Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Appetizer - Sausage Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

The response to me starting The Frugal Poet was overwhelming. My sincere thanks to everyone for your kind words, for the poems and recipes you've sent. I will start a guest poet section soon, a place for you to share your frugal tips, tasty goodies and poems.

With one holiday behind us and another on the horizon there will be ample opportunity to attend pot lucks and parties. I pride myself on finding finger foods that folks enjoy. There's no greater feeling in the kitchen than preparing food that's been deemed a hit, something that's requested time and again. Sausage Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers is one such appealing food and does not have to be overpowering in the heat department if prepared properly.

Figuring in the frugal factor here, I'm fortunate to have a neighbor and a couple of coworkers who grow peppers in their gardens and generously share for free. I've also grown peppers, but now that I've moved to a new location, container gardening will likely be the means by which I grow my veggies in the spring.  

Okay, grab some latex gloves to protect your hands from the oils of the pepper. Chemical burns from a pepper are no fun, especially if you inadvertently touch your eyes.

Sausage Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

1 pound ground pork sausage
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese   (the real stuff, not the stuff you sprinkle on pizza)
1 pound large fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (20 peppers will make 40!)

One quick tip: Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and the inner fleshy membrane of the pepper. The more of the inner membrane you remove, the less heat. I tend to leave a fair amount of the insides (just removing the seeds). I like them hot!


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Place sausage in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease.

3. In a bowl, mix the sausage, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Spoon sausage mixture into each jalapeño half. Arrange stuffed halves in baking dishes.

4. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.

I'll close with a tanka I penned recently.

fresh compost
for the pepper plant
i call “peppy”
nourishment for a life
that nourishes me

Peace and prosperity to you all,


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade Southern Biscuits

As a single parent, I’m constantly looking for ways to save money, especially in the kitchen. Eating out is something that my daughter and I do occasionally now. A significant amount of money can be wasted via drive thrus and, frankly, fast foods can quickly become monotonous and boring.

One comfort food that my daughter and I thoroughly enjoy are biscuits and gravy. Thanks to the generosity and recipe of my good friend, Susan, I’ve mastered homemade buttermilk biscuits. I make these delectable goodies at least once a week, sometimes twice. I buy flour at Dollar General for (as of this writing) $1.95 a bag. That’s cheap!

Roll up your sleeves and have fun in the kitchen. Here’s Susan’s recipe:

Susan’s Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 rounded ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter = 8 tablespoons or ½ cup
1 ½ cup buttermilk

* Mix dry ingredients

* Cut in butter til the mixture resembles coarse meal (I use a pastry blender to blend the butter into the flour.)

* Stir in buttermilk; mix thoroughly

* Empty onto a floured surface and roll out to desired thickness (I sometimes have to sprinkle a little flour on top to keep from sticking)

* I use a glass or a mason jar lid to cut the biscuit dough into the shape of a biscuit

* Put on ungreased cooking sheet

* Bake at 425 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes

* A few minutes prior to pulling the biscuits out of the oven, brush the biscuits with butter and put them back in the oven until they are done. (I added this little step.)

I will endeavor to close each blog post with a poem about food. Here is one of my poems, a tanka, published in Magnapoets:

bread, wine, cheese, the gentle patter of rain on a new tin roof...        come, read love sonnets to me        and I'll read you Neruda

Magnapoets –  Issue 7, January 2011

Peace and prosperity to you all.