Cookbook Review

About the Author
    Tawra Jean Kellam wrote Not Just Beans in an effort to fill a need that she discovered through her contacts with a variety of people who frequent frugal bulletin boards on the Internet. In addition to cooking, she enjoys developing new and creative ways to save money and reduce personal debt. And, to emphasize that she is an author who practices what she preaches, Tawra feeds her family of four on just $125 a month!
About the Cookbook
    Not Just Beans is so much more than a cookbook. Designed with the frugal cook in mind, it presents over 540 recipes and 400 money-saving tips to help everyone from the beginner to the experienced cook feed a family without breaking the bank. By covering all the steps from visiting the grocery store to using leftovers to your advantage, this book is a great resource for anyone who's interested in reducing their monthly food expenditures without sacrificing taste and nutrition.

    Presented as a convenient soft cover spiral book, Not Just Beans offers a delightful blend of humor, useful household and kitchen tips and light-hearted characters throughout the book to entertain and inform. It takes the drudgery out of tightening your food budget and making economical decisions in your grocery store. The book begins with a crash course in the basics of frugal cooking. Everything from careful meal planning to tips on freezing leftovers to saving money on herbs is covered in this brief, but intense treatment on the essence of frugal living. Following the information on frugal cooking are the recipes, divided into easy-to-follow chapters. Each chapter begins with a page of tips on how to save time, money and effort when cooking the recipes included in the chapter. The recipes are then presented in a simple format with words of wit and wisdom sprinkled in to help with cooking and lend a smile as you browse.

    The recipes in this book serve between four and six people, with the vast majority serving four. It is geared towards family dining, although there are dishes that are presented as "company fare" and most of the recipes are easily doubled or halved. The directions provided are easy to follow and, in most cases, are perfect for using when children are involved in the kitchen. Periodically, suggestions for freezing and other uses are also provided.

    To give you some ideas about the range of recipes included in Not Just Beans, here is the Table of Contents:

    1. Breakfast
    2. Breads
    3. Soups and Sandwiches
    4. Beans and Vegetables
    5. Pickles, Dressings And Salads
    6. Pasta, Rice, Side Dishes
    7. Meats and Main Dishes
    8. Cakes, Pies and Fillings
    9. Desserts
    10. Candies
    11. Sauces
    12. Beverages
    13. Jar Mixes
    14. Miscellaneous
    15. Kids
    16. Substitutions, Herb Guide, Conversions

    For those who are interested in trying a few recipes from Not Just Beans, the author has given Seasoned Cooking permission to reprint the following recipes for your testing and enjoying purposes!

      Maidrites

      • 6 lbs. ground beef
      • 8 slices bread, cubed
      • 3 cups milk
      • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
      • 4 eggs
      • onion powder (to taste) or 1 cup chopped onion
      • salt (to taste)

      Mix ingredients together. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1/2 hour to 1 hour (until done). Stir frequently. Serve on hamburger buns or bread as with Sloppy Joes. You can halve the recipe and it freezes very well.

      Green Chile

      • 1/2-1 lb. pork roast, or chops cubed into small pieces
      • 10 1/2 oz. chicken broth
      • 1 onion, finely chopped
      • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
      • 1 can (7 oz.) green chiles, diced
      • 1/4 jalapeno, finely chopped
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 2 Tbsp. flour, dissolved in water
      • flour tortillas
      Toppings:
      • cheddar cheese, grated
      • lettuce, shredded
      • tomato
      • sour cream

      Simmer pork in broth on low for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except flour and simmer 45 minutes. Thicken with flour so it is like a thick soup. Spoon about 1/4 cup into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up tortilla and top with more green chile. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Top with sour cream if desired. This green chile freezes really well.

      Fried Green Tomatoes

      • 2 qts. water
      • 2 Tbsp. salt
      • 4-6 medium unpeeled green tomatoes, sliced
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
      • salt (to taste)

      In a mixing bowl, mix salt and water. Soak sliced tomatoes in salt water mixture for 30-40 minutes. Drain and drop slices a few at time into a bag in which you have placed the flour. Shake thoroughly to coat. Heat the oil in a large skillet and carefully place the slices into the hot oil. Brown until crisp on both sides. Salt to taste. You can also use squash, zucchini or eggplant in place of or with the green tomatoes.

      Breakfast Puffs

      • 2 cups baking mix
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
      • 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 1 egg
      • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
      • 2/3 cup sugar
      • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

      Heat oven to 400°. Grease 24 mini muffin cups. Mix baking mix, sugar, nutmeg, margarine, milk and egg. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 10 minutes. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Quickly roll the puffs in melted margarine, then in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Makes 24 puffs.

      Lemon Bars

      Crust:
      • 2 cups flour
      • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
      • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
      Filling:
      • 4 eggs, well beaten
      • 2 cups granulated sugar
      • 1/3 cup lemon juice (1 lemon)
      • 1/4 cup flour
      • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

      Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all the crust ingredients in a bowl. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Make sure the edges are higher than the center to contain the filling. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until it begins to brown. Combine, eggs, sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Stir in flour and baking powder. Pour into baked crust and bake 20 minutes at 350°. Bars are done when they are firm to the touch. Cut into small squares and dust with powdered sugar. These bars are extremely rich, so cut into small pieces.

    These are just a few of the delightful recipes that await the readers of Not Just Beans. Well worth it for the recipes alone, the tips and hints about how to trim your food budget make it a must-have addition to your kitchen.

Where to Buy
    If you are interested in purchasing Not Just Beans by Tawra Jean Kellam, you can buy it online right now by clicking here. The publisher's list price for the cookbook is $14.95.

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