Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some cabbage never dies...

It lives on forever in a casserole! I had a manky small cabbage hiding in the back of the fridge, so I decided to make cabbage casserole. Or my son did. Easier to make than cabbage rolls. One small shredded cabbage apparently can expand exponentially on itself. I'm sure there is some law of Newtonian physics about that multiplicative powers of the cooked cabbage. So that's how I found myself with the endless cabbage casserole.

It was made of 1 pound ground meat, 1 shredded cabbage, 1 chopped onion, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 2 cans of beef broth & a package of boil n bag rice. Add salt, pepper, other spices, and mix and flop in a 9 x 13 pan and bake for an hour at 350. I used beef bullion as that's all I had, but it seemed to work ok.

I went with paprika & marjoram as spices. We ate it for 3 meals and froze the rest. I still have a good sized bag in the freezer, I just couldn't face it another day. It was really good though. My husband took it for lunch, my son at a ton of it, I ate it for lunch and as a side to dinner, and we still have some left! My son decided that I should blog about the budget friendly meals I make trying to make this food stretch. He says it's cool and amazing that I can make food out of nothing. I think it's horrifying and embarrassing that we get some assistance from food stamps and food banks.

We have no insurance since my husband changed jobs, and my husband loves his new job, but if I need to go to the doctor or take the kids, it's $80.00 to $100.00 for each of us. Plus prescriptions. We applied for children's health insurance for the kids from the state, but have not been able to get my step son covered because "someone" else has been claiming his benefits. And we are having to prove that we have had him for the past 3 years and that my husband has custody of him. And what this means in a nutshell is that he can't get state insurance because the State of Texas believes he has medicaid. Which he has never had.

So you can see my frustration, since he's been sick, we had to take him to the doctor, and each time it's a ton of money. I am however, happy that we at least have the money to make sure the kids & me get to see a doctor, but each time we're out $200.00 or so! So that's why we're creating casserole out of cabbage and hoping that the new year will bring insurance for the son so it won't be so out of control for us.

So I guess I'll take my older son's suggestion and write about the weird and random things I create based on what we can afford and sometimes what we are given. I don't want any one to think I am a whiney bitch, cos I am so grateful everything I have been given, it is a blessing for us.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lima beans and other things

As we are continuing to work on getting the grocery budget down without resorting to mac and cheese and ramen every night, I'm still working on creating food that is cheap and nutritious. I made chicken and stuffing casserole out of leftover chicken, some whole wheat cornbread, and a package of cornbread stuffing, with vegetable broth thrown in for moistness and a can of cream of mushroom soup poured over the top.

The children said it looked like something they would eat for school lunch... at Thanksgiving, and that it "blopped" on the plate. They also complained about the "canned"cranberry sauce. I mean, really I cook dinner and make use of the leftovers and they complain that the cranberry sauce has "can marks". Are they kidding? Obviously, my kids are watching too much Food Network, with their disdain of canned cranberry sauce and naming the cats after chefs. Next they'll be expecting imported cheese in their mac and cheese and grain fed, free range sausage on their pizza. Good Lord, my children are...French!

As that was an obvious fail, I served lima beans for dinner and the next night put them in the crock pot with two sausages, some baby carrots & celery. I sent it to work with my husband, who said "the broth... overwhelms" the beans. This from a man who fed his child nothing but pizza and mac and cheese to the point I feared that the son would suffer from beri beri or rickets, or some other vitamin deficient disease normally only seen in Third World Countries and among cast members of Jersey Shore who's diets consist mostly of vodka and Red Bull. Christ, even Snooki eats pickles and perhaps the pistachios she pimps. And apparently lots of beta carotene, as she has such an odd orange cast to her skin.

So, tonights offering is white bean chicken chili and a cauliflower curry. I had a cauliflower in the crisper that was in danger of growing legs and walking around, so I decided a mixed veg curry of limpy veg sounded like a good idea. Well, maybe not a GOOD idea, really, but a practical one. Yeah, we'll go with that.

I have some chicken that I pulled out of the freezer. Well, it turned out to be chicken. I couldn't really tell, since I didn't mark the packages before tossing them in the freezer. Note to self, mark the packages before freezing to cut down on leftover Russian roulette. It landed in the crock pot with a can of tomato sauce, some canned tomatoes, a packet of red mole sauce, a cup and a half of white beans and the chicken. Hopefully this will be a bigger success than the chicken and stuffing casserole. I haven't given up on the sausage & lima beans, I may drain the broth and figure out something to do with them. Wonder if you could mash them and fry them like a bean based veggie burger?

Tomorrow I'll figure out what to do with the lima beans. If it doesn't work, I'm sure they dog will eat it. At least he never complains. Or he does so quietly.