By Jan Jackson
An easy way to successfully stretch your food dollar, is presentation, presentation, presentation! Without sacrificing taste, make your food look so good that no one will notice that you’ve changed the emphasis of the meal. To bring class to the mundane, try taking the time to “sprinkle and drizzle” or add the dab of butter and sprig of parsley.
You only have to look at photos of food ads and recipes in newspapers and magazines for easy-to-follow ideas. A platter of baked potatoes scored and topped with a pat of butter and a little pepper sprinkled on top gives the look of restaurant dining.
Too few potatoes? Slice the raw potato in half lengthwise, score the surface ¼-inch deep (square or diamond pattern), spread with butter, sprinkle with dried parsley flakes and bake ½ to ¾ hours in a 350 degree oven until cooked through and nicely browned. One potato can now serve two.
Bring out the china, the colorful napkins and a little fresh starter salad and see if things don’t taste better. The fast-food adage that says a quarter pound of hamburger can only feed one, is passé. Soups, stews and casseroles are great ways to make “a little dab do ya.”
Here are some recipes to show you the way. Bon appetit.
• ¼ pound hamburger
• 1 can stewed tomatoes
• 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
• 1 small can mushrooms, juice and all
• 1 pkg. Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix
• 2 cups water
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 2 cups mixed vegetables (from miscellaneous left-over vegetables collected in a sealable container stored in your freezer, or substitute a 10-ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables
• Salt to taste
• Worcestershire sauce to taste
• Handful of pasta (optional)
Brown hamburger but do not drain. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, soup mix, water and sugar. Season to taste. Simmer 1 hour. Add frozen vegetables and simmer another hour.
• ¼ pound ground beef
• 1 cup chopped onions
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup chopped green peppers
• 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes
• 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
• 2 (14-ounce) cans kidney beans, undrained
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tablespoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon hot sauce
Sauté beef, onions, celery and green peppers and transfer to slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high 4 – 6 hours or on low 8 – 10 hours.
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 1 bag tater tots
• 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
• ¼ pound ground hamburger meat
• ½ onion chopped
• Shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees; spray 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Brown hamburger meat and chopped onions. Spread mixture in the bottom of the baking dish, layer the frozen vegetables on top of the mixture and then carefully spread the soup with a spatula straight from the can to cover entirely. Layer tater tots on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until mixture bubbly and the tater tots are browned.
• 1 package (7 ¼-ounce) macaroni and cheese mix
• ¼-pound hamburger
• 1 to ½ cups leftover broccoli florets
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Brown hamburger, add broccoli and stir into macaroni and cheese. Transfer to a medium-size casserole dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until heated through.