Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shabbat Menu, Parashat Kedoshim, April 29-30, 2011

What a week!
We started out with Pesach, put that away, got back to regular life, made too many visits to the doctor, went grocery shopping, because even though we plan to move, we haven't found a house to live in yet, and still need to eat frugally.
Discovered a savings strategy I had been missing out on: Kimat Chinam offers 2% off your purchases of 300 NIS or more (not so hard to get there, unfortunately!), if you pay in cash and are a VIP card holder. This makes it well worth the 10 NIS for the card!

So here's my Shabbat plan:

(No, I am not baking shlissel challah. I can't wrap my head around bread baking. I have been fighting viruses, asthma, and allergies...)

BUY Challot
Vegetable soup (The kind I simmer for half the day) - perhaps even with kneidlach for those family members who now love them!
Mushroom-Barley Stew for lunch, considering the unseasonable weather (weird, it's supposed to be close to summer here overlooking the Kinneret, but it's raining. And they say there is more rain coming tomorrow night...)
Chicken (I froze our leftover chicken for chag, so now that will be my major timesaver this Friday) - I have shnitzel and some chicken roasted in sweet and spicy sauce (honey, crushed black pepper, garlic powder, and parsley flakes, slathered all over the chicken and roasted slowly in my oven. Yumm)
Roasted Zucchini (oven roasted diced zucchini, with olive oil, salt and pepper)
Potato Kugel
Broccoli Kugel (chopped broccoli - run it through the food processor for a minute or two, 2 eggs, 2 T. flour, 1 cup water, 1/4 c. mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and other spices to taste. Bake at 375 F for about 1 hr, till golden brown. You could probably make this eggless by using ground flaxseed soaked in 1/2 c. water and using a vegan mayo.)
Fruit Salad (sorry kids, no chocolate cake or cookies this week. I'm beat. And I want to lose those Pesach pounds...) - Actually maybe just watermelon and regular Israeli melon. Both were pretty well priced at Kimat Hinam...

Oh, question: are those starfruits going to come down in price? They are 14.99 NIS/kilo right now. My kids love starfruit, especially when it's locally grown. Any help is appreciated. Or, if you have a starfruit tree bearing fruit here in the Northern part of the country, we'd love to take some off your hands! We'd love to get the opportunity to harvest it and take trumot and maasrot...

Thursday Night, April 28, 2011

Thursday night Pizza Night is BACK. One of these days I WILL get around to homemade pizza (hey, I've figured out homemade sauces already - really fresh, really cheap, and no BPA!). But for now, I purchased those 3 packs of frozen "family size" pizzas (yeah, right, family size! whose family? my oldest son can easily eat 2/3 of one of those on his own...), and we'll embellish them.
We'll serve vegetables and ranch dressing, as well.

What do you do for pizza night? Go out? Take out? Order in? Make your own?
I'd love to hear your take on pizza night!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday night - April 27, 2011

Everyone is craving chametz and kitniyot around here! It was only a week, but they are acting like it was a month! Is your family behaving the same way?

I didn't want a carb overload, but I did want to indulge their cravings a bit, so here's what we  had:

Corn soup (saute onion, garlic, red pepper in olive oil. add frozen corn niblets and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Turn off flame, and puree with an immersion blender. Add some milk, salt, pepper, and fresh chopped scallions (just the green part). Reheat, but don't boil again. Yummy, and easily vegan if you use soymilk or ricemilk...)

Spiral Pasta (whole wheat) with roasted veggies and homemade tomato sauce (we also served plain spiral pasta, and had shredded mozzarella on the table for topping it, for the pickier palettes) Today I roasted onions, red peppers, and zucchini with fresh chopped garlic - the veggies that were just hanging around waiting to be used up!

Make your own salad - lots of lettuce (Yesh has nice, large, crisp heads of lettuce for 1.25 NIS), cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots (all at Yesh for 1.85 or so per kilo), and sliced olives. Served with homemade ranch dressing (still working on the perfect recipe!).

The salad was in my pretty bowls that my 6 year old loves, and thinks are so fancy. She's really into "fancy" things right now, so she ate lots of salad!


Well, we worked late into the night motzaei pesach and got everything back in order, more or less. (Still don't have a place for my beautiful turquoise Dutch oven to call home though. It is sitting, quite unceremoniously, under the kitchen table again. So sad.)

Today, everybody just wanted bread and cookies, and crackers too. Somehow though, my little girls were still willing to eat the leftover Pesachdik baked goods!

So I sent my hubby to the store and he came back with tons of chametz, including a couple of long, fresh, baguettes.

Here's what we had for supper:

Pizza baguettes (made with homemade tomato sauce - see the "Homemade Alternatives" page for my super easy, cheater recipe)  - My oldest child suggested we also make a couple of matzah pizzas - he was feeling nostalgic. We skipped the matzah pizzas.

Fingerling potatoes with ketchup (over Pesach, I discovered that my children who do NOT eat potatoes all eagerly eat fingerling potatoes! very interesting discoveries...)

Sliced cucumbers

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pesach Food

The first thing I made in my newly pesach-dik kitchen this year was banana cake. Yes, that sounds strange, but it was a big hit.

Here's how I made it:

Cream together 3 mashed, overripe bananas, 1/2 c. oil, 2/3 c. sugar, and 1 egg. Add 1 c. matzah "cake" meal, 1 c. potato starch, and 1 t. baking soda. Combine well, pour into a greased cake pan, and bake for about 45 min (or until done) at 350 F.

My kids loved it!

Someone out there was looking for a kosher for passover carrot kugel recipe, and I think you could adapt this recipe to make one quite easily. Just substitute 1 c. pureed cooked carrots for the bananas, and you have a simple Pesach carrot kugel recipe!

What interesting foods have you made this Pesach?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Almost the end of the pantry challenge...

I have used up so much stuff, and have avoided shopping for so long...

Here are some of the things I've managed to make the last couple of days:

Pizza baguettes (with homemade sauce)

cut vegetables

Vegetable soup

Pasta with sauce (homemade again) and cheese


Fruit salad

This just about ends my pantry challenge. I still have a few odds and ends left, but the fridge is almost empty and the freezer is almost empty, and there would be no way to eke out any more meals from what is left. (unless we just ate rice, carrots, potatoes, and scrambled eggs.)

Actually, perfect timing. Now I'm ready to clean out the fridge so I can go buy things for Pesach! And turn the kitchen over...

The blog may go quiet for a few days. It's really crunch time here! But feel free to post your ideas for Frugal Pesach foods. I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Night, April 10, 2011

Pesach is fast approaching! I'm so not ready. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the kitchen stuff I have sitting on exposed shelves, or worse, on the counters (or in the case of my large, cast iron Dutch oven, under the kitchen table! Yes, I admit, my kitchen is NOT exactly organized...). I don't have a closet or cabinet to stash them away in, or a basement to store them in, or even a machsan. Sigh. I guess the mirpeset will hold them in boxes. The question is, can I actually pack up some of this stuff in anticipation of the (not sure when) move?

Anyhow, keeping with the theme of cleaning out the freezer, tonight we had:

Veggie burgers (found a package of them from before I banned them from our house) with rolls (found some hanging around the freezer), ketchup, tomato slices, pickles...

Noodles with soy sauce and stir-fried veggies (I found some onions, cabbage, and broccoli stems)

Rice with veggies (found some in the freezer; reheated with some extra water, it was just fine)

Kohlrabi slices

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shabbat Parashat Metzora (April 8-9)

Can't believe how fast this week flew by! We can't figure out what happened.

It's a week and a half till Pesach and there is STILL food in my house. I bought fresh chicken, but otherwise I'm basically using freezer food this week. Lucky me, I always cook for the freezer (right now, though, I am really trying to use up my stores. I want to empty out pre-pesach and pre-move...)!

Here's what we're having:

Vegetable Soup (this was one of those soups using whatever I had on hand - so it has onions, garlic, celery, zucchini, broccoli stalks, and cabbage, simmered and spiced.)

Stew - whatever I throw together now. Probably potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. What else can I put in the crock pot with that? I don't have any barley. Will rice work?

Chicken - Baked with a honey-mustard marinade.

Carrot Kugel

Vegetarian Lo-Mein

Apple Kugel

Artichokes (these are just taking up too much room, so I must use them up today!)

Ok, time to go straighten up before Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom to all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pesach Food without breaking the bank

Everybody knows Pesach ALWAYS costs too much money.
All that Matzah is expensive! (I'll tell you though, it is less expensive here in Israel. First of all, one less day of eating matzah overall. Plus, only one seder - so you need not buy a TON of hand shmurah matzah and wine and grape juice, only half a ton of each!)
So, in the interest of not completely destroying our budget this month (it's unlikely that my hubby's employer will give him a "shai lachag" - oh well), I'm working on ways to eat simply and frugally over pesach.

One of the biggest problems with pesach food is the prevalence of eggs. Eggs, especially organic ones (I am opposed to factory farm conditions of regular eggs. And yes, I know, organic production is not 100% cruelty free, but since I'm not raising my own chickens, this is the best I can do), do cost money... I haven't found a way around eggs completely, but we'll minimize whenever possible.

Of course, we will make our usual "pesach rolls" using my mother's recipe, since everyone loves them. But using a dozen eggs in one shot is a bit much! So last year I cut back on the eggs and used 9 instead of the 12 my mother said. The rolls came out JUST FINE. This year, I'll cut it back to 7 or 8 and see what happens! (Wish me luck!)

Other foods I plan to make:
Lots and lots of fresh and steamed and roasted veggies. Baked potatoes, as well.

We only eat chicken on Shabbat and Chag, so the chol hamoed days will be vegetarian. Of course, that's a little harder on pesach, but we'll be creative. We  make pesach pancakes and matzah pizza.  Overall, I'm lucky that my kids think that matzah with butter or cream cheese is awesome. they live on it! When they want variety, they'll sprinkle cinnamon sugar on matzah with butter. I came up with this last year out of desparation when my 2 yr old had a tantrum, crying for graham crackers. This was the best I could do, and it was a big hit. They even ate up matzah AFTER pesach using this...

I'm slowly buying items on my Pesach shopping list. Another big run should do it, until I'm ready to buy the perishables (note to self: start cleaning out the fridge!). Then, I will stick with basics, like eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese, and cottage cheese, as well as whatever fresh produce I can find at those awesome "only in Israel" prices. (right now Yesh has tomatoes for 1 NIS/kilo and cucumbers for 1.20 NIS/kilo, and carrots for 1.30 NIS/kilo - can't go wrong with those... we'll see what next week's specials are. Kind of hoping for a big price break on avocados...)

Please share your Pesach budget secrets! I'm sure I could do better...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Night, April 4, 2011

Continuing the freezer cleanout, I still have a few things to use up.

Among the odds and ends I've found are peas, corn, green beans, oats, oat bran, sesame seeds, and more.
Tonight we'll use some of that up:

Coming to the table tonight:

Corn soup (saute onion, garlic, and red pepper. Add frozen corn and soup stock (or water). Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 min. Puree with an immersion blender. Add milk or soymilk, if you like it creamier, and heat gently, but don't boil again.)

Pasta with cheese
Apple crisp (using some of those oats and oat bran!)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Night, April 3, 2011

Pesach is getting closer! How's your pantry challenge coming along?
I rummaged through the freezer, and my produce and here's what I pulled together tonight:

Vegetable soup (I even used the pureed cauliflower in it! Also used some of that 1 NIS/kilo cabbage in it!)
Fish Sticks (bought these a while ago, and though they are not healthy and not frugal, I occasionally serve them because some of my kids like them!)
Spicy Roast Potatoes
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Carrot Sticks