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I just made these up today. I would have had 35 but two of them were a little tough – the last two I rolled out. I got 33, which is still not too bad. Only 29 of them are sausage egg & cheese…I got shorted 1 sausage patty in a bag that was supposed to be 30 lol, two were egg & cheese only and two were sausage & egg only. It only took me an hour and a half from the time I started the biscuits until I got them all in the freezer. Probably could have cut the time by about 15-20 mins had I thought to put the eggs in the oven with the biscuits.

First I made the biscuits using this recipe. Only change I made was I baked them right away rather than freezing them for future use. I got exactly 35 biscuits using a drinking glass (about 3″ wide).
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Then I cooked the egg. I scrambled 7 eggs at a time (two batches) with a little bit of salt, pepper, &water and poured them into a large cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. I didn’t want to use a cookie sheet because mine are uneven & all the egg would have pooled in the middle. I baked the eggs at 425* for 6 minutes.
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While the eggs were cooking, I split the biscuits & laid out the cheese. I only used 1/4 of a slice of Kraft cheese slices per biscuit because that was nearly perfect for the size of the biscuits and I don’t like a lot of american cheese. Plus I only had 7 slices of cheese thawed.
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When the eggs were done, I used a pizza cutter to cut them into squares. Then I laid 1 egg square on top of each cheese & biscuit bottom. On top of the egg I laid one frozen pre-cooked sausage patty.
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Then I put the tops on the biscuits and wrapped each one individually with plastic wrap. Then I placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet so they can freeze without getting crumbled/mashed together. Once they are frozen, I will put them in freezer bags.

When we are ready to use these, I know I have to microwave them for at least 30 seconds because that’s how long the sausage is to cook. I’m thinking probably 45seconds per biscuit will be sufficient. These are excellent for quick breakfasts on those rushed school mornings :)

Cost break down:
Biscuits
–flour @ 5c per cup $0.30
–shortening @ 36c per cup $0.36
–salt & baking powder $0.05 (estimating because it’s such a small amt)

Eggs – 13 eggs @ 9c per egg $1.17
Cheese – 8 slices @ 6c per slice $1.04
Sausage – 29 patties @ 10c each $3.00

Total for 33 sandwiches: $5.92
Per sandwich: $0.18

Frugal Food button

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Homemade "Fast" Food

One of the biggest chunks out of the American family’s budget is eating out. Families eat out for a variety of reasons. I know when my family succumbs to take-out it’s usually for one of three reasons:

1. Lack of planning. I forgot to take something out or didn’t shop properly and forgot an ingredient.
2. Too tired to cook. There are some days when chasing four kids (three dogs, three cats, & one husband) wear me out!! I just do not feel like standing in front of the stove and cooking for the heathens too lol. And let’s not forget the days when mom is sick. There are no sick days for mom!
3. Not enough time. Activities have run longer than expected or something extra has popped up to keep me from the kitchen at dinner time.

I try plan for these unplanned issues. I know I can’t plan for something if I don’t know it’s going to happen, but I try to plan a few “just in case” or quickie meals to have on hand for days where it’s so tempting to just eat out or order deliver.

I try to keep in my freezer or pantry things like chicken nuggets, boxed macaroni & cheese, frozen pizzas, etc. While these are not “frugal” per se, they are MUCH cheaper than going to a restaurant or ordering delivery. Plus, if you find these quickie meals on sale or cheap with a coupon…even better.

Sometimes we just want take-out. It’s not always a matter of time or energy. Sometimes we just WANT IT. For times like that, I try to make it at home as much as possible. Pizza, I try to make homemade or at the very least frozen. My family LOVES asian foods. Stir fry, fried rice, egg rolls. The first two are easy because they can be made with leftovers. The egg rolls require a little more planning before hand but they can still be made LOTS cheaper than you can get them at the Chinese restaurant (and you know what kind of environment they were made in…a CLEAN one! this goes for any restaurant, not just Chinese places).

Egg Rolls w/ Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce
Shrimp Egg Rolls
(w/ homemade sweet & sour sauce!)

4 1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 C sugar
1 C pineapple juice
1/2 C white vinegar
2 T ketchup
1 t soy sauce
1 can (6oz) small shrimp, rinsed & drained OR 1 C frozen small cooked shrimp (salad shrimp)
1 can chopped water chestnuts, drained
1 can bamboo, drained
1 (16oz) bag cole slaw mix
1 T sesame oil
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t salt
24 egg roll wrappers
Additional oil for deep-fat frying

For sweet & sour sauce, combine cornstarch, sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce, in a saucepan until smooth (I used a wire whisk). Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 1-2 mins or until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large skillet, stir fry the shrimp, water chestnuts, bamboo,and cole slaw mix in oil until crisp-tender; cool slightly. Stir in salt & pepper. Position egg roll wrappers w/ long edge facing you. Spoon 1/4 C of shrimp mixture on the bottom third of each wrapper. Fold bottom over filling; fold sides over filling toward center. Moisten top edge w/ water to seal.
In a deep saucepan, electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 372*. Fry egg rolls a few at a time for 4-5 mins or until golden brown. Turning often. Drain on paper towels. Serve w/ sweet & sour sauce.
2 dozen egg rolls

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Let’s break it down by price. The cheapest I have seen egg rolls in a take-out place is $1 each. Let’s see how much the homemade version adds up to.

Shrimp $1.50
Water chestnuts $0.65
Bamboo $0.65
Cole slaw mix $1.30
24 Egg roll wrappers $1.40
Total: $5.50
Each: $0.23

Now I didn’t add in the minimal cost of the oil, salt & pepper but even adding that in and the sweet & sour sauce doesn’t add up to $1 per egg roll. You can easily substitute leftover cooked chicken, pork, or beef for the shrimp and cut the cost down even more.

Don’t they look yummy?
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Homemade Hot Pockets

I use my Homemade Yeast Rolls recipe and instead of making them into rolls, I flatten the rolls with a rolling pin, making a small circle. Then I put the filling (broccoli & cheese/pizza sauce, pepperoni, & mozzarella/cooked hamburger, cheddar cheese, ketchup & mustard) in the middle. Fold the circle in half and pinch the edges closed. Bake at 350* for about 25mins until edges start to turn golden.

You can fill these with almost anything. Leftovers like meatballs, chili, etc. Even fruits or scrambled eggs & bacon/sausage for breakfast ones.

I’ve also made these with a from scratch crescent roll dough from Tawra Keller’s Not Just Beans cookbook. They are delicious too!

School lunches (revisited)

I’ve covered this topic briefly, but now that school is back in session I wanted to go a little more in depth. School lunches can be hit or miss these days when it comes to nutrition. I know they are mandated by the government to be “healthy”, but when I look at my younger children’s menu and for five days it’s: chicken nuggets, pizza, cheeseburger, grilled cheese, and tacos, that’s not exactly my idea of nutritious!

So here are some ideas I use for my kids school lunches:

Bagels & cream cheese – I toast them and spread some cream cheese on them before wrapping them up.

flour tortilla with ham or turkey rolled up. mayo or cream cheese?

cold pizza. I know. Ick. But my kids like it!

chicken patty sandwich. My kids LOVE these. I buy those frozen chicken patties. Heat them in the micro (so they aren’t frozen anymore), slap one between a hamburger bun and wrap it up. They eat them cold!

Finger foods or make your own lunchable. Crackers, cheese, carrot sticks.

pasta salad

macaroni salad

hard boiled eggs

cold chicken

chicken/tuna salad (on a variety of breads, pita, sub rolls, whole grain breads, tortillas, english muffin, hamburger/hot dog rolls, etc)

“sub” sandwiches – lunch meat & cheese w/ lettuce & tomato on a hot dog bun

soup, mac & cheese, spaghetti Os in heated thermal containers

Hot dog in a thermos of Hot Water (to keep it warm) and a hot dog bun w/ ketchup packets (saved from To Go restaurant bags) in a baggie

My kids also like the individual applesauce cups, the colored ones so I bought a bunch of those little gladware cups w/ tops and send then with jarred applesauce w/ a few drops of food coloring added. They love it!

They like those yogurt tubes…if I can get them on sale CHEAP. Sometimes I freeze them so they have a sort of “popcicle” at lunch.

Our kids have to bring water bottles to school (something about the spreading less germs by not using the drinking fountains…works for me). This year we bought water bottles that have freezable inserts so if we want to send juice or gatorade (for after gym) the ice doesn’t dilute it and I don’t have to worry about it not being thawed enough for them to drink it all

TIP: keep the cut up apples (and other fruits) from browning by dipping them in lemon juice (I use the bottle ReaLemon) it really works and it doesn’t make the apples taste lemon-y

I also make homemade hot pockets when I’m feeling particularly ambitious. Pizza, cheeseburger, broccoli & cheese, etc. Recipe to follow :)

It’s not delivery

And it’s not DiGiorno either.
It’s homemade!! Doesn’t it look delicious??!!
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My family loves pizza. But for the six of us to order pizza in, it usually runs us $30 to 50 depending on what kinds of sales the pizza shops have going on. Homemade pizza costs me a grand total of $5.95 for three pizzas. I probably could have gotten that down by another dollar or so had I made the pizza dough from scratch. But I’m really not that great at it and our Super Walmart sells dough balls for 65cents each. Three of them do our family just fine. They are about the size of a Pizza Hut medium pan pizza, at a fraction of the price!

First I let the dough balls come to room temperature, then I rolled each one out on a lightly floured surface and tossed them in the air a few times (optional, I just happen to have a knack for it) before spreading it onto a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. Then I spread some cheap pasta sauce, sprinkled some more spices like garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, sprinkled on some shredded cheese (just a note about the cheese, I have discovered that if you buy a brick of mozzarella and shred it with your food processor or hand grater, it melts MUCH better than the pre-shredded store stuff), threw on some slices of pepperoni and baked them in my oven on 450*F for 20 minutes. Yummy, ooey gooey hot pizza without forking out half a weeks worth of grocery money :)

Here’s a close up of the ooey gooey goodness :)
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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

My pantry

We live in a 125yr old Victorian house. Most of the time I love it, but when it comes to the kitchen it’s sorely lacking. I have no cupboards in my kitchen and the only counter I have is a 18″ x 4′ peice of formica someone attached to a wall between two doorways. Thankfully, we do have a butlers pantry. Two walls of cupboards & drawers from floor to ceiling…nine feet high. Yes, I use a step stool quite often.

So I thought I would give you an idea of what my pantry looks like. One one side, I keep all my dishes, pots & pans. On the other side of the pantry is the food cupboards:
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Notice the very top shelf. That is my convenience food stock. Goldfish crackers, applesauce cups, granola bars. Those are all items I was able to buy for pennies or got for free with coupons or from the damaged grocery shelf. The Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate cans are misleading. One is filled with confectioner’s sugar, the other is filled with homemade hot cocoa mix.

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We also have two refrigerators and a chest freezer as well as plastic shelving in the basement, but I have no pictures of those. I am trying to talk my husband into selling one of the refrigerators. It’s a side by side and I detest that thing. It’s so deep things get lost in it, the freezer leaves a lot to be desired. But I digress.

My point is, you don’t have to have a lot of room to have a stockpile. I’ve heard of people using plastic under-the-bed bins to store dry goods or making an end stand out of 5 gallon buckets filled with flour or rice. I’m really not one for storing food outside of my kitchen. The basement is as close to branching out my food storage areas as I get lol. But if it works for you, go for it!

Having a stockpile is invaluable. It doesn’t have to be ‘in case of national emergency’. My stockpile recently came in handy when we had an unexpected loss of income. I was able to feed my family for 6 weeks on my stockpile…only shopping at the store for milk and parishables and a few odds & ends to compliment a recipe or what have you.

Don’t feel overwhelmed with the idea that you have to go out and buy a ton of food right now. Start out small. Give yourself a budget of $5-10 to stock up on something. Make a goal….this week, I’ll buy 5 extra cans of tuna…next week I’ll buy an extra bottle of laundry detergent (because a stockpile isn’t just about food…even though this is Frugal Food).

Try it!

Hot Cocoa Recipe
1/2 c. cocoa
3/4 c. sugar
3 c. powdered milk
Dash of salt

Sift all ingredients together and store in a cool, dry place.
When ready to use, add 2 tablespoons mix to each 4 ounce cup of boiling water.

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