Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pigs in a Blanket

I refuse to buy frozen pre-made pigs in a blanket. This morning I made them homemade and the kids loved them.

pancake mix and water (mix it a little on the thick side)
sausage (cook it first)
minimuffin pan
oven at 400.

put a dollop of pancake mix in each minimuffin well. Put a piece of sausage on top of pancake mix. Top with cheese if you want. Top with more pancake mix (enough to cover the sausage). BAke for 6 minutes. Done!

This should work the same for a homemade corndog, just use cornmeal mix instead, and you made need to adjust your cooking time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In a pinch . . .

Have a few things on hand for a meal in a pinch so that you don't fell like you absolutely HAVE to call for takeout or go out to eat. Don't go overboard with this, but consider it and here are a few things that I keep on hand just in case a recipe goes bad or I need to have dinner ready in 15 minutes.

Tuna melts - tuna, cheese, mayo, bread, skillet (takes about 8 minutes to make)
Pizza - refrigerated croissant dough, tomato sauce, cheese, whatever topping available (15 min.)
Pesto Pasta - noodles (usually penne), pesto sauce (preprepared, multi-use size) (15 minutes)
Salad or Chef Salad - salad fixin's, deli ham, turkey and cheese if going Chef style (10 minutes)

These are my fall back recipes that are quick, satisfying, low stress and inexpensive.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have nonstick cookware, stoneware, glass, cast iron and silicone cookware and bakeware items. My observations are: cast iron gives the best results and the best flavor, it's just a bit heavy. Silicone gives good results, but crusts are not as crispy as I would like, and it's really floppy so you need a sled or cookie sheet to put it on before you use it in the oven. Glass is a little uneven in cooking and baking, not too bad, but a little, plus it can't take the really high heat like for breads. Stoneware is wonderful, it's just harder to clean and little heavy like the cast iron. Nonstick performs well, you just have to worry about the chemicals if you have to cook at high temperatures.

Have a few good pieces, but don't waste your money on big sets of one type. Do your research first, pick out a couple of high quality (not necesarily highest price) items and use them often.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


My advice - have several, but don't buy them if you don't have too (unless they are at yard sale prices or you have checked it out from the library so many times you can literally hear it calling your name every time you walk in the library)

USE YOUR LIBRARY!!!!!! This is an excellent way to 'test drive' a book before you take the plunge. Another thought is if you have checked out the book more than 3 times, AND have enjoyed using it (not just looking at the pics), consider having it on your birthday, Mother's Day, Easter, or Christmas wish list (of course you do have to let people know it's on that list for this to be effective). This way your family gets you something you love and you get something you don't have to return for a smaller (or larger) size.

Cooking at Home

Now, how often have we heard that cooking at home instead of going out to eat will save us money? All the time, and for good reason, because it's true! The only problem is, most of us get taste-bud bored after a little while, and even though we have the best intentions in the world, we give in to our salivating tastebuds after a few minutes of daydreaming about out favorite dishes at our favorite restaurants. Do I blame you, absolutely not! Is there a way to get around this, well, sometimes.

What I have found helpful is to think of your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant and then search some recipe sites to find recipes for it. I particularly like the recipe sites that have pictures to go along with it because it makes it easier for me to see if the dish resembles what my restaurant serves. I also like to work something new and untasted into my mealplan every once in awhile. However, do the new things on nights when there are leftovers, that way you are not forced into ordering take out because a meal went wrong.

New Food Styles on my "To Try" List:

It may take me 5 or 6 months to get through this list because first of all I want a good recipe and second of all, we have many other dishes in my families 'preferred' list that they like to get through on a monthly basis too. But trying new things may just help your tastebuds help you steer clear of a $70 tab at your favorite restaurant.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dollar Tree

I am generally wary of food items for sale in The Dollar Tree. However, I was pleasantly suprised to find Nature's Own brand Butterbread, Honey Wheat Bread, Wonderbread, Hamburger Buns and Hotdog Rolls in the store. There were all normal sized and had the same expiration dates as their Food Lion counterparts (I checked) which cost about 2.29 (already a 1.29 per loaf savings. And remember, bread freezes well. I also found 8-packs of medium eggs for $1.00. An 18 count pack of large eggs at Food Lion is 3.29. So, even if I have to pop an extra egg into the recipe since they're medium instead of large, I'm still saving the bucks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Local Grocery Stores

In order to compete with large discount grocery chains, many locally owned stores hve great sales and produce to draw customers in. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE!!!!! My local grocery store has Domino brand granulated sugar in the 5lb bags for 4/$9. That is 2.25 each PLUS I downloaded and used 2 $.55 off 2 domino sugar coupons. If you get fliers for these small independent establishments, please take a moment to peek at them because you never know what great buys they may have. Mine also does a stamp card discount thing which return the filled cards in for even bigger deals. For instance, this week a regular sized can of peas or corn (about 15oz I think) is on sale for $.49 each, but if you have a card, they are $.39each. Just make sure you use them on things you will actually eat, not just because it's on sale.