Friday, August 31, 2012

Chicken pesto pannini

I am watching food network,. They had chicken pesto panini on semi homemade. What a wonderful idea.

My cheap version of chicken pesto panini

Rustic French bread

Pesto (see older blog)
Sliced chicken breast
Sliced white cheese
Sliced tomato, seeded

Cut French bread in half

Spread each side with pesto and mayo.
Layer white cheese on each side.
Layer spinach on one side, tomato on the other
Spread both sides of chicken breast with pesto and place in middle of sandwich.
Close sandwich.

Toast on both sides.

Grill with a weight on one side at a time, or use a grill press or stovetop grill.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meals from the adds

I'm running late this morning, so this will be quick! LOL

Meals from this weeks adds. Last days of summer

I'm finding lots of meats this week albeit not as cheap as they have been in the past.

Good hot dogs are on sale everywhere, my best guess is because of the holiday.
I, however, haven't seen buns cheap? Corn on the cob is really cheap at QFC.

1) Brats, oven roasted potatoes or corn on the cob, roasted peppers, coleslaw

2). Hot dogs and buns, potato salad, veggie sticks, apple pie

3)Quiche , mixed greens with rasp. Vinaigrette and strawberries, Youhert and granola parfait.

4). BBQ spareribs, potato salad, green salad, coleslaw, French bread.

5). Steak salad, French bread

6). Tuna melts, French fries , salad

7). stir fry shrimp, rice,

Meat prices are creeping up, especially chicken and beef.Buying Sirloin roast at 2.75 a pound is a good way to Hedge yourself. By buying two and grinding your hamburger you can save yourself a bundle. It turns out to be really lean hamburger and far less than the 4 plus dollars a pound for the good stuff.

Thanks for stopping by today,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Grocery Adds for August 29th

Grocery Adds for August 29th.

It doesn't seem like summer should be over. Lets hope for a great September.

Lucerne Ice Cream 1.99
Kraft Singles 1.79
Gala Apples 3/2.99
Hamburber buns .99
salad blends 1.00

corn 3/1.00
80 per cent hamburger 2.49
Hebrew National 2.99

5 dollar Fridays
Boston Cream Cake 5.00

Chicken leg quarters .79
Milk .99 Coupon


Berries 2.99
Hillshire Farm sausage BIGI Identical only 2/5.99


Sirloin Tip Roast BIGI 2.75
Country Style Ribs BIGI 1.50
Medium cheddar cheese 3.99 Coupon
Milk 2.50
Hebrew National 2.50* Thurs-Sun only
London Broil 3.00
Zucchini 1.00


Corn 10/3.00
Strawberries 1.99
Hebrew Nationals 3.00
cottage cheese 1.00

Remember to strike through everything that is more expensive elsewhere and cross off anything that you don't need or use.

Pick two stores.

Thanks for stopping by


MY 100th Blog

This is my 100 th blog. Thank you for stopping by.

Just a couple of notes:

Salad dressing is a dollar at Albertsoms...even the fancy ones.
Betty Crocker instant sweet potatoes are .79 at grocery outlet. I think that BC has discontinued them, and they are really good and easy to make. Probably at that price, cheaper than from scratch. One package has two three servings pouches. It has a short pull date, don't get overstocked.

Now is generally the time that can goods go on sale, about the time of the new canning season. I haven't seen that happening.

We went to the fresh food market ( by the old k mart). Some of the veggies and fruit were cheaper, and some not. Celery was cheaper, as well as red peppers and green peppers. Odd sixes pears were79 cents a pound.

Cheese is at Costco now in 2.5 pound bricks at less than two dollars a pound.

Remember, to stay at a 1/2 price pace, set goals for the cost of certain things. I want a dollar a pound for veggies and fruit.I want two fifty a pound for meat, and two dollars a pound for cheese. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I have to average to make it. fresh veggies are harder to stick to your guns on. One year I was waiting for strawberries to go down in price...we didn't get strawberries that year! LOL
Corn is up again this year, but cherries are down. You just have to be flexible.

Night before last we had brats, oven roasted red potatoes, roasted red and green peppers, coleslaw and French bread with parm cheese and parsley.

The brats were on five dollar Friday, there were ten big brats, enough for two " typical" families. Red potatoes were .40 cents a pound. Peppers were1.00 for both, the coleslaw was .80. And the bread was .60. For a total of 5.50 a meal.

Brats and coleslaw were from Safeways. the bread was from the bakery outlet, the peppers were from the grocery outlet. I got red potatoes from WinCo for two dollars for five pounds.

By careful shopping and averaging your meals, you can eat five dollar meals and still have a more expensive cut of meat every so often. Most of the time our kids would have rather had pizza, tacos, Dagwood sandwiches, or a casserole.
Cooking what the kids like, providing that they like a variety of foods, just makes life easier. We did interject a new veggie or dish ever so often so that they were introduced to a variety of foods.

I used to have a weekly calendar with large journalimg blocks next to each day on my computer. I would fill in the meals when I got home from the grocery store. It enabled me to let the kids know what was off limits for snacking because it was part of dinner.One week my son wrangled an invitation to dinner at the neighbor kids house. He had done so because he didn't like what was on Wednesdays dinner menu. I cranked out the menus with no intension of sticking to a rigid schedule. He missed the Dagwood sandwich night! LOL

Most of the time, the shows that talk about ten and twenty dollar dinners, have some good information on them. I find that their prices don't march the prices in the pacific northwest. I can get most of the ingredients cheaper; a few are more expensive here.

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Next time, the grocery ads.

Monday, August 27, 2012

1/2 Price Food Budget, Really ?

In case you just dropped in, this blog is about eating on the cheap. I want to save 1/2 on food. I try for the savings amount on the bottom of my slip to be at least as much as I spent. My budget is half of the USDA stats.

I can make five dollar dinners based on a "typical" family of two parents and two school age children. I attempt to keep a middle of the road attitude on fat and sugar.

In order to meet this criteria, I don't buy many ready made foods. Picky eaters are not part of my plan. Allowing a child to be a picky eater is doing them a dis-service. It's not giving them the opportunity to try new foods and enjoy natures bounty. There are children that are allergic to some foods, and that you have to deal with. Don't make a rod for your or their future spouses back by allowing a picky eater to be picky. Keep trying to introduce foods to them. Some of what I wasn't fond of as a child, I actually like now.

Staying on a 1/2 price budget in these times of meat prices rising weekly, will take a good amount of flexibility. You have to learn to roll with the grocery ads. Taking advantage of what's in season and what you can find that is on a special price.
Buying in bulk lowers your price and gives you more variety. If you divide the meat into family sized portions, you can freeze them and pull a variety of meats from the freezer.

I suspect that we will eat a few more vegetarian meals and more fish.

There are a few principles that allow you to meet the 1/2 price criteria.

1) never pay full price for food. Develop a spread sheet or a small spiral notebook to keep track of prices of the things you buy often. For is, that would be canned beans, tomatoes, pasta, tuna, refried beans, pasta sauce, instant mashed potatoes.
When they get to the rock bottom price, I buy as many as the store will let me, as many as I need to restock my shelf, or as many as I can afford. If it is something that h I use once a week I keep about a six months supply. If I use it once a month I keep 4 or 5. If it is something like mustard, mayo or salad dressing, I keep one ahead. Going to the store to buy two days worth of food at a time is the worst thing you canDo for your budget. You pay full price and are subjected to impulse buys.
You need to go to more than one store a week and get in and get out. pretty much stick to your list. The more time you spend in a store, the more you spend.

2) Plan. Sit down after you finish putting away the groceries and crank out seven main dishes from what's in the freezer and refer and what you just bought. If you have to think of the answer to the " What's for dinner? " question after a long day, it's a sure way to fall into the let's order pizza trap.

3). Learn to cook from scratch quickly. Buying ready made food is almost always a budget buster. Ditto single serving packages. There are lots of techniques that get you done fast. Spend more time on the front side of the DINNER ON THE TABLE TRAIN and less on back end. You get paid for shopping, you do not get paid cooking.

4) develop your own recipe book of entrees that your family will eat that use low cost sources of protein. Chicken, pork, tuna, beans, cheese, some beef, some shellfish
And fish.

One of the ways that I save time on scratch cooking is to cook bulk meat shortly after I bring it home. I portion control it and put it on labeled freezer bags.

Roast chicken can be split into two breast portions or a breast portion and cubes.
And thigh and leg portions. Make stock from the bones.

Hamburger purchased or ground at home in bulk can be made into a meatloaf, taco meat, meatballs or Salisbury steak, or hamburger patties, or crumbles.

Pork loin can be roasted and sliced thin for BBQ sandwiches or sliced thicker dor reheated roast. It can be cubed and slow cooked for stew or tips over rice.

Sirloin roast can be roasted , having roast beef dinner one day and the rest sliced thin for a jus sandwiches. It can be ground raw for hamburger with less fat and cheaper than ground 7 percent hamburger.

Cooking a bulk batch of meat uses less power, takes almost no more time, and you only have to do the dishes once. LOL

I usually try to tell you the good buys at the grocery stores based on our newspaper adds, and what you can do with them. I try to find recipes that take advantage of low cost ingredients that taste good and slip in a few techniques along the way.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stretching the meat dollar

Anyone that has ever grocery shopped knows that protein is your most expensive food
Group. Even the vegetarians pay dearly for their soy meat want a be 's.

The drought only promises that it will be more costly.


3/4 lb ground beef
1cup cooked rice
1/2 cup minced onion
1T. W sauce
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients. Shape into patties. Wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpick.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until meat tests done.

Eggplant Parmesean

1 small eggplant, about 3/4 of a pound

1 beaten egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Vegetable oil
2cups pasta sauce
4 ounces white cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1) peel and slice eggplant 1/4 inch thick

2) sprinkle both sides with salt and let stand 30 minutes

3) rince and pat dry

4) bread eggplant with egg wash and then breadcrumbs and fry until golden in batches.
Drain on paper towels

Heat pasta sauce in pan on stove

Layer in 9x 9 pan

Eggplant, sauce, motte and parm. Repeat layers

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The cheaper better for you alternative.

I ran into a young mother recently that was servimg her children hamburger helper, a store bought fruit cup and a box drink for dinner. This turned out to be more than ten dollars for dinner.

What could she have done instead with little or no extra effort.

1) make hamburger patties with the hamburger.
2) substitute American cheese slices instead of the milk used in the hamburger helper.
3) substitute herbal ice tea for the juice box.
4) use the money spent on the juice box for hamburger buns. ( sometimes they are free at the bread outlet)
5) instead of the fruit cup full of more syrup than fruit. Make a mixed berry cup.

More nutrition, less money a winning combo; and less time than the hamburger helper.

Thanks for stopping by


Ps. I just bought black raspberry herbal tea for 6 cents a bag. That's .18 for a pitcher of ice tea Box drinks were on SALE at albertsons for .30 cents each. 1.20 for four of them. And the boxed stuff has 16 grams of carbs ( sugar).

Odds and ends

This is about odds and ends of observations this week.

Many of the retro recipes I have " dug up" have more fat than we are used to in this age of healthy cooking. While it is a good thing to eat healthy, I think you can go overboard and fall into a tasteless food trap. As in anything, moderation is the key. My nutritionist told me that a skim of butter on my toast was better than a spread. The more dense the "butter" is, the worse it is for you.

Many of the recipes that call for butter can have olive oil instead. That doesn't work for baking, but we eat actual desert rarely in this house. Fruit or ice cream is more the norm. There are low fat and sugar ice creams out there that are really fairly good.

One restaurant we went to lately served balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead of butter for French bread.

When I make meal plans, I try to balance more fatty meals with less fatty ones. Using a smaller portion of fatty meats is another trick.

If you defat hamburger crumbles before you make taco meat, or meat for a casserole or pasta sauce, it can have less fat than a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. It is easier to stay on a diet if you don't think that you are being deprived.

We eat far more meat in this country than other countries. Cutting down on portions is a good way to save the health and the budget.

A four ounce portion is adequate. If you have growing ACTIVE children, they are ok to carb up, they burn them off. A couch potato, not so much LOL.

It will be interesting to see what effect the drought has on our food prices.
Like our grandmothers during the great depression and the second world war, I suspect we will adjust and come out victorious.

One of the main rules of keeping on a strict food budget is to find dinners that your family loves and plan . Plans can be flexible, but you have to have a plan.

This blog is based on less that 1992 stats for grocery shopping budget...the thrifty plan. It s all about careful shopping, using up what you buy, and not paying full price.

If you spend more time on the front end and less time on the back end of the MEAL
ON THE TABLE train , you will be better off.

You get "paid" for shopping wisely, No one pays you for cooking.

More recipes tomorrow, I promise LOL

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Meals from the shopping trip

Safeways was the store of choice this week. I'll fill in at grocery outlet tomorrow.

Meals from the specials

1)baked salmon, corn on the cob, Waldorf lettuce salad w balsamic vinaigrette.

2) stuffed zucchini with shrimp. Green salad

3) red potatoes, brats, peppers crusty bread

4) hamburgers, fries, coleslaw

5) Mac and cheese, broccoli

6) pesto salad, green salad, sliced London broil

7) quiche, spinach salad, rolls


London broil from last week.
Brats, salmon and shrimp on 5 dollar Fridays, shrimp additional percent off on. Just for u. Coleslaw, spinach, fruit on sale and 3 dollars off 15 just for you includes 3 for a dollar corn on the cob.

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1970's main dishes on the cheap

The earliest USDA stats I can fimd in my notebook is 1992...twenty years ago. The "typical American family" of four-- mom, dad, and two school aged children is listed at thrifty for 358.50 and liberal at 693.20.

APPLE PUDDING CAKE with cinnamon butter sauce


1cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1cup flour
1 tsp soda
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

2medium cookimg apples, chopped


1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3cup /2 and 1/2 cream
1/2tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8 or 9 inch square pan
Cream brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy
Beat in egg.
Stir in dry ingredients
Fold in apple

Spread in pan

Bake 25 to 35 minutes until cake tests done

Before serving
Heat sauce ingredients until butter is melted and sauce is warm. Serve over cake.

You could also dust top of cake with powdered sugar and omit the sauce


Sauce ingredients ( make two batches. Save one for the end)

2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar
2tsp olive oil
2tsp vinegar
1tsp cornstarch
2drops hot chili oil

2chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into 1/8 inch strips

1/4 cup orange juice
1cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup celery, sliced diagonally.
2cloves garlic

4 ounces broken spaghetti, cooked

In shallow non metal dish, place one batch of sauce.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour

Heat a skillet over high heat. Add 1 T oil. Remove the chicken from marinade with a slotted spoon and stir fry. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. You may have to do it in batches. Transfer chicken to plate and keep warm.

Add the orange juice to the skillet. Deglaze pan. Add veggies, cover and cook for 3minutes. Add the second sauce mixture and the chicken. Cook 1minute until sauce thickens. add cooked spaghetti.

Chilli oil is at the dollar store
It is a good way to use up the spaghetti in the bottom of the box, or spagetti now comes broken on purpose.
Oranges are on sale this week as is chicken.

Tomorrow. Mock tenderloins. Meat ball casserole, country pork burgers

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicken and corn

Chicken is less than a dollar a pound still. Beef is rising rapidly in cost. pork is falling right in line. The secret to groceries on the cheap is to get the cheapest prices you can and be flexible. Take advantage of what is on sale that week.

Peppery corn soup

4 slices bacon.
2T oil
1large onion, finely chopped
2stalks celery, finely chopped
2carrots, peeled and diced
1poumd potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups chicken stock
2cups milk

2cups corn

Red pepper flakes

1/2 cup shredded cheese

1T cilantro or parsley or chives

1) fry bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels

2) sauté chopped vegetables, EXCEPT the potatoes

3) add potatoes, salt pepper and stock.

4) lower the heat and Simmer avoutn15 minutes untilmpotatoes are tender.

5) add milk and corn. Heat 5 minutes.

6) add red pepper flakes and cheese.

7) garnish with bacon crumbles and chives or cilantro.

NOTE: You can use hot peppers instead of red pepper flakes. I am still trying to find cheaper chilies in a can.
Vegetables are a buck at QFC this week. Chicken stock can be made from the bones after
You roast the chicken.

Mexican Potato cheese soup

3T chillies ( canned)
3 T butter

1large onion, chopped

4 medium potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes

1 large red pepper, cores, seeded, and thinly sliced
2cloves garlic

4cups chicken stock
Bay leaf
1-1/4 tsp cumin

1cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

2cups shredded cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

1) sauté onion in butter
2) add potatoes, red pepper, and garlic. Stir fry for 2minutes
3) add stock, bay leaf and salt, bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until potatoes are tender.

4) puree the soup, chili and cumin.
5) return the soup to the pan. Stir in milk and sour cream. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Don't let milk curdle.

Ladle in bowls and garnish with cheese and cilantro

Note: You could also add shrimp. Shrimp is frequently on five dollar friday at Safeways. You could reduce the amount of cheese on top of the soup bowls. I still haven't found a solution to the high price of chilies except red pepper flakes.

You can use a stick blender, a blender ( in batches, not to full) or a food processor to puree soup.

I would serve either soup with a piece of good crusty bread or a cheese biscuit or beer bread.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This weeks adds


Chicken breasts or thighs 1.00

Salad 1.00
Salad dressing 1.00
Blues 2.00 pint
Zucchini .99
Taco shells 1.00
Taco saucr1.00
Corn 2/1.00
Celery .89 bunch


Cake mix .99
Frozen vrggies1.00
Top round 3.25 end price ( BIGI)


Bottom round 2.97
Green beans .89
Onions .33
Tomatoes 1.00
Beans .79


Grapes .99
Salad 1.00
Fryers .89

Five dollar Fridays


97 percent hamburger 3.99
Peppers 1.99 lb
Strawberries 1.99

Just for you
Klondike bars 2.49
Sausage 2.49

Dont forget to cross off anything that is cheaper elsewhere , and anything that you don't need or want. Bring coupons if it is necessary. Download any you need to on your store cards. Decide from what's left which two stores you are going to.

That's all. It is getting g harder and harder to find protein sources.
Note that top roast is 2.97. And good hamburger is 3.99. That's about a dollar a pound difference. grind 5 pounds in about 20 minutes and you are making 15 dollars an hour.
And you are getting better hamburger.

Thanks for stopping by


Spam and other almost FREE food.

Yesterday I deleted my blog. It was about spam and other despicable things in my life.

There are two definitions of spam. One is a food product that is full of fat;the other
Is a cyber term and it is full of of $&@!. I don't like either of them crammed down my throat. I can choose not to buy the canned version,I can't refuse the other one.Google has no provision to block spam or porn.

Consequently, I am writing in the dark, what you want to read is a mystery.

Enough said.

The other almost FREE foods in the Pacific Northwest this time of year is zucchini and blackberries.

Blackberries grow wild , they can be used in about any fruit desert recipe. Pie, cobbler, as a sauce over ice cream or pancakes or in a mixed berry fruit cup.

Zucchini is in any gardeners garden. Sometimes they get away from us and grow to enormous proportions. They are still good for zucchini bread or muffins. chocolate zucchini cake is a great way to get kids of all ages to eat a veggie.

From my retro cookbook. This recipe was from a dear lady that spent her life enriching the life of sick seniors.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

In bowl combine
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2tsp soda
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
In separate bowl cream until light
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
Add 3 eggs, one at a time
Continue beating until well mixed and light and fluffy
Stir in
2cups unpeeled, grated zucchini. ( no seeds)
2tsp grated orange peel
2tsp vanilla

Alternately, stir in dry ingredients and
1/2cup milk
1cup walnuts
Pour into greased and floured bundt pan
Bake at 350 1 hour or until tests done.
or bake in a 9x13 for 45 minutes.
Allow to cool 15 minutes.
If using bundt pan, remove from pan and glaze
You can also put the glaze on the 9x13 in the pan

Glaze( optional)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1TBLS orange juice
1/2tsp graded orange peel
Add more juice if necessary

Thanks for stopping by


Monday, August 20, 2012

How much zucchini is in your garden?

This is the time of year when zucchini is real plentiful in your garden or your neighbors garden.

Zucchini with shrimp

8 small zucchini
2T butter
1green onion, minced
1tsp paprika
2medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
Salt, pepper
1/2pound peeled small shrimp
2T parm

For sauce:

2T butter
2T flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup parm
1/2tsp Dijon type mustard

Wash zucchini and trim each end, but do not peel.
Blanch in boiling salted water for 5minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water.
Cutna thin lengthwise slice from each zucchini. Scoop out pulp.
Chop pulp .

Melt butter in saucepan . Add green onion and cook until soft, but not brown.
Add paprika, zuchinni flesh and tomatoes. Salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp.

Arrange zucchini boats in casserole dish. Fill with shrimp mixture.

Make a white sauce with listed ingredients. Take off the heat and add mustard and parm.

Pour sauce over zucchini . Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 425 for ten minutes.

NOTE: zucchini is in season and inexpensive if not in your garden.
Shrimp has been on 5 dollar Friday at Safeways a lot lately.

Twice baked Potatoes with ham and cheese

4large baking potatoes, baked
1cup ham cubes
10 ounces frozen corn.
Small onion chopped
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt

1cup white cheese grated ( 4 ounces)
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400
Halve the potatoes lengthwise. Leaving a shell, scoop out potato.
Mash potatoes well. Add jam, corn, onion , yogurt,1/2 the cheese and the seasonings

Fill the potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Arrange potatoes in 9x13 pan
Bake 25- 30 minutes. Broil 1-2 min until brown.

Use a broiler pan if necessary .


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Sunday, August 19, 2012

And yet more retro recipes

More retro recipes.


2T olive. Oil

1red pepper, core, seed, and cut into 1/4 inch strips

1med zucchini sliced thinly

2tsp minced garlic

1/2tsp black pepper

1/4cup chopped basil OR parsley OR 2tsp dry basil

1pound bulk sausage or ham

3medium russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced

1cup grated parm

2cups grated white cheese, jack, morts, or cheddar 1/2 pound

Preheat oven to 425.

Sauté red peppers, and zucchini in 1T oil until tender. Add garlic. Add spices and sauté 2min Longer. Add cooked and defatted sausage.

Toss potatoes in remaining 1T oil. Place 1/4 of the potatoes, over aping slightly in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place a third of the meat mixture on top of the potatoes.

Place 1/3 Of both cheeses on top, making the third layer.
Repeat layers, ending with a layer of potato.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5- 10 min longer until potatoes are crisp. Cool 5-10 minutes.

Calories 500
Protein 27 grams
Carbs 17
FAt 36 ( before defatting)
cholesterol 91mg

to defat ground meat ( takes away about 17 percent of the fat) according tonwhat I read.

Fry meat until no longer pink. Drain in colander over sink. Pour boiling water over the meat . Return to clean pan and heat through.

Mexican ground beef salad

Crisp corn tortilla ( nacho chips?)
lettuce chopped
Taco meat
Red pepper
Jalapeño peppers
Grated Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese

Use oil and vinegar dressing.
Salsa, lime juice?

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Google: Janes cheap groceries

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Top foods charity cookbook

Top foods has a charity cookbook out for .99 cents, the sole proceeds going to northwest harvest.

Really good tasting recipes, some are pricy, some are doable on a budget

Grilled romaine with Roma tomatoes and parm dressing.
Nutrients in berries

Chicken breasts with black olives, lemon and fennel. Either splurge on fennel or substitute celery.

Shrimp and Brie Mac and cheese. --Brie is sometimes cheap at grocery outlet, shrimp is 5 buck Friday at Safeway often.

Orange glazed shrimp skewers with chipolte veggie medley...I don't know chipolte, figure a substitute if you need to. Kids.. You could use olive oil and herbs.

Burgers burgers burgers

Salad with romaine with shrimp and watermelon

More recipes, but they are pricey.

That's all

Thanks for stopping by.

Please share and comment so I can tell who is real and who is not. Lol. Thanks


Friday, August 17, 2012

Recipes from my retro book

I still have my book from the 1970's. It still has recipes that s t r e t c h your food dollar.

Freezer meat " balls".

3 pounds ground meat ( beef, pork, turkey or a combination

3 eggs slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

1 T Italian seasoning
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder.

Mix all ingredients. Do not over mix, you can have tough meatballs like tough quick bread.

Spread in a sheet pan with sides. ( like a jelly roll pan).
15x9 inches. Cut into 1.5 inch squares, wiggling your spatula to separate squares some. Cook in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink.

Cool. Put into meal sized portions on zip lock bags. If you lay the bags flat to freeze, they will take less room in the freezer.

Use in red sauce, with a cream sauce over rice, meatball subs with BBQ sauce.


1 16oz can tomatoes
1/2tsp garlic powder
1pound of meat "balls".
2small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup ripe olives
1/4 cup grated parm

Heat tomatoes and garlic powder in 3quart saucepan
Break meatballs apart and put in saucepan with tomatoes.
Reduce heat to simmer and heat through about 10 min.
Stir in olives and zucchini
Cook on simmer until the zucchini is crisp tender, about 10 minutes
Sprinkle w cheese

Serves 4 - 6

NOTE. Tomatoes now come in slightly smaller cans.

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Comment I can tell you are a real person and not porn spam. Lol


Thursday, August 16, 2012

...and more chicken

The rest of the story


Lightly grease a baking pan. Have a 9x13 ready

Mix reserved minced garlic with 1T olive oil. Brush on remaining 4 drumsticks and thighs.

Mix in a zip lock , 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs, 2T parm, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, salt and pepper

Add chicken and shake to coat evenly.

Arrange on prepared pan.

Bake at 400 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

Cut 2lbs of baking potatoes in wedges. (1/8 th s)
Put in baking dish with reserved carrots and 1 T olive oil. Toss veggies to coat.
Put pan in oven. After15 minutes, add the remaining cut up zucchini.bake 15 minutes longer until chicken is done.


Melt 1 stick of butter in small saucepan , whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. Gradually add in 2 cups of milk. Add 2cups chicken broth. Add 1/2 tsp rosemary and salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, whisking constantly , lower heat and simmer until thickened. Add 5 cups chicken reserved from the chicken soup recipe, carrots and peas. Divide pot pie filling into 2 containers.

When ready to serve. Heat THAWED filling 20 minutes in 400 degree ovem. Make corn muffin mis. Place on top of pie. Bake 20 minutes or until cornbread is done

NOTE. I usually use a Bisquick topping recipe for chicken pot pie.
Read the entire recipes before beginning. I would use trays or pieces of brown paper bags and assemble my ingredients in small bowls or on foil as I prep them whenever possible. Check ingredients as I go along. Many things are cooked and then split into
Parts for separate recipes.

This should yield 11 dinners. Chicken legs and thighs are .89 cents a pound at Albertsons and I have found them for a dollar a lot lately. With careful shoppimg, you should still yield 44 servimgs at a buck or less a piece average. Even with additions to your menu,you should still be in the five dollar range. Four people, one meal, five bucks.

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Chicken Chicken Chicken

This very well may be my last post. I need to figure out how to block the Russians and the PORN sites from 'reading " my blog. I suspect they are spaming for whatever reason. Google security doesn't seem to care.

The last day, I have one facebook entry and the rest are from other websites. Some I am sure are legit, but many aren't .

On to the real stuff....
Marathon cooking is not for the faint of heart. It helps if you have another adult or teenage child to help. It does make for eleven meals (maybe 10.5) that are cheap and at the ready for those nights when you want to get out of the kitchen fast. It makes for more efficient use of your kitchen time and only one massive clean up.

Marathon Chicken ( 11 meals for four)

Oven Fried Chicken and Vegetables...serves 4
Chicken Cacciatore - Serves 8
Coq Au Vin Serves 8
Chicken Burritos Serves 10
Chicken Vegetable Soup Serves 8
Chicken pot pies. Serves 8

Grocery List
62 chicken thighs (20 pounds)
20 chicken drumsticks (5.5 pounds)
4 slices bacon.


20 ounces mushrooms
18 Carrots (4.5 pounds)
9 onions
6 celery ribs
5 zuchinni
6 red peppers
4 green peppers
3 medium jalapeno peppers
1 orange.

10 large flour tortillas
4 boxes (jiffy) corn bread
1 cup long grain rice
Chicken stock
Bread crumbs
vegetable and olive oil

3 28 ounce cans tomatoes
2 cans refried beans.

1 bag frozen peas
Butter, eggs, milk, parm cheese
8 ounces cheddar cheese.

3 cups dry red wine.

To begin :

Heat oven to 400 degrees . Put 12 chicken thighs in baking pan and roast for 30 min.
These are for burritos.

Meanwhile, Remove skin from 30 thighs and place, divided in two stockpots. To EACH
pot, add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock, a bay leaf and 6 pepper corns.
Bring to a boil, de foam, and simmer covered for 45 min. Uncover and simmer 30 minutes more until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken with slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, chop celery, and divide between pots.
Cut 3 onions in quarters for soup. Slice the remaining onions into rings and set aside.

Peel carrots , Put 6 whole ones in each soup pot. Cut remaining in half lengthwise and
set aside for tonights dinner. ( Oven fried chicken and veggies ) .

Halve zuchinni lengthwise, then slice crosswise. Divide into two units. One is for the soup and the other for tonights dinner.

Seed peppers and cut into thin strips.

Mince 6 cloves garlic. Reserve 2 minced cloves for tonights dinner.

Heat 1T veggie oil in each of two ten inch fry pans.
To Each, add half the sliced onions, bell peppers,jalapenos, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove skin from raw drumsticks and remaining raw thights and scrub potatoes. Reserve for tonighs meal.


Serve with pasta, or french bread,and a salad.

Have ready, 2 , deep, 2 quart baking dishes.
To EACH, add 1/2 the onion /pepper mixture from ONE skillet.
One cup broth from soup pot.
one 28 ounce can tomatoes
italian seasoning
salt and pepper
two three inch strips of orange peel (use veggie peeler)
bay leaf
4 raw thighs and 4 raw drumsticks.

Bake in 400 degree oven one hour and 10 minutes. or until chicken is done. Cool and cover with foil. Seal in airtight containers and freeze. (can be referigerated 3 days. )


Cut bacon in pieces and fry in skillet until most of the fat is cooked off.
Trim mushrooms and cut into quarters.
Remove bacon from pan, pour off drippings.
In batches, brown 8 raw thighs, and 8 drumsticks , about 2 minutes per side.

To EACH of TWO 9X13 pans, Add 1/2 the bacon and 4 each of the drumsticks and thighs.
Cook mushrooms in two batches until golden. Add 1/2 of the mushrooms to each pan.
To each pan add:
1.5 cups red wine,
1 cup of stock from the soup pot. rosemary and salt.
Bake at 400 for 40 monutes.
Cool and Seal in Airtight container for the freezer.


In a 5 quart dutch oven

1 28 ounce can tomatoes
1T chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until thickened.
Shread Cheese
Remove meat from cooked chicken thighs (First Step)
Add chicken to dutch oven and simmer 5 minutes longer.

Place softened tortillas on countertop. Spread 1/4 cup refried beans on each tortilla. top with 1/2 cup chicken mixture, 1/4 cup onion pepper mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese.
Fold tortilla. Wrap burritos in foil for oven heating, or in wax paper for microwave and seal in zip lock bags. to Serve: Heat in foil wrap in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Microwave in wax paper on high for 2-3 minutes.

Place a colander over a large bowl. Strain soup broth from both pots. Reserve Carrots and Chicken. Place broth back in pot . Reserve 2 cups broth for pot pie.

Add 1 cup rice, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until rice is almost tender. Meanwhile, debone chicken and cut into bite sized chunks, reserving 5 cups of chicken for pot pies. slice carrots. Add sliced zucchini and 1.5 cups peas to pot. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add chicken and carrots. Cook quickly, Freeze in airtight containers.

NEXT Time:


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please share on facebook. I want to omit this from the public. I want to help people, but I don't want the spam and it is distasteful to me to have porn anywhere near my wholesome site.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This weeks ads. 8/14/2012

This weeks ads as pueny as they are.


Chicken thighs or legs .99
Peaches .99
Chicken leg quarters .89. **
Strawberries 4lbs for 7.99


London broil bigi. 2.75 lb net cost
Cherries 1.98 pound
80 percent ground beef 2.49
Grapes 2.00
Carrots 2lbs 1.00

Green pepper .69


Corn 2/.88


Peaches .97
Pot roast 2.49
80 per cent ground beef 2.49

5 buck FRIDAYS

Bar cake
BIG sandwich
Ground turkey

Strawberries 1.99
16 ounces salsa 2.50

That's it.
Again, there is not much out there.

Safeways has just for you. If they have the three dollars off 15.00 worth of veggies, they will be a lot cheaper than other places. 2.75 for London broil is probably cheaper for ground meat because the fat will be a lot less.

Thanks for stopping by


Cornbread revisited

After researching for the tamale pie, infound corn muffin mixes at a variety of costs.

A mix from a well known eatery is a dollar at the dollar store. The small quick one is .89 at Albertsons.

I suspect that the price of cornmeal will rise and a mix might be your hedge on higher prices. None the less, here is a recipe for corn bread mix from scratch.


2 cups yellow cornmeal
2cups flour
6 T sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt

Mix ingredients together. Store in an air tight container . Shelf life 2 months
Enough mix for 28 or 9 inch square pans of cornbread.


Preheat oven to 400
Place 2 1/4 cups mix in bowl. Make a well.
Whisk 1cup milk,
1/4 cup veg oil
2slightly beaten eggs.

Stir just enough to mix.
Pour into greased 8x8 pan.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

Add 1tsp chili powder, 1tsp unsweatened cocoa powder, and 1/8 tsp EACH of cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper to sry ingredients.

Make as above with 1cup milk, 1/4 cup veg oil, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1can drained chillies, and 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Poor batter into 9x9 greased baking pan . Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Mexican cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer. Serves 9.

Thanks for stopping by

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My retro personal cookbook

I dug out my personal cookbook from the seventies. I discovered " new" recipes that I forgot about.

I can remember tvp And chicory when coffee was scarce. I remember making my own bean sprouts and trying to cook soy beans...that was a bust!LOL

But there are a lot of recipes that have stood the test of time.

Sometimes a little special touch will make a regular meal special. that's what people pay big bucks for at a fancy restraunt.

Pepper butter
1/3 cup butter
2T parsley
1/4tsp red pepper flakes
1/4tsp pepper
1/8 tap garlic powder

Cilantro lime butter
1/3 cup butter
1T cilantro
1tsp lime peel

dijon dressing
8 ounces sour cream
1/2cup milk
2T Dijon mustard
1T parsley
1/2tsp dill

Blue cheese butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup blue cheese
1T parsley
1tsp dry basil
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped

On another note

3/4 cup sugar
1/2cup flour
Pinch of salt
1apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins or craisens

In mixing bowl, beat egg and remaining ingredients EXCEPT
Apple and raisins. Fold in apple and raisins. Spread into a 9 inch pie pan that as been greased. Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. Or until golden and toothpick in center comes out clean. Serve with whip cream or ice cream

Basic salsa

1clove garlic
1pound ripe plum tomatoes, coded, finely diced, but not peeled.
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of EITHER cilantro, parsley, or 1/2 tsp ground coriander.
1T lime juice
1-4 tsp salt

Blanch garlic and mince.
Add the rest of the ingredients and let set at room temp for 1 hour. Transfer to a covered jar and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Depending on how much you have to pay for tomatoes,salsa could be cheaper store bought.
Lime and lemon juice is cheaper in a bottle and keeps a long time.
Cilantro vutter would taste good on chicken breast.
Blue cheese butter would be good on beef.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Re discover quick breads

Quick breads have been given a bad rap lately. They are a good source of fruit and vegetables and can be a good source of fiber.

Cheddar chive muffins. A good add to a meal that has no or little protein.

1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup mashed potato flakes
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 2/3 cup flour
3T sugar
3 T total of chives and parsley

1Tbls bakimg powder
Tsp salt

In a saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes.
Let stand 2 min. Whip until smooth. cool slightly. Beat in egg, oil and cheese.
Combine dry ingredients, stir into potato mixture. Batter will be thick

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done.

orange nut bread

1 large naval orange
3 cups flour
1cup sugar
1Tbaking powder
1/2tsp salt
1cup milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Peel orange. Place orange peel in saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes, drain. Cover peel again with water and cook 3 minutes longer. Drain and chop finely chop peel.

In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine milk and egg, and stir into dry ingredients. Fold in orange peel and nuts. Turn into loaf pan that has been greased and floured. Bake at 350 50 to 60 minutes or until done.

Thanks for stopping by
Please share with a friend. Google Jane grocery cheap.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

And you buy your groceries WHERE? Part 2

A prime example of always having one eye open for a good buy. We went looking for a larger baby toy bucket. The dollar store one has been repurposed to the pantry. That is the result of one spoiled grand baby! LOL

What I found was a brand name diced tomatoes for .60 cents. The same tomatoes that were a buck on sale a few weeks past. The tomato paste was .40. My target price is .50 for diced tomatoes and .50 for tomato paste.

I finally got a bucket for 60 percent off at Joannes.

I have not got a post in the last two days. I think that something is broken.

Thanks for stopping by


Dinners under 9.00 adjusted LOL

Family Circle this month as nine dollar dinners. They are priced at that amount because I am sure that they are using NYC prices. At any rate, with minor adjustments and careful shopping, I am sure we can reduce their costs. At least they aren't clove studded bologna. Lol

1) slow cooker brisket BBQ chili.
Uses chuck roast cut into 2 inch pieces. any beef that can stand up well to slow cookimg can be used. What's on sale? Omit the molasses and use a substitute, use white beans instead of butter beans, omit the lime wedges, lime juice is cheaper.

2) Rotini with sautéed chicken sausage and vegetables
Use chicken sausage *. Regular rotini, homemade chicken broth or vegetable stock, cut and seeded tomatoes and dry basil unless younhave itnin your garden.

* chicken sausage with cheese and artichokesnis usually on sale at grocery outlet.

Asian beef and lentil sloppy joes
I'm sorry, that just sounds Barry to me. And considering that not one person hit on my sloppy joe blog, I choose to skip this one. Lol

Chutney Pork Chops and Cousxous

Make chutney, use your own Broth, omit the apple juice and add more broth unless you drink a lot of apple juice, or find it cheap. It has too many carbs for me.

Baked Flounder and herbed panko

Use any white fish that is cheap. Costco has some frozen reasonable. Panko is coarse bread crumbs. You can season them yourself. Cream cheese is on sale frequently, check your per ounce prices. Use chopped, seeded tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes. Do as have morenflesh and are frequently less per pound.

A simple fish dish is to spray the bottom of a baking pan with cooking spray. Slice potatoes and arrange in the bottom of the pan. Top with sliced tomatoes and drizzle w olive oil. Bake at 400 until potatoes are almost tender. Add a white fish and continue baking until fish is done. Sprinkle w herbs.

Almost any recipe can be made more economical with a few substitutions and careful shopping. Now, that being said, I have yet to find a replacement for lobster! LOL

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let's talk sloppy joe's

While researching sloppy Joe,s I discovered that there are many different takes on them. I have always used a recipe I found in a women's magazine years ago. It has ingredients I always have on hand and is easy and cheap. What more can you ask for?

Canned mix is over two dollars last I looked and you still have to add hamburger.
Buns are often on sale in the summer. They are cheaper at the bakery outlet.

Taste of home ultimate freezer cookbook.

Salsa sloppy joes. Pg 72

Sloppy joes

1 pound ground beef, cooked and de fatted
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3/4 cup water
1can tomato soup
Hot pepper sauce to taste.

Sauté veggies in oil. Add meat. Water and soup. Simmer. Add hot pepper sauce if desired.

Janes sloppy joes on the cheap

1pound ground beef, cooked and de fatted
2/3 cup catsup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Put all ingredients in a frying pan. Heat for 10 minutes until flavors meld.

Note: catsup is a dollar at the dollar store. You can mix part ground turkeynwith ground beef. Didn't work at my house because my husband screamed foul play! Lol.

I usually serve them with salads, sweet potato fries, or veggie platter.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Four plus one is five. 8/10/2012

I thought we might talk about four people, one meal five bucks and go through the process of pre shopping.

Take a piece of computer paper. Divide it in four. Place the name of each grocery store add at the top of the page.

Go through the adds and write anything that you eat that is a good buy.
86 the pre made, high priced garbage.

Then go through and cross of anything that is a cheaper price elsewhere, or that you already have enough of.

Make meals from your stock on hand and what you bought.

1) Sirloin Tip Roast, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, Broccoli

2) Roast Beef A Jus sandwiches, green salad with grapes, apple, and walnuts .
raspberry vinegrette.

3) Chicken drumsticks, coleslaw, oven baked steak fries.

4) Mac and Cheese, Broccolli

5) spareribs, corn of the cob, coleslaw , beer bread

6) Quiche, designer lettuce salad with strawberries.

7) Shrimp stir fry. rice. ( brocolli, carrots, celery, red peppers, )

Notes: Shrimp is 5 bucks a pound at Safeways.
If you pick a protein that is less than 2.50 a pound (average) and don't buy expensive side dishes, you can pretty much figure on spending less than five dollars average.

The roast and the shrimp costs are being tempered by the quiche, mac and cheese, and the chicken.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

A rose by any other name

I just read an article by Jane E Brody on downsizing the food budget as she so eloquently put it. Her article was based on research and it was well written, but
Didn't day much more than what i have been saying.

She did warn against buying empty calories. The biggest culprit there is sugary drinks. She suggested chicken, eggs, beans,and lean ground beef for protein. Guess she hasn't heard of the other white meat! Lol.

She does advocate scratch cooking and if you were used to eating out a lot, buying the proper equipment to cook. Her stats look at 40 minutes a day in the kitchen.

I find it interestimg that she said that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are better than fresh. They are not as cheap at times. She is working on the assumption that the frozen and canned products are picked at their peak and put up,and fresh have been sitting around the store.

I got peaches frozen for a dollar a pound. We paid the same amount last week for fresh and I didn't have to peel or slice them. We made the peaches and cream muffins. Next time, I would use part sour cream and part milk. Costco sour cream is really thick.
I probably wouldn't use the silicone muffin tins either.

Basically, Jane Brody in her article said that you can downsize your food budget and still eat healthy. I have been trying to show people how to do that in this blog.
Albeit not so eloquently.

I was really excited about my number of hits in this blog until I found out that half of them were spam. I am really trying to help people here. Please repost this site on your Facebook. People usually don't shout from the rooftops the state of their finances. By spreading the post, we can reach more of the people that might benefit from it.

Thanks for stopping by

Tomorrow..meals from the grocery ads.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How do you spell desert!

When I figure four plus one is five ( four people, one meal, five bucks). I don't include desert. Usually if we have desert it is fruit, or piece of a five dollar Friday cake. One cake lasts us all week. Yesterday I posted a white snack cake. Today I made blackberry sauce to put on it with some whip cream.

Sometimes if I have a main dish with little protein, we will have creme brûlée for desert.

Sweet cinnamon chips

2laege flour tortillas
3T butter
1tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375

Stack tortillas on top of each other and cut into wedges. ( like pizza)
Melt butter
Mix cinnamon and sugar

Coat each side of a tortilla wedge with butter. Sprimkle with sugar mixture.
Place on baking sheet.

Bake until wedges just begin to crisp, about 8 minutes.

Cool slightly before serving about 2 minutes.

Drizzle with chocolate syrup, honey, or caramel.

chocolate bread pudding

1/2 stick butter
6 cups bread cubes
2cups heavy cream
1cup milk ( not skim)
5egg yolks
12 oz chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Butter 9x13 in pan.
Place breadcrumbs in prepared baking dish.
Melt 4 Tbs butter. Drizzle over bread crumbs.
Combine cream and milk in a sauce pan. Bring to just a boil over med heat.

Slightly beat egg yolks in a separate bowl.

When cream comes to a boil, remove from heat,add chocolate chips sugAr and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add egg yolks and whisk well.

Ladle chocolate cream over bread cubes making sure all bread is covered.

Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish from refrigerator and poke holes to vent. Bake an hour or until set. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thanks for stopping by


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8/8 grocery ads

This weeks grocery ads


5 buck Fridays
Lemon meringue pie
Crisco oil 64 ounces

Grapes .79
Boston cream cake 5.00
50 cookies 5.00

Sirloin tip roast 2.97
Drumsticks .97
pork chops 1.77
tomatoes 1.00
Potatoes 5.99!20 pounds
Coleslaw 1.00


Grapes .99
Broccoli .99
Milk 1/2 gal 3/5.00
Chili .88
Corn 2/.88

Extra lean ground beef 2.49
Grapes 1.99
corn 2/1.00
BBQ sauce .79
Coffee 7.49
Taco shells .99

Thats all.

Thanks for stopping by


Zucchini and tomatoes. --summertime abundance

There are summertime jokes in the Pacific Northwest about the abundance of Zucchini .  It groes
well in this part of the country in giant proportions if not picked early. 

Stuffed Zucchini

2 medium zucchini
1/2 pound sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/5 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds , leaving a 1/4 inch shell.
Chop pulp. set aside.

In skillet, brown meat and onion and add garlic.  Drain meat or use already cooked meat. 
Add pulp, breadcrumbs, seasoning and milk and fold together

Stuff shells.

Place in greased baking pan. Top shells with pasta sauce and cheese. Cover and  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. 

Summer Pepper Soup. 

1 bacon strip
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cloves garlic
1T tomato paste
1/8 tsp paprika
3-4 drops red pepper sauce

1 cup chicken broth, divided
1T Butter
1T flour
1/2 cup half and half.
1/4 tsp salt

Cook bacon in skillet, remove to drain.  In drippings, cook pepper, onion and garlic. 
Stir in tomato paste , paprika and hot pepper sauce. 
Add 1/4 cup broth. 
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. 
Puree in blender or food processor. 

In sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to make a roux. Add remaining broth to bake a " white sauce"
Reduce heat to low, Gradually stir in pepper mixture and cream.  heat through.  Add bacon for garnish. 

2 servings.

This is a case where if you can get the tomato red pepper soup at Costco for 6/10.00 it would be cheaper.  With the boxed soup, I add chopped tomatoes, blue cheese, and basil.  You could omit the bacon and add blue cheese and basil and add chopped tomatoes if you have them in the garden. 

Ordinaily,  the boxed soup is 3.50 or so at the regular grocery stores, and costco doesn't always carry the soup. 

Quick snack cake . ( serve with berries on top in the summer)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. 
Add wet ingredients.  beat for 1 minute. 
Pour into greased 9x9 pan. 
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. 
Cool on wire rack.  

Thanks for stopping by


Monday, August 6, 2012

Pasta primavera vs store bought

Last night I made Pesto Pasta Primavera.

8 ounces bow tie pasta, cooked and drained
1cup blanched, cut green beans
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into slices, halved and blanched.
2-3 Tbls. Pesto
1/2 can sliced black olives
1/2 cup tomatoes, cubed

Shaved parm for garnish.

Place pasta in bowl. Toss with enough pesto to coat.
Fold in remaining ingredients.

QFC had 1pound of pesto pasta for 4.99
That's about 2 cups. I made a five quart bowl for about 5.00.

Note! Costco has pesto for about 8.00 for 22 ounces.
Vinegar was 3.89 for two gallons.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lets talk fruits and vegetables.

One of the ways to curb your grocery bill is to make use of the fruits and vegetables in season. Pretty much now we can have produce year round, but local fruits and veggies are cheapest in the summer.

Washington has an apple crop in the fall. We are getting a lot of berries this year and peaches are coming in. Corn is still high because it is coming from the mid West and has been high for a few years. Zucchini is always in abundance in the area. Growing a pot of herbs really is economical. My daughter bought some basil for a dish she was making. We rooted the basil and will plant it today.

Carrots continue to be inexpensive and Lettuce is locally grown.

Zucchini bread and CHOCOLATE zucchini bread is a favorite. Carrots are really versatile
From carrot cake and muffins, carrots with brown sugar and butter or gimgered. Carrot and celery sticks, a relish tray with peppers,broccoli, carrots, celery is always a hit
And a way to get veggies into picky eaters.

Bananas are cheapest at Costco and seem to be the same price there year around.

Apple spiced waffles

2 cups baking mix
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup milk
6 T butter
1cup chopped, peeled apple.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate bow. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Heat waffle iron and make waffles. Leftovers? Can be frozen. Freeze on a sheet pan and then put in bag and label with contents and date.

Peaches and cream muffins

1 egg
1/2 cup milk or sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1cup chopped peaches.

Combine dry ingredients.
Combine wet Ingredients , except peaches.
Fold together until mixture is moistened.
Fold in peaches.

Bake in muffin cups 3/4 full at 400 degrees for 20-25 min or until done.

Carrots. " baby carrots "are just regular carrots that have been processed.
when they are on sale, they are the same price or cheaper than whole carrots. Check your per pound prices.

Roasted carrots

1 pound carrots cut into 3 inch sticks apron 1/2 inches wide.
1 1/4 cups onion rings
4-6 cloves garlic
1T olive oil
Thyme, salt, pepper
1tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish. Place carrots that are approx. 1/2 inch wide and 3-4 inches long In baking pan.

Add onion and garlic.
Drizzle with olive oil and salt, pepper and thyme.

Roast up to 45 minutes , stirring every ten to fifteen minutes until tender.

Thanks for stopping by


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meals from the ads

I have a lot of meat, and meat wasn't on sale much this week. I suspect that it won't be much because of the drought. All I bought was some spareribs and I am going to resort to my stock. I did buy a lot of fresh fruits and veggies , it's a wonderful time of the year for them.

OK meals

1) BBQ spareribs, potato salad, corn on cob, French bread, fruit cup

2) sausage quiche, leafy lettuce salad with berries and raspberry vinaigrette.

3) BBQ beef sandwiches, fruit cup, coleslaw, potato salad

4) BBQ chicken, fruit cup, coleslaw, potato salad, green salad

5) chicken salad: lettuce, apple, grapes, craisens, chicken breast cubes.
French bread

6) black bean tamale pie, lettuce salad. **

7) pesto pasta, salad , French bread. ( butter w slight skim of butter or brush with olive oil, add herbs or a shake of steak seasoning. Broil till toasted.

**. Black bean tamale pie

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can black beans, chopped and drained,
1cup salsa

1 package ( 8.5 ounces) corn muffin mix
1/4 cup milk
2cups cheddar cheese

Sour cream and ripe olives optional

In skillet, cook Onion and green pepper. Add cooked meat (or cook raw meat until no longer pink)

Add beans to skillet

In bowl, combine muffin mix, milk, egg, and 1 cup of the cheese.
Pour into greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 for 5 to 6 minutes.

Spoon meat mixture over crust. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Sprinkle w remaining cheese. Bake 1-2 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Guarnished with sour cream and black olives if desired. ( or add lettuce and tomato to the top).

Note: I suspect that an 8.5 ounce muffin mix is a small quick mix. I don't know how much they cost these days and haven't figured out a scratch recipe for it yet.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Ok, it was WinCo for us

WinCo is a warehouse type store where you pack up your own foods. Some of the prices are a lot cheaper and some are not so much.

I got broccoli crowns for . 78 a pound.
Tomatoes for .98, celery for .68 a pound, large red pepper.69 cents and a green pepper for .48. Spinach was .98 a bunch. Taco shells were .98 . I amstill trying to find green chill is for less than a dollar a can.

Pasta sauce was up to .98.

Safeways had mixed berries for 11.98 and corn for 2/1.00. And if you spent 15.00, you got 3.00 off. Milk was 2.19 and ribs were 1.99.

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Recap and batch cooking

I thought I would recap the basics for any new readers once during the first week of the month.

The main idea of this to save 1/2 on your food bill. The USDA publishes stats on thrifty grocery costs based on ages of family members. The last ones I can find are from 2009.

The main " rules".

1) Never pay full price. There are exceptions, of course. If it is something you have to have, or you want a special treat, go for it. just make it the exception rather than the rule.

2) keep a log of things you frequently buy and where and how much you paid. You can use a spiral notebook, or an excel spread sheet. Go for the lowest price and stock up on that. Base your quantity on how often it goes on sale, the number of times in a week you use it and the sell by date on the package. Pasta for one, has a 8 year shelf life. STOCK UP.

3) Develop a personal cookbook of scratch main dishes that contain a low cost protein.

4) Cook from scratch rather than ready made, or boxes. The more processed something is, the less nutrients and the more expensive it is. Boxed meal mixes are about the most expensive food item in the store. At 2.09 cents a box, you are paying 13.28 a pound for the " cheese sauce" that has no cholesterol. You can get REALLY good cheese for 13.00 a pound! LOL. Don't buy snack food.

5) Plan your meals. Take stock of your refer and bread bin mid week and use up anything that might be getting OLD!?!. Croutons, breadcrumbs, soup stock. Pesto, banana bread. You get the gist. the what's for dinner syndrome after you have had a hard day is one of the quickest ways to fall off the budget wagon.

One of the ways to make dinner time cooking fast and easy is to batch cook.
It makes the time in the kitchen more efficient. if you can get an older child or a mate to help you, even more the better.

When you bring home the ground beef, or grind your own, " Process" it your self. I make meatloaf or meatballs, taco meat, hamburger crumbles, Salisbury steaks.
Put the product, except the meatloaf that you have for dinner that night, in family sized portions. Label and freeze them. I keep them in a metal box in the freezer so they don't get lost.

When you want a quick meal, pull the taco meat, thaw it in the microwave. While that is happening, chop tomatoes,get out the cheese and sour cream, and chop the lettuce. Open a can of refried beans and put in the microwave dish and heat through when meat is done. About 15 minutes total.

When roast is on sale, roast it off. Slice thin and freeze. You can run it under cold water to thaw (in food saver bag). Make a jus in a small frypan.when the meat has partially thawed, put in the a jus to warm. Meanwhile, put sandwich rolls in oven to toast, and make a green salad. I use brown and serve baguettes from franz. They have them at Costco and at the franz outlet.

I fry sausage purchased in bulk. Jimmy Dean is 6.89 at Costco now for three pounds.
De fat it and put it on portion sized bags in the freezer.

You can use it on pizza, in eggs,in soups.

Make good use of your crockpot. There is something really comforting about walkimg into the house and smelling dinner already cooked.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recipes that use up the last bits.

I thought I would talk about using up things that are coming close to the yard waste

one of our grandmothers tricks was to make banana bread from too ripe bananas . I use a recipe from the Bisquick cookbook that adds oatmeal and blueberries. It adds more texture and the errors add an extra pop of flavor.

Stradas use bread that is becoming stale. Stale bread also makes breadcrumbs, croutons, and dressing cubes. Note: I fry sausage when I get home from the store. Drain and defatted it and put it into 1/2 pound zip lock bags and freeze.

Sausage Pepper Strada

1 package of bulk sausage
1/2 small onion, chopped.
1/2 green or red pepper, chopped
4 cups bread cubes.( 6 slices)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt, pepper
1cup grated cheese

Sauté onion and pepper until limp. Add to sausage mixture.
Spread bread in a 9x13 pan. . Spread sausage mixture over bread.
Mix eggs, milk and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Pour eggs over the bread and sausage in the pan.

Poke with fork to moisten all the bread.
Cover pan and refrigerate at least hour, or overnight.

Bake at 375 uncovered for 55 minutes. If top is browning too quickly, cover with foil.

Dish will be brown and puffy and the eggs will be cooked.

Can be guarnished with salsa or a fine stream of maple syrup.

Twice Baked Potatoes

4 Potatoes, already baked

3 T butter

1/3cup sour cream

Salt pepper

1cup shredded cheese

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the potatoes, saving the potatoes and
Leaving 1/4 inch shell.

Add melted butter, sour cream and salt and pepper to the potato mixture.
Mash the potatoes.

On a baking sheet, place the shells and fill them with the potato mixture. Top each with cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 min until heated through.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1st: This weeks grocery ads

This weeks grocery ads

Blueberries 4.99 - 2#
Peaches .98
corn 3/1.00
Pesto Pea Salad 4.99 lb: Compare to this weeks Pesto Salad recipe
Hebrew National Franks 2/ 6.00


Green Peppers .59
Spinach 1.00


Country Ribs 1.99
Milk 2.49
Sub Sandwich FRI 5.00
Cookies FRI 5.00



grapes .99
cherries 1.99
milk 2.29
Bumble bee .78 Coupon

Not much out there, folks. I sense an alternative grocery store trip coming on LOL

What to do with pesto.

Pesto is an paste that can be used to flavor. Consisting of greens, hard cheese and nuts, it is fairly good for you.

One of the best summertime ways to beat the heat in the kitchen is to make several salads on the weekend and add a different entre for a few days. BBQ chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, sloppy joes, pork chops or a BBQ pork or beef sandwich. you are only limited by your imagination.

Pesto Salad

8 ounces of pasta. Like penne, or Bow ties., cooked and rapidly cooled.
1 stLk of celery, chopped.
1 cup tomatoes ( cherry, grape , or chopped and seeded tomatoes)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, ron ed in cold water to thaw.
1/4 cup pesto
Dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Toss all ingredients together. Cover and chill.


You can make an entre of this by leaving the pasta hot ( maybe spaghetti) and add cooked, diced chicken, and blanched veggies of choice. (tomato, asparagus, jullianed snow peas and or carrots, brocolli.) top with shaved parm.

Pesto Pizza.

Use stirred pestonas a base on pizza instead of tomato sauce. Layer. : crust,pesto, ham cubes ( or cooked chicken) motzzarella cheese, thin sliced seeded tomatoes, grated parm.

NOTE. Roma tomatoes are best because they are often less expensive and have more flesh and less seeds.

Pesto Mayo

Stir a teaspoon of pesto into a quarter cup of mayo. Use on chicken salad sandwiches.
Or whatever sounds good to you.

Pesto chicken pasta variation: use tomatoes, black olives, and cooked chicken.

You can use this pesto in any recipe that calls for basil pesto.

Next time: batch cooking.

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