Monday, December 9, 2013

:: Frugal Fodder 26 :: Winter Weather Meals and Warming up! ::

Like most of you “Old Man Winter”  had us  hunkered down inside for the better half of last week and the weekend.  Even today we’re only predicted to reach a balmy 37° …:)
Here are some of the things I did while staying inside--
  • Cooked a pork roast and ate several meals from that Thursday – Sunday…we stretched it for pulled pork sandwiches and taco wraps, after the first night of eating it with potatoes and corn and gravy. 
  • I  cooked cornbread on Friday night and a whole skillet of that feeds the Honey and I several days too.
  • On Saturday I cooked up a pot of black beans—I used some for CHILI (* recipe to follow) and then bagged up the rest for to freeze for future meals.  It is usually just the two of us on the weekends—so we have leftovers today and will probably eat chili again.
  •   My daughter had an extra package of huge dinner rolls she had bought at the store and brought those over—T.H. ate pork sandwiches last night for supper. I had another meal of taco wraps with lettuce and tomatoes that we pulled of the vines before the freeze. They were green and have been ripening up on the kitchen table the last 10 day /2 wks or so.  

After 30 years with this man being a picky eater—I’m finally figuring out what he likes and it helps that he has come around and he's not being so selective.  I never ever figured him to eat black beans—but when I was getting ready to cook the beans; I gave him the choice of Kidney, Pinto, or Black Beans and he chose Black Beans.  It made for a nice change. Buying dried beans in the bag is cheaper than canned beans most of the time. So, meals like these are easy on the budget.

When it gets cold like this—it helps to have something hot in the tummy to keep you warm.

I usually make box cornbread by Jiffy. But a while back I bought a bag of cornmeal and decided to finally make it from scratch. Yes! after 30 years.  It was always so easy to just dump the box out when my kids were here and add the milk and egg; or even easier was to LET ONE OF THEM MAKE IT. :)  I found this recipe for cornbread online.

Golden Sweet Cornbread  
I think the honey is a serving suggestion.  We usually eat it with butter for a meal…or crumble it right into the chili.

The chili recipe is something I adapted years ago---and my kids all love it!  It continues to change a little depending on the meat that I have on hand…but it can be MEATLESS, if you prefer it that way.

Mom’s Ketchup Chili (Mom = ME!)

1 lb. of ground meat. (turkey, venison, or beef) 
1 TBS cayenne pepper
1 TBS paprika
1 TBS of Cumin
1 TBS garlic
1 small onion
1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 can of beans (your choice) OR 2 cups of your favorite dried beans (prepared before hand) 
*** if you are making this MEATLESS…You will want to add 2 more cans of beans or 4 more cups
(you can vary the beans for your preference or substitute with CORN)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
4 cups of water
1  1/4 cups of Ketchup
Brown the ground meat with onion and seasonings (using a potato masher helps to make the meat into smaller bits rather than chunky)
After it’s browned you can add the canned tomatoes and chilis
In a pot add 4 cups, beans, and meat mixture bring to a rapid boil and add the Ketchup.  Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer for about 30 mins. to reduce some of the water and let the FLAVORS MIX.
This makes a slightly spicy chili.  For less spicy back off on the cayenne pepper  and use “MILD” canned tomatoes and chilis

** I also wanted to update everyone on the November PROPANE situation- 

Since we’re talking about things that warm us up--- when I use my oven to make cornbread or potato and pork casserole—or whatever, I always crack the oven door when I’m finished cooking to let the warm air escape into the room and help warm things up a bit.
 Since I’m cooking with my oven…that means we have propane.  :) 

We actually bought it Thanksgiving week and I had a post all ready to go last month—talking about customer service in this country and how, in my opinion it has gone down hill in the last DECADE.  It wasn't a bad post… but not something I felt that I  needed to air out in my anger on my blog. Maybe later it will be something to revisit in a more even tempered conversation.

For now… we have propane.  We ended up buying it from the same company.Along with a hefty service bill… They did give us a price break on our gas purchase.  I don’t think it was a ‘good’ price. But let’s face it---does anyone really think they are getting a good price on fuel now days?  (different post, another day).

We are always looking at ways to save, so when I knew I’d smelled gas outside; I should have taken more drastic measures to investigate.
The Lesson?  —maintenance and repairs EQUALS EFFICIENCY.  Homeowners keep this in mind. 
For everyone who inquired if we've been warm and were getting it ‘worked out’ with the propane company, thank you for your concerns. 

Til next time, Be Blessed!

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  ~Isaiah 9:6


nannykim said...

Well, glad you got the propane! I think I hate being cold worse than being hot. I remember hearing from some people that were missionaries in a very cold China. They went as teachers. But they did not have much heat in the winter and had to wear layers and layers of clothing, hats, and gloves. It sounded so difficult--things I take for granted. When I lived at my old home, which was quite drafty , I would sometimes get the heating pad and that helped considerably along with continuous hot drinks! I bought a bunch of beans this week, and they are better for you then a lot of the canned ones. It is hard at times to find beans in cans without additives or without the white lining.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

I love cornbread.Make mine from scratch the last few years. So good with soup on a winter day. Of course our winter is very different from yours. Take care and Merry Christmas.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Well, at least you have propane, guess sometimes we have to let it go...Isn't worth the fight!!! Sounds like you kids have been eating well!! Your recipe sounds GREAT! Still 85 degrees here in Orlando...sorry, it just is not fair...But, I sure do love it. only it is awful hard to get in the holiday swing of things!


Art and Sand said...

I love cornbread!

I have never made cornbread from scratch and I always feel a little guilty when I use a mix. But, it is so easy.

Kristina said...

I used to be a "jiffy" cornbread gal too. We now make our homemade with buttermilk and cornmeal. It's much tastier and thicker in the pan too. Yum!

Melanie said...

Customer service? What is that? Do you mean when you have to talk to some young punk that could care less about you or your money and was busy txtin their bff about some really not improtant junk or maybe updating their FB status? If that is what you mean, then remember that they deserve to have their job and don't get paid enough to do it. We owe them for the non-pleasure of their presence and their nasty attitude??? How dare those of us that are paying customers bother them with problems. What do we think that they were hired to do? Since when did a paying customer matter? Wiping sweat from my brow and stepping off my soapbox now,

Admittedly my propane company is nothing like yours and I wish that they could run out to Texas and give you the service you are paying for, but I see this all of the time in other business. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to stop by our local Habitat for Humanity. I did not know that they had changed the opening time. There were 2 people walking toward the building mumbling something and looking across the street. Then I heard one of them say "I done told the B&#%* we open at 10" and slammed the open door in my face!!! To add insult another car had just pulled up and they made a point of walking over to her car to tell her that they were not open after slamming the door in my face! There have been other issues llike this at that store, but never to this extent. These are the people who deserve more money handed to them????? Do I need to tell you that it was my LAST visit to purchase or donate items? Oops did I step back on the soap box, stepping down again.

Loved reading about your meals. I consider a fun challenge to find more ways to stretch a food budget! have been guilty of the boxed cornbread too until a friend told me how she makes cornbread. She uses SR corn meal, egg oil and buttermilk. Made sure the pan is greased on the bottom and very hot. If I told you that sometimes I use a little bacon grease would you send a cardiologist to lecture me? Like at your house, a pan lasts more than one meal here too. There are so many ways that you can recreate cornbread it is a staple here. It can serve as the main course with the right additions! So many tasty possibilities there..........

Audrey said...

You are talking my kind of cold weather food ... beans and cornbread ... soups and stews also need cornbread. I do it the lazy way ... Jiffy box and even Mr. Z. can make that. Not as good as homemade ... but faster.
We converted out wood-burning fireplace to gas several years ago (can be changed back) ... Mr. Z. was tired of toting the wood and it was real expensive. He buys the butane or propane whichever we use, in the summer when it is cheaper. You can check with you service person to see if you can do that. They let us know when the price is down and we just ask them to come by when they are in the area. Works for us. This may not work for you if your house is total gas.
Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

Gail Wilson said...

I too am a very picky eater... wish I wasn't. :( Love jiffy cornbread, but only as flapjacks, not as "cake". mmmmmmm want some right now! lol
ohh, so sorry about the whole propane situation. I'm so lucky that my gas comes to me from the electric company. At least I know we are all paying the same price.
I do agree with you about maintenance. I have a few things I've put off, and I regret it. :(