Today I made a big ol’ batch of this soup, some we ate for supper, some I’m going to freeze.  Its both a  super frugal meal, yet very nutritios. It’s filling and everyone in our family likes it. You can top with tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos and cheese.

You can switch out the recipe in so many ways depending on what you have on hand, but here’s how I made it:
Ingredients:

  • 2.7 lbs. of chicken thighs – You can use any kinds of chicken parts, but the thighs were on sale, so that’s what I used.
  • 8 cups cooked white beans
  • Veggie scrapsThis is one of the things that makes this so cheap, instead of buying broth for the soup, make your own while cooking up the chicken. I like to keep a bag in the freezer with veggie scraps.
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped – If you wash the carrots before peeling, add the peels to make your broth!
  • butter or oil
  • salt & pepper
  • taco seasoning – I don’t have a particular recipe, but it’s usually a combination of chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. Although there are lots of homemade taco seasonings on the web, if you want exact proportions.

Other options: Diced onions sautéed up with the veggies would be tasty too, I was just out of onions this time. Corn is good in it too.

I had my white beans, soaked and cooked up the day before. So I started my cooking session with putting the chicken, veggie scraps and lots of water in my pressure cooker. I chopped the celery and peeled and chopped the carrots and included their scraps in the pot too. I added some salt and pepper, then cooked up the chicken. I love how I just have to turn the cooker on, let it cook at pressure for about 8 minutes, then turn it off.* It uses a lot less energy than just cooking in a regular pot. But you could also cook it up in a pot, or even use a crock-pot and do this part the day before.

Once your chicken’s cooked (and the pressure has released on the cooker) let the chicken and golden broth cool, then strain out the scraps and chicken. Toss the scraps and cut up the chicken into pieces.

Put the broth, chicken and beans all into a pot and add the sautéed veggies. Cook until every thing is heated through and the flavors have all melded, you can taste to see if you want to add more seasonings.

Cool and put in ziptop bags or containers for the freezer. And maybe enjoy some for supper tonight! :)

Dinner is served!

 

Amy 


*If you use a pressure cooker, make sure to read the instructions in the manual for your own saftey.

You all know how much I love muffins, so I was pretty excited about a library book called Mad About Muffins by Dot Varton!

I tweaked the sweet potato muffin recipe just a little and ended up making it this way:

Ingredients:

2 C. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

1/4 c melted butter

1 c milk

1 c. cooked and mashed sweet potato

1/2 c. carob or chocolate chips

 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Mix the dry and wet ingredients separate, adding the sweet potato  and carob chips last. Put in greased muffin tins and bake 15-20 minutes or until done.

And if you like muffins too, I recommend checking out your local library to see if they have this book!

 

This post is linked at A Blossoming Life and Frugally Sustainable.

 

Amy 

I enjoy a nice cup of cold ice-coffee, but I also know that it’s not a very nutritional choice, so I often make these 3 substitutions to make it a little healthier.

  1. Often I make it with decaf coffee instead of regular to cut back on the caffeine.
  2. Instead of using regular white sugar or artificial sweetener, I use honey or sugar in the raw, which is sugar that’s been less processed.
  3. I substitute the creamer for milk, which helps me get my milk intake.
To make the ice coffee, simply brew a pot of coffee then mix in the sugar or honey and let it cool. Make sure to add the sugar or honey while the coffee’s still hot or it won’t dissolve as easily. Then add the milk and some ice and enjoy! :P
This post is linked at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.

Today I have 2 “recipes.” I call them “recipes” because I don’t have exact measurements or even exact ingredients for them, but I wanted to share them anyways.

Old hot dog buns turned into croutons.

1. Old hot dog buns can be made into croutons, as well as almost any other kind of leftover bread. Just cut the buns into bite-sized squares and mix them up with melted butter, oil and whatever seasonings you like (I like garlic powder and oregano). Put them on a cookie sheet in the oven on a very low temperature until they crisp up like croutons!

Ants on a log kicked up a notch!

2. All-kinds-of-bugs-on-a-log! In kindergarten I remember eating ants on a log (celery, peanut butter and raisins), and I still eat it, but recently I kicked it up a notch by using other things in place of the little raisin ants. I put trail mix on it, which has included chocolate chips, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, raisins, golden raisins and craisins. Gracia prefers this too, since she’s not a fan of raisins. I’ve also done it with nutella which is heavenly on anything!

 

Ever  have apples that are starting to get soft and mealy? Maybe their bruised and just don’t look too appetizing? Instead of just throwing them out, you can make applesauce! I’ve made it twice now and it’s really pretty easy.

Get some apples. This is the perfect way to use imperfect apples!

Peel them.

Chop up the apples discarding the cores. Put the apples, water and cinnamon in a pot on the stove.

Chop up the apples and throw away the cores. Put the apples, water and some cinnamon in a pot on the stove.

Turn on the stove and let the apples simmer until they’re really tender (note: I did have a lid on the pot, I just took it off for the picture). Let them cool a little.

Then put them in a food processor and give them a whirl (make sure to not get too much of the water or it’ll be runny). The first time I made applesauce I didn’t use the food processor, I just mashed them up which gives it a chunkier texture.

Taste and see if it needs sugar. If you used really sweet apples, it should be sweet enough by itself, but I did add a little sugar to mine this time.

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Water
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)

 

This post is linked at A Thrifty Mom and Little Natural Cottage.

I LOVE baked potatoes! We usually top them with chili, but I really like them with just some sour cream, salt and pepper too. Yesterday I tried “baking” the potatoes in my crock and they turned out fantastic, and just as easy as making them in the oven!

  1. Scrub and pat dry your potatoes
  2. Poke a few holes in them with a  fork.
  3. Rub in oil (I used olive oil) and salt.
  4. Wrap in aluminium foil and put in your crock pot. I cooked 6 potatoes on low for 7 hours, but you may need to vary the cooking time, based on the size and number of potatoes and your crock pot.
  5. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Crock Pot Tip: A crock pot uses about 8 cents of electricity in 7 hours, whereas an oven uses between 16-24 cents per hour of use. I know the savings is small, but crock pots also keep your house cooler in the summer! Information from Michael Bluejay, a.k.a Mr. Electricity.

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Here’s a healthy, delicious, and refreshing salad. My mother-in-law made it for us once, and I’ve been making it ever since. And it’s SOOO simple! All you need is:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • A little bit of olive oil
  • Lemon pepper or salt and pepper

Cut the tomatoes in wedges and slice the cucumbers. Then drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle on the seasonings then gently toss. It’s a perfect side dish on a hot summer day!

We have a problem at our house, we eat a lot of corn tortilla chips. But the problem isn’t the ones we eat, its the ones we DON’T eat. It always seems like  a quarter of the chips get left behind in the bottom of the bag as crumbs. I like to use the crumbs as a topping on chili or chicken tortilla soup. The only problem is with all this over 100 degree weather, we haven’t been eating chili or soup. So I had this container of chip crumbs:

And I finally did something about them! First I ground them up in my food processor:

Then I used 3/4 cup in making meatloaf. I usually use bread crumbs made from leftover stale bread and crackers, but the tortilla chip crumbs worked just fine too! I put the rest of the crumbs in a bag in the freezer for the next time I need them. Sometime I want to try using them to bread chicken fingers with. Here’s an article I found with 10 ways to use up tortilla chip crumbs.

Linked at Kitchen Tip Tuesday’s at Tammy’s Recipes. Check out her site for more great kitchen tips. And check out her recipes too! I’ve tried several of them, so far I think my favorite has been her White Chili. Too bad it’s kinda hot weather for it. =(

Do you have any creative ways of using up chip crumbs?

Cereal is a perfect breakfast because it’s so easy and fast in the mornings. But if you look at the ingredients usually sugar is one of the first 2 ingredients. So here’s an alternative. This granola recipe only uses honey, instead of sugar, and it’s chock full of fiber. Just make up a batch every now and then and you have granola ready to go for many breakfasts to come! You can also use in it making peanut butter power pucks, or a yummy parfait.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • vanilla, maple flavoring, almond extract, cinnamon, or any flavoring you would like
  • Add-ins: raisins, craisins, chopped dates, sunflower seeds, coconut, chopped nuts or whatever else sounds good to you.

Melt the butter. Then mix all the ingredients, except the add-ins. Bake in a glass 9 by 13 pan at 350 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Bake until granola is light brown. Let cool then add dried fruit and nuts. Keep in an airtight container.

Finger Paint

Need a fun activity for your kids this summer? Just whip up some frugal finger paint. All you need is water, cornstarch, and food coloring. Here’s the site I got the recipe from. Today was the second time I’ve done this with Gracia and she really likes it, especially since she gets to pick out what colors we make. You can even have your kids help make it. Gracia poured the cornstarch in the cold water, got the bowls out and of course picked out the colors. It’s a great idea for decorating a Father’s Day card too!

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