Category Archives: Recipes

home cooking, chicken


This recipe originally came from the cookbook Bouquet Garni, a cookbook published by the alumnae of Mount Holyoke College in 1978. It is a collection of recipes from the alumnae and is full of delicious meal ideas. Parmesan Chicken has been a favorite for years, I love this recipe because you can mix up the crumb mixture and just keep it in your freezer. You can use just what you need for the number you are feeding. Once your chicken is defrosted you can put together a delicious meal very quickly. This recipe is good enough for company! The recipe says the crumb mixture is good on fish although I’ve only used it on chicken.

Parmesan Chicken

1-2 pounds of boneless chicken
½ cup butter
2 cups bread crumbs (seasoned work well too)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ cup chopped parsley
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika

Melt butter in a small pan. Combine remaining ingredients. Dip chicken in butter, then roll in crumb mixture and place in a shallow greased baking pan.

chicken, homemade

Chicken before baking.

bread crumbs, seasoning, prudent living

Seasoning mixture can be stored in the freezer.

Drizzle butter that is left over the chicken. Cover with foil.

aluminum foil, chicken

Foil Covered Chicken

Can refrigerate till ready to cook. Bake ½ hour at 350 degrees covered; uncover and continue baking for an additional ½ hour. Bake until the chicken is tender.

chicken, parmesan

Dinner's Ready!

Leftover crumbs store well in the freezer. Mixture can also be used on broiler-fryer chickens that have been cut up and skinned.

Several months ago I took part in a Raw Dairy Processing Class, the description of the class intrigued me, “Learn how to make delicious soft cheeses, yogurt and butter in your own kitchen! Get acquainted with using butter molds and adding herbs, or other flavors to your final product. With simple instruction and good quality raw milk, it is an easy and exciting activity adding delicious artisanal treats for any occasion.” The class was held on a farm where they raised cows, heritage turkeys, pigs and had large gardens. The house was off the grid yet you never would have known.

Learning to make yogurt was so much fun and very easy. I always thought you needed special equipment. Other than the culture you don’t need any special equipment and the yogurt you can make at home is so tasty! I purchased my yogurt culture from You do not need to use raw milk to make yogurt, you just do not want to use the ultra high pasteurized milk.

homemade yogurt

Only two ingredients needed.

Here are the simple directions. Pour ½ gallon of cold milk into a heavy stainless pot for heating. Heat the milk to 185 degrees and then hold it there for 10-20 minutes. This will prepare the whey proteins, which are largely responsible for the thickening of the yogurt body. Set the milk pot directly on the burner and begin heating with careful stirring to prevent the scorching of the milk. Cool the milk as quickly as possible to your target temperature for inoculating the yogurt (116 degrees F). When the milk reaches the proper temperature for inoculation, it is time to add the direct set yogurt culture. The culture will be a mix of Streptococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus bulgaricus plus and probiotic additions the culture may contain.

yogurt making, prudent living

Cool to 116 degrees F

temperature, yogurt, prudent living

Hold the mixture at 185 degrees.

Incubate the cultured milk for the required time. This can be done easily by pouring your cultured milk into containers and placing those containers inside an insulated cooler. Pour warm water (116 degrees F) into the cooler so that your container lids are just an inch or so above the water line. This “water bath” will maintain the temperature so that the appropriate bacteria will thrive and populate. The time of incubation is about 8-10 hours for most yogurt cultures. Place the yogurt in the refrigerator when the incubation is complete.

making yogurt, yogurt, prudent living

Cultured milk in cooler, water up to lids

yogurt, culture

Cultured milk was poured into two quart jars.

I inoculated my milk, poured it into glass jars and placed them into my cooler. I added the warm water, put the lid on the cooler and let it sit on the counter for 10 hours. Before going to bed I placed the yogurt in the fridge. In the morning I had two containers of plain yogurt ready to enjoy! I have always preferred flavored yogurt but I find this yogurt to be delicious. If you want, feel free to add fruit to flavor it yourself.

yogurt, homemade

Finished product.

This blog is linked to Frugal Tuesday Tip.

After making my first batch of laundry soap I decided to look into making our own liquid hand soap. We don’t go through it that quickly but I figured I should look into it as it might be cheaper to make some myself. To my surprise it is rather easy. I did a bit of online research and decided to give it a try.

This is all you need to make your own liquid hand soap:

homemade soap, liquid glycerin, prudent living

The ingredients for liquid hand soap.

Cheese grater
2 Tbsp of Liquid Glycerin (I didn’t have any on hand but a good friend gave me some)
One 8oz bar of soap
1 gallon of water

The first step is to grate the bar of soap.

handmade liquid handsoap, prudent living

Grate your bar of soap.

Fill a pot with 1 gallon of water and add the soap shavings.

Add 2 Tbsp of liquid glycerin to the pot and turn the heat to medium-high and stir until the soap dissolves. At this point it pretty much looks like soapy water.

liquid handsoap, prudent living

Looks like soapy water to me!

Leave it alone to cool for at least 10-12 hours. It begins to cloud up after 3-4 hours.

homemade liquid soap, prudent living

Water finally begins to cloud up.

After it has cooled completely, around 12 hours later it will thicken and look like liquid soap. If it is thicker than it should be you can take some beaters and blend it while adding just a bit of water until the consistency is more like liquid soap.

For the cost of a bar of soap and some liquid glycerin you now have a gallon of liquid hand soap. Now you can refill your bottles of liquid soap. In a cute dispenser this would make a great handmade gift!

homemade liquid hand soap, prudent living

Success, a gallon of liquid hand soap.


Eating healthier and making good choices – good goals for the New Year. I am really enjoying the book I received for Christmas called Eating Well in Season – the Farmers’ Market Cookbook. Now that our farmers’ market is re-opened after all the flood damage from Irene I can enjoy their wonderful produce. This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in the book. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

1 tsp olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into one inch pieces
¾ tsp salt
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp paprika
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup white wine
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium)
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped (about 8 cups)
1-15oz can cannellini beans rinsed

kale, tomatoes, beans, onions, pork

Ingredients for the soup.

Heat oil in a heavy Dutch oven. Add pork, sprinkle with salt and cook until no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs, leaving juices in the pot.

homemade soup, prudent pantry, prudent living

Cooking cubed pork.

Add onion to the pot and cook, stirring often until just beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Ad wine and tomatoes increase heat to high and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Add kale and stir until it wilts. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the kale is just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in beans, the reserved pork and any accumulated juices; simmer until the beans and pork are heated through, about 2 minutes.

beans, homemade soup

Beans ready to be added to the soup.

Serves 6.

homemade soup, kale, prudent living

Pork, bean and kale soup, delicious!


I learned two things this week and it’s only Tuesday. In Vermont you can return vodka bottles for a $.15 deposit and how to make vanilla extract! Having not bought many bottles of vodka I had no idea the bottles were returnable; you learn something new every day!

This week I started my first batch of homemade vanilla extract. It won’t be ready for a while as I do have to let it sit for four to six months. To start your own batch you will need:

A large jar (a gallon or less, depending on how much extract you plan to make)
Vodka (the inexpensive stuff is fine)
Vanilla Beans (which I ordered through Olive Nation)
Kitchen Shears

vanilla extract, vanilla beans

Vanilla Beans

Begin by cutting through each bean lengthwise, leaving about an inch at the top of each bean so they stay together.

homemade vanilla extract

Cut vanilla bean.

homemade vanilla extract, vanilla beans

Carefully cut each bean.










Place all your beans into your jar.

Fill the jar with vodka. Put the lid on and store in a dark place for 4-6 months. Occasionally check the jar out and give it a shake.

Vodka, vanilla beans, homemade vanilla extract

Pouring vodka into the jar.

vanilla beans, vodka, homemade vanila extract

Cut vanilla beans and vodka.










Once the time period has passed, strain out the vanilla beans using a coffee filter lined colander. Bottle the extract in dark amber bottles and you’re ready to give it as gifts and start cooking with it yourself!

1 gallon of vodka takes 80 vanilla beans
½ gallon of vodka (1.75L) takes 40 vanilla beans
1 quart of vodka takes 20 vanilla bean

homemade vanilla extract, frugal tip

Homemade Vanilla Extract in the works.

homemade vanilla extract, prudent pantry, frugal tip

Labeled jar ready for the pantry.



As we head toward the middle of the month my focus is on healthy recipes. For the next few weeks I will be sharing recipes that are better for us. The recipe today is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe I discovered years ago. It is actually an appetizer recipe but I have to admit I have never served it as an appetizer, rather I serve it with some brown rice and it makes an excellent dinner. Mix up a salad and you’ve got a well-rounded meal!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. The great thing is that you can mix it up ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. It reheats wonderfully in the microwave. This recipe can be halved. It makes about 16 appetizer servings or feeds 6 for dinner.

Asian Meatballs

Package of ground turkey (about 20oz)
1 green pepper, seeded and minced

green peppers, chopped vegetables

Minced green peppers.

vegetables, green peppers

I use my mini cuisinart to chop the vegetables.

8 scallions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs (sometimes I used seasoned)
4 Tbsp minced water chestnuts (almost the whole small can)

water chestnuts, canned vegetables

Water chestnuts

2 egg whites
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
½ cup sweet and sour sauce
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a nonstick jelly roll pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the turkey, pepper, scallions, bread crumbs, water chestnuts, egg whites and soy sauce.

ground turkey mixture, meatballs

Combine ingredients well.

ground turkey, bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients except applesauce and sweet and sour sauce.


Shape into meatballs, about 1” in diameter ( I make them slightly larger when serving this for dinner). Place on the pan and bake until cooked through and browned about 15-25 minutes.

turkey meatballs, asian meatballs

Form into meatballs, place on pan.

Meanwhile in a 2-quart microwavable dish, combine the sweet and sour sauce and applesauce; microwave on high until hot and bubbly, 2 minutes.

applesauce, sweet and sour sauce, homemade

Sauce mixture

applesauce, prudent pantry, sweet and sour sauce

Sauce ingredients.

Stir in the meatballs and serve with toothpicks. When I make this for dinner, I place the meatballs in my casserole and pour the sauce over. When ready to serve I heat it briefly in the microwave until hot and bubbly, then serve over rice.

meatballs, brown rice

Asian meatballs served on brown rice.

asian meatballs, meatballs, homemade

Cooked meatballs.








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