Stretch Your Family Budget with Rice

August 12, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Frugal Meals · Comments Off on Stretch Your Family Budget with Rice 

To people in many parts of the world, rice is as much a daily staple as bread is to Americans. And it’s easy to see why. It’s inexpensive, easy to cook, tastes great, and can be used in a multitude of recipes. Rice easily picks up added seasonings to create a variety of flavors, and works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in side dishes, entrees or even desserts. Rice is truly one of the most versatile foods frugal moms will find. And it can be used for purposes other than food as well. Here are some ideas for using rice to in a variety of money-saving ways

• Use traditional rice rather than quick-cooking rice to save the most money.

• Keep quick-cooking rice on hand for emergencies. Rice makes a quick add-on to a meal that needs to be stretched to accommodate unexpected visitors, or for when your menu plan didn’t include a side dish.

• To make perfect rice, use a heavy pot so it doesn’t scorch the bottom, and a tight fitting lid. Rinse the rice before cooking. Drain thoroughly. Add 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water. Cook on low heat for 12-14 minutes. Let rice sit, covered for five minutes before serving.

• Saute rice in 1 T. vegetable oil before adding water to help grains remain separated after it’s cooked.

• Rice is great for handcrafted bean bag filling, but be careful using it around small children as it could cause a choking hazard.

• Rice is often used in beauty products, particularly by the Japanese. Make your own facial toner and scrub with the following recipes.

Rice Facial Toner
2 t. rice
1/2 T. thyme
1/2 c. water
3 T. lemon juice

In a small bowl, crush rice, Add thyme and stir with a fork. Bring water to a full boil in a small saucepan. Add rice mixture and lemon juice. Let cool completely. Strain and apply liquid to face with a cotton ball. Refrigerate leftover.

Rice Scrub
1 t. rice
10 strawberries, chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. sea salt

Combine strawberries and olive oil with a fork until well blended. Add crushed rice and salt. Mix well. Massage onto face, feet, elbows, knees, etc. Let stand 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

• There are hundreds or thousands of recipes available using rice for all kinds of dishes. The following will get you started experimenting.

Spanish Rice
2 c. cooked rice
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cilantro (optional)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Easy Rice Pudding
1/4 c. uncooked rice
4 c. milk
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Combine all ingredients in a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil spray. Bake 3 1/2 hours, stirring three times during the first hour of baking to keep rice from settling.

Hawaiian Breakfast Rice
1 c. cooked rice, cooled
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 T. coconut
2 T. pineapple
2 T. raisins
1 T. chopped almonds

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Rice Pilaf
2 T. butter
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
2 c. rice
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 large can chicken broth
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and saute until tender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat until rice is done, about 15 minutes.

Quick & Delicious Meals with 4 Ingredients or Less

July 15, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Frugal Meals · 1 Comment 

If you’re looking for ways to save money when cooking at home, the simpler the recipe, the better. In fact, using four ingredients or less will almost ensure you a frugal meal to feed your family. Some of the recipes you cook on a regular basis would probably fit in this category. Here are some of our favorites gleaned from years of use. Rest assured, these simple dinners will also meet with family approval so you don’t have to worry about leftovers!

The Quickest Tacos

1 lb. ground beef.
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. tortilla shells

Brown and crumble the ground beef in a medium skillet. RInse and drain to remove added fat. Add the taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Heat the tortilla shells in the oven or on top of the stove. You can add shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, etc. if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Manwich® Sandwiches

1 lb. ground beef.
1 can Manwich®
1 pkg. hamburger buns

Brown and crumble the ground beef in a medium skillet. RInse and drain to remove added fat. Add the Manwich® sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. You can add mustard, dill pickle slices, and potato chips if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 can shredded chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can whole potatoes, chopped
1 roll crescent roll dough

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with cooking oil spray. Unroll and spread half of the crescent roll dough in the bottom of the pan. Mix chicken, soup and potatoes. Pour into pan. Top with remaining dough. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can add a can of mixed vegetables and a chopped onion, if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Waldorf Chicken Salad Subs

1 pint prepared chicken salad (from the deli)
1 apple, sliced thin
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
4 sub rolls

Place 1/4 of the chicken salad on each sub roll. Add 3 of the apple slices and 1 slice of cheese. You can add 10-12 grape halves and 2 T. chopped nuts to the salad before use, and serve with potato chips, if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Crock Pot Italian Beef Subs

1 chuck roast
1 c. Italian salad dressing
6-8 sub rolls

Spray crock pot with vegetable cooking spray. Trim all fat from roast and place in crock pot. Add salad dressing. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until meat falls apart. Shred meat. Serve on sub rolls with about 1 T. juice added to each. You can serve with pepperoncini or jalapeno peppers, if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Hamcos

1 lb. ground beef.
1 pkg. tortilla shells
1 tomato, chopped fine
shredded cheese

Brown and crumble the ground beef in a medium skillet. RInse and drain to remove added fat. Return to stove and heat thoroughly. Heat the tortilla shells in the oven or on top of the stove. Serve on tortillas with tomato and shredded cheese. You can add shredded lettuce and sour cream, if desired, but it’s not necessary.

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Chili Slaw Dogs

1 pkg. hot dogs
1 pint prepared Cole slaw (from the deli)
1 can chili
1 pkg. hot dog buns

Place hot dogs in medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 5-10 minutes or until hot dogs are thoroughly done and plump. Heat chili. Serve hot dogs on buns with chili and slaw. You can add mustard, ketchup, relish, etc. and serve with potato chips, if desired, but it’s not necessary.

As you can see, these are truly simple recipes. Hopefully, they’ll get you thinking about other meals you can prepare that are quick, frugal, healthy and delicious!

Save Money with Crock Pot Cooking

July 10, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Frugal Meals · Comments Off on Save Money with Crock Pot Cooking 

Looking for ways to make frugal meals for your family? Fall in love with your crock pot! Not only is it easy to use and clean, it allows you to purchase less expensive cuts of meat and still come out with tender, juicy, delicious meals for your family. Here are some recipes that will almost guarantee you’ll learn to love your crockpot after the very first one you try.

Crock Pot Apple Cobbler
(Courtesy Free Quick Recipes)

4 med. apples, peeled, cored and sliced semi-thick
1/4 c. honey
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter, melted
2 c. granola cereal

Topping:
2 T. granola cereal
ice cream

Place all ingredients in crock pot. Mix well. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours. Sprinkle with granola and top with ice cream, if desired.

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Crock Pot Pork Chops & Potatoes

4-6 pork chops
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 can mushroom soup

Trim fat from pork chops. Layer chops, potatoes and onion in crock pot in that order, making 2-3 layers of each depending on size of your crock pot. Spread with mushroom soup. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or until meat is tender.

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Crock Pot Cabbage Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 green peppers, chopped
1 can tomatoes, chopped
6 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 small can mushrooms
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 can bouillon or chicken broth
1 small can vegetable juice
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. parsley
1/8 t. garlic powder
water

Place all ingredients in crock pot. Add about 8 c. of water to completely cover all ingredients. Mix well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

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10 Can Vegetable Beef Stew
(Courtesy Free Quick Recipes)

1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
2 t. flour
2 cans whole potatoes, drained
1 can sliced carrots, drained
1 can lima beans, drained
1 can peas, drained
1 can green beans, drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 bay leaf
1 large can V8 juice
salt & pepper to taste

Coat beef with flour, salt and pepper. Place in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

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Little Smokies in a Crock

1 pkg. Little Smokies
1/2 c. grape jelly

Place Little Smokies in crock pot. Add jelly. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.

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Cowboy Casserole

1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can tomatoes
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/8 t. garlic powder

Brown ground beef. Rinse and drain. Place in crock pot. Cover with onion, potatoes and pinto beans. Mix tomatoes, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in small bowl. Add to crock pot. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.

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Easy Beans & Franks

1 lb. hot dogs
2 cans pork & beans
1 small onion, chopped fine

Cut hot dogs in 1″ slices. Place all ingredients in crock pot. Mix well. Cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.

Delicious Fourth of July Recipes for Frugal Moms

June 30, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Cheap Holiday Ideas · Comments Off on Delicious Fourth of July Recipes for Frugal Moms 

Looking for some delicious, inexpensive recipes to make your Fourth of July (or any day!) special? Try these on for taste.

Texas BBQ Sauce

1 c. tomato juice
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. catsup
1/4 c. vinegar
2 T. worchestshire sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. salt
1/4 t. chili powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 small onion, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients together in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Makes about 2 cups.

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Coconut Lemon Squares

Crust
1 c. Bisquick
2 T. powdered sugar
2 T. butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix together Bisquick and powdered sugar with a fork. Using a pastry blender, cut in margarine until it’s in fine chunks. Press into ungreased 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Filling
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. coconut
1 T. Bisquick
2 eggs
2 T. lemon juice
2 t. grated lemon peel

Mix together all ingredients until well blended. Pour over crust. Bake about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen edges from the pan while warm.

Glaze
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. lemon juice

Mix together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over warm bars. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

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Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. mayonnaise
Dash of paprika

Cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks. Combine egg yolks, salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix well. Fill egg white halves with mixutre. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Old Fashioned Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped fine
1/3 c. onion, chopped fine
3 T. mustard
1 t. salt
2 T. dill relish
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. celery salt
1/4 c. mayonnaise
Dash of paprika

Peel potatoes. Cut in chunks and boil until tender. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients except paprika. Mix well. Sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Corn Bread Layered Salad

1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared as directed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 medium green pepper, chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1-1/2 c. ranch dressing
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Cool baked cornbread completely. Crubmle into chunks in a large bowl or serving dish. Layer pinto beans, corn, green pepper and green onions on top of cornbread. Cover with ranch dressing. Sprinkle with bacon, tomato and cheese. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serviing. Makes about 8 servings.

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Sweet Southern Iced Tea

8 regular-sized tea bags
1 c. sugar
water

Pour about 2 quarts water in a large sauce pan. Add sugar and mix well. Bring to boil, stirring often so sugar will dissolve completely. Reduce heat slightly and add tea bags. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let set about 15 minutes then pour into 2-quart pitcher. Fill pitcher with ice and cold water. Stir well. Cool. Serve over ice.

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Super Simple Cream Cheese Ball

1 c. tuna, drained well
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 med. onion, chopped fine
Dash of lemon juice
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients well. Form into ball. Roll in pecans. Chill for at least one hour. Serve with Ritz crackers.

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Dreamsicle Fudge

3 c. sugar
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1-1/2 sticks butter or margarine
1 small jar marshmallow cream
3 T. orange flavoring
12 drops yellow food coloring
9 drops red food coloring

Combine suager, milk and butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring often. Boil 5 minutes or until cand thermometer shows “soft ball” stage. Stir in marshmallow cream. Mix until smooth. Remove one cup of mixture and set aside. Pour remaining mixture into a buttered 9″ x 12″ pan. To the one cup mixture, add the orange flavoring and food coloring. Mix well. Spoon orange mixture into white. Swirl with knife to partially blend. Refrigerate one hour or until set. No extra refrigeration needed after it sets up.

Feed a Family of Four for Less Than $5 Per Meal

June 17, 2009 · Filed Under Being Frugal, Frugal Meals · Comments Off on Feed a Family of Four for Less Than $5 Per Meal 

Feeding a family is a growing challenge in a world where grocery prices rise nearly every week. But you can eat well and still stay within your budget by planning your meals in advance and choosing simple, low-cost options. Here are five frugal recipes that will let you feed a family of four for under $5 per meal. And you can’t beat a deal like that!

NOTE: Prices are estimates and will vary depending on region, available sales, etc.

Budget Crock Pot Swiss Steak & Rice

1 lb. beef cubed steak, $1.75 on sale (can use round steak or venison cutlets, whichever is cheapest)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, 49¢
8 oz. can tomato sauce, 69¢
cooking oil spray, minimal
2 cups regular cooked rice, 68¢

Cut meat into four equal pieces. Remove any excess fat. Spray crock pot with cooking oil spray. Place meat in bottom of crock pot. Mix soup and tomato sauce with a whisk or a fork until well blended. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until meat is tender. Prepare rice as directed on box. Serve meat over rice. Makes 4 servings.

TOTAL COST: $3.61

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Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground turkey, $1.19 (can use ground beef)
1 can Manwich®, $1.19
8 hamburger buns, 99¢

Brown ground turkey, drain. Add Manwich®. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns. Makes 8 sandwiches.

OPTIONAL: Serve with mustard, pickles, and potato chips, if desired.

TOTAL COST: $3.37

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TexMex Burritos

1 lb. ground turkey, $1.19 (can use ground beef)
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix, 79¢
1/4 c. water, minimal
1 can refried beans, 99¢
1 pkg 10 large flour tortillas, $1.89

Brown ground turkey, drain. Add taco seasoning, water and refried beans. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Heat tortillas in oven or on stove top. Spoon mixture onto warm tortillas. Makes 10 burritos.

OPTIONAL: Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese, if desired.

TOTAL COST: $4.86

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Quick & Easy Potato Soup

8 medium potatoes, coarsely diced, $1.20
1 medium onion, coarsely diced, 49¢
1 stalk celery, chopped fine, 10¢
water, minimal
Salt and Pepper to taste, 3¢
Oyster crackers or saltines, 99¢

Place potatoes, onion and celery in medium size saucepan and cover with water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes until soup thickens. Serve hot with oyster crackers or saltines. Makes about 4 cups.

TOTAL COST: $2.81

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Semi-Homemade Spaghetti

1 lb. ground turkey, $1.19 (can use ground beef)
1 lb. spaghetti, $1.19
1 jar, store brand spaghetti sauce, 99¢
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped, 25¢
water

Brown ground turkey, drain. Add spaghetti sauce and onion. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until onion is very tender. Cook spaghetti as directed on package. Spoon sauce over spaghetti. Serves 4 or more.

OPTIONAL: Serve with a salad and oven toasted bread sprinkled with garlic powder.

TOTAL COST: $3.62

To Roast or Not to Roast!

October 22, 2008 · Filed Under Frugal Meals · Comments Off on To Roast or Not to Roast! 

By Tawra Kellam
http://www.LivingOnADime.com/

Peter Piper Picked a Profoundly Plump Pumpkin — Now What does he do with it?

Every fall I get many questions about what to do with pumpkins. Many people find curious fascination in imagining what it would be like to grow these versatile little gems, as if growing something that produces a large fruit is somehow more respectable than growing, say, a serrano pepper. Many people eventually venture into pumpkin experimentation. Some succeed and many fail. Much like a dog that chases a car, many people never give thought to what they would do if they actually succeeded in successfully raising a patch of these fall favorites. Whether you have found yourself with more pumpkins than you know what to do with or you are one of the people who had to buy pumpkins and duct tape them to the vine, these tips for roasting and using pumpkins are sure to help you make the most out of them (no matter how you acquired them)!

How to Roast a Pumpkin

You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days. To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food
processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.

To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Boil seeds in water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt. Place a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 . Stir after 30 minutes. Bake ½-1 hour more or until crunchy.

*Squash seeds may also be used.

Pumpkin Smoothies

½ cup pumpkin
¾ cup milk or vanilla yogurt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 ice cubes
whipped cream (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2-3 glasses. Serve with a small amount of whipped cream on top. You may also add orange sprinkles if you like. Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)
½ cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cups milk

Combine ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour ¼ cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

1 cup maple syrup
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 ¼ cups pumpkin

Mix together until well blended.

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