German Pork Casserole or That Other Stroganoff

Done 2

Lacking a garnish I know…

My husband has never had the Oh So Delicious Pork Casserole thingy that I was introduced to when I was a 16 year old exchange student in Germany. Until now…

His description really hit it right on the nail. “It tastes like Stroganoff!” But with some differences. Like pork. And Spaetzle

My host mom made this dish for special occasions, like my host brother’s Confirmation celebration. The best thing about this dish, besides the noodles, everything else is thrown into a casserole dish and baked.  Not a lot to it.

The deal with the ingredients is this. There are several ingredients that, if your not in Germany or are not near any specialty stores, are hard to find. Schmand? Krauter FrischKase? Yeah, it’s not easy to translate either. Although FrischKase is basically a herb cream cheese. Schmand, well its like Sour Cream, but not.

recipe

Theres a few things I left out, Butter,Some italian herbs, Chives, boiled eggs…

My mom and I searched on the internet a long time and found a solution on how to get those ingredients without having to necessarily buy them. We found other ingredients and essentially made a similar substance.

If you can’t get Schmand and Krauter Frischkase try this: 18oz Cream Cheese (herbed preferably), 2 cups of cottage cheese (my mom blended this so it was smooth), combine these together until very smooth and fold in 1 cup heavy whipping cream. This will solve all Schmand Problems!

I didn’t follow my German Recipe to the T, I left a few things out, but still tastes just as good. This Feeds Four, if you count 1 porkchop per person. Or 2 for 2 per person.

Recipe Card

This is a very self explanatory, just do what the directions say.

Pork and proscuitto Mushrooms Schmand and Frishkase mixing together On top of onions cheese done

It’s a very hearty meal. Expect to be full!
ENJOY!

 

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Chili With Beans (dried beans, rehydrated)

Comfy cozy Dinner. Let’s face it people, it’s cold outside. Well, it is here in Germany. Winter is making it’s presence known this year, very early.

Chili

My favorite meal when it’s cold is Chili with Cheese accompanied with Corn Bread, drizzled with honey. Makes a girl happy.  See Next post for cornbread recipe.

Recipe Card

So remember to start soaking your beans the night before. I’m still iffy if my chili is going to be ready for dinner. (crossing fingers, I have been soaking them since yesterday afternoon).  They aren’t tender yet.

You can use canned beans the day of.  I am trying to limit my waste a bit more and save a buck.  Yes, I did use canned tomato sauce and tomatoes, but I am going for practical here.

stuff

I normally make my own chili spice, but seeing as I just recently came home, I still need to do a pantry/spice cabinet inventory. (You can also use the pre-made packages)

There are no rules on how you put this together, I usually start throwing things into the crock pot. Beans, Meat and Onion.

meat and onions adding things 2 adding things

Adding spices, tomato stuff, and then water.

slowcooker

See my giant transformer (the silver box) it powers my mixer and sometimes my slow cooker. Hulking thing.

See, what a girls gotta do when you live in Germany and have American Appliances:

Cook on High til those beans are tender, fork tender.  I will update this post with a photo once it does finish. Don’t forget my following post for corn bread that goes with the chili. If you have honey set that on the table. Don’t forget the cheese and cracker for the chili. What do you top on your chili?

Take the leftover chili, put into freezable container, allowing the chili cool time before actually putting it in the freezer. This recipe makes more than enough for two people. So I take the extra and freeze it, for another day when I don’t want to cook. It’s all about being thrifty and practical.

Pumpkin Cookies (Self-Rising Flour)

So the title tells it all. This recipe I adapted against the one I normally use, which uses All-Purpose Flour. My in-laws live in the south, they use more Self-Rising Flour than they do All-Purpose. The difference is (this is if you don’t bake and have no idea the difference…FYI) Self Rising flour has baking powder (a leavening agent), and salt added to it before packaging. All-Purpose Flour does not. A recipe that calls for All Purpose should have a leavening agent such as Baking Powder,or Baking Soda. I am saying should…there are other types of leaven-er and depending on what recipe you are using, it may call for some other ingredient.

So I adapted this specifically for my Mother-in-Law Teresa. apparently they really hadn’t eaten Pumpkin cookies until I introduced them to it last year. She has been asking me to give her the recipe and make her some. After looking at my recipe, I realized I should see if I could work a recipe with self rising flour instead of the all-purpose.

Recipe-Pumpkin cookies

 

Drop by teaspoonfulls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.  15 minutes.

Add Chocolate Chips, Nuts, Raisins ETC (Optional) I recommend the chocolate chips.

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Very Simple, No need for a mixer, this can all be done by hand, and very quickly.

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A Baking scoop from pampered chef comes in real handy for cookies like this. Mine Broke. (reminds me I need to order a new one)

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Transfer to wire rack, shortly after pulling from the oven. Keep them in a ziplock, or sealed container to maintain freshness.

Tell me how this recipe works out for you. When I get back to Germany, I will post the other recipe using All-Purpose flour for those who would prefer that method.

 

 

Meal Planning

I am preparing to go home. After 3 1/2 months of spending time with my family and my in-laws. I am in a military family. My husband is Active Army. We are stationed in Germany. With the government shut down, it has put a strangle-hold on most military, DOD families and those furloughed with their finances. No one was really prepared. They gave us a warning about 2 weeks prior of the impending doom. Who is ever really prepared. Especially for us a young family who are trying to put money away for college for our 3 year old and some for an eventual vacation. It’s hard. Budgets are being slashed, one area in particular is whether we will be able to put food on the table for ourselves and families. I can tell you by taking small steps such as weekly/bi-weekly meal planning it can reduce expenses in your shopping cart.

Groceries are expensive. Milk, Meat, Vegetables are high. The Economy is on a slide, down hill.  We have to adjust our spending habits at the grocery store. Not buying that box of Little Debbie‘s is going to make a difference. Sticking to a meal plan at least for Dinner will help immensely. I found the above template on Organizedhome.com  which their motto is: Clean House, Cut Clutter, Get Organized at Home!

The Kitchen and the shopping budget need organization just like cupboards and your book shelves need some semblance of organization.   Clean your budget, cut out the things you don’t need (but want).

This template helps by first of all be helping you decide what you are going to eat before the day of, having all the ingredients, by attaching recipes, comparing the recipes with what you have in your cupboard, making a shopping list, looking at the sales, Being thrifty and USING COUPONS. OH MY GOD I used the word COUPON. It isn’t a distasteful thing. Most people have a bad taste in their mouth from watching Extreme Couponers. Repeat after me: You are only using coupons to assist with your shopping budget.  You are not going to buy 49 bottles of ketchup so that you can get so many dollars off.  The world of online couponing has also made it easier than ever, no more clipping if you so choose.  Realize what your needs are. Wants can only hinder your budget.  The occasional box of a Little Debbie’s wont hurt you, but don’t nickel and dime yourself.

Over the next few weeks I will be showing you how I,  personally utilize the above meal planner (WITH COUPONS) and how to get more bang for your buck. Including making the above meals and splitting some of it to freeze for later. websites such as organized home are great, they give fantastic tips on how to be prepared or prepare for slumps, by giving you tips on making many meals ahead and storing them, http://organizedhome.com/freezer-cooking/guide-once-month-cooking

Guides like these can assist you greatly. The internet is a vast space of knowledge, use it to your advantage.   Thanks reading my spiel.  I only hope you take a little from this.

I will be adding further tips throughout the next few weeks via my Facebook page:

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Apron Strings: Cooking Tips and Advice

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to message me via blog press, Facebook, or tumblr.

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