My Father’s Egg Salad Sandwich

The hard boiled egg was placed on the slierMy father didn’t cook very often.  The kitchen was my mother’s domain.   There were a few things that I remember him making.  He often baked bread and made cinnamon rolls in his retirement.   He made large batches of some really good hot dog chili that he would freeze in recycled margarine containers.  He made something that he called Garbage Soup which never turned out the same way twice.   Of course, he could make breakfast which would include bacon or sausage with eggs, or gravy on toast.  I just didn’t really see him in the kitchen very often.

One childhood memory that I have is of my father standing in the kitchen making his lunch.  I remember watching him make egg salad for his sandwich.   I have no memory of my mother ever making egg salad.  I only remember my father standing in the kitchen, chopping eggs, then mixing them with mayonnaise,  salt and pepper.  One tablespoon of mayonnaise for each egg.

I think I was more fascinated by the egg slicer than my father cooking.  I was mesmerized by the way he sliced the egg one way. The egg is rotated 90 degrees on the slicer to cut it into smaller pieces. Then rotated it on the slicer and cut it the other way in order to make small squares of egg. tmp_5244-20150806_233058-1338933096When I was a child, egg salad was not one of my favorite things to eat.  It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I really learned to appreciate it.  Eggs are, after all, an inexpensive source of protein.  Protein is important to our bodies and helps you feel full longer.  It helps build muscle and supports the immune system, too.   That makes eggs, and egg salad, a friend to the starving college student.

My father’s sandwich making technique included toasting the bread and allowing it to to cool in the toaster before spreading it with the egg salad mixture.   He told me that by doing this, the bread wasn’t soggy when it was time for lunch.  Sometimes, he added lettuce to his sandwich, but often, he just spread the egg salad between two slices of toast and wrapped it up before placing it into his lunch bag.  While away at college, I sometimes decreased the mayonnaise and added a little sweet relish to my egg salad to make it different.  Well, I added it when we had it.  My husband and I really were poor, starving, college students.

The simplicity of the combination of eggs and mayonnaise may have been lost on me as a child, but as an adult, I have really come to appreciate it.    Do you have a favorite egg salad recipe?  Please share your favorite and leave a comment below.

De-Gassing Beans

We’ve probably all heard the little ditty about beans at one point or another in our lives, but if you’ve never heard it, I’ll give you a sample now.

Beans, Beans, the musical fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot

The more you toot, the better you feel

So lets have beans for every meal.

There’s also this version:

Beans, Beans, they’re good for your heart

The more you eat, the more you….

Maybe I shouldn’t share that version, but according to the American Heart Association,  beans are good for your heart.

Beans are an amazing and inexpensive food source.  They are extremely versatile, and there are many health benefits associated with beans, but they are often over looked.   American’s are  willing to spend tons of money buying exotic seeds and powders in an attempt to improve the nutritional content of their diets, and the humble, and inexpensive, bean is right in front of them all the time.  People really need to learn to love legumes.

Beans are loaded with protein and fiber,  and they really are a super food.  Most people don’t realize that eating the humble bean can help to lower the risk for heart disease, decrease the risk for certain types of cancer, help with weight control, and help stabilize blood sugar.   For the cost of a dollar or less per pound for dried beans, they are one of the best low fat proteins available on the market.  I realize that beans aren’t touted as an aphrodisiac, but with all of these health benefits, why don’t more people eat them?  After all, beans really are a health food.

The reason most people give for not eating beans is that beans cause them considerable gastrointestinal distress in the form of gas.  Studies show that people who eat beans on a regular basis have less gas than those who eat them only occasionally.    Nevertheless, most people don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of this side effect even while their bodies adjust to eating beans.  That is where degassing beans comes in.   I have tried several methods for degassing, and none have worked well for me until now.

The baking soda methods seemed to result in more gas in the members of our household.  It didn’t seem to matter whether we drained off the soda water or not.  Neither method really worked.  Soaking beans overnight didn’t really seem to make a difference for use,  but the truth is that I seldom plan far enough ahead when making beans to remember to soak them overnight.  Besides, the parboil method worked well for my grandmother who died in her 90’s.  (I’ll describe that later.)

Our degassing method was the result of an accident.  I was preparing to cook some beans for dinner.  I had parboiled and drained the beans and covered them with fresh water.  The beans had just come to a boil when I was unexpectedly called away from home.  I turned off the heat, covered the pan containing the beans, and left the house.  When I returned an hour later, I resumed cooking the beans, and we ate them.  It was after the second night of eating the beans that I realized I hadn’t been gassy.  I inquired with other people who had eaten the beans and they confirmed that they, too, had been unaffected by the usual flatulence.  I made beans my regular way, and once again, people were gassy.  The next time I cooked them, I let them sit on the stove for an hour with the heat turned off , and there was no significant increase in gas from eating beans.  I had accidentally discovered how to degas beans.

Who knew?  Actually, it turned out that several people knew.  They were actually able to describe the chemical process that took place in the beans that eliminated the gas.

Here’s how you cook beans from scratch, including the degassing process.

small white beans in a bagBeans come to us from the field, and though there is considerable effort to ensure that they are clean, it is important to look the beans prior to cooking them to remove any broken beans or rocks that might be inside of the bag. Pour beans onto a clean, dry surface to look them. Pour the beans onto a clean/dry surface so that you can  “look” them.  I used a dinner plate and looked the beans while seated at the dining room table.    sorting beans

I pulled the beans forward into small groups and dropped them into the cooking pot, removing any questionable items and setting them to the side.  (My finger looks 10 pounds heavier in that photo.  Yuck!)A rock was found among the beans

When I had finished, I had a small pile of broken beans and one rock.  The broken beans probably wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but that rock could have broken a tooth.  (I can’t believe how fat my finger looks.  I’m putting it on a diet.) A rock among the beans

Here’s a close up of the rock. Dry Beans in a pot waiting to be rinsed. Once the beans have been properly sorted, they are placed into a pot and rinsed with cold water to rinse off any dirt left over from the fields.

Beans covered with waterCover the beans with 2-3 inches of water.   The general ratio of beans to water is 1:3 or One cup of beans to 3 cups of water.    After preparing beans a few times, you won’t have to measure. The pot with the beans is placed on the stove over medium heat. Put the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. After the pot boils for two minutesAllow the pot to boil for two to five minutes, then turn off the heat.  The pot is covered and removed from the heat. Let the beans sit for one hour then drain the cooking liquid.  Cover with fresh water, add desired seasonings, and cook until tender.    For cooking times for the specific type of bean you are cooking click HERE.    (The degassing method described here takes the place of soaking the beans, so disregard the soaking times on the page.) Trying a sample of Navy Bean SoupOn this day, I made a navy bean soup, but the options for recipes containing beans are endless.   Give them a try.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Smothered Potatoes and Sausage

hearty and inexpensive meal made from potatoes, smoked sausage and vegetables.Sometimes, simple recipes are the best.  They are tasty, easy to prepare, and easy to eat.  Plain food was what my mother always called it.  She would always say that her recipes were “nothing fancy.” and it was those un-fancy recipes that she would often rotate through when she was cooking for us.  One of the things that was in frequent rotation on our menu was fried potatoes and onions.  My father loved to eat these with a dollop of mayonnaise while I preferred mine with a pile of ketchup.  My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so our meals were usually plain and simple foods.   Potatoes are generally an inexpensive food and cooking with them can help to stretch your grocery dollars.  My mom would serve  fried potatoes and onions alongside a small piece of meat or with beans.   I don’t remember having them for breakfast.  The potato dish was always a lunch or dinner item.

Recently, we had a freezer malfunction.  It wasn’t the neatly organized freezer over my fridge.  The big freezer in the garage went on strike, and we had to hurry to find storage for all of our frozen food.  Some of it was shoved into my fridge top freezer.  More of it was shoved into the available freezer space of friends and family.  Once our freezer problems were resolved, I was concerned about how the shelf life of my frozen foods might have been affected since they were moved across town during the heat of summer.   I made a list of everything that was in the freezer and vowed to eat our way through it in the next month.  The ice cream was dispatched quickly when I said I wanted it gone in a month.  The meats and veggies lingered.  I actually created a menu plan based solely upon our freezer contents.  Each meal uses at least one meat and one veggie from the freezer.

As I write this, we have eaten the ice cream, and there are no longer frozen vegetables or frozen juice concentrates in the freezer.  All that remains are meats.  I have pre-marinated some of the meats for the grill and have assembled some crock pot meals for the freezer, too.  Since I am a working mom, I try to make life as easy as possible for us with regard to getting a healthy dinner on the table.   Baker’s Man can usually help with some of the meals if any complicated prep work is done ahead of time.   He’s an awesome guy, and I’m glad that I married him.  Sweet Sue Chef will sometimes help her father in the kitchen, but she’s more likely to show up to bake cookies or brownies than to make Linguine with White Clam Sauce.

One of the items that was left in our freezer was a 1 pound package of smoked sausage.  As I was staring at it, I thought of my mother’s fried potatoes and onions.  I realized that the smoked sausage would go well with that.  I also realized that I could make a one pan meal if I sliced up the sausage and put it into the pan with the potatoes and onions.   It sounded like a perfect dinner solution, so I got to work. mini peppers slicedEven though it was supposed to be potatoes and onions, I noticed that I had some sweet mini peppers in my fridge that I needed to use up, so I cleaned out the seeds and membranes, then I sliced the peppers into thin strips.  Onion was sliced thinlyI halved a larger medium sized onion and sliced it into thin slices.    I wanted as much onion as pepper, so use your own judgement here.    garlic chopped for the skilletSince we really like garlic, I also chopped two cloves of garlic.

At this point, you want to have everything ready to add to the pan so go ahead and slice up your sausage.  If you want, you can quarter it or halve it before slicing or just slice rounds of sausage.potatoes peeled and diced for the smother sausageGo ahead and cut up your potatoes into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes. Suatee peppers and onions int he pan with the garlicHeat olive oil or butter in the bottom of a large skillet.  Add garlic for a minute while stirring.  Then add peppers and onions and saute for 3 -4 minutes. peppers, onions, garlic, and smoked sausageAdd the sliced sausage and continue to stir, over medium heat, until the peppers and onions are beginning to get soft.  Sprinkle with some black pepper to taste.  veggies pushed to one sidePush the pile of peppers, onions, and sausage to one side of your skillet, then add half of the potatoes to the empty side of the skillet.  clear the other half of the skillet so the second half of potatoes can be added Pile all of the sausage, peppers, and onions on top of the potatoes until the other side of the skillet is empty and then add the remaining potatoes.  push the peppers and onions to one half of the pan then put in the chopped potatoesCarefully spoon the pepper mixture on top of all the potatoes so that they are evenly covered.  Think of it as “smothering” the potatoes with the vegetables. evenly spread the pepper mixture over top of the potatoes to "smother" them.Once the potatoes are in position, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth or reconstituted bouillon to the pan.  chicken broth ready to add to the pan.Cover the pan.  This actually steams the potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.   hearty and inexpensive meal made from potatoes, smoked sausage and vegetables.Scoop a serving of the smothered potatoes and sausage into a bowl or onto plates according to your preference.  Add more salt and pepper to your taste and enjoy.

Simple one pot meal. Smothered potatoes with sausageThere you have it.  A simple and inexpensive meal that’s filling and sure to please your family.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  We love to hear from our readers.  Thank you for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Smothered Potatoes and Sausage
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A one pot meal, smothered potatoes and sausages is a filling and inexpensive meal. Served with a salad, this is a simple and filling supper.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced ¾th inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 bell peppers or 6-8 sweet mini peppers thinly sliced
  • 1 medium to large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6-7 small to medium potatoes cut into ¾ to 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup chicken broth or reconstituted chicken bouillon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil or melt butter in a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high to high heat
  2. Add peppers, onions, and garlic to pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Add smoked sausage to the pan and saute for 3-4 more minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Push sausage, pepper and onion mixture to one side of pan and add ½ of the potatoes.
  6. Spoon sausage, pepper and onion mixture on top of potatoes until the other half of the pan is empty.
  7. Add the other half of the potatoes to the empty half of the skillet.
  8. Spoon the sausage, pepper, and onion mixture evenly over top of all the potatoes. Think of it as "smothering" the potatoes with everything else.
  9. Add ½ cup chicken broth to hot pan.
  10. Lower heat to medium low and allow to cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Finding the Best Price for Groceries

frozen sausages and hot dogs purchased at the lowest price can help stretch your grocery budgetFor some people, this may not seem like anything to take time to blog about, but a recent conversation with some coworkers during lunch made me realize that there may be people who need to hear this information.   Shortly after I organized my fridge top freezer, Our upright freezer in the garage started to act up.  While we were waiting for a repair man, we had to rehome the frozen food.    I was sharing with my lunch buddies that some of the food went to my oldest son’s apartment, some went to my youngest son’s mini-fridge, some was shoved into the open spaces in my fridge top freezer, and some went to my neighbor’s house.  They generously cleared an entire shelf for me.  I have awesome neighbors.

As I was recounting this story, more than one of my co-workers asked why I had so much food in my freezer.  I explained that having a well stocked freezer helps me to stick to my grocery budget.  Certain foods are best purchased when they are on sale, and some sales are seasonal.   Once you learn the cycle for the sales, you know when is the best time to buy certain items.    When they asked what I meant, I used the example of hot dogs.Buying foods on sale and storing them in the freezer can save money on groceries.

Disclaimer:  Every household has different opinions about hot dogs and their place in a dinner menu.  We don’t eat them often, but we have them occasionally .  In 2014, American’s purchased nearly 1 billion packages of hot dogs which worked out to  more than 2.5 billion dollars in sales.  Those are some expensive hot dogs, and my guess is that most of the people who read this blog will be people who eat hot dogs.   

We will use the basic, most inexpensive, mixed meat hot dog in our example.  These hot dogs routinely sell for $.99 to $1.59 at my local stores.  There’s one more unrelated thing that I have to say about hot dogs.  Has anyone else noticed that the packages no longer contain 10 hot dogs, and they no longer weigh a pound?  The packages now contain only 8 hotdogs and weigh closer to 12 ounces.   What’s up with that?    Sorry, I digress.

There are several times of year when hot dogs go on sale.   If you buy hot dogs at these times and put them into your freezer, you can save a considerable amount of money.  I have found that my local grocery store routinely sells these hot dogs for $.59 per package before Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day which is what all the other lists say, too.  My local grocer can also be counted on to have a hot dog sale around Super Bowl Sunday.

Since I know when there will be sales, I can buy enough hot dogs to meet our needs until the next sale.  By doing this, I save between $.40 and $1.00 per package.  If my family eats one package of hot dogs every two weeks, this adds up to a savings of $10.40 to $26.00 per year.  If I apply these same principles to other products that we routinely use, it can add up to hundreds of dollars per year in savings without clipping a single coupon.  Of course, clipping coupons can help save money, too.Saving a little money on a few staple household items can save you a lot of money

Small savings add up over time.  I challenge you to keep an eye on your local grocery store’s sale paper.  Keep a notebook or start a spread sheet to find out the best prices they offer on the staple items that you routinely use.  Once you begin to seen the patterns, you will be able to stock up when prices are low and buy enough to last until the next sale.  It’s very comforting to have a well stocked pantry that you can draw upon to ensure that your family’s needs are met.  Of course, saving money is nice, too.

One other thing you can do to save money on groceries is to ensure that you aren’t letting things go to waste.  The average American throws away between 10 and 40% of the groceries that they bring home.  That’s a lot of money going straight into the trash.

Freezer Organization for Under Six Dollars

I don’t know if I’m the only person who has this problem, but I seem to spend far too much time fishing around in the fridge top  freezer for something like that last breakfast sandwich that I’m certain I didn’t eat.  Everyone else is claiming that they didn’t eat it, so it has to be in the freezer, but I just can’t find it.  Finally, I leave the house with a granola bar in my  hand because I didn’t have time to make anything else before leaving for work.    (There’s nothing wrong with granola bars, but they are a poor substitute for a sausage and egg breakfast sandwich.)

Part of the problem was that whenever my kids reached into the freezer to get a snack such as a popsicle or corn dog, they moved everything around in their search.  Of course, they seldom put everything back in its previous location.  Sometimes things fall out of the boxes.  Basically, the entire contents of my freezer were being stirred around on a regular basis when people went looking for something.  It was not a functional system.  It was also very frustrating.

Several weeks ago, I finally had enough.  I knew that I needed to organize my freezer, but I didn’t have a lot of money for fancy containers.   Nevertheless, I proceeded.  The first thing I did was remove everything from my very crowded freezer.  I had already begun removing things when I realized that this might be a good blog  post.  having a messy freezer makes it harder to prepare meals

I had taken some things out of the freezer and placed them here.food removed from freezer and placed on counter

I had also started to organize some of the items I removed from the freezer.

Some more of the food removed from the over crowed and disorganized freezer

When I finally removed everything from the freezer, I was disgusted by what I saw.  There were crumbs everywhere. Youre freezer gets quite dirty from food crumbs

There was even a stain where something had leaked onto the top shelf and side of the freezer.  melted food is a sticky mess in the freezerAs I cleared out and  cleaned out the fridge, I solved two mysteries.

1.  Why was there no room in the freezer?

2.  What happened to all of the ice packs for my lunch?

The answer was the same for both.  My freezer contained 21 ice packs.  Here they are piled onto my cutting board.  There was no room for food because of all of the ice packsBecause the ice packs went missing, I had resorted to using frozen water bottles to keep my lunch cold.

Once all of the extra ice packs were removed from the freezer, there was plenty of room to organize the food.  I used 5 baskets for which I paid $1.00 a piece.  I even put labels on the baskets.  One was labeled “Breakfast Foods” .  Another was labeled “Frozen Treats”.  There was a basket for “Fruits/Smoothies”, and I used two of them for “Vegetables.”   In addition to finding multiple ice packs, I found 5 partial bags of frozen peas.  Miraculously, none of them had expired.5 dollar store baskets organized my fridge top freezer beautifullyThe packages that are shoved between the two containers on the top were full of O’Brien potatoes which needed to be used soon because they were getting close to their expiration.  I even organized the freezer door so  that there is an area for icepacks (just not 21 of them), baking supplies, snack foods, smaller sized meats we will be using during the week, and frozen dinners that can be taken for lunch if there are no leftovers.  Having a place for everything makes it easier to find what you're looking for in the freezer

All in all, we are very pleased with our newly organized freezer.  I’m particularly happy that I was able to do it for only $5.00 (plus tax).  My hope is that as we use up the open bags of peas and other vegetables, we will be able to put our ice bucket back into the fridge.  It would be nice to just scoop ice into  glasses without popping it out of the trays.  At least, I can find that breakfast sandwich in the morning, and no one is stirring my freezer contents while they look for a popsicle.

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Good Tasting Guacamole Without Avocado – Fact or Fiction?

If you like guacamole, I have some sad news for you.  Apparently, there is a nationwide shortage of avocados due to the drought in California.   This shortage is driving up avocado prices which makes it more expensive to whip up a big bowl of guacamole to serve with chips and salsa.   At my house, the avocado shortage was not caused by drought conditions.  It was caused by this guy:

Siberian Husky trying to be adopted in the pound

Beautiful, the Siberian husky is a very charming dog. It’s tempting to adopt one from your local shelter; however, they are not the right dog for everyone. Huskies  are high energy dogs and need lots of exercise and attention or they can become very destructive out of boredom.  This is Riddick at the shelter the day we met.

His name is Riddick, and he ate my avocado tree.  No!  Really!  While unsupervised in the yard, he chewed the branches off of my avocado tree one by one and finished by digging up the stump.  Except for the support post, which he showed no interest in,  it’s as if there was never a tree.  I have never seen a dog who eats trees before, and my family has owned dogs since I was born.   Someday, my son will move out and take his dog with him.  When he does, my garden will be safe from canine pruning. Riddick’s also the reason I no longer have grape vines.  It’s not that Riddick is a bad dog.  He just has a lot of energy and gets bored easily.  Note to all readers:  If you like to garden, a Siberian Husky is not the best choice for a pet dog.  These dogs require a great deal of exercise, including daily walks.  Putting them into a large back yard and not walking them doesn’t work.  They get bored.  When they get bored, they dig and chew.  Huskies are notorious escape artists as well.   If you are planning to get a Husky, learn about the breed and ask yourself if you can really commit to going for a several mile walk, run, or bike ride with them every day.   If not, maybe you should look at a different breed for your next pet.  Unfortunately, Riddick doesn’t get walked daily.  My son claims that he is too busy.  We have another Husky.  She goes for a 5-mile walk every day.  She never attacks the landscaping.  There’s a saying:  “A tired Husky is a happy Husky.”  I would also add that a tired Husky is a less destructive Husky.

Tired Husky

A well exercised husky is a calm dog.

I seem to have gotten off topic.  While Riddick caused my personal shortage of avocados, my desire for a delicious guacamole to dip my chips in did not go away.  Unfortunately, my budget couldn’t accommodate the cost.  With avocado prices climbing, I tried several different “Mock-A-Mole” recipes.  One of them was made from broccoli, another from green peas.  Finally, there was one that used some avocado along with the peas, and there was even a recipe that made a guacamole substitute from asparagus.   One site featured a recipe for “Edamame Guacamole” which increased the protein while decreasing the fat.  Each of these recipes was very good.

In answer to my title question, the answer is that yes, there is such a thing as good tasting “guacamole” without avocado.  So if you find yourself without avocados, or you’re just trying to cut down on the fat in your diet, click on the links above and give each of these recipes a try.

In the meantime, I will be building fences and planting new trees and grapevines.  We’re so lucky to have Riddick.  He helps to make sure that we get our daily workouts done.

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, check out your local shelter.  If you want to make sure that the breed of dog you adopt is right for you, check out many of the on-line tests to help find the right dog for you.

Riddick's approval

MY NAME IS RIDDICK, AND I APPROVE THIS BLOG POST.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Cranberry Chicken Salad

20150501_121754As the weather starts to get warmer, I want to turn on my oven less.  That means that we grill in the summer and bake in the winter.  I mentioned this in an early post on this site.  April’s weather was very labile.  One day it was warm, almost hot.  A few days later, we were bundling up in our coats.

On one of those chilly days, I roasted a chicken.  There was still quite a bit of leftover meat on the carcass in the fridge, and I knew I needed to make something with it.   Yesterday, when the weather was hot again,   I  put together a chicken salad that we ate with crackers.  One of the things that I love about chicken salad is that the recipe is incredibly versatile.  I often make it with different ingredients which makes each end product unique.

Yesterday’s chicken salad turned out so good that I decided to make note of its ingredients and share them here.   If you want to make it lighter, you can use light or even fat free mayonnaise.    However you choose to make it, it will be delicious.

20150501_122146Here’s your recipe printable.   Give it  a try and let me know what you think.

Cranberry Chicken Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Leftover chopped chicken mixed with vegetables and a light mayonnaise dressing makes a healtlight and delicious lunch. Make sure you refrigerate leftovers immediately to prevent spoilage.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup chopped leftover cooked chicken
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced (use white and green parts) This should be about ½ cup.
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ sweet relish ( You can use more or less to taste)
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise (You can use more or less to taste)
Instructions
  1. Chop chicken and celery
  2. Slice green onions
  3. Shred carrots
  4. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine.
  5. Cover and store in refrigerator until serving time.

 

 

Linguine With White Clam Sauce

reduced calorie linguine with white clam sauceThis recipe has its roots back in B.C.  I’m not talking about the time before Christ.  (I know it’s actually B.C.E. or Before the Common Era, I just didn’t need the E for my purposes, so I went old school.)  In this case, B.C. refers to Before Children.  This recipe was first prepared in our kitchen while I was a new college graduate and Baker’s man was working and going to school part-time.

Money was very tight with student loans to be repaid, and dinner had to be easy to cook as well as economical.  This recipe met both criteria, and it was delicious, too.  Back then, it cost us about $2.25 for the entire meal, so it went into regular rotation on our meager menu plan.  One thing we discovered was that when we used minced clams it appeared that there were more clams in the recipe.  This was because the minced clams were cut smaller than chopped clams.  As a result, they spread through the recipe more evenly.  That’s why we use them instead.    Of course, if you must have large pieces of clams, go with the chopped.  On ooccasion, I have been known to go wild and use one can of each.

What I didn’t realize at the time, having never eaten linguine with white clam sauce before, was that the recipe I had memorized from an outdated waiting room magazine was actually a reduced fat version that was actually healthier than the original.  Over the years, I have tweaked it a bit, and I always double the recipe to feed our brood.  The best thing about it is that the longest part of the preparation is waiting for the water to boil to cook the pasta.  I can still make a this recipe for under $5.00.

This recipe is good served with some nice sour dough bread and a salad.  If you have Sue Chef over for dinner, you better serve some cheesy garlic bread on crack instead of plain sour dough.  It’s her favorite. Of course, she also likes this version of cheesy garlic bread, too.

Whatever you decide to make will give you something to do while you wait for the water to boil.   Seriously, that’s the most time consuming part of this recipe.

Give the recipe a try and leave a comment to let me know what you think.  Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Linguine With White Clam Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a quick and easy, reduced calorie, version of the traditional Italian dish. It tastes so good that no one will ever know you cut the calories. Enjoy. (Prep time and cook times listed below are for the sauce. Waiting for the water to come to a boil so you can cook the linguine is the longest part of the preparation.)
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of Linguine noodles (white or whole wheat).
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans of minced clams
  • Juice of one small to medium lemon (you can use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice concentrate if you don't have a fresh lemon
  • 1 (6-8) ounce container of plain, unflavored, yogurt--No fat is okay to use here, but so is regular yogurt.
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Put salted water on to boil for pasta.
  2. Drain canned clams, but reserve the liquid
  3. Peel and Mince Garlic
  4. Squeeze Lemon Juice
  5. Wait for water to boil. This is a good time to assemble the salad or prep garlic bread for the oven.
  6. Once water has come to a boil, drop pasta into hot water and stir until it has settled into the bottom of the pan.
  7. Set a timer so you will know when the pasta is cooked.
  8. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  9. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to the pan and wait 1 minute
  10. Add garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute.
  11. Add clams and saute for 2 minutes.
  12. Add clam juice and bring to a boil.
  13. Add lemon juice and mix well, sometimes, the mixture starts to become opaque and thicken slightly at this point.
  14. Stir in yogurt, until it is well incorporated into the sauce and bring to just a boil.
  15. By this time, 10 - 12 minutes should have elapsed, and the pasta should be cooked.
  16. Drain Pasta put into a large bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  17. Pour clam sauce over the pasta and toss well.
  18. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and serve

 

Scrambled Eggs With Peas

peas and eggs scrambled togetherI known this may sound like a strange combination to some of you, but its actually pretty tasty.  The first time I saw this, my aunt was serving it to us for breakfast one morning.  I liked to eat raw peas from the garden, so I didn’t hesitate to try this breakfast dish, and I liked it.  Recently, I woke up thinking about peas and eggs, so I whipped up some for breakfast.  I had leftover corn tortillas, so that was what I had with them instead of the toast that my aunt had served.

This whole dish comes together quickly.  In fact, this one came together so quickly that I didn’t think about posting a blog with the recipe until I was plating the food.  That’s why there are no photos of the steps. Of course, being half asleep might have had something to do with it, too.  This recipe can easily be modified to include other vegetables like corn, carrots, or mushrooms.  Cheese is always a great addition, too.

The instructions tell you to cook the eggs over a low heat.  The reason for this is because scrambled eggs are always more fluffy when they are cooked slowly over a low temperature.  Almost everyone likes fluffy scrambled eggs.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your peas and eggs, you can serve them with just a side of toast, or a warm tortilla.  If you like meat with your eggs, sausage or bacon taste good with the combination of peas and eggs.  As for me, I’m looking forward to the leftover Easter ham.  This is particularly good when served alongside a slice of leftover ham.eggs scrambled with peas are common in the diets of many cultures

Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Scrambled Eggs With Peas
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Multicultural
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Peas scrambled in eggs may seem like a strange combination, but it's really delicous. Give it a try.
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (about ½ - ¾ cup)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Place eggs in a bowl with milk and whisk together.
  2. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt butter in sauce pan.
  4. Add onion and cook over medium low heat for a few minutes until they become translucent.
  5. Whisk eggs again and add to skillet.
  6. Pour peas over eggs.
  7. Reduce heat to low and stir eggs by lifting from the bottom, and folding the eggs back over onto itself.
  8. The secret to fluffy scrambled eggs is to cook them slowly at a low temperature.
  9. When the eggs are set and the peas are heated through, it's ready to serve.

 

No-Bake Easter Nests

IMG_1808One good thing about having a well stocked pantry is that it’s easy to whip up treats for your loved ones without making a run to the store.  Before I continue though, I have to tell you something.  I love jelly beans.  Jelly Belly’s are my favorite, and I almost always have some around the house.  It makes my husband crazy because he doesn’t understand why I buy jelly beans when Easter is no where in sight.  The truth is that I have a Jelly Belly addiction.

Now that I’ve addressed that issue, I’m ready to move forward with this weeks recipe.  This week, I am going to share with you a super cute, fast, and easy no-bake recipe to whip up some Easter treats for the special people in your lives.  If you don’t have a Jelly Belly stash in your house like I do, don’t worry.  There are always inexpensive bags of jelly beans to be had in the local stores this time of year.  You can usually pick one up for under a dollar.  My daughter actually thinks these treats taste better when they’re made with “regular” jelly beans.  I’ll let you decide for yourself whick type of jelly bean you prefer.

To make the Easter Egg Bird’s Nests, you will need to combine 1/4 cup peanut butter and a 12 oz package of butterscotch chips in a double boiler.  These can also be made with chocolate chips, but the nests are dark brown.

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Stir them until the chips are melted and the mixture has achieved a smooth and even consistency.

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Add a 9 oz package of baked or fried chow mein noodles and mix well until all of the noodles are coated.

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These are the crispy noodles that you can eat straight from the bag that are used to top chow mein dishes.  When I was little, my big brother used to tell me they were french fried earthworms.  That was his strategy to ensure he would have more of them.

Spoon the noodle and butterscotch-peanut butter mixture onto wax paper and use the spoon (or your fingers) to arrange it into a nest shape.

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Place 2 – 3  jelly beans onto each nest and place the sheets of nests onto cookie sheets and place in the refrigerator until the butterscotch chips are firmed up.

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Place in covered container with pieces of wax paper between the layers to prevent sticking.  Store in a cool and dry place.

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For an adult, this recipe goes together quickly.  If you have children helping you, add an hour to the prep time so that little hands can work at their own pace.  In my household, holiday recipes are all about making memories, so we just allow extra time to enjoy the moment.

Thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.  I hope all of you have a very Happy Easter.

5.0 from 1 reviews
No-Bake Easter Nests
Author: 
Recipe type: No Bake Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A simple 4 ingredient treat that's sure to be a hit with the kids in your family whether they are young or old.
Ingredients
  • 9 oz package of chow mein noodles
  • 12 oz package of butterscotch chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • Jelly Beans
Instructions
  1. Melt peanut butter and butterscotch chips in a double boiler until a smooth and even consistency is achieved.
  2. Add chow mein noodles, stirring until all noodles are coated with butterscotch/peanut butter mixture.
  3. Spoon onto wax paper making small nests. Use the spoon, or your fingers, to shape them into a round shape and make a slight depression in the center of each one.
  4. Place 2 to 3 jelly beans into each depression
  5. Place in refrigerator or other cool place until they are set.
  6. Place in a covered container with wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.
  7. Store in a cool, dry place.