My favorite Biblical passage about a Godly woman is Proverbs 31, for I've read that passage nearly every day for 30 plus years. From it, I've gleaned advice on being a better 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 up to date.
She is a working woman from her home, yet a strong Godly mother and wife. She uses her resources wisely. But one quality I love about this woman is that she plans her household meals—sound advice for any woman, modern or ancient. Thus, I can almost see the Proverbs 31 Lady approving of the two tricks I'm going to relay–TFC Freezer Bowl Soup and The Frugal Catholic Casserole.
Before we glean from the two below recipes, we should acquaint ourselves with this hard-working wife and mom. She prepares in advance as seen in Proverbs 31:14-15 (NRSVCE), which reads:
"She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls."
Freezer Bowl Soup in progress
1) Freezer Bowl Soup could have been one of The Proverbs 31 Woman's tricks, for if she rose at night, she would have had adequate time for the soup fixings to thaw, but then freezers were scarce around 700 B.C. Oh well. This soup, however, was one of the first frugal food tricks I learned on the way to becoming thrifty. You make meals and have a lot of ingredients remaining. 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 freezer container, and 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, cook for however long needed (crockpot for about 8 hours), and PRESTO ---home-made soup. Please do not include any leftover fish, broccoli, or cheese in the freezer bowl as they don’t work well: Too strong after frozen.
leftovers for The Frugal Catholic Casserole
2) The Frugal Catholic Casserole is another delicious concoction that anyone can make. Ask yourself some serious questions? What is lurking 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 (use a 9 inch by 13 inch one) and a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. To prepare, mix the first five ingredients, put them in the casserole dish, and add cheese and croutons (#6 and #7) in that order. This casserole takes approximately one hour to cook, and it is best made in the oven; the oven heat crisps the croutons (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 chopped onion. Like the potatoes, microwave 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 gluten intolerant.
Spices–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 a mutual arrangement before trying this at your home!
Cheese–Have some cheese with fuzz on it? Well cut off the disagreeable green, wash the hunk, grate it, and add to the casserole's top.
Croutons–Find some stale bread or chips that have lost their freshness. Rip them up and add them to the top of the casserole. If the butter is available, put dots of it around your home-made croutons.
Bake the casserole for one hour at 350 degrees; pour some wine and milk, have a family supper with very little expense, and don’t forget to give thanks before consuming. Always remember from WHOM it came.
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.