Sunday, August 30, 2009

MYO taco seasoning mix

This morning I was wracking (maybe banging - LOL) my head trying to figure out what to feed us for dinner using hamburger meat. Finally, I decided I wanted tacos but I knew I didn't have any taco seasoning mixes. So, I went and found a recipe for taco seasoning mix. I have to say that the recipe is very good. I followed it exactly and then used it on the hamburger tonight. I did have to use more then what the recipe said, but I think that it was a typo. I used 1 tablespoon for 1 pound of hamburger meat and also added about 1/3 cup of water to the meat to help mix the seasonings in.

Taco Seasoning

6 tsps. chili powder
4 1/2 tsps. cumin
5 tsps. paprika
3 tsps. onion powder
2 1/2 tsps. garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all seasonings together and store in an airtight container. I used a clean strawberry jam glass jar that I had saved. The recipe says to use 1 tsp, but I think it needs 1 tbspn.

I served this with my homecanned pinto beans and homemade spanish rice (not canned) and tortillas.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Frugal dinner tonight

Tonight's dinner is another frugal dinner that's in rotation a lot. Its baked beans with hot dogs tonight. Usually I use sausage, but don't have any right now.

2 cans pork and beans (15 oz) or 1 quart homecanned pork and beans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tbspn ketchup
4 tbspn mustard
1 tbspn lemon juice
1 onion, diced
6 hot dogs sliced into "coins"

Mix all ingredients together and bake in oven at 375° for 1 hour. I'm going to try it in the crockpot today instead.

Tonight is parent teacher night at Angela's school, so I wanted something easy to clean up.

Does anyone have a favorite frugal meal?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spaghetti and breadcrumbs

I made this for dinner the other night! Both hubby and I liked it. The kids were both sick and didn't eat anyfood (they had the flu).

Spaghetti and breadcrumbs

1 pound spaghetti (or any pasta shape)
4 tbspns olive oil
3 tsps minced garlic (I used the already minced garlic in the jar and used heaping spoons)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup fresh parsley (I used dry because I didn't have enough fresh about 1 tbsp)
4 tbsn parmesan cheese
5 slices cooked bacon crumbled.
1/2 tsp pepper or to your taste
3 tbsn lemon juice

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until done; drain. In a separate skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and cooked bacon and cook for about 2 minutes; stir constantly. Stir in breadcrumbs and turn off heat. Add parsley, parmesan cheese and black ground pepper; mix together. Mix this mixture with hot pasta and add lemon juice.

I added more lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes at the table on mine (hubby doesn't like the crushed pepper flakes).


I started composting this past spring to add to my garden soil. This is what I have been adding to my compost container:

coffee grounds
vegetable peelings
shredded paper
mowed grass
tea bags
crusts from bread (children won't eat them)

What does everyone else add to their compost piles?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I promised Judy that I would post this chocolate zucchini cake recipe that I've made that is really good. So here it is.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional - I didn't add this and the cake was great!)

Preheat oven to 350° (175°C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly mixed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely and frost with your favorite frosting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Substitutions link

I made some Banana cake (aka banana bread) today and had thought I was out of eggs. So, I looked up egg substitutions on the internet and found this great link: Anyway, it turned out that I had the required 4 eggs for my recipe when I thought I had only had 2.

Not to worry, I'll post the recipe for this banana bread/cake later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Garlic Chicken Fried Chicken

Here's another recipe that I got from I tried it on Friday and loved it. I actually loved it so much that I'm making it for dinner tonight again. I did cut my chicken into strips and it went over great with the kids and hubby.

Garlic Chicken Fried Chicken

2 tsps garlic powder, or to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
1 cup oil for frying, or as needed.

In a shallow dish, mix together the seasonings, bread crumbs and flour. In a separate dish, whisk together the milk and egg.

Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C). Dip the chicken into the egg and milk mixture, then dredge into the dry ingredients until evenly coated.

Fry chicken in the hot oil for about 5 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through.

This is really, really good! If you fry it right, its not greasy at all.

Easy Baked Potatoes

About a year ago, I tried this technique for baking potatoes. I absolutely love it! I'm making baked potatoes this way right now as I type. The potatoes taste just like what you would get at a restaurant. I mainly tried it because at the time I was pregnant and wanted an easy way to do baked potatoes.

"Baked" Potatoes

As many potatoes as you need for your dinner

Wash and poke your potatoes. Rub oil all over the potatoes and wrap them in foil. When all of them are wrapped, place in your crockpot. DO NOT ADD ANY LIQUID. Put the lid on the crockpot and plug it in. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on Low for about 8 hours.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Homemade butter

I'm trying to make as many things from scratch as possible and also trying to buy things without too many preservatives in it. So, I decided to try my hand at making homemade butter. I looked it up on (can you tell I like that website?) and found this recipe here: and tried it. It was super fast to make. I put the ingredients into my kitchenaid type mixer and mixed it on 8 for 15 minutes. Once the butter separated from the buttermilk, I strained the butter through a paper towel (I don't have any cheesecloth to use) and squeezed out all the buttermilk. I rinsed it then to get any buttermilk that was on it off. Per the reviews, they said if any buttermilk was left on it would make it taste bitter. Once that was done, I mixed the salt into the butter by hand. Next time, though, I will just use the mixer again. I then tasted it and it tasted wonderful!! And, it maybe cost $1.00 to make it and made about 2 sticks worth. I didn't shape into sticks, though.

Here are a couple of pictures. The first is the butter and the second is the buttermilk that I just poured into a clean old jar that I had. I can't wait to try a piece of toast in the morning with the butter:D

Zucchini Brownies

The other day I decided I wanted to make zucchini brownies. So, I went looking for a recipe on allrecipes. I found this great one to use up some zucchinis that I had in the fridge. I just knew it was going to be good. Hubby, kids and I loved it!

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 ccups white sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (do not squeeze liquid out)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't use these because we have nut allergies in the house)

Preheat oven to 350° F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and then stir into the sugar mixture. Batter will be thick and appear dry. Its not, though, so no need to add any other liquid. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when touched.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MYO dishwasher dishwashing detergent

Ever since we moved here to Minden, NV, from Southern California, the detergent that I used to buy for the dishwasher "explodes" or bursts causing a huge mess in the container. Its probably due to the altitude here. Anyway, I got tired of having to constantly pull the tablets apart, so I went looking for a make your own / MYO dishwashing detergent recipe. I don't remember where I found it, but here is the recipe below. It works great! I put about 1 tablespoon in my dishwasher per load.

Homemade make your own dishwasher detergent

Equal parts of the following:

generic dishwashing detergent powder
baking soda

So, if you wanted to make this you could make it using 1 cup each of the above ingredients or whatever quantities that you wanted to use. I used 3 cups of each so that I wouldn't have to make it for awhile.

If anyone tries it, let me know if its working good for you.

Iced Mocha Coffee recipe and review

I just tried a make your own / MYO iced mocha coffee recipe from an old Watkins cookbook. It was okay. I would probably change a few things like add more sugar, 1 cup less milk and more chocolate. Since it was an old recipe, I wasn't sure if I was to use cocoa powder or chocolate syrup. I used cocoa powder, but would probably use chocolate syrup next time. With a few changes, I would definitely make and use this recipe again. So here's the recipe.

Iced Mocha Coffee

1 cup brewed double strength coffee (I used 4 heaping tablespoons coffee)
4 tbsps Watkins cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 cups top milk (I used 2% lowfat milk)

Brew coffee in coffee maker. Combine the coffee and cocoa in a pan on the stove and stir until thoroughly mixed. Bring to a boil and then add the sugar and salt. Boil for 3 minutes and stir constantly. Add milk. Chill and serve over ice.

Quick and Easy Muffins

The other morning, my 5 year old and 4 year old asked me to make them muffins for breakfast. I was pretty tired, so I went on the internet to look for a quick and easy muffin recipe and found this recipe located at this website: . I did add 2 bananas to it and only baked it for 15 minutes. I think these were the best muffins I've made in a long time. I think I'm going to make some tomorrow using some homemade apricot butter instead of the bananas (just another way to get fruit in the kids).

Cooking burns

For my first post, I thought I'd share a tip. If you burn yourself while cooking, just put honey on your burn (like a salve - thick). The honey will immediately take the burning sensation away.

I learned this after burning myself on my pressure canner (I hit it with my finger while cooking breakfast and canning at the same time).