Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cookin' Fool

It's (not too much past) the beginning of the year, so that means it's time to, once again, declare that we're going to spend less money, cook at home more, yada yada yada.

Just a few days ago, I was saying that we should jump-start our new frugality by "cooking our way through the pantry," trying to see how far we can get on food that we already own.

Well, let me just say that being snowed in really goes a long way toward helping you to stick to that plan!

Here are three different dishes that I've made in the past couple of days.

Cheatin' Chicken n' Dumplings

Confession: If I were making this just for myself, I'd leave out the chicken completely, and just make a big pot of dumplings.

3 cans cream o' chicken soup
4 soup cans water
1 big can chicken (or 2 normal size)
1 1/2 cans "grands" biscuits (2 cans normal?), uncooked

  1. Dump the soup and 4 cans of water into a big pot.
  2. Add chicken.
  3. Cook on medium high (or whatever it takes on your stove) until it starts to almost boil.
  4. Pinch off bits of biscuit dough and toss it into the pot.
  5. Simmer until the dough is cooked and not-so-doughy
  6. Salt, pepper, whatever to taste.

Cinni Minis
I made chicken and dumplings a while back, using two full cans of biscuits, and although I didn't think it was possible to be too dumplingy, this was. It was almost like a chickeny bread pudding. So, here's how I used up the rest of the biscuit dough this time around.

1/2 cans "grands" biscuits (1 cans normal?), uncooked
spray "butter"
cinnamon-sugar (or some of each - mine was mixed together)
brown sugar
  1. If you're using "grands" biscuits, break each one in half.
  2. Roll out the biscuits.
  3. Spray one side with butter, turn over and spray the other side.

  4. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar.
  5. Roll up, then cut each roll in half.

  6. Spray and sprinkle all over the outside.
  1. Smush from the ends, so that they're short and fat, instead of long and skinny.

  2. Bake according to the directions on the package, but for a much shorter time.

  3. After removing from oven, sprinkle with brown sugar.

  4. Or, better yet, ice them. But I didn't have the ingredients for that. Bummer.

Toasted Ravioli
I found tortellini and raviolis on sale the other day, for a "Today Only!" price because they were about to hit their "Use or Freeze By. . . " date. We have a freezer, so I bought every package that was priced to sell.

That included three raviolis, and I've done this with all of them, making it up then tweaking it as I went. I think I finally got it just right on the last batch.

These are really good; Peeper and I went through two batches of them just today!

She even helped me to prep the last batch. I let her "help" mix the cheese, garlic and Italian seasoning, then toss the ravioli and oil, and then sprinkle the cheese on the raviolis.

Of course, she needed a good bit of help with the mixing, she ate an oily ravioli, and more cheese went in her hair than anywhere else, but she had a great time, and was so proud of herself.

I wish I had some photos of that part, but I kind of had my hands full. Maybe next time, I'll set up the camera to video us working.

When it was time to cook them, I gave her some yogurt to keep her occupied, so that I didn't have to worry about her trying to help with that part!

Packaged cheese (or other, I suppose) ravioli, without sauce
olive oil
1 cup(?) shredded mozzarella cheese (or Parmesan or other Italian cheese)
Italian seasoning

  1. If the ravioli is frozen, pop it in the microwave for about a minute, to thaw.
  2. If using a shredded cheese, buzz in blender or food processor to make it smaller. If using parmesan, it's fine, as is. I would probably use parmesan, or a parmesan/romano/whatever blend, but I was out, so I went with what I had on hand. Did I mention that we're snowed in?
  3. Add garlic and Italian seasoning to cheese, to taste, and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, drizzle raviolis with olive oil, and toss to coat well. Arrange raviolis in a baking dish, in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with cheese mixture. Try not to use more than half.
  6. Broil for 2-3 minutes (watch it closely!) until it starts looking toasty.

  7. Turn all the raviolis over and sprinkle the rest of the cheese. Broil some more. Watch!

  8. Turn them over and broil once more on the first side. Trust me, they'll need it.


  1. That all looks delicious. Moms and kids can have so much fun in the kitchen, even though the kid is basically just making a mess which means more cleaning work for mom. Letting them stand on a chair and "wash the dishes" in the sink is lots of fun too. Get a mop. Those toasted ravioli look really good. I'm sure Peeper is learning a lot about cooking already from watching you, and believe it or not, the day will come when she will cook something for you, maybe even a whole meal.

  2. The ravs look yummy and remind me of the breaded ravs I had once at a restaurant, came with marinara on the side for dipping. mmh good.

    As for "helping," when it comes to the oven, I've taught Alice the word "hot!" and she knows to stand far away when I open the oven. She goes "hot! hot!" LOL. So, you can try to teach Peeper that and she'll catch on pretty quickly, probably.


What say you?