Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm Having A Cheese Baby

So I am a bad Southerner.  I don't eat grits, collards, or any kind of barbecue other than pulled pork with a mustard based sauce.  I don't watch NASCAR and I only go to football games to people watch.  And until recently, I did not like pimiento cheese.  There, I said it.  The quintiessential Southern food.  And I hated it.  Too slimey.  Until now. 

A lovely friend of mine served DiPrato's pimento cheese and pita chips at a baby shower she hosted recently.  What have I been missing?  This is an amazing concoction!  So, in the spirit of trying to save money, I decided to try to find a similar recipe online and use what I have in the house.  Here's what I got:

  • half a package (4oz) of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesean cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • A dash of garlic powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pimentos, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • Cracked black pepper
Using my kitchen aid mixer, I beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. I try to put it in the fridge overnight to let all the flavors mix together, but usually I just end up eating it from the container with wheat thins to make it appear more civilized.  The last three days I've eaten almost two full batches of it.  I'm going to have to lay off it tonight or I think I'll never poop again.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gourmet for pennies

So That Nice Man I Live With and I have been on a bread kick as of late.  I think it's the colder weather, our bodies feel like they need to add some extra layers of fat (as if that were needed).  The problem is, bread at the store is expensive.  My favorite place to get bread in Columbia is rather pricey, considering that there are only two of us and it tends to go bad before the loaf is finished.  We buy our meat at Sam's Club or the commissary in bulk and put it in the deep freezer in the garage in portioned off sizes.  It helps me stay more in control of what I eat when I can only have what has been thawed out and it makes for less waste at meals.  The last time we mass bought meat, one of the items we purchased was a 10 pound tube (yes, really, a tube) of ground beef.  I put the beef in 1 pound portions in zip lock bags (another item we buy in bulk) and put them in the freezer.  Well, it turns out that there are only so many times TNMILW will eat spaghetti and chili.  So this week we started making gourmet hamburgers.  Well, I really like yeasty roll kind of buns, particularly the kind they make at Publix.  Those are not on the Have To Have grocery list.  So I made my own. 

Here is the recipe:
  • 2 cups warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, butter, warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the salt, and gradually stir in the flour until you have a soft dough. Divide into 25 pieces, and form into balls. Place on baking sheets so they are 2 to 3 inches apart. Let rise for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake the rolls for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly, then split them in half horizontally to fill with your favorite burgers. 
We paired the burgers with home made raw fries seasoned with kosher salt.  Those were made by using the slicer side of the 4-sided grater and frying in 375 degree canola oil for about three minutes and then set them on a cookie cooling rack to let drain.  That meal would have cost us $30 easily at a gourmet burger joint in town.  Instead, we used things we always keep in the house and had left overs for lunch the next day!

Aaaand Revamp!

So while spending time with some wonderful friends recently, I discovered that pretty much everyone has money problems.  It's not a military thing or a young family thing.  Everyone is tightening their belts these days and a lot of people don't know the best way to do it.  So as I prepare for 2011 and the changes that are coming, I am challenging myself to write in this blog at least once a week and to find a new way to be Fabulously Frugal every week.