This weekend we're making pasta. My family is coming here for Easter dinner and I decided that I wanted to serve a pasta meal with homemade pasta. Next weekend we'll have the grandkids here so there will be no time to make fresh pasta then, so we'll have to do it this weekend.
Many years ago, my mom and her sister Vivian had a noodle making business. They supplied noodles to several restaurants in town, as well as angel food cakes made with the egg whites. The noodles were made with egg yolks and flour only...no water...no whites! They were golden, delicious-ness!! They had a thriving business for a long time. That was before all the food regulations that limit what you can make and sell from your home.
Noodle making days started with the purchase of eggs from a local chicken farmer. They would buy a crate of eggs, which I think, is 12 'flats' of eggs each containing 2 1/2 dozen...you do the math. That's a lot of eggs to crack and seperate one at a time. There would be gallons of egg whites with which to make cakes when they were done. Then the work of combining yolks and flour which they did entirely by hand, kneading in the flour until the dough was quite heavy. It was hard work! I know, because years later, Richard and I did the same thing for a while. We never had trouble selling the noodles, in fact, we could hardly produce enough! We even looked into buying a commercial mixer to make it easier, but at the same time, the regulations for food production was changing and it would have required us to have a home inspection.
If you've never looked into that it's quite dauting. You must have screens on every windown, no animals in the house, certain type of kitchen appliances, and the list goes on and on. Basically, they don't want a lot of little mom and pop businesses out there that they have to send inspectors to. So, at that point, we quit making the noodles and selling them.
But, this weekend, we are going to make them for our own use. I have a Kitchen Aide stand mixer and I'll use that to mix the dough, which makes it so much easier. Then we'll roll the dough out with our handy, dandy, pasta machine! Next, you have to lay the noodles out to dry before bagging them up. Obviously, I've let out numerous steps in the process, but you get the picture. I'm planning on making some fresh ravioli also.
Yesterday, as we were planning our weekely menu, I said that we have enough food in the house at any moment to survive for a month without making any additional purchases other than maybe milk, eggs, and flour to make bread with. Richard said why not do that this week? Instead of your big shopping list, let's just cook from what we have on hand! So, we made our menu accordingly. Now, Cole, the 18 yr old that lives here was listening to this conversation and was not liking what he heard! What about pop? Snacks?
I told him instead of buying pop this week we would make ice tea, which he was okay with. Snacks, that's another thing. He seems to have a bottemless pit most of the time. As long as I have ramen noodles and mac n cheese on hand he said he can survive. So, that will be on the shopping list! So what's on our menu?
SLOW COOKER ENCHILDAS:I have corn tortillas in the fridge, dried beans I'll have to cook, and chopped hot peppers and corn in the freezer. I'll make enchilada sauce from scratch, and we have shredded cheddar cheese in the fridge which we purchase in bulk from GFS at $1.00 a pound, and freeze in single use freezer bags.
KUNG PAO CHICKEN: We buy chicken breast when it's on sale and I freeze individual breasts so I have that in the freezer to use along with frozen pea pods from the garden. I'll serve it over Mexicana Bulghar which is also in the pantry.
CHICKEN SOUP WITH CORN MEAL DUMPLINGS: Again, chicken in the freezer, along with carrots, celery, and onions which I always have on hand. The dumplings are a new recipe I want to try and have the ingredients in the pantry. I might add some of my canned pickled beets.
TOMATO BASIL SOUP AND GRILLED CHEESE: Canned tomato juice from our garden with frozen basil cubes in the freezer...also from the garden, and there are always cheese slices in the fridge for the teenager. I'll have to make homemade bread for the sandwiches, but I'll be making it for our toast anyway. We'll have pickled green beans on the side..also canned from last year's garden.
HOMEMADE PIZZA: Cheese in the freezer, chopped peppers in the freezer, canned marinara sauce in the pantry from the garden. One exception here is that Cole said he would NOT eat the pizza if there wasn't any pepperoni on it so we are going to buy that. I think I'm also going to buy mushrooms because we all like them so much. If I have a can of black olives on the shelf I'll add those and I forgot to mention that we'll spread the crusts with our homemade pesto that is in the freezer! Delicious!!
SO, there is our menu for the week using what we have on hand. My grocery list consists of milk, eggs, butter, salt, flour, pepperoni, mac n cheese, ramen noodles, mustard, mushrooms and possibly lettuce. After spending almost $100 the last three weeks in a row it will be a nice break!
I guess our Meatless Monday will be the enchiladas. I would also make the pizza meatless except for the protests of my son! Oh, yes, I guess the tomato soup and grilled cheese is also a meatless meal, and the two chicken meals, while they feature meat, I'll use it sparingly, featuring the vegetables instead. I will make my pizza crusts using whole wheat and cut back the cheese amount in the enchilada casserole to make them healthier. Veggies, veggies, veggies...as many as I can fit it wherever I can!
My garden seeds are growing and planting season will soon be upon us. I was thinking the other day that we need to use up our canned and frozen garden items because before long it will all cycle again and I'll want to can fresh veggies. I like to use up what I can year to year, but I did so much canning last year, that I may be able to cut back what I can this year to use up last years bounty. That will mean I'll have more to give away, which is always fun to do. People love getting fresh produce.
I'll post pictures of the noodle making after the work is done.