S’mores in the Oven

The Two Frugal Gals and our families spent this last weekend together.  And…you wanna know what that means?  We did lot’s of cooking and experimenting of course!!

This  special treat wasn’t on the menu until Isaac requested  he must have his s’more fix!   I’d have to agree, he couldn’t have requested anything that fit summertime more perfectly.  Who says they need to be made outdoors? These are easy to make in the oven and taste just as good as those made over an open fire.  I quickly concluded after Isaac’s help in preparing the s’mores he could have at least one every day if his mommy would let him:)

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Ingredients:

Graham Crackers

Hershey’s Chocolate bars

marshmallows

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Place graham crackers on baking sheet. Put 1 marshmallow on each cracker.  Put 1 square of chocolate on each marshmallow. Put in a 350° oven for 4 to 6 minutes, just long enough to melt marshmallow and soften the chocolate. Remove from oven and put another graham cracker on top to make a sandwich.

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It was a wonderful and frugal way to end our evening party!

Homemade Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli…..all of these things end up on the family menu regularly.    A few months ago I went to make dinner and didn’t have a jar of spaghetti sauce in the pantry.  So, I decided to experiment and made my own.  I have tweaked it a few times and landed on this recipe.  Delicious!  It only takes about 5 minutes to throw it together and I always have the ingredients on hand!  (I have been growing a tomato garden this year and I can not wait to make this with my fresh tomatoes!!!!)

 

Here is what you need:

1    6 ounce can of tomato paste

2   8 ounce cans of tomato sauce

4-6 ounces of water (Depending on what you are making.  Lasagna needs a wetter sauce)

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tablespoon Onion Powder (You can substitute for chopped onion!)

1 teaspoon Pepper

1 tablespoon Oil

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Dump your tomatoes, water, garlic, and Italian seasoning into food processor or blender.

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Pulse until well mixed.

photo(39)Dump into a saucepan and add your pepper, onion powder and oil.  Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Wha…..Lah!  Delicious sauce for all your favorite pasta dishes.

Homemade Lasagna Noodles

After my adventure into making mozzarella and ricotta cheese I decided to go ALL IN!

If I was going to make the cheese then I might as well make the pasta sauce and the pasta…….right?  After a little searching I wound up modifying a recipe from Mother Thyme.  She has some great recipes, so check her out!!

Here is what you will need:

3 3/4 cups flour

5 eggs

3/4 teaspoon of salt

5 Tablespoons water

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Dump all the ingredients into a food processor.

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Pulse until the dough forms.

photo(41)Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into slices.  Roll them thin, you should be able to get enough from this recipe to make three layers in your lasagna.  You can use immediately, lay it out to dry, or even freeze it!  If you let it dry, make sure that it is completely dry before storing it.  It will be brittle so be careful.  If you freeze it, put your strips between layers of parchment paper and lay flat.  It will last in the freezer for 2 months.

ENJOY!!!

Jalapeno Poppers

There are SO many ways you can make these delicious pop-in your mouth poppers.  My hubby requested these for father’s day and of course I couldn’t refuse the man who is caring, generous, and charming and the most patient guy I know.  He truly is an amazing father to our three wonderful kiddos!  His favorite poppers is a pretty basic version, stuffing jalapeno halves with plain cream cheese, wrapping them with bacon, and baking them slowly for half an hour or so. Sometimes we will cook them on the grill.  Either way, they are a perfect match for your summer party.  Jalapeno's

Ingredients:

10 Fresh jalapeno

One 8-ounce package cream cheese

1 pkg of bacon

toothpicks

jalapeno

First, Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Begin by cutting jalapeno in half lengthwise.  Keep the stems intact.  Hubby says you want them to form a boat so you keep the filling from oozing out.  I think it looks prettier that way too!  With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes.  Remember: the heat comes from seeds and membranes, so if you can handle the hot, leave some of them in.

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Next, stuff each hollowed jalapeno half with the cream cheese.

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Wrap bacon slices around each half, covering as much of the surface as you can.  Depending on the size of your pepper you may consider slicing your bacon in half (Large peppers may require a whole uncut slice of bacon) Be careful not to stretch the bacon too tightly around the jalapeno, as the bacon will contract as it cooks.

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Secure the jalapeno with toothpicks and pop them in the oven for 1 hour, or until the bacon is sizzling.  Serve hot or at room  temperature.  Seriously… you might consider making more than you think you’ll need, they are that good!!  These poppers can be assembled up to a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge before cooking.  OR they can be fully cooked and frozen in plastic bags and warm them up in the oven.

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Enjoy!

Homemade Wendy’s Frosty

If you’re looking for a delicious and frugal way to enjoy your favorite treat this summer look no further!  This recipe is the perfect easy ice-cream your whole family will LOVE!!! It tastes just like the real thing!  The great thing about this recipe drum roll please…its only three ingredients!!!  For crying out loud you can’t beat that!!!

Homemade Ice Cream 2

Ingredients: (no particular brand find what’s on sale)

one  half gallon of chocolate milk ( Kroger had their half gallons on sale 3 for $5)

1 container (16oz) Whipped Cream (you can go with the fat-free selection)

14oz Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (fat-free, if you want!)

bailey icecream

In a pitcher or mixer, combine all ingredients, (my cute little helper above) and stir until thoroughly combined.  Pour into your ice-cream maker and follow directions according to the manufacturers instructions.  Remove from ice-cream maker and scoop into your favorite cup!  ENJOY!

Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When I made mozzarella cheese, I discovered that you can make ricotta cheese with just a few steps.  The word ricotta actually means cooked twice and that is what you do.  You take the left over whey and cook it again.

How. Much. Fun!!

So much fun, in fact, that I forgot to take some of the pictures so pay extra attention so you don’t forget a step!

Here is what you need:

All of the whey left over from the mozzarella cheese.

1/8 cup of vinegar

(You can add about 1 cup of milk at this point to increase the yield if you want.)

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Add the vinegar to the pot with the whey and cook to 180 degrees. (Add the milk here as well if desired.)

photo(31)Line a colander with cheese cloth and slowly pour the whey into the cloth.  Hang it and let it drain for a couple of hours  (Yes….that is a pony tail holder hanging from my kitchen faucet!!  🙂 )  Whey is rich in nutrients.  If you don’t want to throw it out, here are some ideas of how to use it.

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When the cheese is ready it will be dry and crumbly.  This yielded 8 ounces of ricotta cheese.

photo(34)Add salt if desired and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Lasagna……..HERE WE COME!!!

Find out how to make your own lasagna noodles.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

I like to know how things are made.

I like to make things that seem so normal to just pick up in a package.

So, a while back I decided that cheese was next on my list.  I started with the easiest of all cheeses to make:  MOZZARELLA!!!

Here is what you need:

1 gallon whole milk (Do not get ultra-pasturized)

1 tsp Citric Acid

1 Rennet Tablet (dissolve in 1/4 cup water)

1 tsp. salt

The Aldi in town sells milk for $1.89/gallon so if you have one near you, it is worth the trip.

photo(22)I let the milk sit out for a couple of hours to take the chill off.  Then pour the entire gallon into a large pot.  Sprinkle the citric acid into the pot and stir.  Heat the milk on low until it reaches 90 degrees.

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When it reaches the temperature, pour the dissolved rennet tablet in the milk and stir.  (Junket is the easiest rennet tablets to find.  Most grocery stores carry them near the ice cream cones and chocolate syrup.)

photo(26)Within a few seconds you will start to see the milk curdle.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes undisturbed.  The curds and whey will separate. (Kind of reminds me of Little Miss Muffett!!!)

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Once it has set up and “gelled” take a long knife and cut all the way through to the bottom.  Turn the heat on low and heat to 110 degrees.  The curds will start to shrink and sink.  Stir gently and let it sit for 10 minutes.

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Use a spoon and scoop out all the curds leaving the whey in the pot.  (DON’T throw it out….we are going to make ricotta cheese from it!)  Once you get it all out, microwave the cheese for 30 seconds.  Pull out, drain the whey into the sink, knead for 30 seconds. (Wear gloves as the cheese gets super hot!) Repeat until the cheese begins to come together and there is no more puddles of whey in the bowl.

photo(28)Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt into the cheese and knead.  Continue until your cheese begins to smooth out and form easily into a log.

This batch made 12.3 ounces of cheese.

photo(30)Immediately drop your cheese into an ice bath and let sit for 3-4 minutes.

You can eat it right away, or put in the refrigerator to eat later.  Mine always turns out a little softer than what you would buy in a package, but it taste so much better!!!  We make pizza, calizones, and lasagna!

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