Call for recipes ... and some answers

4 May 2008
On Tuesday I'll be doing the final session of my Centre's frugal living workshop. I told everyone I'd bring along a few more thrifty recipes for them to try, so I'm asking you all for your help. I'll be taking along the extra recipes I promised them, but I'd like to include more. I want everyone to rack their brains and give me just one recipe. It should be the recipe you think everyone should have, something you use over and over again because it's so great, something that saves you money on a regular basis. It can be any recipe - either for food or a cleaner.

I'll post them all tomorrow so everyone here can share them as well. Thanks everyone!

I'm going to answer some of your questions here because I didn't have a chance to come back here yesterday.

First up, Jennie has shared her silverbeet bread recipe. Thanks Jennie!

Recipe for Silver Beet Bread
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 55g grated cheese (strong flavoured if possible)
  • 375g flour
  • 80 g silver beet
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 235 ml water
Chop silver beet very finely, add to other ingredients in breadmaker, select white bread cycle. This makes a dense loaf with a delicious nutty flavour.

Diana, this is the pattern I usually use, it's a basket weave pattern, and very simple:
I usually do a basket weave pattern because it's easy to keep track of. Cast on 50 stitches and do two rows of plain knitting. At the beginning of a row start doing 5 plain, then 5 purl and repeat to the end of the row, do five rows of that. Then, to get the basket effect, start your row with 5 purl, then 5 plain, and repeat till the end. Do five rows of that then go back to the row starting with 5 plain. If you do ten rows of alternating plain and purl, you'll have a square. End off with a two rows of plain and cast off.

This is the dishcloth I'm working on right now. This is the bamboo and cotton blend yarn and the needles are a beautiful pair of Tasmania Oak needles my sister gave me. They're 5mm, AUand UK size 6/US size 8.

I have written about dishcloths before, there is a post here and a general post on needlework here. If you've never knitted before, please give it a try. This pattern is a really simple one, but there are many others to try in the links contained in the old posts I've linked to above. Don't be put off by the abbreviations, needle sizes or ply types. It will all become clearer after you've knitted a few cloths. There is an explanation of knitting terms here. If you're just starting out on the road to simplicity, or if you're looking to add another skill, knitting is an easy and simple craft to learn. It's portable, so you can take it with you when you go out and it's very relaxing.

Anonymous 2 May 2008 19:46: It sounds like you're either leaving your bread too long to rise or you're adding too much water. Dough shouldn't spread out, it should just rise up. Try cutting back on the water a bit.

Still at Home, I believe a good salt is any simple salt that has not been processed. Check your label before buying. You'd think they couldn't add anything to salt, but they do. They add "pouring agents" or aluminium. I think I crave the minerals good sea salt contains. In addition to sodium chloride there are also traces of manganese, iron, sulpher, potassium, zinc, copper and other minerals. Also, good salt doesn't taste as salty as processed salt. It sounds weird I know, but unprocessed sea salt has a more subtle taste than its processed cousin. And please don't be lured into buying expensive salt. Although it is a delicious treat on occasion, your common old sea salt, sometimes called cooking salt, will do the trick. You will have to replace your salt shaker with a little salt bowl because sea salt won't pour through a tiny hole.

Anonymous 2 May 2008 22:55, we've never had hornworms here so I have no advice. With powdery mildew I will cut off all the old and affected leaves and increase my spaying of seaweed tea. Here is a very useful link for dealing organically with some fungal problems.

Stacy, the only silly question is the unasked one. I use dried yeast and store it in the fridge. I generally buy a 500 gram (1 lb) bag and because I bake bread almost every day, I easily get through that before it dies. I wish you both all the best in your marriage. You know that you can simplify anywhere, just go slow, one step at a time, and you'll make good progress. I reckon the real secret is to enjoy it and develop yourself and your life as you live.

Lyn, I don't watch Oprah, I have quite a few American friends, both online and off. That is where my opinion was formed. It really wasn't a criticism, more of a personal observation and I think the most important part of that observation was in the statement "that has changed". I believe America has to be part of the solution, it has been a major part of the problem in the past. This is from the Boston Globe:

"Americans consume like no other nation -- using three times the amount of water per capita than the world average and nearly 25 percent of the world's energy, despite having 5 percent of the global population; and producing five times more daily waste than the average in poor countries."

This isn't about apportioning blame though, we are all to blame, it's about solutions and seeing with my own eyes the changes that many Americans are making now. We all need those changes to keep happening in your country, we need you to put pressure on your governments to provide leadership. I want my blog to be an encouragement to others, I try to write with integrity and from my heart. So please don't feel you or your country are being criticised, I see us more as recognising our problems and working together on solutions. :- )

I have more than enough recipes now. NO MORE RECIPES ... THANKS EVERYONE


  1. Hi Rhonda Jean! I just wanted to let you know that I had to split my blog into a private and a public blog. I linked your site to my public blog, at and wanted to let you know -- hope it's okay with you, and if not, let me know.
    BTW I am more than happy to give you access to the private blog if you want it; just leave me a message at and I'll set that up for you. Thanks!

  2. Actually, I just emailed you. Ignore that last sentence. LOL. Have a lovely Sunday!

  3. My favourite recipe is home-made spaghetti bolognese.

    Brown 1lb minced beef in a pan, drain and reserve. For a veggie alternative make up 1lb equivalent of soya mince reconstituted with boiling water. Set aside.

    Saute 2 finely chopped onions and 2 cloves crushed garlic (optional) in a pan, over a really low heat until softened but not brown.

    Add in up to 1lb of finely chopped veggies: courgetees, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, aubergine are all really good. I chop them in the food processor to get them as fine as the mince. Since they are so chopped up, there is no need to use 'good' expensive veg... whatever you have in the garden or fridge can be chopped and thrown in.

    Add 2 cans tomatoes (chopped or whole, the cheapest you can get is fine) or 2lb skinned fresh tomatoes if in season. Add 1 tsp dried basil (or fresh if in season)and a really good grinding of black pepper. Add 1 tsp sugar. Bring to simmering then add in the mince, stir and bring back to simmering.

    Now turn the heat really low and cook for at least 1 hour, on a heat so low that barely a ripple shows on the surface. To be properly frugal I transfer to a slow cooker at this point and cook for 3-4 hours on low.

    Once the sauce has really, really thickened, add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp does it for me).

    Serve with pasta.

    This dish is even better the next day and freezes really well.

    To turn some of it into a chilli, add a chopped chilli or a good grinding of chilli flakes, and a can or equivalent of cooked kidney beans.

    The long, slow cooking is the key to a delicious sauce.

    The basic recipe can be altered in so many ways. A couple of handfuls of red or brown lentils can be thrown in at the simmer stage... just top up with water/stock to keep the dish moist.

    The mince can be left out altogether for a veggie alternative.

    I almost always have some version of this dish in the freezer for a quick meal, served over pasta, rice or a baked potato.

  4. Hi RJ,

    As you know I have the odd recipe or two on my blog - for winter my favourite ones would be the "blondies"

    as well as the homemade instant oatmeal (porridge) - those sachets are so expensive to buy!

    and my version of savory mince called "oriental mince"- this can have lentils or other beans added to it to make it more frugal.

    I also add lentil to my bolognaise sauce and oats to my hamburgers/rissoles to make the mince go further!

    My favourite vegetarian recipe would have to be the lentil and chickpea burgers - these are so cheap to make!

    Feel free to use all or none Rhonda - sorry I couldn't choose just one! I look forward to seeing the other recipes that ppl share :)
    ps I did think of including the lemon cake as well!

  5. My spaghetti bolognese recipe is
    500g mince browned with 2 onions finely chopped and 2 cloves of garlic. Add 5 Tablespoons of tomato paste and cook a little till the tomato changes colour from red to orange(seems to taste better) Add 1 large tin tomatoes(chopped) or equivalent fresh and 2 tins of water(about 3-4 cups) and 1 cup of red lentils. @teaspoons of salt,2 tablespoons of sugar a little oregano, basil, chilli or whatever flavours you family like. Simmer till thickened to your liking stiirring regular so lentils don't stick. Just before serving stir thru a hand full of parsley and serve over pasta.
    Serves heaps
    Leftovers can be made into lasagna just make a white sauce with a bit of grated cheese added and layer with lasagne sheets or potato slices instead of lasagne sheets ans sprinkle with a little cheese bake till pasta is cooked and top is slightly golden.
    Also can be mexican with added kidney beans and chilli or taco spices.
    You can also throw in grated carrot zucchini etc to make it go even further.
    Very economical

  6. Thanks everyone! Nice hearty meals for a family. I'm sure they'll be well appreciated by my group.

  7. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I'll share one of my family's favourite frugal recipes. My mother used to make these all the time back in the 80's when we were going through a difficult financial time. If you can get the mince on special and double it, a family of 5 will get 4 meals (maybe more) out of this.



    2 cups flour

    4 ounces butter

    1 tsp salt

    Grated cheese (as much or as little as you like - I do half a cup or 1 cup if on special).

    Cut in butter and cheese. Dampen with about 1/2 cup milk and 1 tsp vinegar or until it makes a pastry good enough to roll out. Put in fridge for about 5 minutes to make rolling out easier.


    1 pound mince (or 500 grams)

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 packet Brown Onion Gravy or Sauce (I use Maggi)

    1/4 cup tomato sauce

    2 Tablespoons flour

    Roll pastry into 2 very thin large pieces. Take small spoonfuls of the mince mixture and dot all over the pastry leaving about 1 inch between each one. Dampen with milk between each mince pile. Place second pastry over the top and press down between mince. Prick with a fork and cut each one out individually and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 180 degC (400degF) for 25-30 minutes.

    These are very tasty and go a long way. I figured if I get the mince on special at around $6 and use as little cheese as possible, each meal only costs about $2-$3. I think that's pretty good. Hope it's helpful.
    Rachel from NZ

  8. I love this bean burrito recipe because the ingredients are inexpensive and you it makes a lot so you can freeze them for later! The recipe includes directions for heating them up from a frozen state. It's also very flexible; I have added leftover chicken and beef and varied the beans.

  9. Rhonda Jean, here is a recipe I use often that my family loves:

    Quick & Easy Dinner Rolls

    1 pkg. yeast
    1 c. lukewarm water
    1 egg
    1/4 c. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 c. oil
    3 cups flour, sifted

    Dissolve yeast in lukewarn water. Add egg, sugar, salt, and oil. Add half the flour & beat until smooth. Add rest of flour & beat again until smooth. Fill greased muffin pans half full & let rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

    Makes 12 rolls.


  10. This is not a recipe per-say but it does save me a lot of money.
    1. Open the Ice-box and pantry, evaluate what you have and what is close to spoiling.
    2. A) If you have broth, stock or something that can make a sauce: take the week old contents of your kitchen and assemble into a slow cooker with a little good quality vintager (not white) or some cooking wine.
    B) If you do not have something that could form a stew, soup or gravy roast and instead you have pasta/rice/bread and cheese: take the week old contents of your kitchen and assemble them into a greased casserole dish and bake until bubbly, for this anything pre cooked might need to be.
    3. Set a nice table and enjoy.

    You do need to be open minded and a little creative or adventurous the first few times you try this.

    I do this about every 2-3 weeks, there is only two in our house right now so sometimes it makes a lot and I freeze left overs for when I am not up to cooking.

  11. Hi Rhonda, I love sharing recipes so here is one that is popular here:
    To Die For Brownies
    These are wonderful. They are cheap to make, using no fancy ingredients and as easy as a packet mix to make. Not to mention yummy and freeze well, which I recommend or you'll get fat!

    1 1/2 cups plain flour
    1/2 cup cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla essence
    1/2 cup oil
    1/2 cup water
    3 large eggs
    100g or more of chopped pecan, walnuts or choc bits

    Grease and line a 34x23 com dish with baking paper. I use my pyrex lasagne dish. Preheat oven to 180C. Place all ingredients into a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Pour into the lined tin and bake until centre springs back, about 25 minutes. Watch it doesn't burn till you know whether your oven runs hotter or not. When cool, sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into small squares. Nice warm with icecream if you have guests for dessert! But yummy with a coffee.
    All the best from Julia

  12. Wonderful recipes, everyone! Does anyone have any cheap and easy soups?

    Great tip Mrs Kaos, I'm sure my group will be interested in that.

    Keep all the ideas flowing. :- )

  13. Hi Rhonda!

    I love my recipe for toritillas - so easy to make and much cheaper than buying them! You can also add finely chopped garlic or herbs to flavour them.


    3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. Salt
    1/3 cup vegetable oil or shortening
    1 cup warm water but not boiling

    Combine the flour, salt, and oil in a large bowl and mix together until crumbly, as for pie dough. Add water and mix until you can gather the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

    To form the flour tortillas, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion between the palms of your hands to make a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into an 8 inch circle. Layer the circles between sheets of plastic wrap as you go.

    To cook the flour tortillas, heat a fry pan over high heat until beginning to smoke. Place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the other side until slightly puffed and speckled brown on the underside but still soft enough to fold, about 30 seconds. Remove and continue until all the flour tortillas are cooked, stacking them as you go. Serve right away or cool, wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

  14. Hi Rhonda, This is a good one though it does use a packet soup...
    Chicken Noodle Soup
    This is great for using up the remains of a roast chicken.
    1/2 BBQ chicken (or leftover chicken meat)
    1 packet chicken noodle soup mix
    10 cups water
    1 onion, chopped
    2 carrots, diced small
    125g beans cut small
    corn kernels to taste maybe 1 cup (I substitute celery as Dave doesn't like corn)
    packet 2 minute noodles, chicken flavour
    lemon pepper

    Cook soup mix as the packet only add 10 cups water instead of 4. Boil the soup with the vegetables till they are soft. Add the chopped chicken meat and a packet of 2 minute noodles. Add also the flavour sachet from the noodles. Season with lemon pepper. This is more filling than it sounds

    Regards, Julia

  15. This one has helped me stretch my end of the month food dollars more than once. As always it's a template. If you need to change veggies or nuts or omit something for something else that suits you better feel free. Mostly I'm glad to give something back to this blog that I've gotten so much from. Thanks for that opportunity.

    Garbanzo Beans And Veggies With Herbs

    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
    1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
    1 clove garlic crushed
    ½ tsp black pepper
    1 15oz. can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
    ¼ cup pine nuts
    1 large zucchini sliced
    ½ cup mushrooms sliced
    1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
    1 tomato chopped

    1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and stir in oregano, basil, garlic, and pepper. Add the garbanzo beans and zucchini, stirring well to coat with oil and herbs. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally then add mushrooms, pine nuts and cilantro, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomato on top of the mixture. Cover, and let the tomatoes steam for a few minutes, but don't let them get mushy.

    Note: I like to serve this over rice but that's optional.

    Makes 4 servings

  16. Tortilla Soup

    1 tbsp olive oil
    ¾ cup onion chopped
    2 garlic cloves minced
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tsp ground cumin
    ¾ tsp chili powder
    4 cup canned vegetable broth
    4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    4 6 inch corn tortillas cut into ½ inch strips
    1½ cup tomatoes chopped
    2/3 cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
    2/3 cup zucchini chopped
    1½ tbsp jalapeno minced [optional]

    1. Heat olive oil in a large pot then add onion and garlic cover and cook over medium low heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin and chili powder then add broth and 2 tbsp cilantro, bring to boil, reduce heat cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Add tortillas, tomatoes, beans, zucchini and jalapeno to soup. Cover and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp cilantro.

    Makes 4 servings.

  17. Yam And Rice Soup

    4 cup chicken broth
    1 tbsp curry powder
    ½ tsp black pepper
    ½ tsp marjoram
    ½ tsp onion powder
    ½ tsp garlic powder
    2 pounds yams diced
    1 medium onion chopped
    ½ cup wild rice uncooked

    1. Pour chicken broth into a saucepan, with curry powder, marjoram, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add yam and onion, and simmer for about 20 minutes then add rice, and cook for another 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

    Makes: 4 servings

  18. Forgive me if I over did. I couldn't resist two of my favorites when I saw after my original post, your request for soups.

  19. My favorite "budget stretcher" recipe is this:

    Meat and Tater Squares

    1 pound Hamburger or ground meat, add typical meatloaf ingredients. Mine are ketchup, mustard spice, onions chopped finely, two eggs, 1 cup oats or bread crumbs or stale bread, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk. I also add any leftover veggies to this like peas, corn, or carrots.

    Mix together with your hands and bake for 30-45 minutes on 350. Drain off excess grease (if any).

    Use leftover mashed potatos, boxed instant taters (my favorite), or other carb type food to cover the top of your meatloaf. I've used rice, noodles and leftover refried beans in the past.

    Sprinkle with a bit of cheese (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and return the pan to the oven for 10-15 minutes. You are watching for the cheese to melt and the topping to warm completely through.

    Cut and enjoy. A little goes a long way. A 9x9 pan of this serves my family for one dinner and lunch for at least two the next day.

  20. Here are two old standards I've used for years.

    Egg Casserole

    10-12 eggs beaten lightly (I use a whole dozen)
    2 ¼ cup milk
    1 tsp. salad mustard
    5-6 slices of bread (cubed or torn into pieces)
    salt and pepper to season (about 1/2tsp. each)
    1 lb bulk sausage (cooked and crumbled)-meat can be optional
    1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever kind and however much you have on hand, less is ok!)

    If you like, add other goodies like chopped onions, diced peppers or additional spices. I like to toss in a couple of diced jalapeños or some roasted red peppers once in awhile.
    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into oiled 9x13 pan and baked at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Done when knife inserted comes out clean and browned nicely on top.

    Potato Soup

    This is a family favorite and the first time I’ve tried to put it down in a recipe so amounts are approximate, no hard or fast rules. Use a large pan as this will make several quarts of soup.

    8-10 potatoes
    1 onion
    chicken broth or water (with bouillon cubes added) to just cover potatoes.
    about 4 cups milk (more if necessary)
    salt & pepper to taste

    Peel and dice potatoes and onion. Place in pan and just cover with broth or water. Cook until tender. Do not drain. (I like to mash them when done for a creamier soup, but it’s not necessary) Add milk until desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. We like extra pepper. Add parsley and simmer until good and hot.

    Small dumplings can be added to this while cooking the potatoes and onion. Simply mix a lightly beaten egg with enough flour to make stiff dough. Pull off small pieces and drop into bubbling pot. Adding the dumpling will thicken soup some, so you may have to add additional broth. Cook on lower heat and stir to avoid sticking.

  21. What my family calls Frog soup - Broccoli soup.

    Bag of frozen broccoli - thawed and chopped fine - I run it through the food processor.

    1 lrg onion fine dice

    Chicken broth (can also use water
    and chicken base) about 6-8 Cups

    salt & pepper

    Garlic - to your liking

    Simmer all together for approx. 45 mins

    Use a hand blender to cream the soup (or put into blender in small batches)

    Add 2 oz cream cheese - stir till melted through.

    Add 4 T potato flakes - stir into soup to thicken it.

    I love to make a large batch of this and take for work lunches.

    I'm making some tomorrow actually :)

  22. Hi Rhonda Jean, here is a recipe for a really thick and hearty soup my Grandma and Mam used to make. It makes a huge amount too, although there are no real quantities. Don't be misled by the name - this is more like a stew!

    Northumbrian Ham Broth

    Put a ham hock (ie on the bone)in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Cover and bring to the boil, simmer until cooked. take out and leave to one side.

    Into the pot put a few chopped leeks, some grated carrots and a grated turnip (swede to some!)

    Add a handful each of red lentils, green lentils and split green peas. These might need to be presoaked because of the salt in the stock. Also add a few handfuls of barley.

    At some point in the cooking you might need to split the soup between two pans and top up with water - my Mam always needed two pressure cooker-size pans.

    Let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours so the flavours really develop.

    Towards the end of the cooking, cut up the ham and put chunks back into the soup to heat through. Mam would put half of the ham into the soup and the rest would be sliced and served cold the next day with pickles and chips (fries). When the ham was cooked she would often take a little of the stock, top it up with water in another pan and make pease pudding - put a good handful of dried split peas into a clean cloth and tie, leaving space to swell, simmer for an hour or two until cooked

    This is really nice with suet dumplings. If I remember right, the proportions are 4oz flour, 1tsp baking powder, 2oz beef suet and water to mix. They are formed into golf ball size balls and dropped into the soup to cook.

    Sorry this was so long!

  23. Spicy tomato and lentil - my favourite cheap and easy soup - You can use tinned & frozen foods or fresh veggies depending on the season:

    2lbs chopped carrot & swede, (frozen tends to be just as good as fresh and is cheap too, if you can't get fresh).

    2 large onions, chopped

    1 litre veg or chicken stock

    2 14oz tins tomatoes or 2lb fresh, skinned tomatoes

    2 handfuls dried red lentils

    1 tsp dried mixed herbs or fresh if you have them

    lots black pepper

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 tsp sugar

    good grinding of chilli flakes (optional if you like it hot!)

    Throw everything into a large pan, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 45 mins. Add more liquid if necessary - depends on how much water the veg release. But this is intended to be quite a thick soup.

    Blend with a hand blender or mash with a potato masher.

    I make this so often it takes a few mins prep time only now.

  24. Curried Red Lentil Dhal: serves 3-4

    This is one of our favourite meals!

    1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
    1 lge onion, diced
    1 tsp (1-2 cloves) minced garlic
    1 lge bay leaf
    1 tsp chilli powder
    2 tsp each curry powder & turmeric
    2 tsp each mustard & cumin seeds
    1 cup split red lentils
    2 cups water with 2 tsp veggie stock powder
    1/2-1 tsp salt to taste
    1-2 tablespoons chopped corainder leaf, fresh or bottled (optional)

    Heat oil in a lge pan, add onion and garlic and cooked, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and is turning clear. add bay leaf and spices and cook, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes longer.

    tip in the lentils and water and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to gentle simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes (may need to add more water to keep it moist/soupy during this time)

    Stir in coriander (if using - it's optional) Serve with rice, naan bread,etc)

  25. Hi there Rhonda Jean

    I try to make a few lunch box additions through the week for the family.

    We only eat home baked bread - my daughter is allergic to the preservatives (apparently banned elsewhere in the world) that are used in Australian processed breads. So we always have hummos sandwiches, fruit and salad for lunch.

    Extras include air popped popcorn and muffins. I have just popped a batch of sultana, apricot and oat muffins into the oven. I mixed up:

    1.5 cups SR flour
    1 cup raw oats
    1 cup sultanas
    0.5 cups chopped dried apricots
    0.5 tsp cinnamon
    pinch salt
    0.5 cup brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 cup milk
    0.25 cup canola oil.

    I am baking them at 200 deg. c or 400 deg.f for 22 minutes.
    The time may vary slightly as I'm not sure that I preheated my oven properly.

    Anyway, since I made this recipe up I thought that they should be taste-tested before posting this comment. Family is very keen on them. At this rate they may be gone before I pack their lunch boxes!

    They would also make a good cheap on the run brekky because of the high oat/dried fruit content.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog.


  26. Hi Rhonda
    I have been watching alady called Weezl trying a healthy & nutritious food challenge on £120 for 3 months, on Money Saving Expert. She has some excellent recipes (including nettle ravioli)which you might be interested in.
    This is the link
    Best Wishes

  27. Using up bananas...

    I normally freeze bananas when they are starting to go brown and then every now and then defrost 5 or six and make this. YUM!

    2 Cups of sugar (500 ml)
    1 cup butter (250 ml)
    6 ripe bananas - mashed (3 cups)
    4 eggs - well beaten
    2-1/2 cups self raising flour
    2 tsps baking soda
    1 tsp salt

    Preheat oven to 350 f degrees. (180c)
    Cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy.
    Add bananas and eggs and beat until well mixed.
    Sift dry ingredients three times.
    Blend with banana mixture - but do not overmix.
    Pour into lightly greased loaf pans.
    Bake for about 45 minutes - test with a skewer to see if done.
    Cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

    They freeze well but rarely make it to the freezer!

  28. Our favorite that's easy and simple to make is homemade pizza. I use a recipe for the dough I scribbled on a piece of paper, don't know where I found it but this is it (sorry it's in grams, that's what we use here):
    - 200 grams of flour (I use whole wheat)
    - 100 ml of milk, luke warm
    - half a packet of dry yeast
    - 1 teaspoon sugar
    - 1 teaspoon salt
    - 3 tablespoons olive oil
    mix yeast with flour, slowly stir in milk and knead with hands or electric mixer with dough hooks, let it rest for at least 30 mins.
    Knead a little bit more and flatten into shape you desire.
    We put all sorts of stuff on it, mushrooms, olives, peppers, whatever's on hand but I always start with a layer of mashed tomatoes and we make sure the finishing touch is grated cheese. ;-) and put it in the oven at 190 C (300 F) for 15-20 mins. Makes for one large pizza, we eat it with two adults, a toddler and a baby but we're not large eaters.

    Christine from the NL

  29. One of my favorite recipes is pasta (penne, butterflies, screws, etc) with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. I've been making it a lot recently because we only have one burner and no oven while I'm putting in our new kitchen. While the pasta is cooking I chop tomatoes (usually around 500 g I think) and a clove of garlic. Once the pasta has cooked, I drain it and set it aside; I saute the garlic in some olive oil and then add the tomatoes, just until they are starting to get soft, but not totally dissolved. Then I turn off the heat, add the pasta and some chopped basil and some cubed mozzarella and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes. This is of course even thriftier if you have your own tomatoes and/or make your own cheese. Even my husband loves this dish, and he whines otherwise when I serve vegetarian food.

  30. Hi Rhonda,
    One of my favourite soups is from Charmaine Solomon: Cauliflower Soup. From memory...
    750g cauliflower (half a cauli), washed and divided into florets
    1 onion, chopped
    1-2 cloves garlic, minced
    a pinch of mace
    about 5 cups stock or water
    In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add the cauliflower and toss. Add the stock or water and mace. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender (about 15-20 mins should do it).
    Turn off the heat and blend with a stick-blender in the pot, or pour into a blender and process, then return to pot and re-heat, seasoning to taste.
    You can add a little milk or cream to thicken but I've never needed to.
    This is a very filling and flavoursome soup. Enjoy.

  31. I wanted to add that I make bread in my bread machine and it really is very quick and tastes much better too. My favourite is the Laucke pre-mix which comes with small packets of yeast in the bag. It is quite a heavy dense loaf with a delicious chewy crust. One 5kg bag for about $11 makes 10 loaves of bread, so it's very economical. Reliance also makes a nice multigrain bread mix. You can get both at the supermarket. Follow the instructions in the bread machine booklet for best results.

  32. This is a thick German-style lentil soup with lots of veggies. It makes a small amount of meat go a long way. I cook it at least twice a month. Measurements are American.

    To serve 4, with bread:

    1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
    3 carrots, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    garlic powder, thyme, black pepper
    1 bay leaf
    5-6 cups broth (chicken or beef) or water
    1 potato, chopped, OR 1/3 cup quick-cooking barley
    1/4 to 1/2 lb cooked smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
    1 14-oz can diced or stewed tomatoes (optional), drained, their liquid counted as part of the broth measure

    Saute the carrot, celery, and onion in a little oil until soft. Add lentils, meat, tomato if using, potato or barley, broth, bay leaf, and seasonings to taste. Simmer on low approx. 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft, adding more broth if soup gets too thick.

  33. Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you ever so much for replying on your blog. I managed to get a bread maker for free but only produced 'dense' bread, your rolls look so nice i'm going to make some today to go with some home made veg soup!
    This is also my cheap and easy recipe...
    Get any veg which is 'near its best' it can be any of the following... carrots, potatoes, swede, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli (including stalks) etc etc. Chop and put in pan and cook with 2 vegetable stock cubes, once cooked whizz in blender and pass through sieve to remove stringy bits of leeks etc. Put back over heat and season, add cornflower to thicken. (you can add different herbs/spices to suit your own taste also). Gorgeous!
    Thanks again rhonda you are such an inspiration. I'll let you know how the rolls go.
    Thanks, Stacey

  34. Some thoughts about soups.....I make vegetzble soup without any bouillion or broth. I honestly don't think you need it and I don't think most are healthy. I just cut up and sautee whatever vegetables I have that are available (in olive oil with a little butter if I have that) that I think will blend well (almost always have onion, celery and carrots) add whatever herbs I want and salt and as much water as seems right.......I know, I'm sorry, these are very inexact recipes (I said 'thoughts') but if you try for a while your sense of how it works WILL develop on its own....You can add Hungarian csipetke (chip'etkeh, it means 'little pinches") dumplings by beating an egg and adding as much flour as you can get it to hold. Pinch very small bits off into boiling soup. If I am making lentil soup I sautee chopped onion, celery and carrots, add herbs and the amount of water that's right for the amount of lentils and cook for about an hour or less if the lentils seem tender.....I would only use electricity to puree soup for some special occasion......

    I make a very simple fool proof Hungarian Chicken Paprikas and you can use this method and substitute mushrooms for the chicken, or soy "texturized vegetable protein' and probably tofu though I haven't tried that yet. Sautee on a slow heat one large chopped up onion until it is transparent, not letting it brown. When it is, take it off the heat and stir in one heaping soup spoon of Hungarian sweet paprika (it really is more fragrant than any other I know, but you can try using some local product if you think it would work) and one soup spoon of salt. Mix into this one cut up whole fryer, or two cups of chopped mushrooms, or whatever (see above). If you are cooking chicken, watch it carefully at this early stage to prevent burning. Cook it, stirring frequently at a medium low temperature and it will release a lot of liquid over time....Mushrooms will give some liquid, too.........When the chicken seems tender, add a cup of milk stirred into a few tablespoons of flour. Let this come to a simmer....Remove some of the liquid and stir some sour cream into it, about a quarter of a cup. Stir this into pot. After the sour cream is in, do not let it come to a boil or it will separate........(If you make creme fraiche with buttermilk, it will not seperate). Add another quarter cup of sour creme into it.....Paprikash is really the technique of making the paprika sauce and can be used with any meat and many other things..........Schnidling sauce is something we make after Easter if we have lots of hard-boiled eggs....Chop the eggs up very fine, add chives from your garden, add sour cream thinned with milk. This is a sauce you can eat with anything like cold ham, or rice or potatoes. It has protein because of the eggs....Palacsinta (paw'lawchintah) are pancakes like crepes. The simplest recipe is just one cup of flour, one egg, and one cup of milk, or even in a pinch, water mixed together. It took me a long time to learn how to cook it in a sautee pan (ladle batter onto the pan and tilt the pan this way and that to spread it evenly over the bottom)for a few minutes and then flip it over for a few more minutes....I kept misjudging the time and having them rip up...They are pretty quick to make and you fill them and roll them up. You can fill them with jam for the simplest meal. Or you can mix sour cream, cottage cheese, an uncooked egg,(if you trust your eggs) a little sugar, some raisins and lemon juice for my favorite). You can sautee any vegetables and mix in a little sour cream for a filling....Here are a few simple ideas that I have found useful.

  35. From me from Holland a dutch recipe: Hutspot
    Cook potatoes in water with salt, drain and make a puree with the cooking water. Meanwhile in another cooking pan chunks of carrots and onions with water and salt. You also cook this untill it is tender. Drain the vegetables and put them with the mashed potatoes. Season it with fresh ground pepper and some ground nutmeg.
    The tradition is to do the hutspot in your plate and make a hole in it. There you'll put in the gravy. It's usually eaten with a small meatball.
    For vegetarians some cheese makes it very tasty. For me (vegan)i like it with some roasted salted nuts or seeds and a bit of vegan mayo.

    Greetings, Annikka

  36. Rhonda,
    i am sat here eating your homemade rolls and my homemade soup. I'd never of thought you could make homemade rolls so fluffy yet so crunchy on the outside - amazing.
    I assume you just use the same recipe for bread?
    Thanks you have converted me to homemade bread/rolls from now on - i'll never go back!!Stacey

  37. a postscript to my earlier comment...The paprikash is made in a stock pot.........The fifteen minutes or so after you add the meat or whatever, you should cover it, but check often and stir to prevent burning. The rest of the time cook uncovered....The palacsinta isn't that hard to do, but everyone has a few failures before getting the technique right....I tried many times and failed. One time without doing anything differently that I was aware of, it was a success and has been ever since and I learned this 35 years ago.

    Sorry for telling more than one recipe and making it so long....The schnidling sauce has salt to taste....

  38. Thanks everyone!

    Stacy, that's great news. Yes, you can make bread with the same recipe. I'm so pleased it worked for you.

    I have more than enough recipes.


  39. Rhonda, thanks so much for the dishcloth update, I'll try your pattern next. Seed/moss stitch drove me quietly mad!! Just catching up with the last few posts as took some time out from the computer over the long weekend. I have lots to catch up on!! Warm wishes, Diana



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