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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hidden Veggie Tater tot Casserole

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey- $2.98
1 onion diced= .13 cents
1 stalk celery diced- .05 cents
1 carrot cut into match sticks and diced- .05 cents
1 Tbs Butter-.25cents
1/2 cup frozen peas-.19 cents
2 cans cream of chicken soup=$1.44
1 soup can of Milk-.25 cents
2 cups cheese-$2.16
1 bag tater tots-1.34
                                                                            total    $ 8.84-
                                                                          12 servings-  .74 cents a serving
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Melt butter in skillet till hot. Add onion, celery, and carrots.  Brown vegetables until softened.  I add about 1/2 cup of water to skillet after about 5 to 8 minutes, cover and steam the vegetables a little.  Add ground meat and brown, season with black pepper.  Drain grease.
Spray a 9x13 casserole pan with cooking spray.  Add 1/2 bag of tater tots to casserole.  Add peas to meat mixture and cream of chicken soups.  Add milk and mix well.  Pour over tater tots and mix in pan.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese and mix again.  Top the casserole with tater tots.  I place each one individually so they are all lined up and looking happy!!  Bake for 45 minutes,  Top with the other cup of cheese and brown under broiler till cheese and tater tots are golden brown and bubbly!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftover soup

We enjoyed Thanksgiving at my in-laws yesterday.  As we were cleaning up, my sister in law was picking meat off of the turkey carcass.  I said to my MIL "you should make turkey soup".  She told me she never had!!  She then offered me the turkey carcass to use myself.  We got home last night and I broke up Mr. Turkeys bone's until it all fit in my crock pot,  Covered with cold water, added some bay leaf, pepper,  and Italian seasoning. I usually add some vegetables at this point for extra flavor, but I was too tired.  I cooked on low all night.  
Next, place a strainer with the smallest holes possible over a big empty bowl.  Empty contents of crock through strainer into bowl.  Refrigerate broth until cold.  Discard any fat that has formed on broth.  Let Turkey bones cool and remove any turkey meat.  Discard bones and Bay leaf. 
I was inspired some by this recipe, but I don't intend to make the dumplings, just use leftover stuffing spoonfuls.

Thanksgiving leftover soup

Turkey stock- (free, except for your time)
4 potatoes diced- .54 cents
4 to 6 carrots diced- .25 cents
1 whole onion diced-.11 cents
4 to 6 stalks of celery diced- .10 cents
3 cloves of garlic diced- .5 cents
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups of left over turkey chopped - free for me as I didn't buy the turkey)
Any gravy you have left- (also free)
                                     $1.05 for me, but if you paid for turkey, etc.  Probably closer to $6.00 a pot
12 to 14 servings-  .08 cents a serving for me.  closer to .50 cents if you paid for the turkey.
Cook all the ingredients on low for 6 to 8 hours, High- 5 hours or until vegetables are tender.
If you have leftover stuffing, You can reheat the stuffing and add a couple spoonfuls to your bowl,  Kind of like dumplings. Or skip the potatoes at the beginning and serve soup over reheated left over mashed potatoes!!  Use any leftover vegetables that you have.  You can also add rice or noodles!!

Poor Man's Lasagna

Found originally here-
But I adapted to my own needs.

1 Box Macaroni and cheese- prepared as per instructions ( Winco brand- .44 cents, .10 cents for butter and .25 cents for milk)  ================================================.79Cents
1 pound Hamburger================================== $2.98
1/2 onion diced======================================.10 cents
1 bottle spaghetti sauce================================ $1.25
2 cups grated cheese================================== $1.50
                                                                                                                   $6.62 total
                                                                                                8 servings- .82 cents per serving
Heat oven to 350 F.  Spray a 8x8 square pan with cooking spray.  Prepare macaroni and cheese as directed, set aside.  Brown hamburger and diced onion.  Drain grease.  Add spaghetti sauce to meat mixture and heat.  Spoon a 1/4 cup of sauce in bottom of square pan.  Add 1/3 of macaroni and cheese,  spoon another layer of sauce on top.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese.  Repeat layers, ending with cheese.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.  Brown top under broiler if desired.

My husband loved it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

I recently read a recipe on one of my favorite Blog's...,,,,,,,,,
and my sister in law asked us to bring a salad to our nephew's mission homecoming.  It was easy to make and so yummy.  I am not sure how inexpensive it is to make as I sent my Hubby to the grocery store for the ingredients and it wasn't our usual Winco or Walmart store,  To tell you the truth I didn't even ask how much it cost.
Any way, it was a hit at the luncheon.

Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad


2 cups pretzels, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container Cool-Whip (non-dairy whipped topping)
1 cup sugar
1 large box (6 oz) orange Jell-o
2 cups boiling water
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges

For the first layer, combine broken pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together until well blended.  Press in  9 x 13″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.  Cool completely.
For the second layer, beat 1 cup sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread cream mixture over pretzel layer (be sure to seal the cream cheese layer against the sides of the pan so that the jello mixture (3rd layer) will not be able to leak through when added).
For the third layer, mix orange Jell-o and boiling water together until Jello is completely dissolved.  Add mandarin oranges and let cool until slightly set.  Pour Jell-o over cream cheese layer and refrigerate until firm.
Cut into squares and serve (makes about 12 servings).

Friday, November 14, 2014

My version of "Grandma's red potatoes, green beans and ham"

 My Grandmother on my dad's side of the family was a great cook!!! She was also good at stretching a dollar to feed her family!!  When I was a Sophomore in High school, we lived near her home.  I would stop in on the way home from school and she would be making dinner.  Grandpa worked a grave yard shift as a security guard and would eat about 4:30 and head into work. She taught me how to cook!! They always had a big garden in the back yard in the summer and I loved the fresh green beans from her garden.  She used to cook them with onion and bacon and a little bit of chicken broth to de-glaze the pan.  I loved it when she would make mashed potatoes and I would always combine a half bite of mashed potatoes with a half bite of beans.   So when I came across this recipe, I decided to honor my grandma's cooking and make it my own.

12 cups of water
8 red potatoes, peeled and cubed= .96 cents
1 whole onion diced- .11cents
1/2 pkg bacon, cut into squares- 2.50
1 pkg diced ham-$3.88
5 cubes chicken bouillon- .35 Cents
1 pkg chicken gravy- .45 cents
2 cans green beans- $1.16
2 to 3 TBS butter- .80 cents
total $10.21- about 10 servings.. $1.02 a serving..
I usually serve it for dinner, same some for lunch the next day and freeze the rest for another day.

Spray your crock pot with butter spray.  Add water, bouillon, and chicken gravy.  Add diced potatoes.
On stove top, fry bacon.  Drain grease.  Add onions and ham to bacon grease.  Cook on low, till onions are tender.  Add bacon and ham and onion mixture to crock pot.  Cook on low, 6 hours.  Add beans during the last hour of cooking.  Add butter at the end of cooking and serve in bowls.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ravioli bake...Dinner tonight!!

So my sister made this for me the first time my family enjoyed it!! It soon became my husbands favorite, and I love it because its quick and easy!! Making it tonight because my dear husband had some dental work done today and needed something easy to chew.

1 jar spaghetti sauce= $1.58
1 bag of frozen meatballs. cut into 4ths,- $1.98
1 bag of frozen ravioli- beef or cheese-(we prefer beef)-$2.56
2 cups of shredded cheese- $2.00
Spray a 8x8 casserole pan with butter spray.  Spoon about 3/4 cup to a cup of sauce on bottom of pan.  Lay ravioli on top of sauce, Add layer of meatballs.  Spoon the rest of the sauce over the top of both, covering every nook and cranny as much as possible.  Cover with cheese.  Bake in oven at 375 F. covered with foil for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is slightly brown.  Serve with:

1/2 box of pepperidge farm 3 cheese garlic bread- $1.00
1 can of green beans with butter- .58
2 apples cut into wedges- .60 cents
                                                       About 1.31 a serving, if you count the toddler as a serving.
These prices reflect what I spent for the ingredients at Winco this week.  Sometimes the ravioli are less.  The cheese was on special, so I may spend a little more on another day.

In our house it feeds 2 hungry adults and a toddler for 2 meals with enough leftover for 1 adult and toddler for lunch another day.  You can double or triple, just use a larger pan.  You an cook it less if you remember to defrost meatballs and pasta in fridge earlier in the day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Menu plan for the next two weeks....

Once again I made a menu plan for the next 2 weeks.  I used to plan which meal on which day but I find its easier for me to have a list of options so I can choose something we are in the mood for, or have time for. The highlighted meals are new recipes we are trying.  We went shopping last night and bought about 70.00 over our budget for some food storage on things that were on sale.  We may not use all these planned meals in the next two weeks but I like to have extras in mind in case we have to delay shopping for a few days, or we decide to make a meal for a neighbor or friend in need.  We also eat once at his parents in the next two weeks and bring a item to contribute.
Pancakes and fruit salad
French toast
Cold cereal and toast
oatmeal and fruit
eggs and toast and fruit
Frozen waffles

Mac and cheese

Red potatoes, green beans and Ham in the slow cooker
Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole
Pasta carbonara Fritatta and fruit
Baked meatball and ravioli
Breakfast for dinner (at least twice)
sloppy Joe's and mac and cheese
Hamburgers and tater tots
cheese quesidillas and Spanish rice
meatloaf and scalloped potatoes
meatloaf sandwiches

Fruit salad
Apples and peanut butter
cinnamon toast
peanut butter cookies
cinnamon tortillas
cheese and crackers

I even have Berrett look in the morning occasionally and choose a meal.  He will tell me thumbs up or thumbs down on new recipes, and I don't take it personally.  I don't want to waste money on recipes that we don't love.

Do you meal plan at your house?  What works for you?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Navajo Taco's

The first  time I had Navajo taco's I loved them!! We had just moved to Utah and had them at a church function.
So easy to make!

Navajo taco's (Recipe from 

Indian fry bread 

(about 6 servings)
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder (slightly Rounded Teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cups Milk
  • Water As Needed To Get Dough To Come Together
  • Vegetable Shortening Or Lard For Frying 

  • Preparation Instructions

    Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork as you pour in the milk; keep stirring for a bit to get it to come together as much as possible. Add just enough water (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) to get it to come together. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it sit for 35 to 45 minutes to rest. ( this step is important)
    When you're ready to make the fry bread, heat about 1 to 2 inches shortening/lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Grab a plum-sized piece of dough (or larger if you want larger fry bread) and press it into a circle with your fingers: place it on a clean surface and begin pressing in the center and work your way out, stretching it as you go.
    When the circle is about 4 to 7 inches (however big you want it) carefully drape it into the skillet. Allow it to fry on one side until golden brown, about 1 minute, then carefully flip it to the other side using tongs. Fry it for another 30 to 45 seconds.
    Remove the fry bread to a paper towel-lined plate and allow it to drain while you fry the other pieces.
    Serve warm!

    Now for the Taco part... We have topped with canned or home made chili.  Or just seasoned taco meat.  Your favorite taco toppings, such as shredded lettuce, Grated cheese, tomato's, olives, onions, salsa and sour cream!!
    The fry bread is good with butter and honey as well, or rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  You can also split them open like a pita and fill with the taco fixings.
    All in all its a pretty economical meal.  I haven't bought the ingredients for this for a while so I will have to price this out and let you know.

Anyone else on a budget?

We recently moved to a larger apartment because our little one needed a room of her own!  While we are happy with the extra room, we are paying more in rent.  I stay at home and care for my daughter and tend my nephew for my sister 5 days a week.  My income is only a small percentage of our monthly budget but I am trying to do my best to pay for all the food we eat in our home.  I have struggled and decided that setting up a blog where I can record my failures and triumphs, and some of my favorite frugal recipes.
Today we start with soup!! I made a Turkey roast a few weeks ago and saved the leftover meat in the freezer. So I thought it would be a good start.  Especially since the turkey roast was donated to me for free!!

Turkey noodle soup

2 cups of cooked turkey- or chicken-{free}
12 cups of water{free}
12 chicken bouillon cubes- .96 cents
3 medium red potato's diced- 1.00
1/2 onion diced-.13 cents
4 carrots diced-.21 cents
1 can of corn drained- .48
1 TBS oil .12
2 TBS italian seasoning-.10
1tsp ground black pepper-.03
1 packet turkey or chicken gravy-.45
2 cups of rotini or broken spaghetti noodles cooked-.50
                                                                              Total- $3.98
     If I had bought the poultry it would have been $ 2.00 more

In medium size crockpot, add turkey, water, bouillon and potato's.  In a frying pan on medium heat, add oil or butter.  Add onions and carrots to oil, stirring frequently until onions are soft and carrots have taken on a little golden color.  Add drained corn to skillet and raise heat slightly.  You are trying to pan roast the vegetables to give them a little more flavor.  You have to keep stirring so it doesn't burn.  When the vegetables are barely golden and fragrant, add to the crock pot.  Add seasonings and whisk in gravy packet.  Cook on low, 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender.  Add pasta about 15 minutes before serving.  If you think you will be freezing any leftovers, don't add pasta to soup, just add to bowls as you serve.  Pasta will get mushy in soup if you freeze it.

Cost- $3.98 to$ 5.98 - about 5 quarts of soup= 1 1/2 cups per serving- about 13 servings-
so about .31 to .51 cents a serving.

I plan on serving this with a fruit salad tonight.

4 apples cubed- $1.12
1 can pineapple tidbits-drained, reserve juice- $1.18
4 Tbs raisins.10cents
1- 6 oz yogurt- I used strawberry banana today, almost any flavor works.33cents
2 TBS mayo-.20 cents
2 TBS reserved pineapple juice- free
1 TBS agave necter or honey.25 cents
1/4 tsp cinnamon.03 cents
                                                                                                    total cost-$3.21
                                                                                                    total per serving-.32 cents a serving

Combine fruit in bowl.  In another bowl make dressing with yogurt, mayo, juice, agave or honey, and cinnamon.  whisk dressing and pour over fruit.  Toss fruit with dressing. Refrigerate and serve.
about 8 to 10 servings

Serving this meal with buttered rolls- .30 cents per serving.

Dessert Peanut butter cookies

2 cups peanut butter- $2.25
2 cups sugar- .75
2 eggs- .20 cents
2 tsp vanilla-.35 cents
                                                      total cost- $3.55
makes about 3 dozen cookies- so cost per serving-approx .10 cents- we usually eat 3 cookies

So total cost of meal? 1.43 per person!!!  Also I am sharing this meal with another family who just had a baby.  So for me its a win- win situation, I fed my family providently and payed it forward to another family!