Rosemary and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

rosemary-potatoes-01

By Liz

In our house, we have never met a potato we did not like. While baked and mashed are a huge hit with my crew, whenever I make roasted potatoes, there is never a crumb left. I am sharing with you, one of my family’s favorite roasted potato recipes; give it a try sometime, I am sure it will become one of your family’s favorites as well!

rosemary-potatoes-02

Ingredients:

2 pounds potatoes, cubed into 1” pieces

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ tablespoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

rosemary-potatoes-03

2. Under cool running water, scrub and clean potatoes.  Pat dry and dice into 1” (or close as you can) pieces and place in large bowl.

3. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and toss until well combined . You are just looking for your potatoes to be lightly coated.

4. Add in chopped rosemary and cheese and toss again until well coated.

rosemary-potatoes-04

5. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined sheet pan (this makes for an easy clean up) that has been sprayed with non-stick coating.

6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until desired crispness has been achieved.

rosemary-potatoes-05

7. Serve hot and enjoy!




Rosemary Parmesan Potatoes
Serves 8
An easy and tasty potato recipe the whole family will enjoy.
Write a review
Print
161 calories
21 g
2 g
8 g
3 g
1 g
126 g
933 g
1 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
126g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 161
Calories from Fat 67
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 2mg
1%
Sodium 933mg
39%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
5%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds potatoes, cubed into 1” pieces
  2. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  4. ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Under cool running water, scrub and clean potatoes. Pat dry and dice into 1” (or close as you can) pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and toss until well combined . You are just looking for your potatoes to be lightly coated.
  4. Add in chopped rosemary and cheese and toss again until well coated.
  5. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined sheet pan (this makes for an easy clean up) that has been sprayed with non-stick coating.
  6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until desired crispness has been achieved.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!
beta
calories
161
fat
8g
protein
3g
carbs
21g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

Feeding my Family on $80 for a Month Part I

coin-purse

By Liz

Last week I announced that I was instituting a Penny Pinching June here at the house since I have felt like we had been “bleeding” money for the last couple of months. I wanted to reign in some of our spending while building our savings account back up to my “I can sleep at night” comfort level.

80-dollars-prt-1-02

I had taken an inventory of our current stock of foods from the pantry, freezer and fridge, did a small amount of stocking up in May on those staple items we seem to plow through and have decided that I would buy nothing else for the month of June and we would be living off of what we already had on hand.

My regular food budget for our family of 7, is approximately $600/month; however my challenge and goal for the month of June is to spend only $80 for the month on the perishables that I know have a much smaller window when it comes to expiration dates, items such as milk, eggs and fresh produce.

You might be wondering how I came up with the amount of $80. To be honest, it was what I had left in my wallet after my last grocery shopping trip in May.  I did however sit down and ran the numbers really quick on the perishable items listed above to see if this was a realistic amount, turns out; it is if I want to reach my goal of saving $500 this month.

As you may have deduced, $80 for the month, equals roughly $20 for the week. That sounds crazy…right?  C’mon…$20 per week for a family of 7 + 3 dogs?  Impossible you might say, well I guess we will find out together.

Thursday’s are my “running day”, the day when I do the majority of my shopping, errands and appointments and this past Thursday was my first attempt at shopping on this small budget. I had a very short shopping list with me that included only my absolute necessary perishables and my $80 in cash. I left all other means to pay (credit and debit cards/checkbook) at home. This day, I had a lot of errands to take care of, so I decided to shop at my local Aldi, which I would be passing on my route home. The entire time I was in the store adding items to my cart, I was doing the math and making a conscience effort not to go over $20. Currently, the price of eggs and milk are pretty low here in Texas, so I am taking full advantage of these particular 2 items that I can never seem to keep on hand with my brood and the rest were purchases that I needed, but looked for the best deal in the store and if it wasn’t within my price range or keeping within my budget…I put it back down.

80-dollars-prt-1-03

Here is a snapshot of everything I purchased that day:

2 packs of chicken thighs

1 gallon of milk

2 packages of mozzarella block cheese

1 container of cream cheese

1 container of ricotta cheese

1 (1) pound package of black forest ham

Bananas

3 dozen eggs

2 containers of strawberries

1 head of cauliflower

3 pounds of onions

My total came up a little higher than I wanted, it was $26.21, leaving me $53.79 for the next 3 weeks, but I am confident I will be able to pull it off.

80-dollars-prt-1-01

In my previous Penny Pinching June article, I said that we would have a monthly menu that included variety, and not just a diet of beans and rice or PB & J sandwiches. Here is what was we ate so far since June 1st until this posting.

Thursday:  Slow cooker corned beef and veggies.

Friday: Loaded Nachos, with beans, cheese, jalapenos, salsa and sour cream

Saturday: We were visiting my sister and brother-in-law, so we were invited to have dinner at their house.

Sunday: Grilled chicken thighs, potato salad and garden salad.

You might be wondering about breakfast and lunch. In our house, we all have different schedules as our kids are mostly teens and young adults, these two eating periods are an “every man for himself” situation. We always have a variety of breakfast and lunch items on hand; plenty of bread and bread like options (bagels, tortillas, English muffins), oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, cheese, eggs, sandwich meat, pre-cooked and frozen meats and pastas (made previously, bagged into portion sizes and then frozen), or the inevitable leftovers from the night before.

As a parent, and provider I have always felt this drive to ensure that my family is well fed and nourished, after all it’s one of our a basic necessities, because of that, we always have a decent size stock pile and selection in our freezer and pantry. And just as I have a certain discomfort level when our bank account drops below a certain amount, I have the same apprehension when it comes to the inventory of food in our home. I have to admit, that as I start this month, I feel as though we are in good shape and I am confident, at this point, I will make my goal, however, it will be interesting to see how I feel towards the end of the month, when my pantry and freezer starts to really look bare and I run out of cash. So I invite you to stay tuned to see how this experiment winds up, won’t you?



Five Frugal for Friday

savings

By Liz

This was an “off” week here at the house.  The college semester has ended for one of the boys, and he does not get any extra hours at his part time job for the summer until June, so he has been hanging around the house all week; one of our dear friends suffered a loss this week; our oldest dog was sick for a few days so this included stopping what we were doing to run around the house cleaning up after her.

My husband and I just could not seem to “get it into gear” this week when it came to getting projects done.  Needless to say, we are looking forward to the weekend and although it was a bad week, I still managed to get some thriftiness in.  Here are 5, frugal things I racked up this week:

antique-mall

1. Sunday was Mother’s day. I hope all moms had a great day. After Sunday service, I was treated to brunch at home, not made by me this week, but by my hubby and kids, which did included a fabulous tomato and cheese omelet, home fries, avocado toast and  a couple of mimosas (my fav.).   Later in the day the kids that were home for the day, took me to one of my favorite places, the local antique mall. If you have never been to an antique mall, I highly recommend it.  It is almost like going to a museum. So many things to look at, and so many trips down memory lane and the best part…no admission fee.

sasha

2. Sasha, our eldest dog, who was ailing this week, got some overdue TLC.  I took her to the DIY dog wash and gave her a good scrub down helping knock off a lot of her remaining winter coat.  Yes, I could wash her at home for free but Sasha has arthritis really badly in both her front and back legs and she is a big dog so it is hard for me to lift her in and out of the tub, not to mention ALL THAT HAIR. So I was glad to pay a fee of $10 at the dog wash, as they provide a tub with a ramp for her to get in and out of, they  also supply a variety of shampoos, towels, blow dryer and the best part…I don’t have a drain to unclog and tub to scrub down later.

3. Staying on Sasha, I found a new dog bed for her. Sasha gets a new bed once a year and by that time, it is much needed as the old one is pretty matted down and has lost its fluff and shape by the time the year is up.  Sasha is pretty particular about her beds; we have found that she prefers the beds at Costco that are size appropriate for her, they run us about $45. However, we have an open box store near us that sells many items that have come from Costco and I found a Kirkland (Costco brand) bed for her for only $25.

zuchhinni-bread

4. From 2 zucchinis that came from our micro garden, I made a wonderfully moist zucchini bread that the family enjoyed for dessert one night and breakfast the next morning with coffee.

dinner""

5. Thursday is my errand day. So I am in and out of the house for the majority of the day, I had planned on picking up something fresh to cook for dinner that night, but you know how sometimes you just get a craving and nothing will do until you satisfy it?  Well, that was me most of the week; I was craving fried chicken.  As luck would have it, I came across some discounted Walmart fried chicken that had been made previously in the day and was now over in their refrigerated case, it was still very fresh.  I picked up 2 containers, at a price of $6.22 for a total of 16 pieces; I would only need to reheat them in my oven in the evening. I also picked up some store baked cookies that were discounted as well, 6 fresh baked cookies for a total of 68 cents and I made 3 boxes of mac and cheese that cost me another dollar. So dinner that evening cost me about $8; hammering the price of any kind of take out fried chicken I was considering stopping for that evening.

So that was my frugal 5 for Friday.  What kind of great finds or savings did you have this week?






Once a week, I will sit down with the kids’ and menu planning calendars and start filling in my dinner menu. I will browse my chest freezer for meat, chicken or fish, check my vegetables and dry goods to pair it with and start building my week of menus. Since the kids’ schedule is ever changing, I do this on a weekly and not a monthly basis, but it is nice to see what we had to eat in a month’s time. It also helps me fill out my running grocery list. If I am in need of an ingredient or will be using the last of a staple, then up on the list it goes.

I don’t plan out our breakfasts. Our house contains mostly adults and not all of us are morning people. I myself, rarely eat breakfast, I know it is the most important meal of the day, but I have always struggled with eating in the mornings.  I am good with just a cup of coffee or two. Some of the family however does like eating early in the morning and because of that there is always a supply of eggs, fruit, bread, jam, peanut butter, oatmeal, yogurt, premade muffins, breakfast sandwiches or burritos (that I make up in batches every two weeks).  We do share a weekly breakfast together, after Sunday service; I will cook brunch for the family that usually consists of a meat, toast, potatoes and eggs made to order, fresh hot coffee, juice and or milk. Once a month I will make either French toast or pancakes served with fresh fruit in place of the toast and potatoes.

Lunches are not planned out either, due to different schedules.  Our house has a revolving door between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to midnight, between work, school and socialization. So our lunches tend to be mostly leftovers, either as is or reworked a little. For instance, if the previous night we had chicken or steak, lunch then becomes either fajitas or quesadillas or if we have leftover baked potatoes from the night before, this easily becomes a broccoli and cheese stuffed potato for lunch.  We also, always have tuna, peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese on hand in case someone wants a sandwich.

market

My system makes it easy for me make the most of the money we spend on groceries. Since we have a freezer full of bread products, I only shop for this once a month. Since we have a freezer full of meat, I only pick more up if I come across a great deal (and I usually do) during my shopping trip. Since we have extra fridge space in the garage, I can stock up on milk, juice and eggs for the week and since we have pantry space, I can stock up on dry goods when they have reached rock bottom prices.

I love to cook and even though I have a formal education in culinary arts, it is not always very practical when operating a large household.  My menu planning contains mainly easy, healthy dishes that require minimum ingredients, time and most important….minimal clean up. Again, it might not work for all, but this is what works for us.




Food Subscription Boxes

mail-box

By Liz

Talk about all things trendy.  If you haven’t seen or heard about food subscription boxes yet, then you must be living under a rock. This is not a new concept, I mean, take Omaha Steaks for instance…they have been around since 1917.  But nowadays you can get just about any kind of food, delivered to your door with easy step by step instructions, with little to no waste and without the hassle of visiting your grocery store to pick up the ingredients.

Types of boxes available are fruits, vegetables, and snacks, jerky, chocolate, bacon, cheese, full meals, seasonal, regional and the list goes on and on.

Sorry to say, I think this trend, is a waste of your hard earned money!

We as a society already spend so much money on food, whether going out to eat or at our local grocery store(s), so it seems to me that this kind of service is really irrelevant.  However, like most trends, these companies are trying to convince you, that you need their product to be hip, trendy, creative, and money savvy; but do you really need their help?

I decided to do some research on these companies, because many of my fellow, “frugal” bloggers have wonderful things to say about them, (although, I personally believe that if you are calling yourself a “frugal or money saving” blogger and promote or purchase these kinds of subscriptions…..you’ve missed the mark).

There are so many companies trying to cash in on this latest trend, it is overwhelming, so I decided to just concentrate on just produce boxes, but most of this information also applies to most of the other subscription boxes and this is what I have discovered:

produce

1. Many are locally based, so they might not deliver to your zip code, or you will be paying very high shipping costs for this convenience.

2. Your going to pay for this kind of convenience, anywhere from $11 to $110 (and these are prices for produce boxes).

3. Most offer both traditional or organic products.

4. You really don’t get what you pay for. If you were to do a price comparison, you would see that in most cases, you are paying double and in some cases, triple what it would cost you at the grocery store for the same or very similar products.

5. Packaging can sometimes be environmentally unfriendly. Some of the organic products being purchased, come packaged so as they are not bruised or damaged; all well and good, but many of the materials used for packaging, are not good for mother earth. (Ironic…..huh?)

6. Some of the produce subscription services are selling “recovered”, produce, meaning fruits and vegetables that are perfectly fine to eat, but would have otherwise been thrown away. It’s often discarded because of aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies. They don’t try to hide this; in fact, for some it is on the main page of their website.




So it has been pointed out to me is that these kinds of services  are helping local farmers and business owners  not to mention the convenience it brings to the consumer of not having to go the store to pick these items out for themselves.  My argument is this….you have to go to the grocery store anyway, right? So while you are there picking up the myriad of other items on your list, why aren’t you taking a few extra minutes to purchase fresh, traditional or organic produce from the same place you shop in the first place?

farmers-market

It has also been argued that these kinds of services offer more natural choices, help many with diet restrictions due to health, and offer step by step instructions with just the right amount of ingredients to make a gourmet meal at home.  My argument for this is the following:  just about everyone owns or has access to a cookbook, (these resources also come with step by step instructions) or the internet, which offers an endless supply of recipes.  Natural and organic produce can be found not only at your local grocery store(s), but also at specialty stores and especially local farmer’s markets.

No matter how old I get, I am always looking for ways to save money, as much money as I can, because my dream is to retire with my husband somewhere close to the ocean and be able to travel, volunteer, relax, and really to just wake up on any given day and do whatever we want, when we want.  We don’t want to realize one day that we don’t have enough for our retirement, and we have to keep working until we are 75 or 80 years old, or that any one medical condition that myself or my husband might encounter down the road, will wipe us out financially.  So we are all about saving as many pennies as we can for as long as we can. My husband and I are both foodies, and we both enjoy cooking, but we also know that, throwing money away on the latest band wagon of what is hip and trendy today, will not help us achieve our goals for tomorrow.

couple

If you too are financially conscience, and not only want to eat healthy, but well; I suggest that rather than subscribe to one of these, trendy, overpriced and under stocked box services, you should take a little time each week, plan out a few meals, list your ingredients, purchase only what you need for these dishes and keep the money you have saved in your wallet.




Open Faced Portabella Salmon Burgers

 

salmon

by Liz
This is one of my new favorites and is a quick and healthy lunch. As usual, the idea of this recipe came to me while looking around my fridge, thinking I really had to use up some of the stuff in there.

I use salmon burger patties for this recipe, but you could easily swap this out for a veggie, black bean or a regular beef burger….whatever your preference.

salmon

Ingredients:

2 frozen salmon burger patties

2 large portabella mushroom caps

2 slices of cheese (I used Muenster and Pepper Jack)

Fresh Spinach leaves (optional)

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven) to 325 degrees.

2. Wipe mushrooms clean of debris or dirt (never rinse a mushroom, it will make it soggy).  With a spoon gently scrape off as much of the mushroom gills without digging into the meat of the mushroom, on the underside of the cap and level out any protruding stem pieces.

salmon

3. Place cap topside down on your lined baking sheet and lightly spray the gill side up with an oil, non stick spray.  Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Bake portabellas until slightly soft about 7 to 10 minutes.  Set baking sheet aside and let cool momentarily.

salmon

4. Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, over medium to high heat, cook the salmon patties thoroughly on each side, and season each side lightly with salt and pepper. Salmon patties should cook at least 6 to 7 minutes on each side to ensure proper doneness.

salmon

5. Place 3 to 4 spinach leaves on each, cooled mushroom cap. Then slide a burger patty on to each portabella.  Top with cheese slices (any kind will do). Place back into the oven for another 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

6. Serve immediately and enjoy by itself, or with a side salad.

salmon

This lunch is oddly satisfying, because of the protein of the burger patty and the “meatiness” taste and texture of the portabella.  This recipe is not only good for lunch, but makes for a really good dinner option as well.

Enjoy the printable recipe card below.



Open Faced Portabella Salmon Burgers
Serves 2
A healthy twist for a burger.
Write a review
Print
359 calories
24 g
52 g
20 g
25 g
7 g
370 g
541 g
3 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
370g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359
Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
31%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 52mg
17%
Sodium 541mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 24g
8%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 3g
Protein 25g
Vitamin A
325%
Vitamin C
80%
Calcium
39%
Iron
35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 frozen salmon burger patties
  2. 2 large portabella mushroom caps
  3. 2 slices of cheese (I used Muenster and Pepper Jack)
  4. Fresh Spinach leaves (optional)
  5. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven) to 325 degrees.
  2. Wipe mushrooms clean of debris or dirt (never rinse a mushroom, it will make it soggy). With a spoon gently scrape off as much of the mushroom gills without digging into the meat of the mushroom, on the underside of the cap and level out any protruding stem pieces.
  3. Place cap topside down on your lined baking sheet and lightly spray the gill side up with an oil, non stick spray. Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bake portabellas until slightly soft about 7 to 10 minutes. Set baking sheet aside and let cool momentarily.
  4. Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, over medium to high heat, cook the salmon patties thoroughly on each side, and season each side lightly with salt and pepper. Salmon patties should cook at least 6 to 7 minutes on each side to ensure proper doneness.
  5. Place 3 to 4 spinach leaves on each, cooled mushroom cap. Then slide a burger patty on to each portabella. Top with cheese slices (any kind will do). Place back into the oven for another 3 minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy by itself, or with a side salad.
Notes
  1. Can also be made with a beef, tofu, veggie or black bean burgers.
beta
calories
359
fat
20g
protein
25g
carbs
24g
more
The Fort Worth Homemaker http://thefortworthhomemaker.com/

 

The Best Ever Fresh Beans

by Liz

beans

I have to admit, before I moved to Texas, the only beans I had ever really known were baked beans.  However, since then, I had been introduced to this very delicious and very satisfying Texas staple.

Beans are not only great tasting, but they are very economical and versatile.

Here is my recipe for the best tasting beans; I used black beans for this recipe.

In a 5 quart slow cooker, add 1 pound of dried beans (pinto, red, black, navy…the possibilities are endless) fill slow cooker ¾ full of water and cover, (you want plenty of water to cover the beans as they will expand overnight).

Let soak overnight.

The next day, drain and rinse beans.

Add beans and fresh water back into the slow cooker, one again filling pot ¾ way with water, (the beans will expand a little more and some of this water will evaporate during cooking).

Add 1; 2” x 2” piece of salt pork and 4 to 5 large cloves of peeled garlic to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. (Beans will be fully cooked when they are soft and/or their outer skin starts to crack.)

Turn off slow cooker, remove and discard salt pork.

Add 1 Tablespoon of salt (do not add salt in the beginning of this process as this will toughen the beans) and 2 teaspoons of oregano, stir well, replace lid and let sit for about a half hour. (This lets the spices, permeate the beans).

Enjoy as is, or over rice with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, green onion, avocado, fresh tomato or whatever you prefer.