Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spinach-Cheese Swirls

This recipe is from the back of the Puff Pastry Sheets box (Pepperidge Farm brand).

Ingredients & Prices

1/2 of a 17.3 oz. pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet) - $1.45
1 egg - $0.15
1 Tbsp Water
1/2 cup shredded Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese (I used MJ) - $0.45
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese - $0.63
1 green onion, chopped - $0.17
1/8 tsp garlic powder (I used 1 clove minced garlic instead) - $0.03
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained - $0.95


Follow instructions for thawing pastry sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix egg and water. 

Lay out pastry sheet and brush with about half of egg mixture, maybe a little less. 

Stir cheeses, onion, and garlic together. Top pastry sheet with cheese mixture and spinach. Roll it up. Good luck. It's hard. Try to get it tight and pinch the ends. Make sure your counter has some flour on it before you put down the pastry sheet. Else, badness ensues. Really.

Slice into 20 1/2 inch slices. I got about 15. 

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Wait for the golden. It's worth it.

Warm or at room temp, yummy.

Sorry that the pictures aren't super crazy awesome. But still, they look yummy. 

Total Price for 15 Spinach-Cheese Amazings: $3.83

We ate these (about half of them) andouille sausage and rice. Today, my five year old and I finished them at lunch. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mark Bittman's Fastest Yeast Bread

Ingredients & Prices

3 Cups Flour - $0.36
2 tsp quick rise yeast - $0.43
1 tsp salt - $0.01
1/4 Cup Olive Oil - $0.44
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt - $0.03
1 Cup Warm Water

Total Cost 1 Loaf Bittman's Bread: $1.27

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday - Things I Haven't Posted


Alright, y'all. I know it, I'm a terrible blogger. I have not been true to you. I even had only one child this whole week and have spent the time chasing the other child, planning, cleaning, and going to Co-op, so I have not posted. As an apology and in effort to keep a reader or two, I will post on all three blogs today. Thanks for hosting Quick Takes, Jen, y'all head over there when you finish with me.


This was last night's white rice fried in veggie oil with onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and kosher salt. The largest expense here would probably be the lime juice. I'd recommend buying limes to save money but the juice in large quantities to save time. It really depends on your kid situation. When my kids are grown, I'll buy limes. We had this for dinner last night with the enchiladas below. My husband and I didn't get much of the rice, since my one year old daughter loved it so much and ate most of it before the sposo got home.

Sorry for the TERRIBLE picture here. I suddenly realized that I ought to be taking a picture, as I had enough stuffing left for one enchilada. These enchiladas were great and cheaper than the pork ones I made. I just used some leftover taco meat and added in fresh ground beef after sauteeing an onion, a clove of garlic, a jalapeno and a half of a green pepper (both from the garden!) in about a tablespoon on butter. Then I tossed in about 2 tablespoons of sour cream to make it more liquidy and about a cup and a half or so of shredded cheddar. I tossed them into warmed up corn tortillas, like before, and covered them in some Old El Paso enchilada sauce. I know. I could make home made sauce. I just have not yet discovered a recipe for ancho sauce/enchilada sauce anywhere near as good as Texas. As Larry's. You know, on the bridge in Richmond? Oh, how I would love to make their sauce. Alas.


Spaghetti with tomato sauce, well seasoned from the garden (basil and oregano from garden) with a hearty-sized garlic clove and butter cooked spinach greens in there somewhere. Super cheap sans meat and the kids looooove it. With even more o's, but I don't want to annoy you.


I made this cake for the first time last Michaelmas (Sept. 29). It came from Catholic Cuisine, one of my favorite websites for Saint Day food ideas. This delicious apple cake is now a tradition. Two years in a row! Not pictured is the fantastic caramel glaze, but you can see that at my other blog on last year's cake.


See that foam standing up on its own? Yum. If you have an espresso machine, I suggest that you let the milk warm on the counter in your steam cup for five to ten minutes (ten better) to get better foam. Just on the counter, don't cook it.  In Italy, when I worked at the capp bar on campus, the milk wasn't even refrigerated. It was boxed milk kept in the closet. Wild, eh?


This is PW's chicken fried steak with our own garden green beans (we didn't get many) and my very own heavy butter and creamed mashed sweet taters. So delish. The steak was very time consuming and hands on, but the result was worth it, and if you can catch the meat on sale, it's cheap. You have all of the ingredients, save the steak, on hand already. Promise.


This was some really awesome pizza my husband made. That's bbq sauce swirled on top of the green peppers, cheese, banana peppers, and jalapenos. (last two garden) The only problem is the cheese. Cheese is super expensive. I'm in search of an alternate cheese that tastes as good as mozzarella. I bought some super cheap store brand mozz, but it stayed hard after melting. It tasted kinda papery. Yuck. Let me know if you find the awesome and inexpensive cheese. Or should I just buy that at Sam's? I haven't before, but mayhaps...can you freeze cheese?


I was planning on entering a contest with this roast, but I didn't get a picture of it after it was done. Super delicious. I got the roast on sale at Bottom Dollar for like $3 for a good 2 1/2 pounds. Sweet. There's freshly chopped celery, potatoes, and carrots, basil, rosemary, and oregano from the garden, and chicken broth (only about a cup), water, lemon juice, a tiny bit of soy and a couple of decent squirts worth of Worchestershire sauce. Also, of course, kosher (my new love) salt and about ten peppercorns and three bay leaves. 

and one to grow on 

Farfalle pasta with "pestish" - that means it was supposed to be pesto, but I failed. I put a bunch of basil, parm, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in, but too much cheese and NO PINE NUTS! What in the world was going through my mind!? Anyhow. It was still okay, but really needed the pine nuts and ... olive oil. I used butter and it was too thick, as you can see, tons of the noodles were dry. Sad times. Ah well. I promise to post again in the next week. No idea topic, but I will not leave you high and dry. 



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Home Made Donuts

Hello! It has been quite a while, yes. So sorry about that. We have been in and out of town all summer, and I have been spending a lot of time on miscellaneous, shall we say "projects" in our home. The biggest project is preparation for our first year of for-real homeschooling. Our son begins Kindergarten this year, and I have had a super crazy amount of planning to do. Enough chatter. Let's make some batter.

Ingredients & Prices

1 Tube of 8 Homestyle Biscuits - $0.85 
3 1/4 Cups Vegetable Oil - $0.92
Seasonings of Choice - misc. 
1/4 Cup Confectioner's Sugar - $0.12
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar - $0.14
1 Tbsp Cinnamon - $0.06
You'll also need a 3qt Saucepan (or similar), a small circle cookie cutter (or the top to a beverage shaker), a large spoon or tongs (for flipping donuts), and something to lay them on to cool - wax paper or paper plates or towels. You'll also need either plastic bags or large bowls.

Total Cost for 8 Donuts and 8 Donut Holes - $2.09


I had no idea where the camera was during the making part, and I didn't want to stop watching my son do all this fun stuff, so I didn't bother to search. Let me tell you, though, your kids will love this. My five year old did it almost all by himself. 

While opening up the can and cutting the holes in the center with some kind of ringed instrument, heat up the oil in the pot at medium high heat. Also, put on your coffee, now, as you want to drink coffee with these. Yum.

Test the oil by pulling off a piece of dough from one of the holes and dropping it in. If it sizzles, it's ready. Put about 2 donuts and 1 hole in at a time. Keep an eye out, they cook really fast, especially the further along you get. You'll cook the first few for about a minute on each side, the later ones can take as little as 20 seconds per side. Yes, your five year old can do this. He can even take them out with the tongs, at least the holes.  

When cooked, let the donuts cool on wax paper or some such.

Sorry for the blurriness. It's the best my camera can do.

Fill one large plastic bag or bowl with the confectioner's sugar. Do the same with another. When the donuts are cool enough to touch (not cold), drop one into the sugar, hold closed and shake. Eat immediately, unless you are a child, then wait until Mama says it's ok. :) 

I have wonderful memories of my first year of marriage with these deliciousnesses. My husband and I would never actually have any left by the time we were done making them. We just ate them as we went. They are SO good. Enjoy! 

A promise for you. I will, sometime in the next few months, make the dough from scratch, too, so I can drop it on here and give you a price comparison. If you want to compare to Dunkin' Donuts, I think it's pretty obvious we've got a deal here. 

PS - These take maybe 15 minutes to do. That's including the warm up time for the oil. That's less time than it'd take you to drive to the donut shop, stand in line, and come back home. Also, fresher, yummier, and SO much more fun! (Note that I say this as someone who dropped the entire bag of confectioner's sugar on my skirt this morning and had to clean it up from the floor, too. Yep, still fun!)

This kid did all the work. He surely deserved the treat!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Turkey Leg or Crab Cake?

Last week we went to Historic St. Mary's City in south eastern Maryland for our 6th Wedding Anniversary. It was a brilliant idea and a fabulous family day.


 It was much like a mini-Rennaissance festival, but Colonial America Festival. Fun Fun!

 At lunch time, we checked out the small list of options in the food barn. There were burgers, turkey legs, crab cakes, and hot dogs. I cannot recall if there was anything else. We had brought tons of water with us, so we didn't have to spend tons on pop and bottled water. We actually bought a 24 pack of bottled water on the way at Target for $3.49. Sweet. Each bottle was $1 at the place, so we rocked that. We ended up ordering a hot dog for the kid-boy ($2), a Turkey Leg ($5) and a crab cake ($10) to share. Stan downed the dog right quick and ate some of our turkey leg.

L-dog downed the crab cake, but he gave me a bite or two. I didn't much like it. Sarah and I handled the turkey leg.

There was no way to finish it. We kept on for about a half an hour, taking bites only to discover a whole new monster piece down there.

Stan took this picture.

It was an Energizer Turkey Leg, it kept going and going and going ...

Long story short, we spent $17 on the meal but could have probably all eaten off of that turkey leg.

On the way home, we ate at Chick-fil-A for about $14.

Entry to the festival was $20 ($10 each per adult and free for the kids).

All in all, not too shabby on the price for a FULL day of fun!

We almost went to the beach afterwards, but it was 5 o'clock already, and it cost another $5 a person to get into the park at Point Look Out. Booo! An hour of swimming for $20!? No, how about home instead. We slept very well that night. Very well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BBQ Pork Enchiladas

Aw, man. These were good. Not a meatless meal like my enchiladas usually are, but fantastic. Just not for Fridays, yo.

Total Cost for 2 Adults, 1 Kid (dinner, plus 3 adult leftover portions): $8.33

Ingredients & Prices

2 Tbsp Oil - $0.22 (but you don't have to use olive oil like I did, so it could be $0.03)
1/2 Large White Onion, Chopped very small - $0.28
2 ounces sliced mushrooms, chopped tiny tiny - $0.56
1/2 Green Pepper - minced - $0.34
2 cloves garlic, minced - $0.05
1 Jalapeno, half minced, half sliced - separated - $0.08
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese - $0.45
2 Tbsp Sour Cream + as condiment - $0.12; $0.12 = $0.24
2 ounces Cream Cheese - $0.37
1 Cup leftover pork from the Rootbeer Pulled Pork Recipe or another pulled pork recipe - $2.00
12 Corn Tortillas - $0.43
1 Large Can Enchilada Sauce - $2.78
2 ounces Shredded cheddar cheese for topping - $0.45
Seasonings (Cumin, Salt & Pepper, Chili Powder as you choose) - $0.08


Mince and chop up all the veggies to save yourself some time later. 

Heat oil in pan and add in veggies (only add in the jalapenos is everyone can handle 'em otherwise, save those for later). Saute over medium heat. Add in the cheeses and sour cream and stir a lot, low heat.

Continue stirring over low heat until nice and saucey.

Warm each tortilla up for ten seconds on each side in a very hot dry pan.

Fill each with some of the filling. I filled only half of mine with jalapenos, since they're way spicy, and my kids cannot handle them at all, and I have to add more sour cream than is healthy to eat 'em. 

Roll 'em up and set them seam-side down in a metal 9 1/2 x 13 pan. 

See the one that exploded? I didn't warm it up long enough. Make sure they're nice and soft.
Cover with the sauce.

Add shredded cheese and sliced jalapenos. I used the sliced jalapenos to mark which ones had jalapenos inside.

Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Ours went a little long because the husband's train was late, but man, look at that. YUM!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3-Layer Gluten-Free Dessert!

We're taking dinner to our friends' house tonight, for a nice visit and to keep them from having to cook with their brand new baby #2! Yea! Plus, we get to meet said Baby #2, Mr. Benny, and hold him and love him and hug him. Okay, enough. Anyhow, the Mama over there is all Gluten-Free, so it's always fun deciding what to cook when they come over. Today, I found something great to make for dinner to take to them (Tacos with Corn Tortillas!) and a pretty fab. dessert, too, if I do say so myself. It's CRAZY simple, too. It will also taste good. Watch. You'll see how yummy when you make it for yourself and you love your gluten.

Ingredients & Prices

4.13 oz Box of Chocolate Instant Pudding - $0.79
2 Cups Cold Milk - $0.42 (for the pudding!)
1 8 oz package Whipped Topping - $0.89
1 lb Fresh or Frozen Berries - (frozen here) - $2.98

Total Cost of Dessert for 4 Adults, 3 kids: $5.08 - Leftovers! 


Make that pudding and let chill.

Layer Thus: 

Whipped Cream

Chocolate Pudding


Chocolate Pudding

Whipped Cream

From the Side: 


Last but not least, make the top pretty w/ some more fruit.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Party Size Lasagna w/ Meat and Sauce

Ok, so I bought Stouffer's brand "12" serving lasagna. It's 5 lb 10 oz. It cost $12.98. We're figuring on 2 meals and a lunch out of it. Let's see how Meal 1 goes, and I'll estimate from that to tell you how much it's gonna be per serving/meal/what not. Cheers! 

Tonight's Meal Total: $13.44 - with 2/3 of the lasagna left and lots of bread to snack on!
We also had enough for lunch for all of us, Mom, Dad, Kiddo, and Baby. Plus, one more lunch serving. We'll have to duke it out to see who gets it! 

Also, I made some boule dough, and we're having a Couronne with the lasagna tonight! YUM! 

Ingredients & Prices of Tonight's Meal

Party Size Pizza (5 lb, 10 oz - "12" Servings) - $12.98

Pretty yummy.


1/4 of Boule Dough in a Big ol' Bowl - $0.46.

oh crazy yummy bread. I have plans to eat it alllllll!

My husband had one piece and I ate the rest so far...
Give me a week or two and I'll make some home-made lasagna similar to this one and let you know the price of that.
Oh. And. YUM!

Our Engagement Story!

Okay, so this is neither food nor money, but what Betty asks, Betty gets!

My husband and I started dating in September of 2001, the beginning of our Freshman year at UD. Junior year, we got engaged shortly after he was confirmed into the Church. He asked my father's permission first,  which I knew he had done and had been looking at rings (I knew that, too). Anyhoo. One day he said, hey, let's get up super early tomorrow morning and watch the sun rise. I said 'Sure.' I figured this was another fake out, as he had not proposed to me on numerous occasions in the past few weeks, including a super nice dinner at a super nice restaurant.

Thus was I in sweat pants and a tank top on the morning of April 22, 2004, walking out Braniff towards the seminary. We had had our first kiss at Seminary Hill - under a tree at the path overlooking the seminary - right at the edge of the sidewalk. There used to be a bench there. No longer. Anyhow, we walked up the path to the top of the hill and tried to see the sun rise, but it was an overcast day. We chatted. It was a nice, only lightly mosquitoey morning. On the way back down, Lionel stopped at the spot of our first kiss, reciting this:

Thrice three times thirty, thrice again and three
Since I began days, months, to aspirate:
Though inclination's tax asperity,
Yet have I borne it well so far to wait.
Ask not the stars, fast sentries of the night,
That wheel their slow course crawling in the sky--
No loved Adonis, checked in constant flight
Has ever loved unsatisfied as I--
They nothing know of time, eternal things
That ever hold their station, naught of want,
Who nothing know what love's impatience brings;
On crutches, Time, though jaunty, yet can naught.

May ten times slower be the rest of life
If you, my love, consent to be my wife.

He went to his knee for the last two lines and took a blue heart-shaped box from his pocket (he was in a suit), and gave me the most perfect ring. I knelt down, too, and said yes over and over again. It was a lovely lovely day.

I've got a picture somewhere of that day with me showing off the ring. I don't know where. This is from our Rehearsal dinner. We got married on June 25, 2005. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Boule Dough

Boule Dough - Master Recipe

These are the ingredients and prices for the master recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. There are tons of recipes that come off of this one. I usually just grab a chunk and bake it for a while. Haha. I finally got a bowl big enough again after my lil babe went and pulled my last one off of the counter and broke it. I went with plastic this time. 

Prices & Ingredients

6 1/2 Cups Flour - $0.78
3 Cups Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Kosher Salt - $0.04
1 1/2 Tbsp Yeast - $1.02

Total Cost 4 lbs dough - $1.84 (the book usually tells you to use 1 lb. for each loaf). So price per loaf is about $0.46.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Foil Chicken & Veggies

Six years ago, my husband and I got married. We lived with my parents for a few weeks and his brother for another week and my Uncle Joe for another couple of weeks. While at my uncle's house, he and my Aunt Dona made Foil Chicken with carrots and potatoes, and I was astounded at how good it was and how exciting to eat it because it was wrapped in foil and sitting on your plate for you to open and get that yummy steaminess. So yeah, make it. Eat it. Not too expensive. I made way too much chicken here, as the breasts were huge...ahem...but I did it intentionally, that another night this week I could rip up some chicken and fry it up with some rice and such. Yum all over the place.

Ingredients & Prices

3 Large Chicken Breasts  - $4.92
4 Medium Potatoes - $0.31
1/2 Zucchini - $0.44
1/2 Yellow Squash - $0.30
1/3 Pack Sliced Mushrooms - $0.56
1 Tbsp Butter - $0.07
2 Tbsp Olive Oil - $0.22
2/3 Large Yellow Onion - $0.97
3 tsp Oregano - $0.07
Salt & Pepper to Taste - $0.10
3 tsp Parsley - $0.08
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs to Taste - garden - $0.02
Aluminum Foil - $0.15


Roughly chop up all the veggies and lay out 3 large pieces of aluminum foil. 
Place a piece of chicken on a piece of foil. Season and surround with veggies. 

I put the butter with this one. 

Wrap it up tight. I added an extra small piece of foil to be sure.

Repeat with the others. I used butter in the first and olive oil in the second two. I forgot mushrooms in the second and salt and pepper on the first. Oye. 

Bake at 450 degrees for an hour, turning every 10 minutes. 

Eat it up. Yum.

Total Cost of Meal for 2 Adults, 2 Kids & leftover meat for another meal: $8.21