caramelized with the peanut butter just a little bit. And just those three minis were enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Definitely a winner!

Also, if you weren't down to your last bit of butter like I was, you could crumble some butter into the brown sugar, or maybe even some crushed nuts.