Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chili and Cornbread


2 small cans of tomato soup (1.20 w/ coupon)
1 15oz can of tomato sauce (.57)
1/2lb ground beef (.75)
1 pack of taco seasoning (.50)
1 can of sweet corn (.57)
2 can of kidney beans (.40)
1 pack of jiffy cornbread mix (.48 on sale)
1 egg (.10)
1/3 cup of milk (.35)


1. Brown your beef and set aside.

2. In large saucepan combine tomato soup, tomato sauce, ground beef, and corn and taco seasoning and let it simmer for an hour on low. Add a cup of water about halfway through to help make it a little more soupy.

3. While chili is simmering, make cornbread according to box.

Serve hot on a chilly night, perfect!

Total cost of meal: $4.92

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cube Steak Parmesan

This meal was top notch! My husband immediately told me to put it on our normal rotation because he liked it so much. The best part? Cube steak is a really affordable meat!

2 cube steaks: $2.10
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz): .57
1/2 cup bread crumbs: .05
1 egg whisked: .10
1 tbs of olive oil .05
1/2 cup of shredded parm. cheese: .55
1/2 cup of moz. cheese: .55
1 cup of frozen corn: .30


Preheat oven to 350.

1. Take cube steaks, dip them in the egg and then dip in the bread crumbs and parm cheese.

2. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat and add the steaks. Brown them (takes about 5 mins per side)

3. Put steaks in a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs/parm cheese and then cover with tomato sauce and moz. cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is sizzling.

4. Heat frozen corn (or canned corn) to serve on the side.

Total cost of meal: $4.07

Garlic Chicken with Rice Casserole

2 Chicken Breasts (3.00)
1 tbs minced garlic (.05)
2 tbs vegetable oil (.03)
2 tbs butter (.05)
1 cup of rice (.20)
1 can cream of mushroom (.50)
1 can cream of chicken (.50)
1 small can of peas (.37)


1. In skillet, heat oil, butter and garlic. Add chicken. Cook chicken on both sides until the juices run clear (or you cut one open and there is no pink)--this takes about 10 mins on each side.

2. While you are doing this, cook your rice. 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water on stovetop until rice soaks water up.

3. Take chicken out and set aside.

4. Rinse your skillet (but only with water, you want some leftover traces of the mixture for flavoring) and place the rice, the cream of chicken and mushroom soup and the peas in. Let it sit for 5 mins on medium heat.

5. Throw the rice over the chicken and you're ready to serve!

Total cost of meal: $4.70

Oven Fried Chicken

This is a super simple recipe that yields great results! I pair it with some baked new potatoes and it is delicious.

1/2 cup mayo (.40)
1/2 cup milk (.20)
1 egg (.10)
1 cup bread crumbs (.05)
4-6 chicken legs (1.40)
4 new potatoes (cubed) (.85)
2 tbs olive oil (.05)
2 tbs garlic salt (.02)--I really do figure out about how much it'll cost per tablespoon!
2 tbs pepper (.02)


Preheat your oven to 350.

1. Cut up your potatoes and place them in a baking dish, cover with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Mix mayo and milk. Whisk egg in a separate bowl and put aside.

3. Dip chicken into mayo/milk mixture, dip it into the egg and then run it through the bread crumbs.

4. Stick your chicken and your potatoes in the oven for an hour.

Total cost of meal: $3.09

Monday Meal Planning

Meal Plan:

Monday 11/9: Tacoroni and Cheese

Tuesday 11/10: Chili and Cornbread

Wednesday 11/11: Apricot Chicken

Thursday 11/12: Pot Roast

Friday 11/13: Pepperoni Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers or breakfast

Sunday: Burgers

Here's the grocery list if you want to follow my recipes this week:

4 Chicken Breasts
3 lbs of ground beef
1 Beef Roast (this will depend on how many you want to feed, I usually get a really small one and it feeds about 4)

Elbow Macaroni
Rice (you'll need 3 cups so a small bag does it)
Hamburger Buns
1 Box of Jiffy Cornbread mix

Veggies/fruits/canned goods:
1 can of peas
1 lb bag of potatoes
1 can Rotel
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (4 oz)
Small jar of apricot preserves
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of chicken
1 Onion
1 bag of shredded cheddar
1 bag of shredded moz. cheese

Pantry ingredients (these I typically already have on hand):
Vegetable oil
Olive Oil
Minced Garlic
Onion dip mix

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

Frugal Friday tip: know where to shop and when.

This week is my favorite week at Harris Teeter. It's their triple coupon week. That means any of my coupons worth 99 cents and under are tripled at checkout. This is the week that I stock up on things that I use a LOT in our house (baby wipes, cleaning products, flour, sugar, etc.). I start by sitting with my coupon book and pulling out all of the coupons under $1 and then look through them to determine the things I NEED and the things that can be stocked (I don't buy things that I don't need just because I get the triple coupon--for example, I had a coupon for ketchup that would have made the ketchup like .10, but right now we have a massive bottle in the fridge and don't have room to store another so it didn't make sense to get that even though there was a great deal).

I then make a grocery list based on the coupons I have (meaning, I go to the store with two lists- one with all of my coupon items and another with the other items I need for the week). I don't go until the baby is up from her long nap so that she's in good spirits the whole time--this is all part of the planning process because these trips are longer than my average grocery trips. We head out when she gets up, stop at sonic for my diet coke and then go to the grocery store. This week I tendered $37.18 in coupons. I made our family that money because the stuff we got with them is stuff we need in our household and would have to buy anyway, even if I need to get it full price.

A year ago, I never would have even tried to use coupons. The thought of it was too daunting. Now, I actually enjoy searching for the coupons and seeing my total drop as they scan them in at the store. It's amazing how much your mindset can change when you decide to live on a budget! What's your FF tip?

Note Taking November

So, I made it through the first week of November without grocery shopping! Try that sometime, it's a really fun challenge. We call it "clean out the pantry" weeks and just do dinners/lunches from things we have left in the fridge and the pantry. I keep ours pretty well stocked so we usually can still get some good meals from it.

Anyway, I DID go to the grocery store yesterday and am pleased to report that all went well and I didn't over spend. My total grocery bill was $54.56 and of that $5.50 was household cleaning products and I don't count those in my food budget for the month so the grand total was $49.06! Here's the amazing part: I tendered $37.19 in coupons (check out my Frugal Friday post to find out how)!

Monday, October 26, 2009

November is coming!

November is fast approaching and I've got a big challenge for the month! I have a lot of people ask me if I really keep my monthly grocery bill under $200 (averaging $50 a trip) and even though I say yes, some people are still skeptical. So, November will be named: Note Taking November--Tracking My Spending. I am going to post my grocery bill (the food portion because we have a little bit built in the budget for our other items) every week and I'll include coupons or deals I used and where I used them so that maybe you can use them, too! We'll see if I really am able to keep to my limit. What about you? What's your monthly grocery budget? Are you really able to stick to it?

Money Saving Monday

Ok, it's no lie...I have a thing for diet coke. That was probably the hardest thing for me to give up during my pregnancy and- no joke- the entire time I was in labor I kept telling myself that at the end of it all I was going to have a big ol' fountain diet coke to reward myself...and I did...and it was wonderful. Anyway, during our weekly trips to the grocery store, I always stop beforehand at our neighborhood sonic and pick up a large diet coke to shop with. It's great. I usually hit there right as happy hour starts (so my drink is half priced) and I enjoy every last sip of the thing.

So you're asking yourself, where is the money saving? (besides the fact that the drink is half off) Here it is: Check your receipt! Don't only do it at Sonic. Check it everywhere! Sonic will give out receipts every once and a while that ask you to take their survey. It takes about 2 minutes and at the end you receive a code that will get you a free route 44 drink on your next visit (keep the receipt and write the code on it because that's your ticket to the freebie)!

Most places have some kind of survey that they want you take and have some kind of giveaway or drawing attached to it. Can't hurt, and it helps them understand what you want better!

Monday Meal Planning

OK! The sickies have finally left my house (well, I have it now, but I can manage myself better than I can manage my baby) and so our menu planning is back. I'm really excited about this week because I feel like we'll get real meals all week instead of the slacker meals I was preparing while the baby was sick. Here ya go:

Oven fried chicken and yellow squash

Cube Steak Parmesan

Chicken Spaghetti

Beef Stew w/ rice

Homemade pizza

Glazed Country Ribs with new potatoes

Breakfast for dinner

Check out "money saving monday" since I didn't get a chance to do a frugal friday last week. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Just wanted to post a quick apology for being out of commission here. I've had a sickie nine month old for almost 2 weeks and she's just starting to come out of it so we've been doing a lot of "clean the pantry" meals here because she's requiring so much attention. I WILL be back! Probably before Friday because I do have a great frugal friday post for this week. What have you all been cooking? I need some guest posters for when this kind of thing happens!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

This week's tip: don't be afraid to downsize.

This has been on my mind all week and I kept pushing it to the back thinking it wouldn't make a good post, people would probably just scan over it and not think anything of it, but I felt like it needed to be out there because it's something I struggled with. But seriously, especially those mom's (or soon to be mom's) who really want to stay at home but don't see a way to do it.

Don't. Be. Afraid.

It may mean a smaller place. We went down some square footage after we had our little girl and I don't really notice much of a difference. In the long run, I'm SO much happier in a smaller place but staying at home with my daughter that it just doesn't matter. We could live in an apartment this small our entire lives if it means that I can stay home (ok, we may need to upsize just a bit if I get the 5 kids I want...but you know what I mean).

It may mean a not filling your grocery cart-- do you really NEED that bag of chips or can you find a snack that's cheaper and works better to fill your family? I stopped buying the junk that filled our pantry. I was queen of snacks--always had something to munch on. But those snacks a lot of time just filled my cabinets and were only pulled out once or twice before being thrown away because they got stale. I now pick a snack a week, buy that and then we don't buy anymore until the one we have is gone.

It may mean, and usually does mean, downsizing on the amount of times you go out to dinner. Before seminary we went out at least once a week, even if it was just to a fast food joint. In the 4 months that we've been here, I can count on one hand how many times we've been out to eat. You know, the truth is, after about two weeks of not eating out--I didn't really notice it anymore. Now, when we do decide to go out (usually because we've got enough coupons that one of us eats free), it's a huge treat that I look forward to all week.

Downsizing really isn't all that scary when you know why you're downsizing.

Have a FF tip that you want to share? Link your blog post to your comment so we can all see!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Monday: Chicken in red sauce

Tuesday: Burgers and new potatoes (we really don't have this every week, I've just been trying to get it in our menu for a couple weeks and any night we're ready to have them something comes up)

Wednesday: Taco Spaghetti (didn't make it to the table last week either)

Thursday: Big Ol' Burritos

Friday: Homemade pizza friday

Saturday: Baked Whole Chicken

Sunday: Breakfast

Friday, October 2, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

Frugal Friday is back! I took a couple of weeks off to compile my ideas and make sure that I could give you really good tips on Frugal Fridays. This week's Frugal Friday tip is: plan on sale, buy with coupons.

When I sit down to do our weekly meal plan, my thought isn't: what am I in the mood for this week? Instead it's: what's on sale this week and how can I fit that into my meal plan?

This is how it works. I think Monday and look at the meats that are on sale at the different grocery stores I frequent (provided I don't already have meat set aside in the freezer). This week at Harris Teeter, Whole Fryer Chicken is .57 a lb, that means that next week we'll probably be having some kind of roasted or baked chicken for a meal. Now, our meal can't just consist of chicken. We need some kind of veggie. So, I look through the adds again for veggies that go well with the chicken and notice in my Kroger add that broccoli is on sale for .99lb (we usually get 1/2 lb of broccoli and it feeds us fine). Perfect. So, there's my Monday meal. Then I go back through the adds again for the rest of my week. It does take time. It's not easy, it takes creative planning, but if you REALLY are in it to save money and keep things healthy then it's very worth it.

**Side note: I know, in my past FF post I said I buy local veggies and talked about buying veggies at Kroger in this paragraph--I buy where I can get something fresh and inexpensively and sometimes that does mean purchasing from the grocery store. You just have to be aware of the prices both places.

Part two of this Frugal Friday is buying with a coupon. In addition to sitting down with the weekly adds, I also sit down with the weekly Sunday paper and look through online adds for coupons. I have a coupon organizer where I keep all of my coupons by their kind (grocery, meds, cleaning products, etc). I then look at my weekly adds and see if I can combine any of the store deals with the coupons to make them cheaper.

I also look for products that we use all the time in the coupons to see if I can get them cheaper. For example, my 8 month old L-O-V-E-S yo-baby yogurt. She has it every morning for breakfast. The only problem is that it's not cheap. This week I found two coupons for yo-baby: .75/1 and .50/1. Then I shop around and find the store that sells them the cheapest (since they are manufacturers coupons and I can use them anywhere). I know that Harris Teeter will always double my coupons if they are under $1 so I know that with these coupons I can get it cheapest there. If I use the .75 coupon then I can get my yo-baby yogurt for $1.49 (they are $2.99 full price, the .75 doubled makes it $1.50 off and leaves me with the new total). I can only print this coupon and use it once so in addition to that one, I'm going to use my .50 coupon and get another batch of yogurt leaving me with the new total of $1.99 (again, .50 coupon doubled leaving me with new total). This leaves me with a total saving $2.50 and I've got enough yogurt for two weeks. Whew!

Couponing is tricky and you really have to know the ins and outs. I had to be taught how to use them most efficiently and am still learning. BUT, they are a wonderful tool if used correctly and can save you a lot of money. In my last grocery trip I tendered close to $30 worth of coupons. Keep at it and you'll be saving the big bucks soon!

Do you have a frugal friday tip? Post a FF post on your blog and leave the post address in your comment.

Do you coupon? Let us know how it works best for you in the comments--I always love to learn new tricks!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Meal plan for the week:

Monday: Tater fried chicken and butternut fries

Tuesday: Skillet Lasagna

Wednesday: Crock pot country ribs w/ seasonal veggie

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie

Friday: Pepperoni Pizza

Saturday: Burgers and new potatoes

Sunday: Taco Spaghetti

'Tater Fried Chicken and Butternut Fries

This was a very tasty, very easy meal that I was able to use a seasonal veggie for. I'm always looking for new ways to use vegetables because my husband is not a huge veggie fan, so anything I can do to them to spruce them up and make them appealing to him is welcome! He ate these puppies up, too. You're going to want a little bit of extra prep time for the fries because butternut squash is a pretty tough one to cut open. It took me about 25 minutes to get the fries ready, so just be prepared.

4 chicken legs (2.40)
1 Butternut Squash (1.13)
1 pack of instant mashed potatoes (.54)
4 tbs butter (.20)
2 tbs olive oil (.10)
1 tbs seasoned salt (.05)

Step 1: Cut up your butternut squash into preferred fry shape (peel the outside, first). The easiest shape to cut a butternut squash into circles but I'm a little crazy and like to have a good shoestring shape.
Step 2: Put the fries into a bag, add your olive oil and some seasoning and shake it up. Put them onto a cookie sheet and into the oven at 375 degrees for an hour.
Step 3: Melt your butter, dip each leg into the butter and then run them through the instant potato mix. (I know, my pictures are backwards)

Step 4: Stick them in a baking dish and put them in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour.
And you're ready to serve! Ours got packed up and taken to work so that my husband could enjoy dinner with us. It was very yummy!

Total cost of meal: $4.42

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beef Goulash

1lb of ground beef (.95--this was one of those buy it in bulk and split it up deals)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (.98)
1/2 cup of water (free)
1 tsp paprika (.10)
1 tsp brown sugar (.05)
2 tbsp flour (.05)
1/4 cup of water--to be used separately from the one above (free)
1/4 cup of sour cream (.25)
1/2 box of pasta (.39)
1 tbsp of minced garlic (.50)

Step 1: Brown beef, drain and set aside.

Step 2: Add tomatoes (plus juices), beef, water, paprika, s/p to taste, garlic and brown sugar.

Step 2: Mix water (1/4 cup mentioned second) with the flour to form a paste.
Step 4: Throw in your paste with the sour cream and mix it together well. Cook pasta according to box directions. Let mixture simmer for about 15 minutes while pasta cooks.

Serve over pasta and enjoy!
Total cost of meal: $3.27

BBQ Chicken Bake

I have to admit, this is not my favorite recipe. I'm not a huge bbq sauce in large quantities fan, however, having said that--this meal kept my husband coming back to the fridge for leftovers for days and that is HUGE, so I had to include it!

2 Chicken breasts cubed (1.20)
1 small sweet potato peeled and cut (.45)
1 small bag of frozen corn (.90)
1 jar of bbq sauce (1.18)
2 boxes of jiffy corn bread mix (.20 on sale! +.10 for the eggs used)

Step 1: Throw all of your ingredients minus the bbq sauce and corn bread mix into the slow cooker.
Step 2: Mix in BBQ sauce.
Step 3: Prepare corn bread mix as directed and lay it on top of your mixture. Cook for 8 hours on low. That's it!
Serve and enjoy (ours was in a to go container so we could take it to daddy while he worked the closing shift).
Total cost of meal: $4.13

Sweet and Sour Pork

1 lb of cubed pork --I bought the cheapest boneless chops @ 2lbs, cut up the pork, split it into two baggies and still have an extra bag in the freezer now if I want to make the meal again. (.90)
2 tbs of olive oil (.10)
1/4 cup of brown sugar (.25)
1 tbs of Worcester sauce (.03)
1 tbs of cornstarch (barely .01)
1 8 oz can of pineapple w/ juices (.65)
1/3 cup of white wine vinegar (.10)
1/4 green pepper (.20)
1 cup of rice (.30)
1 broccoli head (.40)

Step 1: Cook pork cubes in olive oil in frying pan on the stove.

Step 2: Have 1 cup of rice cooking. I use a rice cooker but you can do it on the stove, also. Put the one cup of rice in a saucepan, cover it with 2 cups of water and cook on med. heat until water is completely gone.

Step 3: Steam broccoli head (steam without a steamer)

Step 4: Mix corn starch and brown sugar in saucepan. Add about 1/4 cup of water and pineapple juice. Add vinegar and Worcester sauce and continue to stir over medium heat.
Step 5: Add pineapple chunks and green pepper chunks to the mix.
Step 6: Add the pork and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
Step 7: Serve over warm bed of rice with steamed broccoli. Yummo!
Total cost of meal: $2.94

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

First, I need to apologize for the huge blog hiatus. I am not normally this much of a procrastinator...BUT...my semi-mobile almost 8 month old has been keeping me so busy when she's not napping that when she is I'm using those little moments to do all kinds of other things. I THINK I've got her new schedule down and should be able to post my recipes more frequently. I'll also make sure to get the Frugal Fridays back up and running starting tomorrow!

This meal was SO YUMMY! I look forward to making it on cooler days because I think it'll be received even better (though, it's hard to have it received much better than it was). I'll definitely use it as a "company" dish because it made WAY too much for just hubby and I, definitely could have fed 4 more people with it easily.

3 potatoes boiled and cubed (on sale 1.30)
4 oz of cream cheese (.45)
8 oz sour cream (1.00)
3/4 cup of all purpose flour (.10)
3 strips of bacon cooked and cut up (.30)
6 cups of milk (1.00)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to top (.55)
1/3 large white onion (.10)

Step 1: Cube your potatoes before boiling. Place them in a pot of boiling water and let them be for about an hour. Pull them out once soft. Mash potatoes when done (add just a bit of milk to them to get them to mash a little better).
Step 2: Combine milk, sour cream, cream cheese and mashed potatoes together in a bowl and then place them in a pot on medium heat.
Step 3: Brown onions and also cook up the bacon (set aside for use later).

Step 4: Add the onion to soup and let soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
To serve add a bit of bacon and cheese on top. Enjoy!

Total cost of meal: $4.80

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Ok, I took a week off to gather my bearings and get my house in order, but here's our meal plan for the week (excluding today because we had a special dinner out tonight):

Tuesday: Chicken Teriyaki/Stir Fry over noodles

Wednesday: Spaghetti w/ garlic bread and broccoli

Thursday: Marinaded Pork Chops w/ squash

Friday: Homemade mac n cheese pizza

Saturday: Hamburgers w/ new potatoes

Sunday: Southwest Chicken Salad

Sounds like a yummy week, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet Marinated Pork Chops

Ok, so my favorite way to have a pork chop is when it's been marinating for hours upon hours in some sort of heavenly marinade and then is cooked just right. That is, not too tough, not too much marinade but not too little...and these pork chops, folks, were perfect.

2 large pork chops (2.00)
1 tbs soy sauce (.05)
2 tbs ketchup (.05)
2 tbs brown sugar (.05)
1 tbs Worcester sauce (.10)
2 tbs vegetable oil (.03)
1 tbs lemon juice (.02)
1 large yellow squash (.92)

*This recipe involves a marinade that needs to sit for at least 2 hours to give meat the flavoring that it needs.

Step 1: Make your marinade. Mix soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, worcester sauce, vegetable oil and lemon juice in a bow. Pour them over your chops and let them marinade for AT LEAST 2 hours. Meat tastes best if marinated for over 6 hours.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 350 and then throw in the pork chops for about 30-40 minutes. While pork chops are baking, steam your squash. Don't have a steamer? Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water, stick a colander on top, put your veggies in there and cover it with the sauce pan lid and let it steam for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Pull the pork out, cut into one to make sure it's cooked and then plate the meal! Enjoy!!
Total cost of meal: $3.22

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Here we are facing a new week...what's for dinner?

Monday: Tortellini (didn't get to have it last week as we were invited over to a friend's for dinner)

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Corn Bread Bake

Thursday: Tortilla Chip Casserole

Friday: Some kind of pizza (possibly chicken fajita?)

Saturday: Country Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

Sunday: Chicken Tetrazzini

I'm actually ALL DONE with my shopping for the week! I took hubs out to the grocery store yesterday to buy some lunch (they were doing a fundraiser for the American Heart Association) and we went ahead and got our shopping done while we were there. Can I just tell you how nice it is to have an extra set of hands with a 7 month old in the grocery store?!

For those of you who are looking for some GREAT DEALS this week, I have two words...

Harris. Teeter.

We saved $23.00 yesterday! They've got a great deal on Ken's Salad Dressing (buy 2, get 3 free--we go through ranch dressing in this household like it won't exist tomorrow so it was a wonderful buy for us), their manager's special on chicken breasts is incredible, and they have bacon on BOGO so I got a few and froze them since I use a lot of bacon as accents in my recipes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meatless Meal: Cheese Enchiladas

To fit within our budget constraints, sometimes I have to make a meal sans meat. This is tricky when you have someone who L-O-V-E-S meat in the family and has a hard time filling up on something without it. This did the trick, though. Hubby loved the meal and had some leftover on his plate in the end. Mission accomplished.

4 corn tortillas (.70)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (.94)
1 8oz can of enchilada sauce (1.10)
1/4 white onion (.30)
2 ears of corn (1.00)

**Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1: Heat sauce and brown onions (in separate saucepans).

Step 2: Fill your tortillas with cheese (and onions if you like them--I did half and half as hubby doesn't like onions, but I do).
Step 2: Roll your tortillas and place in baking dish.
Step 3: Cut the corn off of your cobs and then fry them for about 5 mins until they turn a bit brown.
Step 4: Throw your sauce on the tortillas, throw the fried corn on top of that and top it with the cheddar cheese. Stick it in the oven for 30 mins and voila!

Ready to serve.
Meal total: $4.04

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

Frugal Friday Tip #2: Buy Local

If we can, we buy from local farmers. We have several little fruit/veggie stands and several farmer's markets on the weekends to choose from. I find it saves money, tastes better and helps out the local talent. Doesn't get much better than that!

I go once a week and get enough produce for us for the week plus enough to make enough babyfood for the week. This last round I spent $9.68 and had we bought all of our items in the store, it would have cost over $16.00, so we saved about $6.00--not too shabby. Also, would you check out the size of the sweet potato I found?! The big one I got at a fruit/veggie stand and the small one was the biggest one I found at our local grocery store. The big one made enough babyfood for 2 weeks.

What's your Frugal Friday tip? Link up in our comments section!

Homemade Pizza Friday: Pepperoni Pizza and Cheese Bread

So, I went ahead and made the double batch of homemade pizza dough and used a bit of it to make some cheese bread this time around!

Ingredients (for pizza and bread):

homemade pizza dough -- double batch (.60)
8oz can of tomato sauce (.25)
3/4 cup of moz. cheese (1.20)
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese (.60)
1/2 pack of pepperoni (1.00)
2 Tbs of olive oil (.05)

**Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Step 1: Take dough out of breadmaker and split it (for the bread you want about 1/4 of the dough). Spread out the smaller batch onto a baking sheet and cover it in olive oil. Pour 1/4 of moz. cheese on it and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese onto it.
Step 2: Roll out your pizza dough. Spread the can of tomato sauce on it and then place pepperonis on top of the sauce. Throw the remaining moz. cheese onto it. Stick the pizza, along with the cheese bread into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: When cheese is slightly browned and bubbling, pull the creations out of the oven, cut up and serve!

Meal total: $3.70

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken In Red Sauce

Didn't really have a clever name for this one. What you see is what you get, I guess.

1 8oz can of diced tomatoes (.57)
1 4oz can of tomato sauce (.25)
1 tbs Italian seasoning (.10)
1 tbs of garlic salt (.05)
1 tbs of olive oil (.10)
4 chicken thighs (1.60)
1/2 package of angel hair pasta (.75)
2 ears of corn (1.00)
1/4 cup of cheese (.45)

**Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
**This recipe takes about an hr so this is not the meal to make when you're starving.

Step 1: Mix diced tomatoes, olive oil, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic salt together in a small mixing bowl. Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with sauce.

Step 2: Place in the oven and set your timer for 50 minutes. When it hits 50 minutes, pull chicken out, cover with cheese and put it back in the oven for 10 mins. While this is cooking, throw your corn into some boiling water for 30 minutes and cook your pasta according to box directions.

Step 3: Take it out and you're ready to serve!
Total cost of meal: $4.77

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beef and Broccoli

So, I was going to do a stir fry for dinner but when it came down to it, I didn't get the snap peas I wanted for it because they were too much $ so I just wasn't in the mood for stir fry without them. So, I whipped this together hoping it would resemble some sort of beef and broccoli we'd had in the past, and to our surprise (and delight), it did!

1/2 lb of beef strips for stir fry (2.25)
1/4 onion cut up into pieces (.10)
1/4 broccoli head (.40)
1 can cream of mushroom (.54)
2 tbs soy sauce (.10)
1 tbs sugar (.03)
1/2 cup water (free)
2 tbs olive oil (.05)
1 cup of brown rice (.50)

*Cook your one cup of rice while doing the rest of this. I use a rice cooker but you can easily cook it on the stove top. 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, let it sit on medium heat on the stovetop until rice has soaked in all of the water. Easy as pie!

Step 1:
Heat 1 tbs of olive oil and brown your meat and onions in it.
Step 2:
Toss in the broccoli and stir for a couple of minutes.
Step 3:
Add the rest of your wet ingredients (cream of mush, soy sauce, olive oil, sugar, water) and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Step 4: Serve on top of rice. Enjoy!
Total cost of meal: $3.97

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Ok, here's our plan for the week:

M: Beef and Broccoli

T: Chicken w/ tomato marinara sauce on spaghetti

W: Enchiladas

Th: shells w/ homemade white sauce

F: Pepperoni Pizza (have leftover pepperonis from last week and want to get them used so as to not waste them)

Sat: Sweet and sour pork

Sun: Honey Lime Chicken

Check back for the recipes throughout the week!

(Do you have a Monday Meal Planning post? Put the link to it in the comments so we can see, too!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't throw those bananas away!

So, I was doing my 2nd deep clean of the kitchen for the week and noticed that I had some major brown bananas still sitting in there. Usually, I use leftover bananas to make babyfood, but, in the business of the week, I forgot that they were sitting there. What to do with over ripe bananas? Make banana bread, of course! Here's a recipe that will leave you wanting banana bread every day of the week--no joke, I went to bed every night this week thinking about the bread I'd be enjoying for breakfast.

3 ripe bananas mashed (.40)
1/3 cup of melted butter (.25)
3/4 cup of sugar (.55)
1 egg beaten (.10)
1 teaspoon vanilla (.10)
1 teaspoon baking soda (.05)
Pinch of salt (.03)
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (.30)

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Recipe takes an hour to cook, make sure you have enough time!

Step 1:
Mix mashed bananas with the melted butter. Mix in sugar, baking soda, salt and flour.

Step 2:
Mix wet ingredients together (egg, vanilla) and then throw them on top of your other mixture.

Step 3:
Mix your full mixture together and pour into a bread baking dish. Put it into the oven, set your timer for 1 hour and then enjoy!

Total cost for the bread (which provided breakfast for five full days): $1.78 (which averages to a little more than .28 cents a day)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

I know that one thing that helps me with our money saving is finding and using tips from other wives/moms who are trying to make meals and life work on a tight budget so I thought that I'd go ahead and pass along some of the ideas I use in our daily life. So, on Friday's, I'll be posting tips that help us out. Do you have a frugal friday tip? Great! Post a "Frugal Friday" in your blog and in the comments section of my post, post a link to your POST (not your blog, just the post) so we can all enjoy your frugal tips! We'll be doing this every Friday so if you don't post today, post next week!

Frugal Friday Tip #1: (if you have room to stock your freezer) buy meat in bulk and separate it out yourself.

Why spend $8.00 over the course of several weeks on several 1lb packages of chicken thighs when you can spend $6.33 and get the same amount of meat in one big pack? I buy our chicken thighs, breasts, legs and ground beef in large packages and then split them up into serving portions on my own and freeze them like that. This helps save several dollars when thinking in the long term.

What's your Frugal Friday tip?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taco Chip Casserole

I found this recipe and made a few changes to meet the needs of our family (i.e. no beans because my nursing baby gets a massive tummy ache when I eat beans) and it was yumm-o. We'll definitely be putting this on our regular dinner rotations. We had guests over and I served this and so I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do because we were busy entertaining (I didn't want to seem like a crazy person taking pictures of my food, either- :) ).

1 small cooked/cubed chicken breast (.40)
2 handfuls of crushed taco chips (.75)
16 oz can of diced tomatoes (1.15)
1 cup of cheddar cheese (.94)
1 8oz can of cream of chicken soup (.57)
1/4 cup of sour cream (.20)
1 Cup of milk (.40)
1/2 pouch of taco seasoning (.20)
Salt and Pepper for Taste

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1:
Spread your tomatoes on the bottom of your baking dish. Pour taco seasoning over top. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Step 2: Crush one handful of taco chips onto the top of the tomato/seasoning mixture.

Step 3: Mix your wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Step 4: Throw your chicken on top of your dish so far.
Step 5: Pour wet mixture onto dish.
Step 6: Top with cheese, stick it in the oven for 25 minutes and when it comes out your ready to serve! Enjoy!

Total cost of meal: $4.61 + added steamed green beans (link takes you to a "how to steam beans without a steamer" post) for a grand total of $4.98 :)