Category Archives: Money Savers

Quick and Easy Salsa

I love chips and dip, it’s one of my favorite snacks.  Every time I would go to my friend Kelly’s house, she would have this super yummy salsa.  Finally I asked her to send me the recipe and it was a link to a blog.  I made it.  And the next day I made it again.

This recipe really IS quick and easy.  The ingredients are inexpensive, something you can keep in your pantry to pull out for a last-minute appetizer.  It takes literally minutes to make.  And it’s quite tasty.  It says it’s a copycat recipe for the Chili’s salsa, and it may be.  I don’t eat there often enough these days to compare, but I do love this one!  Thanks for sharing, Kelly!

Quick and Easy Salsa

Quick and Easy Salsa
Recipe from:  Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients:
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 small can (4 oz.) diced jalapenos
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt (or 1/2, depending on taste)
1 tsp cumin
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl.  Using an immersion blender, puree until the consistency is to your liking.  Alternately, you could put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it is to your liking.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Lentil & Spinach Curry

I’ve never been a big fan of beans, or anything of the like (except for green beans and bbq beans), but I’ve been trying to change that lately.  I am now a fan of black beans and lentils (I know it probably isn’t technically a bean?).  While I am a new fan of lentils, I’m a cautious fan.  I’m not completely on board, unless it’s something that sounded really REALLY good.  Like lentil & spinach curry.

I love curry.  There is an Indian restaurant in Baton Rouge that an old roommate used to bring me to and I just loved it.  I took my now hubby there and lucky for me, he loved it too.  I don’t know why we don’t cook it more often, I think we’ll have to change that.  This meal came together really quickly and was pretty healthy for you (and cheap too!).  The vegetable base it called for was a little tricky to find (I found it at Albertson’s) and a bit on the pricey side, but if you can find it I think it’s worth it.  It’s basically vegetable bouillon but you can tell that it has a bit more richness and seasoning to it.  But if you can’t find it, regular vegetable bouillon should do the trick.  I also added peanut butter, which was NOT in the recipe.  Gotta love my husband, he didn’t even bat an eye when I said “I think peanut butter would go nicely in this!”  He taste-tested and agreed with me!  But that’s your call.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Lentil & Spinach Curry

Lentil & Spinach Curry
Recipe adapted from Food and Whine

Ingredients:
2 cups lentils
3 cups water
2 tsp vegetable base (I used organic Better Than Bouillon in a jar)
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-5 tsp curry powder, depending on your taste (we like a lot!)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp sugar
1 10 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 spoons peanut butter (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Rinse lentils in cold water, then combine with 3 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, add the vegetable base and stir in.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

While that’s cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onions and garlic, cook until soft.  Add the grated ginger, let cook for a minute before adding the rest of the spices.  Once fragrant, add the spinach, crushed tomatoes and lentils (I didn’t add all of the lentils, probably about 3/4 of them).  Add salt, pepper and peanut butter (if desired) and mix in well and allow to heat through.

Serve over rice, with some naan if you have it!

 

Crockpot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

I love tomato basil soup, and so do a few friends I know (ahem, Morgan) so this recipe should appeal to you.  Plus, it’s a crockpot recipe, which just makes it that much better!

I spotted this recipe on Pinterest recently and didn’t take long at all to decide to make it.  It was definitely my kind of crockpot recipe, just throw it all in there, turn it on and go on about your day!  Despite having finely chopped the veggies, once it was done they were still a bit chunkier than I had in mind, so I simply used my immersion blender and puree’d them up.  Perfecto!

Seriously, this was so delicious and simple, and really budget friendly so I have a feeling it will be gracing our table often.  We had the soup with a side salad, but I’m betting a grilled cheese sandwich would be great also!

Crockpot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Crockpot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
Recipe from 365 Days of Slow-Cooking

Ingredients:
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onion
1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tbsp fresh
1 tbsp dried basil, or 1/4 cup fresh
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (I used fat-free)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Method:
Add all of the ingredients through the bay leaf to the crockpot (which has been sprayed with nonstick spray).  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until the vegetables are soft.

Thirty minutes before serving, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat, then add the butter.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes, then add one cup of the hot soup to this roux.  Once all mixed, add another three cups.  Whisk until smooth, then add all of this back to the crockpot.  Add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half and your seasonings.  Taste for seasoning and add extra seasoning or extra basil and oregano as needed.  Cover and cook for another thirty minutes on LOW before serving.

If needed, you can use an immersion blender and puree.

 

Crockpot Lentil Soup

I’ve never been a big fan of beans so lately I’ve been trying to “train” myself to like them.  It’s working.  I’m now a fan of black beans, so I figured I’d branch out some and bought a package of lentils.  I see lots of recipes for lentils, so after looking through some I decided to go with a crockpot recipe.

This was super easy to make, you just throw everything into the crockpot.  It is very hearty, despite being a meat-free soup.  If you’re wondering, lentils are very earthy, they sort of remind me of black-eyed peas, just with a different texture.  In fact, this soup reminded me a lot in taste of the black-eyed pea soup I make.  My husband was skeptical he loved it, so did my three-year old daughter.  It makes  a ton, so you can freeze some for a rainy day!

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients:
1 pkg dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can sliced carrots, with juice
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
6-8 shakes of hot sauce

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 12 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.  Discard bay leaves and serve.

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

These days with so many websites devoted to food sharing, we’re used to being inundated with over the top sounding dishes.  And it gets to where even things that are so over the top, aren’t really that surprising or exciting anymore.  Am I being too cynical?  Sorry.  Sometimes you just want something simple.  Something comfortable.  Something that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.

I participated again in a food blogger recipe swap.  I’ve done it a few times before, this time the theme was potatoes.  When I received the recipe I needed to make (from Melissa at I Was Born to Cook), I was very excited because it sounded perfect and just like love in a pot.  This was very easy to put together and cook, I managed to get a three-year old to bed while cooking it!  It definitely wasn’t a diet recipe but it was oh so good, I’m really hoping my hubby forgets that we have leftovers in the fridge, I’d like those for lunch tomorrow!

This would be fantastic on a cold, rainy night.  Or even on a night where you just had a bad day.  Or you know, for breakfast.  ;)

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
1.5 lbs. small red potatoes, diced (skin on)
2 cloves garlic, minced
seasonings to taste (I used Creole seasoning)
4 large eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot’s Vermont White Cheddar)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter  over medium heat in a deep oven-safe skillet.  Add the potatoes and cook until soft (you may have to add a little water to prevent sticking) and add the garlic, cook for an additional minute or two.  Season to taste and remove from heat.
  • Make four holes in the potatoes and crack an egg into each.
  • Bake 10 minutes until the egg whites are cooked.  Do not overbake (as I did) because you want your egg yolks to be runny.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for one more minute, until the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

 

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

In my new quest for weight loss, I’m trying to eat healthier.  No brainer, right?  Well some things I just never have had before, including granola.  I mean I’ve had the granola bars before but never had regular straight up granola and it seems to be the “it” thing to make these days.

Lucky for me when we had our Biggest Loser brunch, my friend Jennifer brought some granola and yogurt.  I gave it a try and loved it.  I loved it so much that I found myself wishing I had some more that same afternoon.  And that evening, I went to the store and got the ingredients and made it.  I think my husband thought I had lost my mind, such an immediate love for GRANOLA??  Then he ate some.  And he loves it too.  So try it, might be your new favorite thing!  Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola
Recipe from Jennifer D., originally from All Recipes

Ingredients:
4 cups old-fashioned oats (don’t use instant or quick, they won’t get as crisp)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour oats into a large bowl, set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling and the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the oats and stir in, folding untill well incorporated and no clumps are forming.
  • Spread in a large shallow low-rimmed baking pan and bake 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When it’s golden brown, remove and stir in the raisins.
  • Store up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

The local moms club I’m in is always doing fun activities.  I hosted one at my house last week that was really different.  We had a pajama party potluck brunch.  Of course nobody spent the night, everyone just came in their pjs (I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on!) that morning.

We joked around that we should call it the pinterest party, since more than half of the dishes were “found” on pinterest, including mine.  Sugar crusted vanilla French toast seemed like it would be just right, and even better that it could be prepared the night before with only minimal work the next morning.  The ingredients consisted mostly of things you would have on hand, so it’s really inexpensive to make.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast

Everyone seemed to really love it.  I made a double batch but it wasn’t necessary, I ended up with a good bit left over.  But the leftovers are great, that was no problem! :)  The crust is really, well…crusty when it’s leftover but it softens in the microwave, have no fear.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast (Single Batch)
Recipe from:  Phenomenon

Ingredients:
1 loaf french bread, about 1lb. (plain, of course)

Custard:
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt

Sugar Coating:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Slice the bread into 1 inch slices.  Spray a casserole (just big enough to fit the bread) with nonstick spray and arrange the slices in the dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the custard ingredients.  Pour evenly over the bread in the dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • The next morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter just till melted.  Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and whisk well to combine.  Microwave again in thirty-second bursts, whisking after each time until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbly and hot.  Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour evenly over the top of the bread and bake about 40-45 minutes, until golden.

Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast