Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn

I adore cookbooks. I can read recipe after recipe, thinking they all sound good. I’m not a wonderful cook, but I do try. Combine a cookbook with ideas on saving money on groceries and I had to check it out.

The first third of the book is full of money- and time-saving ideas, some of which I’ve heard before, some that were new to me. The nice part is that Ostyn doesn’t expect you to implement all her suggestions, and definitely not all at once. She encourages you to pick and choose what will work best for you. For me, I think a price book and better meal-planning are great places to start. The price book, in theory, would help me know which of our three local stores typically has the best price, and also help me know what is a good price if I see the item on sale somewhere else. And better meal-planning, looking farther ahead than dinner tonight, should not only save money, but also time, both in preparation and in stopping at the store multiple times a week.

But, like in any cookbook, the part I most look forward to is the recipes. Ostyn has included recipes for each meal of the day, along with desserts and ideas for entertaining. I like that she doesn’t use much convenience food at all. She cooks from scratch, but they’re recipes I can find the ingredients for and can actually pull off.

So far, we’ve tried two of the recipes, Spanish Rice bake for dinner yesterday and the Eggy Breakfast Muffins, and I’ll be putting chicken cacciatore in the slow-cooker tomorrow before work. The rice yesterday tasted good, but was not as tender as I would have liked. I always have trouble with rice. I don’t know how I can screw up something so simple, but it’s almost almost either too wet or almost crunchy.

The muffins I cooked last night and reheated this morning for breakfast. Amber, who had one and a small bowl of fruit, said it was “awesome!” Of, course, with cheese and bacon, what else was she going to think? They were good, though, and I have enough to freeze a couple for sometime next week.

Eggy Breakfast Muffins

1/2 pound sliced bacon, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup shredded raw vegetables (I used carrot.)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.

2. Fry bacon over medium heat until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve a tablespoon or so of grease in a small bowl, then discard remaining grease in pan. Let pan cool then wipe with paper towels to remove any reamining bits of bacon. Return pan to medium heat. Add reserved bacon grease, onion, garlic, and grated vegetables. Cook, stirring, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool.

3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, and cheese. Add flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, bacon, and sautéed vegetables; stir together just until combined.

4. Fill each muffin cup three-quarters full. Bake until edges start to brown and tops spring back when pressed, 20 to 25 minutes.

These muffins can be baked, then refrigerated or frozen to eat later. Microwave 30 seconds (50 seconds if frozen) to reheat.

Overall, this book is useful – good recipes, good ideas. Just a note, though. There are no photos of the recipes.

Published September 1, 2009 by Oxmoor House
296 pages

I borrowed my copy from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.


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