Cookbook Reviews...Farm Journal Complete Pie Cookbook

My copy minus it's dust cover and well used
  The Farm Journal's Complete Pie Cookbook, published in 1965 is one I use often. I bought my copy the year they came out. Recently I was looking on line at Amazon and the copies ranged in price from $155.88 to $9.95.
I don’t remember what I paid for mine when I bought it  but I must say I don’t believe I would pay $155.88 for it. At $10 though it would be well worth it.
  The cookbook contains my favorite pie crust recipe which for me would be worth the price of the book. However, the recipes are what you would want to have. 
  The Farm Journal cookbooks are no longer in publication. I don’t think the magazine is published any longer. Our Grandmother had a subscription to it even though we and she lived in town and nowhere near a farm. She got it for the recipes in it and the garden articles. These recipes used garden and orchard produce wisely.
  The pie cookbook has a large variety of recipes. There are 700 recipes included ranging from fruit to ice cream to dinnertime pies. The fruit pies use fresh fruit but also canned and frozen fruit. The mealtime pies use fresh meat or canned meat and fish for use in the winter when you can just open a jar and have a meal in no time. They have a variety of crusts and the dinner pies have mashed potato crusts as well as biscuit and pie crusts. 
  Below we give you a sample of the recipes, though most of mine lean to the dessert pies. Pie baking is something I enjoy and do a lot of. There is something so satisfying about taking a golden brown pie from the oven and smelling the good aromas in your kitchen.

Cherry Pie

Individual Cheese Pies

Lemon Fluff Pie

Mincemeat Turnovers



We are celebrating this week...two million page views for our little blog...we originally hoped we might get 10 or 15 followers!  Instead we have made many new friends and have enjoyed sharing this hobby together.
It's been great way to start the new year for us.  Thanks to all of you, for sharing your encouragement, comments and suggestions.

Myrna and Sue

Family Favorites...Mini Amaretto Cakes

 I do not think you can go too far wrong with a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I have been using their cookbooks and special issues for many years. This recipe is for Mini Amaretto Cakes from their 2006 issue Holiday Baking. Many of these older magazines will show up at book sales or rummage sales. They are almost always worth buying. The older recipes do not use a lot of mixes or oddball ingredients.

  Now, this recipe does call for Amaretto and I would not try to make it without the liqueur. It is an essential ingredient for the cakes and they are not a cake I would feed to a younger person either. Strictly adult, well we need something special also, right!
  Now that I have you in the mood, do try these. I think they would work well with any liqueur, maybe an orange liqueur or how about Rum. They are a little work, but well worth the fuss. If you do not have the mini pans use a large bundt pan.
Mini Amaretto Cakes
PREP: 45 minutes  BAKE: 20 min. (small pans), 40 min. (6 cup pan)  OVEN: 325°
¾ cup softened butter                                   
3 room temp eggs
1 ½ cup all purpose flour                              
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg                          
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup amaretto                                             
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel
½ teaspoon vanilla
  Amaretto Syrup
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
½ cup amaretto
  Grease and flour your pans, using a pastry brush will make it easier to grease the pans.
  In a small bowl, mix the flour, nutmeg, and baking powder. Set aside. 
Beat butter till soft and add sugar slowly. Beat till light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in Amaretto vanilla and lemon peel. Add eggs one at a time beating till mixed in. Scrape bowl after each egg is added. 
  Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Fill pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes for small pans, and 40 to 45 for one larger pan. Cool in pan for ten minutes and then cool the cakes on wire rack.
  While they are cooling, make the syrup. Combine everything except the Amaretto. Cook stirring until the sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
  Poke holes all over the cakes and spoon or brush the syrup mixture over cakes, letting it soak in. Do this over a sheet pan on a wire rack. It will take a few minutes to soak in, and you can keep adding the syrup until it is gone. I used all of the syrup except for the one cake, Bettie’s daughter ate before it got cool, NO syrup on it. 
  You can bake the cakes ahead and keep chilled till you are ready to use, keeping them refrigerated.

Stuffed Beef Rolls

 For a change of pace, try these stuffed beef rollups. I made them to use up some stuffing and gravy I had left but the recipe gives directions for a stuffing to use with them. I did feel that the amount of stuffing it made would not be enough so if I was going to use theirs I would make a little more. If you don’t want to do either of these things try using one of the many brands of Stove Top type of stuffing.
 Either way they made a nice meal. Use more gravy if you want and serve them with mashed potatoes or rice. I went with baked to keep it all to a oven meal. The carrots were left from a beef roast we had had earlier in the week so this helped clean out my refrigerator, always a plus. This is a easy recipe to cut, I made one apiece for us, ¾ lbs of ground beef. This recipe is for the full amount.

Stuffed Beef Rolls
1 ½ lbs ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
½ cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
¼ teaspoon sage*
¼ teaspoon marjoram leaves* 
⅛ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup chicken broth
one pkg. brown gravy mix with one cup water
leftover gravy or jarred gravy

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, salt and pepper;
mix well. In small bowl combine all stuffing ingredients; set aside.
 Divide ground beef mixture into 6 portions. Between pieces of waxed paper; press one ground beef portion into a 4 inch square. Remove top piece of waxed paper and top with about 2 tablespoons of stuffing and spread to within ½ of edges. Using waxed paper as a guide roll up from short end jelly roll fashion. Press seam and edges to seal and place seam side down in a 12 by 8 (2 quart) baking dish. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Spoon off fat and top with gravy. Bake another 20 minutes or until done.

*(or use ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning to replace both)

From the Garden...Celery and Corn Sauté

I can’t help it – I live in “corn country”.  So here’s one more corn recipe – this one from "The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook".  You’ll notice the recipe name starts with celery – and that’s one way to lower the calories in a corn recipe – besides adding that crisp crunch.  This recipe is so pretty, it’s perfect for company.  I made it in my favorite Griswold cast iron frying pan in about 5 minutes.                   
Celery and Corn Sauté
  2               Cups  Celery -- diagonally sliced
  3        Tablespoons  Butter -- melted
  10            Ounces  Frozen Whole Kernel Corn
  2             Ounces  Pimiento -- drained
     1/2      Teaspoon  Salt
     1/4      Teaspoon  Pepper
Sauté celery in butter in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes.
Cook corn according to package directions; drain.  Add to celery in skillet.  Stir in pimiento, salt and pepper.  Cook until thoroughly heated.
4 Servings
2012 Cost:  $2.25 or 56¢ per serving

Hamburg Soup

We like soup and I made this very old recipe to use up some ground beef and potatoes we had on hand.  I always have onion, garlic, celery, canned green beans and frozen corn in my pantry; so this was the recipe today.    I had some dried sage from my garden, and it perfectly set off the gravy.  I used home-canned beef broth, but you can use water as the original recipe called for.
When I make simple recipes like this one, I think about our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, who made the most of whatever they had on hand…what they could raise and preserve themselves.  No exotic ingredients; and smaller servings too.  Interesting that none of them were overweight either, although they made use of potatoes and corn.   We enjoyed this with a crisp, cold salad and a slice of homemade challah with some of Myrna’s homemade butter.              

                               Hamburg Soup
  1            pound  ground beef
  1            large  onion -- chopped
  1            clove  garlic--minced
     1/2     Cup  Celery -- chopped
  15 1/2  Ounces  Canned Green Beans
  1           Pound  Potatoes -- diced
     1/2    Cup  corn (I used frozen, thawed while the potatoes cooked)
  4           tablespoons  flour
  1 1/2    teaspoons  salt
     1/4    teaspoon  pepper
  1           Teaspoon  Sage -- dried
  6           cups  Beef Broth
Brown meat in kettle; stirring to break into small pieces. Add onion and garlic and cook until light brown, with no pink left in the meat. Drain off all except 1 TBLSP of fat. Stir in flour. Add broth to meat mixture. Add seasoning. Add remaining fresh vegetables and simmer until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add canned vegetables and heat thoroughly.
8 Servings

Per Serving: 302 Calories; 15g Fat (45.7% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 48mg Cholesterol; 1553mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.

Thrifty Cooking Habits...Use It Up

If you're trying to keep your grocery budget down, here are some more ideas for saving cash and perhaps some calories too.
  • Serve plates and carry them to the table, cover the “planned-overs” and put them away before sitting down.  No need to have serving dishes to wash and you control portions.
  • Specify what the family can snack on and when – don’t let them eat tomorrow's supper for a snack today!
  • Water is good for you.  Excessive juices and soft drinks are expensive and unnecessary.  Whole fruit gives the satisfaction of "chewing" those calories, and you get the fiber too.
  • Take a hard look at portion sizes.  Notice the half sandwich and cup of soup in this light lunch - the right portion sizes for most folks.
  • Remember seconds of expensive protein items...bigger eaters could have an extra piece of bread and butter.
  • Even adults can halve large pieces of fruit like big apples or bananas - that is actually a serving.  A small piece of fruit is healthier and cheaper than keeping bags of candy and sweets.
  • Less expensive fruits and vegetables, like apples, bananas, carrots, onions, celery, peas, green beans and the like, in season, are just as nutritious as more exotic produce, and most folks will eat them without complaint.  You don't need papayas and artichoke hearts unless they grow where you live.
  • There is nothing wrong with frozen or canned plain vegetables, fruits and cooked dried beans.  They are often less expensive, and if purchased on sale, can add valuable fiber and nutrients to your diet at even less cost.  They are just as nutritious as fresh fruit and vegetables shipped long distances out of season.  There is also no waste; they are ready to eat and don't require peeling, pitting, etc.  Save carrot liquid for gravy making and potato liquid is wonderful in homemade yeast breads or rolls.
  • Make sure you are buying foods in their simplest form.  Don't pay extra for fatty, salty sauces, cheap pasta additions, or expensive single packs.  If you are comparing canned green beans with salty potato chips it's obvious which is the better nutritional deal.
  • Don’t waste baked goods – many cookie recipes are good for portioning and freezing the dough – just bake as many as you need when you need them, they only take a few extra minutes to bake – don’t thaw before baking. Freeze sliced yeast and sliced quick breads – they only take a few minutes to thaw. 
  • Consider making smaller pies and cakes – maybe cupcakes or hand-pies – or just put pie filling in dessert dishes as pudding or bake as custards.
  • Try serving desserts only on Sunday - use fruit during the week or skip dessert all together.  Some salads can serve as desserts too.   
  • Don't serve "celebration" foods for everyday.
  • Forget about couponsif they are for expensive convenience foods full of preservatives, salt, fat and sugar.  And often store brands are very good, and cheaper than the name-brand item even with the coupon.  Challenge your notions about why you buy a specific brand - is it taste and quality or just advertising?
  • Ask yourself why you're buying a product - why buy expensive single-serve frozen vegetables for example, when you can shake the same amount out of a plain bag, return the rest to the freezer, and microwave them in a dish with a cover for a fourth of the price?  Keep a measuring cup in your oatmeal and microwave your cereal in a bowl instead of buying packets that take up a lot of room and cost a lot more.  Almost all single-serve items are much more expensive than the same food in an unseasoned bulk package.
  • Eat your leftovers...if you can't make just what you will eat, use the leftovers or freeze them.  Many dishes are better the second day as flavors mellow.  Many items freeze perfectly well, and let you eat the leftovers in the next week or so.  If you don't know if they will freeze successfully, you don't have anything to lose by trying throwing out good food.
  • If you are trying to cut down on recipe sizes, remember that many ingredients freeze well too.  I keep a clear box in my freezer for things like half cans of canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, condensed soups and any kind of canned beans can be drained and rinsed and frozen in quart freezer bags.  Canned tuna or chicken freeze well, as do most cold cuts and sliced cooked meat.  Cheese freezes too, and won't get moldy before it can be used (let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight).  I divide up bigger packages of cheese or "lunch meat" and freeze them to use anytime.  I always check my "ingredient box" in the freezer before opening a new package of something.
  • My "ingredient box" in the freezer is the beginning of my menu planning for the next week.
Try one new idea for saving money in the kitchen until it’s a habit, then try another idea.