First, I want to thank all of you who bother to visit here, occasionally or every day, and then take the time to comment. I know how busy your lives are and how many good blogs there are out there. Your comments are really helpful in figuring out just where I want to go with this and how it could be the most helpful. I am toying with an idea of having a topic for each day. One day would be eating better for less money as that seems to be a popular topic. I know that for me, making the meal is not the problem. Coming up with something interesting is. I have been coming up with meals for 37 years. It’s a lot of meals.

One of the tricks I use to stretch an otherwise rather pedestrian meal is to take a page from the Amish book and include one sweet and one sour at every meal. The rumor is that do 7 sweets and  7 sours but that isn’t true. We always have one of my home canned fruits (sometimes I cheat and use commercially canned pineapple ) and one pickle. I have a pantry filled with applesauce, peaches and pears and pickled beans, beets, carrots, mixed veges and, of course, bread and butter pickles. I also make a lot of biscuits. They take almost no time and I will often cut the lard into the flour in the morning so all I have to do is put in the milk and get them in the oven at dinner. In a real rush, I add a bit more milk and make drop biscuits rather than rolled. This is also a chore that fairly young kids can manage. Phoebe loves to cut out biscuits. I don’t make biscuits unless I am already using the oven for something else so it’s already hot. If I am making a stove top casserole, I would substitute dumplings for biscuits. I make a raised roll dough once a week. The recipe makes a huge batch of butterhorns and you only have to pull off the amount of dough you want and leave the rest in the refrigerator. This is good because butterhorns are so good and so rich, we will all eat too many if they are sitting there. Phoebe calls this curly bread because I make crescent rolls with the dough. Any good, basic cookbook has recipes for refrigerator rolls, muffins and biscuits. If you don’t have a basic cookbook, go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and buy one. Don’t pay more than $2.00. I have my old Betty Crocker Cookbook that I got as a wedding present. It looks terrible, all spattered and stained, but I use it more than any other. It’ s my go-to wedding present for new brides.

One of the problems with giving out recipes is that I often fly by  the seat of my pants. I substitute based on what I have to work with. What follows is one of those ” a little of this, a little of that” recipes.

Black Bean and Corn Burritos

In a hot skillet, brown some corn, canned or frozen. The amount can be stretched to feed a few more. Add some black beans. You will save money if you make these from scratch but I use canned a lot. Make sure you rinse them well. Now add a jar of salsa. I have my homemade salsa but any jarred will do. I use a mild one as my kids are not fans of too much heat. Next, throw in a bit of left over chicken. This a good way to use the last bits on a carcass as the chicken is not the star in this dish. I have made it once using a canned chicken. I didn’t care for it but I have also used my home canned chicken and it was just okay. I prefer the chicken to be a bit on the dry side for this dish and my canned stuff is really moist and tender. Now add some seasonings. I make batches of mexican seasoning and have those ready but in a pinch you could use a tablespoon of taco seasoning from a packet. This is pretty expensive and with the packaging and the additives, not something I would recommend. Heat up a flat bread and fill with the corn/bean mixture and top with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese. My kids love these and can make them up themselves. I can also make the filling in the morning and then just heat it up to fill the flat bread at dinner. This is actually better heated up. I love it for lunch the next day served with taco chips.

If I have to stretch even more, I make dessert. With some canned apples or cherries on hand and a jar of struessle topping in the pantry, I can whip of an impressive looking finish in just a few minutes.