Saturday, April 30, 2011

Smoky Spanish Roasted Potatoes

2 1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika ($.10)
1 1/4 tsp. sea salt ($.05)
3/4 tsp. black pepper ($.05)
2 tsp. roasted, minced garlic ($.10)
1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes (skin on) ($.75)
4 T. olive oil ($.15)

Line a 13x9" baking dish with aluminum foil and grease well.

Cut potatoes into halves or quarters - so they are bite-sized, but hearty. Toss all remaining ingredients together. Coat potatoes in seasoned mixture.

Place on prepared pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, turning potatoes once or twice during baking process.

Serve with sour cream.

Yields: 3-4 servings
Cost: $1.20
Cost per serving: $.40

For a richer flavor - drizzle with garlic butter before serving and garnish with chopped scallions.

Chicken and Rib Rub

This makes enough rub for 10-15 lbs. of meat or poultry.

4 T. smoked paprika ($.30)
4 T. brown sugar ($.05)
4 T. garlic powder ($.10)
2 T. cumin ($.05)
2 T. Mexican oregano ($.10)
2 tsp. ancho chile powder ($.05)
2 tsp. black pepper ($.05)
2 tsp. hickory smoked salt ($.10)
1 tsp. season salt, optional ($.05)
1 T. flour ($.05)

Combine all ingredients well, store in an airtight jar or container.
Cost: $.90

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mushroom and Herbs in a White Wine Cream Sauce

1 lb. white button mushrooms ($1.69)
2 T. butter ($.25)
2 T. olive oil ($.15)
1 clove garlic, chopped ($.05)
1/2 tsp. rosemary ($.05)
3 T. Barefoot Wines Moscato ($.20)
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
2 T. sour cream ($.10)
3-4 T. Philadelphia Cooking Cream ($.15)
2 T. parmesan ($.10)

Melt butter in a large, nonstick pan over low heat. Add olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Clean and quarter the mushrooms. Add to the garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the mushrooms over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, once mushrooms are just fork tender, add wine - simmer 2-3 minutes, then add sour cream, and cooking cream. Cook
until a slightly thick cream sauce pulls together. Stir in parmesan.

Serve over pork, beef, chicken, pasta, or risotto.
Yields = 2-4 servings
Cost: $2.79
Cost per serving: $1.40

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mango Sangria with Moscato

Using my newest favorite find, I had to create a perfect (and inexpensive cocktail) with the lovely, fruity Moscato I recently bought from Barefoot wines. I've seen the brand and have used the pinot grigio before - both as a table wine and in pasta recipes, but I tried the Moscato last week and just fell in love with the light, lovely flavors in it. Since Sangria is a favorite of mine, I had to come up with a luscious cocktail - here it is!


3/4 bottle of Moscato ($3.75)
1/2 C. coconut rum ($1.00)
1/2 C. vodka ($1.00)
1/4 C. orange juice ($.25)
1 large mango, peeled ($.50)
2 medium tangerines, peeled ($.69)
1 1/2 C. pineapple chunks ($.40)


Cut fruit into bite size chunks and add to large container or pitcher .
Pour in rum, vodka, juice, & Moscato, refrigerate over night or until well chilled. Enjoy!

Yields = 6 cocktails
Cost: $7.59
Cost per glass: $1.26

Serves well with fruit plate, all cheeses, hearty crackers, spicy cuisine, and all desserts.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Orange Almond Tea Cookies

2 C. margarine or butter ($.75)
1 C. granulated sugar ($.20)
3 tsp. almond extract ($.15)
3 tsp. orange juice ($.10)
zest of 2-3 large oranges ($.15)
4 1/4 C. flour ($.25)
3/4 C. sliced almonds ($.55)
1 C. powdered sugar ($.25)


1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in extract, juice, and zest. Add the flour and nuts, mixing in flour a cup at a time until well blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Shape dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks.

4. When cookies are cool enough to handle, roll in confectioners' sugar mixed with nutmeg. Roll cookies in sugar mixture twice. Place cookies in an airtight container and hide the container from those who seek to devour your goodies.

Yields = 8 dozen
Cost: $2.30
Cost per cookie: $.03

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Couponing for Community Event

As much as I love to cook and bake, I love saving money more.

I was excited last year to hear about an event called Stamp Out Hunger. Couponing for Community is a nationwide event utilizing the power of couponing and social media to make a united impact for those in need.

This is where Saving and Giving Unite.

We invite you to join this community by using your couponing skills to give to a homeless shelter, food pantry, or a friend in need during the week of May 8-14!

What is the Goal?
This year we are setting a goal of 10,000 items donated in one week’s time. We invite you to track your giving during the week of May 8-14 and then come back here to share your story. We'll even have a giving tracker to tally up everyone's efforts!!

Why May 8-14?
We (couponers) are the kind of people who find ways to give all year long. But we have chosen to set aside one week each year to ‘flex our couponing muscles’ for GOOD and show the impact we can have when we work together. We also chose this week because May 14 is national Stamp out Hunger Day, so giving can be as easy as putting a bag of non-perishable food items out by your mailbox on Saturday, May 14. Check with your local Post Office to find out if they are participating at Stamp out Hunger.

Pop on over to and check it out for yourself!
My personal goal is 100 items - I can't wait to see how quickly we meet our goal!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

I have been drooling over cupcakes. It seems like everywhere I turn this spring, the cupcakes are the thing. I took a gander over at and couldn't beleive that people pay $4.50 for a single cupcake!!

That's sheer madness - especially to a self-proclaimed frugalista like me. What that did was inspire me. Inspire me to make some fabulous forays in the cupcake kingdom that is springing up all around me.

The idea I decided to start with was simple - vanilla and peanut butter. Simple, not too rich, and packed with flavor. I borrowed some ideas from here and there and came up with this flavor packed treat that is easy on the wallet, long on flavor, sure to be a hit not only with kids, but with the slightly grown-up people, too.

And it's a lot easier to enjoy and share a dozen cupcakes when they cost less than one of the fancy gourmet ones!

1 box white cake mix ($.49)
1 egg ($.12)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract ($.05)
1 1/4 C. water (free)
1/3 C. unsweetened applesauce ($.15)

1/4 C. creamy peanut butter (free after coupons)
1 egg ($.12)
2 T. flour ($.05)
2 T. brown sugar ($.05)
1/3 C. granulated sugar ($.15)

Frosting & Garnish:
1 container of vanilla frosting ($.59)
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter (free after coupons)
1/4 C. finely chopped peanuts ($.25)

Heat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine all ingredients for cake in a large bowl and mix on slow speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake wrappers 2/3 full of batter.

Beat filling ingredients until well blended, drop 1 T. of mixture into the center of each cupcake.

Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes, or until center is set and top is firm.

Combine peanut butter with frosting. Frost cupcakes once they've cooled completely. Roll edges of cupcake frosting in chopped peanuts.

Yields: 22 cupcakes
Cost: $2.02
Cost per cucpake: $.10

Monday, April 11, 2011

Drunken Lime Cream Pie

1 premade graham cracker crust ($.69)
1 can sweetened condensced milk ($1.19)
1/2 C. lime juice ($.75)
1 T. lime zest ($.15)
3 eggs, separated ($.30)
1/2 tsp. rum extract ($.15)
1/3 C. sweetend flaked coconut ($.20)
6 oz. whipped topping ($.25 after coupons)

Preheat oven to 350.

Separate eggs and whisk egg whites over medium-high speed until frothy.

In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks with sweetened condensced milk. Stir in lime juice, lime zest, and coconut extract. Fold in sweetened flaked coconut.

Gently fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites until just combined. Pour into premade crust and bake for 12-17 minutes, or until top is firm and center jiggles slightly.

Cool on counter for 10-15 minutes.

Refrigerate 2 hours, top with whipped topping and additional lime zest or coconut, if desired.

Yields = 10 servings
Cost: $3.68
COst per serving: $.39

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chicken & Roasted Garlic in a Creamy Herbed Sauce

8 chicken thighs, skin-on ($1.66)
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
2 T. olive oil ($.10)
12 cloves garlic, smashed ($.30)
1/2 large red onion, cut into thick strips ($.15)
2 tsp. basil ($.05)
1/2 tsp. fennel seed ($.05)
3/4 C. dry white wine ($.50)
3/4 C. heavy cream ($.65)
1/2 C. milk ($.10)
2 T. cream cheese ($.10)
1/2 C. parmesan cheese ($.40)
1 T. parsley ($.05)

Heat oven to 325.

Coat liberally an oven safe (and stovetop safe) casserole dish with cooking spray.
Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil. Top with basil. Add chicken, garlic, fennel seed, and onion to baking dish and bake uncovered for 1 hour.

Deglaze pan with white wine, and remove chicken from pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced to half. Stir in heavy cream, milk, and cream cheese, and heat over medium low on stovetop, bringing to a light simmer (not a boil). Once cream cheese has melted and sauce begins to thicken slightly, fold in parmesan. Add chicken back to pan, heat through for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with parsley and additional parmesan, if desired.

Serve with red-skin mashed potatoes and salad.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $4.16
Cost per serving: $1.04

Friday, April 1, 2011

Penne and Cremini Mushrooms in an Herbed Cream Sauce

This recipe soudns so much fancier than what it takes to actually make it. The inspiration for the recipe came from a little Italian cookbook Adam & I found when we were out perusing our favorite secondhand book store. In our wanderings through the store, we both browsed through this same book, so it just had to come home with us.

Adam couldn't wait for me to try a "chicken and pasta" recipe, but for Lent, I was looking for a few more meatless options that still had plenty of flavor. While the original recipe looked good, I made some tweaks to keep it a little healthier and a whole lot less exspensive. I don't know how many times I've spied a recipe and it called for too many ingredients that I normally don't keep on hand. My rule of thumb for a new recipe - I won't spend more than $5 on specialty ingredients for it, and with my quick adaptations, I spent only $2.xx to round out what I laready had on hand to work with.

I made the recipe for 2 - and there was not a scrap left in the pan - so I've doubled the recipe here to feed 4. It pairs perfectly with a spring blend salad and lovely, crusty garlic bread. Hope you enjoy this treat as much as we did!

1 lb. penne rigate ($.50)
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced very thin ($2.00)
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
2 T. olive oil ($.10)
6 cloves garlic ($.15)
1 T. basil ($.10)
1 C. dry white wine ($.75)
1 C. half and half ($.50)
2 T. cream cheese ($.10)
1 T. lemon juice ($.05)
1 T. parsley ($.05)
3/4 C. parmesan cheese ($.65)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add olive oil to a large, nonstick skillet, heat over medium-low. Once the oil is hot, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook 6-8 minutes, until almost fork tender. Add garlic and basil, cook an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in white wine and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the wine is reduced by half. Stir in half and half and cream cheese. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until cream cheese has melted into the sauce and the sauce has slightly thickened. Add in 1/3 C. parmesan, lemon juice, and parsley. Stir well, add in penne and additional parmesan to taste.

Serve immediately.
Yields = 4 servings (as an entree, 6-8 servings as a side dish)
Cost: $5.00
Cost per serving: $1.25

**This dish would work well as a side dish to roasted pork and chicken dishes.**