Sunday, December 27, 2015

McDonald's Breakfast at Home

Some mornings we just NEED McDonald's, but in a family our size, we don't NEED the bill that comes with it. So, I "hack" my way through to a cheaper and more wholesome "meal in a hurry" for busy Saturdays.  Here's how:

#1 English muffins.  I admit, I have never been able to successfully make home made English muffins.  They just don't turn out right for me.  So I buy the 12 pack, or horror of horrors! 2 6-packs of the leading brand.  Whatever.  Still cheaper than McD's! :)

#2 Home made sausage patties.  You could buy pre-made patties, but we are all about saving money, right?  I just divide 1 lb of our favorite sausage into 8 thin  patties and fry 'til brown.  If you fry up an extra pound, you can cool them and then freeze in a zippie bag for quick week-day grab-and-go. (Or prepare them on a weekday for that upcoming oh-so-busy Saturday morning!!) You can also brown some sausage links (1 or 2 per sandwich, then just split lengthwise), bacon, or use leftover ham slices or shaved deli-ham.

#3 Eggs. If you like 'em scrambled, just whisk 4 eggs in a bowl, then fry in a small frying pan, flip to cook the second side, and cut into 1/4ths.  Even easier, we just crack 4 eggs into the small frying pan, poke their yolks to make them cook faster, then eat them over-medium or hard.  Easy-peasy.  If you want to go gourmet with your fast food, you could also make omelets and divide them into serving-sized helpings. However you choose to cook your eggs, you can also make up extra ahead and freeze.

#3HASHBROWNS!!!!! Can you tell this is my favorite part of a McDonald's breakfast? ;)  Here's the link for the recipe I used.   As usual, I did not follow the directions totally, and skipped the "freeze and shape" steps.  I also do not deep fry. I just spooned the mix into the well-olive-oiled fry pan, flattened them a little with the back of the serving spoon, and fried them on both sides until brown and crispy.  Delish without all the fat!!

#4 Drinks.  Serve this delicious on-the-go meal with either scalding hot coffee or nice cold orange juice to complete your meal.

#5 Enjoy your McDonald's at home meal!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shaker Gingerbread

Shaker Gingerbread is our version of "Christmas Pudding".  Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas I just HAVE to make it.  I grew up eating Mom's very tasty gingerbread, and I learned to like Mincemeat Pie.  THIS is the perfect combination of the two!  I found the original recipe in Country Living Magazine, put out by our local Rural Electric Cooperative.  This is my own unique version of the recipe!!

Shaker Gingerbread
1 C. Brown Sugar
2/3 C. Butter or margarine
3 Eggs
1 C. Molasses
1 C. Plain Yogurt
3 1/2- 4 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 C. Mincemeat (see following recipe)
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Cardamom
1/2 tsp Cloves

Cut butter into sugar.  Blend in eggs, molasses, yogurt, baking soda, mincemeat and spices.  Stir in flour.  Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Anna's "None Such Mincemeat"
I can't see buying a jar of mince for $5 or more, when I can make it for $1 or 2!! So, I took the ingredients from a jar, and developed my own.  It is much lighter in flavor, but can be adjusted to suit your personal taste.

1/2 C. Water
2 C. Raisins
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 C. Molasses
3 Apples, peeled, cored, & chopped
1 Tbsp Dried Lemon Peel or Zest
dash of salt
1/4 C. Dried Orange Peel
1 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice (See below, or use commercially prepared mix)
1/4 C. Flour or 2 TBSP Cornstarch
1/2 -1 tsp. Rum flavoring
1/2-1 tsp. Brandy flavoring

Combine all ingredients in saucepan or microwave container.  Cook until apples are tender, raisins are soft, and sauce is thickened.  *Note: I buy up lemons and oranges in the winter when they are on sale, and then dry the peels as we use the fruit.  Then, I grind the dried peels in the blender or food processor, and store them in glass jars or clean spice jars for future use.  This is MUCH cheaper than buying store-bought lemon and orange peel or zest.

Pumpkin Pie Spice 
·         4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
·         4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
·         4 teaspoons ground ginger
·         3 teaspoons ground allspice
·         2  teaspoons ground cloves

I stole this recipe from the internet, but I can't remember from where.  It works, and is cheaper than store bought.  Just re-use a spice container, or store in a small glass jar.