Probably one of my favorite Biblical passages as a woman is Proverbs 31. I have read that passage nearly every day for about 30 years. From it, I have gleaned advice from the Proverbs 31 woman in our modern-day world. Even though written in King Solomon’s time (probably by his mother Bathsheba), the Proverbs 31 woman is quite hip and most modern. She is a working woman from her home yet a strong mother and wife. She uses her resources wisely. But one quality I love about this woman is that she plans her meals for her household. This is good advice for the busy progressive woman, and I can almost see her approving of the two tricks I am going to relay–Freezer Bowl Soup and The Frugal Catholic Casserole.
The first thing to do is to acquaint ourselves with this mom. She can be found in Proverbs 31:14-15 (RSV) The passage reads as follows, “She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens.”
Freezer Bowl Soup was one of the first food tricks I learned. You make meals and have a lot of ingredients left over. What do you do with all those bits and scraps of vegetables, meat, or broth? Do you toss them into the disposal, or do you put them to good use? If you want to reinvent them, get a plastic covered bowl and put it in the freezer. As you prepare meals, whatever is left over on the chopping block, toss into the freezer bowl–those scraps mentioned. When the bowl is full, put it in a pan or Crockpot–frozen and all–add some broth and some seasoning of whatever you have on hand, and presto–home-made soup. Do not include in the bow leftover fish, broccoli, or cheese as they don’t work well.
The Frugal Catholic Casserole is another delicious concoction that anyone can make. What is lurking around in your refrigerator? What is lying dormant in your freezer? The Frugal Catholic Casserole has seven ingredients in all. The only other items you need are a casserole dish (I use a 9 by 13 one) and a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. First, mix the first five ingredients together, put in the dish, and add cheese and croûtons, in that order. The casserole takes approximately one hour to cook. This casserole is best made in the oven for that crisps the croûtons (versus in a Crockpot). Listed below are the seven ingredients.
- Meat or protein–Check your freezer/refrigerator for some leftovers and chop them into chunks or even use the Crockpot on high for about 3 hours to cook frozen pieces of chicken or beef to add.
- Starch–This can be leftover rice or pasta or baked potatoes. If using fresh potatoes, chop and cook in the microwave until tender.
- Vegetables–Use anything around: frozen, leftovers, canned, or those dying vegetables in the refrigerator–you know, those carrots that go limp when you pick them up. Also, if you like the flavor, add a chopped onion. Like the potatoes, Imicrowave the diced onions so they will be tender.
- Sauce–This can be a canned soup with a bit of milk or water or some salad dressing, canned coconut milk, a can of diced tomatoes, but just something moist. Even some almond milk heated with a few tablespoons of cornstarch for thickening works too for those who are gluten intolerant.
- Spices–just grab whatever is available including something from your neighbor’s herb garden. I often snatch the rosemary growing by my neighbor’s fence. We have an agreement; so make sure you have such an agreement before trying this at home!
- Cheese–Have some cheese with some fuzz on it? Well cut off the disagreeable green, wash the hunk, grate it, and add to the top of the casserole.
- Croûtons–Find some stale bread or chips that have lost their freshness. Rip them up and add to the top.
Bake the casserole for one hour at 350 degrees; pour some wine and milk, and have a family supper with very little expense, and don’t forget to give thanks before consuming. Always remember where it came from and WHO gave it to you.