Recipes

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Something that frustrated me no end when I was in the middle of my frugal journey was recipes.

The first thing I noticed was that so many of them did not work. I had not yet had enough experience in reading recipes and could not yet tell at a glance if they would turn out as the author said they would. Especially on the internet.

I didn’t have time or money to acquire many cookbooks so I turned to the internet. What I found was many well intentioned people  publishing recipes who had no skill in writing them. They were probably dishes people had made many times for themselves but just did not know how to properly share them. Along the way I figured out where the errors were and made the recipes my own.

I also found a lot of recipes to cost more per serving than  I wanted to pay. I discovered by trial and error how I could modify a recipe to fit within my guidelines. For example, using 2 tablespoons of oil and one whole onion. When every single penny mattered I learned to cut those in half. We enjoyed the dish and I shaved a few cents off the total.

Thankfully, today it seems like people publishing on the internet have gotten a lot better. I no longer have the recipe fails that I once had. Also since my food budget is not so tight it does not really matter how much of any ingredient I use.

I am glad for what I learned during those years because I have a better appreciation for some things I had previously taken for granted….

Like an extra tablespoon of olive oil.

What are your experiences with recipes?

This post is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

 

 

The Sixth Set Of Frugal Meals With Cost

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Everyone needs a few frugal meals that they can make over and over. I also think it is nice to know about how much they cost. The dollar amounts listed here approximate what these would cost to feed my family of four using today’s prices.  Here is the sixth set of 3 that I have made regularly throughout the years. Enjoy!

Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 and part 5 can be found here.

Lentil tacos and rice.

Cost: Lentils, cooking fat, onion, tomato sauce, seasonings, tortillas and rice. $1.50.

Hot dogs on buns and fried potatoes and onions.

Cost: Hot dogs, buns and condiments. $1.50.

Cost: Potatoes, onions, cooking fat, seasonings. $1.25

Minestrone soup, biscuits and butter.

Cost: Beans (I prefer white), bouillon, fresh garlic, onion, carrot, celery, canned tomatoes. $2.00

Cost:  Flour, salt, baking powder, shortening, milk.$.75.

What kind of frugal meals are you cooking at your house?

This post is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

Menu Plan 16

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Last week I did not do a menu plan and we ate only one home cooked meal that week. Mac n cheese from a box does not really count as a home cooked meal.   Lesson learned!

Here is what we will be eating this week:

Black bean and turkey chili

Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese

Sesame tofu, steamed cabbage and rice

Beanie Weanies, cornbread

Lentil tacos, rice

Chicken and cabbage stir fry, sesame noodles

Baked chicken breasts (seasonings tbd later) mashed potatoes, green beans

What is for dinner at your house this week?

This is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

You can see more great menus over at Organizing Junkie.

Milk In A Frugal Budget

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.
During our lean years two teachings about buying milk were popular. The first one was to use powdered milk. The second one was to buy milk on sale and freeze what you could not use within a few days.

Let’s talk about powdered milk first. Flavor is a good place to start. I don’t like how it tastes. Because of that the milk would have to be significantly cheaper for me to want to use it on a regular basis.

At my local grocery store a 64 ounce box of powdered milk sells for $.25 per ounce. One box turns into 20 quarts of fluid milk. Using those numbers one gallon of liquid milk made from dry costs around $3.00.

Currently fresh milk costs very close to the same amount. That is a strong argument for picking up a gallon of fresh milk next time you are at the grocery store.

Next up is the idea of freezing extra milk. I have actually done this. The flavor is only mildly compromised but it sure takes a lot of space in the freezer. I would only do this if my family went through a lot of milk and I had room in the freezer.

After thinking about powdered milk and freezing extra milk I decided to just get the amount of milk I needed at the store each week.

This is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

Lets talk about it. Leave a comment!

Menu Plan 15

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.
So this is what we eat when I do not get around to menu planning.

Pizza delivery

Spaghetti from the freezer with homemade dinner rolls

Drive through hamburgers

Take out Panda Express

Macaroni and cheese from a box

Treated to dinner by our good friends from Idaho

Leftover food from yesterday’s dinner and warm cookies from the oven.

This was not a week to be proud of.

What about you? What happens in your house when you forget to do a menu plan.

I also post these in the Menu Plan Monday section of Org Junkie, where you can find more people who believe in the value of a weekly menu plan.

This is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

The Fifth Set Of 3 Frugal Meals With Cost

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Everyone needs a few frugal meals that they can make over and over. I also think it is nice to know about how much they cost. The dollar amounts listed here approximate what these would cost to feed my family of four using today’s prices.  Here is the fifth set of 3 that I have made regularly throughout the years. Enjoy!

Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 can be found here.

1. Roast pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, green beans.

Cost: Pork, seasonings. $2.00.

Cost: Potatoes, butter. $2.00.

Cost: Green beans.$.90.

2. Baked beans, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw.

Cost: Beans, onion, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper, $1.00.

Cost: Macaroni, milk, butter, flour, cheese, salt and pepper. $1.50.

Cost: Cabbage, carrot, mayo, vinegar, seasonings. $.50.

3. White bean and pork chili and cornbread with honey and butter.

Cost: Beans, onion, pork, broth or bouillon, green chilis.$1.50.

Cost:Cornmeal, APF, salt, baking powder, milk, oil, eggs, butter and honey.$1.00

This post is part of 31 Days Of Frugal Cooking.

Feel free to share. What are some of your favorite meals?

 

 

What To Do With Lentils

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

In addition to being part of a 31 days writing challenge, this is the fourth post in a series titled What To Do With Beans. Click here to read the first, second and third posts.

You know the saying “Rice and beans and beans and rice”?

In 2008 the real estate market turned south and took our income with it. I was suddenly faced with the need to drastically slash my grocery budget and did not know how to do it. I would walk around saying “but I don’t know what to do with beans”. It was true. I did know how to order bean burritos from fast food restaurants and open a can of lentil soup, but did not know what people did with beans in their own kitchens.

Several years and hundreds of dinners later I finally know what to do with beans. For the next few weeks I am going to talk about different types of beans and what to do with them. Since my personal recipes are not in a publishable format I will include as many links as possible. This is the information I wish I had had in one place so long ago. Whether you are funding college, retirement or anything in between I hope you find this information useful.

7 Ways To Make Lentil Soup

Moroccan Lentil Vegetable Stew

Lentil Chili

Lentil And Potato Curry

Lentil And Rice Stuffed Peppers

Lentil Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Braised Cabbage Rolls

Pasta With Lentil Bolognese

Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Spiced Lentil Sweet Potato And Kale Whole Wheat Pockets

Lentil Lasagne

Sloppy Lennys AKA Faux Joes

Lentil Tacos

Lebanese Lentil Salad

Lentil And Carrot Salad With Kale

Rice Lentil Salad

Quinoa Lentil Salad

 

 

Butter and Maple Syrup

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

I don’t care what you buy, as long as you include real butter and real maple syrup.” Steve 1988.

My husband is a very easy man to cook for so when he asked for those two things I happily complied…

Until 2008.

I hated to do it but when times got tough I had to quit buying butter and syrup. I truly think that was harder to live through than my experiments in cooking beans and baking bread were.

Thankfully my husband is a trooper and knew I eliminated those items from the grocery budget as a last resort. The kids did not mind as much but it was still an adjustment.

Today I am happy to say I am back buying real butter and 100% pure maple syrup.

What about you? anything that was hard for your family to give up? Tell us about it in the comment section.

This post is part of a 31 day series.

Buying In Large Quantities

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Buying in large quantities has always been touted as a way to save money. Today I am going to explore that idea.

When we hit on hard times several years ago I accidentally discovered the idea of buying in large quantities. One day I went to buy a container of oatmeal and was met with empty shelves. I really needed the oatmeal so I went over to the bulk section of my grocery store to see if I could find some. I did and it was priced at 40% less per ounce!

In addition to being able to scoop some into a bag the store had 25 pound sacks at the same low price. I realized that by buying a large sack along with a bucket to store it in I was money ahead. I also realized that I would not have to buy rolled oats for another 6 months. From that day on I was hooked on buying large quantities.

Something else I discovered was the value in stockpiling large quantities when items were on sale. When foods like spaghetti sauce or peanut butter were on sale I would buy big.

Of course I was always cognizant of my budget. If I had the money I bought, if I didn’t then I walked away. Something else I paid attention to was the “out of code” date. I only bought an amount I was sure I could use before the product expired.

One day I sat down and figured out how much money I saved by buying this way. I discovered it to be around $600. At the time it was half of my yearly  grocery budget!

Buying large quantities for several years kept us well fed on a small budget and kept my pantry full of food.

What about you? Any thoughts on buying large quantities? Feel free to share in the comments section.

This post is part of a 31 day series.

 

The Fourth Set Of 3 Frugal Meals With Cost

Get this series delivered straight to your inbox. Everyday! Click Here to send a blank email to subscribe.

Everyone needs a few frugal meals that they can make over and over. I also think it is nice to know about how much they cost. The dollar amounts listed here approximate what these would cost to feed my family of four using today’s prices.  Here is the fourth set of 3 that I have made regularly throughout the years. Enjoy!

1. Black bean burgers and roasted veggies with extras.

Cost: Beans, eggs, flour, sautéed veggies and seasonings. $1.75.

Cost: Potatoes, carrot, onion, cooking fat. $.60.

Cost: Extras- Barbecue sauce $.25, Cheese $1.oo.

2. Chicken and noodles and plain noodles with butter and jam.

Cost: Chicken, onion, carrot, butter, flour, milk, noodles and seasonings. $2.00

Cost: Flour, baking powder, salt, milk, oil, egg, butter and jam. $2.00.

3. Black bean soup with corn or leftover roasted veggies and plain muffins with butter and jam.

Cost: Beans, bouillon, seasonings, corn, tomato sauce. $1.50.

Cost: Leftover muffins with butter and jam. $2.00.

To start a conversation leave a message.