Herbed Burger Buns and More

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppAfter receiving a bread machine for Christmas over a decade ago, I entered the world of homemade bread.  I used it occasionally for many years, but not routinely until a few years ago.  The machine pays for itself in no time, and I've seen them lately for around $50 or less.

Now I'm hooked trying new bread and roll recipes: from white, to dark Russian rye, artisan loaves, cuban bread, pizza dough, focaccia, or muffins and buns.  I find the whole process creative and rewarding.

It saves so much money using only 2 or 3 cups of flour and a few other basic ingredients, costing $1 or less for bakery quality goodness usually costing $4 to $6 or more.

This recipe makes 6 very large buns. They could easily be shaped smaller for a dozen dinner rolls or 24 slider buns.  If making without a bread machine, use a mixer or make by hand. I use them mostly for burgers, Italian beef sandwiches, or BBQ beef or pork sandwiches.

With those methods: yeast, liquid and sugar are usually combined to foam, added to other combined dry ingredients and kneaded, then left to rise in oiled bowl for an hour until doubled in size before shaping. A machine does all the kneading and first rise, then you take it out and shape for baking.

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Herbed Burger Buns

1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup warm milk
1 egg
1 Tab. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/4 cups bread flour, white will work just fine
4 tsps. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. active yeast
2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
1 egg white, 1 Tab. water
sesame or poppy seeds

Add water, milk, egg, butter, salt, flour, sugar, herbs and yeast to machine according to instructions, and set to dough cycle.  Remove to floured surface. Take out and knead until dough feels elastic, cover and rest 10 minutes before shaping.

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Burger with Caramelized
Onions and Blue Cheese
Divide into 6 parts forming into smooth balls. Place on greased baking sheet. Flatten into 4-inch rounds, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Lightly beat egg white with tablespoon of water and brush on buns.  Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

Bake 375 for 12-15 min.

Can also be used for hot dog buns by shaping into rolls about 6 -1/2  inches long and tapered ends; or made into smaller buns for sliders; or shaped for hoagie rolls.

Estimated cost $1.00 or less; .16 cents or less per bun.

Homemade Yogurt with Powdered Milk

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppMy sister shared this recipe using powdered milk in the mid-70s, which I fondly refer to as my "Mother Earth Days." 

That's when I was raising young children, making fruit leather and granola, planting a large garden, canning, raising chickens, and "yes" making yogurt which became very popular, but was not readily available in grocery stores like today.

There's many recipes easily available on the internet these days or featured on cooking shows using yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk or base for creamed dressings to cut calories. 

Yogurt, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
It's handy to have on hand mixing with fruits or cereals for breakfast or mixed with berries and frozen for popsicles or ice cream.

This recipe make a half gallon, but can be cut in half to make one quart. You'll need to buy plain yogurt, (a small cup size will do) which has an active culture to use as a starter. Read the ingredient label, making sure it says "live active culture."
Frozen Yogurt, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Frozen Blackberry Yogurt

 I keep a 4-pound box of powdered milk on hand for baking breads, making creamed sauces and soups, or for an emergency when running short on milk.

                      Homemade Yogurt with Powdered Milk
  • Put 1 tablespoon of warm water in a measuring cup and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin.  Set aside for 3 minutes until transparent and set.
  • Add boiling water to gelatin mixture to measure 1 cup.  Add 1 tablespoon sugar, stir to dissolve, and cool.
  • In a large bowl mix 3 cups of non-fat dry powdered milk into 3 cups of water.  Stir to dissolve.  Add a large can of evaporated milk, 2 cups of tepid water, gelatin mixture and lastly, 3 tablespoons of plain "active" yogurt.  Stir to blend ingredients.  Place plastic wrap-over bowl.
  • Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Place bowl in oven, turn off oven.  Let set overnight, about 6 to 8 hours until set.
Use for dips, sauces, frozen desserts or recipes calling for yogurt. Makes nearly a half gallon. Wild blackberries grow in my yard, so I always have them on hand in the freezer.

Estimated Cost: $1.60 or less; .80 cents a quart or less.

I discovered this site on Pinterest which shows a way to make yogurt in a slow cooker from regular milk and an active yogurt culture.  I plan to try it next time I make a batch.


    Ham It Up! Leftover Ham Ideas

    Ham and Parsley Potatoes, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppThere's so many meals and dishes for using leftover ham. Is there any other meat offering such a big bang for the bucks, especially when on sale for Easter or Christmas holidays?  Right down to the bone and scraps, leftovers fill my freezer for scores of future meals. 

    I package and freeze in pint-size bags: nice-sized slices for more ham dinners and sandwiches, then any smaller pieces for soups, casseroles, quiches, or breakfasts.

    Here's links to my blog recipes which can include ham:
    Navy Bean Soup
    Split Pea and Ham Soup
    Mac and Cheese
    Ham Croquettes

    Here's other meals I make using ham (no recipes posted yet)
    Scalloped Potatoes
    Chef Salad
    Deviled Ham Salad
    Chicken Cordon Bleu
    Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich
    Omelets or with Scrambled Eggs

    Here's a link I found on the internet offering even more ideas:
    30 Ideas for Leftover Ham

    Baked Mac and Cheese

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI've made many versions of Macaroni and Cheese with different types of pasta and cheeses, but the basics are a thick creamy white sauce, cheese, pasta and crunchy topping.  It's a great side dish with burgers, chicken, ham, or a meal by itself!

    Sometimes I add leftover chopped ham.  If I'm making it for grandkids, I leave out the cayenne and tabasco sauce.  It's one of those recipe you can experiment with, especially with the toppings or types of cheese used.  

    I've topped it with buttered panko or bread crumbs, even buttered bread cubes.  It really depends on what I have on hand, which is usually elbow macaroni, bread crumbs, and Cheddar cheese.

    Baked Mac and Cheese
    3 Tabs. butter
    3 Tabs. flour
    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App2 cups milk
    1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    1/8 tsp. nutmeg
    1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
    salt and pepper to taste
    Dash of Tabasco sauce
    2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
    1/2 pound elbow pasta, cooked al dente, cooled with cold water and drained
    1/2 cup bread crumbs, mixed with some melted butter
    2-3 slices cooked diced bacon
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    optional: serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or more Parmesan on top
    Preheat oven to 350.

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    Boil water and cook pasta (al dente, about 3 minutes short of fully done): cool, drain and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, stirring and cook for 1 minute to make a thick paste (roux) don't brown.

     Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil while stirring as mixture becomes thick. Continue stirring while adding mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, pepper, hot sauce. Stir in the 2 cups of Cheddar until it melts.

    Mix drained pasta into cheese sauce to combine and pour into 2 quart greased casserole dish, or individual smaller one-serving casserole dishes. Sprinkle buttered crumbs, bacon and Parmesan on to top. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

    Makes 6-8 servings.  Recipe can easily be doubled for a larger gathering.

    Estimated cost: $4.20 or less; .70 cents a serving or less.