Frugal Cookin’ Carnival
Update: I guess I should mention that our meals are mostly vegetarian. I do buy my husband lots of cheese and pepperoni but other than cheese, eggs, honey, and yogurt we don’t buy much in the way of animal products. It is just plain too expensive, plus I HATE cooking meat. Also my husband and I and one of the kids have a severe allergy to poultry and all of us can only eat hormone/antibiotic free–so unless someone gets us a deer we go without.
I don’t pre-plan meals, I make up a slew of things on Sunday and we all eat what we want of it when we want–especially since each has some things they can’t or won’t eat. That said they eat healthy foods because we don’t have junk in the house and they have seldom had junk food in the first place. So, I adapted this slightly to suit our family-instead of divided up into individual meals it is divided into parts, just like the list of foods the kids has of what they can have for each meal. Also I buy everything in bulk which makes figuring out individual things a bit iffy–for instance I buy organic oatmeal and flour in 25# bags and use organic dry milk for yogurt, organic noodles in 10# bags, and buy yeast in 5# bags–almost all of it is organic due to our eldest’s food issues. The following foods are what the kids and I will eat over a week (my husband eats when he is hungry–usually cheese and pretzels and pepperoni or calzones if I make them) , each Sunday I make some new bulk foods (last week it was calzones, cookies, muffins, and bread, this week it is pot pie, granola, granola bars, bread, and soup. and lots of yogurt and yogurt cheese–Regardless of how they mix and match things each meal comes in at about $1 a person, usually closer to $.60 a meal.) Some of the recipes I have already posted here or at my previous site, Gracedbychrist.com.
Breakfasts and snacks:
- Homemade granola with honey and flax seed— 1 cup –$.15
- homemade plain yogurt (the kids add jam sometimes)–1 cup $.16
- eggs — 3 $.50
- homemade bread –2 slices (total loaf is $.50 to make so I am estimating the two slices of bread would be $.10)
- homemade jam (I like the recipes linked here.)–1 T on this I am really not sure since I used what I had to make it–maybe $.10 since it used raw sugar and bought berries?
- soy milk (bought at Sam’s Club)–1 cup $.29
- homemade granola bars (see recipe below)–2 bars–$.34
- oatmeal–1/2 cup $.09 plus 1/2 cup soy milk $.15
- noodles with margarine or cheese–1 cup plus 2 slice cheese $.15
- noodles with veggies and sauce (I use Bragg’s, with some onion powder and garlic for flavor and whatever veggies I have on hand or I cook noodles in reheated homemade veggie soup which is essentially the same thing)–1 cup $.20
- salad with nuts and cheese–1 cup plus 1/4 c nuts and 1 slice cheese $.80 (this will be cheaper soon as we have lettuce coming up–this is my normal meal most days.)
- fruit salad (mango, banana, grapes, pears, plums) with nuts–1 cup $.70
- mini veggie pot pies–2 muffin tins worth $.10
- homemade vegetable soup (recipe below)–2 cups $.08
- peanut butter with homemade jelly sandwiches –1 sandwich $.60
- eggs– 3 $.50
- frozen veggies with sharp cheddar cheese–1 cup $.60
- mini cheese calzones (pictured below: all they are is some bread dough cut in a square with filling then fold up the sides to meet in the middle and bake)–2 for $.30
Recipes below the pictures.
Homemade Yogurt and Yogurt Cheese
To make the yogurt bring milk to almost a boil to kill bacteria or use warm water to reconstitute powdered milk, allow to cool, combine about1/2c yogurt to 1/2 gallon milk–allow to sit covered on top of stove in glass container for 6-8 hours. You can then make yogurt cream cheese by straining it in cheese cloth.
We just fill a pot with water and throw in all the veggies we have available–including but not limited to:
potatoes, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, onion, pepper, plus kidney beans–occasionally I throw in texturized vegetable protein but not usually. To this I add garlic powder, onion powder, and Bragg’s Liquid Amino to taste. I cook it until all the veggies are softened but not squishy. I usually freeze half of it and put the other half to be cooked with noodles for a casserole type dish or as filling in pot pies.
For the pot pies I strain out most of the broth and use my grandmother’s pie crust recipe for the crust. I use muffin tins to form the potpies, bake them until just before they turn golden then freeze them in a container. I also make a few large pot pies to freeze in individual containers for quick takeout meals.
Homemade Granola Bars
Keep in mind this is to taste–everyone has different things they like in granola bars, I like mine slightly chewy with lots of nuts and raisins.
Combine equal parts granola +whatever dry ingredients you like with liquid sweetener and nut butter, For example I use almonds, raisins, peanuts, carob chips with granola and mix them with an equal amount wet ingredients: peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup. If it is too sticky add more dry ingredients. Mix well then flatten into a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. Bake at a low temperature for several hours (I usually keep it at 200 degrees or so for a few hours then I cut them and refrigerate them in the pan.) This is not an exact science and some come out stickier than others but the kids and I like variety. 🙂 They are not quite equal to bought granola bars but the price makes it well worth it–especially since no matter how much I make the kids will eat them all before they go bad.
Great meals! My kid love granola, but I hardly ever buy it b/c of the cost. I really need to try and make it!
I really like that idea of making pot pies in muffin tins. What a great way to produce individual portions.
Those little pot pies are so very adorable!! Thanks so much for participating in my carnival!
Mary, mom to many
I just found your blog from Owlhaven’s – and I love your ideas! Our family eats basically the same as yours. We are constantly trying to find more recipes to accommodate us that actually taste good! So, thank you for posting!
Thanks for the insight on cooking for an allergic family. I like how you make a lot ahead of time and people can eat what they like.
I also like the mini-pot pies! Not to mention the cook everything at the beginning of the week and just eat out of the freezer … we might have to try that out here.
Great stuff! I’ve bookmarked your granola recipe to give it a try. Thanks for your comment on food allergies on my blog. I’d be interested to know more about the food enzymes.
Looks like you run your kitchen very smoothly.
We always have fruit available. We have cereal for breakfast–middle of the road Cheerios/Mini Wheats. Peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. And yummy dinners of meat and fresh veggies.
Heather, this is a SERIOUSLY inspiring post. WOW.
I loved this timely post and also the link to Owlhaven!!!
Wonderful to see you writing about yogurt cheese. We like it so much we wrote a cookbook and guide to expand its uses. We even paid to have yogurt cheese analyzed in a lab for nutritional content. Yogurt cheese (or YoChee as we call it) is a wonderful versatile ingredient you can make at home to improve your own yogurt. It has substantial health and taste benefits (a creamy food which is low or no fat plus high protein and calcium). I hope you will take a look at,” Eat Well the YoChee Way” our guide and cookbook to this important food. It really increases the use of yogurt cheese to main courses, soups, sauces, desserts, and much more. (Nutritional content included). Our website YoChee.com contains a free yogurt cheese how – to slide show, nutrition information and free recipes.
Wow, what a wealth of information here! I’ve been wanting to make yogurt and will have to give it a go soon.
I like your style.
A family favoite is to make biscuts in muffin tins. Fill the biscuts with anything (meat loaf, cheese, eggs/cheese, any meat etc). Freeze them and pull out anytime and reheat.