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Friday, May 28, 2010

five ingredient fridays: homemade dry onion soup mix and french dips

this might be cheating because onion soup mix isn't a meal, per se, but french dips are... so i'm reposting. and since they both have 5 ingredients i think it counts! we had them again the other night and they were amazing, as usual.

and making your own onion soup mix definitely will save you some bucks. that stuff is expensive!!!

the best french dip sandwiches
(originally posted here)

sandwich is falling apart with deliciousness.

1 recipe onion soup mix (see below)
1 package zesty italian dressing mix (or homemade mix here)
a roast (i usually use rump or whatever i got on sale for $1.89/lb or less)

put roast in crock pot. fill with water so the top of the roast is poking out of the water. pour in mixes. slow cook on low for 8-10 hours. it is done when it falls apart. (depends on your crock pot and the size of your roast.)

serve on yummy french rolls (don't go stingey here - get good ones!), broiled in the oven to toast with pepper jack cheese on them (broil with the cheese on them). carmelized onions are also delicious on them. dip in the juice from the crock pot.

dry onion soup mix
from (here)
  • 4 teaspoons beef bullion granules
  • 8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper

Monday, May 24, 2010

homemade baby food

big sister who likes to eat watermelon in the back yard = happy little brother who sneaks it while mom isn't looking :)

i make my kids' baby food when they start eating solids. it isn't difficult in the slightest, but it is certainly more time consuming than pulling it off the shelf and dumping it in your cart.
so is it worth it? here are a few numbers that will prove just how worth it it is:
  • with my $200 a month food budget (+$40 for longer term storage/bulk items) i have $7/day to feed my family. a very cheap 4 oz jar of baby food costs $0.42. my 7 month old could easily cost me $2.52/day to feed. ahhh!!! imagine when he's pushing a year. i once calculated that my daughter would be costing me $4/day in baby food at her peak if i bought it.
  • my baby food jar equivalents: i can make 4 0z of carrots for $0.10, 4 oz of peas, green beans or sweet potatoes for $0.22, 4 oz acorn squash for $0.26 and that isn't even with sale prices. during peach season when peaches are on sale for $0.50/lb you can make peaches for pennies.
  • it's really easy to mash a banana yourself with a fork. why buy it in a tiny cute bottle? my buddy happily downs a banana every day for breakfast.
  • oatmeal cereal: $1.50 for a box of oatmeal cereal? just put some oats through your blender.
stuff i don't make:
  • applesauce: there is nothing magical about baby applesauce. it's just apples. and why make your own? wal-mart brand unsweetened applesauce is $1.86 for 50 oz. that's $0.15 for your 1 jar equivalent.
  • rice cereal: i don't have a grinder and i can't "iron fortify" it at home so this is the one true baby food item i buy.

so how do you do it? it's easy - i just use as my home base and go from there. i feel like a baby chef when i whip up a little dessert for my little man to follow his peas (applesauce + sweet potatoes + cinnamon + rice cereal = dessert!) - it's so fun and he loves it! use their recipes and freeze in ice cube trays. each cube is 1+ ounce. cover with saran wrap and then put the cubes into big freezer bags when frozen solid. and don't forget to reuse your freezer bags!

and here's my funny little squash face. this was the the mad face he made if we didn't get the squash in his mouth fast enough!!

i also make my own baby wipes... but that isn't a food recipe! i swear by them. want my recipe? email me at!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


we're moving!!!! and my next cooking adventure will be on granite counter tops. they installed them today. they are amazing. i'm completely in love. i realize that's a very shallow thing to be in love with, but at least i'm honest.

so, no five ingredient friday. sorry, but i have to disconnect my computer and internet right... now!!!

let's all celebrate heat proof, cut proof stone counters with a completely non-healthy cookie recipe!

these cookies made with graham cracker crumbs are amazing - don't forget to undercook!

have a great weekend!

Friday, May 7, 2010

five ingredient fridays: chipotle chicken salad sandwich

wow. friday again already? i haven't posted in a week. i have a good excuse - promise! we bought a house! a repo. they took the carpet, the doors, everything. and we're trying to get in fast so we don't have to pay rent and a mortgage for more than we have to.

so i've been busy spending hours and hours at home depot. and picking out my granite counter tops. i think i'll sleep on them instead of in our bed. i'm so excited. i'm sure they will make my food taste better. okay, maybe not, but they will decrease my prep time since i don't have to wash a million cutting boards and find hot pads to put on my counter when things come out of the oven.

if you've been busy too, throw this together and impress whoever you're cooking for. it was amazing!

chipotle chicken salad sandwich
3+ servings

2 cups copped cooked chicken (not canned, never canned)
a little less than 1/4 cup light mayo with olive oil (kraft)
1/2 a chipotle pepper*** (canned in adobo sauce), minced

combine above, mix well.

serve on favorite bread (we used homemade foccacia - drool), with avocado, tomato and lettuce.

done! hope this makes your weekend easier!

***note about chipotle peppers: they come in a tiny can with a million peppers in it, but they stay good in a tupperware in your fridge for forever so just open a can and decide to commit yourself to something chipotle once a week for a month or more. or just eat this chicken salad sandwich every other day. i've considered it.

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!