frugal recipes http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9725/all en-US Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier and Cheaper at Home http://www.wisebread.com/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicken-nuggets-179083486-small.jpg" alt="chicken nuggets" title="chicken nuggets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether we want to admit it or not, we live in a world full of brightly packaged &quot;foods&quot; and gigantic restaurant portions. Sure, I'd love to say that I never have cravings and &mdash; instead &mdash; only fill my stomach with whole foods. I'm a child of the 1990s, however, and I'm pretty sure I subsisted on a lot of unhealthy eats throughout my teens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-recipes-for-lazy-people?ref=seealso">25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People</a>)</p> <p>When I get the cravings these days, I either try to skip these foods entirely or go online to find healthier ways to make them at home so they pack less of a processed punch.</p> <h2>1. Pizza Hut Breadsticks</h2> <p>I'm keen on those warm, crusty breadsticks, and this <a href="http://www.seededatthetable.com/2011/05/11/parmesan-breadsticks/">copycat recipe</a> &mdash; complete with sticks and herbed Parmesan topping &mdash; looks incredibly satisfying. If you don't need 3 dozen breadsticks, you can easily make a half batch for weeknight snacking, and I'd suggest substituting half the white flour with whole wheat.</p> <h2>2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups</h2> <p>I don't care so much about whatever holiday is next, but I sure look forward to finding Reese's eggs, trees, and other shapes to stuff my face with. This delicious <a href="http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/03/29/copycat-recipe-reeses-peanut-butter-eggs/">Peanut Butter Egg</a> recipe uses stevia and powdered sugar for sweetness, so it's certain to be much healthier than the original!</p> <h2>3. Peanut Butter Twix</h2> <p>Next in line after Reese's, my favorite candy is peanut butter Twix. This <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/03/homemade-chocolate-peanut-butter-twix.html">homemade recipe</a> looks a little time intensive, but it's certainly worth the effort. The best part? The peanut butter gets a more authentic texture with crumbled graham crackers.</p> <h2>4. Chicken McNuggets</h2> <p>I didn't know it was possible to make this next dish healthy, but these copycat <a href="http://cookinwithsuperpickle.blogspot.com/2010/01/chicken-nuggets-mcdonalds-style-kinda.html">Chicken McNuggets</a> are baked and gluten-free. They are also made from real chicken breast, which is far better than whatever is in the drive-through favorite. I always used to dip mine in honey!</p> <h2>5. Egg McMuffin</h2> <p>While we're on the fast food giant, check out these <a href="http://www.recipesquickneasy.com/healthy-egg-mcmuffin-copycats/">Egg McMuffins</a> made with Canadian bacon, low-calorie cheese, and whole grain English muffins. The recipe yields 12, so you can make a big batch to freeze for quick breakfasts on the go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes?ref=seealso">9 Make Ahead Freezable Breakfast Meals</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pop-Tarts</h2> <p>I definitely ate my fair share of Pop-Tarts growing up, and not as part of a healthy breakfast. This <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/">tasty version</a> can be filled with anything from cinnamon to jam to Nutella, but whatever you choose is bound to be better than its packaged counterpart.</p> <h2>7. Orange Julius</h2> <p>I'd get this drink when we'd visit the mall, and what a treat it was! This <a href="http://www.blendtec.com/blog/orange-julius-copycat/">homemade copycat beverage</a> is sweetened with only fruit and made vegan by using almond milk, though I'm sure you can substitute in whatever dairy you prefer.</p> <h2>8. Wendy's Frosty</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of Frosty copycat recipes, but <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/wendys-frosty-copycat-4-ww-points-176818/photo">this chocolatey one</a> seems to be lighter than the rest. It's also Weight Watchers approved with only four points. If points don't matter and you're avoiding sugar substitutes, you could always use regular pudding mix with similar results.</p> <h2>9. Olive Garden Dressing</h2> <p>This recipe might not be entirely healthier than the restaurant mix, but it might get you eating more veggies at home. Try the <a href="http://www.frugalcouponliving.com/2014/05/18/copycat-olive-garden-dressing-salad-recipe/">Olive Garden Dressing</a> copycat and chill in your refrigerator for weeks of crunchy salads on demand.</p> <h2>10. Twinkie</h2> <p>It doesn't get more basic than the Twinkie. Here's a <a href="http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-twinkies/">healthy recipe</a> to try that also happens to be gluten free and extra gooey. If you don't like agave nectar, you can substitute maple syrup or honey for natural sweetness.</p> <h2>11. Rice Krispy Treats</h2> <p>I may need to make this recipe tonight because I'm already drooling over these <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/11/ooey-gooey-crispy-rice-treats.html">Crisp Rice Treats</a> that are made with brown rice cereal, Ricemellow Creme, and &mdash; yes &mdash; peanut butter. Drizzle some dark chocolate on top to take this dessert over the edge.</p> <h2>12. Mac and Cheese</h2> <p>I grew up on Velveeta mac and cheese, but I don't even want to know what is in that orange melty stuff. The author of this <a href="http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/12/09/vegan-macaroni-and-cheese/">vegan copycat recipe</a> claims this has all the classic flavor &mdash; all without containing any animal products whatsoever. The secret? Nuts!</p> <h2>13. Slurpee</h2> <p>This <a href="http://pikachakula.com/recipe/strawberry-lemonade-healthy-slurpee">Strawberry Lemonade Slurpee</a> recipe will take your love of the frosty drink to a new level. There's still plenty of summer left to enjoy, and the author offers up several fruit swaps for different variations. I'll take a mango plus peach, please!</p> <h2>14. Fruit Roll-Ups</h2> <p>I can't even begin to quantify how many Fruit Roll-Ups I must have eaten as a kid. Now I make them at home for my own child using real fruit. Check out this (video) recipe to make naturally sweetened <a href="http://veggiefocus.com/blog/fruit-roll-ups-video/">Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups</a> using either an oven on low temperature or dedicated dehydrator.</p> <h2>15. Thin Mints</h2> <p>I was thrilled when I saw packaged Girl Scout style cookies pop up on grocery shelves. But they still just aren't as wholesome as homemade. Try this <a href="http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2014/03/04/paleo-thin-mints/">Paleo Thin Mints</a> recipe for a treat even your caveman ancestors might have enjoyed.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite (and wholesome) copycat recipes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages">The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-health-foods-that-are-actually-making-you-fatter">10 Health Foods That Are Actually Making You Fatter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-foods-you-can-turn-into-chips">10 Surprising Foods You Can Turn Into Chips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-there-be-a-fat-tax-on-junk-food">Should There Be a &quot;Fat Tax&quot; on Junk Food?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink copycat recipes frugal recipes healthy food junk food Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1184055 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Tasty, Frugal Eggplant Recipes http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2697058141_98718115ca_z.jpg" alt="boy grilling eggplant" title="boy grilling eggplant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eggplant can be a frugal staple of many delicious dishes, especially when in season. You can easily grow it in most gardens nationwide, and one plant can yield dozens of the purple-skinned beauties.</p> <p>Most gardeners and gourmet shoppers can soon run out of ideas for the versatile aubergine, however. If that's you, consider these dozen-plus-two affordable dishes you can create from the abundant and adorable eggplant. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-delicious-healthy-and-cheap-bean-recipes">25+ Delicious, Healthy, and Cheap Bean Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>1. Eggplant Parmesan</h2> <p>The number one dish most people make with the eggplant, it&rsquo;s prepared many ways for a variation in flavor, fat, and calories. Since eggplant is in season when most kitchens are already very hot, I recommend this <a href="http://www.scordo.com/2011/08/stovetop-eggplant-parmigiana-recipe-authentic-italian-parm.html" target="_blank">stove-top version of the dish</a> from Scordo.com.</p> <h2>2. Sub Sandwiches</h2> <p>If you happen to have any leftover eggplant parm, you can put it to good use as filling for a toasted sub roll. Add extra cheese and fresh spinach for something similar to a chain shop but much tastier and healthier, of course!</p> <h2>3. Ratatouille</h2> <p>This dish may be one of the most affordable meals you can throw together during eggplant season (especially if you can pick all the veggies and fruits from your garden). This <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html" target="_blank">slow-cooker Ratatouille recipe</a> is simple and cooks itself while you&rsquo;re at work!</p> <h2>4. Stuffed Eggplant (Involtini)</h2> <p>While the skill factor is high in this ricotta-filled dish, the results are nothing but breathtaking. This recipe from <a href="http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/09/29/eggplant-involtini/" target="_blank">Alexandria&rsquo;s Kitchen</a> includes step-by-step photos to help you along, and by using your own tomato sauce, you&rsquo;ll save a little extra on your grocery bill.</p> <h2>5. Eggplant Pizza</h2> <p>We all know that you can put everything on a pizza, so this tasty <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/garden-eggplant-pizza-10000001057286/" target="_blank">Mediterranean-inspired pizza dish</a> just makes sense. Save more money by making your own crust; add even more veggies for a variation in textures.</p> <h2>6. Eggplant Dip</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s amazing how you can turn grilled eggplant into a creamy, dreamy dip for pitas, chips, and veggies! This <a href="http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/grilled_eggplant_dip/" target="_blank">recipe from Paula Deen</a> would make a tasty dish for any party or appetizer occasion.</p> <h2>7. Eggplant Burgers</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t fool anyone into thinking they are beef, but eggplant burgers can be a filling alternative for those who want a break from meat. Commercial food services have perfected the burger and sell them in frozen form; you can create your own <a href="http://peasandthankyou.com/2012/08/27/tastier-eggplant-burgers/" target="_blank">grilled eggplant patties</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-vegan-grill-recipes">throw on the grill</a> for much less.</p> <h2>8. Eggplant Balls</h2> <p>The internet is full of recipes for eggplant meatballs, but the variations are wild from one to the next. How you desire your eggplant (chopped, ground, or thick and chunky) and your preference of seasoning will determine what recipe you go with. This <a href="http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/chefs_recipes/3202/Two_Italian_favorites_meet_in_a_crispy_bite.htm" target="_blank">eggplant ball recipe</a> is light, mildly-seasoned, and perfect for dipping in a marinara sauce.</p> <h2>9. Soup</h2> <p>While most eggplant soups and stews are made with a tomato-based sauce, there are a number of ways to serve it. I am personally a fan of pasta and think that this <a href="http://www.wineandglue.com/2013/02/eggplant-raviolini-soup-with-mozzarella.html" target="_blank">eggplant raviolini soup</a> is something that even my kids would try. Served with a nice crusty focaccia, you have an affordable meal that can really fill you up!</p> <h2>10. Breaded and Fried</h2> <p>I ate this dish growing up, and I still enjoy it. It is prepared most easily by slicing the eggplant, dipping it in an egg wash, breading it in a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and flour, and frying it in some hot oil. Be sure to salt it well after cooking, and eat it before it cools. I love it by itself, but the kids adore it with ketchup!</p> <h2>11. Lasagna</h2> <p>While the eggplant will need special treatment before layering into a dish, you can substitute the hearty fruit for standard lasagna noodles. For full instructions on sweating and blotting, I recommend this <a href="http://sweetpeagoeshealthy.blogspot.com/2012/08/easy-eggplant-lasagna.html" target="_blank">totally meat-free lasagna</a>.</p> <h2>12. Panini</h2> <p>What is it about this kind of fancy, grilled bread that makes eating most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">any garden harvest</a> tastier than usual? This simple recipe of <a href="http://passionateeater.blogspot.com/2009/01/working-eater-series-mozzarella-and.html" target="_blank">grilled panini with eggplant and mozzarella</a> has just a few ingredients and all the potential to become a summertime favorite! (See our picks for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-panini-presses">best panini makers</a>.)</p> <h2>13. Moussaka</h2> <p>This Greek dish can be prepared many ways, but this <a href="http://greekfood.about.com/od/eggplant/r/moussaka.htm" target="_blank">traditional Greek Moussaka recipe</a> is true to the original. While it takes a bit of time to prepare, this delicious and hearty lamb and eggplant casserole is definitely worth the effort!</p> <h2>14. Pickles</h2> <p>Most anything from the garden can (and should) be pickled, and eggplant is no exception. While the practice of pickling in olive oil isn&rsquo;t common to most kitchens, Scordo&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.scordo.com/2012/08/pickled-eggplant-melanzane-sottolio.html" target="_blank">Pickled Eggplant recipe</a> has proven to be a staple in his home for generations.</p> <p>For many gardeners, the eggplant will continue to come long after you&rsquo;ve prepared and enjoyed every dish you can find. For those who can&rsquo;t give away their excess, you can always <a href="http://www.traditional-foods.com/food-preservation/freezing-eggplant/" target="_blank">freeze the purple stuff for later</a>.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to eat eggplant?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine’s Day Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one">14 Tasty and Cheap Meals for One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mayonnaise-the-thrifty-and-delicious-secret-ingredient-already-in-your-fridge">Mayonnaise: The Thrifty and Delicious Secret Ingredient Already in Your Fridge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink casseroles eggplant frugal recipes Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Linsey Knerl 971347 at http://www.wisebread.com Mayonnaise: The Thrifty and Delicious Secret Ingredient Already in Your Fridge http://www.wisebread.com/mayonnaise-the-thrifty-and-delicious-secret-ingredient-already-in-your-fridge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mayonnaise-the-thrifty-and-delicious-secret-ingredient-already-in-your-fridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3944555485_b37a3f5441_z.jpg" alt="mayonnaise" title="mayonnaise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was in college I had a boyfriend whose favorite food was mayonnaise.</p> <p>I know. That should have been a red flag right there.</p> <p>He was really good looking and charming, so I was able to overlook (or at least look away from) his habit of eating a condiment. Like it was some kind of savory pudding. Out of the jar with a spoon.</p> <p>We broke up for reasons not related to his depraved love of sandwich spread.</p> <p>It was soon after our breakup that I discovered that he'd left an opened, 128-ounce jar of mayonnaise in my refrigerator. If I hadn't been the poster child for starving students everywhere, I would have just thrown out the jar. However, at that point in my life, I was poor enough that I couldn't waste food for sentimental reasons. Any food.</p> <p>So I ate a gallon of mayonnaise.</p> <p>I did not eat it out of the jar. I instead went on the hunt for good mayonnaise recipes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-home-uses-for-mayonnaise">10 Unexpected Home Uses for Mayonnaise</a>)</p> <h2>My First Favorite Mayonnaise Recipe</h2> <p>Luckily, one of my favorite dishes to make is Waldorf salad. The Waldorf salad, as the name implies, is a signature dish of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It was invented not by the hotel's chef, but by its Maitre D', Oscar Tshirky, who was apparently a huge foodie.</p> <p>What follows is the recipe for Oscar's original salad as it was published in his cookbook &mdash; titled &quot;The Cook Book&quot; &mdash; in 1896.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Waldorf Salad</strong></p> <p>Peel two raw apples and cut them into small pieces, say about half an inch square, also cut some celery the same way, and mix it with the apple. Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apples be mixed with it. The salad must be dressed with a good mayonnaise.</p> </blockquote> <p>I was surprised when I read this recipe because, in the last century, Waldorf salad recipes have become more and more byzantine with the addition of everything from nuts to shredded carrots. The original Waldorf salad is quite a thrifty and simple dish.</p> <h2>A Piece of Cake</h2> <p>Because I was poor, and mayonnaise's main ingredients are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">eggs</a> and oil, I used a lot of my ex's mayo as a cheap substitute for eggs in baking recipes. Today I substitute three tablespoons of mayonnaise for every egg the recipe calls for.</p> <p>Although I can now afford eggs, in my kitchen, mayonnaise is still a staple baking ingredient. Mayonnaise is the <a target="_blank" href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=702807">secret ingredient</a> in many <a target="_blank" href="http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Mayonnaise-Cake-358241">chocolate cake recipes</a> because it <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hellmanns.com/recipes/detail/33270/1/chocolate-molten-lava-cakes">gives the cakes</a> a supple, moist texture.</p> <p>By the way, chocolate cake is extra yummy with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/bourbon-chocolate-frosting-recipe/index.html">bourbon chocolate frosting</a>. Secret ingredient? Mayonnaise.</p> <p>Even if you are a terrible cook, mayonnaise can give boxed cake mix that &quot;homemade&quot; flavor. This classic <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&amp;dat=19700213&amp;id=bY0bAAAAIBAJ&amp;sjid=UVEEAAAAIBAJ&amp;pg=4699,3184138">lemon pound cake recipe</a> that calls for yellow cake mix, instant lemon pudding mix, and mayonnaise is all over the Internet, but this version has the best vintage food commentary that promises, &quot;A secret ingredient that will cause a sensation at your next lunch or dinner party.&quot;</p> <p>Who doesn't want to cause a sensation at their next lunch party?</p> <h2>Some Other Favorite Mayo Recipes</h2> <p>Do you love chocolate chip cookie dough but worry endlessly about salmonella poisoning from raw eggs? <a target="_blank" href="http://rozannegold.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/cookie-surprise-dont-hold-the-mayo/">Use mayo instead</a>.</p> <p>Are chocolate chips out of your price range? Mayonnaise makes <a target="_blank" href="http://www.npr.org/2011/08/16/139676968/not-your-mothers-snickerdoodles">yummy sugar cookies</a> that don't taste like homemade Play-Doh.</p> <p>My other favorite use of mayonnaise is for breading chicken for <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-herbed-panko-chicken-recipes-from-the-kitchn-175983">Chicken Parmesan</a>. In addition to being the glue that holds the breadcrumbs together, it also makes the chicken extra juicy.</p> <p>Is breaded chicken not your thing? <a target="_blank" href="http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700212222/Secret-ingredient-in-chipotle-chicken-Mayonnaise.html">Mayonnaise and chipotle peppers</a> in adobo sauce make an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-delicious-marinades">incredible marinade</a> for just about any meat.</p> <p>How I wish that Hellmann's had a website when I was in college (I'm old). Their <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hellmanns.com/recipes">mayo-centric recipe archive</a> is enormous.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite way to use mayonnaise?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mayonnaise-the-thrifty-and-delicious-secret-ingredient-already-in-your-fridge">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine’s Day Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-foods-you-should-make-yourself">13 Foods You Should Make Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-rate-condiments-homemade-mayo">Cut-Rate Condiments: Homemade Mayo</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one">14 Tasty and Cheap Meals for One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food substitutes frugal recipes mayonnaise Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:37:26 +0000 Max Wong 971319 at http://www.wisebread.com Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/potluck ideas.jpg" alt="Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet." title="potluck ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s potluck season, which means that soon you&rsquo;re going to be thinking, &ldquo;What in the world am I bringing to this thing?!&rdquo;</p> <p>These 23 delicious dishes are perfect for your next potluck, and they won&rsquo;t bust the bank in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">5 Potluck&nbsp;Parties That Help You Share the Wealth</a>)</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s start with the sweet dishes...&nbsp;</p> <h3>1. Butterfinger Pie</h3> <p>This <a target="_blank" href="http://dessert.food.com/recipe/butterfinger-pie-29478">Butterfinger pie</a> takes just 10 minutes to make, and it will probably be eaten quicker than that!&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Chocolate Chip Cookies</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to bake these from scratch (no judging here). When your grocery store's off-brand, semi-frozen cookie logs go on sale (usually two for $4 at my local grocery store) pick up a couple. Before your next potluck, pop them in the oven half-an-hour before you leave for fresh, warm, home-baked cookies.</p> <h3>3. Fairy Bread</h3> <p>Popular in Australia for children&rsquo;s birthday parties, this is <a target="_blank" href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/fairy-bread/">white fluffy sandwich bread</a> with a layer of butter and then topped with colorful sprinkles. Cut off the crusts and then into triangles.</p> <h3>4. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins</h3> <p>Cream cheese seems to come up on almost everyone&rsquo;s &ldquo;indulgence&rdquo; list. Merge it with pumpkin, and you&rsquo;ll have <a target="_blank" href="http://www.food.com/recipe/pumpkin-cream-cheese-muffins-74401">muffins that everyone wants to gobble up</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>5. Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies&nbsp;</h3> <p>A <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Cookies-2">cool-weather twist on a classic cookie</a>. Something about cinnamon just screams &ldquo;cozy up!&rdquo; The best thing about this recipe is there are no exotic ingredients.</p> <h3>6. Saltine Cracker Chocolate Bark</h3> <p>On the streets it&rsquo;s known as &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/08/chocolate-crack-chocolate-bark.html">chocolate crack</a>,&rdquo; and for good reason. I first came across this treat at a party, and I kept going back for more because I just couldn&rsquo;t figure out what was going on with this mysterious dessert. Hey, research needed to be done! The secret to this delicious never-before-seen, flaky, buttery-bottomed, melt-in-your-mouth, sent-from-heaven dessert was (you're never going to believe this) &mdash; saltine crackers! Bring this super-easy recipe to your next potluck, and you will leave with an empty plate and a whole new batch of friends.</p> <h3>7. Microwave Caramels</h3> <p>This <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theyummylife.com/Microwave_Caramels">microwave caramels recipe</a> is beyond easy, uses common ingredients, and the best part? It only takes six minutes to make! Bring them to the party on a cute dish (or put them in a tin, or aluminum foil, for easy co-worker/boss/postal worker holiday gifts), and you&rsquo;re done!</p> <h3>8. Never-Fail Pineapple Upside Down Cake</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.dole.com/EatRightLanding/EatRightRecipe/RecipeDetail/tabid/596/Default.aspx?contentid=1846">Sweet, juicy, and actually kind of refreshing</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h3>9. Instant Fudge</h3> <p>Get yourself one container of fudge frosting and one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Either mix the chips alone in the microwave and then add the frosting and stir together, or melt both at the same time. You must watch the chocolate very carefully to be sure that you don&rsquo;t overcook it. Throw in some peanuts (or any other kind of nut you like) to add some crunch. Place the mixture in a pan, refrigerate, cut, then serve.</p> <h3>10. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.handletheheat.com/2010/02/cookies-cream-cheesecake-cupcakes.html">cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes</a> are completely decadent.</p> <h3>11. Pound-Cake Tiramisu</h3> <p>Love how the store-bought pound-cake in this <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marthastewart.com/336470/pound-cake-tiramisu?czone=entertaining/dinner-party-ideas/menus&amp;center=0&amp;gallery=876049&amp;slide=336470">pound-cake tiramisu</a> cuts down on the prep-time.</p> <h3>12. Baked S&rsquo;mores</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theaprongal.com/2011/11/baked-smores.html">baked s'mores</a> are a little more complex than some of the other recipes listed, but it&rsquo;s worth the extra effort.&nbsp;</p> <p>And now, time for the savory dishes...</p> <h3>13. Carrots With Ranch Dressing</h3> <p>Okay, before you dismiss this one as &ldquo;you&rsquo;ve heard it before,&rdquo; hear me out.</p> <p>Carrots are cheap. At .79 cents for a full bag you can&rsquo;t go wrong. Pick up some store-brand ranch and small, clear 3-inch cups from the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-easy-holiday-shopping-at-the-dollar-store">dollar store</a>. Slice up the carrots so they are about 4 inches tall. Squirt a 1/2 inch of ranch dressing into the bottom of each cup, and then add four or five carrot sticks to each cup. There you go! These are great because they are easy to handle at the party (no scooping dressing onto a plate and then having everything else roll into it), and everyone will think you&rsquo;re a genius for bringing such a healthy and easy-to-eat dish.</p> <h3>14. Mexican Mess Bean Dip</h3> <p>If a <a target="_blank" href="http://cheese.food.com/recipe/mexican-mess-bean-dip-293219">bean dip</a> didn&rsquo;t show up on this list it wouldn&rsquo;t qualify as a &ldquo;proper&rdquo; potluck post, so here it is and now this list is officially legitimate. Buy a bag of store-brand tortilla chips to accompany your dip, and off to the party you go!</p> <h3>15. Parfait Chicken Salad</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve only seen sweets done as parfaits; never something savory. Where have you been all my life, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Layered-Chicken-Salad">delicious savory parfait</a>?</p> <h3>16. Triscuit Pizzas</h3> <p>This is easy. Gather 1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 lb. softened butter, 6 oz. tomato paste, 1 tsp. oregano, and a pinch of garlic. Mix all of the ingredients together, spread onto Triscuit crackers, and bake on a cookie sheet at 350&deg; until bubbly. While this one won&rsquo;t win any health awards with the 1/2 lb. of butter, it sure is good.</p> <h3>17. Hummus and Warm Pita Bread</h3> <p>This is the easiest one on the list. Pick up two packages of pre-made hummus, put it in your own bowl, and then warm some pita bread in the oven. Slice the pita bread into triangles and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm. Bonus points are given if you add olive oil and sliced olives to the top of the hummus.</p> <h3>18. Meat Pockets</h3> <p>These <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Potluck-Pockets">meat pockets</a> are cute and easy to handle at a party.</p> <h3>19. Baked Spaghetti</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/02/baked-spaghetti-recipe/">Baked spaghetti</a> is definitely different, and that&rsquo;s one of the great things about potlucks. You get to try a little bit of a lot of foods you wouldn&rsquo;t normally get to eat.&nbsp;</p> <h3>20. Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread</h3> <p>Sign me up! This <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marthastewart.com/336546/blue-cheese-and-walnut-spread?">blue cheese and walnut spread</a> is nutty and classy all at the same time.</p> <h3>21. Fruit Salsa With Baked Cinnamon Chips</h3> <p>This one&rsquo;s a lighter and healthier potluck option that straddles the line between sweet and savory. Is it a salad? Or is it a fruit dessert? <a target="_blank" href="http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/fruit-salsa-with-baked-cinnamon-chips.html">It&rsquo;s both</a>!</p> <h3>22. BLT Pasta Salad</h3> <p>A <a target="_blank" href="http://abirdandabean.com/blt-pasta-salad/">BLT and a pasta salad</a> got together, had a baby, and this is it.&nbsp;</p> <h3>23. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese</h3> <p>There's got to be a law somewhere that says you can't have a potluck without a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">Crock Pot</a>. Don't get arrested, make this <a target="_blank" href="http://tipgarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-pot-mac-and-cheese.html">Crock&nbsp;Pot mac and cheese</a> instead.</p> <p><em>What is your go-to recipe for potlucks? Do you have a winning recipe that everyone always loves? We&rsquo;d love to hear what it is!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guaranteed-easiest-way-to-make-your-own-pickles">The Guaranteed Easiest Way to Make Your Own Pickles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink affordable entertaining frugal recipes potluck recipes Wed, 05 Dec 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 955506 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dinner_party_fun.jpg" alt="Dinner party" title="Dinner party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A dinner party never has to be over the top, but anyone who has ever hosted one knows that the cost can escalate quickly.</p> <p>In an effort to impress their guests, many hosts opt to make a fancy dish with expensive ingredients. Or they go out all out on table decorations. Or they pick up pricey bottles of wine. Now, what once might have cost $25 total has increased to $100 &mdash; an amount that quickly sucks all the fun out of having friends over for an evening of good food and conversation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a>)</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a fan of dinner parties and keen to avoid this common mistake, perhaps starting a frugal dinner club is a good idea. The primary purpose of the frugal dinner club is to bring your friends together so you can spend quality time together enjoying delicious grub without spending a lot of money. If this sounds like a club you&rsquo;d like to start, here are a few criteria.</p> <h3>1. Establish the Club by Inviting Your Frugal Friends</h3> <p>Everyone in your frugal dinner club should be frugal-minded and resourceful. These are your friends who live on a budget, always have a coupon for dinner or activities, and can seek out the best deals no matter where they are. You don&rsquo;t want those friends for whom money is not a concern or those friends who are too lazy to save cash when they can. Inviting the latter will defeat the purpose of the club and take away the excitement.</p> <h3>2. Establish the Frugal Dinner Club Rules</h3> <p>Once your club is established, it&rsquo;s important to set up rules by which the club will abide. They don&rsquo;t have to be so strict that they turn off some members, but they should adhere to frugal principles. Consider these suggestions to adopt as your own rules:</p> <p><strong>Individual Dishes Alternate Meal to Meal</strong></p> <p>I like to cook all kinds of different foods, so I wouldn&rsquo;t want to be stuck always bringing the main dish or the side dish; sometimes I may want to bring dessert. Alternating the types of dishes members bring to every club meeting will keep it exciting for everyone.</p> <p><strong> Use Only In-Season Ingredients</strong></p> <p>Using only <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">in-season ingredients</a> will help you narrow down your recipe choices, but it will also save you money since in-season foods are inherently cheaper than out-of-season foods.</p> <p><strong>Clip and Swap Coupons</strong></p> <p>Of course you&rsquo;re going to use coupons to buy food for your frugal dinner club. So to enhance your stash, make it a rule that every member should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupons">clip coupons</a> prior to each meeting so you can trade after dinner.</p> <p><strong>Put a Cap on the Cost of the Dishes</strong></p> <p>The group can decide a reasonable price point for each dish based on the amount of members in the group, but the price point should be low enough that it requires smart shopping and creative cooking. I&rsquo;d also suggest that everyone keeps their receipts so the group can tally up the total at the next club meeting, so everyone can see how much money is actually spent and saved.</p> <p><strong>Raid Pantries</strong></p> <p>Before anyone goes to the market to buy food, one of the rules should be that they must raid their pantries for ingredients. There&rsquo;s no reason to buy anything you already have. After you've searched your pantry, use <a href="http://www.recipekey.com/">Recipe Key</a> to input items to find a suitable dish to make for the club.</p> <h3>3. Set the Frugal Dinner Club Schedule</h3> <p>Come to a consensus within the group to settle on the appropriate meeting schedule.</p> <h3>4. Assign the Frugal Dinner Club Dishes</h3> <p>Now that you have your friends lined up, the frugal dinner club rules set, and a schedule firmly in place, it&rsquo;s time to assign dishes (not to be confused with recipes; those are at each member&rsquo;s discretion). Who will make the main? Who&rsquo;s in charge of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ultra-quick-homemade-desserts">dessert</a>? Discuss.</p> <h3>5. Sit Down for Dinner and Brag About Your Saving Savvy</h3> <p>This is the moment you&rsquo;ve all been waiting for. Gather for a meeting of your frugal dinner club and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Discuss the recipes (ask members to bring a print out for the rest of the group), the ingredients, what you had on hand and what you had to buy, how much you spent, and how much you saved. Then simply enjoy each other&rsquo;s company while stuffing your face with the satisfaction that you can throw a fabulous dinner party without inflicting any pain upon your pockets.</p> <p><em>Do you have a frugal dinner club? Do you have other suggestions for those who want to start one? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed &#039;Em for Under $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours">Cheap Fun and Libations: Brewery and Winery Tours</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-frugal-ways-to-have-people-over-even-if-you-dont-cook-and-clean">Easy, Frugal Ways to Have People Over (Even If You Don&#039;t Cook and Clean)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Food and Drink affordable entertaining dinner party frugal recipes things to do Thu, 23 Aug 2012 10:24:45 +0000 Mikey Rox 951304 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine’s Day Recipes http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/99620754_25aa4597f9_z.jpg" alt="heart on an orange" title="heart on an orange" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="205" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you haven't made your Valentine's Day dinner reservations by now, don't bother.</p> <p>It's not worth it because: 1. there aren't any tables left at your favorite restaurant at this late date, and 2. why spend money on a romantic night out when you can have an even more romantic night in?</p> <p>To get the private party started, here are 14 (relatively) inexpensive recipes you can make at home. You know what they say &mdash; the best way to one's heart is through the stomach. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/valentines-day-on-a-budget">Valentine's Day on a Budget</a>)</p> <h3>1. Valentine Pizza</h3> <p>Papa John's usually sells heart-shaped pizzas around Valentine's Day &mdash; and I'm sure there are other pie makers who do the same thing &mdash; but you don't have to order in when you've got this homemade recipe for <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Valentine-Pizza/Detail.aspx">Valentine pizza</a>. The dough calls for fresh rosemary, which is a nice touch, and once it's made you shape three equal half-inch-thick portions into a heart shape. When the dough is ready, spread on the sauce sauce, sprinkle on the cheese, and add your favorite toppings. This recipe strangely calls for sliced zucchini &mdash; and that's fine if that's your thing &mdash; but I'm sticking with &quot;normal&quot; ingredients like pepperoni and fresh basil.</p> <h3>2. Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon</h3> <p>There's no cut of steak that says &quot;I Love You&quot; quite like filet mignon, and this <a href="http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/pepper-crusted-filet-mignon-recipe">recipe for pepper-crusted filet mignon</a> is way easy. Pick up two five- to six-ounce filets (about one-and-a-half inches thick) &mdash; or to save money, use small appetizer-sized filets that you can find at a Target with a fresh meats section. Season them with olive oil and coarse salt (like Kosher) and coarsely ground pepper; pat both seasonings into the steaks. Cook the filets on a small skillet over medium-high heat for three to five minutes per side for medium-rare. The recipe also includes a rich red wine sauce that's made with one cup of red wine, two tablespoons of cold butter, and coarse salt. Pair the meal with your favorite sides; I'd go for a baked potato and roasted green beans (but call the latter &quot;haricot verts&quot; at the table so you can up the ante on the fancy).</p> <h3>3. Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Scallops</h3> <p>Tyler Florence knows how to cook, so if you want a romantic dinner for two, packed full of flavor, try his <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/risotto-with-wild-mushrooms-and-scallops-recipe/index.html">recipe for risotto with wild mushrooms and scallops</a>. The list of ingredients looks long, but the prep time is only 10 minutes. It says the cooking time is about 35 minutes, most of which will be for the mushrooms and risotto; scallops have a short cooking time, about two minutes on each side. Some of the other ingredients include Pinot Grigio, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and fresh thyme. You can't go wrong with that. I know that scallops can be costly, but here are two things to remember when buying any kind of seafood:</p> <ol> <li>You'll save money by not buying more than you need (if you don't need a whole pound, don't buy it).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you buy the item frozen instead of fresh, the price per pound is usually lower by a few dollars.</li> </ol> <p><img width="500" height="334" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/mushroom%20risotto%20ingred.jpg" alt="mushroom risotto ingredients" /></p> <h3>4. Rock Lobster Tails with Citrus Butter</h3> <p>Looking to impress your dinner date? Show up to the table with <a href="http://southernfood.about.com/od/lobsterrecipes/r/bl30115h.htm">lobster tails drenched in citrus butter</a>. Another no-fuss meal to make, the recipe calls for four frozen rock lobster tails (to cut the cost in half, only buy two), about six to eight ounces each, then butterflied. Broil the tails about eight inches from the flame for approximately 15 minutes. While they're cooking, prepare the sauce with butter, fresh lemon juice, grated orange peel, salt, ground ginger, and paprika. Serve with lemon wedges and a couple side dishes. I'd recommend wild rice and honey-glazed baby carrots for this dish.</p> <h3>5. Pasta Puttanesca</h3> <p>It's easy to throw pasta and sauce together (which is always romantic thanks to &quot;Lady and the Tramp&quot;), but you can add a lot of flair for Valentine's Day. This <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Pasta-Puttanesca">recipe for pasta puttanesca</a> includes lots of delicious ingredients for serious flavor, like carrots, olives, dried oregano and thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, and fennel. (I love the taste of fennel &mdash; it adds that little something that makes you go <em>hmm</em>.) Don't forget the grated Parmesan cheese to top it all off. It's true love on a plate.</p> <h3>6. Steak with Brandy and Mustard Sauce</h3> <p>If you're short on time on Valentine's Day (hopefully because you're buying the roses so you can cover the bed in petals) try this recipe for <a href="http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/948215/30-minute-valentines-day-dinner-recipes">steak with brandy and mustard sauce</a> that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. The cut of steak is up to you &mdash; you can find affordable loin steak (a big cut so you can halve it at home) &mdash; and the sauce is made in a snap with common ingredients. Choose sides that don't take too long to make, like roasted tomatoes or steamed carrots.</p> <h3>7. Pork with Dried Apples and Prosciutto</h3> <p>Pork chops are one of the cheapest meats you can buy, so this recipe for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/pork-with-dried-apples--_n_1061554.html">pork with dried apples and prosciutto</a> is cost-friendly from the start. You can buy dried apples at the store and save the leftovers for later (so you have a healthy snack at your fingertips). As for the prosciutto, if you find it too expensive, which it can be, swap it out for bacon; nobody but you will know the difference.</p> <h3>8. Marmalade Chicken</h3> <p>For couples that are eating healthy, this <a href="http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/marmalade_chicken_for_two.html">recipe for marmalade chicken</a> is not only waist-conscious but wallet-conscious, too. With simple ingredients like chicken tenders, EVOO, orange marmalade, and orange zest, you'll serve up a tangy, citrusy meal that can be paired with accompaniments like broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes. Instant potatoes are just fine; jazz 'em up with garlic butter. I have a trick for that. Know those tiny garlic-butter tubs you get with your pizza sometimes? I save those and use them to flavor mashed potatoes, especially instant varieties.</p> <h3>9. Heart-Shaped Sandwiches</h3> <p>Not every couple is into spending an hour in the kitchen making dinner. So this idea for heart-shaped sandwiches might be perfect for those laidback lovers who prefer plain ol' ham and cheese to roasted pork loin and brie. Make whatever kind of sandwich you like then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the sandwiches into festive shapes. If you're making a thick sandwich, you can cut the heart shape with a knife. Throw a side of chips on the plate, crack open a couple Cokes, and enjoy the Valentine's dinner that you really want.</p> <p><img width="500" height="334" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/heart%20shaped%20sandwiches.jpg" alt="heart shaped sandwiches" /></p> <h3>10. Avocado and Strawberries with Honey Vinaigrette</h3> <p>If you're a light eater like my husband (he never finishes an entire meal because he picks throughout the day), this recipe for <a href="http://www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/avocado-strawberries-honey-vinaigrette">avocado and strawberries with a honey vinaigrette</a> may be right up your alley. It's so simple, too. All you have to do is cut the avocado into wedges, slice the strawberries, prepare the dressing and season with salt and pepper. This also could work as a great Valentine's Day lunch at home.</p> <h3>11. Vegan Rustic Bread, Eggplant and Spinach Lasagna</h3> <p>Hey, vegetarians and vegans, I haven't forgotten you. This <a href="http://www.cheekykitchen.com/2012/01/rustic-bread-lasagna.html">recipe for vegan lasagna</a> comes courtesy of my good friend Brooke McLay (whose family I'm jealous of because they eat so well) and her blog <a href="http://www.cheekykitchen.com/">Cheeky Kitchen</a>. It's super cheap, too, with most of the ingredients already in your cabinet. You may have to run out for the bread (should be day-old), eggplant, crushed tomatoes, and spinach, but everything else should be on hand. Since this makes a lot of lasagna, perhaps this is the ideal for a couples' Valentine's dinner.</p> <h3>12. Portobello Mushroom Sauté</h3> <p>If you want to skip the usual steak and potatoes route, try this <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Portobello-Mushroom-Saute/Detail.aspx">recipe for sautéed Portobello mushrooms</a>. Slice the mushrooms and sautée them with onions in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with grated Parmesan and Asiago cheeses. This super-healthy meal would go great with a salad full of greens and other veggies.</p> <h3>13. Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein</h3> <p>The Chinese-food lover in your life will be impressed with this <a href="http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/dinner-entrees/quick-meals/beef-and-broccoli-lo-mein-685945/">homemade recipe for beef and broccoli lo mein</a>. You can use stew meat in place of a higher priced beef so long as you let it tenderize, and you may have to pick up oyster sauce and fresh ginger, but you can probably get away with that one using the ground version in your pantry. It's a whole meal in one dish that automatically seems special.</p> <h3>14. Raspberry Cream Cupcakes</h3> <p>You didn't think I would forget about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-valentine-s-day-desserts-that-hit-the-sweet-spot">dessert</a>, did you? This is one of <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/raspberry-cream-cupcakes-recipe/index.html">my all-time favorite dessert recipes</a>. From Giada De Laurentiis, this recipe cuts the work in half because it calls for a boxed cake mix souped up with extra ingredients like almond and vanilla extracts. The cupcakes are tasty by themselves, of course, but it's the homemade whipped cream filling folded with fresh, crushed raspberries that make this dessert to die for. Trust me.</p> <p><em>Have a Valentine's recipe that you'd love to share? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables">25 Ways to Use Frozen Mixed Vegetables</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-ways-to-use-pineapple">20 Delicious Ways to Use Pineapple</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle cheap recipes easy recipes for valentine's day easy-to-make recipes for valentine's day frugal recipes frugal valentine's recipes sweet valentine's recipes valentine's day menus valentine's day recipes valentine's day tips and tricks Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:24:31 +0000 Mikey Rox 893434 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Tasty and Cheap Meals for One http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eating_alone.jpg" alt="Woman eating alone" title="Woman eating alone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always loved to cook, but when I was single it was chore. I mean, what&rsquo;s the point of spending all that time in the kitchen cooking &mdash; then cleaning &mdash; if you&rsquo;re the only person who&rsquo;s going to enjoy the meal?&nbsp;</p> <p>That was a poor philosophy to have, mostly because I didn&rsquo;t put any effort into thinking of delicious dishes to prepare. I deserved better than ramen and ham-and-cheese roll-ups &mdash; you know you&rsquo;ve made that for dinner more than once &mdash; and so do you.</p> <p>To help you get cooking, here are two weeks&rsquo; worth of meals I go to when it&rsquo;s just me, myself, and I enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of my culinary skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-making-cheaper-faster-better-meals">6 Tips for Making Cheaper, Faster,&nbsp;Better Meals</a>)</p> <h3>1. Spinach and Parmesan Omelet With Hash Browns</h3> <p>Anderson Cooper and I have a few things in common, one of which is a hatred for greens, especially spinach. Maybe that&rsquo;s because when I was younger my mom made me eat (force fed is more like it) canned spinach, which is absolutely disgusting. I was on a trip to California once when I saw this healthy-ish omelet on the menu, so I decided to order it &mdash; totally out of character for me. When in Rome, right? To my delight, I loved it &mdash; and it&rsquo;s totally easy to make at home. Prepare an omelet the way you normally would &mdash; whole eggs or just the whites &mdash; and when it&rsquo;s still just a tad undercooked, add in the spinach and Parmesan cheese, flip, and season with salt and pepper. For a quick starchy side, peel and grate one potato and sauté it in butter on one side on low-medium heat for about five minutes or until golden brown. Flip to cook the other side to perfection.</p> <h3>2. Beet Salad</h3> <p>You can use canned beets for this recipe, but I wouldn&rsquo;t recommend it; at many markets you can find fresh, cooked beets in the produce section. Build the salad with mesclun greens, the sliced beets (perhaps even quartered), orange slices (a smaller type would be ideal, like a clementine), walnuts, and Parmesan cheese; and top with a citrus vinaigrette that you can make with the juice from another orange, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.</p> <h3>3. Carrot and Ginger Soup With Oyster Crackers</h3> <p>Have you seen this <a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cuisinart-soup-maker-blender-sbc-1000/">soup maker and blender from Cuisinart</a> on TV lately? Even though I don&rsquo;t need it &mdash; and you probably don&rsquo;t either &mdash; I live for anything that pulls double duty. In any case, for this <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/all-american-festivals/ginger-carrot-soup-recipe/index.html">carrot-ginger soup recipe</a> you&rsquo;ll need chicken broth, carrots, fresh ginger, parsley, onion, sour cream, sweet cream butter, and whipping cream. If it sounds rich, that&rsquo;s because it is &mdash; taste-wise, anyway; it&rsquo;s fairly easy on the wallet. Top with oyster crackers, because, well, who doesn&rsquo;t love those? This recipe yields eight servings, but freezes very well.</p> <h3>4. Lemon-Pepper Grilled Shrimp With Mixed Greens</h3> <p>This may be hard to believe, but shrimp are relative expensive, depending on the size and quantity you&rsquo;re purchasing. For a meal for one, pick up about six medium-size shrimp, which will probably cost you less than three dollars. At home, sprinkle the shrimp with a lemon-pepper seasoning salt and grill in a pan while brushing with a bit of butter. When the shrimp are cooked through &mdash; one to two minutes per side is all it takes &mdash; arrange them on a bed of greens lightly dressed with a lemon vinaigrette that you can make with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.</p> <h3>5. Grilled Cheese and Bacon With Tomato Soup</h3> <p>Everybody knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but this one gets extra oomph by placing slices of cooked bacon between the bread before putting the sandwich together. You can use any kind of cheese you want, but I believe that there isn&rsquo;t a better tasting grilled cheese than one made with good ol&rsquo; Kraft American Singles. Once your sandwich is grilled, golden, and bubbly, dip it in a bowl of warm tomato soup (Campbell&rsquo;s condensed, of course) that will take you right back to your childhood.</p> <h3>6. Chipotle-Cilantro Quesadillas With Mexirice</h3> <p>All you need to make quesadillas is tortillas and cheese, but to kick this version up a notch, add a few chopped chipotle peppers and cilantro. Place one tortilla in a 10-inch skillet &mdash; no butter; that&rsquo;ll make it greasy &mdash; and top it with the ingredients. When it&rsquo;s all good and melty, top with the other tortilla and flip until that side is crispy and golden brown too. Cut the quesadilla in quarters so it&rsquo;s dippable in salsa or sour cream, and serve alongside a Mexican-style rice, like Uncle Ben&rsquo;s.</p> <h3>7. Baked Potato With Broccoli and Cheese&nbsp;</h3> <p>A friend of mine in Hawaii says I make the best baked potatoes in the world &mdash; and that&rsquo;s probably true (I&rsquo;m patting myself on the back right now) &mdash; but the problem with making the best baked potatoes in the world is that it takes time. Cut the time it takes to make yours in more than half by poking holes in the potato with a fork and microwaving it for whatever time your microwave recommends. While it&rsquo;s cooking, steam a handful of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-tasty-frozen-broccoli-recipes">broccoli florets</a> and heat up a bit of Cheez Whiz. When the potato is tender inside, cut it open, add the broccoli tossed in butter, and top with the Whiz.</p> <h3>8. Turkey Club With Homemade French Fries</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s how this goes &mdash; toast three slices of bread (preferably whole wheat) and spread one side of two slices and both sides of one slice with mayo. On the bottom piece of bread (one with only one mayo-ed side), layer turkey breast, lettuce, bacon, and tomato, and top with the slice of bread that has mayo on both sides. Repeat the process until you have a double-decker sandwich. Before that, however (because making the sandwich doesn&rsquo;t take long at all), cut one large Russet potato in wedges, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.</p> <h3>9. Prosciutto and Melon</h3> <p>I was in Spain when I had melon and jamón for the first time, and that&rsquo;s all it took for me to fall head over heels for this incredibly delicious and quick dish. In fact, among these dishes on the list, this is the fastest. You can buy a whole cantaloupe, but unless you&rsquo;re going to eat the entire fruit before it goes bad, I would recommend buying a slice or two of prepackaged melon. While you&rsquo;re at the store, go to the deli and pick up about four slices of prosciutto or another salty, thin ham. When preparing this dish, all you need to do is drape the ham over the sliced prosciutto and dig in.</p> <h3>10. Tuna Tartine</h3> <p>Tartine is French for an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-cut-calories">open-faced sandwich</a>. For this version, toast a slice of bread, and top with tomato, cucumber, mixed greens, and a scoop of prepared tuna. If you want to get real fancy, you can crumble feta or blue cheese on top if you have it.</p> <h3>11. Pork Chop With Sautéed Cauliflower and Raisins</h3> <p>You have to go to high-end market or butcher to get single slices of pork (or any meat, for that matter), so to cut costs, buy a pack of two chops and put one in the freezer. Pan fry or grill the chop &mdash; your preference &mdash; and serve along side steamed cauliflower and raisins. The latter may seem like an unusual combo, but trust me, it&rsquo;s good.</p> <h3>12. Mussels Provencal</h3> <p>I know what you&rsquo;re thinking &mdash; mussels are expensive. And, like most seafood bought in a large quantity, they can be. But if you&rsquo;re eating for one, you only need to purchase as many mussels as you think you&rsquo;ll consume; my recommendation would be 10 to 12. When you&rsquo;re ready to eat, <a href="http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/311/Mussels_Provencal44686.shtml">prepare the mussels with this recipe</a> that calls for ingredients that you probably already have on hand. This dish is a real treat for those who want to eat like a prince on the budget of a pauper.&nbsp;</p> <h3>14. Beef With Brown Rice and Gravy</h3> <p>This is a no-frills, very affordable dish that I used to make in college. My roommates would laugh at me because it&rsquo;s one of those meals that you eat when there is nothing left in the house, but I had the last laugh when it was in my belly. Stew meat, which is totally cheap, is what this dish calls for. Sauté the meat in olive oil, salt, and pepper while boiling one pouch of brown rice; I buy my fast-cook rice in pouches so it&rsquo;s perfectly portioned, by the way. Prepare the brown gravy from an instant mix as directed and pour over the combined beef and rice. The mix makes enough gravy for two, but I use it all. Mikey don&rsquo;t share his gravy.</p> <p><em>Have even more recipes or tips on how to make meals for one? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-and-cheap-meals-for-one">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine’s Day Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-portion-control-to-lose-weight">How to Use Portion Control to Lose Weight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-fantastic-uses-for-apples">23 Fantastic Uses for Apples</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-5-diet-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 5 Diet Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink eating healthy frugal recipes single people Wed, 25 Jan 2012 11:36:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 876842 at http://www.wisebread.com The Cheap Lazy Foodie: 3 Frugal Dishes Without Compromise http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-lazy-foodie-3-frugal-dishes-without-compromise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-cheap-lazy-foodie-3-frugal-dishes-without-compromise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008473223XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, you like to eat, and you like to eat good stuff &mdash; no frozen, re-heated, preserved, fast, or junk food (if you can help it). But again, if you're like me, you're also broke. Paying at a restaurant for all the scrumptious delicacies you crave isn't in the cards (or your wallet). And, quite possibly, you <em>can</em> cook, but you're not up for anything elaborate, time consuming, or, well, hard.</p> <p>You are a cheap, lazy, foodie and you don't want to compromise. Period. I understand. And I'm with you. In fact, I am here to help. I shall be your guide, your fairy foodie godmother, and I will walk you through three easily prepared delicious meals, designed to keep your tummy and wallet happy (no compromises involved).</p> <h3>Meal #1: Baked Garlic Chicken and Vegetables (serves 4)</h3> <p><strong>Total preparation time: about 20 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cost: first time ~$14.70 ($3.66 per serving), subsequently $8.85 ($2.21 per serving)</strong></p> <p><strong>First stop will be the produce section</strong>. Pick out a head of garlic (&lt; 50 &cent;), a large onion (or two, ~$1.30 per onion), one summer squash (&lt; 50 &cent;, one zucchini (~$1.00), and a few small potatoes or one larger one (~75 &cent;).</p> <p>In the seasonings area, pick out a nice Italian blend (cost $2.69 for a 1.43 oz jar), which will contain a mix of rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, marjoram and oregano. (If you want to get fancy, you can buy those individually and come up with your own mix.) Next you'll need some oil. I prefer olive oil &mdash; it has a bit more flavor &mdash; but vegetable oil will do the deed just as well (cost $3.09 for a 8.5 oz. bottle of olive oil or $2.15 for an 16 oz. bottle of vegetable oil).</p> <p><strong>Finally, pick out some chicken</strong>. I typically go for whole chicken legs, but drumsticks, breasts, wings, or Whatever Suits Your Fancy (WSYF) will work. Get four whole chicken legs, or an equivalent amount of other parts (cost ~$3.50; $1.19/lb and up).</p> <p><strong>Preparation for this meal mostly means chopping vegetables</strong>. Chop up the onion(s), squash, potatoes and zucchini into bite-size pieces. Slice the zucchini and squash into half inch thick pieces, and slice the potatoes to quarter inch thickness. If you cut the potatoes too thick, they won't be cooked enough when your dish is finished.</p> <p><strong>Set the veggies aside and peel some garlic</strong>. You're going to take the peeled garlic and insert the cloves into small incisions in the chicken. Peel as much garlic as you care for. Garlic fiend that I am, I typically use most of the garlic head, but moderate as you see fit. For those less garlic inclined, I advise cutting the cloves into smaller pieces for insertion into the incisions. Once your garlic is peeled, make the incisions into the meatiest parts of the chicken with a sharp knife and push the garlic into them.</p> <p><strong>Preheat the oven to 400 F.</strong> While the oven is heating, lay the chicken in the bottom of a large baking pan. Push the vegetables into the spaces in between the chicken pieces and cover with the rest. Pour a generous amount of oil, and sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the entirety of the pan.</p> <p>Bake the dish in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir/flip its contents. Return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. Once the second 30 minutes is up, set the pan out to cool a bit. (Then its chow time.)</p> <h3>Meal #2: Thai Curry with Rice (serves 3)</h3> <p><strong>Total preparation time: about 20 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cook time: about 35 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cost: first time $12 ($4 per serving), subsequently $8.05 ($2.68 per serving)</strong></p> <p><strong>In the produce section</strong>, pick out a green bell pepper (~$1.00), an onion (~$1.30), a head of garlic (&lt; 50 &cent;), and about a half pound of smaller tomatoes (about 4), as they tend to be cheaper by the pound than large ones (~$1.00).</p> <p><strong>Next, head over to the ethnic foods section</strong>. Pick up a can of coconut milk ($1.00 for 13.5 oz.), and a small jar of curry paste. If you want to be exact, you can get the red Thai curry paste by Thai Kitchen ($3.89 for 4 0z.), or you can go the hybrid route and buy Patak's curry paste. Patak's is technically Indian, but it&rsquo;s not a huge difference for the dish and it is cheaper by volume ($5.75 for a 10 oz. jar). <em>You may need to find an ethnic specialty store to locate it.</em> As an aside, ethic stores tend to be cheaper and locally owned, which can appeal to any locavore tendencies you may have.</p> <p><strong>In the grain and pasta aisle pick out some rice</strong>: white, brown, basmati or WSYF ($1.00 and up for a 1 lb. bag of rice).</p> <p><strong>Now, pick out some meat</strong>. Here you have a lot of flexibility. Any cut of meat that can be cubed will do, so get WSYF. I typically use either chicken or beef. And depending on the store, you can ask the staff to cube it for you at no extra charge. (Beef stew meat is $4.49/lb.: ~$2.25 for a half pound.) Or if you want to make a vegetarian curry you can pick up some extra firm tofu, often located in the produce section ($3.00/lb), or just skip it all together and go the all veggie route.</p> <p><strong>As you begin preparing, start with the rice</strong>. If you're the ultimate in lazy, you have a rice cooker, so get that going. Otherwise you've got to kick it old school with the pot. Put one cup water for every cup of rice you want to cook. Brown rice takes more, one and a half cups of water per cup of rice. The trick to cooking rice in a pot is stirring it occasionally until it gets boiling. Don't make the mistake of just turning the heat on and walking away; the rice on the bottom will burn to the pan and then you'll be in trouble. Once it starts to boil, then you can put a lid on it and leave it alone. Check the packaging on the rice for cook times. Most requires at least 20 min, but sample it occasionally and stop when it is cooked to your liking.</p> <p><strong>Next chop all your vegetables, cube your meat or tofu into bite size pieces, then peal and mince several cloves of garlic</strong>. Put them all together with a little bit of butter or oil into a deep pot. Turn the heat to medium, and sauté them for a few minutes. Pour the coconut milk into the pot, and let it simmer until the meat is cooked, somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes, depending on the size of the meat pieces.</p> <p><strong>Now add the curry paste and some salt</strong>, stirring in little bits at a time and tasting often until you're happy with the dish. You can let the dish simmer a little longer and reduce itself, densifying the flavor. Once it&rsquo;s cooled enough, serve it over the rice.</p> <h3>Meal #3: Pasta with Cream Sauce, and a Pink Variation (serves 4)</h3> <p><strong>Total preparation time: about 15 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cook time: about 25 minutes</strong></p> <p><strong>Total cost: $8.66 ($2.17 per serving)</strong></p> <p>Okay, this is the laziest of the three.</p> <p><strong>Off to the dairy section!</strong> You will need butter ($1.59 for two sticks, 8 oz.), whipping cream ($1.69 for 8 oz.), and milk ($1.59/quart). If you want to be extra cheap, you can skip the whipping cream. Garlic is, of course, always an option (&lt; 50 &cent;).</p> <p><strong>In the baking section</strong>, pick up some flour ($1.29/lb), and in the grains and pasta are pick out some pasta. Any pasta will do, but I typically prefer short pastas, like rotini or bow tie ($1.39-2.19 per lb), instead of longer noodles. But as always, WSYF.</p> <p><strong>In the kitchen, start the pasta cooking first</strong>. Add a little bit of the salt to the water and let it boil. The packaging on the pasta should tell you how long it will be until its ready, but sample and stop cooking when it tastes the way you want. While the pasta is cooking, you'll make the sauce.</p> <p><strong>If you chose to include garlic, peal several cloves and mince them finely</strong>. Set a skillet to medium heat. Melt a quarter stick of butter in the pan and add the garlic. Once the butter has melted entirely add a tablespoon of flour, stirring with a spatula until it is entirely dissolved. Add about a cup of milk and a half cup of whipping cream. The flour dispersed in the butter will absorb the water in the milk and expand, thickening the sauce, so the more milk you add the thinner your sauce will be. You can continue adding milk if your sauce is too thick.</p> <p><strong>Once your sauce has achieved the desired thickness season it with salt and pepper to taste</strong>, then move the pan off the heat. Either serve the sauce over the pasta, or toss the drained pasta with the sauce in the pot before serving.</p> <p>A variation on this dish is to make pink sauce. The recipe is identical, except stir in a half cup of marinara sauce before adding the milk. You will need to reduce the amount of milk in the sauce or you will make it too thin. And your ideal amounts of salt and pepper will vary according to the sauce you select. The trick here is to taste a lot as you go, optimizing for your enjoyment.</p> <p>This concludes our foray into cheap tasty cooking. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I do. So go forth; spend frugally, eat royally, and don't work too hard.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Christina Willis.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-willis">Christina Willis</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cheap-lazy-foodie-3-frugal-dishes-without-compromise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/four-inexpensive-breakfasts-in-under-five-minutes">4 Inexpensive Breakfasts in Under Five Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking frugal recipes Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:00:10 +0000 Christina Willis 4622 at http://www.wisebread.com Frugalize any recipe http://www.wisebread.com/frugalize-any-recipe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugalize-any-recipe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-admires-sesame-beef.jpg" alt="Piggy bank admires sesame beef" title="Piggy Bank Admires Sesame Beef" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My wife picked up a cookbook at the library--one of those beautiful cookbooks with a gorgeous pictures of each dish.  It had an above-average number of dishes that appealed to me.  But, like a lot of cookbooks, it was written with no thought of holding the line on costs.  That didn&#39;t matter, though, because my wife and I are old hands at doing that ourselves.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is that we never cook a recipe just as its written (except for candies and confections, which are sort of a special case).  We change recipes for many reasons:</p> <ul> <li>to leave out things we don&#39;t like or that someone is allergic to</li> <li>to add things that we do like or that we have and want to use</li> <li>to leave out things that we can&#39;t get or don&#39;t happen to have on hand</li> <li>to combine things that we think will go together, even if the cookbook authors didn&#39;t think of it.</li> </ul> <p>It occurred to me, though, that lots of people don&#39;t do this--they either cook something that they know how to cook, or else they follow a recipe.  What we do amounts to using recipes without necessarily following them.  I thought it might be useful to show a worked example, and then talk a bit about the general principles.</p> <p>Here&#39;s a frugalization of the Sesame-Garlic Sirloin Steak from the book my wife checked out of the library last week, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581593708?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1581593708"><cite>Cooking for Two: Efficient and Delicious Meals</cite></a>.</p> <p>Now, if what you want is a thick, juicy steak, it&#39;s tough to come up with a good, cheap substitute.  In this recipe, though, the steak wasn&#39;t served that way--it was served cut into thin slices.  If you&#39;re going to cut it into thin slices anyway, I figure you might as well use pot roast.  (Sirloin was going for $5.99/lb.)</p> <p>I looked in the grocery store flier and found top round roast on sale for $3.99/lb, and would have used that, except that my wife spotted one package that was marked down even further because its sell-by date was tomorrow.  Since I was going to cook it today, that was fine, so I snapped up a roast for just $1.58/lb.  It&#39;s a fairly small roast, (a pound and a half) but there&#39;ll still be plenty left over to make sandwiches tomorrow (french dip or maybe italian beef) and maybe again the next day.</p> <p>I <a href="/save-time-money-energy-and-eat-great">pressure-cooked</a> the meat.  It&#39;s the quickest way to cook a roast and it does especially well with slightly tougher cuts of beef.  </p> <p>I put a tablespoon of oil in the pressure cooker and browned all sides of the roast over medium heat.  Then I added 2 cups of water (because I wanted one cup of broth for rice for this meal, and another cup for the french dip tomorrow), and then cooked it at high pressure for 24 minutes (because the book that came with the pressure cooker says 12 to 15 minutes per inch and the roast was about 2 inches thick).  After 24 minutes, I turned off the heat.</p> <p>While the pressure cooker was depressurizing, I made the sauce.  </p> <p>The sauce in the book had 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and hoisin sauce, which would have been fine except we don&#39;t have hoisin sauce and I wasn&#39;t going to buy a bottle just to fix one meal.  What the hoisin sauce adds, though, is a bit of sweet, a bit of sour, and a bit of hot.  So, I took the sauce recipe from the book, boosted the soy sauce from 2 T to 3 T, and added a bit of honey, a bit of vinegar, and a bit of hot sauce.  (The hot sauce we use is very hot, so I just added a little bit.  If you use a milder hot sauce or you like your food really hot, add more.)  Here&#39;s the sauce I made:</p> <blockquote><p>3 T soy sauce<br />2 T roasted sesame seed oil<br />2 T minced garlic<br />1 T honey<br />1 T vinegar<br />8 drops hot sauce</p></blockquote> <p>In the book it&#39;s used as a marinade, but I just heated it up in a sauce pan and then poured it over the thinly sliced meat just before serving.</p> <p>As I said, the book has beautiful pictures of the dishes.  The photo for this dish was made especially attractive by sprinkling the meat with toasted sesame seeds.  We didn&#39;t have any sesame seeds in the pantry, but it turns out that you can buy four or five times as much as you need for a couple servings of sesame beef for 35 cents, so we went ahead and bought some.  In the book they also sprinkled some cilantro on the beef, but I hate cilantro, so I used parsley instead.</p> <p>After the cooker depressurized, I put the roast on the cutting board and (while it rested), I used one cup of the cooking liquid to make some instant rice.  (Normally we wouldn&#39;t have used instant, but it just worked out so well using the same cooking liquid.)  The rest of the liquid I saved in a container in the fridge and will use to make the dip for french dip sandwiches tomorrow.</p> <p>In six or seven minutes, once the rice was ready, I carved a few thin slices of the meat (cutting against the grain), poured on a little of the sauce, sprinkled the sesame seeds and parsley, and put the plate down for the photo shoot.  Once I&#39;d gotten a picture I liked, I carved a few more slices so my wife could get her serving fresh and hot.  (I ate the one in the picture.  It was yummy.)</p> <p>With that example in mind, here are the general principals for frugalizing any recipe:</p> <h2>First principle--take the recipe apart</h2> <p>There are usually three parts to a recipe.  There&#39;s the ingredients list, a preparation procedure, and a cooking procedure.  The key notion is that these things can be mixed and matched with those of other recipes however you like.</p> <h2>Second principle--use what&#39;s on sale</h2> <p>You can substitute almost any cut of beef for another--just cook it according to how that cut of beef needs to be cooked (rather than whatever it says in the recipe you&#39;re working from).  Beyond that, though, you can substitute almost anything for the main item in a recipe.  Besides substituting a cheaper cut of beef, you can substitute chicken for beef, thighs for breast, bone-in for boneless, and so on.  Just cook it as appropriate. </p> <p>Using what&#39;s on sale doesn&#39;t necessarily mean using a cheaper cut, either.  The high-end cuts go on sale as well, and sometimes you can get a better steak or roast for less than you&#39;d pay for what the recipe calls for. </p> <p>And that&#39;s just the beginning.  There&#39;s no need to stick with beef and chicken.  Pork, lamb, turkey and tofu are always available, and you can often get exotic stuff like rabbit, elk, bison, venison, and so on.  The exotics go on sale a lot less often than the ordinary stuff, but they do go on sale.  Something like venison can sometimes be obtained by barter, if you have a neighbor or relative who hunts--or even for free.  (We used to get free venison when hunting season approached if a certain relative&#39;s freezer still had some from the previous year.)</p> <p>The point is that you can go pretty far afield from whatever the recipe calls for.</p> <p>Simply cook whatever you decide to use the way it needs to be cooked (if you&#39;re not sure, just find a recipe for whatever you&#39;re using and ignore everything except the time and temperature part of the cooking instructions) and then follow the other parts of the recipe you&#39;re using as a model.  </p> <h2>Third principle--use less of an expensive main dish</h2> <p>Just because the recipe calls for 12 oz steaks doesn&#39;t mean you need serve them.  If you want to serve steaks, serve 5 oz ones.  (If you want to make the dieticians happy, serve 3 oz steaks).  Or, instead of serving steaks at all, as in the example, cut up a cheap cut of beef into thin strips and present it elegantly as a condiment on something else that provides the bulk of the meal--on a bed of greens, to make a salad or on a starch course (rice, pasta, potatoes, polenta, flatbread--whatever you like).</p> <p>With those three principals and a little flexibility, you can make any recipe as cheap as you need it to be, and still keep it delicious.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugalize-any-recipe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-foods-you-can-turn-into-chips">10 Surprising Foods You Can Turn Into Chips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-ways-to-prepare-a-humble-head-of-cabbage">15 Delicious Ways to Prepare a Humble Head of Cabbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">9 Ways to Actually Enjoy Leftover Pizza</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink frugal recipes recipe recipes Fri, 05 Sep 2008 13:25:07 +0000 Philip Brewer 2402 at http://www.wisebread.com