Whole Grain Meals in Minutes for Pennies
by Rita Bingham
Basic foods with basic flavorings and seasonings produce amazingly GOOD basic meals! Using nutritious whole foods to create simple meals promotes good health, saves time in the kitchen, decreases dollars spent on food, and improves overall health.
Wheat, the staff of life, is indeed a versatile grain. Used in appetizers, main dishes, salads and desserts, wheat adds flavor, texture and protein as well as many important vitamins and minerals. Fiber in the American diet is a popular subject these days, and whole wheat is one of the best tasting and easiest to use sources of fiber available.
Other basics to have on hand include:
- Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) to make 3-minute soups, 5-minute bean dips, to sprout (to eliminate gas!), to add to soups, salads, sandwich fillings, breads, cakes, cookies, and everything else you cook!
- Non-fat dry milk to make 3-minute cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese and many drinks, soups and sauces calling for fresh milk.
- Sweeteners, like honey, fruit juice concentrates, or pure maple syrup to use in all recipes calling for sweetener.
- Flavorings and seasonings such as vegetable or meat-based bouillon, liquid extracts or oils like coconut, cherry, mint, etc., fresh herbs and spices.
I know people who often spend $5 per box of breakfast cereal for their families (who usually consume 2 boxes per day, counting what is eaten for snacks). This is not only a tremendous strain on the budget, but "fast-food cereals" are also a tremendous strain on the body. Since they are made of empty calories (even though the package says "fortified with...", they cannot satisfy the body's need for good, wholesome whole grains. Refined foods take energy to digest while whole foods provide energy (as well as many important nutrients) during and after digestion.
One of our family favorites is a homemade version of Grape Nuts. It's fast, easy to make and so quick to disappear. Great with milk or yogurt and fresh or frozen fruits.
Honey Maple Nuts
- 3 c. wheat flour
- 1/2 c. dry milk powder
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 t. maple flavoring
- 1/4 c. melted honey
- 6 T. water
Mix dry ingredients. Using electric mixer or rotary egg beater, add maple flavoring, honey and only enough water to moisten. Mixture should be very fine, just like commercial Grape Nuts (NOT doughy). Spread on 2 or 3 baking sheets and bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Stir to break up granules and bake 5-10 minutes longer, until golden brown. Cool and store in air-tight container.
Seafood Salad Filling
- 1/2 c. diced green onions
- 1/4 c. catsup
- 1 diced tomato
- 1/2 c. diced green pepper
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise or yogurt
- One 6 1/2 oz. can drained tuna
- 2 c. cooked cracked wheat
- 1/2 c. diced celery
Cracked Wheat: Place 1 c. finely cracked wheat (sifted to remove all flour) in 1 3/4 c. warm water. Cook over high heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Cover pan, remove from heat and let sit 15 minutes. Wheat should have absorbed all the water and be tender, dry and fluffy. Makes 2 cups.
Using cooled wheat, mix all together. Serve in pita pockets, on toasted whole wheat bread or atop shredded lettuce. Serves 6.
Cracked Wheat Patties
- 2 c. cooked cracked wheat (see directions above)
- 2 T. dry milk powder
- 2 eggs or 2 egg whites
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 1 T. dried parsley
- 2 t. chicken or vegetable bouillon
Mix all ingredients. Drop by tablespoon onto oiled frying pan. Brown on both sides. Delicious hot or cold. These can be made into hamburger-size patties and served on a bun or topped with cheese. They freeze well and reheat well. Try the toaster! Serves 4.
Cracked Wheat Chinese
- 2 c. sliced celery
- 1 sliced green pepper
- 1 c. sliced mushrooms
- 1 lg. sliced onion
- 2 c. mung bean sprouts
- 2 c. sliced Napa cabbage
Simmer in 1/4 c. water until crispy-tender, about 5 min.
- 2 T. chicken bouillon
- 2 c. water
- 2 c. cooked cracked wheat
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 t. ginger
- dash garlic powder
Simmer 5 minutes, then add 3 T. cornstarch mixed with a little warm water. Stir until thickened. Serve over a combination of 1 c. cracked wheat and 1 c. brown rice, cooked together. Serves 4-6.
Chinese Seed Mix
- 1/4 c. whole wheat
- 1/4 c. brown rice
- 1 T. sesame seeds
- 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
- 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
Place seeds and grains, one type at a time in a heavy, hot, dry skillet which has been heated over medium-high heat. Stir as the seeds puff or pop, keeping seeds moving at all times. Mix all together. Season with the following, mixed together well and stirred in while still hot:
- 1/3 t. powdered ginger
- 1 t. chicken bouillon
- 1 T. soy sauce
If desired, add:
- 1 c. chinese noodles
- 1 c. freeze dried peas
For these and many other whole-grain basic recipes such as Honey Graham Crackers, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Carob Syrup, Pineapple-Orange Fruit Cubes, Quick Bean Salad, Creamy Vegetable Soup, Instant Pea Soup, Mini Wheat Loaves Mexicana and MORE, see Natural Meals In Minutes by Rita Bingham. Cookbooks with recipes you can count on to provide complete nutrition, and guaranteed to save you time and money! To order your copy for only $14.95 + $3.50 shipping and handling, call Natural Meals In Minutes on our Toll Free order line 888-232-6706. Inside Oklahoma (405) 359-1221.
Also in Family
- Frugal graduation gift ideas
- Inexpensive backyard play areas
- 3 tips to teach kids about money
- Contain veterinary costs for your pet
- Grocery items you can find on sale in April
- How to rein in a spending spouse
- Make your own baby food
- 4 free apps that help you save