Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Finally Made my own Granola Bars

I finally made my own granola bars (I swear we spend a small fortune on them) using Emeril Lagasse's "Peanut Butter Granola Bars" recipe.

I tired another recipe as well but this one was a hit. Next time I may top with some chocolate chips.

It was really simple, I just melted butter and honey and mixed in with the nuts as well as some cinnamon. Toasted the nuts and then poured the peanut butter mixture over them and cooled!

The kids loved it and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crockpot meal - Sweet Potatoes and Chicken

Easy crock-pot (or slow cooker recipe) I adapted from a Better Homes and Garden's 5 - ingredient Slow cooker booklet.

- sliced sweet potatoes
- sliced onions
- chicken thighs (I got mine frozen and with no preservatives or hormones at Trader Joe's)
- honey mustard dressing (I did not have so I mixed honey and spicy brown mustard)
- rosemary (to mix in the dressing)

Just layer the sweet potatoes and onions and then the chicken, top with dressing, turn the crock pot on and your done. Dinner's will be waiting for you:)

We're at church on Wednesday nights so that's my crock pot meal. Everyone seemed to like this so we'll do it again.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

- Spring Sald Mix
- Boneless Buffalo Chicken Strips (Tyson has or you can get a store brand, I really like Aldi's)
- feta cheese crumbles
- green olives
- sliced roasted red peppers (from the jar)

Top with the dressing of your choice. I like light Ranch.

Friday, September 26, 2008

use up those leftover recipes - September 27, 2008

Welcome to the September 27, 2008 edition of use up those leftover recipes.

Bloggers - please submit your leftover recipes for future additons because I'd like to make this an ongoing carnival.

Using up your leftovers for another meal is a great way to make your food and grocery budget stretch!

AdmirableIndia.com presents Trip to Wayanad: Day 2: Part 1 posted at AdmirableIndia.com, saying, "Recipe: Puttu and Appam" (These are good if you have cocunut left over from those cookies you made, and you bought the whole bag, but now what do you do with it?)

everything else leftover

presents Mango Salsa Recipe Selection posted at Home Life Weekly, saying, "A selection of easy mango salsa recipes for you to enjoy and eat, using leftovers."

vegetable leftovers

Toni presents Fat-burning Soup posted at Wifely Steps, saying, "How about using those veggies to make fat-burning soup? ;)"

And here's a tip I found for those left over mashed potatoes, add some chopped onion, whatever spices you like and some cheese, roll them in a ball, coat with flower, press into a patty and fry them. Yum!

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
use up those leftover recipes
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

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More Savings with Rachel Ray - Four Meals on a Budget

On Yesterday's show Rachel Ray did a segment on "Meals on a Budget" (click link to view and get recipes).

She demonstrated four recipes, the most expensive being $21.14 (for 6-8 servings) the others only around $9-10! Good job Rachel.

She made Spanish Chicken and Rice, Chicken Wing Broth and Noodle Soup, London Broil with Smothered Onions and Crispy Smashed Potatoes (which also had a side of broccoli) and Potato Kielbasa Bake.

They all looked good, but the one I'm definately trying is the potato kielbasa bake. Hopefully soon, and I'll post the results:)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes

Using olive oil from the Sun dried tomatoes added a nice flavor.

This is another recipe from "Giada's Family Dinners" (link below) and the only things I really changed up were that I used turkey sausage and my artichoke hearts were in a jar instead of frozen, because I already had them in the closet.

I started to cook the sausages whole so they were a little firmer and broke into bigger pieces
instead of removing case right off that bat and having little bits. I just broke it up in the pan when they had cooked a little.
After the sausage was brown I removed it and set it aside. I put it on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb the oil.

Sauteed the artichokes and garlic (from the jar:) very briefly and then added the sun dried tomatoes, white wine and chicken broth and boiled till reduced.

Isn't this mozzarella beautiful. I'm sure that's my stomach talking.

I added the penne (I used Barilla whole grain), sausage and mozzarella and mixed. So easy and good.

My hubby doesn't eat cheese so this wasn't up his alley but I loved it and the kids ate it up, well, my picky one ate some of it:)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Using my leftover roasted veggies - Egg Casserole

My leftover roasted veggies
- 7 eggs (because that's what I had)
- grated cheese mix (also what was in the fridge)
- a dash of hot sauce
Mixed in leftover veggies and sprinkled cheese on top. Baked at 400 degrees till it was browned and solid all the way through.

My daughter actually ate her whole piece, veggies and all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Make it again - Mom

Just wanted to share this with you. I made "Dirty Risotto" from "Giada's Family Dinners" and my nine year old claims that I'm such a great cook and wants me to make it again tomorrow!

I'll show pics later, have to download.

Roasting up my Garden Veggies

Saw this way to roast my garden veggies, don't remember what it's called but I adapted what Tyler Florence did on "How to Boil Water"

I'm also proud to say that the veggies that weren't fresh from the garden were local from the Farmer's Market(except my garlic from the jar:)!

Sauteed the sliced onions and poblano peppers in Olive Oil with garlic.

Once they were done frying I spread the onions and peppers out on the bottom of the baking dish. You can see me moving a zucchini below to show you because I forgot to take a picture.
Lot's of colors means lots of vitamins! I layered zucchini, japanese eggplant and tomatoes.
Covered with bread crumbs I made with bread ends and baked at 400 degrees
till brown and zucchini's were soft.

On the plate you'll also see couscous (from the box) cooked in chicken stock with a little parsley and Chicken Carbonara which I'm not sharing because none of us liked it

I used the leftover veggies to make an egg casserole that my daughter and I ate for lunch.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Upcoming Blog Carnivals at Cheap Cookin Mama!

Two new upcoming blog carnivals here at Cheap Cookin Mama!

"Use up those Leftovers Recipes" on September 27, 2008


"Healthy and Budget Friendly Family Meals" on October 1, 2008

So if you haven't yet, sign up by email or your reader or follow me on Blogger so you won't miss anything.

AND FOR ALL YOU FOOD BLOGGERS - Submit your recipes at Blog Carnival

Friday, September 19, 2008

B-Mom's Quiche (and it's low-fat!)

This is my mom's quiche recipe (actually it's from an old church cookbook but now she just remembers it) that she made a lot when I was growing up. Now that I have children, she is now B-Mom (because my oldest put a B in front of everything when he was learning to talk) thus the name. She made both a spinach and (turkey) bacon version.

Ingredients (for one quiche):
- pre-made pie crust
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
- 8 oz. shredded Swiss
- 1/2 onion chopped and sauteed
- 1 lb of cooked and chopped turkey bacon OR 1 box of chopped frozen spinach (defrosted & drained)
- dash of salt, and small amount of nutmeg in the spinach one

Really Easy -

Place the pie crust in a pie pan and use finger to scallop the edges

Mix all of the ingredients together and place in pie crust

Bake at 400 degrees until it looks done, my mom is very free spirited and doesn't seem to get along with timers or structure, she's an artist. The center will rise and brown when it's done.

Tip: The crust will brown before the entire quiche is so once the crust browns, cover just the crust with thin strips of foil and keep baking.

So good. Of course the kids preferred the bacon but I finished off the spinach:)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Meal for a Steal" on Rachel Ray

Told you I'd keep you updated on Rachel Ray's saving tips.

She added a new segment called "Meal for a Steal" and today the recipe was "Birds Nests with Chicken and Broccoli" with a total cost of ingredients being $7.14.

I'd say that's quite a steal. I wish I could eat broccoli (we don't mix well since child #2) but my kids eat broccoli so even better.

Panera Leftover Use #3

We've made pizza and bread crumbs with my Panera leftovers. Here's one more use - as a bun for your Bubba Burger!

Also - Check out those beautiful tomatoes from my garden

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Get Those Veggies in Em' - Spagetti and Meatballs with Veggie Sauce!

The Sauce and pasta (Barilla whole grain spaghetti) boiling away.

In the sauce:
- extra virgin olive oil (dare I say EVOO)
- one 28 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes (because I had it in the cupboard)
- 5 tomatoes from my garden (which I stuck in the blender with the canned ones)
- onions
- chopped garlic (from the jar)
- basil from the garden
- shredded zucchini (use the food processor or shredder)
- red wine (cause it just tastes good)

Just saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil, add the tomatoes, the zucchini basil and wine and let simmer.

Tip - To hide the zucchini from your kids puree it in the blender and add it in:)

In the meatballs:
- home made bread crumbs, using up those bread ends
- finely chopped onions (again use the food processor)
- chopped garlic (from the jar)
- dash of Worcester sauce
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- and of course ground beef or turkey or whatever you want to use

Get your hands dirty and mix it all together, make into meatballs and bake at 400 degrees till they look done (sorry I'm not good with times, about 10-12 minutes?)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saving with Rachel Ray - Tuna Casserole

Told you I'd keep you updated on the rumors that Rachel Ray would put an emphasis on saving this season. I was doubly impressed with her recipe today that was easy, healthy (I see she's now using whole wheat pasta) and very affordable (even more so with a few tweeks:).

Today She made Tuna Casserole with some pantry staples. Check it out here.

Shopping Tip - Don't buy individual

I'm sure everyone already knows that you can save money by buying larger portions but here's an example - raviolis, which is favorite lunch of my daughter and her friend when they come home from kindergarten.

I was buying the canned type (I know, not so healthy) but the today I cooked up a half bag (bag is 16 oz) of Trader Joe's dried ravioli's and half a bag of their tortellinis (the girls couldn't make up their mind so we made both) and added a jar of Trader Joe's tomato and basil marinara (cause it was cheapest:) I fed them, sampled some myself and put the rest away.

It should last for a couple more lunches. Not much more prep time, tastes just as good, if not better and saves me money. Good buy all around.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Salsa on my Eggs - Oh MY!!

This morning I was craving the salsa I made last night but it didn't seem quite late enough in the day to break out the chips.

So I added it to my eggs, sprinkled a little cheese, and covered the pan to let it melt over a low heat, didn't want to heat up the avacado.

It was soooo good. Who needs chips, though I'm sure I'll be craving them later.

Garden Fresh Salsa!!!

This is by far my favorite salsa. I got the recipe from my friend's husband, who is from Mexico.

I'm going to list the ingredients but not amounts because the fun part is you can add more or less of things depending on your tastes or even how much you have.

tomato (great way to use up those garden tomatoes)
onion (I used red but have done with white etc.)
chopped garlic (mine comes from a jar)
jalapeno pepper (or substitute - I used a small amount of hot chili pepper from my garden)
lime juice (I've made this with both a little lime and a lot and it's great both ways)

Just chop it all up, mix and enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goodbye Aldi's - Hello Joe!

Although I love Aldi's prices I found myself at Trader Joes this weekend for some healthier meals.

It's quite a challenge to keep your spending down and still serve your families healthy meals.
I did make a meal plan and went with a list so that helped. I ventured to Joe's because we now need to watch the salt intake in my family, I also want my kids eating the best food they can.

Oh Yeah - I did stop at the Farmer's Market for some frsh, local produce. Buying in season produce is a money saver.

I did pretty well spending wise at Joe's and was pleased with the quality of food.

I did incorporate at least one vegetarian meal a week but hope to add more for our health, budget and the envorinment.

Come along with me

OK - So I'm getting just slightly more tech savvy and you all can now get my posts through email or a feeder (look left:) or if you're on blogger you can "follow me"

I'll continue to post ideas and recipes to keep your grocery budget down, yet still serve healthy food, so come along with me.

Also - I'd love to hear your ideas as well and ad links to other food bloggers with inexpensive recipes so let me know what you have to share.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Network on a Budget

I was looking for recipes when I saw Food Network has a section on some more budget friendly meals. Thought I'd share it with you.

Click here

Panera Leftover Bread Use #2 - Pizzas!

Focaccia Bread cut in half with olive oil and garlic spread on it
Add pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, some peppers and onions and you've got a pizza

Ran out of mozzarella but the kids didn't mind this jack blend with salami on top of a cheese bread
Sorry no shots of the finished project, guess I was to hungry:)

How to Make Your Own Bread Crumbs and Panera Leftover Use #1

I used a couple of slices of Panera's bread (the cheesy kind) to make my own breadcrumbs. You don't have to spend money on the already made ones - just use whatever bread you have and it only takes couple minutes.

BTW - I can't take credit for this, I saw it on some cooking show, though I'm not sure which one.
Tear up the bread and place in the food processor (I used my mini blender attachment) and drizzle with olive oil.

Turn it on and you've got your own breadcrumbs. Wasn't that easy.

What I plan to do with what I have

I have to admit I had fun going through the food I have and then going through my recipe books to decide what to do with it.

So here are some of the things I have and what I am going to make with them (as you will see, last time I shopped I did not make a meal plan or have a list so I bought too much and did not cook all of I had because I didn't have a plan and was too busy/tired come dinner time, thus - frozen pizza, and anything easy, which does not mean cheap, or healthy)

Meals I'm planning for the next couple weeks with what I have:

Please note I normally do not have this much in the freezer before shopping day (which is tomorrow. Also I do cook more then just Giada and Rachel Ray but I was going through their books last night:)

Chicken Breast - will be making chicken carbonara with turkey bacon I already have and roasting eggplant and tomatoes from the garden, using bread ends to make bread crumbs

Chorizo - Chorizo stuffed bread bites (From Rachel Rays 2,4,6,8 book)

Canned Salmon - salmon cakes using bread ends to make bread crumbs, I'm sure it's better with fresh salmon but canned is cheaper and still gets the Omega 3 in my kiddos

Ground Turkey - stuffed zuchini and peppers (which I have) with marinara sauce and spagetti squash on the side (have from the Farmer's Market) (from Giada's Family Dinners)

Bulk Sausage - Giada's Dirty Risotto (from Giada's Family Dinners)

Tilapia - "Fab Baked Fish" (from Rachel Ray's Express Lane)

I also have some canned and dried beans that I can use so I'll be making "Smoky Black Bean and Rice Stoup" (Rachel Ray Express Lane) and Pasta e Fagioli (Giada's Family Dinners)

For a lot of these recipes I had most of the ingredients, the other ones I will have to get (or adapt to what I already have) but it will be a shorter (and cheaper) list since I'm using what I have and not just blindly buying more food.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What do you Have Already?

For my Eco-Challenge today, I'll be going though my fridge, freezer and cabinets to figure out and use up what I already have.

This is also and great an obvious way to save money because you can use what you have and won't buy things you already have at home.

I'll also be making a meal plan because we're back to our school time schedule where I'll be out three nights a week with church or TaeKwon Do so I need to be organized and pick easy and/or crock pot meals for those nights out. Last night we did frozen pizza which was easy but not so healthy, that's OK once in a while though. So anyway, I need to get organized and a meal plan gets me there.

So I'd like to encourage you to do do the same, find out what you have and use it up. Take the Eco-Challenge and waste less food!

Also for my eco-challenge you'll see a series of posts on how I used up my Panera Bread leftovers (they were from a church function and we had extra that I took home).

My first try at Catfish! Wow!

Veggies fresh from my garden - tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, poblano peppers, and chili peppers (which didn't make it in this meal)

Chopped them up, covered with olive oil and garlic and roasted at 400 degrees in the oven, so good.

Marinated the catfish in buttermilk and Cajun seasoning (because Emeril said you can marinate any seafood in this) then double dipped (dipped in flower mixture, in buttermilk mixture and back in flower mixture) I added cornmeal and Cajun seasoning to the flower mixture. After they were all coated I fried them up. All of my kids and my hubby (and myself) dug the catfish!

Sides were from Kashi and corn from the Farmer's Market (in addition to the roasted veggies).

Topped the fish with the veggies, so good. Will definitely try again.
By the way - got the catfish at Aldis:)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Save with Rachel Ray?

OK so her first show (airs weekday mornings on ABC) she did give one savings tip.

They did a bit with her shopping at the Farmer's (or Green) Market and she explained how you can get things (in season) for great prices that would be jacked up in the grocery store because it would be considered a delicacy. She was referring to a certain type of eggplant at that point.

This is true and a good tip and being that she shopped at the Farmer's Market for her veggies and herbs I guess her meal wasn't that high priced, although pistachios aren't too cheap (she used herbs and pistachios to make a pesto that she put over pasta and fresh cut tomatoes).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Learn to Save with Rachel Ray?

Ok, so for those of you looking to save on those grocery bills, which is like everyone (unless you are very blessed and in that case good for you:) supposedly Rachels Ray's new season will focus on saving and giving back, you can read more about here .

Though I love Rachel Ray's recipes (very easy and full of flavor) I haven't found them to be too cheap and have learned to adapt them to fit my budget, or rather the budget that I never seem to stick to but keep trying! So I'll be interested to see how this new season (starting today) plays out and will be hoping for some good tips.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My "Eco Challenge" Meal

OK - So technically the "Eco-Challenge" I'm taking doesn't start till tomorrow (which means it's not to late to join up!) but I had some things I needed to use.

I had white eggplant and tomatoes that were ripe in my garden (plus I picked some basil) and in the fridge I had green and red peppers about to spoil plus and opened package of turkey bacon I wanted to cook before it spoiled and diced tomatoes in a container. I already wanted to use sausage so that's how last night's dinner came about.
My garden tomatoes!!! I'm finding I have to eat them before the squirrels do. The other night while were eating, a squirrel sat right outside our kitchen window and chowed down on one of m tomatoes, taunting me.
-bulk Italian sausage
-turkey bacon (bake in oven 400 degrees till crispy and break up)
-little wine (whatever you have, or use stock)
-white eggplant - peeled and chopped
- tomatoes - chopped
- can of diced tomatoes
- red peppers
- green peppers
- couple of spoonfuls of minced garlic (from the jar:)
- whole grain Pasta

While the pasta water boiled I browned the sausage and cooked the bacon in the oven. When the sausage was browned I added a little white wine to get the bits off the pan and then added the eggplant, peppers, garlic and canned diced tomatoes. I added the basil, fresh tomatoes and broken up bacon last because they need less cooking time.
Oh yes - and anything that wasn't used from the veggies was put in compost for next year's garden.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Easy and Affordable Chicken Marsala

Got chicken tenderloins, portobello and button mushrooms at Aldis, plus I had some Marsala wine in the cupboard (don't forget to check and use what's in your cupcoards) so guess what I made - Chicken Marsala.

First you put the water on for the pasta (I used whole grain Barilla spagetti which is high in protein and low in carbs)

Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper and then brown in olive oil. Take out and cover to keep the heat.

I sauteed chopped onions (don't know if onions usually go into this dish but I like them and they're healthy so I put them in) and garlic. When the onions are soft I added the mushrooms.

Next goes the Marsala wine, I only had some so I added some chicken stock for more. Then I put the chicken back and simmered it until cooked through.

So good.
Kids ate the pasta and loved the chicken. My oldest is learning to like mushrooms (I love them) but the other two (and my hubby) declined them, but that's ok, they're still learning to try new flavors and are actually liking them. I'm big on exposing them to new tastes and dishes.