Saturday, January 30, 2016

Pantry Challenge Update: Week Three

The Pantry Challenge continues -- and I'm on track. Sort of.

     Well, I'm doing better. 

After the porkchop frenzy last week, I didn't stop at the grocery store all week, though I was tempted. King Soopers, our local Kroger affiliate, is running a special on pork roast -- 99 cents a pound! But I held back. 

The Brick, bless his little heart, now cooks one night a week. Last Monday, he was bound and determined that he needed a green pepper. (This, in spite of his asserting for years that cooked green peppers just 'did something' to his gaseous output.) I got a glimpse of his Sprouts receipt: $11 and change. (He bought some spinach and other stuff, too.) 
    The meal was delicious, and I love it when he cooks, anyways. Just didn't have the heart to make a fuss out of an extra dollar and change. 
    Our neighbors dropped by with dumpster-dived veggies and fruit. (They got a dozen eggs in return.) Nearly all of it went to the chickens, but I scavenged some for banana bread, and pulled out some limes. I also snagged bread and some hamburger buns from the thrift shop. (They put it out free generally on Wednesdays. Half-price books, too!)

    I have been busy this past week with work, so wasn't that big on fancy stuff. I cooked for us to eat. Not much more than that. I have been learning the merits of cooking protein in a sauce or soup that you plan to use for something else. The meat really enriches the flavor, and becomes deliciously tender. I did it twice (see Suppers below) -- and it worked great both times.
    Next week, I need to use some more venison, and finish off that ham. (Pea soup, pea soup!) I also want to make some French onion soup. Tomatoes sound good. Peppers, too, and Mexican food -- maybe we need the Vitamin C? (I have tomatoes canned with green peppers and onion in-house...but it Wasn't What the Recipe Asked For, according to the Brick. His engineering nature likes to keep to specifications.)
    We have a big blizzard supposedly moving in tonight, and lasting through should be a good week for soup.

    We need milk -- so I will steel myself to get just that tonight. A few gallons at $1.99 each should keep me under the $5 limit -- and make up for the Brick's extra bucks over the $10 limit. 

      scrambled eggs (with cheese and green onion) and turkey bacon
      chopped-up mixture of potatoes, onion, ham and turkey bacon  (cottage fry)
      boiled eggs and bratwurst
      cheese guys (quesadillas) and eggs

Sunday mornings, we generally sing on Worship Team, and practice runs anywhere from 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. That means coffee in travel mugs, and a breakfast bar grabbed on the way out the door.

Lunch/snacks/desserts:   brownies (made a double batch), banana bread, nachos (with lime juice squeezed over), frozen burritos (the 25-centers I got last week), leftover soup, chocolate-covered almonds, applesauce, oranges, a few cookies. Made a banana-only split with 'nanas, chocolate sauce and lots of nuts.
    Also blenderized a bag of frozen melon chunks, with a little sugar and water -- cool and tasty.

     Spanish porkchops with green pepper rings, and cooked rice inside (the Brick's contribution)
     Pork chops slow-cooked in canned green chili, with a can of chopped tomatoes thrown in
   (this turned out really fine...and the extra pork chop, chopped fine, made for a meatier 'chili')
     Canned chicken noodle soup, with chopped leeks and carrots added
     Boneless chicken thighs (cooked in the soup above -- which made them deliciously tender, and added to the soup's flavor)
     Boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, plus celery and carrot sticks
     Canned beef and mushroom soup
     Grilled cheese sandwiches (using the waffle iron! I read this as a tip -- and it works)
     Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, canned peas and sliced ham (leftover potatoes went into the cottage fry)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pantry Challenge: Week Two -- Defeat By Porkchop

I blew it. Sort of.

And it's Safeway's fault.

They roared out of the starting gate with some incredible specials this week -- specials, incidentally, that you can still get in on. (Until Wednesday, that is.) The star:

      Pork chops for 99 cents a pound. I haven't seen prices that good for years. Yow.

Their Friday-only specials were terrific, too. So yes, I spent more than $10 this week. But it was for a good cause... and I shouldn't need much, if anything, for at least a week. Maybe two, if I'm lucky.
I'm not sorry a bit, though I did feel surprisingly naughty, overspending like that. 

Maybe a dozen oranges left -- they're going fast now. (Lots of apples to take their place.) Turkey bacon's nearly gone, but several bratwurst are left, from a package out of the freezer. We need to use up some of the canned tomatoes stockpiled over the past few years -- cheese enchiladas? Spanish Pork Chops (The Brick wistfully mentioned these -- his mom used to make them. Think Spanish Rice, with the porkchops thrown on top.)
    Definitely some soup next week, too. Maybe pea soup -- we're gradually eating the ham down to its bone.


                Cereal with milk
                Pork chops with pancakes
                Sausage and eggs
                French toast  (leftovers from a loaf given by our neighbors)
                A can of corned beef hash mixed in with the Colcannon leftovers
                Eggs, scrambled -- served on corn tortillas heated til crispy, topped with a sprinkle of cheese and a slice of turkey bacon  ('cheese guys' to our family)
                Cinnamon rolls, made with leftover pigs-in-blankets dough

No lunches, as usual...some leftovers, some crackers, some cookies, some fruit

                Ham/rice/green beans casserole (okay, but not worth explaining)
                Sliced ham, baked potatoes, corn (canned)
                Pigs in blankets, green beans
                Chili leftovers, baked over chips and cheese
                Potato soup and sandwiches
                (sorry, blanking on the rest -- nothing memorable, obviously)

We are headed for our friends' house tomorrow, to watch the Broncos whip the Patriots' butts. (We hope.) Our scavenging neighbors gave me a huge bunch of browned organic bananas -- I'll make banana bread. 
     Also, I'll cube a package of chicken thighs, marinate them in barbecue sauce during church, then quickly bake them, to keep the meat moist and juicy. We'll spear the little devils with toothpicks for an appetizer -- Barbecued chicken bites.

Grocery tab:    $33.00 and change, including
                              11 pounds porkchops  (most of these are already in the freezer)
                              2 dozen eggs*   99 cents each   (the chickens are slowing a bit)
                              1 20-pack Coke*   $5.00
                              a bunch of frozen burritos* -- 25 cents each
                              2 pounds sharp Cheddar grated cheese*   $5.00
                              half-price Australian hand pies
                              (love these -- the box was damaged, but not the pies, so splurged, at $2.50)
                              half-price dented mushroom soup can

*All outstanding-priced Friday specials at Safeway -- 
                       I got a raincheck for the Langers' 64 oz juice at 5/$5.00

Pigs in blankets were a specialty at our high school cafeteria...and my aunt just happened to be the head cook. The recipe is easy -- and one of our girlies' favorite foods. The Brick likes them, too. They're served in a roll -- one you literally bake around each dog, so the good juices go right into the soft bread.
    You can use a variety of hot dogs...or even substitute bratwurst or sausages. They'll still be good.


For the dough:  5 tablespoons butter
                       1 cup water
                       1/2 cup milk
                       1 teaspoon sugar
                       1 tablespoon yeast
                       shake of salt
                       2-2 1/2 cups flour

One package of hot dogs or sausages -- your choice

Microwave butter/water/milk 30 seconds, until butter is softened. Check -- mixture should be warm, but not hot. (Wait a few min., if needed, to cool down.) Add rest, plus two cups of flour -- stir until a soft dough forms, then gently knead until dough isn't sticky anymore. (This can be done just before baking -- but the dough is even better, if you can do it an hour, up to 7 or 8 hours, ahead. In that case, cover with a damp towel after kneading.)
      When you're ready to bake, heat oven to 450 degrees. Pull off a scant handful of dough -- about the size of your four fingers, curled. Wrap around a hot dog, with the seam side down, and put on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat for all the 'pigs.' (You can also add a strip of bacon or cheese in the split hot dog first -- delicious.) Bake for approx. 15 min.; serve hot or warm with barbecue sauce. Feeds 4-6, depending on how many hot dogs you have.
     Green salad is a nice contrast with these, too...provided you haven't overspent your budget, that is.

Hot, yes. A hot dog, no.    (P.S. Hey, Charley and Abby)


Monday, January 18, 2016

Pantry Challenge: Week One

Are you doing the Pantry Challenge with me?

This is a month-long plan to keep your food purchases to a bare minimum by using up what you've got: in the cupboard, fridge or freezer. (I'll be spending $5-10 weekly for milk and clearance goodies, too.)

Granted, I tend to be a bit of a chipmunk in this department. We just spent a mini-vacation at a hotel: I snagged a handful of apples, a few tea bags and a few packets of apple cider mix during our time there. (Yes, I took the soap, too.)

So far, it's been going quite well. 

Breakfasts:  Pancakes and turkey bacon
                   Oatmeal (with nuts and apples)
                   Cereal and milk
                   Eggs, Hashbrowns
                   Eggs, biscuits (with a jar of peach jam that was unexpectedly delicious -- 
                                       and made me think about making tarts)

Lunches:  Other than Sunday dinner, we don't tend to eat these -- I've noticed, now that the Brick is retired, that we seem to do better on two meals a day. But if one of us gets hungry, there's always cookies in the jar, red licorice, a peanut butter sandwich (I'll make more bread when needed), or leftovers.

Suppers:   Chicken vegetable soup with crackers (we've had the flu)
                 Some kind of soup (made with chopped this and that, plus sour cream)
                 Chili (with venison) - and blue tortilla chips
                 Colcannon  (made with turkey bacon)
                 Shrimp with Green Beans (from the freezer)
                 'Buffet' of leftover bits and pieces

root vegetables are good keepers, even in warmer places

Drinks:  tea and coffee -- we like it STRONG, diluted a bit with milk
                  (The Brick had a beer, too)

Desserts:  Coconut flan (from a box at least a few years old -- but it was good)
                Cookies & small candy bars (from the Christmas stockings)
                Clementine oranges (must eat them up - they're starting to bottom out)
                Apples (from the hotel, plus a crisper-ful still holding out from the fall jaunt to Michigan)

Popcorn, yogurt, a glass of milk now and then, and crackers, too. The best thing for nausea in the world.

I have lots of apples -- maybe apple crisp? And fried chicken or rabbit looks like it's on the future menu.

Six dozen eggs went to various customers in the past few days, so we're a little low on eggs. The chickens will make that up quickly. We're almost out of milk, so a trip to the grocery store is next. 

Results of the shopping trip:    2 gallons whole milk        $1.99 ea
                                                4 cans tuna in water             .50 ea    (saved 79 cents each)
                                                                  TOTAL        $6.22

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pantry Challenge: How Are You Going to Eat This Month?

This is a reprint from my regular blog, A Brick Looks At Life. Stop by every week to see how I'm doing!

Can you eat from just your pantry, fridge and freezer for the next 30 days? 

For the next 30 days or so, that's what I plan to do. I've done it before...and others do it regularly this time of the year. For good reasons:

*You're paying off holiday bills.

*The kitchen's still stuffed with leftovers from said holidays.

*You're sick and tired of dragging all this extra stuff around (And watching it spoil.) And of course:

*It would be nice to start out the new year with some saved money.

So here's your chance...
    and a good way to start: clean out the fridge. 

*What's going strong? (Citrus, celery, stored apples and such should still be doing okay -- but add them to soups, stews and desserts if they're not.)

*What's starting to show its age? Clip off the nasty parts -- and use up the rest.

*What can be combined with items in your freezer and on your shelves? 

Maybe a salad from all the bits and pieces

Now you're starting to consider this properly. Don't forget to use up the bits & pieces in your fridge, either. (I'm speaking from experience -- two pieces of leftover pizza, cut in squares and heated, stretched a can of chicken soup into supper tonight.)

But don't let it drag on you -- this is not supposed to be a burden. Stop if you need to. And don't be so strict that you must skimp on birthdays and other celebrations. This is just temporary.

Here's what I plan to do:

*Use the fridge items first...the celery's looking fine, but I have several bits and pieces of cheese that need to go away. (Solution: macaroni & cheese.) Half a head of cabbage is starting to show black around the edges. (Pull those leaves, give them to the chickens, and use the rest for tomato-and-cabbage-soup. Or maybe minestrone. Here's a good one.) Citrus and apples are okay right now. So is a pound of turkey bacon.
        *I'll scrub both crispers out, so it looks tidier in there, anyways.
        *The fridge door is crammed with bottles that have just a 'little' sauce. These will be combined, used up or thrown away.
       *Several yogurts need to be eaten. What we can't use will go to the chickens. (They LOVE dairy.)
       *Generally we're okay on eggs. In fact, we sell 3-5 dozen a week to customers. They love them, and it helps the chickens pay for themselves. Plus we get plenty of eggs for our own use.
      If you can't say this, add $3 or so to the amount below.

fresh eggs...mmm.

*Keep a small $$ weekly for milk and markdowns. We drink about 1 1/2 gallons a week -- that's $1.99/gal. I'll try hard to keep it at $5 weekly, but will stretch to $10 if there's something incredible.

*Clear away and tidy up as I go. As the freezer and shelves hopefully empty, I'll wipe down, consolidate and throw away too-old and stale items as I find them. (This is tough for me...but it's needed. Can you hear the Brick cheering?)

A pound of venison from the latest trade is thawing in the refrigerator -- porcupine rice, I think.      
     Saute a cup of rice and your meat together -- add a tablespoon or packet of onion soup mix, about 5 cups water, and whatever veggies you've got, chopped fine. (Maybe that celery, plus carrots from the everpresent bag in the crisper. Complements the sage flavor our Colorado mulies get, from foraging through the brush. Cornfed whitetails -- those are further east.) Cook about 20 min., until rice is done. Serves 4-6.

I've also got a package of turkey hot dogs in the cooler. Maybe pigs in the blanket? (That recipe's coming shortly.) Serve a little dipping sauce with them -- that would take care of at least one of the bottles on the refrigerator door. Hmmm...

What could you do? Join me -- and lots of others -- in a pantry challenge. I'll keep you posted each week on my progress. 

What -- not eat out all the time, and actually SAVE MONEY?!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bare Bones With Style: Kids' Favorites

How do you keep kids happy, while you're dealing with a limited food budget? 

Easy:  feed them what they like. 

Our girlies were mutually passionate about only a few things: hamburgers, spaghetti (they loved my goulash, too), steak and chicken nuggets.
    Plus bratwurst and sauerkraut. (One loved it, one hated it. They both liked corned beef and cabbage, however.) And pizza. (One loved it -- one hated it. To this day. I know -- weird, huh.)

I could feed them those goodies, even in harder times, by following a few basics. In the case of the beef or pork:
    *Buying the meat on sale, or clearance. (Or using venison or elk. Or substituting a cheaper meat, like chicken or turkey. Or using less, adding veggies and making Sloppy Joes, instead.)

    *Buying ground beef with a higher percentage of fat. (Makes the burgers more tender.)
    *Buying a cheaper cut of steak -- or cutting it thinner -- and marinating it for at least an hour. Or overnight. (Oil and vinegar, Italian dressing, teriyaki sauce, red wine and garlic, any of these work.)
    *Cooking it more rare. Well-done meat is harder to chew...and not as tender.

Make 'em smaller...and you've got sliders

In the case of the chicken:  
      If readymade nuggets weren't on sale, then I'd look for breast tenders. But more often, I'd just buy a whole chicken and cut it up. The thighs and wings were served for one meal, baked with barbecue sauce. The breast meat was cut off and set aside, then the rest of the carcass was simmered long for soup, and the meat pulled for chicken potpie or chicken a la king.  (Those recipes are coming soon.)
     The breast meat was sliced thinly or chunked, then soaked in milk with a shot of hot sauce. (Buttermilk's the best, if you've got it.) Then it was dipped in flour, seasoned with salt, pepper -- dipped in beaten egg -- then in breadcrumbs.
     Fry it quickly, or bake at 400 for 10 minutes on an olive-oil-greased sheet, and you've got chicken tenders that any kid would take a yearning for. (Plenty of grown-up kids, too, especially if served with barbecue and ranch sauce.)
     If you've got time, use the leftover milk/flour/egg/crumbs mixtures on sliced zucchini and mushrooms, then fry or bake them up, too. Broccoli, fresh green beans and asparagus are good that way, too.)

     Or make oven fries. Regular potatoes OR sweet potatoes, in this case.

They'd also eat veggies raw -- IF I served them with dip. (Ranch was the preference.)

One of the girlies' favorite meals, by far, was macaroni & cheese. I covered that recipe some time ago (go here for description and ingredients), but you can vary it easily by adding Something Else -- and they'll still eat it. Slice or chop, if needed:
            green beans
            that hard, crunchy, leftover cheese at the back of the crisper
            hotdogs (even if ditto) -- sliced and mixed in, or arranged on top and baked
            baby sausages
            bacon (just a few slices will do it, especially if chopped)
            tuna (one small can, drained, will feed a large family)

Both, but especially Daughter #2, were fond of biscuits and gravy. Cheap and quick to make -- especially if I remembered to put the sausage meat out the night before.


    For four people, plus extra gravy for the dogs, you'll need:

a pound of sausage. Or ground pork. Or ground chicken or turkey. 
    (if the meat is too plain or unseasoned, add a small handful of chopped onion, plus a teaspoon of sage or marjoram)
baking powder biscuits (here's the recipe)
milk, salt and pepper

Start the thawed meat to frying, and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Make the biscuits -- and get them in the oven.

By this point, the meat should be well-browned. Add the leftover flour from making the biscuits and stir until thoroughly mixed. Now pour in about a cup of milk, stirring as you go. Cook on low until mixture thickens and bubbles. Salt and pepper to taste.

The biscuits should be lightly browned by this point. (about 8 min.) Get them out, put a biscuit on each plate, split open, and ladle the gravy over. Serve right away, putting the extra biscuits out with jam and butter for 'dessert.'
     If you do this process with ham, by the way, it's called red-eye gravy. Take the ham out before you put the flour and milk in.

As a kid, one of my top favorites was dried beef and peas in a white sauce. I even asked for it on birthdays. Don't knock it until you've tried it! The shreds of beef flavor the sauce, and the creaminess only accents the flavor. You can call it something different, however...


1 package dried beef (yes, that small ounce-or-so package in the lunchmeat section)
8 ounces frozen peas (this is important, too)
milk (about a cup), 2-3 tablespoons butter, flour (about 1/4 cup) and salt and pepper
1 cup uncooked rice

Start the rice in a separate pan. (1 cup rice, 2 cups water) Cover, and turn the heat to low -- by the time it's ready, the sauce should be, too.

Melt butter in a small saucepan; when it's sizzling, stir in the flour quickly. Add about 1/2 cup milk, stirring over low heat until mixture blends. (You'll probably need to add more at the end, to keep it from thickening too much. Dried milk and water work for this, too, if need be.) When the sauce thickens, add the shredded beef and peas, then salt and pepper to taste. Heat until bubbly.
     By now the rice should be done. Serve it in a pile, with the sauce ladeled over, for four or even stretched to six. Invite me over to dinner!

Who, us??

Why are these recipes written so casually? Because that's how you generally have to make them -- you just got home, the dogs are underfoot...and the family's HUNGRY and wants to eat NOW. Get the kids to set the table -- or start these foods themselves. They're easy to learn. (Daughter #2 even gave her friend a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast for a special high school graduation treat.)

And if need be, say what The Mama always did, when the meal was ready. Laughingly, of course:


* * * * * * * *

Real Simple took the idea of cooking kids' favorites and ran with it -- 51 different ways, starting with appetizers and ending with dessert. (You can stop the slideshow at any time, and grab the recipe.)

Next time:  Wonderful Chicken

Friday, January 1, 2016

Bare Bones With Style: Sweet Potatoes

We hope you've been enjoying our latest series on budget dishes -- Bare Bones With Style.

Today's rendition focuses on the humble sweet potato. Yes, some people call it "yams;" the verdict is out on whether the terms are synonymous -- or different. (The Brick, Mr. Southern Gentleman From 'Noth Kay-o-lahna,' says no, absolutely not -- but I've heard people disagree with him.)

Whatever you want to call it, this tuber is not only delicious -- but one of the more nutritious carbs.
     Filling, too.

Want to make a burger, pork chop or chicken breast special?

Add a pile of crunchy, garlicky sweet potato fries alongside.


1 sweet potato per person
olive oil
dried garlic and salt
          (or garlic salt -- I use a steak rub that includes garlic, salt and fresh-ground pepper)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes thinly lengthwise -- the thinner the slice, the more crisp the finished product will be. Generously grease a cooking sheet with olive oil; add the potato slices and turn over to evenly distribute oil. Salt evenly.
     Bake for approx. 30 min., until fries are lightly browned and crispy. (They may take less time -- or more, depending on your oven. Cook the meat alongside in a separate pan.) Serve right away with barbecue sauce or ketchup.

For New Year's Day this year, instead of Hoppin' John, I tried something new, adapted from a recipe in Dale Talde's wonderful Asian-American. This guy has a restaurant in New York City -- and an irreverent pleasure in mixing all sorts of different cuisines together. The results are something wonderful.

He takes cubes of sweet potato and drizzles them with an unusual sauce, then skewers and grills them. I did it slightly different, as a stir-fry. 
     Trust me -- don't worry about the ingredient mix. Just make it. This is absolutely delicious. 


3 large sweet potatoes (fine, yams) -- between 2 1/2 - 3 lbs
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced leeks (Dale uses shallots - a mild onion would be okay, too)
1/4 cup sherry or rice vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce

Boil sweet potatoes. (This will take about 30-45 min.) Cool slightly, then peel and cut into chunks. (Save the peels for your chickens...)
    Fry the bacon; take the slices out and drain them, but leave the grease in the pan. Add the butter, leeks and sweet potato chunks, and saute. (About 10 min.) Add sauce ingredients and stir gently until sauce thickens.
    Pile the sweet potato mixture in a deep bowl; make sure to drizzle extra sauce over. Serve with the crumbled bacon on top. Note: this would serve 3-4 as a main dish, but is pretty concentrated. It could easily be stretched to serve 6-7 as a side dish. 

Try either of these with a bowl of soup and a crisp green salad for a filling, healthy meal.

Next time:  Kids Favorites

Bare Bones With Style: Elegant Eggs

How many protein items do you know that are cheap (especially in the spring), quick to fix -- and delicious?  Eggs fit the bill, from souffles nice enough for gracious dining, to breakfast dishes you'll be proud to serve at nighttime, too.

Eggs - a hidden pleasure

Starting the lineup:  Susan's Breakfast Casserole, from's Food department. Essentially it's a savoury bread pudding. But your guests will call it tasty.

  • 4 slices bread
  • 12 to 16 ounces bacon or sausage, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Start your oven at 350 degrees. Break up the bread in a greased 9 x 13 pan; add meat and cheese, mixing well. Stir eggs, milk and mustard, then pour over all. Bake for 35-45 min., and serve hot. (4-6 servings)

Another option: quiche. Serve it hot or even lukewarm, with a crisp salad.

A Farmers Fry will make you think of Hobbitses, third breakfasts...and plates steaming in the morning sunshine. This rendition is an American version of what the British would refer to as a 'mixed grill' -- plus eggs. Sprinkle with parsley or marjoram for contrast, and serve with sliced oranges and hot coffee. 


2-3 potatoes
1 onion
1 cup mushrooms (or half of a small can, drained)
2 slices bacon
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Microwave potatoes 4-5 min. in microwave. While they're cooking, chop onion, bacon and mushrooms. Start frying in a hot pan; when the microwave dings, slice the potatoes and add to the sizzling mixture. Press with the back of a spatula, then turn the heat down to med. and cook for 5 min. without turning. Carefully stir, and cook an additional 5 min. Add eggs -- stir in (cooks more quickly), or carefully break eggs in, one at a time, cover and cook 5 more min.
    Sprinkle cheese over...or wait until you've spooned the fry onto plates. (Looks more decorative that way.) 2-4 servings.

And finally, a cheese souffle that will make your guests swoon.  Warning: it collapses quickly, so serve asap. This version comes from Julia Child via Epicurious.


  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)

    1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter 6-cup (1 1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.
    2. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes. (Do not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape mixture into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
    3. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Gently fold 1/4 of whites into the first mixture; fold in remaining whites  while gradually sprinkling in Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
    4. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Bake until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes. (Do not open oven door during first 20 minutes). Serve immediately.  (4-6 servings)     
(And here's what to do with the eggshells...)

 Next time: I Yam What I Yam  (Sweet Potatoes)