Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crockpot Seafood Paella

I love introducing my kids to new flavors! I've been wanting to try paella and when I found this recipe in Parents' Magazine, it was time to expand their little palates again! It was very easy, relatively inexpensive, and it would be easy to substitute chicken or sausage for one or both of the seafood ingredients to suit your own tastes!

Crockpot Seafood Paella

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (reduce by half if you have younger kids)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
12 oz. fresh or frozen shrimp (I used precooked cocktail shrimp)
12 oz. tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas

1. Coat a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; add peppers, onion, and garlic and set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine the broth, rice, thyme, crushed red pepper, and turmeric. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until just boiling. Pour over vegetables in cooker.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. An hour before it's finished cooking, stir in shrimp, tilapia, and peas. Cover and cook for the last hour. Remove cooker from liner; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Total Cost:
Sweet pepper: $0.80
Onion: $0.30
Chicken broth: free!
Rice: $0.40
12oz precooked cocktail shrimp: $3.99
12oz tilapia: $2.75
Peas: $0.40
Seasonings: $0.25

GRAND TOTAL: $8.89 for 6 servings!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple Snickerdoodles

I love finding delicious dessert recipes that only use ingredients I already have in my pantry! I wanted to try a batch of Snickerdoodles, but every recipe I found called for Cream of Tartar - until I found this one!! The cookies baked up light and crisp, with just the right amount of sweetness. Win!

Snickerdoodles WITHOUT Cream of Tartar - courtesy Frugal Village Forums: "Snickerdoodles
(from Martha's Holiday Cookies 2005)

makes about 20 (or 40, if you make the balls very small)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. (at this point I needed to chill the dough for about half an hour) Shape dough into 20 (1 3/4-inch) balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

Total cost:
Flour: $0.49
Baking powder: $0.05
Butter: $1.00
Sugar: $0.25
Eggs: $0.30
Cinnamon, salt: $0.10

GRAND TOTAL: $2.19 for about 2 dozen cookies!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sweet and Savory Crockpot Pork Roast

This gem landed in my crockpot on a day when I needed to throw something in the crockpot quickly, and had to use whatever was available in the pantry. The combination of sweet and savory flavors pleased all the palates in my house!

Sweet and Savory Pork Roast

1 1/2 to 2 lb pork roast
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups apple juice
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3-4 potatoes, peeled and quartered

Place the pork roast fat strip up in the bottom of a 6 quart crockpot. Arrange carrots and potatoes around the roast. Pour the apple juice over everthing, then sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over everything. Stir the veggies lightly to coat with the soup mix.

Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or on high 3-4 hours, until the roast is no longer pink.

Total Cost:
Pork Roast - $3.60
Soup mix - $0.50
Apple juice - $0.10
Carrots - $0.75
Potatoes - $0.80

Grand total - $5.75 for 4-6 servings!

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hearty Baked Stuffed Zucchini

I decided to try this recipe from in search of a different variation on my usual baked stuffed zucchini. The verdict? It was savory, filling, and the kids (even the baby) cleaned their plates! You almost don't need a side dish with this, but it would be great with a light pasta salad!

Baked Stuffed Zucchini

1 extra large or 4 medium zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef, chicken or turkey
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (from the can or fresh grated)
1 Tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dry) thyme and oregano
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2-4 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
appx 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. For an extra large zucchini, cut into 4 pieces.

-With a spoon, remove the seeds. You can save them or discard, depending on your preference. Take a small knife and remove as much of the flesh as possible from the zucchini without puncturing the shells. Save the flesh (and seed cores if you choose) in a bowl.

-Place the shells face-down in a roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water. Bake for 15 minutes or until the shells are soft but not fully cooked. Leave the oven on. Pour the water out of the roasting pan and lightly grease with olive oil.

-While shells are baking, chop the zucchini flesh coarsely.

-In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion until softened. Add the ground meat and cook until browned. Remove the skillet from the heat.

-Add the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and lemon juice. Stir in the chopped zucchini flesh. Mix until it makes a nice sticky filling.

-Fill the shells with the stuffing, it should flatten them out quite a bit and make a good sized mound of stuffing in the shell. Place in the roasting pan. Lay the thin sliced tomates over the top of the stuffing. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese over the tomatoes.

-Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little more parmesan cheese, bake an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese lightly browns.

Total Cost

Zucchini - $2.00
Onion - $0.30
Ground turkey - $1.79
Bread Crumbs - $0.10
Parmesan - $0.50
Tomatoes - $1.50
Mozzarella - $0.50
Seasonings - $0.15

Grand Total: $6.34 for 4 servings

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Style Chicken

This recipe came from when I was searching for things to make with the abundance of zucchini we have - it's fast, light, and very versatile!

Many of the comments on the original recipe suggest marinating the chicken in italian dressing beforehand, and using italian-style spices in the dish. Below is my version, I took things in a different direction with the citrus flavor of coriander and sweet herbs.

Summer Style Chicken

1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, diced large
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1-2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1-2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sweet basil
1 tsp thyme

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
2. Arrange chicken in the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with garlic powder, basil and 1 tsp coriander. Top with diced tomatoes. Arrange squash and zucchini slices around the chicken. Sprinkle with thyme and 1 tsp coriander. Top with mozzarella cheese.
3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Serve over angel hair pasta or with rice!

Total cost
Chicken - $3.00
Tomatoes - $0.89
Squash and zucchini - $2.50
Cheese - $0.75
Spices - $0.30

Grand Total: $7.44 for 4-6 servings!

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kielbasa Dirty Rice

A friend of mine made this suggestion when I was looking for a kielbasa recipe that didn't include cabbage or sauerkraut :) I did some research and came up with this little gem for the crockpot!

You can substitute any sausage type for the kielbasa, and vary the spices to make the dish as spicy or savory as you'd like! Use homemade stock to make this a frugal treat :)

Crockpot Kielbasa Dirty Rice

1lb kielbasa or other smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
4 cups chicken stock (can substitute veggie stock or water) plus 1/2 cup stock or water
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/8 tsp red pepper flake
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Brown kielbasa in a skillet. After about 3 minutes, add garlic and onion, cook until the sausage is well browned and the onions are translucent. Transfer to crockpot. Turn the heat up to high, and add about 1/2 cup cold chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Let it boil up and use a small spoon or spatula to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour over the sausage and onions in the crockpot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot except the cilantro. Cover and cook on low for about 2-3 hours, or until the rice is cooked through. Stir in the chopped cilantro before serving.

Total Cost:
Kielbasa: $1.70
Onion - $0.30
Rice: $0.20
Chicken stock - Free!
Bell Pepper - $0.90
Celery - $0.10
Cilantro - $1.00
Seasonings - $0.20

Grand Total: $4.40 for 6-8 servings!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Black Bean Salsa Chicken

This Recipezaar treat crossed my path thanks to the awesome ladies at Once a Month Mom and their February menu! This particular gem is SO easy to throw together whether you're cooking it right away or bagging it in the freezer for later. The link to the original recipe is below, I made a few adjustments to fit our budget and our pantry staples!

Serve it over Adobo rice the first time you make it, and then use the leftovers as filling for burritos or quesadillas later in the week!

Black Bean Salsa Chicken

Appx 1 1/4lb boneless chicken breast, or 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cup cooked dried black beans
1.5 cups salsa
8oz cream cheese

For the freezer: dump all ingredients EXCEPT the cream cheese into a gallon freezer bag. Store up to 3 months.

To cook:
Place all ingredients EXCEPT the cream cheese into a crockpot, cook on low for 6 hours.
Add cream cheese and stir until melted, the chicken should shred a bit as well.

Total Cost:
Chicken: $2.25
Corn: $0.40
Beans: $0.25
Salsa: $0.89
Cream Cheese: $0.99

Grand Total: $4.78 for 6-8 servings!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tomato Florentine Soup

I had some really good Tomato Florentine soup at the cafeteria at work, and it got my wheels turning...I knew I had most of the ingredients at home so I did a little experimenting and this is what I came up with! Not only is the soup packed with nutrients, but with the added rice or pasta it's hearty enough for a main dish. It's great topped with some parmesan cheese!

(if you want to turn this into Italian Wedding soup, just add small sausage meatballs!)

Tomato Florentine Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small can sliced mushrooms (4 oz)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp basil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4-5oz package frozen spinach, thawed (about half a package)
1 1/2 cup cooked small pasta or rice

Heat the oil in a large pot. Cook mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until just tender. Stir in tomatoes, broth, basil, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, cook for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and pasta/rice and cook an additional 7-10 minutes. (if the soup is too thick for your tastes, add a little extra broth or water with the spinach)

Total Cost
Oil - $0.05
Mushrooms - $0.60
Onion - $0.15
Diced tomatoes - $0.80
Broth - FREE! (homemade)
Spinach - $0.50
Rice - Free! (use leftovers!)
Seasonings - $0.25

Grand Total: $2.35 for 4-6 servings

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Japanese-style Beef Curry Rice

This recipe comes from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook - the original recipe calls for cubed beef but I did it with ground beef instead - either way it is a great beef stew/hamburger soup alternative!

Japanese-Style Beef Curry Rice

3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3-4 medium carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
3 tsp curry powder
1 cup frozen peas (optional)

-Put potatoes in the slow cooker. Layer sliced carrots on top.
-In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, drain well and place in the cooker. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove most of the leftover grease.
-Heat the oil in the same skillet, add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened. Add the curry, salt and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to the cooker.
-Pour the broth in the skillet, bring to a boil and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Pour into the cooker and add water.
-Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hrs. Serve over rice.

***optional: if you like the stew thicker (best when using stew meat instead of ground beef), skip adding the curry to the onions. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a small skillet. Add 3 Tbsp flour and cook, stirring, until it becomes brown (about 5 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp curry and stir for another minute. Remove from heat. Turn your slow cooker on HIGH. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the liquid, and add to the flour mixture, stirring until there are no lumps. Slowly add this mixture back into the slow cooker (stir carefully, don't break up the potatoes). Stir in frozen peas. Cover and cook on high about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.

Total Cost:
Potatoes: $0.50
Carrots: $0.40
Vegetable oil: $0.03
Beef: $2.00
Onion: $0.30
Broth: $0.60 (free if you made your own!)
seasonings and garlic: $0.20

Grand Total: $4.03 for 6-8 servings!

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