Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cookbook Casting Call: Report Card for Betty Crocker's Cookbook and A New Week's Book and Menu

Just like last week, we've ended the second week of the Cookbook Casting Call on a pretty high note with a lunch of the Curried Tuna

Cookbook Casting Call: Curry Tuna

and leftover Herb Biscuits from the 1986 edition of the Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

Cookbook Casting Call: herbed biscuits open

I ended up making it for lunch owing to a last minute invite last night to go see "Slumdog Millionaire" with a friend at the absolutely delightful Garden Cinema in downtown Norwalk. The movie was pretty good and the scenes of India amazing. It seems this week has been Oscar nominee week for me as I just returned from seeing "The Reader" (one of the best movies I've seen in a long time) with another friend and I've already made plans to see "Revolutionary Road" and "The Wrestler" next week. Before Oscar day, I'd like to see "Milk" and "Frost/Nixon", which I saw when it was on Broadway.

But you didn't come here for Breadchick's movie reviews now did you? You came here to see how my week with Betty Crocker went and to find out what cook book we will be auditioning next week.

All in all, I would say my week with the den mother of American cooking and her namesake cookbook would rate a solid A.

The spinach mushroom salad was light but filling and the au gratin potatoes rate almost as high as the butterscotch pudding.

Cookbook Casting Call: Betty Crocker Cookbook Butterscotch Pudding

Both are foods that we have grown accustomed to fixing from a box or package but once you make them from scratch, I just dare you to go back to the packaged version. Even the making of a cheese sauce for the au gratin potatoes won't feel like a chore when you put a fork full of these cheesy, creamy potatoes with their crunchy top in your mouth.

Cookbook Casting Call: Au Gratin Potatoes

The recipes in Betty Crocker's Cookbook may not be considered exotic but they are rock solid in every way, shape and form.

The Winter Pantry Plan grocery total for last week was: $11.57. The only ingredients besides milk and half and half I bought were potatoes and green peppers. That total includes four freezer friendly containers for the left over soups that I have made and will be making over the next few weeks.

This week we are going to spend with some more ladies who in their own right are credited with changing the way American's cook, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins of Silver Palate Cookbook fame, by exploring their cookbook The New Basics Cookbook.

Cookbook Casting Call Week 3 Book: The New Basics Cookbook

I'm anticipating a week of savory, fresh foods and some old favorites with a twist, especially with the menu I have planned. As usual for the Cookbook Casting Call, recipes from the The New Basics Cookbook are noted with an "*".

Menu for 1/25 - 1/31: Week Three of the Cookbook Casting Call and Winter Pantry Plan

Sunday 1/25:
Dinner: Tuscan Pork Chops* with Savory Mashed Turnips (From McCall's Coast-To-Coast Cooking )
Dessert: Kay's Cookies* with Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday 1/26:
Lunch: Tuna Salad with Grapes & Eggs*
Dinner: Cream of Tomato Risotto* with Garlic Toast

Tuesday 1/27:
Lunch: Leftover Risotto with leftover rotisserie chicken (in freezer)
Dinner: Market Street Meat Loaf*
Dessert: Blueberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry Cobbler*

Wednesday 1/28:
Lunch: Leftover Tuna Salad with Grapes & Eggs on a bed of spinach
Dinner: Tuscan Chicken* with Marinated Mushroom Salad (From McCall's Family-Style Cookbook ) and Wartime Wednesday Oatmeal Bread.

Thursday 1/29:
Lunch: Leftovers - Meat Loaf Sandwich with Marinated Mushroom Salad
Dinner: Thrifty Thursday - Oven Baked Chicken Hash (From 1959 Good Housekeeping Cookbook) with Stracciatella*

Friday 1/30:
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Movie Night Out with Friends

Saturday 1/31:
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Baked Winter Squash Soup* with Julia's baguette

I'll be shopping tomorrow for a few things more than I wish to as the New Basics Cookbook's recipes I've selected call for a few items I wouldn't normally have on hand like fennel and green grapes. But, I still think I can keep the bill under $30.00 as I don't need any milk or half and half. Let's hope!

Cookbook Casting Call: Herbed Biscuits

Herb Biscuits
From the 1986 edition of the Betty Crocker's Cookbook

1/2 cup shortening, chilled (really needs to be shortening and not butter)
2 cups AP flour
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and herbs de Provence in large bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves sides of bowl and forms a shaggy dough ball.

Turn dough onto floured surface and quickly knead about 10 times and gather into loose ball. Pat dough out gently until it is about 1/2" thick. Cut with floured round cookie cutter. Place cut out biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet about 1" apart.

Bake until golden brown about 10 - 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and serve warm.