I get it. After a day or so, leftovers are done. A second meal, sure. A third? Nope. But if you’re like me, you probably hate wasting perfectly good food. So to keep from tossing it, I look for ways to make new meals that taste and look different than our tired leftovers.
One of my favorite comfort food side dishes to make around this time of year has got to be loaded cauliflower. We eat potatoes all the time as a side in my house so it’s nice to change it up and add some different veggies to the mix. Loaded cauliflower is such an easy recipe to make. You don’t even have to thaw the cauliflower, just throw everything together in a casserole dish and bake it!
1 bag (12 oz) frozen cauliflower florets
1 jar (2.8 oz) real bacon pieces
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 c. shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. dried chives
If you’re like me and struggle to get even a boxed cake recipe right, no worries. Strawberry Banana Poke Cake isn’t just yummy, but it’s really, really hard to screw up. My kind of recipe! I didn’t get the pudding pushed down into the holes as much as I wanted with this batch, but it still turned out great. Here’s what you need:
Ingredients & Supplies
1 box Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme cake mix (and package ingredients for cake–oil, eggs and water)
2–3.4 oz boxes Jell-O Banana Cream instant pudding (and package ingredients for pudding–milk)
8 oz. container Cool Whip
1 c. Nilla wafers, finely crushed
9 x 13 cake pan, greased
For more great Valentine’s Day Ideas, check out the Holiday and Seasonal page!
Looking for some fresh new recipes for Valentine’s Day treats this year? I sure am! Check out these delicious recipes from some of my favorite bloggers. (Links below pictures).
Hi, I’m Liz! I’m the author of Little Budget Big Life and I’m super excited that Katie invited me over to Fun Home Things today.
Here’s my story. After years away, living everywhere from tiny towns to a metropolis of millions, I have returned to Western Kentucky, where I grew up. I write Little Budget Big Life, where I share my approach to embracing a little city lifestyle–from family life and my homeschooling experience to gluten free meal ideas and saving money on, well, just about everything.
Bargain shopping for food is one of my continuous goals. Our family is small, but groceries can be a huge expense if we’re not careful. Chris–a cartoonist–works at home, and Pip–an active 8-year-old who has celiac disease and must adhere to a strict gluten free diet–schools at home, which means we typically eat three meals and several snacks at home on most days.
I’ve done the couponing thing in the past, and I know it works great for some people, but I didn’t see a good return on my time invested, so I dropped the habit. We eat well without breaking the bank, but it takes effort. If you’re looking for ways to save on groceries, start here!Get to know more than one grocery, and visit each of them regularly.
My little city has three grocery options–one national chain and two independent–and I shop in at least two of them each week. I visit Kroger once or twice, as it’s my best choice for produce and gluten free packaged foods, and I stop by one of the independents each week for meat, cereal, and sales.
Our local Kroger bags up “imperfect” fruits and veggies and sells them for $0.99 per bag.
Train your eye–and your kids–to spot manager’s specials.
When Pip was tiny, I gave her the job of finding sale tags. It kept her entertained and it helped me find things I may have missed. Years later, she still points out manager’s special tags at the grocery for me. Some stores gather all their “reduced for quick sale” items in one place, and some stores keep them scattered throughout their departments; figure out or ask what your groceries do, and start your shopping trips there.
Check every department for mark-downs. It takes a little time at first, but once you figure out the methods of your grocery stores, your visits can be quite quick.
One day I happened upon a woman tagging all the “manager’s specials” in the meat department. I said, casually, “hey, I should just follow you around!” She smiled and told me that she does this every Saturday morning. And now I know where and when to find the best prices on the largest selection of meats.
Yes, you’re looking at pork ribs for $0.99/lb and steak for under $3/lb.
The “economy” package, and sometimes the store brand, is not always the best bargain. Shelf labels often have a price per unit listed–check for the lowest one on the variety of brands and sizes available when looking for the best deal.
Check those unit prices! You have to look closely, but sometimes the name brand or the smaller package is more cost-effective.
Let me stop right there to say that you’re not going to find every item you want on sale every week at every store. It’s not going to happen. Well, it doesn’t for me, anyway. But if you start with the sales and specials, you can fill in the gaps with regular priced items. OK, now let’s get those groceries home and get back to business.
I am all for planning meals before they happen–it saves me a lot of stress come mealtime–but I don’t do it until after I’ve been shopping. I’d much rather see what I find for great prices and then create a schedule based on that than try to find on sale the ingredients for my preconceived plans.
Some of our favorite meals have come from “well, what did we find today?”
Serve small portions.
I always start small. Everyone is welcome to more, but I’d rather spoon up second helpings than throw away whatever has been left on someone’s plate.
Keep leftovers–even the bits and pieces.
Throwing food away is one of the easiest ways to waste money on it, and also one of my pet peeves, so I save everything that isn’t on someone’s plate at the end of each meal. If there’s enough leftover to re-purpose into another meal for the family, I do that. Bits and pieces that wouldn’t serve all of us go into my refrigerator, and I use them one of two ways: snack plate or smorgasbord. Pip and I often eat snack plates for lunch; I start with whatever needs to be heated, and then continue to add cheese, fruit, or veggies until there’s a healthy variety. Smorgasbord is what I call a dinner where I get all the leftovers out of the fridge and everyone fills her or his own plate, with the pickiest eaters going first; each meal looks different, but everyone eats, and valuable food is enjoyed rather than tossed out.I’m always looking for new ways to save on groceries, and I’ll continue to share them–and many other money-saving ideas–at Little Budget Big Life. I’d be glad for you to stop by!
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the complete recipe. Have you checked out the Families on a Budget page? For those of you who have been following Fun Home Things for a while, you know that my husband and I are going through Financial Peace University and made the commitment when we got married to get out of debt as quickly as possible and live debt free. One of the things you do when you’re following Dave Ramsey’s plan is to ‘live like no one else so that you can live like no one else’. That means no extras, no eating out, no credit card vacations–it’s beans and rice, rice and beans. We had to cut back on everything. (But let me tell you, it’s paying off already. Next Friday, I’m going to talk about driving 2 paid for cars.)
I personally love this part of the process because having to make something out of nothing for a family of 6 forces me to be creative. It’s a challenge for me and I enjoy it. Cutting back our food budget was a biggie, so I turned it into a game. How cheap can I go?
How can I make dinners that my family of 6 will love for $10 or less? Not only have I found myself coming up with some super cool recipes, they’re also some of my favorites! (FYI, I have started a list of $10 Dinners on the Families on a Budget page.)
Are they the healthiest meals I’ve ever made? Some of them, not always. But this is temporary. The goal of the entire FPU program is to make drastic cutbacks temporarily to get out of debt and build savings.
Anyway, let’s get on with it. Here’s my Cheddar Beef Soup Recipe:
1 can (20 oz.) Dinty Moore Beef Stew ($2.44)
1 can condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup ($.60–generic)
1 can condensed Cream of Potato Soup ($.60–generic)
1 can sliced carrots, drained ($.49–generic)
2 cans water
Total cost: $4.13
Chives or parsley
Serving Size: 6
- Combine the beef stew, cheddar cheese soup, cream of potato soup, carrots and water in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are blended.
- Transfer to a large saucepan and heat on med-high until hot.
- Let cool and garnish with sour cream and chives, parsley or shredded cheese and toast. (optional).
It’s a snow day for us here in Western, Kentucky! The ice and sleet rolled in Thursday and the snow came right on top of it Friday morning. Now we’re in the middle of round 2. While the kiddos loved going outside and playing, they got very cold very fast. Which means that the majority of our time is spent indoors. I don’t know what it is about the snow, but for my kids, boredom sets in much faster than usual.
So here are some of the fun and simple things we do to pass the time and enjoy each other
- Make snow cream. It’s simple! The main ingredient is right outside your door.
2. Make some fun treats like chocolate dipped pretzels.
3. Start creating a Love Notes Jar to give to someone special on Valentine’s Day!
4. Make a gooey batch of slime or Oobleck for little hands to play in.
5. Turn the snow day into a spa day by making your own foot scrub!
All of these ideas have simple ingredients and easy directions that kids, especially Pre-K and Kindergarten kiddos, would enjoy doing. I even have fun too! Have a great snow day and I hope that you enjoy these activities!
This time of year is prime time for organization projects. It’s too cold for most of us to spend a lot of time outside, our houses are overloaded with Christmas gifts and all of us are looking to re-establish some sort of order. At least I am. Do you know what I’m looking forward to the most about this year? Less. Less stuff, less screen time, less running all over the place to make everyone else but us happy…just less. Simple. A break from the chaos. And more organization.
What about you–are you trying to get organized? If you’re working on the drawers in your home, here are 10 fantastic ideas for drawer organization! (Links and sources below the pictures)
Winter is a great time to tackle those indoor projects, like the laundry room. If you liked my previous post sharing some brilliant laundry room updates, you’re definitely going to love this one. I’m hoping to start on our laundry room makeover next month, can’t wait to show you! Thinking about updating yours? Check out what these 10 bloggers have come up with! (Links below pictures).