So, earlier this week we were grocery shopping and I did something TOTALLY out of character: impulse buying. Well, sort of. I was doing a great job of sticking to my list, but then I came across the grapes, which I was intending to buy for snacking purposes. But they were $4 a pound. Seriously! So, they were a no go. However, they were right next door to this little display of 12oz bags of fresh cranberries. I like cranberry – so I bought a bag.
But then what to do with them? Rob really doesn’t love cranberry sauce, and I don’t know how to make it anyway. I should bake them into something. But what? A quick search turned up the idea that you can use them as a replacement for some of the apples in any recipe calling for apple. So I made a few alterations to a recipe in one of my favorite “cookbooks” – the Taste of Home Bread Bonanza (which is really just a magazine).
Flour – $0.30
Sugar – $0.30
Baking Powder – $0.10
Baking Soda – $0.10
Cinnamon – $0.05
Salt – Neg.
Eggs – $0.20
Sour Cream – $0.50
Butter – $0.40
Apples – $0.75
Cranberries – $0.75
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups diced peeled apples (I used a Johnagold – yes, just one – it was huge!)
3/4 cup whole fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. (I just put them all into the KitchenAid Mixer)
In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream, and butter. (Just rapid whisking)
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. (Turn the mixer on to STIR, let it mix up the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ones.)
Pour in diced apples and cranberries, stir in briefly.
Pour into greased muffin tins to 2/3 full.
Preheat oven to 400.
For topping, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Use pasty blender to cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonfull over each muffin.
Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (you may want to test this before 18 minutes, my oven temp is consistently low and 18 minutes was perfect for me.)
Cool 5 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield – 16 muffins (I actually got 21, but they were VERY randomly sized)
This is a quick and easy meal. Cheap? Not exactly … it costs quite a bit, but if you figure out the number of servings you get for the money, you do okay. This recipe is one I made up a number of years ago, and then found out that there are lots of other people who do it, as well. But I still claim that this one is MY recipe. This one gets an A for easy and a A- for taste from me. The reason is that I used too much (and too thin) pasta sauce and it ended up not sticking together when it was hot. I had to put it in the fridge overnight before I could take a successful photograph. But, you live and you learn – some recipes just don’t do as well with cheap ingredients. Still tasty, just not quite right.
This recipe will make 12 servings. Lots of leftovers. As you can see, its a little pricey, but its cost per serving is relatively low.
Raviolis – 2 x $4.99 = $9.98
Pasta Sauce – 2 x $0.85 = $1.70
Mozzarella Cheese – 1 x $1.99 = $1.99
Spices – $0.15
2 Small or 1 large bag Frozen Ravioli
2 16 oz cans generic spaghetti sauce (you can probably get away with MUCH less sauce than this)
1 bag shredded mozzarella, pizza, or italian cheese
Onion Powder to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Oregano to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
In the bottom of a 13×9 pan, spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce.
Next, place frozen raviolis on pan so that the bottom is completely (or as close as you can come) covered.
Spread a THIN layer of spaghetti sauce over the raviolis (don’t make my mistake of adding WAY too much sauce)
Sprinkle cheese over the spaghetti sauce.
Repeat the layers – ravioli, sauce, cheese – until your pan is full or you run out of ravioli. I can usually fit three layers.
Sprinkle spices over top of final layer.
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Let stand on stovetop about 5-10 minutes before serving.