For Smart Couples…Forget the Recession! Learn how to pay 1960's Prices for everything from salad dressing to dressing up for a night out!

Posts tagged ‘budget recipes’

Top 11 DIY Recipes for Cheaper, Healthier “Convenience” Recipe Ingredients…Get Your Grocery Bill Lower Than Ever!

Cheap, Healthy Homemade Alternatives to Popular “Convenience Foods” Commonly Used in Recipes

Face it, there are a TON of ingredients that are commonly used in recipes that even the most vigilant home cook routinely reaches for on the grocery shelves without thinking that there may be a cheaper (and healthier) version available.

Here are several of the most common recipe ingredients that I’ve used in my cooking, and the DIY alternative recipes I’ve found for them. Even if you don’t use these all the time (I know life can be hectic!), they can come in handy when grocery sales/coupons are uninspiring, because they are generally way more affordable (even with sales and coupons!)  than their packaged counterparts.

These recipes are all easy, inexpensive and healthy. If you have a few extra minutes of time they are a great alternative to buying the packaged alternatives that are often laden with sodium, preservatives, and unpronounceable chemical additives. If you grow a few of your own vegetables and herbs in the summer, and/or buy spices in bulk, the cost for many of these is slim to nil.



What’s For Dinner? Super-Cheap Ground Meat, Chicken, Pasta and Potato Recipes (Based on Sales and Coupon Matchups 9/6-9/14)

Listed below are a few new recipes designed to utilize the best grocery deals that were available starting yesterday.

I was especially excited about these finds, and did some internet sleuthing to find a few new dinners to cook in the upcoming days:

  • Ground Chuck $1.99/lb (at Shop ‘n Save)
  • 10 lb bag of potatoes $1.98 (at Shop ‘n Save)
  • Helluva Good Cheese, multiple varieties, 8 oz, $1 (at Giant Eagle, with coupon)
  • Ragu Pasta Sauce and  Giant Eagle brand Pasta $2.25 for 2 jars and 1 box of pasta (Giant Eagle, with coupon)
  • 3 lb bag of boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts $5…or $1.34 to $1.67 per lb ($4 if you got them last week, at Shop ‘n Save)
  • Skippy Peanut Butter $1.69 (at Giant Eagle, with coupon)

These are recipes utilizing two or more of these great deals (these will all feed four people for under $5…some for WELL under $5…and don’t be afraid of substitutions/omissions on the ingredients…make it work with what you already have!)

Happy Cooking!!

Crock Pot Madness!! Devilishly Simple and Delightfully Delish Pot Roast for $5 (or less!)

Crock Pot 4-Quart Oval, in super-sleek black!!

As you probably know by now, I loooove me some Crock Pot dinners! Above is my favorite style (I have three). This medium sized guy is awesome for two people because it holds about a 4 pound maximum weight pot roast or pork roast or chicken, which is perfect for feeding us and a couple friends a nice meal…or just feeding us alone for the evening, and supplying us with ample leftovers for the next day or so. I also have a super-big-daddy Crock for JUMBO meals or big party foods, and I have an itty-bitty baby Crock for party dips. I’ve got the whole freakin’ family! The model above is the Crock Pot brand, is priced just right at under $25 on, and has gotten rave reviews. (just click on the crock if you don’t believe me that it’s the bomb…c’mon, I dare ya!)

ANYWAY…this pot roast recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s basically just three ingredients, but you can feel free to add quartered potatoes and carrots into the Crock with it if that’s how you like it. Personally, I looove to make my homemade mashed potatoes on the side, because this recipe makes it’s own super-yummy gravy that is divine on mashed potatoes. My simple version goes like this:

Devilish and Delightful Pot Roast

  1. I give a 2.5 to 3.5 lb pot roast a nice olive-oil and garlic sauce massage on both sides, and if possible, let it chill in the fridge for a few hours. If you’re pressed for time, no big deal. It will still be scrumptious.

  2. In a large skillet on high heat, I sear the roast on all sides, about a minute or two on each side, to get a tasty, blackened crust and seal in the juices.

  3. While the roast is on the heat, simply mix together a packet of dry french onion soup mix, one or two cans of cream of mushroom sauce, depending on how much xtra gravy you want, and a few TBS of either Worcestershire or Steak Sauce (like A1), whatever tickles your taste buds. Mix it up a bit so it’s not too lumpy.

  4. Add the seared roast and cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours.

  5. Stick a fork in there to serve that bad boy and it’s gonna be so tender it will fall apart, so you may as well just stick two forks in the Crock and give it a nice, healthy shred.

And that’s all folks…

Seriously, you will have the most tender, flavorful, picky-husband and kid proof roast of your life…and it took you less time to put together than a quick makeup job. Bravo!

Now, the trick to eating this meal for under five bucks is to wait until the roasts go on sale for BOGO at your grocery store…and they always do. When they do, I usually stock up on several. That way, if you’re buying a roast that costs $6, and getting the second one free, the cost of the roast is only $3. Soooo…..

  • Roast $3

  • French onion soup dry mix (generic) 50 cents

  • cream of mushroom soup (generic from Aldi’s) 40 cents

  • Few TBS of Worcestershire (ummm…maybe 5 cents?)

  • Some potatoes from when the 10 lb bag was on sale for $2.50…50 cents

  • Butter, milk, a splash of olive oil and a little garlic salt 50 cents 

Right around $4.95 for a hearty, home-cooked, stick-to-your-ribs dinner!! It’s possible the potatoes we used were definitely less than 50 cents, so use the leftover money to add a can or frozen bag of corn or peas, or some free garden veggies and some homemade garlic toast or a nice loaf of bread.