Fried Tomatoes – 77¢/serving

4 tomatoesphoto (14)

Salt

Lemon-pepper seasoning

Cornmeal

Vegetable oil

  1. Slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of lemon-pepper seasoning. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Coat with 3/4 cup of cornmeal.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Fry tomatoes for 3-4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Best served immediately.

90s Nostalgia Party

My birthday party. Budget $100

 

Salad: Mixed greens, Mandarin orange slices, Grapefruit, Pistachios, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Pecans, Creamy Peach/Mango Dressing

BBQ Lima Beans:

Preheat oven to 350°. Open, rinse, and drain 4 cans of lima beans. Combine beans in a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of ketchup, and 1 chopped onion. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Dice 3 uncooked bacon dish and sprinkle on top of beans. Bake, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.

Cherry Turnovers:

Preheat oven to 375°. Unroll 3 tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls and separate (or cut) into 24 triangles. Make 12 squares by pressing the seams of 2 triangles together and rolling into shape. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Spoon 1/4 cup of cherry pie filling in one corner of each square. Fold to make triangles. Pinch to seal. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Mix 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar with 3-6 Tbsp of milk. Use 3 Tbsp if you want a thick icing to make designs or squiggly lines with. Use 6 Tbsp if you want to use as more of a glaze to brush over pastries. Serve warm.

Bison burgers with cheese and bacon

Cheese smokies

Grape KoolAid spiked with vodka

Tang spiked with tequila

Shasta punch spiked with rum

Cake

Chips

Potato smiley faces

Cooking for Large Groups

Craft services for a film set cast and crew.

Total budget: $300

I bought most things in bulk at Costco. There are a TON of leftovers, but if I wouldn’t have bought in such large portions then I would have paid the same amount if not more for half the ingredients so it seemed worth it.

 

Salad: (Lunch Day 1&2)

I’ve posted this recipe before so here is the link: http://theshortchef.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/orange-pecan-salad/

I bought a box of mandarin orange cups – like the kind you put in kids’ lunches. I put 12 aside for salads and then put the rest out for the crew to eat. Instead of pecans, I tossed in toasted whole almonds, pistachios, and a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The mix is called Salad Topper, which I got from Costco. I also bought a box of individual yogurt cups, put aside the peach/mango flavors for salad dressings, and put the rest out for eating.

Creamy Italian Noodles: (Lunch Day 1)

Cook 2 pkgs of wide egg noodles according to pkg directions. Drain and place in a bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and 4 1/2 tsp of Italian seasonings. I used a mix of Italian salad dressing mix, Country Herb salad dressing mix, and Italian spice blend. Mix well. Serve immediately. Doesn’t make great leftovers.

Cheesy Squash: (Lunch Day 2)

Cut 7 small zucchinis and 2 eggplants into 1/4 inch slices. I usually use yellow summer squash instead of eggplant, but they must be out of season because I couldn’t find any. Place in two greased shallow baking dishes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 4 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately. Doesn’t make great leftovers.

Nutty Chocolate Marshmallow Puffs: (Lunch Day 1&2)

Coarsely chop 1 lb or 4 cups of pecans. In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 cups of milk chocolate chips, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme just until melted. Stir until smooth. Be prepared for the mixture to be quite thick.

You’ll have to act relatively quickly and stir often to prevent mixture from burning, so immediately dip marshmallows, one at a time, in chocolate mixture. I used a fork because i don’t have tongs, but those would probably be easier. Shake off excess chocolate. Quickly roll in pecans. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. I didn’t actually have wax paper so I used aluminum foil and sprayed it generously with vegetable spray and it worked fine. I kept the pot on the stove with it on low heat to keep it warm and easier to work with, but if it’s too hot to handle this way, you may have to throw it in bowl and then reheat it every once in a while. When all the puffs are on the tray, refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Banana Dessert: (Lunch Day 1)

Slice up 8 bananas. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and a handful of pecans. Garnish with Cool Whip.

Bacon Cheese Biscuit Wreath: (Breakfast Day 1)

In a small saucepan, melt 5 oz of Cheez Whiz and 3 Tbsp Golden Crisco. Stir until blended. Pour into a well-greased bundt pan. Cut each biscuit into quarters and place over cheese mixture.

Bake at 400° for 12-14 minutes. Immediately invert pan onto a serving platter and remove. Normally I sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of minced fresh parsley but I went to 2 stores and neither had any so I settle for the fresh parsley paste they sell in the produce section. So I brushed the hot bread with 2 Tbsp of parsley paste and then with 4 strips of cooked and crumbled bacon. Serve bread warm.

Cheese Biscuits: (Breakfast Day 2)

Stir 2 cups of Bisquik, 2/3 cup of milk, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Mix 2 Tbsp melted butter and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Brush over biscuits. Bake at 475° for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Cordon Bleu Stromboli – $2.58/serving

Loaf of frozen French or white bread, thawedphoto 2 (8)

Butter

8 oz deli ham

5 oz deli chicken

Swiss cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Shred 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle
  4. Layer ham, cheese, and chicken
  5. Roll into a long log. Pinch the seams and tuck the ends. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce – $3.06/cup

photo (13)8 Granny Smith apples

Sugar

Red-hot candies (I usually use hot tamales)

  1. Peel and core/slice apples.
  2. Put in a pot with 1 cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Mash with a potato masher.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of red-hot candies. Stir and cook until candies are dissolved.
  4. Cool. Refrigerate until serving.

Go Bananas – $3.22/loaf

2 pkgs of banana muffin mix

Bananas

Walnuts

Milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop 1 1/2 cups of walnuts.
  3. Peel and mash 3 bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
  4. Add walnuts, 3 cups of milk and the 2 pkgs of muffin mix to mashed bananas. Combine until just blended. Spoon into three or four greased loaf pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 3-4 loaves.

It seems like a lot. We’re 2 people and we easily eat 2 loaves in a week. You can freeze one or two loaves or give them away to neighbors or as gifts or bring to the next function you go to. Everyone loves banana bread! Just make sure to warn people that it contains nuts!

Lay Down Them Funky Beets

VinegarIMG_1458

Cornstarch

Sugar

2-4 beets, depending on size

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Wash and dry beets. Place them in oven-proof dish with a little water.
  3. Roast for 2 hours, occasionally replenishing water.
  4. When cool enough to handle, peel/rub off the skins and slice.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 2 tsp of cornstarch in a pot. Whisk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes with whisk. Remove from heat. Add 4 tsp of sugar and sliced beets. Stir. Let sit for 1 hour. Heat through when ready to serve.

Orange Pecan Salad

2 oranges or a can of mandarin oranges

Leaf lettuce

Pecan halves

Peach yogurt

Mayonnaise

  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Peel and cube oranges or drain can of mandarin oranges
  3. Toast 1/4 cup of pecan halves on a greased baking sheet for 5 minutes.
  4. Wash and chop up a few leaf lettuce leaves.
  5. Flip over the pecan halves and toast 5 more minutes.
  6. Combine 1/2 cup of peach yogurt and 3 Tbsp of mayonnaise.
  7. Toss together oranges, lettuce, and pecans. Drizzle with dressing immediately before eating.

Variations:

  • Can also use almonds, pistachios, or sunflower kernels instead of pecans
  • Grapefruit, kiwi, apples, or grapes instead of oranges
  • Orange yogurt instead of peach yogurt
  • Plain yogurt with marmalade instead of peach yogurt
  • Add chicken salad or grilled chicken on top to make it a complete meal!

Strawberry Glaze Doughnuts

WIN_20140807_153134Sugar

Cinnamon

Tube of refrigerated biscuits

Butter

Strawberry jam

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Melt 1/4 cup of butter.
  3. Separate biscuits
  4. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip top and sides of biscuits in butter and then cinnamon-sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet. With the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a deep and wide indentation in the centre of each biscuit and fill with 1 tsp of strawberry jam.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Jam will be very hot!