Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Here is the tip for today: be flexible. If you noticed, there are some dishes that made a return on this week's menu from last week. I should put a disclaimer on my menu. The thing is that out of last week's menu I had only ONE dish that was scheduled. We had Sunday's chili last night because on Saturday, I was able to grab two turkeys on sale for 50 cents a pound.

I cooked one up for dinner on Sunday and put the other in the freezer. From that turkey (15 pounds) I was able a meal of roast turkey. Monday lunch was turkey salad sandwiches. There is still enough meat that I can make a pot pie or two and turkey and noodles. Because of my find I needed to re-arrange things. Things were also re-arranged because my children were out of school Wednesday due to snow. Then they were out Thursday and Friday due to the extreme cold. Our high was -13 on Thursday. Let's not get started on that nasty windchill. I had to be flexible with what I had on hand which was dwindling fast since the children were all home.

Another way to be flexible is when you run out of something only you didn't know you ran out of it until you start making a recipe and then remember you ran out of it. Hubby had a sweet tooth last night so I made an apple pie. I then made a pumpkin pie with the extra crust dough I had left. The only catch is I didn't have any evaporated milk. That was poor planning on my part. So it is getting late with the filling all mixed together except the milk. I turn to my trusty friend Google and look up substitutions for evaporated milk. I could make my own. Nah, not enough time. It was getting late. I could reconstitute dry milk. That didn't appeal to me. I could use buttermilk. I didn't have that either.

Wait! Buttermilk ... I used yogurt once with some added water to substitute for buttermilk once. Or was that the other way around? So the gears start turning in my head. A few might need a bit of oiling, but they are going. I do have some vanilla non-fat yogurt which would add a nice taste over the plain (also had that). Cool, I even got an added bonus of less fat. So I used 8 ounces of the vanilla yogurt plus 4 ounces of water to substitute for the 12 ounces of evaporated milk. The pie turned out so purty and yummy. There are times recipes have to be changed due to allergies, tastes or lack of available ingredients. You have to be flexible and having Google or other search engine is rather helpful. A bit of blind faith that it will turn out is nice.

You have to be flexible sometimes in menus as well. There are those days where everything seems to go wrong. There is no way that you can prepare that certain dish. Or perhaps like in my case this past week, you find an unexpected deal on a meat other than what is planned. Swap, substitute and switch if you need too. There might not be meatloaf because child A had practice after school that wasn't scheduled, child B came home sick with the flu and child C invited a friend over. Neighbor 1 has an emergency and needs someone to watch her two children. All of the sudden Sloppy Joes, Soft Tacos or Hamburgers seem a lot easier not to mention quicker.

(Now here is the disclaimer ...) My menus seldom stay as written. I have done well when I fix 50% of what was listed on the day it was listed. It is merely a guideline so I don't go shopping blind. That always costs me more money. I like to make meals that use basic, easy-to-find ingredients and can be changed up if needs be. It helps with the sanity which I find at times in shorter supply than time or money.

No comments: