Friday, January 28, 2011

Flour Tortillas

1/2 cup oil
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Mix together. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. Make into balls about the size of a golf ball and roll out as thin as you like. In Mexico they roll them out pretty thin. In Guatemala, they roll them out a bit thicker, like a flat bread. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. Makes about 2 dozen. © 2011 Five Sisters, Five Families, for personal and home use only.

White Sauce

Here is a basic recipe for making white sauce.

White Sauce
Thin--1 Tbs Butter, 1 Tbs Flour, 1 cup Milk, 1/4 tsp Salt--Use in soups and creamed vegetables.
Medium--2 Tbs Butter, 2 Tbs Flour, 1 cup Milk, 1/4 tsp Salt--Use in sauces, scalloped or creamed dishes.
Thick--3 Tbs Butter, 4 Tbs Flour, 1 cup Milk, 1/4 tsp Salt--Use in croquettes, souffles, fondu, or gravy.

Over low heat, melt butter in heavy saucepan. Blend in flour until smooth. Add milk all at once. Cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add salt. Remove from heat. Use in recipe. Yield: 1 cup.

You can substitute margarine or oil for the butter.

I also like to season my sauce with onions and garlic in the butter/oil, and I add chicken bouillon cubes with the milk for extra flavor. To hide the onions in the sauce, blend it up with a blender.

I used white sauce in my Cheesy Vegetable Soup, Baked Potato Soup, Fondu, and Baked Spaghetti.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Down Home Cookin'

Hi! I'm Lena, the second sister, and I cook for 10.

There are 4 adults (my parents moved in with us last year) and 6 kids.

Later this week I want to talk about getting back to basics in the kitchen. For now, I'll tantalize your taste buds with some honest to goodness home cooked meals/menu ideas.
Week 1
Pork Roast
Potatoes & Carrots

I used leftovers from the roast later in the week, and froze the rest for enchiladas.

Cheesy Vegetable Soup in Bread Bowls

Bread bowls are super easy to make. Just divide up a loaf size amount of bread dough into three or four pieces (or smaller for your kids), roll into a ball, allow to rise for 25 minutes in a warm place and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice off the top and scoop out the middle to create a "bowl". I save the innards for bread crumbs and put them in the freezer. In this case I used the leftover "bread" to dip in fondu.

Baked Potatoes
Toppings: Bacon, Cheese, Sour Cream & Chives
Veggie Salad

When I make baked potatoes, I always make extra to use in a meal later in the week. With these I used some in a potato salad, and the rest in a baked potato soup.


Extra chili is great for Navajo tacos or Chili Cheese Fries.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches on homemade buns
Potato Salad
Mixed Veggies

I extended the pork a bit with some rice. It was incorporated so well with the meat and sauce, my husband didn't realize it was in there!

Baked Potato Soup

Chili Cheese Fries

Chili Cheese Fries are easy to make. You can make your own fries with potatoes, or you can use the cheap shoestring fries from your grocer's freezer. On a baking sheet spread out the bag of fries, top with chili, sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the fries are done and the cheese starts to brown. Yum!

Week 2
Stir Fried Veggies over Rice
Oriental Salad

Cheese Fondu with Bread (from the bread bowls)
Butternut squash
Rice Pudding (made from Sunday's leftover rice)

Quiche Lorraine
Vegetable Salad
Apple Pie

Baked Spaghetti
Homemade Garlic Bread
Lettuce Salad
Jello Salad

Chicken Noddle Soup

Pizza Night!
& Apple dessert Pizzas
Green Beans

Vegetable Soup

You can save a lot of $$ by saving leftovers and incorporating them into another meal. Some food, like leftover bread from bread bowls can be frozen for later use. I used leftover bread the following week to dip in Cheese Fondu. I used the extra bacon topping from baked potatoes in a quiche. Other foods, such as extra baked potatoes, need to be used during the same week, (potato salad and baked potato soup).
L. Reid's old saying still rings true, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." This applies to groceries as much as it does to anything else. If you don't feel like using up leftovers right away, freeze them for a day when you don't feel like cooking. It's as good as a free meal.

Another area I save $$ in is in the bread department. I make all of our bread. A batch of bread usually takes a little more than one hour to make. You may think I have all the time in the world to spend in the kitchen. Well, think again. I not only have six kids to take care of and run around with, I teach early morning seminary, and have a few piano students besides. I still manage to find time to cook for my family (after all, we have to eat!) and make homemade bread. If I have a little time to make some bread, I'll make it, cool it, slice it, keep out one loaf to use and freeze the rest for later. A lot of times I'll make bread on a Friday or Saturday to use for the coming week.

When I make cookies or muffins, I like to double the recipe and then freeze the extra to use later.

I've run out of time for now, but remember, cooking from scratch doesn't have to be time consuming, it just takes a little planning and creativity. ~Lena

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Warm Winter Meals--by Deborah

As the oldest of my awesome sisters, I get the privilege of the first week of menus. You CAN cut down your grocery budget AND eat tastier food while doing it. One example is making your own tortillas instead of buying them. After eating a homemade tortilla, anything you buy will taste like cardboard, not to mention how much moola you save by making it yourself.

For my menu I will just be listing evening suppers. But, first I would like to briefly touch on breakfast and lunch. FYI--breakfasts and lunches in our house do not have a scheduled day--i.e. pancakes on Wed., Oatmeal on Tues. & Thurs., etc. My kids would eat pancakes every day if they could, but breakfast is definitely not my favorite meal to make. So while we have pancakes at least once a week, we also generally have oatmeal (another favorite), cereal, homemade granola, eggs and toast, biscuits and cheese with oranges (if leftover biscuits from the night before) and bread and milk. Lunches are usually different types of sandwiches, soup, mac and cheese (not very often, but my kids love it!) and leftovers.

So, on to dinners!

Baked chicken hindquarters
Baked Potatoes

Note #1: I like the chicken hindquarters because it is the cheapest meat I can get on a consistent basis-- $.69/lb. usually, cheaper if it is on sale. If anyone can find chicken cheaper--PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!! My family loves chicken, and this is a great way for them to enjoy it at a minimal cost.

Note #2: Rolls--here is a link to my favorite roll recipe:
It is easy to make and I like how the dough feels. So, here is my tip. I love fresh rolls, maybe a day old, but after that I usually need to turn them into something else so they will get eaten (more about that another time). I also think that the faster I can get the meal fixed the better. To make it so I don't need to make rolls every time I want them, I make a big double batch of dough, cut out the rolls and then flash freeze them. When you flash freeze something, you place it on a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze it for a few hours. I then take my little frozen disks, pop them in a bag and when I need rolls, just pull some out of the freezer, place them in a sprayed pan and then let them raise for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours and then bake as normal. They need to be brushed with melted butter or water to help them raise better.

Ramen Cabbage Salad

Chicken Noodle Soup

Note: I used the leftover chicken from Sunday. I also put in lots of carrots and celery to increase veggie intake.

Hamburger Soup

Note: I was definitely in a soup mood this week! I used the leftover cabbage from Monday. For my soup I put in
diced tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini (if in season), carrots, hamburger with onions, broth, barley, a little sugar (for the tomatoes), salt and pepper.

Leftover soups

Note: Leftover nights are the best!

Tuna Pinwheels
Green Beans

Carrot Sticks

Note: Saturday is our pizza and movie night. It is so nice having one night of the week where I don't have to come up with something. Since there are so many different types of pizza, and my whole family loves it, it works!

Enjoy! I can't wait to see what Lena has been up to!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Sisters

We are five sisters. Deborah, Lena, Ruth, Lois, Stephanie. We have five brothers too, but this blog is dedicated to us and how we manage to cook for our families, no matter the size, for less than $400.00 per month. We want to share some of the good ideas that are too good to keep to ourselves.

Each of us have different family sizes, different incomes, different jobs and are at different stages with our families. Even though we are different, we have a LOT of similarities too! We are family. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are all married. We all like to cook and we love to eat good food.

Each week we'll have our menus of what's been cookin'. We will also have tips and tricks to share that help us streamline our menus and budgets.

Ya'll come back now, ya' hear!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to Five Sisters, Five Families! We hope you enjoy this blog and find ideas and tips to lower your food budget, no matter your family situation.