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Friday, May 31, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Cutting the Meat

I am not talking about about cutting meat out of your diet.
Though, having meat free meals once in a while can be tasty AND budget friendly.

There are ways to save some money on meat.

Stew meat costs more than a roast or maybe even steak on sale.
Buy the roast and cut it up.
Use what you need and freeze the rest.
And if you cut the cubes smaller than the stew meat you buy, there actually seems like more meat.
I usually end up with a bigger roast than I need because there are only three of us.
I cut the roast in half and cook that and cube the other half for a meal in the next few days.

Most grocery stores have meat counters and the worker will cut up or slice any meat you want.
If you find a boneless ham at a good price, take it to the meat counter and ask them to slice it and package it how you want.
My sister usually does this and gets so much of it deli-sliced for sandwiches and the rest in thicker pieces.
When a whole pork loin is on sale, get one and have them slice it into roasts or thinner to cook that way or even to make your own tenderloin sandwiches.
Same thing with a beef loin. You can get the most expensive cuts off the loins.

Another way to save on meat is just to use less.
If the recipe calls for a pound of meat, use 3/4 or maybe less if you want.
Especially if the meat is chopped or ground, you really don't even notice.

If your meat is in pound packages, cook it all.
Take out some of the cooked and save for another meal.
Cooked meat freezes well.

These are a few of my meat tips.
Do you have any?

Have a great Day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mushroom and Chicken Cobbler

 I love this dish. I always make it in the spring when morels are up. But, it is also delicious with button mushrooms that you can buy at the grocery store.

You will need a pan large enough to hold the chicken and that has a lid.

1 pound chicken meat
seasonings for making broth- I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley
1 cup water.

Heat the water to a boil.
Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1-2 hours.
Take out chicken and let cool. Chop.

Measure the water. You want 1 cup so if it is more, add back to pan and cook down until you get a cup.
Set aside.

2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion
8 oz. sliced button mushrooms. If using morels, use 2 cups halved.
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
salt, pepper and parsley to taste.

Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion and mushrooms.
Stir and cook for a few minutes.
When that is soft, sprinkle over the flour and cook and stir for a minute.
Pour the broth and milk over and stir in and cook until the sauce has thickened.
Add the chicken and taste. Season if you like.
Pour into a baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius.

Make the scone dough.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons milk
extra milk for brushing

In a bowl, add the flour and cut in the butter until it is crumbly.
Mix in the cheese.
Add the milk and work it in so it isn't sticky.
Roll out on a floured surface to a height of about an inch and cut out 12 rounds and place the rounds along the edge of the cobbler.
Brush with a little milk.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Serves 4.

I don't eat wheat so I used oat flour and it worked well.
When making the scones, the dough stayed sticky even with adding a little extra flour and adding a little flax meal..
To solve this, I divided the dough into 12 pieces and rolled them into balls and flattened.

It saves time and still works to use 1 pound cooked chicken meat and 1 cup of already made broth or broth made from a bouillon cube and water.
The broth is richer and more flavorful if you do have the time to make it from scratch.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Should You Buy in Bulk

You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk.
But, you may be wasting money too.

If it is something you can freeze or keeps for long periods of time, bulk is great.
But, if you buy something perishable and you don't use it- than you are wasting money.

Normally the price per ounce is cheaper the more you buy.
Not always.

Sometimes it is cheaper to buy two smaller containers than a large one.

If you want less waste from packaging, you buy one.
But, if your goal is to save money on your budget, you buy two.

Here are a few things you may not think of freezing:

Hard cheeses- buy some freezer containers and divide it into amounts you will use before the cheese gets old and moldy.

Bananas- you can get them cheap or even free when they are overripe. You can peel them and stick in containers and take them out and serve with chocolate for a nice frozen treat. Or, put the unpeeled bananas in a bag and take them out when you want to bake. Let them thaw, cut the end off, ans squish out the fruit. No mashing required.

Milk- Pour a bit out of the jug and stick in freezer. Thaw slowly in fridge overnight before using.

You cooked some meat and have meat leftover. Instead, cook all of it and stick what you don't need in the freezer.

Have a great Friday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

All American Apple Pie

In honor of National Apple Pie Day, I have decided to repost my favorite apple pie recipe.
I hope you enjoy!

I have always been a huge fan of apple pie. It is one of my top two favorites.
I prefer a butter crust for this pie. But, a simple shortening pie crust tastes marvelous here too.
It isn't super simple but the results are worth it.


Dough for a double 9" pie crust

5-6 apples, cored, peeled and sliced- you will need to have 8 cups sliced apples
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, optional
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Make the dough for the pie crusts and wrap and refrigerate while making the apple filling.

Put the sliced apples into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss well.
Let it set for an hour to bring out the apple juices.

Take the pie dough out to soften.

Drain the juices into a small saucepan.
Add the butter.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Swirl the liquid so it doesn't burn, but you don't need to stir.
Reduce the liquid by about half.
Put the apples back into the large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss till cornstarch is blended in.
Add the reduced liquid.
Toss well.

On a floured counter, roll out the bottom crust.
Add the filling.
Roll out top crust and lay it over the filling.
Fold the top down under the bottom crust and press to seal.
Crimp the edges with fingers or a fork.
Cover with a towel and refrigerate while preheating the oven.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the pie out of the fridge and brush the top with milk.
Sprinkle with sugar.
With a knife, make some slashes in the top to let steam escape.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or til the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the juices are bubbling thickly through the slashes.
After 30 minutes protect with a pie shield or foil ring.

Let rest for a few hours before serving.

Serves 6-8.

The lemon juice gives a more complex taste. If you want the pure classic taste of the apples, leave it out.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays

I decided to start giving a few tips on being frugal.
Over the years, I have really learned to stretch a dollar.

Food and frugality doesn't always involve the use of coupons.
That is really what most people seem to think of first.

Really, I don't use a lot of coupons.
It is hard for me to find them for either the brands or types of foods I buy.

One of the biggest money savers is cooking from scratch.
At first, it may seem like it costs more to buy all the individual ingredients.
But, you will have left over ingredients for other meals or baked goods.

If you work full-time, it can be hard.
It is still doable.

Use your crockpot.
Do some of your prep work before work that morning or the night before. Refrigerate if needed.
Set aside a day every few weeks and make meals ahead and stick them in the freezer. Thaw the night before and heat up when you get home.

Every Friday, I plan to give you tips on saving money.
It can be easier than you think.

Happy Friday!