Monthly Archives: April 2009

Frugal Food – Potato Fry – (GF)

Okay, so this is an obvious and easy one, and SO good! I love potatoes. When my husband saw a 20-lb bag of red potatoes on sale for $3.49, he bought 40 lbs worth. So…we’ve been eating a LOT of potatoes! Anywho, here’s the deal:

4-5 potatoes (red, baking, whatever kind you have)
1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
2 polish sausages (hot dog sized, equivalent to 1/4 lb)
2 large carrots
Peel and slice potatoes. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the potatoes and cover. Let them cook for 5 minutes or so, turning once, just to give them a head start to cooking. While they are cooking, peel the carrots and slice. Add them to the skillet. Cook, covered, for another 10 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally so that nothing burns. Slice the sausages and throw into the mix. Cook, this time UNcovered, so that the potatoes can crisp up. Serve!

This is such an easy dish, and so versatile. Don’t like carrots? Add onions instead. Don’t have polish sausage? Add sandwich meat, chicken, beef, or ANYthing else instead! I’ve done it a dozen different ways, and they all turn out yummy. Want some cheese? Sure, throw some on. For this meal, I went cheese free, but I added some basil and cilantro from my garden (interesting combo choice that turned out good). You also can season this however you want to…garlic salt and Italian seasoning, Mrs Dash anything, salt and pepper, whatever.

For the meal the way I made it yesterday, here’s the breakdown:
-2 lbs potatoes, $0.35
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.04
-2 large carrots – $0.25
- 2 polish sausages (8-pack bought for $1.19 at Ream’s) $0.30
-Basil, cilantro – $0.02 (cost per seed I planted)
-Salt free seasoning – $0.01 ($0.88 for the spice bottle)

Total for a family of 4 – $0.97!!!

Earth Week – Saving Earth = Saving Money!

You don’t have to be a tree hugger to go green. Going “green” is obviously good for the environment. It’s also really, REALLY good for your wallet. Consider these ideas:

 

-Plant a tree. If you want to save money while saving Mother Earth with your trees, then buy yourself a fruit tree. If you don’t have a lot of room, or don’t want a huge tree, get yourself a dwarf. You’ll be provided with fresh fruit year after year. What a fantastic investment. And when you start getting more produce than you know what to do with, you can help your neighbors, your friends, etc. Or you could learn to can, and build up a food storage, which is right up the self-reliant living alley.
I have a few fruit trees, but they are pretty young and don’t provide enough that we have excess at harvest time. My grandfather, however, has fully mature trees, and last year I was able to pick over 50 lbs of apples for canning. Think of all the yummy apple pie fillings, applesauces, apple butters, and apple syrups you can have when your fruit trees grow up! Plant a tree!

 

-Eat less meat, eat more fruit. According to the USDA, the weighted average price for FRESH fruit is $0.71 per pound. How much do you think the average price is for meat? You KNOW it’s higher. Again, according to the USDA, the average price for beef is $4.1 per pound. For pork it’s $2.93 per pound. Save the planet, your money, and your health all in one. Why in the world would you want to do it any other way? If you cut out on average one beef meal a week, you’ll save an estimated $100 a year. Woo!

 

-Walk or bike. Now, I’m not asking you to give up your car…I’m not! If the trip you are taking is round-trip less than two miles, you could probably bike or walk it, though….couldn’t you? If that’s not sounding great, how about you just commit to walk/bike a trip that is 1 mile or less round trip? You’ll save over $25 annually if you do that only once per week….and that’s only including the cost of gas you’ll save. I won’t even mention the money you’ll save on car maintenance, or the weight you’ll lose, thereby improving your health. I won’t even talk about the wonderful fresh air you’ll get and the quality time you’ll get with your family as you all take a family bike or walk together.

 

-Make your own cleaner. People, this is SO simple! It’s SO much better on your wallet, on the earth, and on your health!!! I’m tellin ya. Baking soda and vinegar clean a clog beautifully. Vinegar mixed in with some water will make your glass shine. AND, since vinegar is a natural disinfectant, you’re killing the germs too. You really don’t need lysol to kill germs, truly. Baking soda and water make a wonderful paste to clean all sorts of stuff on the kitchen stove and in the bathroom. Lemon juice is a powerful cleaning agent as well. Don’t pay $6 (or whatever it is) for a bottle of windex, please? ┬áHere are a few recipes for different homemade cleaners:

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

“Liquid” Laundry Detergent

Easy All-Purpose Cleaner

Mattress Stain Remover

Natural Spider Repellant

 

27 Ways to Save $$$ Now

1. Eat all of your meals at home today.


2. Grow a garden…now’s the perfect time to start!

3. Use rags instead of paper towels.

4. Go to the library instead of the bookstore, or instead of the movie theater.

5. Cut dryer sheets in half.

6. Turn old bread into breadcrumbs.

7. Eat leftovers for lunch today.

8. Do all your errands at once, and save some gas.

9. Walk to school, church, or work.

10. Make a grocery list before you go shopping…and STICK with the list!

11. Shop at goodwill.

12. Supplement that gallon of milk with a little bit of reconstituted powdered milk.

13. Sneak some pureed pinto beans into your meatloaf or meatballs….no one will notice!

14. Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.

15. Turn your heat off at night (or at least turn it way down).


16. Hang your laundry out to dry.

17. Change your own oil.

18. Spend the evening at the park instead of out shopping.

19. Pay your bills online, save a stamp

20. Go meatless one night this week.

21. Insulate your water heater.


22. Plug your electronics into a surge protector and turn it off at night.

23. Buy for next year during the after-holiday sales.

24. Get rid of clutter. Sell it on ebay, at a yard sale, or donate it to goodwill.

25. Drink more water, less soda and less juice.

26. Buy milk when on sale, and freeze.

27. Use cash when shopping…you’ll automatically want to spend less.

 

Flavored Rice Mixes


In honor of my rice food storage post, I thought I’d share some recipes I found from Wooden Spoon for flavored rice mixes. How cool is this! You simply combine all ingredients and stir evenly until distributed. Each mix recipe can be mixed with 4 cups uncooked white rice. Store them in a cool, dry place, and use within 6-8 months. Sweet!

Chicken-Tarragon Rice Mix
4 Tbsp instant chicken bouillon
2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp white pepper

Lemon-Dill Rice Mix
5 tsp dried grated lemon peel
4 tsp dill weed or dill seed
2 tsp dried minced chives
2 tsp salt
8 tsp chicken bouillon

Spanish Rice Mix
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Creamy Herb Mix
1/4 cup dried minced celery
2 Tbsp dried thyme
1/2 cup instant dry milk
1 Tbsp dried marjoram

“Rice-A-Roni” Seasoning (Ivy House Herbs)
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp instant chicken bouillon
2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Dinner Under $10 – Fish, Potatoes, Salads


Okay, I’m gonna admit upfront that I cheated on this one. The salmon we used was salmon given to us by a neighbor, so it was free. I realize that fish is expensive. I promise I realize that! Please keep in mind though, that the whole point of this blog is to use EVERY resource available to you to be more frugal and self reliant! If someone goes fishing and offers you some leftover, TAKE IT! Always take it. Then use it!:-)

With that said, here goes:

  • Salmon seasoned with a little salt, and a half-pat of butter on each fillet. Add chopped cilantro and sliced lime to the top. Wrap in tin foil and bake until done! (I cooked it at 400 degrees) – 1 lime @ 7 for $1, salmon free, pat of butter about $0.02, 1/4 bunch of cilantro @$0.39 per bunch – total so far: $0.26
  • Roasted red potatoes sprinkled with a little garlic salt and Italian seasoning, drizzled with 1 Tbsp or so of olive oil, and baked in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. (the kids don’t like roasted potatoes, so I cut the exact same potatoes into fry shapes and they ate them up.) – 3 lbs red potatoes @ $3.49 per 20 lb bag, olive oil @$16.00 per gallon – cost for potatoes $0.56
  • Lettuce salad, dark green lettuce with one carrot, julienned, and 1/2 avocado, sliced. Homemade ranch dressing (okay, kinda homemade, from the packet, whatever) to go on top. – 1/2 bunch lettuce @ $0.69 per bunch, 1 carrot (7 oz) @5 lbs for $3, 1/2 avocado @ 2 avocados for $1, 1/4 ranch packet @$0.39 per packet, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup mayo – cost for salad $1.09
  • Fruit salad. Whisk together 2 tsp lemon juice with 2 tsp sugar (lemon juice to keep the fruit from browning). Add whatever fruit you want. I added 1/2 lb strawberries, 1/2 lb grapes, 1 kiwi, and 1 banana. I usually add 1 apple too, but we were out. Mix, then let sit for 20 minutes before serving. – strawberries @1.39 per lb, grapes @0.99 per lb, kiwi @$0.39 per fruit, banana @$0.59 per lb – cost for fruit salad $1.89

Total meal cost for 4: $3.80

Did You Think To Store? (rice)

Did You Think To Store?
(sung to the tune of Did You Think To Pray?)

Verse 1
Ere you spent your family’s paycheck,
Did you think to save?
Just a little for the storage ,
Just a little for some porridge
You may need some day.

Oh, how storage helps the faithful
When the Prophet’s words come true.
So, if you would not be crying,
Have some storage too.

Rice – the ever affordable food item. It’s a must have in food storage, obviously. Money tight, and yet sick of the same rice dishes? Here are some recipes I’ve tried, and my reviews of each:

Apple Rice Toffee (dessert) (Deseret Recipes)

2 cups cooked rice OR whole wheat
4 cups sliced apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Mix the above ingredients together. Put in a buttered 9″x9″ baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover apples and rice completely with toffee mixture (below). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Toffee Mixture
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter/margarine, softened
Mix the dry ingredients well.
Cut the butter/margarine into sugar mixture until the size of small peas.
*I was hesitant on this one. I didn’t think I’d like the rice texture as a dessert, but it was delicious! I would make this dessert again and again, really! One of the best things about this and the next recipe is that you can make the rice ahead of time and freeze in batches. The altered texture when you thaw the rice out isn’t going to matter one bit.

Pineapple Cream Rice (Wooden Spoon)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup whipping cream
2-4 Tbsp sugar
Combine rice, pineapple juice, water and salt. Mix just enough to moisten all the rice. Bring quickly to a boil. Then cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups well drained, crushed pineapple. Whip together the whipping cream and sugar, and fold into the rice mixture. Chill for an hour. Garnish with cherries, chopped nuts, or toasted coconut.
*This is a fantastic dish, surprisingly good. I loved it when I tried it. The first time I made it, I decided to add a little bit of cream cheese to the whipping cream as well, and I loved the extra creaminess it gave! I’ve used orange juice or apple juice instead of pineapple juice when it was all I had, and it turned out just as well.

Japanese Fried Rice (Noriko Mizoguchi)
4 cups cooked rice
3 green onions, chopped
cubed ham, or 4-5 strips bacon, cooked
1 cup corn, drained
1 cup julienne cut carrots
1/2 cup each green peas and green pepper
1 beaten egg, drizzled over mixture as it is cooked and stirred in skillet.
Mix all ingredients together in a skillet and heat through.
*This was a dish made by a Japanese foreign exchange student who was living with my neighbor for a time. It’s very nice and light!

Ham/Chicken Fried Rice
1 cup frozen carrots and peas
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked cubed ham or chicken
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 egg
2 Tbsp soy sauce
In a large bowl, combine the peas and carrots, rice and ham or chicken. Mix well. Heat oil in a large skillet. Pour rice mixture into skillet and stir over medium heat until heated through, a couple of minutes. Add the egg. Cook and mix in with the rice mixture until the egg is done to your liking. Mix in the soy sauce just before serving.
*I LOVE this recipe. It’s so easy, and there are so many variations you can do with it. You can add corn instead of peas, or peppers instead of carrots. You can do ham, chicken, turkey, or sandwich meat. The possibilities are almost endless!