Category Archives: publication

Cooking Ahead & My Insane Day

Well, I started that marinara before anything else. Added onion and basil to it while sipping my first coffee. I need to add some garlic, but mostly it just needs to cook.

Start marinara cooking. 7:30 a.m.

A shower.

Prep a batch of stewed tomatoes, set aside to cool. Prep batches of herb mix, using up the basil.

Clean up.

About then, things should be opening, and off I go.

Post office:mail book to customer.

Chocolate shop: hopefully sell a tray of books. (opens at 9)

Antique store:drop/pull stock. (opens at 10)

Staples:  shredding, pick up clam shell and 1’ square boxes, tape, and cards.

Market 1: for eggs, amongst other things.

Market 2: for ice cream, bread, and coffee.

Home! (Somewhere in here: run dishwasher when it gets full. Unpack dishwasher. Start reloading when making casserole, as needed.)

Put away groceries.

Start eggs boiling for casserole.

Print file for day job.

Prep potatoes, tomatoes, onion, etc. for casserole.

Put casserole in oven.

Edit printout. Write email.

Put now finished/cooled marinara and stewed tomatoes in freezer.

Make salad, etc. as needed for dinner.

Eat dinner.

Clean up.


And it got more insane and less productive. I left my wallet/phone at home, so had to return to the house. The 2nd thing I needed to do was buy gas, because I was on reserve about 2 miles from home. I got here, but the car “burped” on the hill home…

I’m waiting for DH’s zoom meeting to end, so I can ask him if the gas in the gas can can be used in my car? It did.


Italian Potato Cheese Casserole from The Vegetarian Epicure, book 2

2 lb potatoes, 6t butter, 1/2t salt and more to taste, 1.5 lb ripe tomatoes, pepper to taste, 1.5t basil/crushed, 2/3 lb mozzarella, 6 eggs/hard boiled, 2/3C parsley/chopped, 2/3C Parmesan/grated.

Boil potatoes til just tender, drain, peel, and cut into fairly thick slices. Melt butter, pour 2T into bottom of large shallow casserole. Arrange potato slices on bottom of pan in one layer and salt them. Slice tomatoes, arrange on top of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and the crushed basil. Slice mozzarella in strips. Arrange strips on top of the tomatoes. Peel/coarsely chop eggs. Combine in a bowl with remaining butter, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Mix throughly. Spread evenly over cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake in preheated 350 degree oven, 25-30 minutes.

I’ve been making this so long I have all sorts of notes all over the page. The recipe specifies russet potatoes, I use whatever I have. I don’t always peel them. I don’t use as much butter. I use a butter wrapper to grease the bottom of the casserole and then melt 4T butter to go with the eggs. I only used 4 eggs this time. I made multiple layers because I was using up small potatoes. I don’t always use the parsley.

ORDER TO SAVE MONEY/TIME: Boil the eggs first, then the potatoes. I use filtered water, which I normally wouldn’t for eggs, but would for the potatoes. I do the eggs first…

This is a fall standard here. It’s economical when tomatoes are in season. I also make a potato-tomato soup and I’m interested in possibly making both up at the same time and then freezing them.

If I freeze this, I won’t include the eggs.

Searching for More Ideas to Waste Less

well, I did … and didn’t!

I have a favorite resource: Waste Less, Save Money! 2018, it’s a Meredith Special publication. Because of the times and the title’s date, I was hoping they’d done a 2019 issue. If they did, I can’t find it. I did find some other publications which are new to me, but since I only have titles, I can’t say whether they’ll be good resources, or not.

I use my original publication (pictured below) a lot. Our fave roasted veggie recipe, Garlicy Roasted Vegetables, is there. As are recipes for herb vinegarette , veggie stock, chicken stock, etc. I had many recipes for those things before but they were scattered through a range of books, notes, and printouts. It’s handy having them in one place.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

      • Food Waste Strategies
      • Swap This for That
      • Crop Wrangler (in-season veggies)
      • Rethink your Beans!
      • What to do with Cheese
      • Saving Scraps & Seconds
      • What to do with Herbs
      • See & Toss Salads
      • Use it Up!
      • One-Pan Dinners
      • What to do with Crackers
      • You Choose! Skillet Suppers
      • Meat Smarts
      • Max out your Freezer!
      • Tasty Freezer Stashes
      • What to do with Bananas
      • Baker’s Pantry
      • Everyday Bakes
      • Scrappy Dog Treats
      • Use-It-Up Ingredients Index
      • Recipe Index
      • Superstar Vinegar

One thing I love about this publication is the changeable/zipper recipes, for example, skillet suppers. It’s a stir fry, you pick 1) A denser vegetable, 2) A less-dense vegetable, 3) A sauce, 4) A topper, and 5) A splash-on.

I almost always have a combination of the listed veggies. Right now: sweet potatoes and celery from #1, asparagus and bell pepper from #2, I’d have to make their citrus sauce:  OJ, marmalade, soy sauce, and grated ginger. Also chopped almonds (I’d have to toast them) from #4, and soy sauce or sriracha from #5 (I’d put them on the table).

Given the oriental feel of this, I’d probably cook rice to go with. Add leafy green salad and jarred salad? There’s dinner!

So I just constructed our dinner menu, took what 5 minutes? Oriental veggies skillet, rice, green salad, jarred salad.

To do: prep veggies, cook pot of rice, make citrus sauce, and toast almonds. Since it’s about 7:40 a.m. as I type this, that should be easy.


You can see why this is one of my favorite cookbooks! I don’t need to buy anything, make substitutions or replacements, I can look at a recipe and use what I already have. I wish they’d do another volume! Yes, it was a $9.99 “magazine,” but in the 2 years I’ve had it, it has saved us how much? Likely more than its original cost.


Many years ago, when Marie Callender’s was only a SoCal restaurant, and fairly new, they had a steamed veggie plate we both loved. It was a highlight of getting to the big city and not cheap for college students like us. DH loved it. He thinks the roasted veggie recipe from this publication is better. Whether that’s genuine, flattery or a faulty memory, as it was long ago?

I’ll take it! 

magazine cover001

The roasted veggie recipe is denser veggies (potatoes, carrots, or parsnips*) onion, oil, acid (lemon juice or vinegar), garlic, salt, pepper, and softer veg (zucchini, summer squash, peppers, grape tomatoes, etc.) . There’s a note about adding fresh herbs, either woodier ones (thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.) or tender ones (parsley, basil, cilantro, etc.)  I have enough of any of that to make up a pan of this most of the time. Right now: potatoes, carrots, lemon, onion, garlic, peppers, sage or dill and parsley. (I’d probably make it with dill and parsley, as those are fresh AND fragile — the sage is struggling along in the garden, and will keep.)

*I usually add celery.

If you can find a copy of this, I absolutely recommend it!

J