Friday, November 18, 2011

Lemon Pepper Roasted Chicken

1/2 C. homemade vegetable stock ($.25)
3 T. lemon pepper seasoning ($.25)
1/2 C. lemon pepper marinade (free after coupons)
5.5 lb. whole chicken ($3.75ish)
2 T. olive oil ($.10)

Heat over to 325.

Rinse chicken thoroughly and pat dry. Rub liberally with lemon pepper dry seasoning, drizzle with lemon pepper marinade - adding 3-4 T. of marinade to cavity of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil.

Place chicken in lightly greased baking dish and pour stock into bottom of the baking dish. Roast uncovered at 325 for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Let rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Yields - 8 servings
Cost: $4.35
Cost per serving: $.55

Leftover Makeover - Use in:
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Chicken Alfredo
Italian Chicken Salad
Chicken Sandwiches
Chicken and Provolone Panini
Chicken Ciabattas with black olive and roasted peppers

Thursday, November 17, 2011

EggNog Crinkles

I was looking for a crinkle recipe that didn't use chocolate, but when I didn't have any luck and there was one recipe that I loved, but wanted to make it more husband-friendly (he's not a big chocolate fan), I modified one I found in a magazine and with the tweaks and changes I made, it actually tastes a little like eggnog. Even though hubby isn't a fan of eggnog, these cookies are keepers in my book.

1/4 C. chai latte coffee creamer ($.15)
2 eggs ($.10)
1 1/3 C. sugar ($.15)
1/2 tsp. brandy extract (if no brandy, use 1 tsp. vanilla) ($.05)
1/2 C. melted butter or margarine ($.25)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder ($.05)
pinch of salt ($.05)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon ($.05)
2 1/4 C. flour ($.20)
3/4 C. chopped hazelnuts ($.25)
1/2 C. powdered sugar ($.20)
pinch of nutmeg ($.05)

In a large mixing bowl, combine coffee creamer, eggs, sugar, extract, melted butter and mix on high until well combined. Add salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and mix over medium speed, gradually adding flour until well combined. Stir in hazelnuts.

Chill dough 2 to 24 hours.

Heat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine powdered sugar and nutmeg - set aside.

Roll dough into 1" balls, toss to coat in powdered sugar and place on cookie sheet 1" apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and tops are dry. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute before removing to cool on wire racks. Roll again in powdered sugar if desired and dust with nutmeg on top for garnish.

Yields = 48 cookies
Cost: $1.55
Cost per cookie: $.03

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apple Pie Filling

With all the apples in season and the gorgeous crop of baking apple available for between $.39 to $.69 a pound in my area, I've been busy putting up my apple supply for the winter and one of my favorite things is homemade apple pie filling. I've been making this alongside my mother for a good 10 years now and even though we don't have the old apple tree in the backyard, we still found a way to keep our costs down on this treat.

I'm a little bit of a rebel when it comes to make pie filling - I don't believe in only using baking-variety apples. Instead, I go by what looks good at the store, what's most affordable, and I prefer using slightly soft apples of many varieties to give the filling a more complex taste. To me, when an apple is no longer crisp enough for snacking, it is perfect for baking and cooking. From homemade applesauce to apple dumplings to apple pie filling to my cinnamon apples - I've got plenty of uses for apples that are past their snacking prime.

This year, the varieties that we used were: Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan, McIntosh, JonaMac, Empire, Rome, Honeycrisp, Gala, Red Delicious, and Pink Lady. Last year we scored deals on other varieties, so each year, we just use what's available.

This isn't so much of a recipe as it is an instruction guide. For apple pie filling, the variations are endless - and can be as affordable as you choose to make it. For me, I may look for the best price on apples, but I get several different cinnamons to build up the flavor. I used cinnamon from: Saigon, India, Mexico, China, and Madagascar. If you're using a less potent cinnamon, I would suggest doubling the amount called for in this recipe.

10 lbs. apples - slightly soft, assorted varieties - and the more varieties the better ($3.95)
2 to 3 C. flour ($.15)
1 to 2 C. sugar ($.10)
2 to 3 C. dark brown sugar ($.25)
2-3 T. cinnamon ($.40)
1 T. nutmeg ($.10)
1-2 tsp. ginger ($.05)

Combine all ingredients except apples and set aside.

Peel and core apples, slice and toss with seasoned sugar and flour mixture.
Scoop apples into quart sized freezer bags and freeze. The pie filling will last up to 12 months if properly sealed and frozen.

Yields = 4-5 quart sized bags (each bag will yield enough filling for one 9" pie or 8x8 pan of apple crisp or cobbler)
Cost: $5.00
Cost per bag: $1.00

Traditional Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Streusel

A few variations have been made to the traditional sour cream coffee cake recipe I've been experimenting with - most notably, this one doesn't use sour cream, but I've swapped in low fat or nonfat yogurt to make this recipe a little healthier - you could use light sour cream if you preferred, but I was working with what was on hand at the moment.

Also, I've swapped out part of the butter or margarine called for with unsweetened applesauce, this lends a richness to the coffeecake and I've decreased a little of the usual amounts of sugar, to keep this treat from being overly sweet. This comes together fast and looks much more difficult to make than it actually is.

The final substitution I made was using chopped hazelnuts in place of walnuts, but I did that simply because hazelnuts have been ridiculously cheap - under $2 a pound - and walnuts are a little bit beyond my budget at this moment.

1 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine ($.20)
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce ($.10)
3/4 C. white sugar (.10)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar ($.10)
2 eggs ($.20)
2-3 T. coffee creamer, optional ($.05)
2 cups all-purpose flour ($.20)
1 teaspoon baking powder ($.05)
1 teaspoon baking soda ($.05)
1 tsp. cinnamon ($.05)
1 cup nonfat yogurt ($.50)
1 teaspoon vanilla or black walnut extract ($.05)

1/2 tsp. nutmeg ($.05)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ($.05)
1/4 cup brown sugar ($.05)
1/2 C. chopped hazelnuts ($.20)

In a large mixing bowl, blend together butter or margarine, applesauce, white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and extract. Add to these ingredients the flour, baking powder, and soda. Blend until smooth.

To make streusel filling:
Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Set aside.

Grease and flour a large Bundt pan.

Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix on top of the batter in the pan, and cover with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Yields: 16 servings
Cost: $2.00
Cost per serving: $.13