Yummy, easy rice pudding

I had some left over rice tonight and decided to try making rice pudding. I’ve never made it before and always imagined it was a lot of work. However, this recipe was very easy and good. The kids helped measure and stir.

  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1.5 cup cooked rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon.
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Great rice, sausage soup

I just made a great basic soup with sausage and rice. It’s very easy and inexpensive. Plus, it made a lot. I wound up splitting it into 2 large pots and adding more water after it was done since it was a bit thicker than we wanted but the pot was full. I will freeze the extra. If you don’t want extra, feel free to half the recipe. Use any spices you like. I added a little pepper and sage.

3 cups uncooked rice

1 polish sausage U (or any rope sausage)

at least 8 cups water

1/2 large onion

1 can Italian style stewed tomatoes

Put rice and water in pot on high. While it starts to heat, cut sausage lengthwise then into rounds and chop onion. Add to rice. Turn fire down to low and cover. Cook covered about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should check it after 25 minutes to see if it needs more water. Remove lid and cook another 15 minutes.

If it is thick, add water until it’s the consistency you like. My family prefers hearty, thicker soups. If you have unexpected company, this soup is great since it can be stretched just by adding more water to thin it. Since it is rice based, it will thicken over time so you will likely have to add more water to any leftovers.

Poor man’s lasagna

This recipe is a twist on the classic macaroni & cheese casseroles. It tastes similar to lasagna for a fraction of the cost and time. It takes only about 15 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

4 boxes macaroni & cheese,

1 large chopped onion,

Prego or your favorite spaghetti sauce

1/2 – 1 pound ground meat (I sometimes use Spam even)

fresh chopped mushrooms

Make mac & cheese as directed on boxes. Using skim or fat free milk won’t be as creamy though.

While that’s cooking, fry mushrooms and onion with meat. Drain any fat. Add to prepared mac & cheese.

Cover with spaghetti sauce. You don’t want to use too much or you can’t taste the cheese. Just make it pink instead of orange. Mix well.

Everything can be adjusted according to your tastes and what you have on hand. We don’t always add meat. It’s so easy my son can help make it. If you want to you can even put it in a casserole dish, shred some cheese on top, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until the cheese gets good and gooey for extra lasagna feel.

Fresh cucumber salad

Today I picked our first cucumbers from the garden. Rather than using them as garnish for lettuce salad or in a sandwich, I decided to make them into a salad. The internet has lots of cucumber salad recipes.  I wanted something simple and light. I found one that sounded good and modified it a bit to use what we had. Here’s what I finally came up with. My family really enjoyed it so I thought I’d share the recipe since it’s garden season.

2 medium cucumbers sliced then cut in halves

1/2 large tomato chopped

1/4 onion chopped

3/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbs  lemon juice

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

fresh dill

Slice cucumbers then cut slices in half. Add vinegar and salt. Toss to mix. Set in fridge half hour.

Chop 2 Tbs fresh dill. Mix lemon juice with sour cream. Add dill and a dash of black pepper.  After half hour remove cucumbers from fridge. Drain and discard liquid. Stir cucumber, tomato, and onion into sauce. That’s it. Easy and yummy.

Falfel

I had this can of garbanzo beans (AKA chick peas) in my pantry forever. I don’t even remember where it came from or if I was even the one who got it. It’s just been living in my pantry.

Today the kids were hungry and we are out of thawed peanut butter (we still have about a quarter of a bucket in the freezer). I looked through a bean cookbook for something I could make from this can. Most of the recipes in the book are of Middle East or Mediterranean origin and therefore spicier than we prefer (like curries). However, I found a recipe for falfel that I thought could be modified without ending up too bland. Then I looked at the other ingredients and found that indeed I had almost everything on hand to make it. Several of them call for unusual spices or ingredients we don’t normally use. This one called for a spice called coriander which we don’t have, so  left it out.

Falfel is basically a garbanzo bean mush with garlic, minced onion, chili pepper and cumin (plus the missing coriander) that is fried. It called for an entire onion. Normally that doesn’t sound like a lot but when mixed with only slightly more than a cup of mushed beans, it would have been too much. I put in just 3 thin slices. After mixing everything well, you make small patties and cover them with whole wheat flour then fry them until both sides are brown. We ate them on homemade bread. It made just enough for the 3 of us.

Dried garbanzo beans are cheap. It uses (at least the way I make it) little spices. So the meal was very cheap, probably less than $1 for all of us. The kids wanted seconds so next time I should make more. It is rather filling since it is made with beans. I served it on homemade bread but would probably be good on rice with a little lemon.

Pumpkin cake

After 3 pumpkin pie dinners in a week, I’m pumpkin pied out. Well tonight was our turn to host a “Thanksgiving” dinner and I had 2 cans of pumpkin in the pantry. I decided to do pumpkin spice cake instead. It was a big hit. Very filling.

Its a bit heavy but very good with cream cheese icing. Nuts and/or raisins are optional.

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

mix well, bake 350 for 45-60 mins until toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting: I mixed this with a fork. It was thick to mix and had very small cream cheese bits when finished.

8oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 cup butter (softened)

1 tsp vanilla

1 c powdered sugar

Oops proof recipes

Once again my More With Less cookbook has proved its worth. I love this cookbook. i have seldom had to go to the store to buy anything I need unless it is something that I’ve run out of anyway. The recipes are easy, healthy, filling, and my family gobbles them down. They are also cheap to make which is a plus in these days of rising prices for everything. We have made 2 recipes just today from it- pancake mix and lentils with beef (or in our case moose).

Most of them can be stretched for company and are forgiving. I found this out tonight. A lentil recipe calls for only 2T of rice but with the kids distracting me, I put in 2 cups! No big deal since it was in my biggest pot already. I just added a little extra spice and more water. Now we will have left overs.

I just wish there was a place to buy lentils in bulk. I have only found them in 1 pound bags at the grocery stores and Sam’s Club doesn’t carry them. The price recently went up from 99 cents to $1.19. That’s a 20% increase! Still not bad considering I can get 3 big meals from 2 bags.