August 8, 2011

Pepperoni Mac & Cheese

Sometimes I see a recipe so fabulous looking that I throw some of my frugal ways out the window and splurge to make something special.  This Pepperoni Macaroni & Cheese from Jam Hands is one of those extraordinary recipes.

With a base made from half and half, and nearly 5 cups of cheese, this is not your everyday macaroni and cheese.  It is rich, creamy, and some serious comfort food.

Pepperoni Macaroni & Cheese
Ingredients Cost Purchase Price of Ingredients

salt and pepper, to taste $0.000
1 box penne pasta $0.250Ronzoni (14.5 oz) $0.25
5 Tbsp butter $0.358Grassland (1 lb) $2.29
1 tsp minced garlic $0.083Christopher Ranch (4 oz) $1.99
4 Tbsp flour $0.023Sure Fine (5 lb) $1.69
2-1/2 cups half and half $1.119Sure Fine (32 oz) $1.79
2-1/2 cups Parmesan/Asiago/Romano blend $1.931Wyauwega (16 oz) $3.09
4 oz shredded cheddar $0.715Wyauwega (24 oz) $4.29
8 oz shredded mozzarella $1.430Wyauwega (24 oz) $4.29
1 pkg pepperoni, sliced thin $1.790Hormel (5 oz) $1.79
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs $0.036homemade bread crumbs
Cost per Recipe $7.734 makes a 9x9 pan

Find the full recipe and directions at Jam Hands.

I'll be honest, though, I spent every bite of this amazing casserole contemplating the fat can calorie content instead of enjoying it as a rare treat.

I’ve included the purchase price of my ingredients for reference. Obviously your costs to make this recipe may be higher, depending on your local market, current sales, if you purchase organic ingredients and many other factors. Or maybe your costs will be lower than mine because you rock at finding sales and combine coupons for super deals. I do try to buy my ingredients as cheaply as possible and hopefully on sale. Sure Fine or Food Club are house brands of the two main stores where I shop.

August 5, 2011

Cheesy Egg & Rice Bake $2.85 recipe

While I won't eat leftover rice plain, I am not opposed to remaking it into new and (sometimes) improved recipes. In fact, I often cook rice in large quantities and freeze in 2 cup portions so that I have it around to add to other things. Things like Bean & Rice Soup or this Cheesy Egg & Rice Bake.

This yummy recipe comes to you from Kate at Cooking During Stolen Moments.  I liked it a lot as a filling but meat-free dinner.

Cheesy Egg & Rice Bake
Ingredients Cost Purchase Price of Ingredients
eggs $0.329 Piggly Wiggly (12 ct.) $0.79
1-1/2 cups milk $0.252Friendly Farms (1 Gallon) $2.69
1 tsp salt $0.165Morton (26 oz) $0.50
1 tsp paprika $0.266Penzeys (1.0 oz) $3.19
1/2 tsp black pepper $0.033Tones (18 oz) $12.00
3 cups cooked rice $0.375Riceland (20 lb) $9.99
1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables $0.183TJ Farms (14 oz) $0.69
2 cups shredded cheese $1.250Crystal Farms (8 oz) $1.25
Cost per Recipe $2.853 makes 9x13 pan, 12 servings 
Cost per Serving $0.000

Find the printable recipe and instructions at Cooking During Stolen Moments.

I’ve included the purchase price of my ingredients for reference. Obviously your costs to make this recipe may be higher, depending on your local market, current sales, if you purchase organic ingredients and many other factors. Or maybe your costs will be lower than mine because you rock at finding sales and combine coupons for super deals. I do try to buy my ingredients as cheaply as possible and hopefully on sale. Sure Fine or Food Club are house brands of the two main stores where I shop.

August 3, 2011

Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Some people in my house- ahem... my husband, has a habit of not eating enough food for breakfast, not packing a lunch and then wondering why he's so hungry when he gets home from work.  I've been working on correcting all of these things.  I've got him packing a lunch now, but I find he eats best if I make something for breakfast.

Until I found this Overnight Breakfast Casserole at Amy's Finer Things

I baked this fabulous breakfast casserole on a Monday morning, and my husband and I ate it all week long.  I was just amazed at how well it heated up (in the microwave) day after day.  I cubed up fresh bread when I assembled it, but I think I might just start stashing odds and ends of hamburger and hot dog buns to use in this recipe in the future.

Overnight Breakfast Casserole
Ingredients Cost Purchase Price of Ingredients
1/2 lb sausage $0.495 country sausage (1 lb.) $0.99
1 cup cooked, diced ham $0.624Farmland (2.5 lb) $4.99
eggs $0.395Piggly Wiggly (12 ct) $0.79
6 slices bread $0.240homemade white bread $0.24
2 cups milk $0.311Piggly Wiggly 2% (1 gal) $2.49
1 tsp dry mustard $0.173Penzeys (1.9 oz) $3.45
1/2 tsp salt $0.002Morton (26 oz) $0.50
1 cup shredded cheddar $0.715Weauwega (24 oz) $4.29
Cost per Recipe $2.955 makes 9x13 pan
Cost per Serving $0.246  cut into 12 slices

Find the recipe and instructions at Amy's Finer Things.

I’ve included the purchase price of my ingredients for reference. Obviously your costs to make this recipe may be higher, depending on your local market, current sales, if you purchase organic ingredients and many other factors. Or maybe your costs will be lower than mine because you rock at finding sales and combine coupons for super deals. I do try to buy my ingredients as cheaply as possible and hopefully on sale. Sure Fine or Food Club are house brands of the two main stores where I shop.

August 1, 2011

Turn and face the strange

I packed our suitcases, left the children in the care of a relative, and slid back into the drivers seat.  Mike and I were quiet as we drove to a nearby town for a weekend of marriage nurturing. We were unsure of what we were getting into having no idea how much the direction of our lives would be changed, how much we would be changed.  The two people who walked into that retreat on Friday were not the same people who walked out on Sunday.  That was a little over a year ago.

You don't really see these sort of changes coming, nor can you prepare for them, and sometimes the aftermath is a bit unsettling.  Even when the change is positive it can take time to adjust, process and internalize.

I packed my suitcase, left my children with my husband and again slid behind the drivers seat.   This time I drove to a far away town for some creative nurturing. I was confident that the week would be similar to last year.  Perhaps, that confidence was part of my undoing.  I can hardly fathom the design of it; I can only rearrange the rubble.

The first three of my 5 days away from home were lonely and I wallowed into self pity, despair and futility. I questioned  motivations, choices and found myself deep in the darkness where I felt my only option, the only choice I truly had, was to pray.  I'd lost the illusion on control, and offered myself to a power higher than me.

My rescue was not in the darkness, but my prayer was heard and answered through the voice of a teacher. The words she spoke to me were not a new message, had actually been delivered by several people many times before. This time,  I heard the words and recognized the truth of them deep within me... and finally I believed. And I saw that I have no excuses; my biggest obstacle is me.

Sometimes I fight change. Sometimes I run and embrace the change.  This is one of those times.

I'm home now.  There is much work to be done.

July 29, 2011

Black Bean Enchiladas

I love enchiladas in every form and flavor... I like this particular recipe because it makes a large amount, so I can store extra filling in the freezer for a future meal.  The whole family enjoys these too, especially when topped with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes (sour cream optional).


This Black Bean Enchilada recipe comes from Deals to Meals. I've been making it for a while, and have always assumed that because it's made from beans (not meat) that it must be a fairly cheap meal to make. At $4.99 for a meal of 10 enchiladas it barely makes the Main Meals Under $5.00 category.  I was shocked to discover this.

I have to buy cream cheese to make this recipe, as its not an ingredient that I use much so I don't keep any in the fridge.  In the future I will leave it out and save myself nearly $1.00 on the preparation of these enchiladas.  I used twice as much black beans, and half as much refried beans than the recipe calls for- this was a cost saving choice too.



Black Bean Enchiladas
Ingredients Cost Purchase Price of Ingredients
1 can refried beans $0.790 Benita (16 oz.) $0.79
4 cups black beans $0.660homemade
3 oz cream cheese $0.890Philadelphia (3 oz) $0.89
1-1/2 cups sour cream $0.660Kemps (16 oz) $0.88
2/3 cup salsa $0.327Red Gold (16 oz) $0.99
Cost per Recipe $3.327 makes 6 cups of filling
Cost per Serving $0.554 per cup
1 cup Mexican blend shred cheese $1.095Dutch Farms (8 oz) $2.19
1 can green enchilada sauce $1.290Old El Paso (10 oz) $1.29
10 flour tortillas $1.500La Banderita (10 ct) $1.50
Cost per Recipe $4.994 10 enchiladas made using 2 cups filling

Find the recipe and instructions at Deals to Meals.

I’ve included the purchase price of my ingredients for reference. Obviously your costs to make this recipe may be higher, depending on your local market, current sales, if you purchase organic ingredients and many other factors. Or maybe your costs will be lower than mine because you rock at finding sales and combine coupons for super deals. I do try to buy my ingredients as cheaply as possible and hopefully on sale. Sure Fine or Food Club are house brands of the two main stores where I shop.
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