Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Baking and Frugal Recipe

I've been baking a lot of Christmas cookies over the last few days. This is on top of cleaning the carpets, shopping, wrapping, cooking and dog sitting Nessa's sister.

Isn't she beautiful? Her coloring reminds me of a gingersnap. I must have cookies on the brain. Cookies! Everywhere I look are cookies! Ugh.....

I've been on a "what kind of candy can I bake in cookie dough" kick lately. For Listlessness Monday I thought I would list what I've baked into dough and list all the other holiday treats I've made.

What I've been baking into cookie dough lately:

1. Dilettante Peppermint chocolates - OMG, these are fantastic!
2. Brockmann's Truffini Canadian Maple Milk Chocolate
3. Brockmann's Truffini Swiss Milk Chocolate
4. Daronie Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
5. Daronie Milk Chocolate Caramel Truffle
6. Frey Swiss Bliss Milk Chocolate Praline
7. Douchard L'Escaut Dark Chocolate Grand Marnier
8.Witor's Dark Chocolate Noir Praline with Cocoa Nibs
9. Valor Milk Chocolate Almond Heart

Items 2 through 9 came out of the box of Costco's Kirkland Signature Chocolates of the World. They really shouldn't sell these. It just encourages me to make dozens of cookies. At last count I've done 6 dozen. Then I need to taste each of them. I'd really hate to offer up untasty cookies to my friends and family. So taste them I must! The scale certainly reflects my baking/tasting weekend extravaganza.

Now for the list of cookies and candy I made:

1. Whiskey cookies
2. Candy cookies (see above)
3. Snickerdoddles
4. Chocolate Peanutbutter Fudge

Seems a rather paltry list doesn't it? In my defense there are 6 dozen of number 2.

I picked up a new cookbook on Friday. It was on sale for 75% off. Sweet! I tried 2 of the recipes out this weekend. I was hoping to provide you all with a good meatless meal. What I chose was the most boring thing on the planet! We piled salsa on it just to make it taste good. Trust me! I won't be passing that one on.

The second recipe was tasty but only by stretching the imagination would it be called a meal (though I have been known to drink my dinner but I usually chose wine. I think of wine as a fruit in the ole nutritional pyramid). The drink consisted of 32 ounces of root beer and 1 1/2 cups of rum (as my friend Julie would say, "I'd drink that!"). We went through a pitcher of this pretty quickly at our house Friday evening. For someone with limited willpower this drink is bad but it tasted so good. We've decided what it really needs is a splash of cream on the top. Just to give it that Root beer float taste (with family coming for Christmas I may be enjoying a few to many of these in order to survive).

Now for a great recipe from my trusty Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook.

Curry-Flavored Fettuccine

2 cups frozen peas, thawed (bought on sale with a coupon = .65 cents/16 oz.)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half & half. bought on sale = .99 cent/16 oz. = .45 cents)
1/4 cup butter (bought on sale $1.48 per pound = .20 cents)
2 tablespoons curry powder (on hand in spice cupboard)
1 lb dried fettuccine (I used 3/4 spaghetti. bought on sale = 1.00/lb. = .75 cents)
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a saucepan combine the cream*, butter, and curry powder. Bring slowly to a boil over low hear and boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add thawed peas. Turn heat to very low, stirring occasionally until pasta is done

Meanwhile, In a large pot bring 5 qt. salted water to a boil. Add noodles**. Cook until al dente, 9-12 minutes or according to the package directions. You could also toss the peas in frozen for the last 5 minutes. Drain and place in serving bowl. Pour the cream-butter mixture over the top and season to taste with salt & pepper. Toss gently and serve immediately.

Serves 6***.

* If I hadn't had half & half already I would have used 1/4 cup non-fat milk mixed with 1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese. I think it would have been just as good. I never go out to buy special ingredients.

**I used spaghetti because I had it on hand and already cooked. 3 days before I made up a whole pound of spaghetti (no sauce) and only used 1/4 of it for dinner. What was left I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and stored in a zip top bag in the ice box. I do this a lot. I make up extra noodles, rice or baked potatoes to use later. Helps with dinner prep during the weekdays.

***Serves 6 adults with generous potions. We had 5 for dinner & 1 lunch for JR.

Though this is a complete protein (grain & legume in combination) I did serve this with grilled chicken breasts. Purchased for .99 per pound. 2 (1.5 pounds total) chicken breasts served 3 men dinner, 1 lunch for JR & enough for the Boy to have a sandwich. = .30 cents per serving. Plus, I had bread on the table, bought from the day old bread table for .79 per loaf. Served 1/2 loaf. = .40 cents.

Total dinner for 5 = .73 cents per serving. (If I did the math right. I am a librarian, we are not known for our math skills.)

And BTW, It was Yummy!!!



  1. mmmm...curry. My favorite. I'll have to try that.

  2. Sounds yummy!! So do your candy cookies. Send some my way? K thanks.

  3. I love the pup - is she a goldendoodle? The curry dish sounds yummy - I'm going to try it with some penne pasta I was going to make anyway. You put all of us to shame with the cookie baking - I still haven't gotten to it. Maybe I'll decorate some graham crackers instead.

  4. Heinous: We love curry. JR thought there should be more in this dish.

    DM: The candy cookies are the best.

    CABI: Yes, she is a goldendoodle. graham cracker houses, hmmmm? I could do that.

  5. I love curry! I've never heard of curry and pasta combined, this sounds fantastic!

    So far, I've avoided the Signature Chocolates box at Costco, but after reading this post, I might break down today.

  6. Nessa's sister is adorable... her fur looks like it's been highlighted. It's not fair that a dog has prettier coloring then me.;)

  7. you should probably send some to of those cookies to me just to be sure they are worthy of your friends and family. Don't thank me, no really. It's my pleasure. What are friends for?

  8. So I'm thinking I need to send you my address in exchange for cookies. I know, the deal would work in my favor but it's the season for giving, no? Ok, just eat some in my honor then.

  9. Mmm...cookies.

    I'm still astonished at your thrifty recipes. You should write a "Cheapskate's cookbook". I would buy it up for sure, because I'm know, cheapskate ;)

  10. Who wants a cheapskate cookbook? If so I'll start one if you want. I've been asked by a lot of friends but figured that they were just humoring me.