Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homemade Breadsticks

This recipe is adapted from one that I found on - the original recipe (see link below) is for a plain breadstick with a parmesan butter on the side. My version includes herbs in the dough for more flavor. If you're not making an Italian dish, use other herb combinations, like rosemary and basil...experiment and see what works for you!

Homemade Breadsticks

Makes 36 breadsticks
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast (or 2.5 tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese (from the can)
2-3 Tbsp butter, melted

-In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup warm water.
-Add the oil, egg, salt, 2 cups flour, and remaining sugar and water. Beat until smooth.
-Stir in the Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and garlic powder, and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
-Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
-Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
-Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6-in. rope.
-Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
-Brush tops of breadsticks with melted butter.
-Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Total Cost:
Sugar - $0.09
Oil - $0.09
Egg - $0.14
Flour - $0.41
Seasonings - $0.25
Butter - $0.14

Grand Total: $1.27, or $0.03 per breadstick!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crockpot Taco Chicken - make ahead!

This recipe was posted as part of the Freezer Cooking roundup on I'm an Organizing Junkie. The post is originally from Shawnee's Tangled Tales and I love how easy it all the prep work ahead of time, then when you're ready to cook just thaw and crock! :)

When I made this I actually skipped the freezing step and went straight to the crockpot...I then shredded the chicken and froze the cooked goods into 2 cup portions. I also omitted the chiles since I'm a wimp.

Crockpot Taco Chicken

For each recipe, label a one-gallon freezer bag and fill with the following:

3-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green chiles (small can)
3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (handmade, bulk or one small packet)
1 teaspoon cumin

Rinse two pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (or 3 pounds bone-in chicken) and add to bag. Massage bag to combine ingredients well. Squeeze all possible air from bag, seal and freeze.

To Cook: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place contents of bag into crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours/high for 3-4 hours, or until meat shreds easily.

Total cost:
Chicken: $2.97 (bone-in) or $3.98 (boneless)
Tomatos: $0.89 (32 oz canned)
Taco Seasoning: $0.25
Cumin: Negligible

Grand Total: $4.11 for bone-in, $5.12 for boneless (about 6 servings)

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This recipe comes from - I love homemade baked mac and cheese, but I don't always have time for long baking before dinner. I like that it's a one-pot dish, less cleanup!

One great thing about macaroni and cheese - it's just BEGGING for add-ins! After the recipe post I have included a few variations on the theme :)

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
makes about 6 servings

8 ounces macaroni
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

- Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan pan over medium heat. Add onions, and saute. Stir in flour and salt.
- Add milk and macaroni to saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cover.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally
- Add cheese, and stir until cheese melts

Total Cost:
Macaroni - $0.50
Milk - $0.51
Onion - $0.20
Butter - $0.27
Cheese - $2.40
Salt, flour - negligible

Grand Total: $3.88 for 6 servings, or $0.64 per serving!

Some add-ins for inspiration

Bacon and diced green pepper
Shredded mexican chicken and diced tomato
Peas and carrots
Broccoli florets and chicken chunks
Ground beef or turkey (browned) and chili powder
Leftover Crockpot Sloppy Joe

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I found this recipe on - the original recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I like this recipe as an option to use leftover roast chicken pieces. I also make homemade biscuits instead of using the refrigerator biscuits to cut costs even more!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or leftover chicken roast)
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces (or homemade!)

Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Total Cost:
Chicken - Free! (used leftovers from roast chicken)
Butter - $0.14
Cream soup - $1.00
Onion - $0.30
Homemade biscuits - $1.72

GRAND TOTAL - $3.46 for 6-8 servings, or $0.57 per serving!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

This recipe is courtesy of Three Peas in a Pod - I love finding new ways to use up leftovers! This is a nice variation from regular biscuits and a great way to sneak in some extra veggies :)

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cooked, mashed, and cooled sweet potatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons cream or milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
Brown sugar
Pecan halves

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal (a great job for kids).
2. Stir in the sweet potatoes, then add the cream or milk a little at a time until the mixture can be gathered into a soft ball.
3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it 10 or so times (not too long), then pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Using a floured cookie cutter or drinking glass rim, cut the dough into 2-inch rounds and arrange them on an un-greased baking sheet.
4. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle on brown sugar.
5. Press a pecan half into the top of each biscuit.
6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 9 biscuits.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.12
Sugar - negligible
Baking powder - $0.01
Butter - $0.35
Sweet potatoes - $0.20
Milk - $0.01
Brown sugar - negligible

GRAND TOTAL - $0.70 for 9 biscuits - or $0.09 per biscuit!

Autumn Chowder

Being from New England, the word "chowder" gets my attention every time :) This recipe from Heritage Schoolhouse appealed because all of the ingredients were readily available in my pantry! She originally used baby carrots, I substituted about a cup and a half of peeled chopped carrot since that's what I've got. I also used 3/4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with the water to thicken (just a personal preference), and threw in some extra cheese. We're cheese hounds!

I think this would lend itself well to be done in the crockpot, but I like that the recipe can be made in about half an hour if you chop the veggies ahead of time! The below recipe includes my adjustments, but be sure to click the link below for the original recipe.

Autumn Chowder

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 bag frozen corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 tbsp cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the potato, carrot, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Stir in the milk a half cup at a time (to temper it and prevent curdling), then add corn, salt and pepper. Return to a boil, cook 5 minutes longer. Combine the cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually whisk into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in bacon. Serve up big bowls and enjoy!

Total Cost:
Oil - $0.08
Onion - $0.30
Potatoes - $0.50
Carrots - $0.15
Chicken Broth - FREE!
Milk - $0.38
Corn - $1.00
Cheese - $0.90
Bacon - $0.85
Seasonings - $0.10

GRAND TOTAL - $4.26 for 6 servings, or 0.71 per serving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Honey Balsamic Chicken

I found this recipe on What's For Dinner? - she posts tons of great recipes and her dishes range from practical to downright decadent. This particular recipe was origially written for chicken on the grill, but since we live in an apartment that's not really an option for us. I adjusted it a little for the oven, and I think this would be a great glaze for any cut of chicken, or even pork! The instructions below include my adjustments, click on the link for her original recipe.

Honey Balsamic Chicken


2 pounds chicken (breast, drumsticks or wings)
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a shallow bowl, combine oil, 2 Tbsp vinegar, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in seasoning mixture to coat, and place in shallow baking dish in a single layer. Pour any leftover mixutre over the chicken.
-Place chicken in oven, bake for 30 minutes uncovered, turning once halfway through.
-While chicken is baking, combine remaining 3 Tbsp vinegar and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Cook down, stirring occasionally, until well thickened.
-After 30 minutes in the oven, brush chicken with honey mixture. Cook for 7-10 minutes. Turn chicken and brush again with honey mixture, cook for an additional 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a serving plate, let cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Total Cost:
Chicken - 2.00
Oil - $0.25
Vinegar - $0.30
Honey - $0.30
Seasoning - $0.08

GRAND TOTAL: $2.93 for 4 servings (0.73 per serving!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pork Chops with mushroom sauce

Easy peasy pork chops! I like to sautee some extra mushrooms and add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Pork Chops and Mushroom Sauce

1 Tbsp Olive oil
4 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with cooking spray
-Heat oil in a skillet. Rub chops with mixture of salt, pepper and garlic. Brown in skillet on both sides, remove from pan and place in baking dish.
-Brown onions in skillet. Pour in soup and milk, stir until blended and starting to heat up. Pour over pork chops
-Cover and bake for 30 minutes. If desired, while pork is cooking, brown sliced mushrooms in the skillet and add for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Total Cost:
Pork chops - $3.00
Onion - $0.15
Milk - $0.05
Soup - $0.50
Spices - $0.20
Mushrooms - $1.50

Grand Total - $5.40 for 4 servings, or $1.35 per serving)

Whole Wheat Biscuits

These biscuits lookded SOOO good when I found them on - I love biscuits but I'm trying to get away from using baking mix. These seemed perfect, and they are much cheaper than both premade baking mix and refrigerated biscuits!

Whole Wheat Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk

-In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well.
-Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened.
-Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times.
-Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
-Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.09
Wheat Flour - $0.20
Baking powder - $0.08
Sugar - $0.01
Salt - $0.01
Butter - $0.28
Milk - $0.19

GRAND TOTAL: $0.86 for 12 servings! That's $0.07 per biscuit!

Beef (or Turkey) and Biscuit Bake - AKA Cowboy Stew

This recipe showed up on one of my searches...I keep a lot of ground turkey around, and I'm always looking for new dishes to make with it. I like the addition of the beans to this dish, for extra nutrients and a heartier texture. I made a few substitutions to use stuff I had on hand, I also prefer to use homemade biscuits instead of canned, which is usually cheaper.

We've taken to calling this Cowboy Stew in my's very stick-to-your-ribs hearty, and the beef and beans remind my hubby of camping trips!

Beef-n-Biscuit Bake

1 pound ground turkey
1 (16 ounce) can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (or 1 can whole kernel corn)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can refrigerated biscuits (or homemade biscuits!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

-In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the turkey until no longer pink; drain.
-Add beans, corn, soup, milk, onion, chili powder and salt; bring to a boil.
-Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.
-Spoon into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush all sides of biscuit dough with butter; roll in cornmeal. Place on top of bubbling meat mixture. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned and cooked through.

Total Cost:
Ground turkey - $1.50
Beans - $0.60
Corn - $0.25
Soup - $0.50
Milk - $0.05
Cheese - $1.60
Homemade biscuits - $0.86
Butter - $0.14
Cornmeal - $0.07

GRAND TOTAL - $6.31 for 6-8 servings, or $1.05 per serving

Oatmeal-Cornflake Cookies

Yes, you read that correctly - two great breakfast treats in one! I found this recipe on Recipezaar - I had a hankering for a cookie and was out of chocolate chips. I did a quick search and these piqued my attention - they were easy, fast, and VERY yummy. The cornflakes add a little crunch to the cookie, and a little sweetness as well.

You can substitute applesauce for the oil, and I added the cinnamon for some extra flavor. These would lend themselves well to add-ins like dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped peanuts!

Oatmeal-Cornflake Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir in oats and cornflakes. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, then oil. Mix well.
Add flour mixture; mix well.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.16
Oats - $0.06
Corn Flakes - $0.04
Butter - $0.55
Sugar - $0.09
Brown Sugar - $0.10
Egg - $0.14
Vanilla - $0.01
Vegetable Oil - $0.24
Other spices - $0.05

GRAND TOTAL: $1.44 for 15-18 cookies!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sausage and Penne bake

I love a good pasta bake - especially one that freezes well! This recipe came from my mother's recipe box, she usually used sausage but you can also substitute a pound of ground meat. This is a great make-ahead recipe, and can be frozen cooked or uncooked since the meat is browned ahead of time. I like to make this in multiple batches!

Sausage and Penne Bake

1 pound box penne pasta
1 pound Italian sausage (hot or sweet - or use ground meat!)
2 bell peppers, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 (14 oz) jar tomato sauce
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta according to package directions, removing from heat while still slightly firm (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, crumble sausage into a skillet and brown over medium-high heat. After about 3 minutes, add peppers, onion and garlic, and brown for an additional 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until heated.
- Remove from heat, stir in penne and half the mozzarella. Transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly browned and melted.

Total Cost:
Pasta - $1.00
Sausage - $2.00
Peppers - $0.75
Onion - $0.30
Tomato sauce - $1.00
Cheese - $2.40

Grand Total: $7.45 for 6-8 servings, or $0.93 per serving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Mission - new start

Well here we are at Day 7 of my blog being disabled by blogger, and not a peep from the powers that be.

SOOOOO I made the executive decision to create a new blogger blog, and start fresh. I am hopeful that eventually my old blog will be unlocked so that I can get back my archived posts, but for now I'm just going with a clean slate.

The SUPER good news - Lauren at Restored 316 Designs will be installing my super hot new layout at the new site, so I'm kicking things off with a bang!!! The new layout will be up at some point tomorrow (Friday!) keep an eye out :)

Now make sure to tell your friends, neighbors, pets, dustbunnies, and anyone else you deem of tomorrow the new home for The $200 Mission is:

Spread the word! I will be hunting all you lurkers down over the next few days...hee hee!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The mission - Day 6

Yes, that's right, six.

Six days that The $200 Mission has been disabled, six days that I have faithfully checked my dashboard and my inbox, six days that I haven't heard so much as a peep from ANYONE with a pulse at blogger.

The whole experience is unbelievably disappointing.

I'm trying to hold out hope, rationalizing that perhaps because there was a weekend and a federal holiday mixed in there, maybe my request is just on the edge of being seen and addressed.

But then I read the "Help Groups" postings and find that there are folks whose blogs have been locked for MONTHS.

And then I found where Google lists the addresses and phone numbers for all of the google offices.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's Chili

I saw this recipe over at A Year of CrockPotting and just HAD to give it a try. According to her, this is the Obama family chili recipe...wherever it came from, it is DELICIOUS. I have wimpy tastebuds, and my toddler and I were both able to enjoy this chili without any mouth emergencies :) It's well-seasoned without being spicy, but for those who enjoy a little heat it would be very easy to add either diced jalapenos or hot sauce to jack it up a couple of notches.

When I made this I only had black beans and balsamic vinegar on hand, but the substitutions worked wonderfully - another benchmark of a great recipe, it's yummy AND flexible! I also took the Crockpot Lady's advice and increased all of the spices - the recipe below reflects the amounts I used but check out the link for the original amounts.

According to the original post the Obamas serve this over rice - other options would be to serve it over Fritos or crumbled up cornbread!

Barack Obama's Chili Recipe

--1 can kidney beans - and the goop! (I used black beans)
--1 lb lean ground meat (I used ground turkey)
--1 green bell pepper, chopped
--1 large onion, chopped
--5-6 medium tomatoes, chopped (include seeds and all)
--4 chopped cloves of garlic
--2 tsp cumin
--2 tsp oregano
--2 tsp basil
--2 tsp turmeric
--3 tsp chili powder
--2 tsp salt
--5 T red wine vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)

(Ms Crockpot noted that she did not brown her ground meat ahead of time - I also didn't bother browning the meat. Unless you are using a fatty ground meat and want to drain the fat off a bit, just toss in the ground meat raw!)

Chop up the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Add to the crockpot. Open the can of beans, and pour in the whole thing (do not drain or rinse!). Add the ground meat. Stir in all of the spices and the red wine vinegar.Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-5.

Total Cost:
Beans - $0.65
Ground Turkey - $1.50
Pepper - $0.85
Onion - $0.30
Tomatos - $3.20
Garlic - $0.20
Seasonings - $0.75

Grand Total: $7.45 for 8-10 servings, or $0.75 per serving!

**an update - this chili does WONDERFULLY in leftovers. I made burritos by mixing the chili with rice, rolling it in a 12" tortilla and frying both sides in the pan. Then we used some in omelettes for breakfast! YUMMY!

The Mission - Day 5

OK - today will be the telling day....we are past the weekend and the holiday, so I *hope* business is rolling over at Blogger again. Either way, The $200 Mission WILL be back up before the end of the week - either because Blogger restored my old site, or because I threw in the towel and started up a new one.

Thanks to everyone who's left comments - I feel the love!!! And I can't wait to post once things are back to normal - I have two HUGE shopping hauls to report!!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Mission - Day 4

Day 4...still no communication from Blogger, still no movement towards restoring my service.! If this goes on beyond the next day or two, I may just create a new account and put up The $200 Mission on a new blog. It would stink because all my old stuff would be stuck on the old blog, but at least I'd be able to move forward!!!

Keeping multiple appendages crossed,


Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Mission - Day 3

Yep, it's Day 3, and The $200 Mission is still down. I am hoping that with the regular work week starting up again, this will be fixed quickly...but time will tell. I still haven't gotten any communication from Blogger's folks that my restore request was neuroses are kicking in but I'm trying to hold it together!!

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Mission - day 2

Well here I am, day 2 of my blog being disabled because of Blogger's anti-spam program singling me out as a spam blog. Anyone who reads The $200 Mission knows that this is hooey, but for whatever reason their program pegged me. I submitted to have my blog restored yesterday morning, and have yet to hear from Blogger as to whether they have even received my request. I am hopeful that this is just an oversight because this occurred on a Friday and come Monday this will be taken care of.

At any rate, keep checking back - I will be posting updates on this blog for now, until everything is back to normal :)


Friday, November 7, 2008

The mission is still on!

Happy Friday!

I wanted to post a quick note regarding my main site, The $200 Mission - in reconfiguring the site for my new layout, Blogger apparently flagged me as spam and temporarily disabled the site. I am working to get it restored, so check back!

Thanks :)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Caraway Pork Chops

This is what happens when I buy a new spice - I go hunting for fun ways to use it! This is another Recipezaar offering, and it gave me an excuse to use more of the caraway seeds I just bought. I cut down the quantities of apples and onions after reading some of the comments on the recipe, and made this a 4-serving dish to fit the size of our family. But it's easy enough to shrink or expand the recipe to meet your own needs!

Caraway Pork Chops

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp caraway seeds
4 pork chops
Salt and pepper
Dijon mustard


1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
2. Layer onions and apples in the bottom of a shallow baking dish.
3. Drizzle honey on top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway seeds.
4. Prepare chops by sprinkling them with garlic salt and pepper and spreading mustard on them.
5. Place chops on apples and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon caraway seeds.
6. Cover and bake 1 hour.

Total Cost:
Onion - $0.20
Apples - $0.30
Pork Chops - $3.60
Honey, seasoning, garlic - appx $0.30

Grand Total - $4.40, or $1.10 per serving

Cabbage Roll Casserole

When I first came across this recipe on Recipezaar I was hesitant. I didn't want to make a glorified sauerkraut! But after reading it through, it's much less cabbage roll and much more hearty stew...and what a nice deviation from the usual Italian sausage and peppers! Don't let the long ingredient list scare you - because this is a crockpot recipe, it's very easy! I use homemade chicken stock and just a pound of sausage to help lower the overall cost. I also used canned diced tomatoes to save time. This is great served in a bread bowl!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

serves 6
1-1 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 large potatoes, peeled
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
10 ounces chicken stock
1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp dried dill, or 2 Tbsps fresh dill
1/2 tsp caraway seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped, or 2 Tbsp dried parsley
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic

  1. Discard the casings from sausage; cut into bite-size pieces.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the sausage over med-high heat; drain off any fat, and transfer sausage to crock pot.
  3. Meanwhile, peel potatoes, grate one potato, and dice the other potato.
  4. Add the potatoes to the crock pot, along with onions, garlic, carrots, chicken stock, tomatoes, dill, caraway seed, celery seeds, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Cover crock pot and cook on LOW heat for 7-1/2 hours.
  6. After the 7 hours of cooking, add in the cabbage, parsley and butter, pushing the cabbage down into the liquid; cook for another 30-60 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.
Total Cost:

Sausage - $1.99
Potatoes - $0.30
Onions - $0.43
Carrots - $0.40
Chicken stock - FREE!
Cabbage - $0.45
Butter - $0.55
Spices and seasonings - appx $0.15

Grand Total: $4.28, or $0.71 per serving!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Fingers

I scored some fancy salad dressing but since we don't do a lot of salad at home, I wanted to try something else - this recipe is a nice deviation from plain old breaded chicken, I like to do it as chicken fingers but you could just as easily marinate other (and larger) cuts of chicken.

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Fingers

Appx 4-6 servings
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken, cut into tenders
3/4 cup ranch dressing (I used a Chipotle ranch, but any Ranch variety will do)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large ziploc bag, combine chicken tenders and ranch dressing. Marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
Remove chicken fingers from ziploc bag, making sure they are coated in dressing. Roll in breadcrumb mixture and place in a single layer on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coating is crispy.

**for drumsticks, bake at 375 for appx 45-50 minutes. for boneless breasts, bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Total Cost
Chicken - $2.99
Ranch dressing - $1.00
Bread crumbs - $0.30
Parmesan Cheese - $0.50
Seasonings - negligible

Grand total - $4.79, or $0.80 per serving

Crockpot Vegetable Curry

This recipe comes from another Menu Plan Monday participant, A Juggling Mum - I've been wanting to try a good curry recipe and this fits perfectly with my plan to include at least 1 vegetarian meal in each week's menu. The title has the original link to her recipe, but the version below includes conversion to American measurement, and a few small changes to things I have on hand regularly.

Crockpot Vegetable Curry

Makes appx 8-10 servings
4 medium potatoes - cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 large onion - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped (if you like spicy, use a chili pepper or other spicy variety)
2 carrots - cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tomatoes - chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 6oz can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium cauliflower - cut in 1″ florets

In crockpot, toss together potatoes, onion, pepper, carrots, frozen vege and tomatoes.
In a large measuring cup, combine tomato paste, water and spices.
Pour over vegetables in crockpot and stir to coat.
Place cauliflower florets on top, cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender but still hold their shape.

Serve over Coconut rice (make regular rice, but replace half of the water with coconut milk in the pot)

Total Cost:
Potatoes - appx $0.75
Onion - $0.30
Pepper - $0.50
Carrots - $0.50
Tomatoes - $0.80
Frozen Peas - $0.45
Tomato Paste - $0.60
Cauliflower - 0.95
Rice - $0.46
Coconut milk - $1.00

Grand Total: 7.06, or $o.71 per serving

Leftover Links:
Curried Veggie Flatbread Pizza

Oven Baked Country Ribs

I found this recipe at Heritage Schoolhouse while looking for something to do with the country-style ribs that I find on sale quite often. It's a BBQ-style sauce, but leaves my crockpot open to make some yummy side dishes!

Oven Baked Country Ribs

Appx 4 servings
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 - 2 pounds pork ribs

Combine ketchup, water, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Heat a large lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat. Add ribs and sear until browned. Place ribs in a single layer in a baking pan or casserole dish. Pour half of the sauce over the ribs, reserve remainder. Bake ribs at 350° for 2-3 hours. Turn and baste meat every 30 minutes with remaining sauce.

Total Cost
Ketchup - appx $0.45
Brown sugar - $0.10
Vinegar - $0.05
Pork Ribs - $2.60
Other seasonings - $0.05 total

Grand Total - $3.25, or $0.82 per serving!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Applesauce Bread

This recipe is courtesy of HeavenlyHomeMakers - I adore this recipe because it's a nice break from my usual muffins, it's healthy, and I ALWAYS have applesauce on hand :) I like to do this recipe as mini-loaves, but it's tasty in ANY shape!

Applesauce Bread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rapadura or 1/2 cup honey
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. sea salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add applesauce, eggs and butter. Stir well. Pour into a buttered bread pan or stone. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Total Cost;
Wheat flour - $0.60
Honey - $0.75
Applesauce - $0.24
Eggs - $0.28
Butter - $0.27
Spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt - negotiable

Grand Total - $2.14

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turkey Meatball Subs

I tend to keep a lot of ground turkey in the house, but this recipe can be made with any ground meat of choice. I wrote this recipe to make them and serve the same day, but if you brown the meatballs ahead of time you can freeze them, when you're ready to serve just toss them in the crockpot with some red sauce and cook for about 4 hours on high!

Turkey Meatball Subs

1 pound (or slightly more) ground turkey
1 egg
1-2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Seasonings to taste (I use Mrs Dash or Italian Seasoning with some garlic powder)
1 jar pasta sauce

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, mix very well (I use my hands!). Shape into 1 inch meatballs and place in a lightly greased crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours. Add 1 jar pasta sauce, cook an additional 2 hours.

*To freeze, remove from crockpot before adding the sauce - allow to cool, then store in gallon freezer bags. To reheat, thaw and then cook in the crockpot for 2 hrs on low with the pasta sauce.

Total Cost for Meatballs - about 4 sandwiches
Ground Turkey - $1.50
Egg - $0.14
Celery - $0.08
Onion - $0.20
Bread crumbs - $0.15
Pasta Sauce - $1.00

Grand Total - $3.11

For Meatball Subs:

I use this dough recipe and instead of making small rolls I make about 6 hoagie-sized rolls. But you can use whatever you have on hand!

Portion out meatballs on your rolls. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Broil under low heat broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the edges of the bread start to brown. Enjoy!

Total Cost for Meatball Subs:
Meatballs - $3.11
Hoagie rolls - $0.59
Cheese - appx $1.50

Grand, Grand total - $5.20, or $1.30 per serving

Alaina's Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is an original recipe from Alaina's Favorite Recipes - I love how simple it is and I am ALWAYS looking for good soups to add to the repertoire...they store well and serve a crowd!

Alaina's Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 Med onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock (I use homemade so that it's free!)
8-9 cups broccoli, chopped, including some stems
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (use any cheese you like)
salt and pepper to taste


Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan. Add onion, celery and garlic, saute together until starting to tenderize.
Add chicken stock and broccoli, bring to a boil. Boil until broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes. The puree all (or part) in a blender or with an immersion blender.
In a separate saucepan, combine 3 Tbsp butter and flour, cook for 1-2 minutes then slowly add milk. Whisk together and add cheese. Cook until thickened and cheese is melted.
Add broccoli mixture to the pot, season to taste

Total cost - appx 10-12 servings

Butter - $0.35
Onion - $0.20
Celery - $0.15
Chicken stock - FREE!
Broccoli - $3.20
Milk - $0.40
Cheese - $2.00
flour, garlic, seasonings - negligible

Grand Total = $6.30, or $0.53 per serving!!!

Crockpot Thai Chicken Thighs

Another great recipe from Recipezaar - I love anything in the crockpot, and the salsa in the sauce give this a really nice tang - I use regular salsa since I'm not a huge fan of cilantro, and if I don't have lime juice on hand, any citrus fruit will work (we usually have oranges so that's what I use)

Crockpot Thai Chicken Thighs

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar cilantro salsa (or any salsa you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  1. Put all ingredients in crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. (does it GET any easier??)
  2. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, and peanuts. (optional)
  3. Serve over rice

Total Cost (4 servings):
Chicken Thighs - Appx $4.00
Salsa - $0.80 (store brand, nothing fancy!)
Peanut Butter - $1.60
Ginger, soy sauce, lime - negligible
Rice - $0.30

Grand Total - $6.70, or $1.68 per serving!

Baked Squash and Apple Casserole

Food just seems to get heartier come fall. While I crave the light sweetness of watermelon in the summer, fall stirs up richer tastes of squash, hot apple cider, warm loaves of bread....if summer food is a pair of flip flops, fall food is a pair of fuzzy slippers by the fireplace! This recipe from Recipezaar has the best fruits of fall and is incredibly easy to make!

Baked Squash and Apple Casserole


  • 1 small butternut squash (2 lbs. or less)
  • 2 medium apples, or 4 small apples (cored, peeled, and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pare, seed, and cut squash into small slices.
Place squash and apple slices in oblong baking dish (7x11-inch).
Blend rest of ingredients with fork, fingers, or pastry cutte
r until crumbly; distribute over squash and apple.
Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Total Cost (6-8 servings)

Squash - appx $1.80
Apples - appx $1.20
Brown Sugar - $0.05
Flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg - negotiable

Grand Total: $3.05, or $0.38 per serving!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sausage Oven Omelette

I put this recipe together while trying to come up for something to do with some Cheddarwurst sausage that I had bought on sale - it's a great breakfast-for-dinner or brunch dish and you can use just about any type of sausage you have on hand. Try it with breakfast sausage, regular kielbasa, or sweet italian sausage!

Sausage Oven Omelette

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (any type)
1 small chopped onion
1/2 bag frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9x9 pan or casserole dish
Heat oil in skillet, brown sausage until almost cooked through.
While sausage is browning, whisk together eggs and milk until blended well. Add cayenne pepper if desired.
Add onion and broccoli to skillet, cover and cook for appx 3 minutes, remove from heat.
Stir sausage and vegetables, and 1/2 cup of cheese into egg mixture. Salt and pepper to taste
Pour into prepared casserole or dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until eggs have set and top is lightly browned.

Total Cost:
Cheddarwurst sausage - $2.00
Eggs - $1.12
Cheddar cheese - $0.95
Milk - $0.06
Broccoli - $0.50
Onion - $0.20
seasonings - negotiable

Grand Total: - $4.83 for 6 servings - $0.81 per serving!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mexican Chicken

I found this recipe in with a Menu Plan Monday posting on The Fatback Chronicles. She called it Autumn Supper Chicken, I call it Mexican chicken...the family just calls it TASTY! Great as a stand-alone main dish, or in nachos, quesadillas, stews, or casseroles!

Autumn Supper Chicken (aka Mexican chicken!)

Adapted from Gooseberry Patch's Fall Family & Friends.

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package taco seasoning
1-2 cups salsa
1/4 - 1/2 cup sour cream

Grease your slow cooker, and place chicken breasts in it. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken breasts. Smother the chicken in salsa of your choice. Cover the cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from cooker and shred. Add sour cream to the salsa mixture in the cooker. Stir to combine. Add shredded chicken and stir again. Now you're ready to serve it!

Total cost:
Chicken - $2.25
Taco seasoning - $0.25
Salsa - $1.99
Sour Cream - $0.50

Grand Total: $4.99

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

This is a Paula Deen recipe so I knew right away it would be great. Even though this is for a full pork tenderloin, it can also be used as a seasoning rub for chops - just reduce the heat to 425 from the start and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the chops are cooked through. Make sure you score the edges in 2-3 places so that they don't curl up!

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin, with fat left on
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, massage the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.
Roast the pork for 30 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

Total Cost (using boneless chops):
Pork tenderloin chops - $1.88
Oil - $0.04
Garlic- $0.12
Salt, seasonings - negligible

Grand total: $2.04

Pizza Crust

My family is from northern New Jersey, where (in my humble opinion) pizza is as close to perfect as you can get. I have yet to find a recipe that comes out as good as the pizza joint we frequent in Teaneck, but this crust recipe from Biblical Womanhood is quick and comes out perfectly every time!

Pizza Crust

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour


Dissolve the yeast in the water.
Add the oil, salt and sugar. Let yeast mix sit for about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and mix well
Dump onto a floured surface.
Knead into a smooth dough (about 5 minutes)
Roll out and press down on a greased pizza pan (if you have it, dust with cornmeal after greasing the pan)
Add toppings
Bake at 425 degrees for around 12-15 minutes, until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

Total Cost:
Yeast - $0.67
Oil - $0.04
Flour - $0.23
Sugar, salt - negligible

Grand Total (dough only) - $0.94

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Autumn Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of The $5 Dinner Mom - a frugalicious favorite! I love anything that can be done in the crockpot anyway, and it's a perfect addition to the menu during apple picking season. She actually did this dish with sides of rice and broccoli for under five bucks!

Autumn Chicken

4 Chicken Thighs (Thighs, drumsticks, or split breasts..whatever's on hand)
2 Apples, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cup apple juice
Salt and Pepper
Dash Cinnamon
3 T lemon juice, to prevent browning of apples

1. Pour Apple Juice into the crock pot. Place chicken into the juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add sliced onion around chicken.
2. Slice apples and mix with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place on top of chicken in crockpot. Set on low and cook for 8 hours.

Total Cost:
Split Chicken breasts - $2.00
Apples (3 gingergold) - $0.75
Onion - $0.16
Apple Juice - $0.20
Lemon juice (one squeezed fresh) - $0.20
Cinnamon and seasoning - negligible

Grand total: $3.31

Cheesy Zucchini Crisps

This recipe comes from Amy's Finer Things - I was looking for an alternative to potatoes as a side dish/starch and these are perfect! The boy wonder appreciates them too, he's not a big potato fan but zukes are his favorite :)

Cheesy Zucchini Strips

1/3 cup cornflake crumbs
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
dash of garlic powder
4 small zucchini or squash (I use both) cut in sticks
1/4 c. melted butter

Combine corn flake crumbs, cheese, and seasonings in a plastic bag. Dip zucchini in butter and shake in bag to coat. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes

Total Cost:
Zucchini - appx $0.80
Cornflakes - appx $0.10
Butter - appx $0.25
seasoning - negligible

Grand total: $1.15

Homemade Vegetable Soup

I have been making this for started as a Weight Watchers suggestion and grew into a staple of my menus, especially when we need to empty the crisper in the fridge! This recipe includes what I usually have on hand, but it can easily be adapted to whatever (and whatever quantities) are readily available to you.

I will generally make a large pot of this and freeze it into 2-cup portions, easy to pull out for quick lunch or a side dish to dinner. Once you have it on hand you can add shredded chicken or beef, or pasta to make an even heartier dish!

Homemade vegetable soup

2-3 cloves minced garlic (adjust to taste)
1 large can chicken broth (or appx 40 oz homemade if you have it)
1-2 cups of each of the following vegetables -

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Frozen corn
1 large can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
Mrs Dash seasoning to taste

In a large nonstick pot or dutch oven, lightly brown the minced garlic (about 1-2 minutes).
Add chicken broth plus 1 cup water, and Mrs Dash seasoning, bring to a boil.
Add all vegetables, including can of diced tomatoes (with juice). Return to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Serve hot, or allow to cool on the stove and then portion and freeze. Makes about 8-10 servings, depending on the amounts of veggies you add.

Total Cost:
Chicken Broth - Appx $3.00
Carrots - Appx $0.60
Cabbage - Appx $0.25
Celery - Appx $0.30
Potato - Appx $0.50
Corn - Appx $0.30
Tomato - Appx $1.00

Grand Total: $5.95 - only $0.60 per serving!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog award and an adoption

I am lucky enough to have been included in Adopt-a-Blogger through Dine and Dish! As a new blogger, I can use all the help I can get, and so I have been graciously "adopted" by Ivy at kopiaste... - she's been blogging a good while, and has a lot of fantastic recipes. Be sure to pay her a visit!

She was also kind enough to give me an award!


Here are the rules to follow:
When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’.
Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).

I decided to pass this along to some of the folks who have actually taken the time to read what I write, which motivates me to keep blogging! Thanks for the fire under my backside :)

Petra at The Wise Young Mommy

Tina at The Adventures of a Working Mom

Mandi at Just Another Stay at Home Mom

The $5 Dinner Mom at $5 Dinners

Mrs Bear at Outnumbered Two to One

Rachel at Rachel's Cooking

Mindi at Moms Need to Know

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spinach Lasagna has rescued me again! They are such a great resource for inexpensive and easy recipes. I am working hard to get more vegetarian-type dishes in our diet, and recipes like this one make it simple. I add some additional seasoning to the ricotta cheese before putting it in the lasagne, it adds a nice layer of flavor. I also parboil the lasagna noodles (boil them for about half time, just until they get pliable)...I find that the noodles don't quite cook fully in my oven if I don't soften them first.

Spinach Lasagna

16 oz ricotta or cottage cheese
16 oz bag shredded Mozzarella
1 jar tomato sauce (any kind)
1 package lasagna noodles
10 oz frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp. dry minced garlic
1 tsp. dry minced onion

Preheat Oven to 350.
Thaw spinach under warm water and strain thoroughly. In mixing bowl, combine ricotta or cottage cheese, half of the shredded Mozzarella, garlic, onion and spinach.

Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan; put a layer of dry (or parboiled) lasagna noodles, then a layer of half of the cheese mixture, another layer of sauce, noodles, and mixture; end with a layer of noodles, layer of sauce and rest of shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, removing foil at the last 5 to 10 minutes.

Total Cost:
Ricotta: $1.00
Mozzarella: $3.50
Tomato sauce - $0.89
Lasagna noodles - $1.29
Spinach - $1.19
Spices - negligible

GRAND TOTAL - $7.87 for appx 8-10 servings, or $0.79-$0.98 per serving.

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

Homemade hamburger rolls from What I like is that it is very easy to use the same dough for breadsticks, dinner rolls, or full sized buns. Hubby had the idea of brushing them with olive oil and garlic powder for italian-style, you can also add herbs and spices to mix up the flavors! I prefer heartier rolls and replace 1 cup of the regular flour with whole wheat.

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, plus
2 Tbsp warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Add oil and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Do not let rise.
6. Divide into 12 pieces and shape each into a ball.
7. Place 3" apart on greased baking sheets.
8. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
9. Bake at 425° for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Remove from pans to wire rack to cool.

Total Cost:
Oil - $0.10
Sugar - $0.04
Egg - $0.14
Flour - $0.31
yeast, salt - negligible

Grand Total: $0.59 for the whole batch, however you bake them up!

Veggie Lo Mein

I got this recipe from Living on Love - I was looking for a way to use up some cabbage I had bought for a different recipe, and this fit the bill nicely. It appeals to me the way most stir frys do - it's versatile, quick and easy! Use it as an outlet for any veggies you haven't found a home for :)

Mary Ellen's Veggie Lo Mein

First a disclamer - I'm sure there is a proper, more authentic way to make Veggie Lo Mein, but this isn't it! This recipe was created as a way to quell a pregnancy craving for Chinese food and has since become a family favorite. It's also pretty easy to throw together and very flexible as far as ingredients.

Veggies on hand - (use leftovers, or bagged frozen - If I have no leftovers I grab a bag of California mix, broccoli carrots and cauliflower!)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup coarsely chopped cabbage (optional)
1 can water chestnuts (optional)
Whole Wheat spaghetti
2-4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1-2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
Red Pepper flakes to taste
1 - 2 tbsp of oil

1. Cook whole wheat spaghetti until just overdone, should be less than al dente.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add minced garlic and sliced onions. Cook until onions become tender (about 3 mins).
3. Add shredded cabbage and water chestnuts (if using) to skillet along with red pepper flakes to taste (I usually add 1/8 to 1/4 tsp, that's powerful stuff!).
4. Add in veggies, soy sauce (about 2-3 tbsp) and ground ginger with a tablespoon of water. Cover and cook until broccoli and carrots become tender. If using frozen, cook until veggies are cooked through.
5. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Stir fry with veggie mixture for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the pasta has a firmer texture. Add more soy sauce to taste.

Total Cost:
Veggies - will vary, but not more than $2.00
Pasta - $1.20
Water Chestnuts - $0.60
Spices - $0.05
Oil - $0.04

Grand Total: $3.89 (or less, depending on your veggies!)

Apple, Cheddar and Turkey Meatballs

This recipe is courtesy of one of my personal heroes - The Crockpot Lady - as part of her personal mission to use that oft-dust-collecting appliance every day for a whole year. My crockpot has already gotten more use in the last few months than it had in years, thanks to her fantastic ideas.

The flavors in this recipe evoke fall for me - apples in the trees, the promise of Thanksgiving turkey, warm comfort food on a cold day. I plan to make a double batch and freeze them!

Apple, Cheddar and Turkey Meatballs

--1 1/2 pound extra lean ground turkey
--1 egg
--1 tsp kosher salt (or regular salt)
--1 tsp ground black pepper
--1 tsp onion powder
--1 green apple, peeled and shredded
--1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
--1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries (I skipped these just because my guys won't eat them)

In a large mixing bowl, mix the ground turkey with the ingredients. I used my hands.
Make golf-ball sized meatballs, and drop them into your crockpot. I used a 6 quart crockpot, but you could use any size over 3 quart, probably. These made enough meatballs to feed our family of 4 for dinner, with 8 leftover for breakfast and lunch.

If you have a large family, or would like to cook enough to freeze, double or triple the recipe. You can definitely stagger-stack the meatballs on top of each other.

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 5-9---the cooking time will depend on how many meatballs are in the crock, and the size of your machine. The more full it is, the longer it will take to cook. I cooked 1 1/2 pounds of meatballs in a 6 quart for exactly 4 hours on high. I could have left them in a bit longer to brown the ones on the very top, but we were hungry.

Total cost:
Turkey - appx $3.00
Egg - $0.14
Green apple - $0.67
Cheese - $0.46
(I left out cranberries)


Monday, September 8, 2008

Easy Cheese Biscuits

This recipe is one listed in The Best of Cooking with 3 Ingredients by Ruthie Wornall. I add more milk until the consistency is a little stickier because that's how I like them :)

2 1/4 cups baking mix
2/3 cup milk (I use closer to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients until soft dough forms. Beat for 30 seconds. If dough is too sticky, add more baking mix. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Grandma's Chicken Stew

I came across this recipe for Grandma's Chicken Stew at iVillage...(my personal adjustments noted) I use this recipe most often when I have roasted a chicken, so that I have homemade chicken broth, and plenty of leftover chicken bits so that I don't need to use canned chicken. I usually substitute the grated carrots for some frozen mixed veggies, and I season the broth with Mrs. Dash before adding the noodles and such.

Grandma's Chicken Stew

2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) fat-free chicken broth *29 oz homemade broth
1 can (14 ½ ounces) vegetable broth
¾ cup already-shredded carrots *1/4 bag frozen mixed veggies
8 ounces (about 4 cups) wide egg noodles
1 large can (10 ounces) white-meat chicken *leftover roasted chicken bits
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water
Black pepper to taste *Mrs Dash to taste

1. Bring the chicken broth and vegetable broth (and Mrs Dash seasoning) to a boil in a covered 4 ½-quart Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat. This should take 8 to 10 minutes. When the broth boils, add the carrots (frozen veggies), noodles, and the chicken and its juices. Cover the pot and bring the broth back to a rolling boil.
2. Uncover the pot and stir, breaking up any chicken chunks slightly. Continue to boil, uncovered, over high heat until the noodles are tender, about 6 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the flour and water in a small container that has a lid. Shake well until the lumps disappear.
4. When the noodles are just tender, add the flour mixture and stir constantly until the stew is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper and remove from the heat. Serve in large soup plates or bowls.

Total cost (when using roast chicken leftovers)
Chicken broth - 0.00 (leftovers)
Veggie broth - 1.00
Frozen veggies - 0.25 (1/4 of a 0.99 bag)
Chicken bits - 0.00 (leftovers)
Egg noodles - 0.50 (1/2 of a 0.99 bag)

Grand total: $1.75!

Mimi's Sticky Chicken

Copyright 1985-2001 Mimi Hiller at

When I found this recipe I had to read it twice - cook at 250 degrees? But that's not a typo. it's basically a crockpot-style recipe in the oven, and the mix of seasonings is just perfect. I like a juicy chicken (and my oven can be a bit drying) so I slide a few pats of butter or margarine under the skin and rub the spices underneath as well as on top of the skin.

Mimi's Sticky Chicken

2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 whole roasting chicken, about 3 pounds
1 cup chopped onion

Combine all spices (first 8 ingredients) in a small bowl.
Rinse chicken inside and out, drain well.
Rub spice mixture over skin and the inside of chicken.
Place in a resealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to roast, stuff cavity with onions.
Place chicken, breast side down, in roasting pan.
Roast uncovered at 250 degrees for about 5 hours.
Baste occasionally with pan juices or until pan juices start to caramelize on bottom of pan and chicken is golden brown.

Total cost:
Spices - negligible
Chicken - appx $3.50
Onion - $0.31

GRAND TOTAL: $3.81 with LOTS of leftovers
*I also use the carcass to make chicken broth for use in other recipes!

Italian Chicken Skillet

This is a great recipe from the book Diabetes Meal Planning on $7 a Day -- Or Less! by Patti Geil and Tami Ross. This recipe includes great meal-stretching ideas like cutting meat and veggies into small bite sized pieces, and thinning sauce out with water (or milk, depending on the topping) to help it go further. Because zucchini is a very inexpensive veggie, and DS LOVES them, I tend to add extra zukes and just reduce the water a bit so the sauce isn't too thin. This dish also works great over rice!

Italian Chicken Skillet

Cooking spray
1 tsp corn oil
1 tsp (or 1 clove) minced garlic
1 small diced onion
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 7-oz can mushroom stems and pieces, drained and rinsed
3-4 small zucchini squash, quartered lengthwise and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 14-oz jar reduced-sodium spaghetti sauce
½ cup water
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 2/3 cups cooked pasta, cooked without added salt or oil

Preparation Instructions
Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add oil and warm over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onion turns clear (about 3 minutes), stirring frequently.
Add chicken and cook until no longer pink (about 7 minutes).
Stir in mushrooms, zucchini, spaghetti sauce, water, and red pepper flakes.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
Serve over hot pasta.

Total Cost:
Onion - $0.15 (about half a small onion)
Chicken - $2.00
Zucchini - $0.45
Can mushrooms - $0.40
Pasta sauce - $0.75 (about half a large jar)
Pasta - $0.60 (about 2/3 package)

Grand total (with leftovers) $4.35

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Easy Thai-Style Chicken

I had a craving for peanuts one night, and chicken on the menu..this was the end result! The veggies and spices are all pretty flexible, and can be adjusted based on what you have in the pantry. The basic flavor mix I was going for is spicy, sweet, savory, and peanutty - so go to town!

Easy Thai-style Chicken

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic (or to taste)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 split chicken breasts - skinned and deboned, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 zucchini or green squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite size pieces
Prepared couscous, rice or noodles (whatever is handy)

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic, cook just until it browns. Add chicken pieces, sprinkle with chili powder and cumin, cook thoroughly - appx 5-7 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sugar and ginger. Using hot water will help melt the peanut butter and it will mix faster.
Add zucchini to pan, cook 2 minutes until just tender.
Add peanut sauce, cook until sauce is smooth, appx 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Serve over hot couscous, noodles or rice.

Chicken - appx $2.00
Zucchini - $1.50
Peanut butter - appx $0.45
Soy Sauce - appx $o.20
Couscous - $0.75
Spices - negligible


Kielbasa and Pasta Supper

This recipe came about because I found myself with two extra mouths to feed and not a lot of prep time - it's quick, easy, and VERY inexpensive....and TASTY!

Kielbasa and Pasta supper

1 kielbasa, cut into quarters and then diced into bite-sized pieces
1 box pasta of choice (I used rotini, easy for the kiddos to get on their forks)
1/2 bag frozen peas
2 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp fresh ground pepper (optional)

Bring water to boil in a large pot. In a small fry pan, heat the kielbasa on medium-low heat. After about 3 minutes, add the garlic powder and stir well to coat the kielbasa. Heat for an additional 2-3 minutes. When water is boiling, add pasta and peas. Return to a boil, cook for appx 8-10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Drain, put into a large serving bowl. Add warmed kielbasa. Add margarine (and pepper) toss until well mixed.

Kielbasa - $2.00
Pasta - $1.00
Peas - $0.50
Butter - $0.10

GRAND TOTAL: $3.60 for 6-8 servings

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Looking for a new way to serve London Broil cuts? This recipe was from, and it provided a tasty alternative to the other dishes I've tried. I also had almost 3 full servings of leftovers. You can stretch this dish a little further by adding more veggies too.

Two things: First, it is best to slice the meat while it is still partially frozen - you can cut it thinner and it holds together better. Second, I added a soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and ginger marinade - it really added to the taste and the meat stayed pretty tender in spite of the long cooking.

2 c. steak or London Broil (sliced thin)
1 lg. can mushrooms, pieces & stems (one 15 oz can, drained)
2 pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli (one 20 oz bag frozen broccoli)
Soy sauce (appx 1 cup for marinade, to taste in the pan)
2 pkgs. brown gravy mix

(Marinade steak pieces at least 3 hrs up to overnight in the following: 1 cup soy sauce, 1-1/2 tbsp ground ginger, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder, about 3/4 cup water or until the meat is mostly covered.)

In a large frying pan quick fry meat, adding soy sauce to taste. You may add garlic powder if desired. Add broccoli and mushrooms, stir constantly. If mixture is dry, add water.
Continue cooking on a low flame until heated (about 15 minutes). Add both packages of brown gravy mix. Stir until thickened. Serve over noodles or rice.

London Broil: $2.70
Can mushroom pieces: $0.60
Frozen Broccoli: $1.00
Gravy: $0.40
Rice: $0.50


Baked Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese gets a bad rap. If all you've experienced is the kind that comes in the blue box, fear not! You don't need to be drowned in orange cheese food to enjoy this tasty, and cheap, dinner! The below recipe is from, I used a quarter cup of BBQ sauce instead of the Worcestershire for a little more zing and a different flavor. This made enough to feed all 3 of us twice.

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Copyright © 2002 by Michelle Jones, editor of Better Budgeting

This is a recipe for traditional baked macaroni and cheese, and has a custard like texture (because of the eggs). You can also add more cheese if desired (and even several types), and some butter! When you find a good sale on cheese at your grocery story, just try several different variations until you discover your favorite. And if you'd prefer a creamier (and quicker) macaroni and cheese, view my recipe for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.

8 ounces macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
8 ounces grated cheese (2 cups), reduced-fat if desired
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. saltWorcestershire sauce (I used 1/4 cup BBQ sauce)
2 c. milk (half & half can be used for a richer variation, and skim milk is okay but the sauce won't be as thick)

Beat eggs, salt and Worcestershire sauce (BBQ sauce) together in a medium sized bowl, add milk and mix thoroughly.
Layer macaroni and grated cheese (3 layers of each) in a casserole dish.
Pour egg mixture over macaroni and cheese and bake at 350 degrees until set and lightly browned on top. About 45-50 minutes.

Cost for this dish, with a full round of leftovers:
Macaroni elbows $0.50 (half a box)
Grated cheddar cheese $1.50 (half a 16 oz bag)
Eggs $0.24
BBQ sauce $0.50
Milk $0.36


Chickpea Stew

This is one of my favorite recipes, it's good for nights when you don't want to do ANOTHER chicken dish or just want something with a lot of veggies for a change. I have served this alone as a main or side dish, or had it over rice to make it more filling and stretch it further. It also reheats VERY well! Plus this is a SUPER cheap recipe - just over $3 for the whole thing - so if you want to add extra of any of the ingredients it won't break the bank!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (or more, if you're a garlic fan like me!)
1/2 tsp basil -or- italian seasoning mix (depending on your taste)
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 med zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then cut into bite size pieces
1 med onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced (you can also use canned stewed or diced tomato)
2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
2-3 cups cooked rice
Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saute pan, heat oil - add garlic and herbs/seasoning, let it sizzle for just under a minute or until the garlic is slightly browned
.2. Add chickpeas and zucchini, stir to coat with oil and garlic. reduce heat slightly, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add onions, stir to mix, re-cover and let cook for about 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
4. Add tomato, stir to mix, re-cover and let cook for about 2 minutes.
5. Add spinach, stir to mix, re-cover and let cook for about 4 minutes. Remove cover and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the spinach is cooked.
6. If desired, serve over 3/4 cup of rice, add parmesan cheese to taste.Makes 4-6 servings.

Total cost:
Chickpeas - 0.59
Zucchini - appx 0.75
Tomato - appx 0.60
Onion - appx 0.20
Spinach - appx 0.80
Rice - appx 0.50

Total cost for a meal plus leftovers: $3.44!!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Muffin Mania

This muffin recipe is from Cat Can Cook - it's wonderfully versatile AND simple! It takes me all of 10 minutes to put together, and I can use any add-ins that I have on hand. The base recipe is with bananas, but you can really use anything. Check out the original post, the comments are chock full of suggestions! I include some of my other add-ins at the bottom of this post.

Banana Muffins

3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister, so I use 4)
1/2 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I don’t like them too sweet)
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted margarine or butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and margarine together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.

Mix wet and dry ingredients all together, being careful not to over-stir!

Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Sugar - $0.07
Egg - $0.14
Flour - $0.14

GRAND TOTAL - $1.25 for 6 big muffins, or $0.20 per muffin

Add-ins that I've used (check back, I update this list anytime I try something new!):
  • 2 mashed bananas, 1-1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 mashed bananas, 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 pint frozen blueberries
  • 1-1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger, 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups shredded carrot, 1 cup applesauce (replaces butter), 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup white sugar (replaces all regular sugar), 1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon

Monday, September 1, 2008

Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken

I came across this recipe during one Menu Plan Monday tour, when it seemed like every eighth poster was serving it and singing its praises. As best I can tell it originates from Confessions of a Wacky SAHM. It's simple and delicious as is, but easy to flavor with your own personality if you choose to. DH is a big fan of spicy food, so we have added tabasco sauce or red pepper flake for some heat! I definitely recommend thickening the sauce with cornstarch once the chicken is done, it makes a divine glaze.

Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken
3 or 4 large boneless, skinless chix breasts (could also use chicken parts)
1C brown sugar
2/3 C vinegar
1/4C sprite or 7-up
2-3T minced garlic
2T soy sauce
1 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients and pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook 6-8 hours on low. Thicken juice with a bit of cornstarch if you like. I serve with rice or noodles. I also double the recipe on the sauce - I like sauce, lol!!

Appx cost (using chicken thighs, which I have more often)
Chix thighs: $3.65 (4 servings)
Brown sugar $0.21
Vinegar $0.16
Lemon Lime soda $0.12
Minced garlic $0.09
Soy sauce, pepper - negligible

Grand Total: $4.23, or $1.05 per serving

Sunday, August 31, 2008

7-Layer Casserole

Casseroles evoke memories of my mom. She was a purveyor of Pyrex, a connoiseur of Corningware. She loved anything that required only one dish to cook and serve in, mostly because she hated doing dishes. This recipe from Jen's Genuine Life would have tickled her pink.

I'm not sure if it's my oven, but the first time I tried this it definitely needed more moisture. I now add 1/4 cup of water with the carrots and potatoes, and I use either pre-cooked rice or instant rice. If you want something with more "sauce" to it, use 2 cans of tomato soup, adding the first one between the carrots and rice. See what works for you!

7-Layer Casserole

note: amount of ingredients depends on size of casserole dish
note: ground beef may be substituted for ground turkey below.


Potaotes, sliced
Carrots, peeled and sliced
Frozen corn
3 tablespoons of rice
Onion, sliced
Ground turkey breast (season with salt and pepper to taste)
1 can condensed tomato soup


In a large casserole dish, layer the above ingredients
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until turkey is thoroughly cooked and fork easily goes through to the bottom of the casserole.

Appx cost (I calcualted based on 4-5 servings)

Potatoes $1.20
Carrots $0.59
Corn $0.65
Onion $0.31
Ground Turkey $2.38
Tomato soup $0.75

Grand Total: $5.88, or $1.17 per serving

Homesteader Cornbread - from

I love hot cornbread and corn muffins, but I hate buying the Jiffy mix. to the rescue! This recipe makes a big batch, and is easy to adapt into muffins, loaves or pans!

Homesteader Cornbread - courtesy of
Makes 15 servings

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

Appx cost:
Cornmeal $0.30
Milk $0.50
Flour $0.18
Sugar $0.09
Eggs $0.28
Oil $0.18
Salt, baking powder - negligible

Grand Total: $1.52 (that's $0.10 per serving!)

Bee Rocks, Pizza Dough

This recipe is courtesy of the ladies at Happy to Be At Home - It's basically a Shepherd's Pie hot pocket, and what's not to love about that?? :) I make my own pizza dough anyway, and I found a new version at Tammy's Recipes which I also posted below. This will work well with any ground meat too - so use whatever's handy! I found that the meat mixture was enough to fill 12 pockets, so I made a double batch of pizza dough :)

Bee Rocks
1 Batch pizza dough (2 batches for me!)
1.5 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups shredded cabbage
Salt, pepper, garlic to taste
3 cups runny mashed potatoes (I use instant)

Brown ground beef, when the beef is almost down browning add onions, cabbage, salt, pepper and garlic. While you are cooking the beef make your mashed potatoes. Add a little extra milk so the potatoes are not as thick as normal.

Add potatoes and corn to the mixture and stir in while the stove top is on low.

Remove from heat.Take your dough (I use a basic pizza dough recipe) and roll out into circles the size of a small tortilla.Add a scoop of your beef mixture.Roll up like a burrito and tuck the ends under.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the outside of the dough is golden.
These freeze wonderfully and can be wrapped individually for a quick lunch.

Appx cost:
Pizza dough: $0.64
Ground beef/turkey $3.00
Onion: $0.43
Frozen corn $0.25
Cabbage $0.25
Instant potatoes $0.42

Grand Total: $4.99 (12 servings, or $0.41 per serving! WOW!)

Anne Jisca's Easy Pizza Dough
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
Pizza toppings of your choice

1. Dissolve yeast in water and oil. Stir in sugar, salt, and flour.

2. Mix until a ball forms. Allow to rise for 5 minutes. Roll flat and place on a greased pizza/cookie sheet. Sprinkle with desired toppings. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Appx cost (dough only):
Yeast $0.05
Oil $0.05
Flour $0.22
Sugar, salt - negligible

Grand Total: $0.32

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sausage and Summer Squash

Sausage and Summer Squash

Another one found on I only buy kielbasa when it's BOGO so this ends up being a really cheap dinner. I use the Naan flatbread and just brush it with the dressing and some italian herbs to give it flavor, I know they carry that at Price Rite and it's cheaper than Boboli.

1/3 to 1/2 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. cooked Polish sausage links, halved lengthwise, sliced diagonally
3 small yellow summer squash and/or zucchini, quartered lengthwise
4 wedges Italian flat bread, split (Naan or homemade flatbread)
1/4 cup sliced green onions Fresh oregano leaves (dried oregano is what I have on hand)
1/4 cup coarsely shredded
Parmesan cheese (optional) (regular grated Parmesan from the can)

1. Preheat broiler. In small bowl combine dressing and garlic. In extra-large skillet cook sausage and squash in 2 tablespoons of the dressing mixture for 8 to 10 minutes or until sausage is heated through and squash is almost tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, place bread on broiler pan; brush with 1 tablespoon of the dressing mixture. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly toasted.
3. Serve sausage and squash with toasted bread. Drizzle remaining dressing; sprinkle green onions and oregano. Pass Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Appx cost:
Dressing: $0.75
Kielbasa: $1.50
Zucchini: $1.50
Naan $1.50
Green onions: $0.15

Grand total: $5.40 or $1.35 per serving

Zucchini Cakes with Mushroom Ragout

The original recipe for Zucchini Cakes with Mushroom Ragout was on - I'm not a big fan of roasted red peppers so I substitute tomato sauce thickened with tomato paste - it gives it a sweeter taste but still blends well with the kick in the cakes. I also use the larger muffin tins and serve 2 muffins per serving.

This is the original recipe (with notes on my changes - scroll below for substituting Homesteader Cornbread for the muffin mix (including milk and egg)

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 of a medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup)
1 8-1/2 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
12 oz. assorted mushrooms, quartered (4-1/2 cups)
1 cup drained bottled roasted red sweet peppers (1/2 cup pasta sauce plus 1 sm can tomato paste)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In mixing bowl combine zucchini, muffin mix, cheese, milk, egg, and cayenne pepper; spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until golden.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Place roasted peppers in blender. Cover; blend until nearly smooth. (Instead of blending roasted peppers, cook mushrooms in sauce and tomato paste)
4. Arrange 3 cakes on each plate with some of the mushrooms and pepper sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Appx cost:
Zucchini: $0.50
Muffin Mix: $0.99
Cheese: $0.87
Milk: $0.05
Egg: $0.13
Mushrooms $3.00
Pasta sauce $0.25
Tomato paste $0.50

Grand Total: $6.29 or $1.57 per serving

***To make using the Homesteader Cornbread recipe:
Make Homesteader Cornbread according to recipe, adding 2 cups zucchini, 1.5 cups cheddar cheese, and cayenne pepper, and omit 1 egg. Bake for 20 minutes in 1-cup muffin tins. Makes 10-12 muffins - Total cost becomes $6.95, or $1.73 per serving!

Friday, August 29, 2008

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

I adapted this recipe from this quesadilla recipe at based on what I had on hand and the Lloyd's BBQ chicken I had picked up last week. I used 6 inch tortillas instead of the 10 inch, and I sandwiched the filling between 2 tortillas instead of folding. They didn't come out as crisp as I was hoping in the broiler, so next time I think I will try pan-frying them instead. One tub of Lloyds and all other ingredients yielded enough for 5 quesadillas plus enough meat mix to do BBQ nachos the next night :)

1 container Lloyds BBQ chicken
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced into strips
2 med tomatoes, diced
6 ten inch tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat the onions and tomatoes in the vegetable oil (stirring constantly) until onions are translucent. Add BBQ chicken, cook until heated through.
Place the tortillas between two damp paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minute.
Fill half of 1 tortilla with the chicken mixture and cheese, then fold the tortilla over the full half. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Arrange the quesadillas on a cookie sheet.Bake the quesadillas in the preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven until the cheese has melted.
Cut the quesadillas into fours.
Serve with sour cream.

Appx cost:
BBQ chicken: $2.00
Onion: $0.20
Tomatoes: $0.55
Tortillas: $0.75
Cheese: $0.95
Sour cream: $0.50

Grand Total: $4.95