Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bread Pudding

Not really cheap, but tasty.  And kind of healthy, with all that milk and eggs.  You can also add raisins or cut-up apples, if you have kids who will let you do that.  (Mine hates cooked fruit. L)

You can also add rum sauce or whiskey sauce or vanilla sauce, which are lovely.

  • Six or seven cups of stale bread, cut or torn into little chunks (about one-inch in size, but don’t get neurotic about this) (This white bread works really well, but any bread is fine.)
  • 4 cups milk (you can use canned or dry milk is you’re broke)
  • 4 or 5 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbs vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp melted and cooled butter
  • ½ cup Raisins or chopped apples (optional)

Put all the torn up bread into a very large bowl.  

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs.  Add the other ingredients and beat well.  Pour these over the bread.  

Mush down the bread really well – make sure all the bread pieces are under the liquid.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a large baking pan well – I use butter, but Crisco is fine.  Use one of those two, though, not a baking spray.  Get it on there thick
After the 30 minutes is up, pour in the bread mix, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the pudding is set – you make have to bake for longer. 

Take it out and let it cool a little before you serve.

Meanwhile, you can make your rum sauce. (Or whiskey or vanilla sauce.)

Rum sauce


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tbs salt
  • ½ cup rum

Cook the sugar and the butter and salt together over medium heat until they simmer and thicken.  

Remove from heat; stir in the rum.  (Or vanilla, or whiskey.  Or whatever other flavoring you choose, frankly!)

Pour over the bread pudding. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Tuna Casserole

This is medium cheap, medium healthy, and in general kids love it. The degree of difficulty is a bit high, but only because of the white sauce part.  Once you get that under your belt, you’re good to go.

  • One package egg noodles
  • Three or four packages of tuna
  • Four or five tbs of butter or margarine
  • Four or five tbs of flour
  • Milk
  • Half a cup of cooked peas
  • salt, pepper, onion powder
  • one bag plain potato chips (or one sleeve saltine crackers)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the noodles accord to the package.

While they’re cooking, melt the butter in a big skillet over a low heat.  Once it’s melted, stir in the flour. It will make a thick paste.  Once you’ve got a thick paste, you’re going to stir in the milk – maybe two or three cups of it, but I’ve never actually measured, just keep adding it until you’re there – stir in this milk at about two tablespoons at a time, mixing gradually.

The gradual part is essential.  You’re working toward a really smooth sauce here.  If you add the milk too fast, you’ll have lumps.  So a bit at a time, and mix with a wooden spoon. It will look like it’s not work at first.  Keep going.  Eventually the paste will begin to look saucy.  Keep adding gradually.

Once it’s kind of saucy, you can add milk slightly more quickly.  Once it’s really saucy, turn the heat up to medium, add in the salt, pepper, and onion powder (maybe a tbs of salt and pepper, and two or three tbs of onion powder) and mix well.

(If you added milk too fast and you’ve got lumps, you can put the sauce in a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender and blend them out.)

Add peas to the sauce.  Add tuna to the sauce.  Stir.  Turn off heat.

Drain the noodles.  Mix sauce and noodles together. (I do this in a large bowl or in the big pot I cooked the noodles in.)

Dump the mix in a big oven-proof casserole pan.  Pat down. 

Smash your bag of potato chips (still in the bag) into crumbs.  You can do this by opening a tiny hole in one corner and then beating the hell out of the bag with a rolling pin.  If you’re using cracker crumbs, do the same with them still in the sleeve.  Pour the crumbs on top of the casserole mix and spread out to an even layer.

Cook in the 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the potato chips are nice and brown and crispy.

 Serve hot.

This stores and reheats well.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pumpkin Soup

This is easy if you’re using canned pumpkin and not that much harder if you’re using those little pie pumpkins. I’m giving it to you now because the thyme is going wild in my garden, but it’s a seasonal favorite in the delagar household in October, when those little sugar pumpkins start showing up in the stores.

If you want to use fresh pumpkins, which is fun, buy 3 or 4 sugar pumpkins.  (You want to end up with about 2 cups of mashed pumpkin.) 

Cut them in half, clean out the seeds, and roast face-down on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let them cool, and then scrape out the pulp and mash up.

Or you can just use canned pumpkin, which honestly is just as good these days.

  • Some kind of fat – butter or peanut oil
  • One onion
  • Four or five nice carrots
  • A couple nice tart apples – Braeburns are my favorite, but Granny Smith are also nice
  • Pumpkin -- about 2 cups mashed, or one 15 oz can
  • Vegetable broth (about 2 cups)
  • Salt, pepper, thyme
  • Milk or half & half

Dice your onion, and sauté it in the fat in your big soup kettle on a medium-low heat while you peel and cut up the carrots and apples. Cut them up fairly small -- about half-inch cubes? 

Add these to the onions, stir good, and then add in about a cup of water along with the two cups of vegetable broth.  Turn the heat up to medium-high until it boils, then stir thoroughly and reduce to a simmer.

Add in the salt, pepper, and thyme.  Let it simmer for thirty or forty minutes – until the apples and carrots are soft.

Then use either your immersion blender to puree the mix, or sieve out the carrots and apples with a slotted spoon, putting them in a blender or in a big bowl if you don’t have a blender.  Adding a little broth, blend or mash them smooth as you can. Return to the soup kettle.

Stir in the mashed pumpkin.  Heat to simmering.  You can let it sit at this stage (with a lid on) for a while, or even freeze it for later use.

Just before serving, add in the milk or the half & half, and heat until hot (don’t boil!).

Serve with bread or popovers.  Very tasty and kind of a health food too.

If you want to, you can roast the seeds with a little oil and salt.  They’re delicious.