Preparing Spaghetti Squash

Photo Courtesy of  Simple Daily Recipes

There is something unique about a veggie that works as a favorite pasta. Spaghetti Squash is a scrumptious, nutritious alternative to pasta. It is pretty easy to prepare as well.

For a family of four 2 large spaghetti squash should make a nice size meal.

Step 1. Cut your squash in half and remove seeds.
Step 2. Place each half face down on a cookie sheet.
Step 3. Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
Step 4. Remove from cookie sheets and allow to cool for 15 minutes
Step 5. Scrape the inside of the squash to remove strands of squash.

You can make spaghetti sauce and even toss in some meatballs to make a wonderful dinner. You can let it cool and toss with a nice light Italian dressing for a pasta salad. You can even just serve it with some butter and parmesean cheese for a light meal.

The Secret to Cooking Dried Beans

Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) ready for use.

It has taken me years to figure out how to use dried beans that turn into nice soft edible food. I read on another homesteading site, which one for the life of me I cannot remember, that the older the bean the more dehydrated they are. So it would stand to reason that you need to soak them longer and cook them longer.

If you are like us and still having to purchase dried beans there is really no way to know how old they really are. One clue I was given was to look at how shriveled the skins look. The more shriveled the longer they are going to need to soak.

So rule of thumb in my house has become dried beans need to soak 12 hours. Quick soaks do not work unfortunately. As for cook time, 10 hours in a crock pot until they are soft or 6 hours on the stove. I will bring them to a boil and the let the simmer the rest of the time. I keep an on them and stir them from time to time. Making sure to keep enough water in the pot at all times. The water should be at least 1 inch over the beans.

Another good tip I have learned over times has to do with gassy beans. 1 tablespoon of baking soda while soaking 1 lb of beans. It helps to neutralize the after effects.

Grandma Wasted Nothing

Not quite what my grandmother’s house was like but it was a small,  simple place.

My paternal grandmother was one of the most influential people early on in my life. As I sit here, 20 years after she crossed the rainbow bridge, I wish I had paid a bit more attention to the things she said. The little words of wisdom she would say quietly. What I can say I remember easily was being in the kitchen with her as she cooked for an army. Seriously, she had to feed an army she had her children most of whom were married by this time with children of their own. There were a lot of us but we never left her table hungry.

My grandmother wasted nothing. She could stretch a meal. Every part of a chicken, ham or whatever meat there was got used and turned into another meal. We honestly never really asked what was for dinner, Grandad, my dad and my uncles all went hunting on a regular basis along side the animals that were raised for slaughter. If the truck garden did well during the growing season there were veggies all year long. If not it was seasonal, winter could mean less veggies and more bread to fill you up and gravy.

I am currently putting together a compilation of ideas, based on what my grandmother did, to share with everyone. Everything that was old is becoming new again. From eating seasonally to canning and preserving to how to do once a week or once a month cooking. I will cover recipes, tips and tricks to stretch your grocery budget.

It takes a great commander to run an army and whether you have a small family or a large one you are the commander in chief. Feeding your family on a frugal budget is something that takes strategic planning. If you are used to fly by the seat of your pants and running through the drive through to catch a meal, I can even give you tips to avoid that.

Not only have I learned from my grandmother, my mother and mother in law but from my own experiences as a stay at home mom, working mom, etc. Time management my friends it is all about time management.

I am looking forward to sharing all of the experiences with you in a weekly post beginning the 1st of March.

Happy Cooking!