Green Chile Burritos

Make up a batch of these Green Chile Burritos for supper or to stash in the freezer at a later date. Either way, you’ll eat good and cheap.

Green Chile Burritos - Make up a batch of these Green Chile Burritos for supper or to stash in the freezer at a later date. Either way, you'll eat good and cheap.

Burritos are the spice of life. Well, if they aren’t, they should be. They are one of the easiest, quickest meals to pull together with little work or planning. All the ingredients can be kept on hand in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. Prepared burritos freeze well and reheat easily.

What’s not to love?

I’ve been making a batch of burritos for the freezer on a weekly basis for awhile now. They rarely last the full seven days since we grab them for quick meals and snacks.

FishPapa’s eyes have lit up on more than one occasion when I’ve said, “There are burritos in the freezer.” [Read more...]

Cinnamon Toast Croutons

Cinnamon Toast is a comfort, isn’t it? Make snacking croutons with dry bread for a good cheap eat.

Cinnamon Toast Croutons - Cinnamon Toast is a comfort, isn't it? Make snacking croutons with dry bread for a good cheap eat.

At the beginning of the Pantry Challenge, I cleaned out the freezers and inventoried what we had. That amounted to quite a few heels from sandwich bread. Those are generally the last pieces to be eaten around here. I typically make them into bread crumbs or regular croutons or even Garlic Cheese Croutons.

This time, however, I decided to make Cinnamon Toast Croutons. They were just as easy to make as standard croutons, but they provided us with a crunchy, sweet treat. My husband thought they were weird, but that didn’t stop him from coming back into the kitchen every few minutes or so for another handful.

He thought I should use fresh white bread. Then they’d be “over the top”, said he.

They also wouldn’t have as much nutrition as whole wheat bread or as much of a frugal aspect as using up dry bread. Save the fresh bread for a yummy sandwich. You can tell who’s the good cop around here, can’t you? [Read more...]

3 Mall Favorites You Can Do Better Yourself

The shopping mall has been known to offer some pretty sweet treats. Here are three favorite mall standards that you can make better at home.

3 Mall Favorites You Can Do Better

My hometown was pretty itty-bitty when I was a kid. There was a Kmart and a few grocery stores, and that was about it. Today it’s what we call Shopping Mecca. But back then, if you wanted to buy something special, you had to head to The Valley to shop.

There one could find shopping malls. Complete with all the yummy treats that feed mall rats everywhere. If only I knew then what I know now.

I can make mall treats better and more cheaply at home.

Here are three favorite recipes that you’ll find while out and about shopping. But, you’ll save a bundle and eat better if you make these yourself. [Read more...]

6 Great Dips You Can Make Yourself

Forget packaged dips. Make your own to control the ingredients and eat good and cheap.

6 Great Dips to Make Yourself

I’m always surprised when I see the vast array of packaged dips there are available commercially. Whether it’s a package of dry seasoning or a refrigerated tub of something, there is no end to what you can buy at the store for your next party or game day event.

But, the truth of the matter is that dips are not difficult to make yourself. Not only is homemade cheaper, but it’s better for you — and tastes better, too.

Here are six of our favorite dips that you can easily make at home. None requires any special ingredients. All are pretty tasty, too. [Read more...]

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Celebrate the coming of fall with homemade pumpkin spice biscotti. Not only is it better for you than commercial brands, but it’s cheaper, too.

pumpkin biscotti

Baking season is upon us! It seems that as soon as the weather starts to cool, the days begin to shorten, and the smoky nights of fall set in, I want to bake.

Baking is an art that I hope we’re not losing. It’s all too easy to snatch up packaged cookies, cakes, and even mixes at the store. But, it’s so incredibly easy to do yourself at home.

On a recent stroll through Trader Joe’s, I saw these itty bitty boxes of Pumpkin Spice Biscotti. I think they were charging $4 for this box about the size of a Rubik’s cube. Seriously? And of course, FishPapa said, “Why don’t you just make those and post it on the blog?!”

Well, of course! Thanks to him, I know how to bake biscotti. Not because he knows how to bake biscotti. But, because one Christmas he said, “You know, we should learn how to bake biscotti.” I don’t know where he was when the biscotti got baked, but we learned to make biscotti that year.

Biscotti look intimidating. They have a funnily-spelled name. They’re often packaged exotically at the holidays.

And they are really easy to make. [Read more...]

Cheese and Garlic Croutons

Forget the box! Make your own croutons for great flavor and good cheap eats!

Homemade Cheese and Garlic Croutons | Good Cheap Eats

Croutons are like candy at our house. Back in the day when I bought the boxed versions, I had to hide the box because my people would be tempted to eat them all — with or without a salad to go under it.

Then I learned to make them myself. I still want to hoard them. I am a salad girl, after all, but if I make the croutons myself, I can control the ingredients and I can make them much, much cheaper than the box. This means that I can use day-old bread that I find on sale or use dry home-baked loaves. My friend Lynn makes her croutons gluten-free!

This weekend we had an extra loaf of that fat chubby “French bread” so I decided to make croutons. Now we have 2 quarts of croutons to use on soups and salads in the coming week or two — if they last that long. [Read more...]

Nut-Free Monkey Munch Trail Mix

Ready to grab a quick snack for the road? As part of the DIY Convenience Foods series, we’re making our own nut-free trail mix.

Nut-Free Monkey Munch Trail Mix | Good Cheap Eats

When I was a kid, trail mix was somewhat of a novelty. A hippie novelty. Usually a melange of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and CAROB chips, it was a fun snack to take camping or on road trips.

Today trail mix has become almost a dessert! I checked out the commercially made versions at the store last week; some are only nuts and chocolate covered candies! I don’t see that being all that different than a candy bar. And it was $14.59 for a 44-ounce container. Not necessarily a good cheap eat.

What’s so silly is that trail mix is probably the easiest thing under the sun to make!

Since my daughter’s nut allergies were reconfirmed this past week, I’m on a mission to make more peanut- and walnut-free foods so that I know that she can enjoy them without negative repercussions. This nut-free Monkey Munch is just the thing! [Read more...]

Flavored Cream Cheese

To kick off the DIY Convenience Foods series, we’re chatting about flavored cream cheeses. It’s a fun food you can make yourself.

Flavored Cream Cheese Recipes | Good Cheap Eats

I’ve always liked cheesecake, but I didn’t like cream cheese until I was an adult. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t. But, once I fell in love, I fell hard. Nowadays, one of my favorite breakfasts/snacks/desserts is a bagel with cream cheese and jam. Super yum! Or if I’m feeling a little savory, cream cheese with onions and sliced tomatoes. Double yum!

One of the things that I’ve noticed about bagels and bagel shops is that they rarely offer you the cream cheese for free. It’s a hefty price to get a little cup of schmear, as they say. In reality, it’s an easy and economical thing to make yourself at home.

Making it yourself

Making flavored cream cheese is not difficult. Simply soften a block of cream cheese and stir in fresh herbs, spices, chopped vegetables or fruit, jam, or fruit zest. You can choose any number of combinations and flavors. Flavored cream cheeses make perfect smears for bagels, crackers, sandwiches, muffins, and quick breads. You can even go as simple as to mix a bit of honey into the cheese.

These things are simple, yet so, so good. [Read more...]

Quick, Easy, and Elegant Afternoon Snacks

Welcome guests with some goodies! These snacks are quick, easy, and just a little bit elegant.

quick and easy appetizer dinner

Last week I had the opportunity of welcoming two very favorite people into my home. My littles and I headed down to the airport to pick up Stephanie and Amy. On the way home we stopped at the French bakery for some baguettes. I threw in a few chocolate croissants and eclairs for good measure. I knew I had cheese, apples, and drinks at home.

Instant feast!

My husband and the other boys joined us for a little afternoon noshing. It was so easy, so elegant, and so tasty. If I do say so myself. The Kaltbach Gruyère that Emmi sent me was amazing. Amazing. The double-creme brie I bought at Trader Joe’s wasn’t too shabby, either.

You don’t have to be tricky to make some delicious snacks to welcome your guests. Consider these options:

  • fresh baguette
  • chocolate croissants
  • eclairs
  • a variety of cheeses
  • apple slices or other seasonal fruit
  • sparkling water, wine, beer, or juice

Pull out a bunch of cutting boards to slice it all up and serve from. Place salad plates on the table. Pour out the glasses.

That’s all there is to it!

What are your favorite snacks to serve to guests?

Disclosure: Emmi sent me a package of cheese to try. It was amazing. Really.

Artichoke Chile Dip

Asiago cheese, artichokes, and diced green chiles combine in a hot and bubbly dip that is sure to bring comfort.

artichoke dip with drinks

I’ve been a pregnant lady many times over. I’ve got six kids to prove it. And the stretch marks.

During pregnancy I was always very careful to eat well. I read that What to Eat When You’re Expecting (copyright 1986) book many, many times over. Unfortunately, most of the research in it was outdated by the time my last baby started to grow in 2007. For that matter, since my mom consulted that book when she was pregnant with my younger brother, it was probably outdated by the time my first baby started to grow in 1996.

It seems like they are always changing the rules on us!

When your child bearing years span a full decade, that can happen to you more than once. No soft cheese? No deli meat? No tuna? These were not the rules of play sixteen years ago. I don’t even know what the rules are anymore.

Somewhere in all that time, I latched onto the idea that artichokes, avocados, and asparagus were particularly good to eat when you’re pregnant. Since I think they’re particularly good to eat when you’re not pregnant, I had no problem justifying the thought. And it gave rise to the assumption that this Artichoke Chile Dip, adapted from a fundraising cookbook I worked on years ago, was perfect for pregnancy. (Thank you, Donna Jolley, for sharing it with the rest of us.)

This dip is one that I would eat by the bowlful during my pregnancies. Forget the load of mayonnaise and cheese. It had artichokes, therefore it was good for me. [Read more...]