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Mix and Match Recipes on a Budget

Diced tomatoes
Black beans
Peanut butter

Green beans
Mixed peas and carrots

Pasta (shells are always good)


Recipes (serve 2-3):

Veggie Soup
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can diced tomato and the liquid from the whole can
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup rice
1/4 cup pasta
seasonings to taste
6 or more cups of water

Bring water to a boil. Add rice and canned tomato, reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes. Add pasta, cook additional 5 minutes. Then, add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until frozen vegetables are hot, skimming off any foam from top of soup as you go. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Turn off heat, allow soup to sit to reconstitute dried herbs and cool. Serve with a slice of toasted bread.

Seasoned Vegetable Rice
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots
1/4 cup frozen corn
salt, dried garlic and onion, and dried herbs to taste
4 Tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2-2 cups water

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a saucepan on medium until melted. Add rice, stir to coat and cook 2-3 minutes or until the rice starts to toast slightly and smell a little nutty. Add 1 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, then bring to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add vegetables and seasonings, and bring back to a simmer. Stir occasionally until water has fully been absorbed, then check rice. If not fully done, add an additional 1/2 cup water and reduce again.

Let cool, then fluff with a fork. Serve just-hot. Reheat by adding 2 tbsp water and cooking on the stove, or in a mostly-closed container in the microwave.

To turn into fried rice, heat 1/4 cup butter in a pan on medium until melted, then add one egg scrambled with water to thin consistency. Cook until still slightly runny, then add seasoned vegetable rice. Add soy sauce to taste, serve hot.

Basic Roux
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour

Melt butter on medium-low in a sauce pan. Stir in flour with a whisk and heat until mixture begins to bubble and flour begins to smell nutty and turn toasty brown.

Makes enough to thicken 1 pint (2 cups) liquid - any liquid will do! Great to make sauces and gravies or to add to soups for a thicker broth.

Homemade Cheese Sauce
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups milk, divided
1 cup shredded cheese, room temperature
1 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste

Make basic roux and while still hot, slowly add 1 cup milk, whisking constantly. When mixture thickens and all lumps are worked smooth, add second cup milk. Remove from heat, then sprinkle mixture with cheese, stirring to incorporate until cheese is fully melted. Add garlic salt and pepper if desired.

Cheese sauce can be served with pasta, over vegetables, or mixed with salsa to make nacho cheese.

Homemade Croutons
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 slices bread, cubed
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place cubed bread in a wide bowl, then drizzle with melted butter, stirring constantly until pieces are evenly coated. Add salt and seasonings and stir to coat. Distribute on a cookie sheet and bake for an hour, stirring occasionally, until pieces are fully dry, crunchy in the middle, and toasted golden brown.

Easy Cheesy Casserole
1 cup dry pasta
1/2 cup peas and carrots mix
homemade cheese sauce recipe
1/2 cup homemade croutons, crushed into chunky crumbles
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. Add peas and carrots to hot water and pasta, and cook 1-2 more minutes until vegetables are hot inside. Drain well. Return vegetables and pasta to the pan and combine with homemade cheese sauce, stirring to coat evenly. Transfer mixture to shallow baking dish. Top with shredded cheese, then crushed croutons. Place in oven uncovered until cheese is melted and croutons are browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Corn and Apple Salad
1 1/2 cup lettuce, rinsed and chopped very coarsely
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup corn, defrosted
1/4 cup homemade croutons

Toss all ingredients. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or your vinaigrette of choice.

Grilled PB&J
Peanut Butter
Butter, softened
2 slices of bread

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread peanut butter on the dry side of one piece of bread, and jelly on the other side. Close peanut butter and jelly sides together (duh, i know) and place sandwich butter-side-down onto a preheated skillet. Press sandwich with spatula, then flip when sandwich is sizzly and toasted. Cut diagonally (to feel like a fancy pants) and eat warm. Serve with coffee or milk.

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