Potatoes Anna With Sausage

Our latest cheap dinner recipe comes on a Friday night with the bare bones left from the last grocery shop. We had andouille sausage, a bag of potatoes and a yellow onion. I contemplated mashed potatoes, which is always a solid go-to side dish. We use a potato ricer to mash and it makes some of the smoothest mashed taters I’ve known. But, this post isn’t about mashed potatoes.

My mom hand-made a recipe book for me a few years ago with all of her greatest recipes and family recipes passed down. She’d be proud to know that I go to it every now and again. I remembered a recipe for potatoes Anna, which is basically a layering of sliced potatoes, onion, butter, cheese, salt and pepper. All of the ingredients were available. Sweet!

Since our grill is out of propane as of late, we’ve been frying our sausages which just isn’t anywhere near the same when it comes to flavor. So, for this recipe, instead of cooking the sausage separately, I decided to thinly slice it and layer it in with the potatoes and onion. Sausage in recipes is usually a good idea and this was no exception. Since it was already cooked, I had a feeling it would work well and add a perfect flavor to a simple dish like this.
Here is the quick, cheap and easy recipe:
cheap dinner potatoes anna

Potatoes Anna with Sausage Recipe


  • 4 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend)
  • 4 TBSP Salted or Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 pre-cooked andouille sausages, thinly sliced
  • Salt, Pepper and granulated garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a glass pie pan, spread a thin layer of potatoes, onions, cheese, sausage, salt, pepper and garlic. Repeat the layers until the pan is filled.
  3. Pour melted butter evenly over the top.
  4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice into wedges and serve hot.

Cheap Chicken Marinade – Balsamic Habañero

The Marinade Backstory

One of our latest outings to the St Pete Saturday Morning Market resulted in a purchase of habañero jelly, something I never thought I would like, let alone, love. We were plucked from the passers-by after being enticed by free samples (duh, who doesn’t love free samples of food!) and tried almost all the gourmet jellies this guy had to offer. We jumped from pineapple to berry to jalapeño before finally landing on the habañero flavor. The salesmen called the sample we had an adult PBJ since it was on a pretzel square with peanut butter and the spicy habañero jelly to top it off. We loved it. There was a great kick to my favorite classic peanut butter pretzel and did taste like a PBJ. We were sold.

Once we came home with the prized jelly, I was anxious to make a true adult peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, I broke out four slices of bread, spread peanut butter (creamy is the only way!) on two and the habañero jelly on the other two. My husband and I took a couple of bites of the sandwich before really feeling the effects of our mistake. The heat of the peppers was not absorbed or toned down by the peanut butter or bread or sweetness. It was crazy-hot. We suffered through it, but vowed not to make that mistake again. There was definitely too much of a good thing here. Thus, the habañero jelly sat in the cubbard for several weeks before making it’s second, more pleasant debut.

I placed the chicken in a shallow dish, added olive oil and some aged rich balsamic vinegar when the habañero jelly jar caught my eye. So, what the heck, I scooped out a tablespoon and mixed it in the marinade on the chicken. Before I get too far into this without specific instructions, here’s the recipe.

Habanero Jelly

The Balsamic Habañero Marinade Recipe

Serves 2


  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Filets
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Habañero Jelly


  1. Preheat the grill to 400-500 degrees.
  2. In the bottom of a shallow dish (I used a pie dish), pour in and spread around the olive oil.
  3. Place in washed chicken filets.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the chicken and swish around the pieces to blend the oil and vinegar.
  5. Spread the habañero jelly over the four filets and move them around the dish to blend and coat the chicken breasts.
  6. Balsamic habanero marinade

  7. Using tongs, place the chicken on the grill and turn after 5-7 minutes cooking for 5 more minutes. Check for pink with a knife and the filets are done if there is just clear juices. Do not overcook.
  8. Serve with a vegetable, such as grilled zucchini.

Balsamic Habanero Chicken Marinade

Cheap Homemade Pumpkin Puree Recipe

Homemade pumpkin puree from a leftover pumpkin

We are just a few days after Halloween and haven’t gotten around to carving our pumpkin. It’s tough in Florida because once you carve the pumpkin, you might have two or three days of a jack-o-lantern before it turns black and rots. So, waiting until the last few days before Halloween is crucial. This year, we let the holiday pass us by without carving the thing so I made sure to have a back up plan for it.

It just so happens that I was invited to a girls night at a friends house with an all-pumpkin theme. At the ladies-only shindig there was pumpkin turkey chili, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spiced sangria, and we made pumpkin biscuits to go with the chili and roasted pumpkin seeds as a snack. We needed 1 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for the biscuits, so onward with the home made kind! We ended up with 10 cups of pumpkin puree using a medium-large pumpkin. There are smaller pumpkins that might work better, but this is what we had already.

Homemade pumpkin puree a great alternative to canned pumpkin and without all the preservatives or steep price tags. You can spice it up or leave it plain until you’re ready to cook all of your pumpkin creations this holiday season.

The process for cheap pumpkin puree is very simple really.

Pumpkin Puree Instructions

  1. Slice off the top of the pumpkin with a butcher knife, just like you do when carving a Jack-o-Lantern
  2. Scoop out the seeds and funk and set aside for cleaning and roasting later
  3. Slice the remaining pumpkin in half and then in half again so you have four pieces that fit on an extra large baking sheet or roasting pan
  4. Cover the cookie sheet with foil and cover the pumpkin pieces in foil as well
  5. Then, bake on 350 degrees for 1.5 hours or until completely tender
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes
  7. pumpkin slices after they are baked

  8. Gently remove the skin with your fingers, using a small paring knife to help if needed
  9. In batches, place pumpkin meat into a food processor with the regular blade attachment and pulse a few times to break up the pieces
  10. Puree in the processor on high until just smooth and there are no lumps
  11. pumpkin puree in the processor

  12. Measure out 2 cups and place into zipper bags or containers for the freezer
  13. Write the contents and date with a permanent marker and place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months
  14. pumpkin puree in 2 cup batches

Asian Beef and Mango Salad

Cheap Weeknight Dinner with Asian Flair

We’re a regular taco night family. It’s an easy meal that we often turn into taco salad night which just means our taco ingredients go over top of crunched up tortilla chips. This time we decided to give taco night an Asian flair.

Take away the tortilla chips and swap out a few ingredients to change up the flavor profile and you’ve got yourself a brand new salad that requires the same amount of prep and cooking time. This meal takes a total of 20 minutes from heating up the first pan to putting the fork in your mouth. Easy peasy.

I’ve never really cooked with hoisin sauce and I had some leftover from another Asian-style meal. It has great flavor with a combination of soy sauce, ginger and chili pepper to kick things up. It seemed like a natural fit here too. Mango goes so well with savory dressings and they are in season right now so organic mangos are readily available.

My husband and I were happy the way dinner turned out tonight and clean-up with a cinch. When I make it again, I’m going to add a cup of jasmine rice to each serving. It’s something you might consider doing if you’re not afraid of some extra carbs. If you are on a low-carb diet, this is a perfect meal as long as you look at the sugar content in the hoisin sauce. You may want to add the ginger, soy and chili yourself to eliminate the sugars.

Asian Beef and Mango Salad


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into thin moons
  • 1 mango, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped


  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. About 5 to 7 minutes. Add minced garlic just before it’s finished.
  2. Stir in the hoisin, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and the Sriracha. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, the remaining teaspoon of soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the lettuce, carrots, celery, mango, cooked beef, cilantro, and peanuts among bowls. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Cheap Restaurant St. Petersburg – Trips Diner

Trips Diner | 2339 Dr Martin Luther King Jr St N St Petersburg, FL 33704 | (727) 498-8980


We love cheap restaurants, especially with great breakfast.

My husband and I have been on the prowl for cheap restaurants in St. Pete ever since moving here this time last year. We’ve discovered a few gems that I have yet to post about, but will soon. We recently discovered that a new diner opened up close to where we live, just down MLK from us and there was always a packed parking lot on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which is a good indication of how the food is.

A few weekends ago we decided to check things out. I of course brought my camera, as usual, but forgot to take pictures of the place or the food because I was too excited about eating. This happens a lot, which is why I end up missing the first impression of a restaurant and end of going back for a second taste and promising to take good photos of the experience. This time, I didn’t forget and can share our breakfast with you visually.

The diner has better-than-normal decor. Blending the typical old fashioned Florida tourism style with modern booths, countertops, fixtures and flooring. It’s refreshing to be in a diner that doesn’t just have cliché black and white checkered flooring, sparkling vinyl seats and shiny metal everywhere.

Trips Diner in St. Petersburg, FL

On the first visit, we weren’t sure what to order or what they might consider to be their best breakfast, but the waitress was super-helpful and even offered to let us try the cheese grits before deciding between those and the homefries. Since living outside of the US for some time and experiencing customer service (especially in restaurants) to be at it’s worst in Costa Rica, we really appreciate when wait staff is excited about their job and give you a great experience. The waitress here did just that.

So, get to the food already, you say. Okay. I settled on a 2 egg omelet with feta, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes with a side of homefries. I can’t share the photos with you because, this was the time I forgot to shoot before picking up my fork. But I can tell you it was fabulous. These people know how to make an omelet. The egg was fluffy and all the ingredients inside were cooked perfectly and my mouth was happy with each creamy bite.

This visit, I settled on the corned beef hash special that came with two eggs (I got scrambled) and a side of your choice, which I landed on the cheese grits since I passed on them the last time. The grits are a must-have, although the hash browns/homefries are amazing too. You can’t lose by choosing either of them.

Trips Diner - Corned beef hash and eggs

Trips Diner - Cheese grits

My husband settled on the biscuits and gravy, which had an amazingly peppery gravy without it being overwhelmingly salty. The bacon served at Trips Diner is super-thick cut and cooked just the way I like it. Crispy, but not burnt. I’m definitely tempted to try the BLT if we come in for lunch. The bacon is THAT good.

Trips Diner - Biscuits and Gravy with bacon

Make sure you swing into Trips Diner and meet the husband and wife duo that makes the show happen each day. They gave great service, the food is the best in St. Pete for breakfast and the prices are decent. Not the cheapest place in town, but nothing unreasonable either. Here is the full breakfast menu:

Trips Diner - Breakfast menu

Healthy Eating Isn’t Synonymous with Expensive

Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

When the conversation turns to healthier eating, it seems like someone always brings up the idea that it’s impossible to eat healthy on a budget. While it’s true that a package of ramen noodles is cheaper than a box of whole wheat pasta, that’s only part of the story. If you don’t invest in the food you put in your body, you will pay ten-fold in medical expenses throughout your life.

Just about everyone is looking to save money these days, but many frugal foods can also improve your health. Whether you are saving money by comparing insurance rates or making your own household cleaning products, add eating healthy to the list of ways to save a buck. Plus, health insurance rates go down if more people are healthy and requiring less money to maintain their health.

Fruits and Vegetables Are Cheap. No, really, they are. Compare the cost of an apple to that of, say, a doughnut. They’re about the same price. But you can’t deny that the apple is a healthier choice with more real vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay strong. Not only will it give your body the vitamins and minerals you need, it’s loaded with fiber and will keep you satisfied longer than the doughnut. If veggies seem more expensive during the winter months, head to the freezer aisle. Frozen vegetables are just as good for you as fresh.

Making changes to your dinner menu to include more vegetables will also save you money on your grocery bill. Cutting back on meat and focusing more on stir fries, chili and soups that rely primarily on veggies and less on meat are better for you and much cheaper. While protein is still important, you don’t need to cut meats out completely, but learn to use them sparingly. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are a great budget buy or even better, bone-in and skin-on chicken pieces help cut costs too. Watch for sales, especially on whole chickens and you can usually get all-natural options for $1.99 per pound. Now, consider that you can stretch one chicken breast to feed a family of four by making it an accent in the meal instead of the main course. Now that’s a good deal.

Packaged food is cheap, but think about what you are really paying for. Food that comes in boxes is usually loaded with sodium, fat and calories, not to mention preservatives and other chemicals. Try these inexpensive and healthy choices from the canned and boxed food aisle that are cheap, healthy and have a long shelf life even without preservatives:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Tuna
  • Kidney beans
  • Diced or stewed tomatoes
  • Chunky pasta sauces
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Low-sodium broth based soups

Plan your meals and try these tips on your next shopping trip, and see how much you can save.

$100 Cheap Food Project – Week 2

The $100 Cheap Food Challenge Week 2

This post is long over due. We’re talking ridiculously long. The week 1 post was almost ancient history, but thanks to my readers who have pushed me to get the rest of this series out, I kept going. Cheap Food Here is showing our readers that it is possible to spend just $100 per person per month on food. Our week 1 post was created when we were living in Costa Rica so certain foods were cheaper (most produce and fruit) but certain other foods were more expensive (specialty items, imported foods, cheese, meat, seafood, etc) so it has surprisingly balanced out now that we’ve completed week 2 since moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.

Remember that eating out isn’t going to be possible on this tight of a budget. There’s almost no way to stick to just spending $100 per person per month for food if you even eat out once. Prepared foods are much more expensive than homemade and can ruin your whole food budget if you let it. It’s also much easier to spend less than $100 per person if you’re doubling the recipes listed and feeding more than just two people.

There are two great posts from last month for 5 ways to save money on food and 5 more ways to save money on food. These are perfect for those of you doing the $100 cheap food challenge.

Here is the video again for those of you who missed the week 1 post:

VIDEO: Can you live on $100 per month for food?

Reduce snacking and eating between meals.

One of the most critical ways to save money is to reduce snacking, especially processed food snacks. This experiment was much easier when we cut out all chips, granola bars, boxed crackers, bottled drinks and junk food and replaced it with nutritious snacks like fruit, homemade crackers, nuts and other cheap, but healthy snacks. This may sound impossible because you get hungry half way between breakfast and lunch and then twice again between lunch and dinner, but knowing what to eat to reduce hunger is critical.

A high protein breakfast is the easiest way to sustain you through the morning. This means eating eggs, beans, meats, whole grains and vegetables early in the morning and in decent quantities. This is a tough transition if you’re not a big eater in the morning but once you ease into it and have go-to meals to prepare in the mornings, you’ll notice that you don’t get hungry until it’s time for lunch. Stay away from just eating cereals, breads, bagels, pancakes, biscuits and other high-carb, sugary foods because your body digests these foods faster and we all know that high-carb diets are a cause for concern with weight and diabetes.

If you do need a snack during the day, which is bound to happen, stay away from carbs and try to eat vegetables or home made snacks that are inexpensive and provide nutrition. Something that is not just a temporary escape from hunger.

Week 2 Menu

Below is the cheap food menu I’ve put together to get you started and prove you can eat healthy and fully on $50 per week for two people. Some of the recipes in the list below are from Cheapfoodhere.com and some are from our favorite foodies. Try not to use canned goods unless you have them already, but know that you are getting less than half of the nutritional value from canned goods that you would from fresh or frozen produce.

With a lot of the recipes, it’s good to reduce the quantity of expensive ingredients (example: cheese or meat) or use a substitute for something less expensive and perhaps more healthy.


  1. Fried Eggs with Spinach and curried garbanzo beans
  2. All Natural Granola Cereal with Bananas and Craisins
  3. French Toast with peanut butter, banana and granola
  4. Fried Eggs with Spinach and curried garbanzo beans
  5. Oatmeal w/Craisins and flax and an almond milk berry shake
  6. Feta and chive biscuits (follow recipe but sub feta for cheddar) with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon.


  1. Homemade mini pizza with turkey bacon, feta and jalapeño (follow recipe but change out toppings)
  2. Citrus Lentil Salad with homemade hummus and carrot sticks
  3. Falafel with cucumbers
  4. Leftover Slow cooker chicken tikka masala
  5. Leftover Cornish Hen and Dumplings
  6. Leftover Homemade Gnocchi with Lemon Sage Butter


  1. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice
  2. Spicy Black Bean Burgers served on Pita (makes 6 large patties, so freeze 3-4 for upcoming week)
  3. Cornish Hen and Dumplings (we didn’t make the cornbread muffins)
  4. Homemade Gnocchi with Lemon Sage Butter
  5. Leftover Cornish Hen and Dumplings
  6. Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala


  1. Red Curry Roasted Garbanzo Beans (follow recipe but sub curry paste for creole seasoning)
  2. Homemade Crackers with Sea Salt
  3. Trail Mix of almonds, Craisins and cashews.
  4. Garbanzo Bean Flour Homemade Flatbread
  5. Cucumber Boats with Carrot Dip
  6. Leftover babaganoush and pita


Week 2 Grocery List: Download Here

Since this is week 2, there are several items from the week 1 shopping list that will be leftover to include in this week’s meals without buying new. These items as well as those that I already had on hand as a staple item are indicated with an ‘x’ next to them and the price column has been left blank.

As you know we are advocates of growing as much of your own produce as possible and supporting your local farmers as well. Buying in-season produce greatly reduces the cost and often times buying frozen produce is cheaper since they were picked during peak season. Keep all of this in mind when choosing items to buy for the receipes.

Do some research in advance. There are Web sites like www.mygrocerydeals.com that is a free resource for you to find the best deal on items in your area before even getting into your car. Most likely your favorite grocery has their pricing and specials online for you to organize your trip to get the best deals without having to drive all over town.

As we said with week 1, make sure when you go shopping, you stick to the list, and only to the list. Don’t make impulse buys but feel free to choose a cheaper type of item to substitute based on what’s on sale. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing with the challenge.

5 More Ways to Save Money on Food

5 more ways to save money on the food budget

In case you didn’t catch my first post about 5 ways to save money on food, make sure you go back and check it out too. There are plenty of ways to save money on food, and below I have focused on five very important things to keep you on the straight and narrow when you’re in the grocery store. This doesn’t mean boring food, but it could potentially encroach on some of your food crutches that are driving up your monthly food budget and aren’t a requirement for your health. Take a look and feel free to comment any other ideas you have or feedback with your experience with any of the 5 more ways to save money on food.

1. Reduce expensive meat consumption

This is a true sacrifice for most. Americans love meat. There are advertising campaigns for Beef just so you’ll keep craving cattle. And while eating meat at every meal isn’t exactly healthy, it’s a habit the US culture has fallen into. A lot of people are of the belief that you need to eat meat to get the proper amount of protein. But remember, you can get plenty of protein from legumes like beans or lentils and they are a fraction of the cost. When you are looking to control the food budget, meats are one of the easier parts to cut out. But, if you still want to keep it in the meal plan, you can stretch the dollar when buying meat by getting a low-end cut of beef or pork and cook it for half a day in the slow cooker. The Crock Pot is a miracle-worker on tough meat and turns it into a tender morsel after the 10th hour or so.

2. Make homemade snacks

More often than not we find ourselves cruising down the chip or cracker aisle looking for something to throw in a baggie and take to work or to send the kids to school with. However, you need to resist the urge and really look at how much money you spend on processed foods especially snacks. There are healthy recipes all over the internet for home made snacks. For example here is a home made cracker recipe and another more simple cracker recipe that goes great with cheese, hummus dip, garbanzo flatbread, roasted red pepper spread and the list goes on. Taking whole foods as snacks will sustain you much better than processed foods, so when you are making your shopping list, think ahead about what you can buy to make at home or grab that’s as easy as cutting up some apples.

3. Eat in groups

A weekly tradition in our old neighborhood in Charlotte was to have everyone over to someone’s house each week for a pot luck dinner. The host made the main course and everyone else brought a side dish or dessert. Sometimes we’d set a budget limit on the dishes which had the tendency to be the most creative. Themes work well for group dinners and inspires the cooks to branch out of their comfort zone. The key here is to eat in bulk and thus spend less money. It’s far easier to cook for multiple people than just yourself and it’s a lot more interesting to share a meal with a group of people.

4. Eat a healthy, decent-sized breakfast

This tip I can’t stress enough. In order to give yourself the energy you need to be sustained throughout the day, a full healthy breakfast is absolutely necessary. Some people I know eat two breakfasts, one when they first wake up that includes mostly fresh fruit and juice and then once they are up and moving or after their morning workout, they eat a second breakfast of eggs, gallo pinto (beans and rice) with whole grain bread or a bagel. The first breakfast helps you wake up and get moving, while the second breakfast will sustain you until the afternoon when lunchtime rolls around. It’s amazing how much better your day can be and the energy you can find when you’ve filled your body with the fuel of fresh fruit, a protein and whole grain. This keeps you from needing unhealthy, expensive snacks and sodas to give you the false energy you need to make it to lunchtime. Fill yourself up early in the day and you won’t have to eat a huge lunch or snack in between.

5. Use dried goods instead of canned

A little research goes a long way with the cost of dried goods versus canned. When you can find it, the fresh or frozen goods are the most healthy, but in the case of beans or legumes, dried will beat out canned any day of the week. A bag of dried beans will make as much as 5 times more than the same price of beans in cans. BigLots is a great resource for dried goods. Just the other week we found bags of garbanzo beans marked down to $0.25 per bag. It was a rare, but excellent find.

It’s a little more labor intensive to soak and then cook the beans, but you can control the flavor better, avoid weird canning preservatives and of course see an immediate price savings. Our house is full of dried goods including split peas, lentils, garbanzos, black and red beans, etc. A crock pot is also a miracle on dried goods so you can set it to low and come back in a few hours to perfectly cooked beans or lentils.

Carrot Pesto Cucumber Boats

Cheap, Healthy Snack Recipe for Your Next Party

Dishes are just a bit fancier when they have an edible vessel. Take stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, quinoa salad in an acorn squash, taco salads in a tortilla shell bowl, etc. This recipe is no exception and up to this point I hadn’t ever used a cucumber as a vessel for a recipe, but it works great.

One of the ways that you can significantly reduce your food budget is to make your own snacks. We’ve featured a few recipes already (Homemade Crackers with Sage and Cayenne, Olive Oil and Sea Salt crackers, Flatbread with Garbanzo Flour) that keep you out of the cookie/cracker/chip aisle at the grocery store where we know a TON of money is spent and you stray the most from your grocery list. It’s a whole lot of cravings and eye candy there, so best to stay away.

We decided to find a healthy snack that would work for a family or to bring to a dinner party/tailgate that was more creative than chips and dip, wings or sandwiches. So, we tweaked a pesto and hummus recipe to include carrots instead of the beans and unsalted mixed nuts instead of pine nuts, since we’re trying to cut down the cost. Here’s the recipe:

Carrot Pesto Cucumber Boats


  • 2 Large Cucumbers
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Small Garlic cloves
  • 10 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/8 Cup of EVOO
  • 1/2 Cup of Unsalted Mixed Nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. In a blender or food processor, place carrots, garlic, basil, olive oil and mixed nuts.
  2. Cucumber boat recipe

  3. Blend until smooth, stopping to push mix down with a spatula.
  4. cheap snack recipe cucumber boats

  5. Peel strips off of the cucumber skin and cut off the ends.
  6. peeled cucumber

  7. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
  8. cucumbers in half without seeds

  9. Scoop filling into the cucumber boats and slice into 1.5″ pieces.
  10. carrot dip in cucumber boats

  11. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

5 Ways to Save Money on Food

What’s the best way to save money on the food budget?

With food being one of the largest parts of the food budget, we often struggle with how to make cuts without feeling like you’re not feeding yourself or your family properly. This is definitely not the case and I have proved it in my $100 Cheap Food Challenge I wrote about in 2010. This case study does some quick interviews with people to discover that, not only do people have no clue how much they spend each month on food, they think it’s impossible to survive on just $100 per person per month. Now, granted, it is more difficult to live on $100 per month when it’s just one person, but it gets easier as you add more to the household. If you have five members of the family that you’re feeding, it’s easier to limit your food spending to $500 than for the single person to keep it under $100.

While it’s not easy to change your habits, it is easy to reduce the cost of food for the month by following a few simple guidelines. These guidelines aren’t going to suggest you eat off of the dollar menu at fast food restaurants or simply eat rice and beans or Ramen noodles. While those foods are in fact cheap, they end up being expensive in the long run when considering how unhealthy you’ll become and have to pay more for doctors, prescriptions, etc. So remember, just because it’s cheap now doesn’t mean it’s the most cost effective way to eat and live long term.

Most people look at the way they eat as a necessity in life, but it’s amazing how much you can save if you plan, eat the proper diet and take the time to cook at home. The choices you make at the grocery store or convenience store (*gasp!) really affects your budget, even if it’s just $10 at a time. Let’s take a look at the suggestions Cheap Food Here has put together since being on their mission to eat creatively on a modest budget.

1. Don’t eat out!

Believe it or not, eating out is the fastest way to blow through your food budget. It may seem convenient and delicious and trump anything you could make yourself at home, but it’s amazing how much you can save by staying out of restaurants. If you do decide that taking a break from cooking is a must, do it sparingly and don’t order drinks if you can help it. Drinks end up costing as much or more than an extra entree.

Another way to save money is to share an appetizer and an entree. Typically that is more than enough food to satisfy you and you’ve saved the loot from the extra box of carry-out you would have let go bad in the fridge later that week.

2. Ditch the bottled drinks

It goes without saying that you should already ditch the smoking habit if not for the health concerns but for the cost. But in comparison, drinking soft drinks or bottled juices, waters, etc are driving your food budget through the roof! Not only are most bottled drinks unhealthy, they are extremely expensive.

The sale of bottled water dropped by 9% in 2008 and I imagine it’s been going down since then and for good reason. Why not just carry your own water with you when you’re out and about. This cuts back dramatically on cost as well as help reduce trash.

3. Stick to your grocery list

There isn’t anything the retailer wants more than for you to act on impulse during your entire shopping trip. But hey, I know it’s hard to avoid the fancy packaging, the end caps and aisle violators that just insist on having their products jump into your cart. But make sure you know what you’re up against and have a clear objective in mind. Get only the items on your list, put the blinders on and get in and out as fast as possible.

4. Make sure your coupons are actually saving you money

A lot of times it’s not cheaper to use a coupon. If you know which stores to buy your staple items from and check the prices before even leaving the house, you’ll save more money than if you had a brand-named coupon for a product you don’t normally buy. Those manufacturers want you to buy their expensive products, so they try to make you think you’re saving money with a coupon. Most likely there is a different brand without a coupon that will cost less than the brand-name with a coupon, so be careful how you price out products and really look at the end price.

5. Reduce pre-packaged meals

Although it might seem smart at the time to buy the box of macaroni and cheese or the frozen Healthy Choice meal, there is hardly any nutritional value in most pre-packaged meals and considering the portions, you could easily make the same meal from scratch for less money. Buying the ingredients and making it yourself with the proper type of seasonings and salt will be more delicious and healthy. It’s good to make meals in bulk and then freeze them in separate containers when you’re ready for them throughout the week. Be careful when you see pre-packaged meals that look quick and easy; a cost comes with the convenience.