Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kumama's Bread Pudding

Hello again!
The presidential debate is just finishing up-I change my mind everyday as to my vote.
Gas prices are down- but for how long ????
Today I’ll give you a few simple ideas for saving on groceries, the most important of which is- DO NOT WASTE ANYTHING! Think if ways to be creative with leftovers is an easy way to start. But first you have to purchase your groceries.
Do not shop without a list. I do not mean a list you write while in the grocery parking lot. Take inventory of what you have on hand; make a menu and construct you list from what you need to get through the week. Go over the ads in the newspapers a clip. Alter your list as needed to take advantage of the sales Pull the appropriate coupons and clip to your list. If at all possible shop alone! Kids and spouses slow down the process- and any added time in the store usually translates into more “stuff” or junk foods in the cart. I do not believe in going from store-to store unless there is a remarkable bargain that will result in a big saving on products that I need or will need in the near future. For example I was in a local Shoppers market to make a deposit at the bank inside the store. I noticed they had tomatoes in 29 ounce cans on sale for a dollar (89cent savings per can) .There were manufacturers coupons at the display .$1.00 off if you bought 3 cans. I bought 6 cans. When I checked out –the coupons were DOUBLED- 6 large cans of tomatoes for $2.00!!! I went to the service desk and asked if it was OK if I purchased more-“absolutely” was the reply. I bought an additional 18 cans for $6.00. So for a total of $8.00 I have enough tomatoes to last me well into spring and saved $37.36!
We need to think about how we spend, how we shop and how and where we eat.

I noticed tonight that there are a few slices bread leftover from last evening’s meal. It’s a bit dry- I could just toss it out to the birds .I could put it in the food processor to make bread crumbs for a casserole topping (store in freezer if you choose to do this) , or I can make dessert for dinner tomorrow. I choose the latter.

Kumama’s Bread Pudding

Serves 4-6

2 cups bread cubes- Any type- Italian, regular white, whole wheat or a mixture – Use the heels of the bread that always seen to go wanting in the bottom of the bread wrapper

½ cup raisins or other dried fruit or mixture .Cut up an apple if that is what you have
2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar (or Splenda that measures like sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla or the flavor you like
1½ cups milk – whole, low fat, skim. If you use reconstituted powdered milk- that is also OK. Have chocolate milk that needs to be used up-give that a try !
Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a 1 ½ quart baking dish .Add raisins and mix . In another bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to the eggs. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the bread. Allow mixture to soak for 10-15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle- it is done when the knife comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Kumama has been on a lazy streak!! I apologize for not being more faithful to this blog!

My husband and I had the pleasure of our wonderful family and friends joining us at our home to celebrate 40 years of marriage. What a wonderful day! My family surprised me with a 5 month old Yorkie puppy. She was at my daughter’s home for a few days before the party – where she got the name Millie – perfect for her. What a joy!!

The economy crisis is impacting all of us! I will be concentrating on recipes that are economical but in cost and in preparation time. Many are having to work more hours at alternate jobs to make ends meet. I will try to also keep the recipes healthy.

The one below is for chicken cacciatore in a slow cooker. It is not particularly unique but it is a recipe you can play with. Don’t have mushrooms- leave them out. Add more onions to stretch a little if needed. If you have the red, orange or yellow peppers in the fridge – use some of those. Green peppers are usually the least expensive. Small to medium sized pepper will do, but often green peppers are sold by the pepper rather than by the pound. If this is the case- go for the largest pepper in the rack- use it all in the dish to stretch the dish or save some for another use. Thighs and drumsticks are often on sale. Today I bought a tray of 14 nice sized chicken thighs for a little over $5.00 at Wegmans! (99 cents a pound). Feel free to add herbs - fresh or dried such as parsley and thyme. Have some left over red wine- throw in a splash

Just for the record ,the more traditional Chicken Cacciatore or Hunters stew has a brown sauce- not the red sauce listed here. .

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 6 hungry people- with leftovers

1 Large package of chicken drumsticks and/or thighs (10-12 pieces) – skin removed
1 large onion sliced
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 8 ounce canned sliced mushrooms – drained (OK to use stems and pieces or fresh)
1 large can of diced tomatoes – seasoned or plain
1 sliced green pepper
2 cloves of garlic minced (or1 teaspoon garlic powder)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)

Cooked pasta noodles or rice – use any pasta that you have on hand – the long skinny ones like spaghetti seem to work best . Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are the healthier choices.

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Put onions and peppers in the slow cooker; add chicken, mushrooms. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add Tabasco sauce if using. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or 3-4 hours on high. Serve it over either rice or linguine noodles.
Tastes even better the second day.