Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beans and Rice

Not much to this staple food, but it's tasty, low in fat, vegetarian and super frugal.

  • 2 cups red beans (dry)
  • 1 cup rice (uncooked)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 tbs oil (corn or peanut)

  1. Cook beans until very soft (I use a slow cooker)
  2. Cook rice (I use a rice cooker)
  3. Place 12" skillet or Dutch oven on medium hear, add oil
  4. Saute onions in skillet, add taco seasoning
  5. Add tomatoes and deglaze pan
  6. Add everything else
  7. Cook until heated through and reduced to desired consistency
  8. Taste and add extra seasoning if desired

Frugal Factor:
I buy my beans and rice bulk, so not sure how much, probably under $2. The tomatoes can be found for $1.50. Let's say $0.50 for the onions and ketchup. That's $4/6 servings, or $0.67/serving.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Savory Bread Pudding w/ Ham, Spinach and Cheese

So I baked some whole wheat oatmeal bread from a '70s cookbook that called for far too much yeast. What to do? Savory bread pudding, one of the original frugal foods back before mass-market bread. This is potentially a pantry dish too and substitutions abound.


  • 1 loaf stale bread, cut into 3/4" cubes (no, don't measure)
  • 6-8 eggs (start with 6)
  • 2 120z cans evaporated milk (have some reg. milk in the fridge just in case)
  • 10oz shredded cheese (I used Havarti, because it was on special at Aldi, plus a leftover hunk of Gruyere)
  • 1 lbs ham, diced 1/4" or so (you could also use cooked bacon, sausage, or no meat at all)
  • 2 boxes chopped frozen spinach
  • 3 leeks, white parts only, chopped and cleaned thoroughly (substitute yellow onions to save $)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Saute leeks in olive oil until golden, add garlic and cook 1 more minute
  • Cook spinach and drain of all water (I nuked it and then squeezed it in a clean kitchen towel)
  • In large bowl, combine the milk, eggs and seasoning and whisk thoroughly to combine
  • Add all the other ingredients except the bread and combine
  • Toss the bread in until all liquid is absorbed. Test a couple bread pieces. If not soaked through, whisk together some more eggs and milk from the fridge and add (sorry, bread varies too much to be exact)
  • Place in a large, oiled casserole dish. I used a 9x13 plus two individual-sized ones to take over to Sharon's place. The mixture should fill to about the 2" mark in whatever dish you use.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. It should rise a little and brown in spots on the top, but careful not to burn the bottom.

Frugal Factor: Bread, aprox. $2 worth of ingredients. Ham, $3.50 at Aldi, spinach $2, leeks, $3, cheese, $3.50 at Aldi, milk and eggs, $2 (est.). That's $16. I made 8 generous portions, so that's $2/portion. Still frugal. As much as I love them, the leeks really do some damage. And of course, truly leftover bread has already been bought or left at your house by party guests or something.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pork Roast Marsala

This recipe is so easy it's barely a recipe at all. Tasty though.


  • 3 lbs pork roast
  • 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper


  • Put everything in a slow cooker
  • Cook on medium ("auto shift" on mine)
  • When pork falls apart with a fork, stop cooking
  • Pour through a sieve, collecting liquid in bowl
  • Reduce liquid in a saucepan over high heat, whisking in 1 tbsp. flour until thickened
  • Cut meat into bite-sized pieces
  • Mix everything back together and serve.

Frugal Factor: Sorry, I lost my receipt so this is a guestimate. The pork was about $3.50, the mushrooms were too. Add $1 for all the other stuff. That's $8. I got 6 portions out of this. That's $1.33/portion. Serve it over rice for a more filling meal if you want.