Saturday, August 27, 2022

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Coming back from the flu and a corrected recipe

Sorry for the lack of a Sunday Post last week.  I didn't realize on Saturday that I was coming down with the flu.  Which may be why I didn't realize the ingredients for the Stove Top Chicken Bake had gone "poof" after putting them in a bullet list format. The computer was turned off as soon as I updated the blog's Facebook page.  I corrected it on last week's post and I am sharing it again below.

Both my husband and I were hit last Saturday with the kind of flu that makes one incredibly weak and sleepy.  Unlike the 24 hour flu that hits suddenly and then is gone, this lingered all week.   The computer was not turned on again until yesterday.

I made it to Meijer and Kroger at the end of the week.  Kroger was well stocked but with higher prices as has been the case for awhile now.  Meijer was mostly well stocked but also had raised many prices.

I added two large cans of Red Gold whole tomatoes to the pantry since I heard again this week that the tomato harvest for canned tomatoes has not been good this year. They need a lot of water to grow so they have been a priority for "little at a time" pantry shopping. I'm hoping for another 10 for $10 sale to stock up on some more tomatoes.

When KFC started charging so much for chicken, I bought the Meijer deli fried chicken instead.  It was $5.75-ish, which was reasonable.  Then it went up to $8.75-ish, which was high but so were all chickens and chicken products.  Last week, I thought I would pick up a package for dinner and now it was $12.75-ish for eight pieces of chicken.  That is way more than I am willing to pay.  

The good deli sliced turkey and chicken has gone up a lot, too.  I bought a small package of inexpensive olive loaf for lunches instead, which I like but not even Florentine begged for a bite.  I may have to resort to the fried bologna sandwiches my mother often served for lunch.  Hmmmm... or maybe not.

Yesterday we went to Menards, my husband needed to make a couple purchases and I wanted a bottle of Watkins paprika.  It was easier to go with him than to describe where the large Watkins spices and extracts display was in the back of the store.  

I must admit that I love looking through Menards.  It is the closest of all big box stores to the sights and smells of our old fashioned Downtown hardware store of my youth.  I don't know if every store carries the Watkins brand but they have been around for a very long time and have always been of a high quality. I bought their vanilla extract before making my own again last year.

I had heard that many Walmart garden departments were closed already but our local Menards garden department was open with Fall flowers and plants in stock. The other garden supplies were beginning to dwindle but they always do this time of the year.

I have mentioned before how I loved to watch Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cook together on their PBS shows.  She lived in France when there were shortages but she and her husband were able to afford the prices on most food during and after WWII.  Jacques' family lived in an area where there were many shortages and food was more scarce.

Julia would cast aside something and Jacques would grab it and say that part of the vegetable, meat, etc. should be saved for soup stock.  He never forgot those years of shortages, even as a world famous chef. 

I thought of that when watching a Mary Berry cooking show while on the sofa with the flu.  She was filming on location at a seaside beach, looking for prawns with a local man who knew where to find them just off shore.  She was excited to find such good seafood free!  

Later, in her home, she was explaining about putting together a seafood pasta salad and reminded viewers they could cut the scallops in half horizontally to make them stretch further.  She also used inexpensive tiny shrimp in the salad.  

I read her wonderful autobiography and while her family was not poor in WWII or the post-war years (her father was the Mayor of Bath in 1952), they did experience food shortages along with the rest of Great Britain during that time.

Both my mother and mother-in-law could remember the Depression years and both kept a fairly deep pantry.  My in-laws grew a large garden each year, even though they lived in town and even my mother wold grow tomatoes.  They grew up during a time when family gardens were what almost everyone had.

Most of us may have experienced not being able to purchase some food items because we could not afford them but they were always available.  Our grocery stores were large and full of all kinds of food from around the world.  Most of us did not know what shortages were until a couple years ago.

There has been rumblings here and there that if shortages become more severe, we may see war era rationing for some items.  We had limits on various food items during Covid in 2020, so it could happen again.  That is certainly something to pray about when making our grocery list, even on a tight budget.  I am constantly asking God for His wisdom.

Here is the recipe from last week with the ingredients intact.  I expect when I put them in a bullet point format, I must have hit a key without realizing it and made it disappear.  Who knows?

Stove Top Chicken Bake

  • 1 6 oz. package Chicken Stove Top (or other flavor)
  • 4 boneless chicken breast (or leftover turkey)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix stuffing mix with 1 2/3 cups of water, set aside.  Please chicken in a greased 9 x 13 dish.  Mix soup and sour cream.  Spoon onto chicken.  Spoon stuffing on top.  Bake for 35 minutes.

I think you could substitute panko crumbs or even regular bread crumbs for the stuffing mix.  I haven't tried it.  You would probably want to add some favorite spices to the bread crumbs to make up for the flavor in the stuffing mix.

I have shared this next casserole recipe before and it is parked on the recipe blog.  It was my family's favorite casserole when the kids were still at home and I do make it once in awhile now.  It can easily be doubled, which I have before.  

Holiday Spaghetti

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 C. mushroom slices (fresh or use 1 can sliced mushrooms)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 3 1/2 C. tomatoes (large can, I like diced or stewed Italian style)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti -- boiled, drained
  • 1 or 2 C. grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown the ground beef and drain. Add onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and spaghetti. I fold in one cup of grated cheddar cheese at this time and then sprinkle some more cheese on top of the hot casserole before serving. My mother-in-law only sprinkled one cup of cheese on top of the casserole before baking. Either way, it's good.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

ImageI'm Suzy Book, illustrated by Alice Schlesinger


Vee said...

Oh I am sorry that you and Mr. Coffee were under the weather all week. I hope that you got lots of rest and are feeling much better.

So many things to fret over if I were the type who frets. 😏 It is far preferable to trust God to lead.

Like you, there are prices where I am not willing to go. The food can rot on the shelves and, from the sniff of some produce departments, apparently, it is.

Take good care...your casserole sounds a September meal waiting to happen. ☺️

Mandy said...

Good to hear y’all are feeling better. So much sickness going around fairly early this year. The spaghetti recipe sounds fabulous and like something my husband would love, so I saved it! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I fix the chicken-stove top dressing casserole once a month and we so enjoy it! I use the herb flavored dressing but any would be good. Husband loves the leftovers for his lunch.

Cheryl said...

I stopped buying KFC when they upped the cost of the $20.00 fill up chicken to $25.00. I understand an increase but too much too fast for me. I just do without too. Our local giant eagle sells fried chicken for $7.99 for 8 pieces if I want it. I've bought it once.

D Fuller said...

Sorry you were ill. Thanks for the recipe correction. I excited to try it.