Looking for ways to save money at the holiday season? How about giving gifts specially made in your kitchen? My kids' 4-H Club made several of these gift items for a holiday project a few years ago.
The following recipes are for various mixes that you can give for special treats, and even for whole meals. Just nestle all the ingredients that go together in a basket, and decorate! Maybe include a small kitchen utensil, a dishtowel, or a festive ornament.
For the following mix gifts, include a typed, handwritten or calligraphied label with preparation instructions.Winter Solstice Tea Mix
Label: Put 1 to 2 teaspoons into a cup or mug. Fill with boiling water and stir for a wonderful Winter's day treat.Corn Bread Mix
Sift ingredients together and put into a bag.
Label: Put dry ingredients into mixing bowl. In small bowl, combine 1 cup water, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup oil. Stir into dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a well-buttered pie plate. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden.Chili
Combine spices and put into a small bag.
Include in your gift basket:
Label: Wash beans. Put into pot with spices. Cook until done, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, brown 1 lb. ground beef (if desired), and drain. Add meat to the beans with the tomatoes and sauce. Simmer to blend flavors. Serve with Chili Corn Bread, if desired.
For: Chili Corn Bread - Include in the package with the Corn Bread Mix, 1 small can whole kernel corn and 1 small can diced green chilis (not the hot kind). Stir the well-drained corn and chilis into the corn bread just before baking. Bake in a well- buttered 8" square pan at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
Combine spices in a small bag. 1 1/2 cups white rice in a separate package.
Label: Wash beans. Put in pot with seasonings. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and cover beans with 2" water. Bring to boil and simmer until very well done (about 2 hours). Beans should be very soft. Add water as needed to keep beans from sticking. There should be some liquid left on beans when done. To cook rice, put 3 cup water and 1 tsp. salt into a pot and when it boils, add rice. Lower heat, cover and steam for 20 minutes. Serve about 1/2 cup rice in bowl, and put beans on the top. Sprinkle with minced cilantro, finely chopped green onion, and a squeeze of lime juice. This is very healthy. It has almost no fat, and is mainly from the bottom of the food pyramid.
Cajun Red Beans and Rice
Combine seasonings in a small bag. 1 1/2 cups white rice in a separate packet.
Label: Wash beans, put into pot with spices and 1/2 to 1 lb. pork neck bones, smoked. Cook until beans are well done and meat falls from bones. Take out bones, and shred meat into small pieces. Serve in large bowl with cooked white rice on bottom. Garnish with finely minced green onion, and pass bottle of hot sauce. To cook rice: Bring 3 cup water and 1 tsp. salt to boil. Add rice, cover and steam for 20 minutes.
Serve this dish with Cornmeal Pancakes. Use Corn Bread Mix, but add 1 1/2 cups water instead of just 1 cup. Make small, thick pancakes in a greased skillet, and serve with the beans and rice.
Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: a practical guide for saving your time, money and sanity. She also edits the Simple Times email newsletter. To subscribe, visit Debi online at: thesimplemom.wordpress.com
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