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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Frugal Compromises and a recipe

There was a time when it never would have even occurred to me to buy pie crust mix.

In fact, I would have turned up my nose and said, “Pie crust mix?  Surely you jest.  It’s just flour, salt and shortening, right?  What do you need a mix for?”

It’s amazing how much little things like having a potty training toddler, a hubby with 2 dinner meetings in one week, and soccer practice 4 nights a week during the dinner hour changes your perspective.

So I saw this mix in the store.  And it was on sale.  And I said, “Why not?”

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Fastest pie crust I ever made.  And no pastry cutter, measuring cups or other extras to wash.

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I didn’t intend to make pie.  I was thinking something to feed a family of 6.

038A couple of golden quiches.

With some veg (yup, it was frozen) and some bread (off the day-old rack) on the side, we had a full, well-rounded meal (and lunch leftovers for the next day) with minimal prep that wouldn’t take my attention off my family.

Now, I could have made the crust from scratch, this is true.

Or even made omelets instead of quiche (though omelets don’t have the advantage of being able to wait around for everyone to sit down to dinner and I didn’t know when everyone would be sitting down to dinner).

Or made a crustless quiche (not as filling, though).

I could have made the bread from scratch.

I could have purchased fresh produce and prepared it and cooked it.

And sometimes I do make those choices, both to save money and to share my love for good food with my family.

But this time I chose to save my time.  And to make something a little special.

I decided that the actual monetary expense was minimally more than preparing it from scratch, and I could afford it more than I could the time.

And it was nearly as good as from scratch.  I don’t think anyone could tell the crust was made from a mix.

The point is that sometimes frugality is a balancing act where you can make choices, not just based on how much something costs in coins, but also in terms of time and the relative good of the final product.  Sometimes we don’t have that luxury.  But sometimes we do.

And while buying the generic pasta that’s 20 cents cheaper might be a no-brainer (although it might not be if your store happens to double coupons, wink), to buy or not buy a “convenience” food isn’t always.

And I’ve learned to never say “never” (ok, I’m really still learning that).

Ok, I promised you a recipe.Winking smile

The inspiration for this recipe came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook’s recipe for Quiche Lorraine, I’ve changed just about all the amounts and ingredients, though.

Quiche

Pie crust for 2 pies

1 c. plain yogurt (I used homemade)

1 c. milk

6 eggs

1 8oz brick cheddar grated (I can do this in about 2 minutes)

seasoning as desired (salt and pepper and whatever else you want)

up to 1 c. finely chopped onion and bell pepper (I used what I had on hand)

whatever leftover cooked meats and veg you have, chopped up (I had some bacon and pepperoni), up to 1 c.

  1. Roll out your pie dough and put into 2 pie pans.  Line with foil and bake at 425 for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 2 minutes.  Remove from the oven and turn it down to 350.
  2. Sprinkle your onion, pepper, meat and veg and cheese into the bottoms of the pie crusts.   I did one with meat and one without since we would be having the leftovers on Friday.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add your yogurt, milk, and seasoning.  Mix up.  Pour into your pie crusts.
  4. Bake for 45-60 minutes.  Check them at 45 minutes.  They are done when they are golden brown and not wobbly.

Quiche is best served NOT piping hot, so these can cool a bit as you wait for your soccer players to arrive.

3 comments:

  1. Susan - you found a great balance. I would love to make everything from scratch as well, but you're right, sometimes the time spent together is more important than the time spent preparing the 'perfect' recipe!

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  2. Susan ~ I appreciate the reminder that our TIME is valuable as well. Quiche sounds yummy to me and something I just might try with my boys.

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  3. So true! You have to decide the best way to use your time and money. You will not find me hanging laundry to save some money and I no longer feel guilty about it!

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