Since the holidays are near, and this month has been a bit of a money nightmare, (Jim accidentally stepped on my glasses the night before Thanksgiving, resulting in an unexpected chunk of money taking a leave of absence from our bank account), I haven’t been able to splurge on ingredients. I don’t compromise on quality when I need to spend less, I just opt for some fish instead of a more expensive cut of meat, 3 days of drinking instead of 5. I’ve made a magic dessert with some Cream of Wheat before. No matter what’s in the house, I will make the best of it. No Ramen in this house. Anymore.

But some good does come out of spending less on groceries.  I smoke less, drink less, eat healthier, and realize what a luxury meat is. I appreciate how blessed I am to have food, and great food at that. The next two meals are about making something wonderful with a little less. Oh, and if roasted cauliflower isn’t already one of your best food friends, be prepared for a new half of a necklace.

It was Jim’s birthday, and we were low on money, so going out was not an option that night. I hate when I can’t go all out for his birthday dinner, but we usually have a week of celebrating, so don’t feel too bad for him. We opted for wine and snuggling, which meant I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen away from the birthday boy. I grabbed all the veggies I had, a dwindling package of bacon, and a carton of broth. I was determined to make something to make him smile, and soup always has that effect on people. I put on my chopping hat, and got to work.

Vegetable Soup (with a little bacon, of course!)

Saute bacon, remove then chop, chop veggies (I used carrots, celery, onion, shallot, garlic, purple cabbage, and potato.) Saute veggies, add stock, season (I used dried marjoram and thyme, fresh Rosemary, and salt and pepper), simmer for 50 minutes. Add a squirt of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Garnish with a sautéed slice of turnip and rutabaga, and a sprig of rosemary, (Add some Rosemary to some olive oil, saute turnip and rutabaga until browned. Add the olive oil to the soup too), and the crisp crumbled bacon.

Biscuits show love. Throw some together while the soup is simmering.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush 12 large (1-cup) muffin cups with some of melted butter; reserve remaining butter for brushing on baked biscuits. Using on/off turns, mix next 4 ingredients in processor. Add 1/2 cup cubed chilled butter. Using on/off turns, process until coarse meal forms. Transfer to large bowl. Add cheese; toss to combine. Add buttermilk and stir just to blend (batter will be sticky). Divide among prepared muffin cups, about 1/2 cup for each.

    Bake biscuits until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Brush tops with remaining melted butter. Cool 5 to 10 minutes, then remove biscuits from pan and transfer to rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

    from Bon Appetit

    Roasted Vegetables with Cheese Omelet

    1-inch florets cauliflower

    2-inch carrots pieces

    olive oil

    salt /pepper

    sprinkle of sugar

    Pre-heat oven to 450*

    Toss veggies with oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring once.

    Serve with a cheddar cheese/Parmigiano Reggiano omelet.

    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  ~Theodore Roosevelt