Category Archives: Frugal cooking

Spices and flavorings

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I recently decided to never buy a spice or spice mix that I can make myself.

My first attempt was seasoning salt, because we recently ran out and I was sick of hearing the kids ask me if I remembered to buy more. (Can you guess the answer? Hahaha) So off I went in search of a recipe. Of course anytime lately it seems  I’ll find a recipe and adapt it to fit what I have in the cupboards or to suit our personal tastes.

It was better than any seasoning salt I’ve bought at the store.

Here’s my adapted recipe

1 TBSP table or sea salt

1Tbsp white sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp tumeric

You can also add 1/8 tsp onion powder.

 

Mix it all together in a bowl or shaker, and use whenever you want to. Store in an airtight container.

We like it on home baked oven fries, eggs, hash browns, slices of cucumber and so much more!

Enjoy!

 

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Crazy Grilled Cheese

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cheddar

cheddar

One thing we eat here a lot (and I mean  lots) is cheese. The ones most often eaten are probably medium or mild cheddar, mozzarella and Swiss. Every once in awhile I like to expand our tastes and buy other flavored cheeses like Havarti, Monterrey jack and pepper flaked cheese.

When I first began cooking and baking I was amazed at the amounts of different types of cheeses you could actually purchase. (I always thought that Monty Python sketch bout the cheeses was a joke…) and I sometimes still am. There are certain cheeses that I will NEVER try (headcheese for one, not bashing anyone who does like it) and others I simply cannot get enough of (cheddar, old, thank you).

One thing that everyone can agree on for almost any meal is grilled cheese sandwiches, open or closed,  with soup. I will often make this on cold winter days for a nice hot lunch, or for a quick easy meal that won’t heat up the kitchen too much during the hot hot summer months. Since we eat it so often, I try to change up the sandwiches often adding tomatoes, pickles, onions (raw or slightly fries) green and/or red peppers. I also add different sauce/spreads to the sandwiches like mayonnaise and different salad dressings (usually creamy ones like ranch).

pepper flaked cheese with fried onion

pepper flaked cheese with fried onion

Here are just a few ideas to spice up the simple grilled cheese sandwich

Use different cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, Havarti, monteray jack, Swiss or a mixture of one or more cheeses. processed cheeses even come in many flavors if you prefer not to have to slice cheese. (deli area in the grocery store also usually has pre-sliced “real” cheese.

Add onions, tomatoes, peppers, pickles or any other veggie (or even fruit like pineapple or apple slices)

Use sauces and spreads on the inside, including but not limited to mayonnaise, salad dressings, sandwich spreads, hummus and salsa

Add meats to your sandwich, like ham, pepperoni, chicken or turkey slices, bacon or anything else you want to put into a sandwich.

Enjoy the different combinations you can make, and please feel free to post your own grilled cheese creations.

 

Tomato Bean and Cheddar soup

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One of the easiest and tastiest recipes I use is from a cook book I have called Basic Shelf Cookbook. I swear, this book has been a lifesaver over the years, especially on my journey to find easy ways to save money on our grocery bill.

I try to cook everything we eat from scratch, and although some of our foods come from cans (veggies and fruits) most of it is healthy and tries to incorporate at least 3 of the food groups.

Here is the varied version of Tomato, Bean and Cheddar soup that I use

1 large can (798 ml) of beans in tomato sauce  or about 3 1/2 cups of baked beans

1 large can (798 ml) of diced tomatoes, or about 3 1/2 cups if you use fresh. I use the one with spices already added.

1 can of water

salt and pepper to taste. you can also add other herbs and spices to your liking, such as parsley, Italian seasoning or garlic.

About a cup of cheese, cheddar or any other kind you’ll enjoy

Mix all together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes and serve with grated cheese on top.

I also usually serve with garlic bread (with garlic spread from scratch) or sandwiches.