Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Did It: Pizza Snowballs

Thank you, pinterest! The recipe I found was almost embarrassingly easy, and I had all the ingredients to put them together in my pantry/freezer. Lunch was almost a no-brained!

The recipe called for refrigerator biscuits, which I did not have. I put together my favorite biscuit recipe instead, and the kiddos got to help with the pastry cutter. I did use sausage instead of pepperoni, as the recipe suggest, because that's what I had. They ended up being quite messy, and they didn't come together quite like the recipe shows. I ended up just dumping the cooked sausage into the biscuit dough, balling up wads of the mixture to put in the muffin tin, then sprinkling some cheese on the top.

The result? Big winner with my husband and myself, not so much with the kids. I served them with homemade spaghetti sauce dipping.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Today's Frugal Meal: Calderetta

I Did It: Homemade Butter

I wish I had taken a picture of the little bit of butter the kids and I made! This makes a great and rewarding activity to do with the kiddos anytime.  I'll keep this in mind for those rainy days when things get a little squirrely around here.

I tried this recipe, on a much smaller scale, when I had a bit of heavy cream that had been hanging around in my fridge for a while.  I figured it was use it or lose it time, so why not give it a go? The kids and I enjoyed the shaking (and shaking and shaking and shaking), and the butter was actually quite good.  We sampled it the night we made it, then I used the rest in a batch of biscuites or scones or something.

Homemade Butter

organic cream (not ultra-pasteurized) (I used non-organic, and I have no idea about the pasteurization level!)
sea salt
quart or half gallon mason jars (I used a rubbermaid container, since I had just a tiny bit of cream.)

1. Leave the cream at room temperature for a few hours until it's fully warmed to room temperature.
2. Pour room temperature cream into jar.  Important: The jar should be double the size of the amount of cream you are using.  If you are shaking a pint of cream, you need a quart jar.
3. Make sure the cap the screwed on very tight (or the plastic lid is snapped tightly).  Shake it really really really well.  Take turns with each of the kids. You'll feel the progress soon.
4. Keep right on shaking until no more butter will form. (There will be a thin white liquid as well.)
5. Separate the liquid from the butter.
6. Place butter in a bowl and run very cold water over it.  Press and squeeze to get as much of the buttermilk out as you can.  Keep going until the water is clear.
7.  You can add salt if you want.
8. Pack in refrigerator or freezer proof containers.  I just kept the same rubbermaid I had used to make the butter.
9. You should be able to keep the butter, if frozen, for up to a year.

I Did It: Pao de Queijo

I already blogged about these rolls here (and the picture is actually better in the other post), but I made these this morning during a carb-crave.  I just wanted to say how easy these are!  I love that I don't have to wait for hours for a yeast bread to rise and I don't have to make the mess of biscuit or scone dough in order to get my carbs.  So easy, so fast, so flavorful. 
Check out my original post for the run-down on directions and cost.  See for the original recipe I used as well as for a plethora of other must-try's.

I Did It: Copy Cat Chili's Salsa

Don't you just love the salsa at Chili's? I do! I could make (and have made) a meal just from their chips and salsa.  Back when it was just $1.69 and $1.99.  Chips and salsa is still the cheapest appetizer on the menu, but the price just keeps going up.  I stumbled upon this recipe for a copy cat Chili's salsa on pinterest.  I browsed the blog it came from, and I was intrigued by more yummy-sounding recipes.  I've added several to my favorites, which is where I store all my new meal ideas for later use. 
I love this recipe because you buzz everything in a food processor until it's not very chunky at all - just the way I like it.  I suppose that, if you like a chunkier salsa, you could buzz it a little less and make it the consistency you like.
Over the weekend, I picked up a jumbo-giant can of diced tomatoes at Sam's Club for somewhere in the $2-$3 range, so I made 8 pints of this yummy salsa for basically what I would pay for one appetizer at the restaurant!
I tweaked about half of the ingredients in the following recipe.  I put my own comments in purple in the hope that you wouldn't be confused between the recipe and my comments.

Copy Cat Chili's Salsa

2 cans (14.5 oz each) whole tomatoes, drained (I used the jumbo can of diced tomatoes and kept the liquid)
1 small (4 oz.) can diced or whole jalapenos (not pickled) -- about 4 or 5 jalapenos (I used the type of jalapenos that are sliced long-ways.  I used about 4 or 5 SLICES, not 4 or 5 jalapenos.  We like things fairly mild here.  The salsa I made has just a tiny tiny hint of heat.)
1/4 c. yellow onion, cut into quarters (You can also used dried minced onion.) (I used yellow onion and onion powder.)
1 tsp. garlic salt (I used garlic powder.)
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt (depending on how much you prefer) (I probably used less than 1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lime juice (I might have used more.  I just juiced about 1/2 a lime into each batch I made.)

Place all of the ingredients together into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Serve with tortilla chips.

What Has Happened to Me?

I don't know what has happened, but I have become very bad at posting blog updates.  I haven't been couponing like I should, so I don't have any super-savings-stories to share.  I've been so out of the drug store game that I actually let an ECB expire a couple of weeks ago.  What's wrong with me? I guess my adventures in becoming a cheapskate have served their purpose, and the blogging has lost its magic for me.  I have so much going on in my life that it doesn't make sense anymore to try to blog just about couponing.  A friend suggested that I start a cooking blog, and I guess I might use this blog for that purpose now.  I am still into saving money, to the point that I can figure the approximate, if not exact, cost of the recipes I make.  I've done that quite a bit here, in posts I call Today's Cheapskate Meal.  I think I just may focus, here on wannabe cheapskate, on that part of my life more than on others.  I'll be posting every time I try a new recipe, and I may backtrack a little to share some new favorites and flops.