Friday, September 2, 2016

Banana Oatmeal Muffins - No Eggs- Frugal City!

I made these Oatmeal Banana Muffins for my breakfasts this week using some overripe bananas that were on their last leg.  I created this recipe using my No Eggs Pumpkin Bread recipe as a guide.  

I wasn't sure how the recipe would turn out but I don't always have eggs so I wanted a recipefor muffins that didn't use eggs.

Woo hoo!  These are great!  Perfectly moist like banana bread.  Yummy and fantastic!

This recipe uses only a few ingredients; has a minimal amount of sugar in it, has oats in it, and no eggs.  How can that be a bad thing, right?

Here's how I made Banana Oatmeal Muffins-No Eggs AT HOME MY WAY:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins - No Eggs

  • 1 1/4 cup flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used white, but brown sugar would work)
  • 1 teaspoon baking SODA
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil.)
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 very overripe bananas (mashed)

Preheat oven - 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
In another dish, mix the mashed banana, water, and olive oil until smooth.

Combine both dry and wet ingredients and stir until smooth.  (It will be thick.)

Place in paper lined or sprayed muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes or until browning.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

LEFTOVERS - Homemade Micro Meals - Meals in Jars

In my office at work lots of people, young and old, are standing in line for the microwave!  They are often warming up those tasteless little boxed meals you find in the freezer section of the grocery store.  Eek.  There are better options out there than those things!

I found a great money and time saver that gives me better food and more bang for my buck.  Also, no trash since I reuse the jars!  Another winner-winner, chicken dinner... or stir fry dinner, chili dinner, or pasta dinner...

Leftovers make great frozen dinners!  Here's all you need to do it AT HOME MY WAY:

Frozen Micro Meals in Jars

  • Leftovers, such as meals with rice, pasta, chili, soups
  • Jars with lids.  I use pint canning jars because those offer similar amounts like Lean Cuisine type dinners, but if you are a big eater, by all means use quart jars.
  • Lids.  I keep a stash of recycled peanut butter lids which are plastic for using with freezer/fridge food.  They fit perfectly on standard mouth canning jars.  Lots cheaper than buying those Ball plastic lids since they are FREE!
  • Permanent marker for labeling

Place leftovers directly in jars, leaving an inch or so of head space.  I use a canning funnel which helps but you don't have to have one.  Rice and pasta warm up great!  Mashed potatoes, not so much.  Sauces and gravies would be great as are stir fries, chili, soups.  You could even freeze restaurant food in jars.  Yes, vegetables won't be perfectly crisp, but are they in other boxed, freezer meals? It will be hot, delicious, and your own cooking.  YUM! 

Screw on a lid.

Write the meal and the date on the lid.  You could use masking tape to re-use, but I find that nail polish remover removes permanent marker so I do that sometimes for a fresh start.

Let cool somewhat before freezing so they don't heat up the other stuff in your freezer.

For lunch, grab and go.  It doesn't get much easier than that!

To reheat, heat two minutes or so with the lid loosened until hot to your liking.

Dig in.

(Yes, glass jars work great in the freezer! )



Friday, July 29, 2016

When life gives you zucchini - make jam! Surprise Zucchini Jam - NO PECTIN NEEDED! Must-Have Garden Recipe!!

This fantastic Surprise Zucchini Jam will be a great way to use up those ever-growing zucchinis in your garden.  It turns out fantastic and uses no pectin!  Ding-ding-ding - money saver!  (Jello is lots cheaper than pectin!)  

I ate mine on some bread/toast and it was amazing!  I just couldn't imagine what it would taste like??  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Great for biscuits, toast, even over cream cheese/served with crackers as an appetizer!  It would make a fun homemade Christmas gift, too!

I am making lots more varieties of this recipe.  My husband's grandma always used apricot jello. Strawberry jello is supposed to be great! Also, I thought it would be good to use pineapple jello and include some ground jalapenos for pepper jelly.  Lots of possibilities here!

Since this recipe uses no Surejel/pectin, I was very skeptical. However, after a sit overnight, it was all set up.  In the fridge, it was the perfect "jam" consistency.  (Prior to that it looked like relish.)  Don't stress.  It's will work!

(NOTE:  I didn't peel my zucchini and wish I had.  I'm fine with it but picky family members are more likely to eat it without dark green flakes in it LOL.)

Here's how I made Surprise Zucchini Jam AT HOME MY WAY:

Surprise Zucchini Jam

  • 6 cups PEELED and finely grated zucchini (seeds removed)
  • 5 to 6 cups sugar (I used about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can CRUSHED pineapple (juice included)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 (3 oz) or 1 (6 oz) box jello (apricot, peach, strawberry)

Place PEELED and finely grated zucchini (seeds removed) in a pot large enough to incorporate (eventually) all of the ingredients.  Cook for 20 minutes or so - so that it actually boils for total of 10 minutes.  I carefully did this since my zucchini didn't have a lot of juice.  I covered it with a lid and stirred often.

Add sugar, pineapple (including juice), and lemon juice.  Cook so that it boils again for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat.

Add jello.  Stir for 1 minute so jello completely dissolves.

Place in sterilized (I use my dishwasher) canning jars and add lids/rings.  Water bath 10 minutes according to standard canning instructions.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - Delicious, frugal, & VEGAN!

Last night I tried a recipe for pumpkin bread that was a complete SUCCESS!

I like to try to incorporate vegan recipes into my menu whenever possible.  My niece makes mostly vegan or vegetarian dishes and I have enjoyed learning to make some really good food that doesn't incorporate meat or animal products.  Am I a vegan?  No.  But, I have discovered that vegan dishes leave me feeling wonderfully full and satisfied without feeling stuffed and sluggish.  The other part about vegan cooking that I like is that the recipes I have tried are simple, and less expensive to make.  I love having a few vegan recipes in my files for when I run out of eggs or need a meal and don't have any meat.

This recipe for pumpkin bread turned out fantastic!  Seems like pumpkin recipes always have increased amounts of eggs so I wasn't sure how this would turn out??  I found this recipe HERE (Hell Yeah it's Vegan!)  (I'm anxious to try lots more of her recipes by the way!)

The texture of this pumpkin bread is light.  The crumb is fine.  It's really amazing!  I will probably only make this recipe for pumpkin bread from now on.  Hmm.... I'm not sure what the eggs could have added to this recipe??  

I added raisins to my recipe for this loaf but plan to incorporate nuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries??  I found the recipe a little overly sweet so I'll probably cut back on the sugar.  I might also increase the cinnamon because I love really spicy pumpkin bread.  

Try this recipe out for yourself!  You will be so glad you did.  And when you run out of eggs and need something to make, you'll be so glad you can make this Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - At Home My Way.  

Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - 
Vegan Recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar (Next time will cut this in half to 1/2 cup) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Next time will increase to 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin purree
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used olive.)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • Optional:  Nuts, raisins, chocolate chips (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease and flour one loaf pan (or spray)

Mix together dry ingredients into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, including pumpkin.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until blended.

NOTE:  This batter will be thick!  That's OK!

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 50-55 minutes or until top is browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes and loosen edges with a knife to remove from pan.

Cool completely before covering or placing in a baggy for storage.



Friday, June 10, 2016


Doug and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary this week.  You might ask, "What on earth do I care about this lady's anniversary?" LOL.  


I have made Parmesan Chicken, various ways, throughout our marriage - on our anniversary.  By now, I wouldn't want to have an anniversary without my homemade Parmesan Chicken.  (Eating out is overrated LOL.)  We have lots of good memories of me successfully (and unsuccessfully) learning to make this really good meal!

Funny how as time passes you learn to roll with the punches.

As a newlywed with NO STOVE, I made this meal using a microwave.  Sounds gross to me now, but we loved it.  But then, at 18 and 20 years old, we didn't know much better LOL.

As time passed, I made this recipe in the oven, slaving over the stove putting "love" into it as it baked and bubbled in the oven on lazy weekends at home.

Next, I found myself working 30 minutes away from home. Commuting and being gone 11 hours each day.  I found a better way to make this well loved recipe.  I posted that method here on this blog and it HIT IT BIG!  In fact, my recipe has been featured as one of the top 25 most pinned crockpot chicken recipes, which I found really AWESOME!  You can find it featured on My Natural Family - HERE.

More time passed and I was still not finding enough time in my mornings.  No matter how much I did the night before, prepared, organized, I still needed to shave off more time (and dirty dishes) from my mornings.  

I tried a new method for making Crockpot Chicken Parmesan.  DING-DING-DING!  WINNER-WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER! (Literally lol)!

This recipe involves literally placing frozen chicken in the crockpot, sprinkling with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, dumping on either some tomato sauce and sprinkling with spices, or dumping on some jarred spaghetti sauce.  Turn it on - DONE!   It doesn't get much easier than this.  No dredging, shaking bags, dealing with more mess than necessary.  Woo hoo!  It's dreamy!

I made Parmesan Chicken this way on Tuesday - our actual 31st anniversary- and it just turns out FANTASTIC!  My sweet hubby decided after eating it for our anniversary dinner that he was keeping me for a few more years LOL.  Am I lucky or what?

Here's my newest, easiest method ever for making Crockpot Parmesan Chicken-Dump Method - AT HOME MY WAY:

Crockpot Parmesan Chicken-
Easy Dump Method
  • 4-6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen because we are gone 11 hours during the day and it has plenty of time to cook.  Needs 8-10 hours, if chicken is frozen) (tenders cook too fast since I am gone so long so I use the whole boneless breasts)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I use the kind in the green can.)
  • 2 jars spaghetti sauce 
  • Mozzarella cheese (grated) (add after all cooked)

Place chicken in crockpot, sprinkling around each piece with some seasoned bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle any remaining crumbs/parmesan cheese after all the chicken has been layed in the crockpot.

Dump on the spaghetti sauce.

Place the lid on the crockpot.



At end of this cooking period, heat your water for pasta.  At boiling, place the pasta in (I use penne), salt the water, and start cooking. When the water starts to boil again, place the grated mozzarella over your chicken/sauce in the crockpot and replace the lid.

When the pasta is finished, the cheese will be melted, and dinner is SERVED!



1.  Frozen chicken into the crockpot:

2.  Sprinkle each piece with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

3.  Dump on the sauce of your choice.  This time I used plain seasoned tomato sauce with garlic powder & oregano/salt & pepper:

4.  PLUG IN THE CROCKPOT, PLACE THE LID ON, AND TURN ON LOW - FOR 8-10 HOURS (if using frozen meat):

5.  All cooked.  Take a look at that yumminess!

6.  I place the mozzarella on while my pasta is cooking and let it melt.

7.  Dive on in there!  Get yourself some!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quick Pizza Crust - Save $$ - Make Pizza at Home!

I'm always looking for ways to put supper on the table - at home - without having to go out.  Making pizza at home is one of the biggest money savers for me.  We can easily spend $12 on one restaurant pizza.  $12 doesn't sound like much until you eat one or two pizzas a week and then it adds up.  Am I right?

Most of the time I plan ahead for making homemade pizza.  For crust, I typically use my no fail, Five Minute a Day dough, which is kept in the fridge for up to ten days.  

But other times I don't have a plan and I still need to put dinner on the table.  

Last night I tried a terrific, quick, instant pizza dough recipe.  It turned out FANTASTIC!  I will definitely be using this dough all the time!  It is as easy as one of those little crust packets you get at Walmart!  Just a little measuring, stirring, and folding.  It rolls out beautifully and homemade pizza can be on the table in the time it takes to warm up the oven.

Here's how I made QUICK PIZZA CRUST At Home My Way:


  • 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons warm water (like hot bath water)
  • 1 packet active yeast (only use one yeast packet even if doubling this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil (I used olive oil.)

Measure very warm water in a measuring cup.  Add yeast and sugar to the cup.  Stir gently.  Add yeast/water/sugar mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add the flour & salt.  Stir with a spoon until it all comes together.  Drizzle with oil and fold/knead a few times (like 10-15 times) until it forms a tight ball.  Let it rest while your oven is preheating.

Preheat oven to 350.

(I doubled this recipe for my pizza because I wanted a thicker crust.  But if you double the recipe, you still only have to use one packet of yeast.  That is plenty for one pizza!)

To use for pizza, spray cookie sheet/pizza pan with cooking spray.  Roll out using a rolling pin, small dowel, or a cup.  Also press until it reaches the edges.  I like to sprinkle a little cornmeal in my pan after spraying -before rolling to give a crunchier crust.  I roll my crust right in the pan.  No need to dirty the counter!  I used a cookie sheet as I don't have a pizza pan.

Top with sauce, seasonings, cheese & toppings. 

I increase my oven temp to 375 when I put my pizza in the oven - because we like the bottom of the crust to be crispy and the sudden increase in heat does the trick.

Tips for making frugal, homemade pizza:

  • Use homemade crust.  There are lots of recipes out there!  I am included the best and fastest one I have found in this post.
  • MAKE PIZZA BOATS!  Use up your stale buns, hoagie buns, english muffins, thick slices of french bread, toasting first in the oven and then topping with sauce, cheese & toppings and heating in the oven again until all melty!  These are fantastic!
  • For pizza sauce, just use a small can (8 oz) of plain old tomato sauce.  After spreading on your dough, sprinkle with a little salt/pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.  Tada=pizza sauce!
  • For pizza sauce you can also use jarred spaghetti sauce, sliced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes (using garlic powder, oregano for seasonings), even tomato paste will work!
  • I grate my own mozzarella which I get at Aldi!  I keep blocks of it in the freezer for pizza any time! I have also just used a few slices of mozzarella to lay around on the pizza - even if I don't have much.  My mom didn't always use mozzarella on pizza and just sprinkled with canned parmesan.  As little kids, we loved it and didn't really miss the cheese.
  • Load up with vegetables you have on hand.  Cook some onions, use canned/drained mushrooms, chop up peppers, black olives, brown a little breakfast sausage and add to your pizza.  My child even loves pineapple chunks and sandwich ham pieces on her pizza. Of course, we prefer pepperoni - from Aldi - and the package has lots in it and lasts forever!
  • Think outside the box!  Use leftover taco meat, drained pinto/black beans, salsa & cheddar for mexican pizza!
  • Dessert pizza!  Top with fruit, canned pie filling, cooked apples  and sprinkle with some yellow cake mix/drizzle with butter & bake!
  •  Breakfast pizza!  Top with leftover gravy, scrambled eggs, cooked sausage, bacon crumbles, vegetables like peppers, cooked onions, tomatoes, cheese!  
  • Make homemade hot pockets.  Use circles of dough, topping half with everything from pizza makings, leftovers like meatloaf, sloppy joe meat, taco meat, ham & cheese, broccoli/cheese, or even fruit or eggs & cheese for breakfast hot pockets!  Fold in half, seal like a turnover, and bake.  These keep great in the freezer for lunches!  Reheat in the microwave.

Hope you enjoy these great ideas for quick, frugal ways to put a meal on the table!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Making Homemade Yogurt TASTE like you BOUGHT it!

For all of you yogurt purists out there - good for YOU!  I wish I was more pure in my love of plain yogurt.  For all of you who are like me and prefer your yogurt, sweet and fruity - this one is for you!

Ok... I love to make homemade yogurt.  I love the idea that I'm not getting BPA in my body from the plastic container.  I love that I made it and I know what's in it.  I love that - I did it myself!

But to confess - I'm not always a fan of how it tastes for breakfast.  I have this thing for those little plastic cups of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt.  I love them!  I want my homemade to taste just like that.

After much trial and error and lots of combinations - I tried making the yogurt with a packet of lime jello - Nope; I tried sweetening it and adding vanilla - Nope; I tried straining it so that it would be more like greek yogurt; Nope.  None of these things really worked for me.  Sure, drowning my yogurt in sweetened strawberries is delicious but I don't always have strawberries.  I needed a more "pantry loving" way to eat breakfast using my homemade yogurt.

Ding-da-ding, ding ding!  This morning I hit the jackpot!

I made yogurt this weekend using this SMALL-batch method with one quart of milk.  My plan was to use it for making these Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones - Just like Starbucks!

some ranch dressing/dip:

 and to replace sour cream in some other casserole type recipes.  I was also bound and determined to find a way to like it for breakfast!  

Hey-I found it folks!  The key is jam/preserves.

What is fruit in the bottom of store bought yogurt cups, but sweetened fruit?  And, what is sweetened fruit but preserves or jam?  Duh...

This morning, I put a healthy scoop of homemade blackberry preserves in the bottom of my half-pint canning jar.  In went a couple of scoops of my Small Batch Homemade Yogurt.  Next was some Perfect Granola and a few dried blueberries.

It was a feast, I tell ya!  Swirl it around and the preserves actually sweeten the yogurt.  Double plus!

This post isn't a recipe.  It's just a way to eat plain or homemade yogurt - so that if you aren't a yogurt purist, you too can enjoy the fruits of your labor from homemade yogurt or, to save a little $$$ moolah and buy the big container of plain yogurt - to mix up your own fruit-on-the bottom yogurt.

Here's how I made Homemade Sweetened Fruit -on-the Bottom Yogurt Cups AT HOME MY WAY:

Yogurt with Fruit-on-the-Bottom
  • Plain/Homemade Yogurt-unsweetened
  • Preserves/Jam (I used homemade)
  • Optional:  granola, dried fruit


Place a few scoops of preserves in the bottom of your container.  I used a half-pint canning jar. Top with homemade/plain (unsweetened) yogurt. Add any toppings/granola/dried fruit when ready to eat and stir to swirl all of the flavors together.

Yum!  Enjoy!


Monday, February 29, 2016

Old Fashioned Noodles & Tomatoes - Pantry Cooking

A friend of mine at work brought leftovers for lunch the other day.  It was a bright little bowl of macaroni and tomatoes.  I had to ask her what she had made because it looked so yummy! She told me it was a simple dish that she often made for herself when her hubby wasn't hungry for supper- "Noodles & Tomatoes".

My friend lives in the boonies so that explains why she would be making this dish when eating alone instead of my temptations when eating alone (take out chinese or the golden arches-eek!) LOL.  

I remembered making a similar dish a few years ago.  I'm a fan of simple dishes, the ingredients for which I would have in my pantry.  I'm also a fan of cheap, frugal food and this fits the bill on all counts.

This dish is a little more complex than it seems.  It can be dressed up or down with the addition of cheese (purely optional- I prefer no cheese in mine).  You can add spices (I don't).  I like it in its purest form - pasta - tomatoes-butter-a tiny bit of sugar, and salt/pepper.  I prefer egg noodles but any pasta will work.  You could use garden fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or even a small can of tomato sauce if your family isn't "in" to chunks.

I served my Noodles & Tomatoes as a side to BBQ pork tenderloins which I made in the skillet.  But I love it so much, I would eat it by itself!  I love the combination of buttery noodles and slightly sweetened tomatoes with the tiniest amount of heat from the pepper.  Mmmm!

Keep this little recipe (if you can call it a recipe) in the recesses of your memory.  Pull it out when you have folks to feed, are short on money, or just want a simple, old fashioned kind of meal or side.  This one would be something your granny made, and wouldn't she be happy to know we're still making and loving it! 

Here's how I make Noodles & Tomatoes AT HOME MY WAY:

Noodles & Tomatoes
  • 16 ounces of any macaroni, noodles, pasta of your choice
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) whole, diced, or crushed, tomatoes (can use an equal amount of peeled, fresh tomatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (don't omit - key ingredient!)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional ingredients:  1/4 cup parmesan cheese, garlic or other Italian spices)

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.  Drain completely.
Add butter, tomatoes, sugar, salt & pepper.

Heat until butter is melted about 10 minutes, stirring gently - giving the flavors time to all blend together.

-Enjoy this old fashioned flavor at your house!  Mmm!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Refreshing and easy- Cherry Cola Jello Salad

Cherry Cola Jello Salad

I made this bright and refreshing Cherry Cola Jello Salad to go with our super bowl menu.  I had made it a very long time ago and this weekend was looking for something refreshing and not as heavy as my usual chocolate cake dessert.  My daughter and her boyfriend were in from KC and they just loved it!  

I was concerned at first that the addition of cherry pie filling would make this dessert overly sweet (because I couldn't really remember much about the last time I made it other than we loved it).  Rest assured, it does not taste overly sweet.  The crushed pineapple combined with the cherry pie filling and jello gives this dessert the perfect combination of sweet and tart.  It is easy to put together and I made it the morning of our super bowl meal.

I also made Homemade Whipped Cream to serve with our Cherry Cola Jello Salad but it really isn't necessary. This dessert easily stands alone!

Take it to your next potluck or surprise your family with this easy dessert.  You will be so glad you did! 

Hint-hint...This dessert would be a great addition to a Valentine's celebration, Fourth of July picnic, or Christmas dinner since it is a beautiful red color!  

Here's how I made Cherry Coke Jello Salad AT HOME MY WAY:

Cherry Cola Jello Salad

  • Two 3-oz packages of cherry gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 can of cherry pie filling
  • 3/4 cup cola

Drain pineapple, reserving juice.  Set fruit aside.

Combine pineapple juice and water and heat in microwave or on stove top until boiling.  Add gelatin and combine until well dissolved.

Stir in pie filling and cola.

Chill in the fridge just until thickening (45 minutes or so).  

Gently stir in crushed pineapple (drained).

Chill again several hours until well set up before serving.




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