As I see it, we are all struggling in one way or another, whether it is through layoffs, under-employment, rising higher gas prices or the cost of groceries.
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Even if you are well off or living comfortably, I'm sure you can still feel the economy tightening its grip on your way of life.
So, I'm going to spend some time this January and February on frugal one-pot meals and dishes to give you ideas to liven up your meals without draining your wallets.
As my instructors at the Culinary Institute of America told me, recipes are guidelines, please feel free to add or change ingredients to better suit your style of cooking.
Best of all, enjoy what you create and spend time in the kitchen creating meals that will bring people to the table. Turn off the cell phones, put away the i-whatevers, and turn off the TV, and spend some quality time breaking bread around the table.
— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced
5 mini sweet baby peppers, seeded and sliced
1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1 shallot, cleaned and sliced
6 ounce feta or goat cheese
2 ounces chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
6 jumbo eggs
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, or 375 degrees for a convection oven.
Add a light coating of olive oil to a 12-inch cast iron deep skillet. Cast iron heats evenly to completely cook eggs. Spread tomatoes, peppers, olives and shallot evenly around the pan. Crumble in feta or chunked goat cheese over the top and sprinkle on parsley and thyme.
In a separate bowl beat together eggs, and a few liberal grinds of pepper and salt. Pour mixture over the ingredients in the pan, and place into preheated oven. Bake until golden brown on the edges and puffed, approximately 15 minutes.
When done, pull from oven and serve with a side salad or a fresh fruit salad.
Cook's note: If you do a side salad, use mixed field greens, or mesclun mix with light vinaigrette made from fresh lime or lemon juice blended with a good quality olive oil. (1/2 lemon to 1/3-cup oil).