Tag Archives: easy recipe

Brown Bag Tuesday: Broiled Salmon and Butternut Squash Risotto

Eating on a budget is anything but boring! Brown Bag Tuesday is a weekly peek into my lunch bag to see that saving time, money, and energy still means getting to enjoy real food. Share this effort and treat yourself to a fabulous lunch from home today!

broiled salmon with butternut squash risotto

This Tuesday’s lunch is broiled salmon with butternut squash risotto. Cooking the salmon in less than 15 minutes makes up for the fact that the risotto took about an hour and a half (worth it)! I’ll share the risotto recipe this Thursday along with the secret ingredient that makes it the perfect fall dish.

frugal simple brown bag lunch

Summer Treats: Homemade Marshmallows

You have not had a truly phenomenal S’more until you have had one made with a homemade marshmallow. Yes, you can indeed make marshmallows at home, and yes, it’s incredibly easy! Homemade marshmallows are fluffy, delicate little things that are a simple way to add something special to the end of a summer grilling session. They crisp and begin to melt much faster than store-bought marshmallows, which tend to be somewhat dried out even at their best. My favorite part of the process is cleaning the excess marshmallow fluff (unset marshmallow) from the bowl with a piece of dark chocolate. Heaven!

My original plan was to make vanilla bean marshmallows. While I remembered the seeds from the vanilla bean, I forgot to add the vanilla extract- a costly mistake! The plain marshmallows still tasted fantastic, so that’s the recipe I’ll be sharing here.

Homemade MarshmallowsDepends on cut, at least 24 large marshmallows
Adapted from Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa

Prep time: 25 minutes + leaving marshmallows to set overnight
Cook time: 8 minutes

3 packages unflavored gelatin (there are 4 in the Knox brand boxes)
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar to line the pan and dust, appx. 3/4 cup

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water and allow to sit.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you are not using a candy thermometer, watch the syrup carefully. To test for doneness, drop a small spoonful of the syrup into a cup of cold water. If syrup forms a soft blob, it is ready. If it drizzles and hardens in a stream, let it continue to cook. (Thanks Yahoo Answers for this tip! Worked like a charm.) Remove from the heat when ready.

Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and turn to low speed. Slowly pour syrup into the dissolved gelatin, then move the mixer to high speed. Whip until the mixture becomes very thick and turns bright white (approximately 8 minutes).

Dust a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish with confectioners’ sugar. Marshmallows will stick like crazy if you skimp on the sugar, so err on the side of having too much. Pour the marshmallow mixture (fluff!) into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with additional powdered sugar. Allow the pan to stand uncovered for at least six hours or overnight until the marshmallows have set and dried.

Cut marshmallows into even rectangles or use 1.5-2″ tall cookie cutters for special shapes. Dust individual marshmallows with additional powdered sugar so they will not stick together. Store, covered, at room temperature.

Use marshmallows in S’mores, melt them down to make marshmallow topping for ice cream sundaes, dip them in chocolate, or enjoy them plain. The delightful texture and taste are worth the dishes.

Fresh Salsa Verde

The first time I had a tomatillo was in my English class freshman year of college. One day, a classmate walked in with a package from a friend containing a tiny basket of ripe tomatillos. Her friend worked on a farm and had wanted to send her a taste of the fall harvest. She was generous enough to share, and to explain that you have to remove the husk. I popped one in my mouth and was delighted! Tomatillos smell earthy and sweet, and they have a sunny taste that’s perfect to usher in spring. Raw, they are crisp and tangy like a kiwi-tomato hybrid; roasted and made into salsa verde, they taste great as a dip or a sauce to spice up chicken or chili.

Salsa verde is a sauce that is cheap and quick to make. Tomatillos are fairly common, especially in markets located in neighborhoods with a larger Latino population. I bought mine at the produce market near where I work, which has a varied selection of ethnic food and some great exotic produce for much lower prices than you’d find at a chain. A 1.5 pound bag of tomatillos that I bought for $1.49 made about three pints of salsa. Husking the tomatillos is easy to do in ten minutes or so while talking to a friend.

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