Cooking From My Pantry – Awesome Nameless Potatoes

Posted on May 10th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

An awesome Thrifty Diva tip for saving money on groceries is cooking with what you have. I seriously implore you to get creative and just try mixing some things together even if you don’t have a recipe. Think about the things you like in recipes and experiment. You may come up with something like I did last night. I have tons of groceries, but absolutely no plan for them. So to make the most of what I have, I played around and came up with this concoction and it was a HUGE family hit.

I couldn’t even get a picture of it before my family dug into it. It’s incredible and if I have these ingredients on hand, you might too! I was hoping this would turn out so I could share it with you guys. And let me know if you have a name for it. Awesome potatoes seems a little unoriginal ūüėČ

What You Need
5-6 potatoes peeled, washed and sliced to about 1/4 inch rounds
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package of ranch mix
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar (I used sharp)
1 small onion chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Pour into large baking dish.
4. Bake for one hour or until tender.



Homemade Mayonnaise and Ketchup

Posted on April 2nd, 2013 by Discount Debbie

My family and I have been on a journey to eat less processed foods. That translates to much more fresh vegetables, local meats and more fruit. Unfortunately our grocery bill went up rather than down so I’ve been working on trying other ways to reduce our bill. One of the things I’ve been doing is making our own condiments. It’s incredibly easy, inexpensive and I am able to control the exact ingredients going into our foods. Plus, it just tastes better! These are the two I’ve made, next onto mustard!

Homemade Mayonnaise
Disclaimer: A lot people say you should be careful when consuming raw eggs.

What You Need
Stick blender-Go ahead and google it, I did. This really is the best tool
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg yolk
Pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard

What To Do
1. Put all your ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix until you have mayo.

Yep it’s that easy! I always have these items on hand and it keeps in your fridge for about 5 days. SUPER yummy!

Homemade Ketchup
Since my daughter eats this like yogurt, I wanted to try a healthier version.

What You Need
12 ounces tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher Salt
1/2 scant teaspoon cinnamon
2 pinches of ground clove
2 pinches of allspice
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2/3 cup Water
4 tablespoons white vinegar

What To Do
1. Combine all ingredients and mix VERY well.
2. Place in jar or something else with a lid.
3. Let sit in fridge for a day or two. The longer you let it sit the better.
This will laste in the fridge for about 3 weeks.

Ramen Noodles-Thrifty Diva Style

Posted on March 25th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

Top Ramen is definitely the ultimate cheap food. Raise your hand if you lived on it in college! I think some bachelors still might be. I was a little shocked several years ago when my Japanese friends bought it and used to it make some amazing recipes. They didn’t use the seasoning packet which they say is disgusting, but the noodles were perfect for their dishes. There is actually quite a bit you can do with the noodles and at around $.10 a package, it’s extremely cheap.

Here are some ideas.

1. Spaghetti! Instead of using traditional noodles, use a package of ramen noodles. One package is good for 2 people and even if you need two, that’s only $.20! Add some spaghetti sauce and meat and you’re set. Very inexpensive and tasty! I love the texture of the ramen noodles in place of spaghetti.

2. Chicken noodle soup. Instead of using egg noodles or whatever you use, try the ramen noodles. Try this yummy recipe.

3. Add it to stir fry. Cook your meat and veggies as you normally would, then add slightly undercooked ramen and finish cooking in the pan. The ramen soaks up the seasonings of the stir fry and then you can skip the rice if that’s your norm.

4. Ramen noodle casserole. THIS is the only one I haven’t made, but it looks too good not to share! I am trying this one next!

5. ¬†Shepherds¬†pie. I saved the best for last. This is truly amazing and it’s¬†surprising how good it is! Check out the recipe HERE. ¬†This yummy¬†concoction is a huge kid pleaser!


Posted on March 4th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

I am always¬†leery¬†to post recipes that I didn’t come up with myself. Because let’s be honest, you could Google just about anything, but I can’t keep this one in. I am a self proclaimed salsa snob/addict. Chips and salsa are my desert food. If I were stuck on a desert for the rest of my life with just one food, it would be chips and salsa. But again, I am so picky about salsa it’s ridiculous.

I have been on the search for the best salsa recipe and am know for sure I’ve found it.

What does this have to do with being Thrifty you may ask. Well first of all, anything you can make from scratch and not outright buy or go to the store almost always saves you money. Second, I am known for sending my husband¬†regularly¬†to the mexican¬†restaurant¬†for chips and salsa togo. That bill is always just over $6. With this recipe which is BETTER than most every salsa I’ve ever had, I can make 10 times as much for half the cost.

Are you sold on this salsa yet? If you are looking for the best salsa ever, look no further. The Pioneer Woman has done it! Please make this and tell me how it changes your salsa world! I’ve copied the recipe below to make it easier for you to make ūüôā

Oh and the best way to eat this is definitely baking chips for about 7 minutes in the oven at 350 until they get nice and crispy. You’ll think you were eating out.

What You Need
1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

What To Do 
1. Throw the onion,¬†jalape√Īo and cilantro in a food processor and chop it all up.
2. Throw everything else in.
3. Pulse to desired consistency. I like my pretty runny.
4. Test it and adjust seasonings.
5. Refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer it sits the better!

Thank you Pioneer Woman.
And your welcome to anyone that starts making this.  

One Ham, Many Uses

Posted on January 29th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

My husband is obsessed with ham lately. I am not a big fan, but I am a big fan of how many meals I get out of one ham! The one we got was HUGE so it will go far. Here is what I have so far.

1. Ham with macaroni and cheese. It doesn’t get much more basic than this, but the first day I just make a regular ham. But I put mine in the crockpot so it’s less work for me.

2. Split pea soup. Is there honestly a better thing to do with a hambone? I think not. It’s super easy to make and again, I just throw it all in the crock pot and forget it until it’s time to eat. HERE is the recipe I use.

3. Potato soup. THIS recipe will change your life. It’s the BEST potato soup of all time. This one doesn’t call for meat, but I throw in ham or bacon and it’s wonderful. It also is in the crockpot which makes it easy on me. Are you seeing a theme here?

4. Ham and cheese omelets. These are great to use your leftovers for breakfast. We don’t eat a lot of meat for breakfast so this is a great way to mix it up. You can also try a breakfast casserole too!

5. Sandwiches! If you happen to have any leftovers, just make sandwiches. I really think this may be my husband’s true reason for wanting ham. And honestly it doesn’t get much easier.

What do you do with your leftover ham?

Thrifty Fall Soup

Posted on October 24th, 2012 by Discount Debbie

One of my all time favorite things about Fall is pumpkin sausage soup. It’s my favorite Fall recipe. It’s the only recipe that I’ll only make during a specific season. It screams Fall and it’s perfect and hearty for the changing temperatures and just happens to color coordinate with Fall colors. I am sure the color of the soup interests you ūüôā

Not only is this an amazing recipe, it’s very inexpensive to make and is spectacular left over! I know what we are having for dinner!

What You Need
1 (12 ounce) package breakfast sausage
1/2 cup onion, minced or chopped depending on how you like your onions
1-2 garlic clove minced depending on your preference for garlic
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 ¬†cup fresh mushrooms cut up if you’d like
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water

What To Do
1. Brown the breakfast sausage, drain, then add the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and mushrooms and saut√© until done. I like pretty well done, but don’t let it burn.
2. Add pumpkin to this mixture and mix well.
3. Stir in the broth and mix well.
4. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
5. Add heavy cream and water and simmer on low another 10-15 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to your taste.

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