Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Beef Vegetable Soup

We love homemade soups. Especially in the winter time. A nice hot bowl of soup and a slice of homemade bread with butter on it is one really nice body warming meal. One of our favorite soups is beef vegetable. Since there is just two of us that like eating soups I don't want to waste time and gas making small pots. Instead I make big pots and then can what is leftover. Last week we had a cool day so I took advantage of it and made a big pot of soup. We had enough for the two of us for dinner that night and then I canned the rest. I got 7 quarts out of the left overs. This soup was made using 1 1/5 pounds of cubed beef, 2 large round white potatoes, cubed. Three bags of frozen mixed vegetables, parsley, 1 small onion finely chopped, beef soup base, salt and black pepper. The total cost was under $10 and gave me 8 main dishes for two people. Not bad when all I will have to add to the meal to complete it is a loaf of homemade fresh bread and some ice tea.

Since I bought everything to make it on sale so I saved money there and when you factor in the time is would take and the money for cooking 8 small pots versus cooking one big pot and canning it I save even more. One more added incentive is that homemade soup beats Campbells in a blind taste test almost every time. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Canning corn

Meijers had fresh corn on the cob on sale this past week for 14 cents an ear. These were huge ears. I bought a total of 4 dozen. I canned a total of 16 pints. Below is a picture of the first 8 pints. The rest I didnt get canned until the next day. I had cooked 6 ears the night I bought the corn. Then I used 38 ears to make the 16 pints.  I cooked the last 6 on the grill today. It was so good!!

Each pints holds a little more than 2 ears and the jars have more corn in them then you get when you buy store bought canned corn. I figure with the cost of supplies, gas and time each jar cost me about 45 cents. Quite a savings when it cost me 85 cents to a dollar for a can of corn in the stores around here. And mine is a better quality because I know what is in there. :)

I hope by the time summer is over to have canned at least 50 pints of corn. I am trying to get back to the way of life my grandparents and my husbands grandparents lived. They bought very little at the store and rasied most of their own food each year. His grandparents had their own small farm where they raised cows for meat and milk, pigs for meat, chickens for meat and eggs, goats for milk and cheese and had a very large garden and woods for heating and cooking.

I will never be able to live like they did as I live in a town but I can grow as much as I have room for and can it and buy more from local farmers to can. So its all good! :)

Memorial Day Cookout

I cooked hamburgers and hot dogs out in the grill today but since the temp got up to 97 outside and it was very muggy we ate indoors. I made potato salad and pasta salad as sides and girlled fresh corn for the vegetable. For dessert I made an old fashion pineapple upside down cake in my grandmothers 1930's Griswold frying pan. I love that pan and use it at least twice a week. I cook mainly in cast iron. To me it just gives food a better flavor then the non stick pans do. And since I keep them well seasoned clean up is a breeze. :)

For a frugal tip I save the juice from canned fruits to make cakes and quick breads. If a cake recipe or mix calls for 1 1/3 cups water. I use the juice I drained from a can of fruit and add just enough water to make 1 1/3 cups liquid. That way I get to use every bit of what my money bought. :)

Below is the pineapple cake I made today in my grandmothers cast iron pan. I used the juice from the can of pineapple I opened as part of the liquid I needed for the cake mix. The recipe called for 1 1/3 cups water. I had one cup of juice after draining the contents of the can so I just added 1/3 cups water to get the amount called for. There was 5 guys here and they ate over half the cake. I have just enough for the 3 of us to get a piece later tonight.