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25 Money-Saving Tips for Frugal Cooking and Shopping (Best of 2009)

i LOOOVED this blog post from!  i am always finding ways to pinch pennies and frugal my cooking.  with this economy, recession proofing your kitchen and habits is the only way to survive.  check this out:’s Money-Saving tips:

Frugality has been on everyone’s minds these days, and cooking at home is one of the best ways to save money and nourish yourself and your home at the same time. From good yet inexpensive cuts of meat to good ideas for using up the last bits of your ingredients, here’s a look back at some of our discussions and tips on saving money in the kitchen.

5 things to do with barley just posted this great article, perfect in time for fall!

  1. In soup – Look past beef barley soup! Barley is a great addition to many soups. Here’s an Armenian-inspired recipe for a warm yogurt barley soup with paprika.

  3. Drink it! – Barley has been used in many drinks. Here’s a nutty Korean tea of barley, called boricha. Barley can also be made into a refreshing lemon barley water.

  5. In a beet salad – There’s something about the earthiness of beets and barley that suits them to one another. Here’s a hot pink salad with feta and red onion, and another with golden beets and rainbow chard.

  7. For breakfast – A little cooked barley with a splash of milk and some honey makes a nice change from the usual oatmeal.

  9. In a barley risotto – Try this cauliflower risotto from Gourmet; it’s an interesting change for risotto, which is usually made from rice.

what to do with mealy apples

i love these great ideas:

Cooking helps to break down dry, mealy apples and release their flavorful juice:

1. Applesauce – Homemade applesauce is a great snack to have around the house, and you can make a batch with even just a few apples. Here’s our recipe for making it yourself: DIY Applesauce.

2. Baked Apples – Baking whole apples is like making apple sauce in a handy container! We like to stuff apples with whatever is handy: brown sugar, maple syrup, oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit. Then we bake them with a little liquid until they’re soft and piping hot.

3. Sweet-Savory Sauce for Pork – Pork and apples are a classic pairing. You can make a quick un-sweetened applesauce, or you can sauté diced apples with other savory ingredients like cabbage, nuts, and caramelized onions.

4. In Baking – We wouldn’t use mealy apples for something like apple pie, but they can make a great addition to muffins, scones, and pancakes.

5. Dried Apples – Thin slices of apples can be baked or microwaved into crispy chips, while thicker chunks could be dehydrated slowly in the oven and used in our winter baking.

What other ideas do you have for using mealy apples?

feed 10 people for $20 or less

everyone is looking for ways to save money.  here is a fantastic budget friendly way to feed 10 people for $20 or less from my dear friends at

The ground rules for this list: It will include a main dish and a side dish — no drinks. We listed desserts separately; many fruit-based and baked desserts are inexpensive and will also keep your budget under $20.

We expect that you already have some basics around like salt, pepper, and oil. (If you’re picking up those staples just to make a dish on this list, then you will probably go over-budget.) But with those givens, you can make these meals for $20ish and feed a crowd in the process.

This list admittedly does not allow for the most high-quality meats. If you are going to buy fresh, grass-fed ground beef, for instance, you will probably go over-budget. But consider this list a starting point, and buy the best-quality ingredients you can afford.

  1. The Potluck — Let’s just get this one out of the way. When it comes to just your own pocketbook, a potluck is the best way to go. Make a batch of cupcakes and a pot of coffee, and invite your friends to bring the rest of the meal. Spread the cost of a party out among a group of friends and everyone gets to feed everyone else. Having said that, the rest of this list focuses on meals that will cost less than $20 total — no matter who’s paying.
  2. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce + Grilled Vegetable Mix — Great summer eating, vegetarian-friendly, and the most classic dinner party dish of all. Just toss spaghetti with lightly simmered crushed canned tomatoes, along with garlic and some herbs. Grill zucchini and yellow squash (so inexpensive this time of year!) and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. You’ll have plenty of cash left over to buy good cream for homemade vanilla ice cream!
    Recipes: Basic Tomato Sauce, Grilled Zucchini Salad
  3. Pulled Pork Wraps + Cabbage Salad — You can buy a big pork shoulder roast (pork butt) for very little money. Slow cook it with a little garlic and ginger, and then shred it and serve it with tortillas and simple shredded cabbage salad.
    Recipes: Slow-Cooked Hoisin and Ginger Pork Wraps with Peanut Slaw
  4. Homemade Pizza + Green Salad — The key with keeping homemade pizza inexpensive is to keep the toppings simple. Don’t splurge on four kinds of cheese and imported salami; make toppings of crushed tomatoes, Parmesan, and perhaps one vegetable. Pizza shouldn’t have too many toppings anyway!
    Recipes: Homemade Thin Crust Pizza, Basic Vinaigrette
  5. Bean and Rice Burritos + Fried Plantains — Here’s another vegetarian option: hearty rice and bean burritos with a smattering of herbs and perhaps some cheese, as well as a side of fried plantains. Bring out a pint of ice cream to serve with the rest of the plantains, and you have dessert.
    Recipes: How to cook dried beans, Sweet Fried Plantains
  6. Cheese and Spinach Frittatas + Biscuits — Good eggs aren’t expensive; you can buy a couple dozen and make enough frittata to feed an army, as long as you have enough skillets! Fill them with inexpensive ingredients like cheese and fresh spinach, and serve them with fluffy, light homemade biscuits.
    Recipes: Frittata, Touch-of-Grace Biscuits
  7. Pancake Bar + Fruit Slices — Like the frittata, this is breakfast for supper. We love fluffy pancakes; what about a big batch of pancakes with a side of seasonal fruit? Ask guests to bring their favorite pancake toppings.
    Recipes: Golden Oat Pancakes, Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes, Chunky Peach Pancake Topping
  8. Chicken Thighs in Balsamic Vinegar + Roasted Carrots — Here’s a cold-weather meal that’s great for fall. Chicken thighs are full of flavor, easy to cook without making them dry, and inexpensive. Our favorite recipe for chicken thighs involves just a little balsamic and Parmesan. Add in a big bag of carrots tossed with olive oil and thyme and roasted.
    Recipes: Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Vinegar, Roasted Carrots (from Ina Garten)
  9. Grain Salad with Roasted Vegetables + Miso Soup — Another favorite dish for a big crowd is a grain salad. You can toss it with simple, inexpensive seasonal roasted vegetables like squash or carrots — or baked tofu cubes — and then serve it with a side of basic miso soup for a very filling meal.
    Recipes: Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Miso Soup, Baked Tofu

<3 kt

  • Stew + Fresh Bread — One more classic way to feed a lot of mouths: soup or stew and bread. It’s filling and so delicious too.
    Recipes: Classic Beef Stew, No-Knead Bread In a Hurry
  • pack veggies & dip together!

    i am always looking for easier ways to pack lunches and especially veggies to snack on.  i just love this easy idea of combining the dip and veggies into one convenient packaging!

    We all strive to eat more vegetables during our day-to-day adventures, but there’s something slightly lackluster about opening your bag or container to find just six sad little carrot sticks. Dips can be messy and usually require more than one container, but not if you store them together!

    It wasn’t until a friend looked at us strangely for our snacking setup that it occurred to us that not everyone does this! So we thought we’d pass along our small tip that’s kept us snacking happily on carrots without packing extra bulk in our bags. Each day we pack a little mason jar filled with veggies and dip (this one happens to be Tofu, Bean and Basil) to carry with us throughout the day. Because there’s no extra packaging for the dip, it makes it easy to carry and easy to eat without the need for utensils. Plus, we trust the mason jar to keep its contents inside! We usually pack sturdy vegetables such as carrots and celery or broccoli and cauliflower — just make sure to cut your pieces into as long of shapes as you can for easy eating! Having the dip on hand makes the traditional vegetable snack a bit more fun and packs a little more punch for our palates. Any extra dip can simply be added to for the next day when you refill your jar!

    <3 kt

    leftover bagel ideas

    i love these ideas from!!!  you can also freeze bagels so they do not go bad and pull them out to defrost when you are craving one!

    1. Make Sandwiches – Because leftover bagels are a little too chewy for our taste, we pack the bagels and the sandwich fixings separately in our lunch. At work, we toast the bagels before assembling them into warm, crunchy sandwich.

    2. Make Bagel Pizzas – A favorite from when we were kids, and still a great quick weeknight meal! We smear the bagel with a little tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, and whatever pizza toppings we’re in the mood for, and then we bake them under the broiler or in a toaster oven until the cheese is bubbly.

    3. In Salad – Leftover bagels may be too stale to eat on their own, but we’ve found that we really like them torn up into big, soft croutons in our salad. They soak up a bit of the dressing, and add some substance to the salad. Sometimes we toast the bagel first for a little crunch.

    4. In Frittata – Like leftover pasta, we’ll throw cubes of bagel into a dinner frittata. Think of this as a quick, extra-eggy bread pudding!

    5. In Bread Pudding – And while we’re at it, why not make savory bread pudding?! We don’t usually have enough bagels left for a full-sized pudding, but we can make smaller ones in individual ramekins. Just fill a ramekin with bagel chunks, cheese, and veggies, then pour a mixture of egg and milk over the top. Let it sit for a little while and then bake at 350°.

    <3 kt

    how to freeze summer fruits

    with the heat at full capacity, fruits tend to spoil quicker.  you can save many of your fruits by freezing them.  here are some tips from

    As the detail oriented people at Cook’s Illustrated are wont to do, they froze six different kinds of summer fruit, using several different techniques, to see which held up the best.

    The overall verdict is that fruits must be frozen with some sugar (whether that’s sugar syrup or plain sugar depends on the fruit). Fruits frozen with nothing added ended up with a mushy texture and off flavors when defrosted a few months later, according to the CI testers.

    Peaches need some ascorbic acid to keep their color and texture, and cherries, unfortunately, didn’t fare well in any circumstance. The recommendation? Can them instead.

    you can read the wonderful article from Cook’s Illustrated here.

    <3 kt

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