Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Most Frugal Soup - Garbage Soup Recipe

The Most Frugal Soup Recipe Ever!

Garbage soup is probably one of the most frugal soup recipes you can make. Garbage soup is basically a recipe made from all of our food scraps that would get thrown away.

Do you just hate throwing away food? So Do I. My solution to this is to save up soup type ingredients to make a pot of soup. In our freezer is a big tub that I put all the leftover vegetables and meat that I would have to toss from not being eaten. I am always looking for what to make with leftover cooked vegetables.
vegetable soup recipe, frugal recipes, cheap crockpot soup recipe

What Leftovers Can You Save For Your Soup:

  1. Always error on the side of caution. I save meat only a few days and it has to be frozen and freezing vegetables for future soup is easy and can be saved after a little longer from the refrigerator. 
  2. Think about what you save and if you would like it and the flavor of it in your soup. I once saved baked beans and tried that and yuck! Let me just say they can't just go in a veggie soup.
  3. If you have some carrots or onions that are not cooked but getting ready to be tossed go ahead and chop and add to your freezer future soup container. Same goes for celery.
  4. Rice is great to add to soup but I try if I can to add that at the last minute so it does not get too mushy. If it is already mixed in the soup bucket, no worries just add it.
  5. Potatoes are tricky. Leftover potatoes can become mushy so I don't usually save them for soup. I might scramble up with some eggs and use them up like that. Now if you have leftover mashed potatoes I have the best potato cheese soup recipe to make from leftover mashed potatoes so check that out here...frugal potato soup
  6. If the meat I have saved is mostly chicken, I use a chicken broth, if it is mostly beef then beef broth and vegetable broth is great with both.

Preparing The Soup:

  1. Crock pot or stove top is fine. I usually add broth to the pan first and add my ingredients, adding more broth if needed. This is really a cheap crockpot soup recipe.
  2. Thawing the ingredients isn't necessary but I try to take the container out that morning as I save cook time (saves money) and I can separate out any ingredients I need to.
  3. Add a can of diced tomatoes if you like a tomato base for your soups.
  4. If you want to really jazz up the soup then you can add some shredded cheese on top or a small bag of frozen meatballs.
  5. You can of course add some boiled noodles as a filler if your soup is too brothy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cuban Sandwiches

Quick, what to make for dinner that is quick and easy but filling and yummy. Enter the Cuban sandwiches. Grilled cheese and ham and a few extra tangy ingredients deliver the yummiest grilled sandwich ever!

grilled sandwich, panini recipes, Cuban sandwiches

The real recipe does not call for tomatoes but my husband and I wanted them on there and boy what a taste. So good!!

grilled ham sandwich, Cuban sandwiches

How To Make Cuban Sandwiches

Sliced sour dough bread or any other sturdy bread
sliced ham
cheddar cheese
sliced pickles

  1. Butter the bread first on the outside and assemble the sandwiches while your pan is heating up.
  2. Add mustard to the inside of your bread slices.
  3. Layer, cheese, ham and pickle slices. (We added fresh garden tomatoes too).
  4. Grill on both sides until cheese is melted.

DIY Panini Press

 You could just make these grilled Cuban sandwiches but if you want them pressed and don't have a panini maker like me, then you can use two pans. You are supposed to fill a tea kettle to set on the top pan for pressing but I don't have one right now so I filled a pan with some water which was a little wonky but worked. Just toast on one side and then flip for a couple more minutes.
Sometimes I use my iron skillet and just press real firmly with the backside of a spatula to act as my own panini press.
Some cool creamy potato salad would be the perfect side to this hot tangy sandwich. You can find the recipe to my mom's famous potato salad on our recipe page.

Friday, August 30, 2019

How To Make A Smoked Peach Pie In Your Treager

With all the fresh peaches available in summer you have to take baking outside and bake a smoked peach pie on your Traeger or smoker. Hands down we all agreed this was the best pie I had ever made.
So if you are like me the oven doesn't get much use in the summer. I just can't heat up the whole kitchen to bake something. But, I had all these wonderful peaches off our tree and wanted to make a pie so we baked it on our Traeger/pellet smoker grill out on the patio. 

Boy, it came out perfectly and the flavor was oh so good. The crust was perfect and flaky but had the most delicious slightly smokey flavor. Oh my that contrast with the sweet tangy peach pie filling made for the best pie recipe ever!

grilled peach pie, BBQ pie

Baking A Pie On Your Traeger/Smoker Grill

First, either prepare your favorite crust from scratch or like me, buy premade crusts and make life easier.

Second, go ahead and use your favorite peach pie filling recipe. I switch around to my faves online.

peach pie recipe, grilled desserts

Third, assemble the pie and add a few dollops of butter on your peach filling.

Lastly, brush the top of your pie crust with an egg wash. An egg wash makes the pie come out so beautiful and shiny.

peach pie filling

Time To Bake Your Pie On Your Traeger

Preheat your Traeger to 400 degrees for 15 minutes and place the pie in a metal pie pan right onto the grill. Close the lid and bake for 50 minutes. The Traeger website says 50 - 60 minutes baking time but we pull our pies off at about 50 minutes and they are perfectly done so bake to your liking.

pie on the smoker, barbecue dessert recipe

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How To Grow Japanese Maples In Hot Climate

In our garden we have four different types of Japanese Maples.  So how do you care for a Japanese maple? And how about caring for them in hot sunny southern California? Well, I will show you our trees and tell you how I care for them.

Japanese maples, garden trees, emperor maple

Red Emperor Japanese Maple

We have two large and two smaller Japanese maples. This large red Emperor Maple is four years old. It gets direct afternoon sun in the summer so caring for it is important. Japanese maples are an investment and can be very expensive. This tree cost us $250 four years ago and now they are double that price at the same nursery so you want to take very good care of your Japanese maples.

red emperor maple

Bloodgood Japanese Maple

This tree is by far the most sensitive to the summer heat so we planted this one in a mostly shaded location. It receives dappled morning sun only. With a low growth pattern we lightly top it in fall and trim the sides to keep the pathway clear.

bloodgood japanese maple

Japanese Maple Green Leaf

Japanese maple green leaf

Taking Care Of Your Japanese Maple Tree In Hot Weather

1. At the time of planting if you can choose a spot that has afternoon shade but morning sun, that is ideal. However, I have my emperor maple in mostly afternoon sun and it can get scorched a little in triple digit temps but now that it is older, it is doing well tolerating it. If you have a very young maple you can shade a little with an umbrella or something, it would help in a heat wave.

2. Japanese maple are shallow rooted so mulch well. Some I have planted in the grass which works well to protect the roots and keep the moisture in. Once a year I clean below the trees and lay a nice thick layer of mulch or wood chips over the ground.

3. Keep soil moist but do not over water. The do not like soggy standing water. Our Japanese maple get water from our automatic sprinklers but in the summer I lay the hose around the base in different areas about twice a week for a longer soak. Do this especially if some really hot days are ahead.

4. Fertilize every spring with Fox Farm fertilizer  especially for Japanese Maples. This bag lasts me about 2 years but makes such a difference in the growth and leafing of our trees.

naturtiums, hot weather gardening

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Calzone Dough Recipe

A family favorite dinner is Calzones! My kids and husband loves my easy calzone dough recipe and requests it often. You can stuff these yummy dough pockets with everything from pizza toppings to shredded roast beef, vegetable or even just cheese.

calzones, fillings for calzone

The only thing you have to remember is to give yourself a couple hours ahead of time to mix the dough and then let it rise before rolling out. Plus, making your own homemade pizza is not full of preservatives or additives. You can actually read all the ingredients.

Calzone Dough Recipe:

Two hours before baking, mix dough and set aside in a warm place to rise. If you kitchen is really cold you can let it rise covered, in the oven turned OFF.
  • 2 tbl. yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbl. olive oil (you can use canola or veg. oil too)
  • 2 tsp salt (I use 1 1/2 to cut the sodium a bit)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 5 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in you mixing bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook. Let this sit for five minutes then add everything else but the flour and stir well. Now add the flour one cup at a time mixing in well. I let my dough hook knead the dough for a couple minutes then I place the ball of dough in a well greased large bowl and flip once so the top of the dough is oiled as well. Cover with plastic wrap and set to rise. This makes two very large calzones or four smaller ones. This dough is great for making pizza crust as well as you can see below.

easy pizza dough recipe

Please feel free to visit our recipe page with over a 100 family friendly recipes. I am a pretty frugal cook so if you are looking for frugal meals that are mostly made from scratch this is a great list to get some ideas from cakes, salads, appetizers and main dishes and more.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

My Favorite Kitchen Tool, A Meat Masher - A Kitchen Quick Tip

If I had to say what kitchen tool, not an appliance, but a hand tool I love the most in the kitchen, it would be my ground meat chopper. I actually don't cook that much ground meat but I use this meat masher tool for so many things that need a bit of chopping up.

meat masher, meat chopper, kitchen tips

I cook everyday, often breakfast, lunch and dinner so I love tools that are easy to grab and have multiple purposes. I keep my masher right next to the stove in the tool caddy.

Multiple uses for a meat chopper:

  1. Besides ground meat, I use my chopper to shred any meat I am cooking up in the crock pot for say tacos or meat sandwiches. It perfect chops up shredded chicken or beef.
  2. I use it to mash potatoes up before I am ready to whip them up for mashed potatoes.
  3. It easily crushes bread crumbs or corn flakes for toppings or mix ins.
  4. When I make banana bread it mashes the bananas super quick.
  5. If I need to tenderized some meat, this works perfectly.
  6. For egg salad sandwiches, this chops the eggs up in no time.
  7. I have even used this masher to break up dried egg shells to spread in the garden.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Our Favorite Ground Beef, Ground Turkey and Chicken Recipes

Ground meats are a frugal way to cook and stretch the ever increasing grocery prices. Save money and follow some of these yummy family friendly ground beef, turkey and chicken recipes. Our Favorite Ground Beef, Ground Turkey and Chicken Recipes will save you money but more importantly your family will be happy when you serve up these scrumptious family friendly recipes.

Ground Meat Recipes:

3. Freezer Breakfast Burritos
4. Easy Notsagna
5. Greek Chicken Burgers
6. Homemade Meatballs
7. Cheeseburger Quesadillas
8. Taco Salad
9. Mexican Meatball Soup

And here is a great tip on lowering the fat content in your ground beef and pork: Tip to lower fat in ground beef.
Affiliate links in this post...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Vintage Kitchen Decor

We have a vintage 1958 kitchen so finding fun vintage kitchen decor is always top of mind. This blue vase has been in this house for decades so we mixed it up with some polka dots and cherries for vintage decorating fun.

While wiping the kitchen down and playing around with my shelf when I put everything back, I decided all the pokie dotted things needed to live together.

My kids and their friends are making fun of my funny blue vase but I think she looks good up there by the little pitcher.

What is it about dots? I love them. But I love a lot of stuff and that my friends can be a problem.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

How To Doctor Up Canned Baked Beans

We love baked beans but like to jazz them up and here is how to doctor up canned baked beans. 
A combination of sweet and tangy additions take canned baked beans to super yummy!

A few additions of what to add to canned baked beans and you will never go back to plain baked beans from the can.

Doctored Up Canned Baked Beans

I like Bush's Baked Beans. They are my favorite. You can modify the additional ingredients to your taste for sweeter or more savory.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
  • 28 ounce Baked Beans
  • Generous Squirt Yellow Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Molasses
  • Couple Shakes Dried Minced Onions
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour beans in saucepan. Add other ingredients. Heat and simmer slow for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Check out our recipe page for my oven baked recipe for awesome baked beans and many more recipes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Farmhouse Valentine Kitchen Decor

I wasn't quite ready but hubby took down Christmas and went straight to Valentine Kitchen Decor arranging. He took our little tree in the fresh eggs daily bucket and turned it into a Valentine tree.

From farmhouse Valentine decor and a little prim Valentine our kitchen is so cozy. As always full credit goes to the hubby as he does all our decorating.

Our Valentine Kitchen

Hubby left all the black and white enamel in the kitchen and added touches of red and hearts that will be the perfect January to February decor.

farmhouse decorating, vintage kitchen decor, Valentine tree

This little shelf has a place in my heart and holds our main kitchen display area.

black and white check curtains, enamelware pitcher, February decorating ideas

pip berries, enamelware decor, farmhouse kitchen
This is my mom's old cheese grater and I love to display it. I think it makes a nice prim or vintage Valentine statement.

prim Valentine, vintage grater display

 A little rustic Christmas tree was tucked into our fresh eggs daily bucket. Some glass heart ornaments and other hearts add the finishing touches. The perfect farmhouse February decorating.
I can't wait to see what hubby has in store for spring.

black and white enamelware, fresh eggs daily