September 26, 2011


Freezing food is a great way to save money. Most foods can be frozen, which means you can buy in bulk and save for later. For example, say beef is on sale, you can buy a larger cut of meat than you'll eat at one meal, cut it into pieces, and freeze it to make a meal with it later, even months from now. You can also freeze foods such as bread, berries, and seafood.
Be careful though, there are some foods that do not freeze well. For instance, canned foods, mayo, and eggs in shells don't do well in the freezer.

Want more information? The USDA has instructions and tips on their website.

September 19, 2011

It's as Easy as 123

Do you ever need a dessert for something but are running short on time and money? I have the answer. These cookies are so easy and so cheap. They're so simple, you'll probably have the recipe memorized after making them once.
Here it is:

123 Cookies
1 Cake Mix (I like lemon or chocolate best)
2 Eggs
1/3 cup Oil

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix until dough forms. Form dough into balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar and place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

So easy! And so cheap! Cake mixes run about a dollar a piece, so a dozen of these cookies will cost you about $1.50. Awesome right?

September 12, 2011

Crock-Pot Pot Roast with Gravy

Mmmm.... pot roast. So tasty, and surprisingly, not too expensive if done right. Pot roast can also be made and frozen, thus giving you leftovers for a later date.

1 medium sized pot roast
5 cups water
5-6 red potatoes
1/2 pound carrots
1 large onion
1 Lipton brand onion soup or herb and garlic mix
salt and pepper to taste

For the meat, I like to buy the cheapest cut possible, while still being good quality. Add the meat and 2 cups water to the Crock-Pot first, turn to low and let cook for approximately 4 hours. Next, add the potatoes, carrots, and onion. For the veggies, I like to use what I have laying around my apartment, which this week included some red potatoes, onions, and baby carrots. Sprinkle soup mix on top, then pour in the remaining 3 cups of water. Turn the Crock-Pot to high and let it cook for 2 more hours.

For the Gravy:
Take 3 cups of water from the Crock-Pot and pour into a sauce pan on the stove. Turn the stove to high. Next, whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch or flour. Make sure to whisk continuously or you'll end up with lumpy gravy.

Voila! A simple, tasty, and inexpensive meal for the whole family.

September 5, 2011

Before We Start Cooking...

Before we start cooking, lets start with some basics. If you want to cook great food on a small budget, there is some equipment you should own. 
First, you need some standard pots and pans. You will also need spatulas, wooden spoons,whisks, etc. to use with these pots and pans. No need for anything fancy. If you don't have any, I suggest Target, Walmart, or Ikea, which have fairly inexpensive kitchen supplies. Thrift stores are also an option, just be smart and don't buy something that will break the first time you use it. Family and friends are also a great resource. Just let them know you need some and chances are they'll give you the stuff they were thinking about getting rid of, that's how I got mine.
1.6 quart slow-cooker
$16.99 at Target
Second, you will need a 9x13 inch or 8x8 inch glass baking pan. Pyrex or Anchor brands are the best and will last forever unless you drop it. 
Third, I suggest you get a slow-cooker. Slow-cookers are great for making just about anything, such as soup, chicken, beans, even bread and cake. Also, using a slow-cooker requires very little effort. If you are just cooking for a few people, I suggest a 2 quart slow-cooker, which will cost you $20 or less at Target or Walmart.
Fourth, I strongly suggest that you get a rice cooker/food steamer, it will make your life so much easier. Rice is a very inexpensive food and is very good for you. If you follow the directions on the rice cooker, your rice will never burn, thus saving you money. A rice cooker that is also a food steamer is excellent because you can make an entire well-balanced meal by cooking rice on the bottom and steaming meat and vegetables on the top. If you are not cooking for a lot of people, I suggest a 4 to 6 cup rice cooker/food steamer, which will run you about $20 or less at Walmart or Target.
6 cup rice cooker/food steamer
$16.99 at Target
Fifth, if you want to do any baking you will need a rolling pin, baking sheets, and a wooden cutting board. Again, these don't have to be super nice. Target and Walmart have good prices on this sort of thing.