Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who Needs Cinnabon? cinnamon rolls

The only bad thing about these is that they take a lot of time, so I can't make them for breakfast. Although I wonder if I could refrigerate them after the second rise, and then take them out first thing in the morning and back them after they come to room temperature...

Cinnamon Rolls $0.26 per serving, $3.15 total cost
1 cup warm (about 100 degrees f) milk ($0.20)
2 eggs, room temperature ($0.20)
1/3 cup butter, melted ($0.35)
4.5 cups bread flour ($0.65)
2.5 tsp bread yeast ($0.05)

1 cup packed brown sugar ($0.20)
2.5 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened ($0.35)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened ($0.50)
1/3 cup butter, softened ($0.35)
1.5 cups confectioners sugar ($0.25)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

1. Place first 5 ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press start.
2. When the cycle ends, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, beat 1/3 cup softened butter until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread beaten butter on dough, then sprinkle evenly with cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 pieces. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, roughly 15 minutes. WHile baking, beat together final 5 ingredients. Spread on warm rolls before serving.
Makes 12 servings.

The Verdict
Wow. Just wow :)

$0.89 per serving ~ Better than Frozen Fish Sticks

Josh was asking for fish sticks. (I know, what kid asks for fish sticks? Josh is weird!) I always hated the frozen ones, so I decided to make my own. Probably didn't save all that much money on it, but I know what is in it!

Better than Frozen Fish Sticks ~ $0.89 per serving, $7.15 total cost
1.5 cups flour ($0.25)
1 tbsp dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups buttermilk ($1.00)
2 eggs ($0.20)
1.25 pounds tilapia, cut into 32 strips ($5.00)
2 cups panko bread crumbs ($0.25)
1 cup canola oil ($0.45)

1. Mix flour, mustard, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and eggs and stir till well blended.
2. Coat fish strips in egg mixture, then breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a large pan.
3. Fry in batches until done, turning once, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
4. Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
Serves 8

The Verdict
The kids absolutely devoured this. Jim's mom enjoyed it, Jim (who hates fish) really liked it, and I enjoyed it too. This is a HUGE recipe. I get my fish from BJ's, but next time I will freeze half and only make half a batch. I served this with mashed potatoes (Idahoan from a bag, $1.00) and broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (Pictsweet frozen, $1.00) This was a hit!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

$0.63 per serving ~ No Tomato Pasta Fazool

Snowed in with the second of back-to-back major blizzards, it was definitely time for comfort food! "Pasta e fagioli", or beans and macaroni, are a staple of Italian immigrant poverty food. Most versions are made with tomatoes, but with Julia wearing as much as she eats lately, I wanted to make something with a little less stain potential.

No Tomato Pasta Fazool ~ $0.63 per serving, $5.03 total cost
olive oil
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed ($1.00)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed ($1.00)
2 medium carrots, chopped ($0.08)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced ($0.10)
1 small onion, chopped ($0.10)
minced garlic
5 cups vegetable stock ($2.50)
1 cup small shell pasta, uncooked ($0.25)
crushed red pepper
salt & pepper
grated cheese

1. Separate 1/2 cup of the cannellini beans, mash them thoroughly and set them aside.
2. Saute carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add stock, pasta, all mashed and whole beans, and spices to taste. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve topped with grated cheese.
Makes 8 servings

The Verdict
Everyone seemed to enjoy this except Julia, who pushed her bowl aside and only ate the bread. I served this with fresh semolina bread (recipe to come, I need to tweak it more) to sop up all the delicious broth. You can certainly use all cannellini beans for a more traditional soup, but I like to make food as colorful as possible for the kids. I definitely would use the more expensive extra-virgin olive oil to saute the vegetables as it does make the soup more flavorful. This hearty soup goes a long way. When reheating it, be sure to add some extra water or broth, as the pasta and beans will soak up all the liquid when refrigerated. I think Grandma would like this version of old-fashioned pasta fazool!