March has come at last and in the middle of Iowa it came in as a lamb. In no time at all we will be looking forward to growing things. Looking back I can remember when in March we had plenty of snow, along with frost, sleet and ice storms.
When I think of this month, even though I know spring is around the corner, I always think March can still be a cold month, a worried old windy month, a "broke again" month and a change of attitude month.
I have a attitude when I'm asked for my advice or opinion on this or that situation; in fact I'm flattered when it has to do with cooking or baking. But alas and alack, I can only evaluate what I've learned through the years and from others.
As I've said before, I'm not a cooking expert; I'm only everyday wise and hopefully possess some measure of common sense.
I don't think that it is necessary for one to feel that he or she must always have ready answers.
I think the smart person is one who says, "I can find out."
At this time of year and in this economy it seems every magazine and on the TV are telling us how to cut our food bills. Like I said I'm no expert, but I can use common sense. I know we can live off our hump and I bet many of you can too. I don't mean live on what you have stored in your body, but the food already stored in your cupboards.
This shows the husband I really mean business. This usually produces some different menus, but it does save cash.
This gives me a chance to use up some of those food items I bought on impulse and a way to use up some of those things in the refrigerator before they go "west", if you know what I mean.
All of us who cook try to be sensible in trying to cut our grocery bills. The most sensible rule I first learned was, Don't burn the food!
Through the years I've learned to think of two meals instead of one. I usually get a slightly larger steak and cut off strips for the stroganoff I'll have tomorrow.
Now that there is just the two of us if I buy a large quantity of meat, cases of anything or bulk foods, I share with family, friends or several friends. I've also learned the hard way. Now when I open a jar of pimentos, I put them in small plastic bags to freeze, so I eventually use them all instead of watching the rest grow whiskers.
I do the same with tomato paste. When a recipe calls for only a tablespoon, cover the top of the can with foil and freeze it.
Or freeze in an ice cube tray, take out a cube, which is close to a tablespoon and keep the rest in a plastic bag.
This is a favorite of mine using left-over chicken:
CHICKEN ALFREDO OVER PASTA
8-12 oz. pasta (fettuc
cini, rotini, or linguini)
2 teaspoons minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon corn
1/4 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
1/4 teas. basil
1/4 teas. parsley
2 1/2 cups milk
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parme
1 cup fully-cooked
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saut garlic and onion in oil, when onions are translucent, add 1 1/2 cups of milk and bring to a boil.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, basil, parsley and the remaining 1 cup of the milk. Gradually stir milk and flour mixture into the hot skillet. Boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat and add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese, stirring until smooth. Add chicken and heat through.
Drain pasta, add to the sauce and toss to coat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
"Some things are better the second time around."