Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back to basics aka the party is over!

Recent celebrations for the twin's birthday found us partaking in quite a bit of restaurant food. Last night found us at a old haunting ground, a Greek family diner South of here. The older generation passed down this restaurant to the kids, and there have been changes. Noted that prices are even higher than last time, and there have been cut backs. Small things that some may not notice: the pickled hot pepper is no longer in the tossed salad, there are pepper pieces not rings in the salad, an entree typically comes with choice of soup/salad, choice of starch (potato/rice/pasta) but no longer includes choice of vegetable (they would have 3 or 4 choices). Portions were still large (I always order the same thing, take 1/2 of it home).

Dessert was at home: homemade chocolate cake with Italian cherry preserves in the middle of the 2 layers, homemade chocolate buttercream frosting and chocolate jimmies on top! Choice of 2 flavors of ice cream. It was delicious and decadent!

 Lunch offerings today are a variety of leftovers that have to go!

While budgeted for year round, it's time to go back to basics, especially this tight Summer. I also found that physically, this prepared food takes a toll on me. I much prefer, as does my body, my own home cooking.

Tonight's menu will do just that: provide a healthy meal, on a budget.  A family favorite is on deck: lazy golumbki casserole, taking advantage of some marked down beef I froze back in April. Brown rice, an onion (not pictured), a can of tomato soup, seasonings not pictured (salt, pepper, basil), as well as the rest of a Savoy cabbage combined with some green cabbage are the ingredients needed.

 Here's the casserole, assembled
 Naturally, I turned to the small, convection oven for baking it off, conserving electricity in the process
 Leftover rolls from the Greek diner (one kidlet ate one before I could ask that it be saved for supper) as well as butter from the same
Were turned into mini garlic toasts to accompany. Once the casserole was done, I baked these off in the preheated covection oven for a few minutes until golden brown.

 I also plan on serving a large, tossed salad with choice of ingredients.

My supper plate

Laundry already on the line, dishwasher is going, I will soon get ready for the day as one kidlet has to get a broken retainer either repaired or replaced and we have a 9:30 appointment. Temps are supposed to rise, along with humidity the next few days, with showers/thunder storms approaching tomorrow. I plan on taking advantage of the cooler temps and making some bread, cookies, and perhaps some cupcakes (have leftover frosting that needs to go).

 ABM set up on the porch to keep the house cooler
 to prepare the dough for a 2 lb loaf of honey wheat bread.
 Ingredients for really economical cupcakes: Dollar Tree cake mix that only requires water and eggs (also DT deal), leftover frosting.
 Completed cupcakes. I bought enough mixes to be able to make a batch every 2 weeks this Summer, if desired.
 Organic peanut butter
 from the crash and burn shelf @ $1.80/jar
became a large batch of Peanut Butter Crunchies cookies. Glad to get the baking done, tomorrow is supposed to be miserable with humidity.


Lena said...

Everybody is cutting back right now, even the restaurants, that's for sure. Your casserole sounds intriguing:)

Anonymous said...

That cake looks divine! I'm sure with teens in the house it didn't last long ;-)

CTMOM said...

Here's the recipe:


Very easy, and economical!

CTMOM said...

Bargain, we still have 1/2 left. Not sure if it'll last the night, however!

Marcia in rural WNY said...

I would like to know how you make your icing and get that deep chocolate color? I make my own but it's never that chocolatey! I would like mine to be darker.

CTMOM said...

I use cocoa powder, not melted chocolate.


Marcia in rural WNY said...

It does help--thanks. Cocoa powder has less fat besides, an advantage to my stinkin' arteries. I have atherosclerosis and I'm trying to stick to a low fat diet, one of the reasons I cook from scratch most of the time. Also, low salt since I have hypertension too. I inherited some lousy genes but we're doing our best to eat well to counteract them.