Thursday, October 30, 2008

So Easy Pizza Dough!

I apologize for the lack of pictures with this post. I made pizza for lunch at my mom's house today, using a pizza crust recipe I found in one of her cookbooks, a really old one put together by the ladies in my grandmother's church Relief Society many years ago. It didn't occur to me until just now that I should post this recipe, hence no pictures. The pizza was absolutely delicious, and I loved this crust! No kneading involved, it was fast and easy.

This post is mostly for me. I didn't write down the recipe, so I'm trying to type this up as I remember doing it earlier today. I don't want to forget this crust - it was EASY!

Really Easy Pizza Crust
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

Mix ingredients. Rise for 15 to 30 minutes. Spread on greased pizza pan or baking sheet (I sprinkled the pan liberally with corn meal after greasing it - really improves the texture and non-stick-to-the-pan-ness of the crust). Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake at 425 12-20 minutes.

Read those instructions again if you need convincing. Mix, rise, spread, top, bake. Simple as that.

I topped it with basic pizza stuff - a simple homemade sauce, shredded cheese, pepperoni, olives, and mushrooms. And Vienna sausages. Yes, it worked. They tasted great.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Upside Down Skillet Chili Pie

Here's one that I just made up tonight. I was bored with our normal dinner fare - pasta, leftovers, soup, etc. - and wanted something a little different. I thought it would be fun to create some sort of savory version of Southern Plate's Skillet Apple Cake, something with a saucy bottom and battery top that gets cooked up on the stove and turned out onto a platter. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me to try a sort of chili-and-corn-bread kind of thing, so that's what I did.

Upside Down Skillet Chili Pie
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 can kidney beans (I used a bag of cooked beans from the freezer)
Chili powder and salt to taste
Corn bread
1 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
2-3 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil or melted butter

First I heated some oil in a large skillet and arranged the sliced tomatoes in the pan. I was thinking that it would make a pretty top for the pie. More about that later...

Then I thawed my beans and seasoned them with chili powder and salt. I should have drained them first. More about that later...

Then I poured the beans over the tomato slices and cooked this over medium heat, without stirring, until the liquid from the beans had reduced down; though next time since I'll drain the beans, I won't be doing this cooking step. More about that later...

Mix up the corn bread batter by combining all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet to the dry, and mix until moistened. Pour over the beans and tomatoes and cover. Cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes until the corn bread is firm.

Then gently invert the pie onto a large plate or platter. Isn't it pretty?

But wait - didn't I say that I had tomatoes on it? Yes I did. And because I cooked them for so long, they stuck to the bottom of the pan. That's okay, I realized that I didn't want them on the pie anyway - they were burnt to a crisp! So next time I won't precook the tomatoes and beans. Next time I'll drain most of the liquid off the beans before seasoning them, and pour the batter over them right away, so that maybe the stuff on the bottom won't burn to the pan.

I served this with sour cream and shredded cheese. It was not exactly a perfect recipe, but it was definitely good enough for me to want to try again to work out the kinks. I love inventing recipes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Everything Cookies!

Earlier in the summer I blogged about some cookies I made for our family Auction. I'm actually quite surprised at myself because these cookies were incredible, and sold for $50, and I haven't made them since!

But yesterday I changed that. I even altered them a bit - I added butterscotch chips and cinnamon. They were delicious! So here's the recipe as I made it yesterday. I'm loving these cookies!

Everything Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

I found that the total of 1 1/2 cups of chips was quite a lot! So it was hard to form the dough into cookies, due to the ratio of chips and oats to actual dough. But it was totally worth it! Every bite of cookie was full of crunchy oats and delicious chocolate and butterscotch chips. Yum!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Kitchen My World - Cambodia

This week's destination for My Kitchen My World was chosen by the new MKMW moderator, Lauren of I'll Eat You. She chose Cambodia. Yeah, Cambodia. Never in my life have I even thought about Cambodian food. So this was a fun challenge.

A fun challenge that I failed to live up to. I chose a delicious-looking Cambodian chicken curry to try, and never got around to making it. I would today, but I'll be too busy to do anything more complicated than macaroni and cheese. So oh well to that. Sigh.

I did, however, also find a recipe for Cambodian Tapioca-Banana Pudding, and I made that yesterday. So I'll go ahead and post that, okay?

Sorry it isn't all that photogenic. It wasn't pretty, but it tasted pretty good. :-)

Cambodian Tapioca-Banana Pudding
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
7 cups water, divided
5 medium ripe bananas, sliced (I only had two, so that's all I used)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup coconut milk (I substituted regular milk and 1/4 cup shredded coconut. I didn't like it with shredded coconut. Don't add shredded coconut)

Place 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warm in the microwave, about 2 minutes. Add the tapioca and let stand for 10 minutes (mine were larger tapioca pearls, so I let it stand for closer to an hour). Drain in a sieve. You'll have a mushy puddle of tapioca left over.

Pour the remaining water into a saucepan and add the drained tapioca. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until the tapioca begins to turn transparent. Stir frequently to avoid sticking (Here is where I added the shredded coconut. I didn't like it with shredded coconut. Don't add shredded coconut)

When the tapioca is transparent, stir in the bananas, sugar and salt. Simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, stirring frequently. When the bananas are broken down fairly well, remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk until well blended. The tapioca pearls will become visible and the pudding will be the consistency of thick soup. Taste and adjust the sugar if desired.

Cool to room temperature or slightly warmer. Stir again before serving.

This is the first time I've ever made tapioca pudding. The only tapioca pudding I've ever eaten has been in those silly little Jell-O pudding cups, and I never cared for it much. Now that I've made it, I know that tapioca pudding is yet another thing that just tastes better when it's homemade. I mean, look at all those fun little tapioca balls - they're tender and soft, not rubbery like in the commercial pudding.

This had a fun banana flavor that went over really well with Zaylee and Thomas. Like I've pointed out, I didn't like it with shredded coconut. So next time I'll skip that, and just use regular milk. Or maybe some evaporated milk would make this even better. You can use the coconut milk that the recipe calls for, but I won't because it costs more. :-) And next time I want to try it with all five bananas - talk about banana flavor explosion!

Check out what other My Kitchen My World-ers made this week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Apple Spice Streusel Muffins

When I visited my family yesterday, I learned that they had not used all of the pumpkin puree we made on Saturday. There were still about three cups of delicious homemade puree available for me to use. So I checked out some blogs online and found a couple recipes for Pumpkin Apple Muffins. The first (from Real Mom Kitchen) had a delicious-looking streusel topping that I wanted to incorporate, and the second (from My Kitchen Cafe) had a higher ratio of pumpkin to flour and sugar. So I made the batter of the second recipe, and topped it with the streusel of the first and came up with these delicious muffins.

These muffins are fantastic - light and moist and flavorful. Next time I want to substitute in some whole wheat flour - the pumpkin and spices are the perfect mask for the heartier flavor and texture of whole wheat.

Pumpkin Apple Spice Streusel Muffins
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped

Streusel Topping
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons butter or margarine softened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs in another bowl and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Combine streusel ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

**If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together for the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (and it is much cheaper than buying it premade).

I think I used too much butter in my streusel (I didn't measure, I just eyeballed it), so it came out with a strange texture. But the flavor was spot on. So measure your streusel ingredients - you'll be glad ya did!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble

When you're on a tight budget, you learn to accept the fact that sometimes you have to cook and eat things that are not exactly restaurant-worthy. This can be especially true when you decide that you're just not motivated to make a big fancy meal, or spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Sometimes you just gotta make something fast, cheap, and effortless. This was one of those dinners.

I started by making Southern Hoe Cake, substituting whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of the white. As it finished baking, I realized I needed something to go with it, so I thawed out a bag of cooked garbanzo beans (1 1/2 cups, plus about 1/2 cup broth) I had in the freezer. I heated the beans and broth on the stove, and seasoned them with cumin and House Seasoning. When they were hot, I thought that the broth was a bit too watery, so I used a spoon to smoosh the beans a bit so they would soak in more broth.

The result was a very humble, but very delicious meal. It was fast and easy, and without having to resort to packaged convenience foods so it was budget-friendly. It was enough for my two little kids and I. To feed more, I would use two bags of cooked beans instead of one.

An Award to Pass On

Shelby, aka Honeybunch or HoneyB, has given me an award! I'm a little late posting this, as she gave me this way back last Tuesday, but better late than never. :-)

I love visiting Shelby's blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch, for a couple reasons. First, because that's just such a fun title! And second, because of her delicious recipes and photos! Go check out her blog, she posts so many wonderful looking baked goods and other recipes. And I love the beautiful pie in her header!

I'm passing this award on to Nicole's Baking Bites. I could spend hours perusing her recipe archives (okay, so I've already done that a couple times) - everything looks so delicious! Here are some examples of her awesome recipes: Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, Peanut Butter Crumble Cake, Beef and Cheese Empanadas, and No-Bake Vanilla Cheesecake with Thin Mint Crust. She also has recipes for homemade girl scout cookies - how cool is that?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Fun Cookie Recipes

I've got a couple yummy cookies to share. First up are some delightful little cookies from the blog of my Taste and Create partner this month, One Little Corner of the World. Katie has several wonderful recipes, and seems to be able to do wonders with pasta. But when I saw her sour cream cookies, I knew that was the recipe I wanted to try!

Sour Cream Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (Jeff doesn't like citrus zest, so I used lemon extract)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, lemon peel, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture just until blended.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, 1 inch apart, on prepared cookie sheets. Bake until set and golden around edges, 10-12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; with wide spatula, transfer cookie to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies came out delicious - they have a slightly crispy edge with a delicate cake-like interior. I loved the mild lemon flavor.

And they were fun to eat with a little bit of frosting and sprinkles!

The other cookies I want to share have a fun story behind them. I have a ten-year-old sister, Rheanna, who is shaping up to like cooking and baking just like her older sisters. When we were visiting my family on Saturday, Rheanna asked my mom if she could invent a cookie recipe. Mom gave her okay, so Rheanna set about listing ingredients. She called her cookies "Rainbow Sugar Cookies" - because she wishes her middle name was "Rainbow" and because the cookies are a mixture of peanut butter, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies! Isn't that so cute!

Here is the recipe as she wrote it, including her slightly atypical instructions. :-)

Rainbow Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup softened butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, peanut butter, and milk in a medium bowl. In mixing bowl, mix chocolate chips, butter, salt, eggs, vanilla, flour, and baking soda. Gradually add sugar mixture. Bake for 10 minutes.

The cookies turned out pretty yummy when she made them as written. They were chewy and had a good flavor. But here are a few notes on the recipe that might make it a bit more manageable.

~~Rheanna made these cookies very large, so they took closer to 15 minutes to bake.
~~I think she ended up only adding one egg instead of the two she originally planned on.
~~When she measured 1/2 bag chocolate chips, she actually laid the bag out on the counter and cut it in half so she could have exactly half the bag! Later I gently told her that one bag of chips has 2 cups, so if she wants half of the bag, all she has to do is measure 1 cup. :-)
~~To mix this in a more traditional manner: Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add egg(s?), milk, and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Bake as directed.

Here's the little baker-in-training along with her helper, my little brother Samuel. They had so much fun making these cookies!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What to Do With Your Pumpkin Puree

Now that you've used a fresh pumpkin to make your own pumpkin puree, there's so much that you can do with it! The pumpkin we pureed gave us approximately 8 cups of pumpkin puree. And here's what we used it for:

Pumpkin Pie
2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin (reviewers suggested using more like 2 1/2 cups)
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (we skipped this; Mom doesn't like ginger)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
Pastry for 2 single 9-inch pie crusts (here's a good crust recipe)

Prepare pastry. Roll out pastry to fill two pie plates. Partially prebake crust to keep it from getting soggy: Line crust with a double thickness of foil. Heat oven to 425 and bake foil-lined crust for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 2-4 minutes until crust is just barely starting to brown. Press down any bubbles with a fork. Don't prick the crust, though; you don't want filling leaking through.

In a large bowl with mixer speed on medium, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.

After cooking the pies, we realized we had two pies, extra pastry trimmings, and six more cups of pumpkin! So we mixed up another batch of pumpkin pie filling, and did this with it:

Mini Pumpkin Pies
1 batch pumpkin pie filling
Pastry dough

Roll out dough as if for making pie crust. Cut 5-inch circles, and use them to line a muffin tin. Pour pie filling into the pastry-lined muffin cups. Bake at 425 until knife inserted in center comes out clean; approximately 30 minutes.

Those were tasty little mini pies! But 12 mini pumpkin pies only used about half of the pumpkin pie filling we mixed up. So I chose to use the rest of the filling to make pumpkin custard.

Pumpkin Custard
Leftover pumpkin pie filling

Grease an oven-safe bowl. Pour pie filling into bowl. Bake at 425 until knife inserted near center comes out clean; approximately 40 minutes.

Pumpkin custard is awesome because as soon as it cools down, you can eat it right out of the bowl! :-)

Okay, so now we've used about 5 cups of puree. I think it's time to break out the mug and make some cake in the microwave!

Chocolate Pumpkin Microwave Mug Cake
4 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
3 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. chocolate chips
We didn't do this, but it might be good to add a tablespoon of oil, for better texture.

In a large mug, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add egg and mix well. Add milk and pumpkin (and oil) and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Microwave on high for three minutes. The cake with rise above the top of the mug; don't be alarmed. When done, turn cake out onto a plate.

And now, as a bonus, here's the pumpkin-y delightful pizza we had for dinner tonight!

Pumpkin-Sauced Pizza
1 tsp. active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil

Pumpkin Sauce:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. oregano

Shredded cheese
Sliced tomato
Sliced onion

To make crust: Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the warm water. Let stand one minute. Stir to dissolve. Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Knead on floured surface five minutes, adding flour as needed if dough is too sticky. Place in oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled.

While the dough is rising, make your sauce by combining all sauce ingredients. Preheat oven to 475. If using a pizza stone, place stone in oven while preheating.

Once dough has risen, sprinkle a flat surface with cornmeal. Turn dough out onto cornmeal-ed surface and flatted to a 12-inch circle. Sprinkle pizza pan generously with cornmeal. Gently fold dough in quarters and transfer to pizza pan. Spread with sauce, then top with shredded cheese, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.

Bake at 475 for 12-14 minutes (slightly less if using a pizza stone), until crust is browned and cheese is melted. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

This was a really unique flavor for a pizza. It took a few bites to get used to it, but after a little bit I was totally hooked and ended up eating three pieces! This crust was particularly good. Jeff really prefers his pizza crust to be very thin and very crispy -as this was both, he said it was the best crust I've ever made.

And there you have it - Several absolutely delicious recipes to make with your homemade pumpkin puree! :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Making Pumpkin Puree

It's easy and not too expensive to open up a can of pumpkin puree. But it's a lot more fun to make your own, and more satisfying too! And if you grew your own pumpkins, like my parents did, then it's even cheaper.

Here, my sister Janelle and I demonstrate how to make puree from a fresh pumpkin. Any hands you see in these pictures are hers, because I was taking the pictures. But don't worry, I helped too.

First, of course, you need a pumpkin. We used a medium-sized pumpkin and it gave us about 8 cups of puree. So pick yourself a nice pumpkin, and be sure to clean it off really well. You don't want dirt in your puree. Pictured pumpkin has not yet been cleaned.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp. If you want to roast the pumpkin seeds, Pioneer Woman has a great tutorial on that. We found that the hardest part of this whole pumpkin experience was cutting that thing open - it's really hard! So use a big sturdy knife and a lot of effort.

After you've scraped out the pulp, cut the pumpkin into chunks. Janelle and I found that it was easier to cut if you start from the skin, as opposed to the inside pulp. Get through the tough stuff first.

Here's all our chunks, each one about 3 inches across.

Boil one inch of water, add the pumpkin chunks, return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. We used two pots of water so we could fit all the chunks in. It doesn't have to be all in one layer, or even all immersed in the water.

While the pumpkin is cooking, now is a good time to work on the crust if you're making a pies. We were, so we did.

Once the pumpkin is tender, drain and cool the pumpkin chunks.

We found that it cooled faster when we put all the chunks in a single layer.

Remove the skin from the pumpkin.

Place all the pumpkin chunks in a flat pan and mash them with a potato masher! That's the fun part.

Then get as much moisture out as possible. We lined a colander with paper towels, plopped in the puree, and pressed more paper towels on top.

Then just measure your puree. It's ready to be used!

There, wasn't that simple? It really is fun to do up your own pumpkin. Then when you make a pie or anything else with it, you can really say you made it from scratch!

Coming up: pumpkin pies, mini pumpkin pies, pumpkin custard, and microwave chocolate pumpkin cake!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Frugal Fridays - Vegetables are Cheap When They're Free

In honor of Frugal Fridays, I present to you this delicious meal for four, costing well under $10!

My parents recently gleaned enough onions and potatoes to last their family, our family, and my sister's family pretty much all winter. We came home with a bag full of onions about a week ago, and were eager to start using them. You see, both Jeff and I absolutely adore French Onion Soup, and now we had an excuse to make it! The recipe calls for 4 onions, but if you have onions like this... may only need a couple!

This soup only cost us a few bouillon cubes, some seasonings, a bit of bread, and some cheese. Majorly cheap, and delicious too. I was also really excited to do this soup because it gave me an excuse to use these gorgeous soup pots I just got at a thrift store.

French Onion Soup
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
4 medium onions, sliced
2 cans condensed beef broth and 1 1/2 cups water (I substituted 3 1/2 cups water with 4 bouillon cubes)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
4 slices French bread, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, toasted
1 cup shredded Swiss or mozzarella cheese (we only had cheddar, so that's what we used)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in 4-quart nonstick Dutch oven (or just a large saucepan. Whatever.) over medium-high heat. Stir in onions to coat with butter. You'll have a big pan full of sliced onions!

Cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes. The onions will be starting to get brown and wilted by now.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 35 to 40 minutes longer, stirring well every 5 minutes, until onions are light golden brown. See - they're getting all caramelized. By now the house smells like onions and everyone is crying.

Stir in broth, water, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. At this point, I served out the kids' soup, sprinkled it with some cheese, and gave them their soup with a slice of bread. But as for Jeff and me, our soup wasn't quite done yet.

Set oven control to broil. Place bread in 4 ovenproof bowl or individual casseroles (in our case 2 bowls). Add onion soup. Top with cheeses.

Place bowls on cookie sheet or in pan with shallow sides. Broil with cheese about 5 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or just until cheese is melted and golden brown. Watch carefully so cheese does not burn. Serve with additional French bread if desired.

For dessert I utilized some more cheap-as-free vegetables in the form of green tomatoes. This cake only cost me the basic baking ingredients found in every kitchen.

Green Tomato Cake
4 cups green tomatoes, finely chopped (texture is best when you use the food processor to get those pieces really small)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until creamy.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Mix well.

Add drained tomatoes and mix well. Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

You can serve this as is, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, frost it with cream cheese frosting, or serve it warm with ice cream!

And there you have it, a meal made with free vegetables that ended up being so cheap I didn't even bother to add up the cost of the ingredients! :-)