Building our Homes Together, I thought I would share an older post about one of my favorite cookbooks. I believe it is out of print now, but am sure copies could be found via the Internet.
This cookbook is a wonderful resource for frugal cooks. It's a Mennonite cookbook, written by Doris Janzen Longacre. The first several chapters contain information concerning planning, shopping, cooking, and eating responsibly. Next comes a set of tables and charts covering protein content of foods and how to combine foods to create complementary protein. An obvious effort has been made to keep this material from being dry and dull; still, I imagine that most people will find the recipes more interesting.
Then the actual recipes begin. The categories are : Yeast & Quick Breads; Cereals; Beans, Soybeans & Lentils; Main Dishes & Casseroles; Eggs, Milk & Cheese; Meats & Fish; Soups; Vegetables; Salads; Desserts, Cakes & Cookies; Gardening & Preserving; Snacks & Miscellaneous. There are hundreds of recipes in the book, and they are written in a step-by-step, easy-to-follow style. Even the recipes from more exotic locales around the world use basic, inexpensive ingredients. In addition to the actual recipes, there are many other hints, ideas and mini-recipes scattered throughout each chapter at the tops of pages. Here’s an example of one:
“In Africa we seldom saw brown sugar. Missionaries gave me this recipe: To each cup of white granulated sugar, add 2 T. old-fashioned molasses. Stir well and store in airtight container. Excellent flavor in cookies or cake toppings, or on oatmeal. I make it since we’re back because it’s much cheaper and we like the flavor better.”
-- Evelyn Fisher, Akron, Pa.
And I can vouch for this particular hint; I’ve used it many times when I’ve run out of brown sugar for one reason or another.
At the end of each chapter is a section called “Gather Up the Fragments”, which suggests great ways to use leftovers of that particular type of food. I’ve used many of these ideas and they are wonderful.
I thought I’d go through and note for you some of my favorite recipe titles from the chapters and perhaps share a short recipe or two.
From Yeast & Quick Breads: There’s a great basic recipe called
EDNA RUTH BYLER’S POTATO DOUGH BAKED GOODS. From this one basic recipe one can make cinnamon buns, sticky buns, dinner rolls, coffee cake, and/or doughnuts. It makes about 100 doughnuts or rolls, so you could divide up the dough and make some of each. These baked goods also freeze well.
From Cereals: The BASIC DRY CEREAL FORMULA is a wonderful recipe for granola-type cereal. It gives you many ingredient choices to use with a basic formula to make the cereal uniquely your own. It can be different every time you make it -- or perhaps your family will want your own “house blend”, incorporating all of your favorite ingredients.
From Beans, Soybeans & Lentils: BASIC COOKED LENTILS offers three tasty variations to serve over rice.
From Main Dishes & Casseroles: I’ve made many recipes from this chapter. Some of my favorites are: VIETNAM FRIED RICE. PAKISTANI KIMA, and EASY MOUSSAKA (especially the meatless variation), Here’s a priceless hint from this chapter:
“Lasagne is popular but expensive since it calls for ground beef plus several cheeses. Lasagne’s unique flavor is the blend of cheeses and herbs; omit ground beef from the tomato sauce and you still have a delicious high-protein Italian specialty.”
-- Bonnie Zook, Leola, Pa.
From Eggs, Milk & Cheese: SUNNY SCALLOPED EGGS (especially the EGGS FLORENTINE variation); ARGENTINE SPINACH PIE; and EGGS FOO YUNG.
From Meats & Fish: FIESTA SLOPPY JOES (these extend the ground beef with rice; they are much less “sloppy” than the usual, and my kids really enjoyed them); HONEY-BAKED CHICKEN; CREAMED CHICKEN OVER CONFETTI RICE SQUARES.
From Soups: We love soup and eat a lot of it. The stains on the pages tell the story. I’ve been using this cookbook for years, and many times we didn’t have a lot of money. But we were well fed. Some of my favorites: GOOD FRIDAY VEGETABLE SOUP (I leave out the caraway seed); GREEN BEAN SOUP; GOLDEN POTATO SOUP; CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER SOUP; and SPINACH SOUP. Any of these, along with homemade bread, rolls, biscuits or cornbread, would make a wonderful meal.
From Vegetables: VEGETABLES AU GRATIN; PUFFY GREEN BEAN-CHEESE BAKE; SWEET-SOUR BEETS; BROCCOLI STUFFING BAKE; SKILLET CABBAGE (we love this, especially the Indonesian variation); GINGER-GLAZED CARROTS; EGGPLANT PARMESAN; ZUCCHINI OMELET; and MAHSI (MIDDLE EASTERN STUFFED VEGETABLES) which has variations for using many different vegetables.
Here’s the basic recipe for SWEET-SOUR BEETS :
Grate finely (I shred them):
1 large or 2 medium RAW beets, peeled
Melt in saucepan:
2 T. margarine
Add prepared beets. Cover and cook slowly until beets are tender, stirring occasionally. (15-20 minutes.)
salt & pepper to taste
1 T. vinegar
3 T. sugar
2 t. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 c. water
Cook, stirring, until sauce clears. Serve hot.
We love this nice, easy way to cook beets. Shredding them makes this side dish really different and tasty.
From Salads: DELUXE COLESLAW; SUMMER NIGHT SALAD; MAIN-DISH TUNA SALAD; and SALADE NIÇOISE.
From Desserts, Cakes & Cookies: NO-BAKE CEREAL COOKIES; MOLASSES CRINKLES; COCONUT-DATE BALLS.
Here is the recipe for NO-BAKE CEREAL COOKIES:
Combine in saucepan and heat to boiling:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. light corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. peanut butter
Mix until smooth. Stir in:
3 c. ready-to-eat cereal flakes
1 c. flaked coconut (optional)
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. (Let stand until set.) Makes 2 to 3 dozen.
From Gardening & Preserving: I love the freezing and drying ideas at the end of this chapter, and the gardening ideas at the beginning.
From Snacks & Miscellaneous: ORANGE JULIUS; HONEY MILK BALLS; YOGURT POPSICLES; FUDGSICLES.
Hope this information has been helpful to all of you frugal cooks out there! Even though, as I said, the book may be out of print, I am sure you could find a copy online or through a used book store. I managed to unearth the tattered back cover of mine, but the publisher’s name was not in evidence. I’m afraid the front cover is long gone...
9 hours ago