Frugal in Franklin

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Universal Bean Soup Recipe February 16, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 12:57 pm

bean-soupOne of the best things that I learned from Amy Dacyzyn in the Tightwad Gazette series, is the importance of being able to retro-fit a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand.  She has several universal recipes in her series.  Over time, I have developed my own mix and match recipe for bean soups in the crockpot.

  • I begin with 1lb. of dried beans.  I presoak them and place them in a crockpot.  Then comes the creativity:
  • Add about 6 cups of chicken broth, or water and bouillon.

Those are the only necessary ingredients.   The rest is up to you.  Here are some things that work well:

  • 1-2 c. of meat (ham, sausage, browned ground beef, etc…)
  • Cooked greens (Spinach, kale, etc…)
  • Diced Veggies (Celery, Carrot, Onion)
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes (Ro-tel if you want spicy)

I let it cook all day in the crockpot.  When the beans are soft, I add a good dash of Adobo seasoning and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Enjoy!


Menu for the Week of 2/15-2/21

Filed under: Menu Ideas,Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 5:03 am


Here are the menus for the upcoming week:

I’ve been seeing the spinach, rice and cheese casserole floating around for awhile.  Kelly finally convinced me to try it.  Check out what she has to say here.

For breakfasts this week, we will be enjoying:

  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • French Toast Sticks
  • Pancakes
  • Cold Cereal
  • Omelettes (Ham and Cheese)

Wheat in your Meat? February 13, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 3:21 am
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bronze-chief-hard-red-sprinI’m always game for trying something new to make our diet healthier or to help us save money.  So, I was intrigued by the idea of adding cooked wheat to our browned hamburger to make it stretch farther.  I gave it a try for dinner tonight, and I thought you might like a report.

I started with whole wheat kernels (hard white for you afficianados), which I originally purchased for grinding.  I boiled 1/2 cup of wheat and one cup of water in my rice maker.  After one cycle, it was still too firm, so I added a second cup of water and ran it a second cycle.

When it was time to cook the meat, I added 1/2 an onion, the cup of cooked wheat, and 1lb. of ground beef to a skillet.  I cooked this mixture, stirring frequently, until the hamburger was brown and the onion was soft.  I drained the beef and then added taco seasoning.  I added the seasoned meat to Mexican lasagna (think layered tortillas, meat, and cheese) and put it in the oven. 

I did not tell my family what I was up to, but it didn’t take my 12 year old son long to ask, “Is there any meat in this stuff?”  So I fessed up to what I had done.  What did my crew think:

12 yr. old son:  The wheat was a little too chewy (I would tend to agree)

Everyone else:  Couldn’t really tell a big difference.  This is perfectly acceptable to them.

My verdict:  This was okay, and I may try it as a stretcher for some other ground meat dishes.  For Mexican dishes, I think it is yummier to stretch the meat with a can of beans that have been drained (easier, too).  We often use bulgur in grilled hamburgers.  I think I may try that next time. 

Note:  You do not have to fake your family out with “wheat meat” to save money on groceries.  You will hear me say often, frugality is practically a sport for me.  It’s all in good fun.


Menu for the Week of 2/9-2/15 February 9, 2009

Filed under: Menu Ideas,Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 2:46 am
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Here is the plan for this week:

I generally serve 2-3 veggies and/or fruits with each dinner, but I prefer to throw those together at the last minute. 

Breakfast possibilities include:

  • Baked Oatmeal
  • French Toast Sticks
  • Cinnamon Streusel Bread
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes
  • Apple Muffins

Lentil Rice Casserole February 2, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 9:05 pm
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This is a super quick (10 minutes), super cheap (about $1), and very healthy recipe that my family loves.  I originally found it in The Complete Tightwad Gazette.  If you don’t own this book, you are missing out on a frugal standard.  I don’t buy books (I’m a library gal), but this one is a must own.

Lentil-Rice Casserole

  • 3c chicken broth or water w/3 bouillon cubes
  • 3/4 c lentils, uncooked
  • 1/2 c rice, uncooked (whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp each oregano, thyme, and garlic powder

I toss it all in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours.  When it is finished, you can melt some cheddar cheese on top and serve it just the way it is (maybe with a little salsa on the side).  My family likes to use it as burrito filling.  We load up tortillas with lentil-rice casserole, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and shredded lettuce.


Italian Turkey and Spaghetti Squash February 1, 2009

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — frugalinfranklin @ 11:21 pm
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This may not be a food that your family is familiar with, but it’s fun, healthy, and easy to cook.  It’s a food that we often receive in our CSA.  Give this recipe a try. 

  • Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash (about 18oz.)
  • 1/2c. diced onion
  • 1/2 c. diced bell pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1lb. grnd beef, turkey, or pork
  • 1-14oz can of tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse spaghetti squash and pierce all over with a fork.  Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes.  Slice in half, remove seeds, and use a fork to remove “spaghetti” strands to a bowl. 

In a skillet, saute the garlic, onion, peppers, and meat.  When the meat is fully cooked and the veggies are translucent, add all the other ingredients (including the squash)  to the pan and heat through.  Serve with parmesan if desired.


Black Beans and Rice January 26, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — frugalinfranklin @ 12:23 am
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Dave Ramsey is a huge favorite of mine.  He often says on his show that if you want to get out of debt, you will have to live on “beans and rice, and rice and beans.”  But giving out bean recipes is not in the scope of what he does.  This recipe for black beans and rice is a huge favorite with everyone in my house, and it is easy on the grocery budget.

Black Beans and Rice

  • 2c water
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1c rice
  • 3 bay leaves

Add all of the above ingredients to your rice cooker or pan and cook according to directions on the rice package.

  • 1T Olive or Canola Oil
  • 1c chopped onion
  • 1 bell pepper (if you have a cheap source for one, otherwise this is very optional)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can of black beans (undrained)

Sautee the onion, garlic, and peppers in the oil over moderate heat.  Keep them covered and stir frequently for about 10 minutes.  Be sure this mixture has turned golden brown and has carmelized (it will taste sweet if it has).  Add the beans and salt to taste.  A teaspoon of cumin is another nice optional addition.  Heat through and serve over rice.