Dining from the Dollar Store: Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are a hit at our house. There's nothing quite these cookies with their rich, peanut-buttery taste and their cross-hatched tops. I found the recipe online (though I did use all brown sugar rather than the cup each of brown and granulated sugar). Enjoy.



Two sticks of butter*
2 cups brown sugar
Two eggs
1-1/2 cups peanut butter [two jars = 2 cups]
2-1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla*


Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Cookie tins
Cooling rack


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Soften the butter and put it into the mixer's bowl. 
Add the brown sugar,
Baking soda and vanilla.
Roll pieces of the cookie dough into balls and put them on the cookie sheets.
Use a fork to press a cross-hatched pattern into the cookies' tops by pressing down the fork once in each direction.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes until light brown. Set the cookies on a cooling rack,using a spatula.

Equipment found at the Dollar Store:

Cooling rack
Measuring spoons
Measuring cups 
Cookie sheets

* The Dollar Store sells imitation vanilla, which can be substituted for the original


Dining from the Dollar Store: Magic Quiche with Asparagus

When reading the Mother Earth Living March/April edition, I came across an article called "Wildly Affordable Organics" in which "a writer shares her wildly affordable affordable cooking plans, inspired by a national challenge to eat on a food-stamp budget." That was enough to prompt the purchase of the book, which proved to be quite enjoyable and full of great recipes. One of the favorites is Magic Quiche with Asparagus. Best yet, most of the ingredients, as well as substitutes for the original ingredients, can be found at the Dollar Store. For those interested in cooking with the ingredients (with some of my variations) as they appear in the recipe, those directions will be included as well.


Original and Optional Ingredients. Dollar Store Ingredients.

Cooking Spray Cooking Spray
4 eggs 4 eggs
2 cups milk 2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
1 cup asparagus pieces*
1/2 cup spring onion 1-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup chopped garlic (optional)* 1-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil (or butter)* 2 teaspoons olive/soybean oil
4 ounces grated Cheddar*

Mixing bowls 
Mixing spoons
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan


Put the four eggs in a bowl:

And add the milk, flour, nutmeg, salt, and turmeric. If you are using the Dollar Store ingredients, add the onion and garlic powder now as well.
Wisk the ingredients together until combined.
Set aside.

Wash the asparagus.
Remove the bottom, woody portion from the stalks of asparagus by testing them with your fingers and breaking off the portions that aren't flexible. Chop the remainder into inch or half-inch lengths.
If you are using the onions and garlic, chop them as well.

Put the oil or butter into a pan, set the heat on medium, and cook the asparagus (and the onions and garlic vegetables) until they begin to grow tender, stirring all the while.
Grate the cheese.
Put the vegetables in the greased baking pan and spread them around.
Sprinkle the cheese on top of the vegetables, then wisk the egg mixture one more time before pouring it slowly over the vegetables.
Put it in the oven for 40 minutes.
Serve with a salad or fresh vegetables. The Magic Quiche, which makes it own crust, goes well with Fromage Blanc and toasted English Muffin Bread.

Equipment found at the Dollar Store:

Chef knives
Measuring spoons
Measuring cups
Wisk (metal)
Mixing spoons


What is nice about the recipe is that asparagus can be substituted with a cup of other chopped vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and more. 

*Not found at the Dollar Store


Dining from the Dollar Store: Banana Bread

When three bananas were left from the bunch, their skins darkened, one thing came to mind: banana bread--specifically James Beard's recipe.



4 tablespoons butter*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 honey* [the original recipe from the book calls for granulated sugar, which the Dollar Store carries]  
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts* [optional] 
Cooking spray


Mixing spoon
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Bread pan
Cooling rack 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soften the butter, then add it to the bowl with the two eggs, and sugar [I used raw sugar] or honey.
Add the bananas.

And the flour and baking soda and nuts.


Grease a bread pan with cooking spray. Ladle the batter into it. 

And cook it for 60 minutes. Check to see whether the loaf is done by inserting a knife and withdrawing it. If the knife comes out clean, then the loaf is done.

Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool.


Equipment available at the Dollar Store

Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Mixing spoon
Cooling rack

A note on softening butter: the microwave works well for this. Never, however, use a plastic container. Use microwave-safe containers like a ceramic bowl covered with a ceramic saucer or a lidded glass container.

*not carried by the Dollar Store

Fromage Blanc

Due to a hankering for Fromage Blanc, I decided to make more.


1 gallon whole milk
1/4 teaspoon MA 4000 cheese culture
1/4 cup water [unfluoridated]
4 drops rennet (either vegetarian or veal)
Dried chives


Digital thermometer
5 quart pot and lid
Mixing spoon
Measuring cup
Measuring spoon
Flour bag cloth
Large pot and lid
Salad spinner basket
Two cheese molds
Two loosely-woven napkins or linen handkerchiefs 


Step One

Put four drops of rennet into 1/4 cup of water.

Pour the gallon of milk into the pot.

Turn the burner on high and heat the milk until it's 75 degrees F, stirring all the while.

Remove the pot from the heat, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of culture on top of the milk and let it sit for four minutes, then stir the milk 20 times, top to bottom, with a spoon. Pour in the water and rennet mixture.

Cover the pot

and let the pot stand on the counter. Check the pot daily, waiting until the whey separates from the curd. This can take up to three days.

 Step Two

Place a colander in the sink and line it with flour sack cloth. Empty the contents of the colander.

Gather the ends of the cloth up, trapping the curds inside. Squeeze the whey from the cloth-wrapped curds, being careful not to let any of the curds escape. Return the curds to the pot.

Chop an onion

And add it, cloves of pressed garlic, and chives to the pot.

Stir the contents until blended.

Place the basket of a salad spinner upside down in the bottom of the tall pot.

Set the cheese molds on top of the salad spinner basket,

Line the molds with the small cloths.

Ladle the curds onto the molds.

As the whey drains,

 the level in the molds will gradually go down.

Continue to ladle more curds into the molds until all of the curds from the pot are in the molds.
More whey will collect in the bottom of the pot.

This process can take three days.

Step Three

Take one of the molds from the pot and turn it upside down on a plate.

Remove the mold

then gently remove the cloth.

Repeat the process with the second cheese mold.

This cheese is wonderful on bagels, fresh baked bread, on top of pasta, or even added to pasta to make a cheese sauce.


The recipe for Fromage Blanc is from Barbara Skapa of Echo Ridge Organic Cheese. If you ever have the opportunity to take a cheesemaking class from her, do so! Her cheese is wonderful.

The Dairy Connection was recommended by Barbara Skapa. Within the past few years, the company expanded their site which originally catered to the commercial cheesemakers to include the "hobby-level" cheesemaker as well. The Dairy Connection now sells a wider selection of molds like the basket molds and more. Their customer service and prices are excellent.

Dining from the Dollar Store: English Muffin Bread

English muffins are delicious. There's something about those "nooks and crannies". Making your own English muffins is easier than you think and most of the ingredients can be found at the Dollar Store. I found there recipe online.



2 cups and one tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon yeast*
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk heated to 102 degrees F
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray


Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Glass bread pan
Tea towel

Put the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl (raw sugar is pictured)

Mix the ingredients together then add the milk.

Mix the ingredients together until a dough is formed.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.

The dough will double in size.

Grease the glass bread pan with cooking spray and put the dough into it.

Cook the bread for four minutes on high in the microwave.

Let the bread cool in the pan for ten minutes.

Take the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool the rest of the way.

Serve the bread by toasting it. It's wonderful with butter, cinnamon sugar, honey and more. Delicious!

Equipment that can be found at the Dollar Store

Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup

*Some Dollar Stores carry yeast. The local Dollar Store did not.