The column today focuses on “making do” and still having some good things to put on your table. As you no doubt know there are significant shortages in some of the stores, and it could become even more widespread. So with that in mind I have put together some recipes for you today that might help you find your way around all this. Like many I have tried to avoid getting out any more than I just have to, so I have been “making do” here at my house and have been finding creative uses for things. You will too.

I remember one time when I was probably about 12 or so that we were hit with an ice storm that had the power knocked out for a long time, for several days in fact. We had just recently had one of the “new” gas heaters installed—the kind that sits in the room kinda like a wood stove. Mother fried up sausage on that stove and we had it with “light bread,” and to this day I don’t think I’ve had any sausage that was that good!

Some time ago Jeanelle Davis shared with me some of her special recipes which have become some of my favorites for meatless cooking. Look for them.

I hope you and yours are being careful and are staying safe. Hearing from you would make my day!

--Richard

Bean Burgers

About two cups of cooked beans of your choice. Add about one cup of flour, salt, and pepper and mix until it holds together and is spoonable. Drop by spoonful into hot oil. Let brown well on one side and then flip and flatten and brown on the other side. Take up and drain.

Another Take on Bean Burgers—this from a friend of mine

Use left over pinto beans. very flavorful. I use the soup and the beans, add beaten egg, self-rising flour, tiny amount of salt. pepper the top of each one after you have placed it in the cast iron skillet. excellent for breakfast or dinner. these are delicious fried in oil, but will knock your socks off fried in bacon drippings!

30s Mini Mock Apple Pies Makes 24, bite-sized pies

Crust:

One package roll-and-bake pie crust, or, your favorite one-crust pie-dough recipe

Filling:

3/4 of a sleeve (25 crackers) Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbs. melted butter, divided

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Shortening for greasing mini-muffin tin

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out crust. Using a 2-inch to 2 & 1/2-inch cutter with decorative edge, cut 24 circles out of the pie dough. Grease mini-muffin tin very well. Carefully push each dough circle into mini-tin depressions, The dough will be a little below the edge of the tin. Crush 25 crackers into pea-sized pieces (some smaller crumbs fine.) Fill each mini pie crust with one and one-half teaspoon of cracker crumbs. Drizzle one tablespoon of the melted butter over the crumbs. Set aside. In a sauce pan, whisk together sugar, cream of tartar and water. Heat to boiling. Lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Whisk in lemon zest and juice. Whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter until it melts. Stir in cinnamon. If you like, transfer syrup to a squirt bottle for easier dispensing, or, carefully spoon a teaspoon syrup over cracker crumbs in each mini pie crust. Let sit for a minute to ensure syrup has soaked into crumbs. Add a little more syrup to fill each pie, but do not fill over top of pie crust. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until minis are golden brown.

Pinto Bean Pie

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

1 tsp. cornmeal

2 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup pinto beans drained and slightly mashed

1/2 cup pecan, halves

Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle cornmeal in unbaked pie shell. In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugars, butter, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and pinto beans. Pour filling into pie crust and top with pecans. Bake 60 minutes, or until filling is slightly set. Serve warm.

Oatmeal Pie

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup syrup, dark or white

2/3 cup uncooked oatmeal

1 stick melted margarine

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix and bake in an unbaked pie shell for 40 minutes at 325°.

Easy Cake—just two ingredients!!!

 Any cake mix.

Any complimentary flavor can of soda.

Mix together and bake as normal at 350°.

Another Easy Cake

Richard’s Note: I like to use a large can of pineapple pieces along with the juice to make this cake.

1 pkg. Angel Food Cake mix.

1 can any fruit pie filling. (lemon is especially good!!!)

Mix these together and bake as usual at 350°.

Beer Biscuits

3 cups pancake mix

1 can beer

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

Mix all this together and bake in lightly greased muffin tins at 350° about 15 minutes or until golden.

Macaroni and Tomatoes

Note: If you like gizzards, boil them up with a little onion and add them to this dish!

Richard’s Note: I know many of you have enjoyed this down through the years. I know I have!

Cooked macaroni

Tomato pieces with their juice

A little salt and pepper

A little butter

Sourdough “Yeast”

Note: If you are finding yeast and bread hard to locate, you might consider this as a substitute for yeast as you set about to bake your own bread. This mixture will substitute for one package of yeast in your recipe.

Boil a potato and retain one and one-half cups of the liquid. (save the rest for your gravies—you’ll be amazed). Add one tablespoon sugar and one cup of flour. Put it in a large container and let it set out in a warm place overnight.

Egg Substitutes

With eggs harder and harder to find, this will be helpful in your baking. All of the following can be substituted for one egg:

1/2 cup mashed banana

1/4 cup yogurt

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup apple sauce

Oatmeal Burgers With Mushroom Sauce from Jeanelle Davis

Richard’s Note: This has become a stand-by recipe for me. Use any gravy you want, but the mushroom is extra good. And you can just use whole eggs in this rather than as the recipe is written. What you are going for is a mixture that will hold together. I like to mix it up a while before I cook it so the mixture will take on some of the moisture from the eggs and soften up the oats. Every time I fix this, there are always people who think it is a Salisbury Steak. You can vary this dish significantly by the type of soup you use.

Burgers:

1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

2 cups dry oatmeal

1 tsp. sage or poultry seasoning

1 onion, chopped fine

2 eggs plus 6 egg whites (can use Egg Beaters to equal 6 eggs)

Sauce:

1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

4 cups water

1 can cream of mushroom soup (Healthy Choice)

Sautéed or drained canned mushrooms (optional)

Combine burger ingredients. Heat skillet (electric skillet works great); add oil. When oil is heated, drop mixture with spoon or ice cream scoop and form into burger shape in skillet. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and drain on rack covered with paper towels. Drain any oil remaining in skillet and return burgers to skillet. Whisk together four cups water, package of dry onion soup mix, and mushroom soup. Add mushrooms, if used. Return burgers to skillet and pour sauce mixture over. Simmer uncovered about 20 to 30 minutes or until sauce is right consistency. (Note: Mushroom soup can be omitted, then burgers are good on buns for sandwiches if simmered until most of liquid evaporates.)

Carrot Patties

3 cups shredded carrots

1/4 to 1/2 cup minced onion

2 Tbs. chopped parsley (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste (approx ¼ teaspoon ea)

3 large egg whites, slightly beaten

Dash Tabasco

1/4 cup self-rising corn meal

1/4 cup oil for frying

Combine ingredients in order given. Mixture will be moist but will hold together. If eggs are smaller, add an extra egg white, if needed. Heat skillet; add oil. When oil is heated, use small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to drop mixture into patties. Fry on each side until brown and cooked through. An electric skillet works well.

Pizza Make-do

Richard’s Note: It is amazing how many ways you can find to make “pizza” when you have to. Just a few simple basic ingredients. I like to use English muffin halves!

Flour tortilla pizza. Three flour tortillas with cheese between them. Add marinara and whatever toppings you can find. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.