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Old 01-16-2008, 03:55 PM   #16
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Re: Eating organic/All natural on a budget?

New England Mama,

My dinner menu changes based on what's at the market. I admit to being spoiled because with our "fifth season". I've still got tomatoes on the vine and lettuce coming up everywhere. I'd like to suggest "Feeding the Whole Family". It's a nice book that helps you to prepare meals that are appealing to adults but that include instructions to remove ingredients for the children before adult seasoning. I use this technique a lot. There are some other books I like for that as well. (I'm a cookbookaholic. I bet you can tell). I'll post more when I can think of them.

Since you are up to your armpits in sweet potatoes and squash I'll put a few ideas here from "Louise's Leaves" along with my basic dinner menu for this week.

Sweet Potatoes-
*Soup or cubed as an addition to clear veggie soup
*Potato Pancakes, hash browns and fries
*Brazilian Style baked, split, topped with lentils cooked with cuts of orange slices and some grated rind.
*Sweet Potato Pie
*Other toppings (she recommends sweet and sour combos)-
curried nut-butter sauce
cinnamon pecan onion orange sauce
clove-spiked dried fruit and nut sauce be sure to include apricots or peaches along with lemon juice for tang

Pumpkins & Squash
(I use them interchangeably and am working to get through these as well)-
*Pumpkin soup two ways (my recipe to follow)
*Pumpkin pie
*Pumpkin roll (vegan)
*Autumnal Stew (chunks of pumpkin, carrots, turnip, onion, sage, thyme)
*Pumpkin Cookies
*Pumpkin Tamales
*Grated pumpkin salad with pear, parsley, lemon, oil
*Pumpkin Pancakes and waffles
*Pumpkin marmalade with , apple, plum or orange and cloves

My Pumpkin/Squash Soup Two Ways:

First, I cut open the squash and "scoop out the sloppy" as my son would say. I soak the seeds in salt water and bake later to chop and add as garnish to the salad and soup itself.

I use a pressure cooker since it's faster but any old stock pot will do. Sautee an onion and salt in olive oil until its transparent and brown. Add peeled chopped pumpkin and more salt. Cook until tender. Then mash (I use a potato masher). If its a big pumpkin or squash, I remove two cups to freeze for pumpkin pie and roll. Next, add a little rice milk to make it a little creamy and then split this into another pot. Now you have two pots. One pot I season for "Pumpkin Pie" soup with agave nectar, maple syrup, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and red chili flake. The other pot gets seasoned with fresh sage, curry, pepper, and garam masala. One savory and one sweet. I freeze one for later and serve the other with a fresh salad and quick broiled garlic bread.

Finally, as you requested, here are my dinner plans:

Split Lentil Soup
Egyptian Pizza (Ful Medames) I use garbanzo beans instead of fava
Homemade Pizza (Weekly) The kids roll out and dress their own
Mexican Night with homemade refried beans (easy), tamales and fish tacos
Millet Burgers (Make extra to make fajitas)
Chicken Potpie with a biscuit crust
Fish, sweet fries, and veggies

Some of my dinners do double duty as lunch. Redressed of course. And one dessert a week does double duty as breakfast.

"Egyptian Pizza" or Ful Medames-

I make this dish in a huge cast iron skillet and serve it with pita bread or quick broiled garlic bread triangles poked in around the edges. My husband's colleagues and my children all love it. This recipe can be doubled if needed.

Either 2 cans or garbanzos or freshly cooked garbanzos or favas
Three cloves of diced garlic
One large onion
One large tomato
One lemon
A handful of parsley
Olive oil
Sea salt

In your skillet, saute one diced onion in olive oil until wilted and clear. Add garlic. When you can smell the garlic, add the diced tomato and beans. Cover and let simmer until soft. Mash with your masher, add the juice of one lemon, half the the parsley and continue to stir, simmer and then mash again. Start with one teaspoon each of cumin and paprika. Salt to taste. Once it is seasoned properly, zig zag some olive oil and garnish with the remaining parsley all over the top. Stick your break triangles all along the outer edge of the pan and serve. This is great hot or room temp.

Hope this helps! Will post more when I have more time. Gotta cook the refried from scratch tonight! (So inexpensive and so easy!)

P.S.- I haven't forgotten you midwest and Montana mamas. I'm working on some ideas for you and will post them soon.

Eat Organic and Local!
Binkydl - Mom to Davey (11), and Micah 2 yrs old

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