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Fireworks, Barbecues, and the Food Pantry Blog

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I did a special Fourth of July post, pulling together barbecue and picnic type recipes that have been posted so far on the food pantry blog at gardentablecommunity.blogspot
. We haven't finished migrating everything from the old site to the new blog, so not all of my recipes are up yet. Most of the recipes there are ones that I posted and are both budget and low carb, though there are a few that were posted by others that are not. The Fourth of July post hasn't been posted there yet, but you can find the recipes from the list that follows by searching for it there.


The Fourth of July is Friday, and lots of us will be barbecuing and grilling and picnicking. I thought I'd pull together some recipes you might want to consider for the festivities. I don't know what's going to be on sale, so I'll just give you a bunch of ideas but no prices or costs.

Chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs are the most common meats to cook on the grill, especially for those of us on a budget. You're on your own when it comes to cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, and I've given several recipes for grilled chicken. Here's a list of them:

Basic Grilled or Roasted Chicken Breast
Better BBQ Chicken Sauce
Cornell Chicken Barbecue Sauce (aka State Fair Chicken)
Fused Grilled Chicken
Greek or Italian Grilled Chicken

Looking for vegetarian options? We've got those, too! Do you know the story of how Mother Hubbard's Cupboard got started? It was started by two mothers, one of whom was a vegetarian who had been given tuna and pork rinds at a food pantry, and thought that there had to be a better way. While the Hub is far from a vegetarian-only pantry, vegetarianism is still supported both for those who have chosen for whatever reason not to eat meat and also as a low-cost alternative for those who do eat meat. Here are some main dish alternatives that do not include meat. They're mostly make-ahead, unfortunately, but still very good picnic fare. And you can always cook veggie burgers and similar things on the grill.

Black Bean Burgers
Eggplant Tempura (included because the picture with the recipe has Kayte cooking outside!)
Empanadas with Greens and Olives
Provencal Tart with Gruyere and Herbs
Russian Vegetable Pie
Savory Bread Pudding with Vegetables and Cheese
Quiche (the only recipes we have up so far have meat, but you can use more veggies instead of meat)

Baked beans, potato salad and macaroni salad are the usual side dishes at a picnic, and I assume you have your own recipes for those. Here are some alternatives.

Baked Beans
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled Onions
Kittencal's Best Deviled Eggs
Mango Salsa
Salads -
Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
Coleslaw for Company
Kale Salad
Kim Chi - Korean Sauerkraut
Laurel's Coleslaw
Panzanella Bread Salad
Russian Korean Carrot Salad
Spicy Mexican Coleslaw
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Tomato, Cucumber and Pepper Salad

By the way, have you tried a salad picnic? You can get everything done ahead of time and not have to worry about cooking at the last minute. And it's great for a potluck gathering and a great way to accommodate all the different food plans people are on - low fat, low carb, vegetarian, diabetic, low sodium, etc.

And then there's dessert. S'mores, of course. And you can take cookies and cake and fresh fruit. Watermelon for sure. Or try some COFFEE CAN ICE CREAM or GRILLED FRUIT.

Fortunately it's almost supper time, 'cuz I'm getting hungry from all this talk of food!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July, everyone. Be safe. And don't forget what it's all about. Thanks to all those who've gone before us to establish, maintain and defend this great country of ours.

Mary Anne

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALICIA214 6/21/2014 11:10PM


This is a keeper Thank you for sharing

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Food Pantry Blog - Summer Veggie Recipe Retrospective

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I probably won't get a chance to do a "real" post next week, so I pulled up all the recipes that have been posted so far on the food pantry blog at gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/ . Most of them are recipes I've posted but some have been posted by others. There are a few that are not low carb or possibly not budget, but most of them are both. This isn't posted yet to the food pantry blog. If you see a recipe in the list of recipes that follows, you can search for it on the food pantry blog and find it that way.


When the first of the summer veggies come out, I usually want to just savor each one individually for its uniqueness. But pretty soon I'm looking for more ways to incorporate them into my menus. That's what these recipes are for, after you've had the first green beans just plain or with butter, or the first tomatoes with just a dash of balsamic vinegar, or the first zucchini lightly sauteed with a touch of dill. I hope some of these will make it onto your roster of go-to summer recipes!

By the way, did you know that there's an index of sorts to the recipes on the blog? I say "of sorts" because the blog is still a work in process as we move posts from the old site to the blog and try to get everything linked everywhere it should be. Bear with us! But anyway, to get to the index, start by clicking on the COOK icon right under the picture of the carrots and all, which will take you to a list of broad categories - FOOD PRESERVATION, PASTA, VEGGIES & SALADS, etc. And a link to get you to all of my columns, too! Click on the VEGGIES AND SALADS link and it will take you to a list of - you guessed it - recipes for veggies and salads. All of these recipes are on that list along with lots more, and more will be added almost every week as we find more recipes to post and as we finish migrating recipes from the old site.

Happy Cooking and Eating!

Mary Anne

PS - Turns out that trying to pick my favorite old summer veggie recipes is a lot like picking my favorite child! (Well, not that I have any kids to pick my favorite from, but you get the picture.) So I've just listed all of the recipes for cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini and summer squash. Some are mine, some Kayte and others posted. Enjoy!

Creamy Gazpacho
Cucumber Salads
Easy Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
Panzanella Bread Salad
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Tomato, Cucumber and Pepper Salad

Easiest Eggplant and Sausage Casserole
Eggplant Casserole
Eggplant Chili
Eggplant Tempura
Sichuan-Style Eggplant
Simplified Moussaka

Cheesy Beef and Green Beans
Green Beans Almondine
Savory Bread Pudding with Vegetables and Cheese

Crock Pot Ratatouille
Fajita Salad
Italian Sausage and Peppers
Panzanella Bread Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Smoked Sausage and Peppers
Stir-Fried Italian Sausage and Peppers
Tomato, Cucumber and Pepper Salad
Unstuffed Peppers

Crock Pot Ratatouille
Panzanella Bread Salad
Provencal Tart with Gruyere and Herbs
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Tomato Bread
Tomato, Cucumber and Pepper Salad
Tomato Salads
Tomato Soup Three Ways

Chicken and Vegetables
Crock Pot Ratatouille
Easiest Eggplant and Sausage Casserole
Eggplant Casserole
Italian Sausage and Zucchini
Microwaved Summer Squash with Garlic and Dill
Sausage Squash Casserole
Savory Bread Pudding with Vegetables and Cheese
Taco Summer Squash Casserole
Veggie Manicotte with Tofu Ricotta
Zucchini and Carrots
Zucchini Spice Bread


Food Pantry Blog - Chicken Thighs

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Here's this week's post for the local food pantry blog. It's pretty low carb, though there is corn on the cob for one menu and more and different fruit than we are likely to be eating. The intended audience of the food pantry blog is food pantry patrons and others who want to save on their food budgets, not necessarily folks who eat low carb. Though it grew out of wanting to demonstrate that it is possible to eat low carb and still stay on a very strict budget - the average food stamp budget actually received in Indiana, even after the 5.5% cut last fall. Here's the link to the entry in the blog, and then I'll include the post below. gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/20

By the way, I mention a website howmuchisin.com/produce_converters where it tells you things like how much juice in an orange or how many cups of shredded cabbage in a medium head of cabbage. Things like that. It's very handy.


Itís getting harder and harder to come up with complete suppers for $1.50 per person. Iím still shooting for that, and Iím still going to focus on supper, but Iím going to include either one breakfast or one lunch meal each week, too. I call it supper, because thatís what we called the evening meal when I was growing up and thatís what I still call it today. ďDinnerĒ to me is a special meal that can be served either at noon or at night, like Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Dinner or sometimes a special dinner when thereís company. But for just the family, itís supper.

The average food stamp benefit in Indiana in 2014, after the 5.5% cut the end of 2013, is about $4.15 per person per day, or $125.00 for the month. ďTheyĒ usually put that in terms of just under $1.40 per meal, but that seems silly to me. The way most of us eat in America, the meals just donít cost the same. Instead, I figure $1.50 for supper, $1.25 for lunch, and $1.00 for breakfast. That comes to $112.50 for the month. The extra $12.50 is to cover the cost of things that you have to buy more of than you need that month, like the whole jar of mayo when you only need part of a jar.

Iím going to shoot for no more than 50 cents per person for breakfast and no more than $1.00 per person for lunch, which would leave some extra for supper when there just isnít anything on sale. Or for a snack some days, if youíre so inclined. At least to start with, Iím going to stick with not including breads and other starches, like I do for supper. That means I wonít say to just eat a bowl of oatmeal, or a peanut butter sandwich. You already know that you can eat cheap meals that way. My breakfasts and lunches will be eggs, meat, cheese, veggies, and sometimes other dairy and/or fruit.

But, since I do still rely on the sales Ė such as they are! Ė for my recipes and menus, here they are.

First of all, donít forget the Farmers Market, especially if you have Food Stamps! You can double your Food Stamps by converting up to $18 a week of them into Market Bucks. You get two Market Bucks for each Food Stamp dollar, up to a total of Market Bucks per week. Then you can use the Market Bucks to shop anywhere at either the main Saturday market or the Tuesday market. Food at the Farmers Market isnít cheap when compared with grocery store food, but it is healthier, supports the local producers and is better for the environment. And the Market Bucks makes the Farmers Market prices competitive with the conventionally produced, less fresh and frequently shipped thousands of miles food you buy at the grocery stores.

Aldi has mangos for 39 cents each, multi-colored peppers for 50 cents each in the three packs ($1.49 per pack), Tomatoes on the Vine for 99 cents for 24 ounces, or about 65 cents a pound, and blueberries for $1.49 per pint. These prices are good through Tuesday, June 10.

Marsh has chicken drumsticks or thighs for 87 cents a pound in the family packs. Thereís more meat on a thigh (less waste) but thereís something extra satisfying about gnawing on a drumstick. I guess the kid in me still hasnít grown up. Sour cream is $1.39 a pint after a 50 cent ecoupon. Prices are good through Wednesday, June 11.

Kroger has Roma tomatoes for 99 cents a pound, limes for 79 cents each, and two bunches of cilantro for 99 cents. Eggplant and English cucumbers (the long skinny ďseedlessĒ kind) are 99 cents each. Prices are good through Wednesday, June 11.

IGA has whole boneless pork loin for $1.99 per pound, and theyíll cut and package it for free. Thereís a limit of two ďwith additional purchaseĒ but it doesnít say how much that additional purchase has to be. The special on pork is only good through Saturday, June 7. They also have salad dressings four for $5.00, or $1.25. This price is good through Sunday, June 8.

This weekís supper recipes and menus will feature the chicken thighs for 87 cents a pound from Marsh. Two average thighs, including bone and skin, run about three-quarters of a pound, or twelve ounces, according to something I read online, which would be three pounds for a family of four. They vary considerably in size, though. Iím going to figure on about a pound of raw chicken thighs, with bone and skin, per person. That should be between two and three thighs and something over a cup of boneless skinless cooked chicken. However, Iím also going to give myself some leeway because Iíll be figuring the costs based on four pounds of chicken instead of three.

The first recipe, GARLIC LIME CHICKEN, combines garlic, lime juice and herbs to make a tangy marinade. Chances are you have everything but the lime juice and the coriander (and the chicken, of course) on hand. Get the lime juice in the bottle, like ReaLemon, only lime. There should be a store brand thatís cheaper the ReaLemon brand. Either one will be cheaper than fresh lime juice, which would of course be best. Kroger has fresh limes on sale this week for 75 cents each, and thereís about two tablespoons of juice in a medium lime. That means that it would take about four limes, or $3.00, to get the half cup of juice that the recipe calls for. (Thatís according to howmuchisin.com/produce_converters, by the way, a site I use a lot. It usually doesnít make a lot of difference how many cups or tablespoons or ounces in a piece of produce, but sometimes it does, like here where weíre relying on the lime juice for a big part of the flavor. Or when Iím trying to figure out how many cups of cabbage Iíll get from ďhalf a medium head of cabbageĒ Ė which is four cups of shredded cabbage, or eight cups from a medium head which is two pounds. In case youíre wondering.)

The chicken is going to cost about $4.80, which only leaves $1.20 for the rest of the meal. A can of green beans is 49 cents at Aldi, and half a head of lettuce is 55 cents, also at Aldi, the last time I checked. Two tablespoons of salad dressing per person, or half a cup total, is 35 cents at Aldi. That comes to a total of about $6.20, which is just a bit more than my goal of $1.50 per person, or $6.00 for a family of four. But then the chicken thighs will probably run a bit less than eight ounces each, so there should be a small savings there. It should come in at right about $6.00.

(adapted from a recipe in Quick Cooking, Jul/Aug 2002)

1/2 c lime juice (bottled will do)
1/4 c cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T minced fresh oregano (or 2 t dried oregano)
1 T dried coriander
2 t pepper
1 t salt
1 t paprika
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs (between 3 and 4 lbs total)
1/4 c vegetable oil

Combine everything but the chicken and oil in a large ziplock bag. Add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Discard marinade. In a skillet, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Transfer to a greased 15x10x1 baking pan, or a pan or pans big enough to hold all of the chicken in a single layer without crowding. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Mark Bittman is perhaps best known for his How to Cook Everything: 2000 Simple Recipes for Good Food. Itís a huge book Ė 1056 pages, and the shipping weight, according to Amazon, is 4.6 pounds! The next recipe, DEVILED CHICKEN OR PORK CHOPS, comes from a smaller cookbook, his The Best Recipes in the Word, which is only 768 pages, with a shipping weight of only 3.9 pounds. The original recipe calls for EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), but pure olive oil is cheaper and I canít tell the difference. If you have EVOO and you want to use it, Iím sure Mark Bittman (and Rachael Ray) would approve.

The olive oil and mustard will run about 50 cents, and the chicken will run between $2.60 and $3.50. Letís say $3.00 for the chicken, bringing the total cost of the dish to $3.50. How about an ear of corn each ($1.34 at IGA through Sunday, or $1.49 at Aldi through Tuesday), to go with it, and MANGO SALSA, which, with mangos and cilantro on sale, should be about $1.00. Total cost for the meal Ė right at $6.00, or $1.50 per person.

(based closely on a recipe from Mark Bittmanís The Best Recipes in the World)

8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on, 3 to 4 pounds total (or 4 pork chops, each 6 to 8 oz)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c or more Dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
1 c water or stock
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Put a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. It may take two skillets; you donít want to crowd the meat. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and smear them all over with the mustard. Add the oil to the pan and, when it is hot, the chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned, then lower the heat and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through, another 20 minutes or so. (About 10 minutes for chops.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the water or stock to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the water has incorporated any solids in the pan. When there are only a couple of tablespoons of liquid left, spoon it over the chicken, garnish, and serve.

Have you ever read those articles in womenís magazines about dishes you can whip up from things you always have in your pantry, fridge and freezer? I donít know whose pantry, fridge and freezer theyíve been looking in, but it seems like there are a lot things that ďeveryoneĒ has that I donít have, and sometimes never have had. Anyway, The $21 Challenge is a lot like those articles. The idea behind the book and the website http://www.simplesavings.com.au/21dollarch
allenge is that most of us have enough bits and pieces in our pantries, fridges and freezers to feed our families for a week with just $21 and some creativity. They give several recipes using those things that ďwe allĒ have on hand, including this recipe for FRENCH ONION CHICKEN. The original recipe calls for a packet of FRENCH ONION SOUP MIX, and you can use a packet if you have one. Or you can make your own for a fraction of the cost of the commercial mix. Donít forget that you can buy most herbs and spices a lot more cheaply by buying tiny dabs of them from Bloomingfoods than by buying the cans or jars at the grocery stores.

Using four pounds of chicken thighs (donít forget to save the skin and make CHICKEN CHIPS with it) and homemade Onion Soup Mix, a batch of this will cost about $4.75. Serve it with COLESLAW for another 20 cents per person, or 80 cents. And youíve got the tomatoes and onion that the chicken cooked in that you can serve as a hot vegetable. You might want to add another can of tomatoes to the sauce and cook it just long enough to heat it through. You may need it, and then again you may not. If you do, it will cost another 59 cents (at Aldi) and bring the total to about $6.15, or to right about $6.00 if your chicken thighs are bit less than 8 ounces each.

(The $21 Challenge)

1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
9 skinless chicken drumsticks (or 8 chicken thighs, skins removed)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T soy sauce
1/2 c water
1 packet onion soup mix or 1 batch homemade ONION SOUP MIX

Put the chicken in the crockpot or slow cooker. Sautť the onion in the oil for a couple of minutes. Combine it with the other ingredients except the chicken and mix well. Pour it over the chicken, and turn the chicken to coat thoroughly. Cook on low for 8 hours.

(I donít know where I got this recipe, but itís definitely not my own)

8 t dried onion flakes
1/2 T dried parsley
1 t onion powder
1/2 t celery seeds
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar or equivalent sweetener
1/4 t pepper

Combine ingredients and mix well.

And now for the inexpensive breakfast. Iíll keep it really simple since this is the first week. Three eggs scrambled in 2 teaspoons of butter comes to within fractions of a penny of 50 cents and is a filling and nutritious breakfast. Eggs are supposed to be cheaper during the summer, but it sure hasnít happened this year. They were 79 cents a dozen at Aldi around Easter (admittedly, they were on sale then) and theyíre $1.69 a dozen now. Almost double. Theyíre still a good source of protein and lots of other nutrients, though, and theyíre very flexible. I go through a lot of them.


Food Pantry Blog - Chicken Salads

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Here's this week's post for the local food pantry blog. It's pretty much low carb, except for the fruit that I suggest to round out meals and the grapes in the Chicken Salad with Grapes. Do any of you remember the days when this sort of thing was a staple at ladies' luncheons?

Here's the link to the blog post as a whole, with lots of internal links to other recipes and such. gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/20
Hope you enjoy reading it! Let me know if you try any of the recipes, or if you have other suggestions for chicken salads.


Not much in the way of good specials this week. Iím starting to sound like a broken record that way, arenít I? Donít blame me; blame the stores. Or the drought. Take your pick. Anyway, hereís what I found.

Kroger has milk on sale, four half-gallons for $5.00, or $1.25 each, or $2.50 per gallon. Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna is two cans for $1.00, or 50 cents a can. Cheese is $2.99 for twelve to sixteen ounce packages, which at $2.99 a pound is a good price for the 16-ounce packages, and okay at $2.99 for 12 ounces, or $4.00 a pound. Chicken drumsticks and thighs are 99 cents a pound, which is more than the leg quarters at Walmart, but a good price if you specifically want only drumsticks or only thighs. Youíll end up with more meat per pound with the thighs than you do with the leg quarters, so the price per pound of cooked meat may not be all that much different. Green beans and red potatoes are both 99 cents a pound. Do you know whether they are available at the Farmers Market yet? Donít forget you pay half price at the Farmers Market if you have food stamps. Red seedless grapes are 97 cents a pound. Seedless cucumbers are 99 cents each. Prices are good through Wednesday, June 4.

Marsh has boneless skinless chicken breasts in the family packs for $1.99 a pound. 12-ounce bags of Iceberg Garden Salad are 68 cents each, but you have to buy at least $30.00 of other stuff to get it at this price, and youíre limited to two. Some barbecue sauces are 49 cents for 18 ounces, after $1.00 off if you buy five of various things. Prices are good through next Wednesday, June 4.

IGA has corn on the cob three ears for $1.00, or 33 cents each. This price is good through next Sunday, June 1.

Aldi has pineapples for 89 cents each again, and cantaloupe and one-pound boxes of strawberries for $1.49 each. Mangos are 49 cents each. Kiwis are 69 cents for a 3-pack, or 23 cents each. Organic baby carrots are $1.29 per pound and organic grape tomatoes are $1.49 for a ten ounce box. These are both pretty good prices for conventional-raised produce. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are $1.49 per pound. Nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt is $1.79 a quart and assorted varieties of 6-ounce cartons of nonfat yogurt are 39 cents each. Pollack (a basic white fish) fillets are $4.49 for two pounds, or $2.25 per pound. Prices are good through Tuesday, June 3.

The weather this past week has made me really ready for summer! And that means, among other things, lots of salads. Itís just too hot during the summer to do much cooking. And no, itís not that hot yet, but I still feel like salads. So thatís what Iím going to be talking about today. Main dish chicken salads. I scanned the ads before I started working on the recipes, but I missed the boneless skinless chicken thighs at Aldi for $1.49 a pound, and instead used the boneless skinless chicken breasts at Marsh for $1.99 a pound. You can use the thighs instead of the chicken breasts. It wonít hurt anything.

Chicken salads start out with cooked chicken, usually chicken breasts. You can cook up a bunch ahead of time so you donít have to cook it when you make the salad, like in BASIC GRILLED OR ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS. After all, the idea is to avoid cooking when itís hot, and cooking the chicken at the last minute sort of defeats the purpose. Or, if you donít have any pre-cooked, you can make some POACHED CHICKEN FOR SALADS. Of course, you can use other cooked chicken, too. Like ROASTED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS or STEWED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS or GRILLED CHICKEN. Or leftovers from cooking a whole chicken, either roasted or THE BEST WHOLE CHICKEN IN A CROCK POT. Or whatever other cooked chicken you have on hand, including canned chicken, though it tends to be pretty expensive, especially compared to chicken you cooked yourself.

However you choose to cook it, you can figure on two cups of cooked chicken from a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs, one cup of cooked chicken from a pound of whole or split chicken breasts with skin and bones, one cup of cooked chicken from a pound of chicken leg quarters, and about a cup and a quarter from a pound of chicken thighs with skin and bone.

The first recipe is a simple CHICKEN AND SESAME SALAD. You can use either the whole chicken breasts, which you cook and then take off the bone, or boneless skinless chicken breasts. Since itís the boneless skinless ones that are on sale, letís use them. See my earlier post comparing the two options. Using the boneless skinless chicken breasts, a batch of this will cost about $4.40; using the boneless skinless thighs it will cost about $3.90. You have a couple of options for finishing off the meal. Some fruit is always good with salad (or just about anything else!) and there are several kinds on sale. Take your pick. Or you could add some CRISPY WON TON STRIPS to the salad. In fact, you could do both, if you chose one of the cheaper fruit options.

(based on a recipe from mysaladrecipes.com)

2 cucumbers
2 carrots
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
2 whole cooked chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
2 T sugar
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T canola oil
2 T sesame oil
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c sesame seeds

Shred the cooked chicken breasts. You want it to end up in very thin shreds, almost like short strands of spaghetti. Peel and seed the cucumber and cut it into long, thin pieces. Peel the carrots and cut them the same way. Ideally, the chicken, cucumber, and carrots should all be about the same size. Put the cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and chicken in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and sesame seeds in a small jar with a tightly fitting lid. Shake well, then pour the dressing over the chicken and vegetables and toss well.

Donít tell the guys, but variations on the next salad, CHICKEN AND GRAPE SALAD, was a classic at ladiesí luncheons, back in the days when ladies had luncheons. You can still serve it for that, in which case a batch will serve eight. You should figure on it serving four, though, for a family supper. It comes to about $6.00 by itself, because of the grapes and walnuts, so thereís no room in the budget for anything else. Iím not sure what else Iíd serve with it anyway. You donít want fruit again for dessert. The original recipe called for serving it with crackers, bread, bagels, etc. and without the lettuce. You could do that if you wanted to, and keep it under $1.50 per person, if youíre ok with serving cracker, bread, bagels, etc. If you use the boneless skinless thighs, it will cost about 75 cents less.

(adapted from a recipe at food.com)

3 c diced cooked chicken
1 c finely chopped celery
1 c seedless grapes, halved
1 c chopped walnuts (about 4 ounces or 1/4 lb) (optional)
1 small minced onion
1/2 t salt
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c mayo
1 t lemon juice

Combine chicken, celery, grapes, walnuts and onion in a large bowl. Mix well. Combine salt, Worcestershire sauce, mayo and lemon juice in a small bowl and mix well. Add mayo mixture to chicken mixture and mix well. Chill for about an hour. (If the chicken was cold to begin with, you donít need to chill the salad.) Divide lettuce among four plates or bowls and top with chicken mixture. Or add the lettuce to the chicken, celery, grapes, walnuts and onion, and then add the dressing to the chicken and lettuce mixture and mix well.

Or you could make your chicken salad the way I usually do. I love looking at cookbooks and finding recipes on the internet. I have literally thousands of recipes that I have copied and stored on my computer, plus at least 12Ē of recipes that I have printed off the internet, and well over a hundred cookbooks. And thatís after I gave away seven or eight big boxes of cookbooks. But, in spite of all those recipes, I seldom cook with recipes. I usually keep things really simple. Like in this recipe for CHICKEN SALAD A LA MAW. Well, I had to call it something, didnít I? I canít give a cost for this since thereís no recipe and no set list of ingredients or quantities. But you can figure itís probably pretty cheap, unless you use a lot of nuts.


Dice or shred some cooked chicken. Add some chopped hard-boiled egg if you want to and you have any handy. Add some mayo and a bit of sugar or sweetener, and maybe some lemon juice. (Thatís because I grew up using Miracle Whip and sweet pickle relish, and I donít use either one any more. If you use Miracle whip instead of mayo, skip the sugar. If you use sweet pickle relish, skip the sugar. You might still want a bit of lemon juice. Or not.) Mix it all up. Thatís the basic chicken part. Now add some veggies if you want. Some shredded lettuce and/or some thinly sliced celery. Maybe some chopped tomato or halved cherry tomatoes. Or small amounts of a bunch of whatever you have on hand that sounds good. Thinly sliced green onions are good in it, too. Mix the chicken and the veggies together, unless youíre just using lettuce, in which case you can either mix it all together or just put the chicken mixture on top of the lettuce. Chopped walnuts or pecans or slivered or sliced almonds or toasted sunflower seeds are good either mixed into the salad or sprinkled on top.

For other ideas for chicken salads, check out the SALAD UN-RECIPES and LEFTOVER CHICKEN SANTA FE SALAD. And donít forget about chicken taco salads, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOTPINKCAMARO49 5/29/2014 11:43PM

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KATHY98665 5/29/2014 11:36PM

    Sounds delicious!
Thanks for sharing.

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Food Pantry Blog - Memorial Day Picnic and Recipes

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Here's this week's column, including the links. We've moved to blogspot and I don't have the kinks worked out of my column yet. I do it first in Word, and then move it to blogspot and pull out the recipes, leaving just a link to them. I forgot to save the whole thing.

Most of these are low carb, though of course you need to watch the fruit. The Seattle Dog sounds good - a grilled wiener with grilled onions, cream cheese and mustard. And a grilled or toasted bun for some people, but not, of course, for us! And, of course, you'll use an artificial sweetener instead of sugar in the ice cream.


Memorial Day Picnics

Yikes! I canít believe this will be Memorial Day weekend! I mean, I know that Monday is Memorial Day, but somehow it just never really sunk in that that makes this Memorial Day weekend.

Aldi has pineapples again for 89 cents each, and cantaloupe for 99 cents each. Tomatoes on the vine are $1.49 for 24 ounces ($1.00 a pound, or about 30 cents each). Strawberries are $1.49 for a one-pound box. Brats are $1.99 a pound and beef franks are $2.49. Bun length wieners are $2.99 for three pounds, or $1.00 a pound. Barbeque sauces are 99 cents for 18 ounces, and steak sauce is 99 cents for 10 ounces. Deli mustards (honey mustard, spicy brown and Dijon) are 79 cents for 12 ounces and yellow mustard is 69 cents for 20 ounces. Hamburger dill chips are $1.69 for 32 ounces and kosher dill spears are $1.69 for 24 ounces. Sliced cheese is $1.79 for twelve ounces. These prices are good through next Tuesday, May 27.

Walmart has corn on the cob for 20 cents an ear. Ground chuck is $13.45 for 4.5 pounds, or $2.99 per pound. Oscar Meyer wieners are $1.50 a pound. Prices are good through Monday, May 26. Donít forget that Walmart will match the price of a local competitorís printed price on an identical item if you take in the ad.

Marsh has whole seedless watermelons for $2.99 each. The ad says that they average ten to twelve pounds each. At ten pounds, that would be 30 cents a pound; at twelve pounds that would be 25 cents. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.89 a pound in the family pack. Ground beef is 20% off, but they donít say what the original prices are. Prices are good through next Wednesday, May 28.

Kroger has one pound packs of Eckrich franks ten for $10.00, or $1.00 each. Sour cream and dip are also ten for $10.00, or $1.00 per pint. Johnsonville brats and Italian sausage are $2.99 for 19 ounces. Vidalia onions are 59 cents a pound. Cream cheese is $1.00 for an eight ounce pack. Sweet Baby Rayís Barbecue sauce is $1.00 for 18 ounces. Boneless chicken thighs are $1.99 a pound. Green beans are 99 cents a pound. Prices are good through next Wednesday, May 28. They had Swai (Vietnamese catfish) nuggets on sale for 99 cents a pound when I was in on Saturday, but it wasnít in the ads. They said it might be on sale again this week.

IGA has ground chuck for $2.99, in packs of 3 pounds or more. Huntís ketchup is 99 cents for a 24 ounce bottle. Kraft barbecue sauce is 99 cents for an 18 ounce bottle. Fryer wings are $1.59 a pound. Keta (chum) salmon sides are $2.99 a pound. ďOn the vine red ripe tomatoesĒ and ďred ripe tomatoesĒ are both 98 cents a pound. Various kinds of pickles are $3.79 for 80 ounces. Ball Park franks are two 15-ounce packs for $3.00, or just over $1.50 a pound. Bar-S franks are 89 cents a pound. Eckrich franks are 99 cents a pound. An eight pound box of quarter pound ďpure beef pattiesĒ (32 patties) is $21.00, or $2.63 per pound or 66 cents per patty. Theyíre 75% lean, so itís not a great price per pound, but the convenience might be worth it Ė especially if youíre having that many people for dinner! Prices are good through Monday, May 26.

We pretty much have to go with picnics and grilling, donít we? Itís not only traditional for Memorial Day, but the sales seem to be geared that way, too. A lot of things donít need recipes, like wieners and brats. And you know how to make potato salad and macaroni salad and things like that. Iíll give recipes for some less common picnic food.

You canít have a good picnic without dessert. Just plain fresh fruit is good. A ten pound watermelon should yield at least 30 cups of fruit. If you eat the watermelon in slices, though, or wedges, youíre likely to eat more than if itís cut up in bite-size pieces. So letís say 20 servings of a cup and a half each. Thatís 15 cents per serving. A pineapple should yield about eight to ten slices. Letís say nine slices. Thatís 10 cents per slice. A quarter of cantaloupe is a bit over a cup of diced fruit and costs 25 cents. Or make a huge fruit salad from a quarter of a watermelon (save the rind and use it for a basket to serve the salad in), a cantaloupe, a pineapple, and a pound of strawberries, all for just under $4.15. Figure three cups of strawberries, four cups of cantaloupe, five cups of pineapple, and eight cups of watermelon, or a total of about 20 cups of fruit salad. Thatís about 21 cents per cup. Or any combination of fruit. They all go well together. If you happen to have some fresh mint (grow some if you have a chance Ė it grows like a weed!) to add, thatís even better.

If you want to get a bit fancier, you can grill the fruit. I knew about grilled pineapple, but did you know you can grill other fruit, too? gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/20

And donít forget good old toasted marshmallows and Símores! Símores are traditionally made with graham crackers, Hersheyís chocolate bars, and marshmallows, but Mom used to give us chocolate coated graham crackers to put the roasted marshmallows between. A word of warning Ė use metal toasting forks, not sticks, unless youíre really sure of the sticks. Use the wrong ones and you can have an unpleasant reaction, from a bad taste to a blistered mouth. I donít have the cost for Símores, but I know that the chocolate covered graham crackers are cheaper than using Hershey bars.

I have a brother who thinks that no picnic is complete without homemade ice cream. Fortunately he uses an electric ice cream freezer these days. We used to make it with a hand-cranked freezer. Actually, cranking it by hand added to the fun, though the electric is a lot easier. But what if you donít have an ice cream freezer, electric or otherwise? Not to worry. Just make your own ice cream freezer and a batch of Coffee Can Ice Cream. Youíll get just over two cups, or a pint, of ice cream at a cost of about $1.00. A pint of ice cream isnít very much, especially if you have to divide it among a lot of people, but it may keep the kids occupied making it. A cup of ice cream would cost about 50 cents, and half a cup of ice cream would cost about 25 cents. You can use a couple of tablespoons of chocolate syrup instead of the vanilla, or you can mash up some strawberries and add them to the mixture before you start rolling it. gardentablecommunity.blogspot.com/20

Grilled corn on the cob is delicious and easy. The corn is 20 cents an ear, and most people will eat either one or two ears. gardentablecommunity.blogspot

Grilled onions are great on hot dogs and hamburgers or just for eating. Vidalia onions are especially good grilled, as the heat caramilizes the natural sugars. One Vidalia onion will probably weigh close to a pound and will serve four at 15 cents a serving. gardentablecommunity.blogspot

Looking for something a bit different than your regular old run of the mill grilled hot dogs? How about a Seattle Dog? Grill your wieners as usual, and toast the buns, too. Grill an onion or two, depending on how many youíre serving. Soften some cream cheese so it will spread easily, but be careful it doesnít burn. Spread the cream cheese over the toasted bun, add the hot wiener, grilled onion, and some mustard, and enjoy! How much these cost will depend on what brand of hot dogs you buy. The cheapest are 89 cents a pound, or about 11 cents each, and they go up from there. Letís say $1.50 a pound. No, letís say $1.60 a pound, because that divides more easily. Assuming eight wieners to a pound, a Seattle Dog will cost about 65 cents. gardentablecommunity.blogspot

Now letís put it all together and make some menus. Itís Memorial Day, after all, so Iím not going to be quite as strict about keeping things to $1.50 per person. For a holiday meal, letís go up to $2.00 per person. So, to review the prices, including the chicken and sides from a couple of weeks ago:

Seattle Dogs - 65 cents each.
Grilled corn on the cob - 20 cents an ear.
Grilled onions - 15 cents a serving.
Coffee can ice cream - 25 cents for half a cup.
Watermelon - 15 cents for a one and a half cup serving.
Pineapple - 10 cents per slice, or about half a cup.
Cantaloupe - 13 cents for an eighth of a melon, or a bit over half a cup.
Strawberries Ė 50 cents a cup.
Mixed fruit salad - 22 cents a cup.
Chicken leg quarter, with rub or sauce - 95 cents.
Coleslaw - 20 cents a cup.
Brats (just the brat, no bun or anything) - about 60 cents each.
Plain wieners (just the wiener, no bun or anything) - starting at 13 cents each.
Buns - about 11 cents each.
Quarter pound hamburger patties Ė 65 cents each.
Ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc. Ė about 10 cents per person.

So letís see. How about a Seattle Dog, a cup of coleslaw, an ear of corn, and a big wedge of watermelon for just $1.20? Or a hamburger, with grilled onions and ketchup, mustard and pickles, an ear of corn, and a cup of ice cream for $1.61? Or a brat on a bun with a slice of cheese, or a Ö Well, you get the picture.

Happy Memorial Day, and many, many special thanks to those who gave their lives for our country. We salute you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLE58 5/24/2014 10:56PM

    Awww, thank you for all the work you did on this blog and all the information. I love it and I've never heard of a Seattle hot dog with growing up there, but it does sound interesting. I remember my Mom cooking the hot dogs and splitting them down the center and then putting a mixture of mayo and sweet relish down the center and broiling until hot and then putting into soft buns. I can still taste them and I crave them once in a while, but have never made them all these years! You have a lovely memorable Memorial Day too! Hugs to you, Karen

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JAMER123 5/24/2014 10:35PM

    emoticon emoticon You did a lot of work on your blog!!
Have a good Memorial Day as we remember our fallen.

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