We’ve completed the first two days of the Eat from the Pantry Challenge. We didn’t do anything especially earth-shattering — just simple, comfort food that is easy to prepare. No one gets too excited about eating since they aren’t feeling well, so I haven’t felt a huge level of pressure to be terribly creative, yet.
Breakfasts are very informal at our house and everyone eats at different times. We did toast with homemade bread and fruit, Monday and Tuesday. For lunch, on Monday, I diced some leftover smoked sausage into some macaroni and cheese and today, the request was for tacos. So, I browned up a two-pound package of hamburger and saved about a pound and a quarter for supper. The tacos were yummy and easy.
Supper on Monday was Easy Hamburger Stroganoff, homemade applesauce, homemade bread and black olives. I am not an olive fan, but I get the same “excellent mom points” for olives as I do for candy, with my kids. — lol
Is it just me or is there a lot of yellow dye in the name brand cream of chicken soup? I normally buy the store brand, but ran across a sale for Campbell’s recently, where it was 4o odd cents per can. I bought a case. Now, every time I prepare something with it, I am taken aback that it is so incredibly YELLOW! The store brand has good flavor, I actually prefer its texture to the Campbell’s and it is a lovely cream color that doesn’t distort the look of all my dishes. Ok, now I’ve got that little rant out of my system. On to Tuesday’s supper and the recipes.
Tonight, I used the leftover ground beef from tacos and made something our family calls Ragout (ra-goo). I have no idea why we call it that, but we like it because it’s simple and delicious. I served cornbread and steamed cabbage with it. We’re eating pretty well for just digging around in the fridge and pantry to use up what we already have. Plus, I am finding things that go to the back or the bottom as new items are put in. So, this challenge keeps produce from spoiling and being wasted, too.
Easy Hamburger Stroganoff
- 1 lb. browned and drained, lean ground beef
- 2 (10 oz) cans fat free cream of chicken soup
- 2 c. sour cream (light or fat free works just as well)
- sliced mushrooms (optional)
Mix the drained hamburger, soup, sour cream (and mushrooms, if desired), in a large skillet. Heat through and serve over noodles or rice. Yum! This one is a family favorite!
- 1 lb. browned and drained, lean ground beef
- 6-8 russet potatoes, unpeeled and sliced thin
- 4 large carrots, sliced thin
- 2 cups water
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Add all ingredients to 4 qt pot or dutch oven.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Salt and pepper to taste.
(The water in this will look like there is not enough, but don’t panic, 2 cups is right. That will be about an inch of water in the bottom of your pot. With the lid on, it will be enough liquid to steam the veggies and when it is done, it will actually have all been absorbed.)
Favorite Homemade Bread Recipe
This is our favorite bread and it is perfect for sandwiches, grilled cheese, toast, even french toast.
Gluten is important to get the best rise from whole wheat bread dough. If you have never used it, you will be amazed at the difference it makes in the size and texture of your loaves. It can be purchased in the baking aisle, usually near the flour. Lecithin is a soybean product and could certainly be omitted, however, this ingredient is what creates the wonderful soft, tender texture of your bread. When you fold a slice in half, it will actually fold, not crack and break. Lecithin also increases the shelf-life of your bread. Lecithin is not as easy to find at the grocery store, but you can get it at most health food stores. I buy it in bulk on Amazon and I use the granulated, just because it is easier to use and measure than the sticky liquid variety.
I always use my Bosch to mix and knead our bread. This recipe makes (4) 2 lb loaves or I have made 24 hamburger buns and 1 extra large (nearly 7 inches tall) loaf from it. I purchased my Bosch from Pleasant Hill Grain 5 or 6 years ago. It is the only mixer/blender I own, and if my 750 watt work horse ever retires, the only brand I will replace it with. It is without question, my favorite kitchen appliance, used on an almost daily basis for everything from cakes and cookies, to mashing potatoes and kneading bread! Available attachments make it one of the most powerful and versatile appliances you could own — mixer, blender, food processor, meat grinder, slicer/shredder, juicer, fruit and berry press, sausage stuffer and more.
- 5 cups warm water
- 1 cup brown sugar or honey
- 2/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup wheat gluten
- 1½ t. sea salt
- 1/3 cup lecithin, granulated or liquid
- 3 Tbls. yeast
- 5 cups white flour
- 1 cup grain, seed and nut mix (optional)
Mix warm water, yeast, oil, and brown sugar.
Add whole wheat flour, gluten, sea salt and lecithin. Mix thoroughly.
At this point, I begin adding the white flour, one cup at a time. Humidity has a dramatic effect on bread dough, so the required amount of flour will vary based on that. I continue adding flour to the dough as the mixer is going. At the moment when the dough begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, (The sides of the bowl will be completely clean, no dough sticking and your dough will be pulled together in one solid mass.) I stop adding flour.
Add the grain, seed and nut mix, if desired. I use the Harvest Grain mix from King Arthur Flour. The bread is just as wonderful without it, but I am a texture fanatic and I love what the seeds and grain add to this delicious bread.
Once, you have added the grain, set your kitchen timer for 7 minutes and let the Bosch do the kneading for you. If you are mixing and kneading by hand, you will want to knead this for about 10 minutes.
Turn dough into a large, well-greased bowl. Cover with a warm, damp tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with warm, damp tea towel and allow to rise until doubled.
Bake in 350° oven for 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when the top is thumped. It will be hard to buy a loaf at the store after you taste this yummy bread! Enjoy!