Why pay upwards of $3 for an 8 ounce container of ricotta cheese at the grocery store, when you can easily make the same cheese at home for a fraction of the price? Making homemade ricotta cheese does not require any special ingredients or equipment, and is relatively simple.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
One gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon Citric Acid (found with the canning supplies) or 1/4 cup vinegar
At the beginning of each week I cook a pound of chicken breast in the slow cooker. We use the chicken for barbecue chicken sandwiches, salads, and, The Goose’s personal favorite, the quesadilla. (Sometimes I use this recipe for fajita marinade instead).
A quesadilla is one of the easiest, most filling foods to make. You can use a variety of fillings, including steak, chicken, sauteed bell peppers and onions, jalapenos, and even bacon crumbles.
This week, my husband bought a new car, The Goose came thisclose to scoring a goal during his soccer game, and I burned a pile of plastic dishes on my electric stove, paid $12.51 for eight boxes of cereal and a gallon of milk, and made the most delicious pot of roasted eggplant soup.
A few days ago, The Goose and I went out to the garden and picked all the eggplant that were left. There was a lot. Since my husband is the only one in our house who like eggplant, I had to come up with some recipes. Fast.
A delicious blend of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, onions with a hint of fresh thyme makes this roasted eggplant soup a winner. Try it. You won’t regret it.
Roasted Eggplant Soup
1-2 pounds eggplant
3 medium tomatoes
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
A few sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
Feta Cheese (for garnish)
Saving time (and money) in the kitchen is a great thing. Through the years, I’ve found some pretty great ways to do both. From running out of barbecue sauce, to freezing buttermilk, to saving a burnt pot of soup, I’ve been there, and I’ve done it all.
1. Saving Leftover Tomato Paste
It used to drive me insane when I’d find a recipe that called for a tablespoon of tomato paste. Seriously? One tablespoon? What was I to do with the five tablespoons that were left? Then I found out that you can actually freeze tomato paste. You can scoop it out onto wax paper, roll it into a log and freeze it that way. Or you can measure it out into one tablespoon portions and freeze it in an ice cube tray. (Once it is frozen, empty the tray into a ziploc bag to avoid freezer burn.)
I’ll let you in on a little secret… I hate cleaning. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But, it needs to be done. Keeping my house clean is important. So I do it. Begrudgingly.
When I first became a stay at home mom, I was sure I was going to be like Bree Hodges from the TV show Desperate Housewives. My house was going to be immaculate, my children were going to be well behaved, my dinners were going to be gourmet, and I was going to look like I’d just stepped out of Vogue magazine.
I’m thankful that The Goose is not a picky eater. He counts tomatoes, mangoes and broccoli among his favorite foods, and he is always willing to try new things (which is more than I can say for myself).
Even though he’s not picky, I’m still finding that packing school lunches is a bit of a challenge. At home, most of his favorite lunch choices are “hot” foods, like quesadillas, macaroni and cheese and tacos. This means I have to be creative. But honestly, how many different ways can you spice up a plain old PB&J?
We are big gardeners, and we grow between 15 and 20 tomato plants each year. Inevitably, all the tomatoes ripen at one time, leaving me with tons of ripe, ready to eat tomatoes. Once we’ve had our fill of BLTs, tomato sandwiches and garden salads, I have to find a way to preserve the rest of our harvest for future use.
My family loves bread and we are fortunate to have a wonderful bakery just a few blocks from our home. Their bread is amazing, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
Thankfully, I came across a super-easy recipe for homemade artisan bread. It was simple – five ingredients, 18 hours, and a baking dish with a lid that can handle 450 degrees. Easy as, well, bread.