The last week of the month was always very tight and often times there were no funds left. That is when I had to get in the pantry and refrigerator and try to make something from nothing.
Now I do it to get rid of the old stuff hanging around before I make my first-of-the-month four-hour trip to H-E-B to replenish, which is also a habit from shopping the day after payday.
I don’t want to put new on top of old in canisters and the like and my vegetable/fruit bins need to be emptied out or the old stuff will get buried in the refrigerator.
So from the last two frozen hamburger patties in the box, the last onion and a few single cans, I made this chili bean soup. From the last of the rice in the canister, the left-overs from baked potato night and the jalapenos I never used, I made this jalapeno rice. From the last two old bananas and a bit of remaining cream cheese, I made this banana pound cake.
One thing I hate about other banana breads and cakes made with overripe bananas is that they taste like overripe bananas. This cake has a just a very light banana undertone.
So get in there and get creative with those items left behind in your pantry and fridge and see what you come up with. Don’t be timid!
Oh, now I see some fresh cherries just sitting there. I think I’ll try to make them into cherry kolaches. I’ll put that recipe in next week if they turn out.
Chili Bean Soup
• 1 1-lb. bag pinto beans
• 8 cups water (approx.)
• 1-2 tsp. salt
• 1 slice bacon, chopped
• 2 tsp. dried minced garlic
• 2 frozen hamburger patties, thawed (or 1/2 lb. ground beef)
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
• 1 can enchilada sauce
• Wash the beans and check for mud and stones.
• Put beans in a large crock pot and fill with water so it comes within two inches from the top.
• Add bacon, salt and garlic.
• Cook on high for 2 hours.
• Break up the hamburger patties and fry with the onion.
• When beans start to get soft, add the cooked hamburger and the remaining ingredients and cook until the beans are tender, approximately another 2 hours.
Cook’s notes: My Hill Country brand of beans had lots of stones and mud, so I won’t be buying that brand again. Their beans also seemed to be extra hard and they took longer to cook than other brands, never getting to that fall-apart soft stage.
I whirl my onion and my tomatoes in my mini-food processor so Bil won’t see the vegetables. This soup was seasoned enough for him, but when I served it to myself, I added some chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to my bowl. So if you like it spicier, season it up with those spices while it is still cooking.
• 1 1/3 cups raw rice
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 2 2/3 cups water
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 cup chopped green onions (both white and green parts)
• 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded, deveined and chopped
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
• 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar or Colby cheese
• salt to taste
• In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the rice.
• Cook a bit until the rice starts to turn a very light brown, then add the water and salt, cover the pan and cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes.
• Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl to cool a bit while you chop up the onions and peppers.
• Add those to the bowl along with the sour cream and cheese.
• Transfer the mixture to a buttered dish that has a lid.
• Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted.
• Good as a side to baked chicken.
Banana Pound Cake
(I sure used a lot of other ingredients just to get rid of two bananas! This cake was even better the next day.)
• 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
• 3 cups sugar
• 5 large eggs, room temperature
• 2 medium-sized very ripe bananas, mashed
• 3 tbsp. milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 3 cups flour
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• Preheat oven to 350.
• In a large bowl or stand-mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
• Beat for several minutes.
• Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated. (It is important that the eggs be room temperature or the butter will harden up again.)
• Combine the bananas, milk and vanilla.
• Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
• Add banana mixture and flour mixture alternately into the batter, ending with flour.
• Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan (not a Bundt pan).
• Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until a cake-tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
• Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.
• With a thin knife, cut around the tube and sides of the pan to loosen the cake.
• Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
• Dust with powdered sugar or go overboard and top with cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
• 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
• ½ stick butter, room temperature
• 3 tbsp. half & half
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• Beat the butter and cream cheese together until it is smooth.
• Add remaining ingredients and beat well (or throw everything into a food processor and let it whirl until mixed).
• Consistency should be thick but creamy and spreadable. If using a whole 8-oz. block of cream cheese, add a bit more milk and powdered sugar.
Cook’s notes: I frosted just the top half of the cake and decorated with pecan halves.