Dear Barb – Cooking on a Shoestring

Dear Barb,

A few months ago, your column included fast and easy recipes. I tried a couple of them and they were great, my roommates also enjoyed them. We want to know if you have any more main course recipes that would be fast and economical for struggling students. We would really appreciate it if you could find casserole dishes that we could just pop in the oven after school. Also, could you add some web addresses where we could find more recipes? Thanks Barb, these recipes will save a great deal of time.

The Roommates in North Carolina

Hi guys, good to hear you enjoyed the recipes. Below are a few more recipes and links to websites for more recipes for hearty, low-cost meals.

Egg and Potatoes Skillet Supper
(4 to 8 servings)

1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 medium potatoes cooked and sliced (about 3 cups sliced)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon paprika
8 eggs
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt, optional
¼ teaspoon pepper

In large skillet over medium-high heat cook potatoes, onion, parsley and paprika in hot oil, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown and onion is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk, salt if desired, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture. As the eggs begin to set, gently draw a pancake turner completely across bottom and along the sides of the pan, forming large soft curds. Continue until eggs are thickened, but do not stir constantly. Cook until no visible liquid egg remains.

Half-Hour Dinner
(3 to 6 servings)

¾ cup uncooked regular rice
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
¾ cup water
1 package (10 oz.) frozen peas
1 can (2 to 2 ½ oz.) sliced mushrooms drained, optional
6 eggs
½ cup (2 oz) shredded Swiss cheese, optional

In large skillet, stir together rice, soup and water. Cover the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to allow the skillet to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir in the frozen peas. Simmer covered skillet 5 minutes longer. Stir in the mushrooms, if desired. Make 6 indentations in the rice mixture. Break and add an egg into each indentation. Cover. Continue cooking over low to medium heat until the eggs are almost set, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Cover. Cook until the whites of the eggs are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Quiche O’Brien
(6 servings)

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded processed American cheese, cubed
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 jar (2 oz.) chopped pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon instant minced onion
6 eggs
1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk
½ teaspoon seasoned salt, optional

Line unbaked pie shell with 12-inch square of aluminum foil. Fill with rice, dried beans or dried peas. Cover the rim of the pie shell with pieces of aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 450◦F oven until lightly browned at the edges, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil and rice, dried beans or dried peas. Cool on wire rack.

Sprinkle cheese, pepper, pimiento and onion into the baked pie shell. In a medium bowl, beat together remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cheese and vegetables. Bake in a preheated 375◦F oven until either a knife inserted near the center comes out clean or a thermometer shows 160◦F degrees, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Here’s a little something to reward yourself after studying.
Peanut Banana Cake

(serves 8)

¼ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup mashed peeled ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
Peanut butter or confectioners’ sugar, optional

In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and 1/3 cup of peanut butter until thoroughly blended. Beat in the sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in bananas and vanilla. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add 2/3 cup of the flour mixture to the banana mixture alternately with one tablespoon of the water, beating or stirring just until blended. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and another tablespoon of water. Pour into a well-greased 9 x 9 x 2 inch cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350◦F oven until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from the cake pan. While still warm, spread lightly with peanut butter or cool completely and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

I hope you guys find these recipes helpful, let me know how they turned out.

Sources for additional information
American Egg Board. Recipes: Especially economical recipes.
Healthy Cooking [web site].

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.