Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BFS #113 -- Finger Lickin' Good

Memory Verse: Matthew 14:19…Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.

Intro: Finger Lickin’ Good (Kentucky Fried Chicken)- You can read about Christ feeding the 5,000 in many places in the Bible (Matthew14:19;15:36; Luke 5:6;9:3-17). I am a fairly new Christian and one of the many things I love about reading the accounts of Jesus’ miracles, is that there was not a big drum roll, fireworks, a thousand dollar suit or an agent building up some big preview of what was about to happen. Jesus would calmly say things such as “have faith”, “believe”, “have them sit and pass out these loaves of bread”, and then the miracles began.

Assignment: Although I am not able to produce miracles, it sometimes feels like I need to when it comes to meal time. There are times when money is tight, groceries are few and I have to feed my family. During the holiday season, you might have so much going on that you need to make a meal quickly with as few ingredients as possible. This week post your favorite recipes that require six (6) ingredients or less. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Great assignment, Kerri! Over the past 6 months or so, I've been compiling photos, articles and recipes for an online cookbook/budget cooking blog. I'm pulling from one of my files for this assignment.

I've cooked on a shoestring budget for years (forever!). Moving to Mexico as missionaries just "stepped it up" a bit. Some of the normal, inexpensive foods we've eaten for years are neither normal nor inexpensive here. For instance, Ramen noodles and all other forms of pasta are easily twice what we used to pay in Oregon. There is no "day old bread store", so a loaf of bread costs over $2. I used to purchase meat that was "close dated", but there's no such thing here. When I find meat of any kind here for less than $2.00 per pound, I get excited!

Yes, some foods are cheaper here. Generally speaking, junk food and produce in season are really cheap. I suppose that's similar to the States. Rule #1 of shopping on a budget is to buy what's in season and what's on sale. If you're craving blueberries in January, you should expect to pay $4 a pound for them. If you buy them in June or July, you can pick them yourself for less than $1 a pound. So, don't plan to make blueberry buckle for breakfast in January unless you were wise in June and froze a few pounds!

Enough! To the recipe!!!

The 6 ingredients I chose to use are (insert drumroll)...

  • Roma tomatoes
  • Oregano (and other spices you'll have laying around the house)
  • Butter
  • Garlic (maybe a bit of onion if you like)
  • Pasta noodles
  • French Bread (which I counted as one ingredient in the meal, although it's a few more in reality! Most folks would pick up a loaf at the used bread store rather than make it from scratch anyway!)

I chose this recipe for 3 main reasons:

  1. It's really super easy.
  2. It's really super cheap. (Especially when 'maters are in season)
  3. The kids really super like it.

Wash and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Figure one tomato per person, although littler kids will eat less and Dad will want more.

Mince a couple of cloves of garlic. Garlic powder is a passable substitute, but you won't get the same zing from it, and you'll need to add quite a bit. At this time, you might also want to chop a little onion. I have some anti-onion people here, so I don't usually use them in this recipe.

Slice the French bread, wrap in a warm towel and set aside. (If you put it in the oven, it might dry out -- I've accidently made crutons that way more than once!)

Start a large pan of water boiling in which to cook the noodles.

In a heavy skillet, melt 1/4 to 1/2 cup butter. Yes. That's a lot of butter. I like butter. I've also used vegetable oil or olive oil, but then you need to add more salt, so which is worse???

Sautee the garlic (and onion if desired) along with some black pepper, parsley, basil and more oregano than you think you ought to add in the butter until the garlic is a bit transparent and the dried herbs are soft (only a few moments).

Add the chopped tomatoes all at once, and step back quickly! Stir gently to coat tomatoes with butter and herbs. Add some salt and sugar -- yes, sugar -- or honey. Some tomatoes will need more than others.

Let the tomatoes cook a couple of minutes and then add a little water. If I'm cooking 4 cups of chopped tomatoes, I'll add about a cup to a cup and a half of water. Cover and let simmer until the noodles are done (about 10 minutes or so).

At this point, your pan of water should be boiling, so toss the pasta noodles into the water and cook according to directions.

Don't be afraid to use some pasta other than thin spaghetti. My kids really like shells -- they hold the sauce better. Plus, with little kids, if you serve spaghetti noodles, they're expecting "spaghetti". This dish has all the right ingredients, but you're not going to trick any discerning 4 year old into believing that chunks of tomatoes in butter over pasta is spaghetti! Call it something clever like "Red Lava over Shell Mountain". My kids to this day call homemade mac and cheese "Monster Goo".

Taste the sauce as you go!!! If it's bland, add more salt. If it's bitter, add more sweetener. You could also add fruit juice as a sweetener (but that's another ingredient!!!). If the amount of salt is good and it tastes sweet enough, add more oregano. Seriously. Add a ridiculous amount of oregano! ;^)

When the noodles are done, drain them out and toss with a bit of olive oil (or vegetable oil) to keep them from sticking together.

Serve with French bread and (if you're feeling extravagant) bagged salad. That's another luxury we don't have here! :^)

With this meal (minus the bagged salad, of course) I can feed my family of 8 for about $4 US (assuming that tomatoes are either in season, or I'm using ones I froze when they were in season!) AND from start to finish the meal is ready in about half an hour (that's assuming that I don't have to stop for any reason and get side-tracked -- pretty assumptive, I know.)

Provecho!!! (Enjoy!)

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortelece!

Filipenses 4:13
Click here to get around to it!


Kerri said...

I just love visiting your blog! I am excited about the cookbook/blog. When is this going to happen? I will be looking forward to it.
Thanks for the excellent recipe!


The Warf said...

That looks really good. I will be trying that one!

Rebecca said...

You guys are sweet! :^)

When will the cookbook come together? Such a good question. It depends on when I can get some free time to put it together.


Well, we're hoping to improve our internet speed, so once we're connecting at something faster than 49kbs, I should be able to get more done in the day. Maybe. ;^)

The Warf said...

Rebecca, rotel is a tomato and pepper mix. You can make your own. You can put tomatoes, jalapeno, and onion. You can find it in the grocery store next to the canned tomatoes.

The Warf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ourhomeschool said...

Yummy! Thanks for the easy recipe. You have a nice website here. Many Blessings.

My BFS is here: www.homeschooblogger.com/ourhomeschool

Missy said...

Yumm, that looks SO good! My husband loves all things pasta, he'd love this one!

tammy said...

Mmmm. I love making meals using fresh ingredients. Thanks for the reminder about using in season to pay in season prices!! :)