Penny Pinching Pantry Raid: Days 3 and 4

Tuesday, July 6th
Breakfast: both Jeremy and I had Cherrios with a handful of fresh raspberries, milk and coffee/cream.
Lunch: I had leftover boiled new potatoes and a salad with cucumbers and feta cheese and water. I keep a bottle of salad dressing in the “community” fridge at work. The salad greens are from my cold frame–which I am loving, by the way. I packed for Jeremy a PB/blackberry jam sandwich, cucumber, cereal bar, a bottle of green tea, 1 oz of almonds, and 1 cup of watermelon.
Snacks: I had a cup of Oikos yogart, 1 cup of watermelon and 1 oz. of almonds.
Dinner: Bitokes a la Russe and green beans canned last year by my MIL.

In case you’re wondering what Bitokes a la Russe are, here’s the recipe. Basically, hamburgers… fancy French hamburgers with cream sauce.

Bitokes a la Russe (p. 302 from Mastering the Art of French Cooking — slightly modified)

3/4 cup of finely minced yellow onions
2 Tb butter
1 1/2 lbs of lean, ground beef (I use ground venison.)
2 Tb softened butter, ground beef suet, beef marrow or fresh pork fat
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp thyme
1 egg (I didn’t have an egg, so I used 2 Tb skim milk).
1/2 cup flour on a plate
1 Tb butter and 1 Tb oil

Cook the onions slowly in the butter for about 10 minutes until tender, but not browned. Place in a mixing bowl. Add the beef, butter or fat, seasonings, and egg to the onions in the mixing bowl and blend throughly. Correct seasoning. Form into 6 even balls. Just before sauteing, roll the beef in flour and pat into patties. Place the butter and oil in a skllet and set over high heat. When you see the butter foam begin to subside, saute the patties for 6 to 8 minutes or more on each side (or if using beef, 2 to 3 minutes for rare, and longer depending on how done you like hamburgers. I ALWAYS make sure ground venison is well done, just to be safe.)

For the cream sauce:

1/4 cup of stock or beef bouillon (I used veg stock)
2/3 cup of whipping cream
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
a few drops of lemon juice
2 to 3 Tb softened butter
2 Tb green herbs chopped

After sauteing the patties, pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the stock and boil it down rapidly, scraping up the coagulated cooking juices, until reduced to almost a syrup. Pour in the cream and boil down rapidly for a minute or two until it is reduced, and thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and drops of lemon juice. Off heat, swirl in the butter by half-tablespoons until absorbed. Stir in herbs. Spoon over patties and serve.

I’ve made these before, and it’s actually a really good way to use ground venison–something I am always looking for. In my last post, I forgot to include the half of a seedless watermelon Jeremy’s dad sent home with us on Sunday. Fruit for our lunches this week–check!

On Monday evening, I had to go back to the grocery store because I forgot to get vegetable juice for chili Wednesday evening. I dropped another $2.29.

Wednesday, July 7th
Breakfast: I had oatmeal with fresh raspberries and milk, and coffee/cream. Jeremy had a breakfast Hot Pocket and coffee/cream.
Lunch: I had leftover green beens and hamburgers and water. A coworker also brought in some cantelope that was off the chain. I ate some of that. I packed for Jeremy a PB/jam sandwich, 1 cup of watermelon, 1 oz almonds, a bottle of green tea, half a cucumber, and a cereal bar.
Dinner: Chili and crackers and water for both of us. Ideally, I would make Mexican cornbread, but I’m not getting my eggs until tomorrow. We picked our first two peppers out of the garden Tuesday night, and I chopped one up and added it to the chili.
Snacks: I had a cup of Oikos yogart, a cup of watermelon and 1 oz of almonds.

I also placed my monthly (or semi-monthly) order with the Monroe Farm Market on Tuesday morning. 1 pound beef bones, 2 packages of boneless skinless chicken breast, 3 2-lb. bags of hamburger, 2 dozen eggs and $31.00 later. The hamburger and one package of chicken breasts are for Jeremy’s birthday cookout–which has a seperate $25 limit for the Pantry Raid. More on that later.

Total remaining: $34.91.
Special occassion total remaining: $8.25… this is going to be tough.

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