Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Using commodity cheese

If you get commodities do you have a problem using the cheese in cooking?  Three pounds is usually more cheese than I can eat in a month so sometimes I give a chunk of it to family.   I’ve offered several times to give my SIL part of my commodity cheese but she refuses it.  She tells me that the cheese won’t melt.  She also says she prefers Velveeta because it melts so easily and its easy to slice. I can’t convince her that Velveeta is not real cheese.   It’s milk protein and whey protein from the making of other cheeses and pieces of old cheese scraps.  It can’t be called cheese.  It’s something called “pasteurized prepared cheese product” according to the package.

Would you want to know about a homemade cheese that is easy to spread or melt just like velveeta?  It makes great grill cheese, is good on crackers, and makes creamy macaroni and cheese.  This is an old recipe from the days when gelatin was a staple in all kitchens.  No cook would be without it and used it daily.  Most cheese sold back then was usually a hard cheese which often dried out and cracked.  Frugal cooks found ways to use up dry scraps of cheese rather than throw them out.

For this recipe you need one packet of unflavored gelatin, 1 pound of commodity cheese (or your favorite) cut into small cubes or grated, 1/3 cup commodity instant milk dry, 1 cup cold water, and one small container lined with plastic.

Put the cold water and instant milk into a small sauce pot and mix.  Do not turn on the heat yet.  Next add the gelatin and stir for about a minute to let it bloom.

Now add the cheese chunks to the milk mixture and turn on the heat.  Use a low temp and stir often because you want the cheese to melt but not burn.

Stir until its all melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let set until cool but not cold.  If you can hold your hand to the bottom of the pot and it feels just warm that is cool enough.

Pour into small loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.  Gently fold the plastic onto the surface of the cheese.  This will keep it from drying out and easy to remove from the pan.  Put into the fridge overnight to cool completely.  Next morning give it a taste test.

Ok, after I had put the cheese in that bread loaf pan I realized I should have used a much smaller container.  I was only making one pound, not a big loaf.  So, the next day I transferred the cheese to a much smaller container.  This cheese is soft like Velveeta and used in the same way.  If you try this recipe let me know what you think of it.  In the old days this recipe would have been made with old dry bits and pieces of cheese.  Grandma Mama used to save cheese bits in a pint jar.  Some of it she used in soups or stews but eventually she had a jar full.  She put the bits and pieces in milk to re-hydrate overnight before adding the gelatin and heating very slowly.  My version isn’t nearly as good as Grandma Mama would have made using cheddar cheese bits but this works for me.

13 comments on “Using commodity cheese

  1. carenowplease
    November 5, 2017

    When I was a child if we were low on groceries we made a big pot of mashed potato and mixed in cheese ‘spread’ like this and called it ‘easy cheese pie’! It goes well with canned pork and beans, cheap and filling.

    Like

    • Anita
      November 5, 2017

      Hmm, it sounds good. I may pass that along to some people in the food bank lines. We often trade recipes there.

      Like

  2. sue
    November 3, 2017

    Hi hun,
    Have been showing my hubbie your blog. we are really interested in trying this recipe as it looks yummy! Have you considered writing a book with all of your frugal knowledge in it? Hugs sue

    Like

    • Anita
      November 3, 2017

      Yes, I thought about it lots of times until I remember my blog is my book. 🙂

      Like

      • carenowplease
        November 5, 2017

        I’m glad you write here, it’s been great support for me. I’m sure most people I talk to even my friends think my living out of step with all the fads and debt and waste is just eccentric!

        My friend paid $40 for a flu shot this week. It’s only $25 cash if you don’t use insurance. And it’s supposed to be free with PPACA policies! I would not pay the extra $15 without question, in fact I don’t get the vaccination any more, but people are so confused and I’d go so far as to say brainwashed by the whole health insurance industry I’d rather be out of step.

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        • Anita
          November 5, 2017

          Forty dollars? That’s a lot. In our area the cost is $5 if you get one at a store mini clinic but the health department has drive through shot days that is free. Drive up, roll up your sleeve, get the shot, that’s it. I believe its once a week during peak flu season and once a month after. I’d rather be out of step too. They are the ones stressed by debt but I’m calm because I have no debt.

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          • carenowplease
            November 6, 2017

            Apparently my friend’s insurance is tied to CVS pharmacy and they charge $37.99 for a flu shot this year. Not sure how they circumvent PPACA law though. Probably nothing’s free until after deductible is met? My dr office by-passed the ‘one free wellness visit’ in the law by saying the office visit was free but patient must have a bunch of tests, which weren’t!

            Interestingly I have not seen a dr yet this year and my insurance provider clinic has started leaving me voice mails trying to sell me on the ‘free’ wellness visit.

            It’s all quite a scam.Plus I feel really well and aren’t about to go sit in the dr office surrounded by people coughing and sneezing!

            I’ve been eating small amounts of nutritious foods, drinking tons of water, and I think that’s why I feel well.

            Like

          • Anita
            November 6, 2017

            This time of year with all the robot calls, tv ads, and internet pop up ads about insurance is just as irritating as those during election years. I hate it. My SIL has gotten notice that Walgreen’s will no longer accept her insurance carrier. She must find another place to get her meds.

            Like

          • carenowplease
            November 6, 2017

            If it was really about consumer choice and a free marketplace the customer would take their prescription anywhere they liked. The truth is it’s a labrynth of petty plots to control the consumer and maximize profits. Profits to who I don’t really understand. Investors don’t seem to be cashing in, patients certainly aren’t, stores don’t seem to be doing well hence the huge price increases. Who is actually making the big money?

            Something doesn’t make sense.

            Like

          • Anita
            November 7, 2017

            Profits are for the 1 percent at the top. The people who want to control the world from their billion dollar palaces. For them its not actually about the money, its about control. Control over the sheeple as if they are Gods with our lives in their hands. I sound like a conspirator person but I’m not a fanatic. Its just that I can’t see any other reason why a person would want so much money they can’t possibly spend it all and then do nothing to help others.

            Like

          • carenowplease
            November 7, 2017

            I agree. Lord save us from the 1%!

            Like

  3. Cheryl
    November 3, 2017

    Any “cheese” that doesn’t need refrigeration till opened is not cheese. Cheryl

    Like

    • Anita
      November 3, 2017

      I see your point but aren’t most hard cheeses just covered with wax or salt and left on shelves without refrigeration to age? I don’t like real Velveeta either. Its too oily tasting for me.

      Like

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