Frugal Living, Recipes

Broccoli Cheddar Soup


Last Saturday we were supposed to have dinner with friends.  That did not happen because the weathermen lied and claimed that the worst blizzard ever was on its way.  The city shut down, people cancelled plans and we got a dusting of snow.  With our change in dinner plans, I had to come up with something for dinner.  I had all the ingredients for broccoli cheddar soup.  Add a loaf of sourdough bread, and dinner is served.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4 tbsp melted butter

1/2 medium onion, diced finely

1/4 cup flour

2 cups half-and-half cream

2 cups vegetable stock

3 cups broccoli chopped 

1 cup carrots, sliced

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp dried mustard

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

Melt the  butter and saute the onions until soft. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the half & half and vegetable stock. Add paprika and mustard. Add the broccoli and carrots. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to low heat and add the cheese.  Serve with additional cheese and bread.  Serves 4

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Frugal Living, Recipes

Cream of Tomato Soup

Tonight I cleared out more of our overflowing pantry and made cream of tomato soup.  I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches because tomato soup does require grilled cheese in order to achieve that perfect comfort food balance.  We received a cheese box (we are from Wisconsin) for Christmas, so our cheese options are plentiful.  My recipe is really easy and frugal . I would guess that the grand total for this recipe is $3.00.  It also feels perfect for this evening, as it is 12 degrees tonight and soup really does warm the soul.

I feel obligated to mention that the fires in Australia are a catastrophe that the rest of the world needs to pay attention to.  An entire continent is on fire, species of animals will be wiped out.  The devastation cannot adequately be conveyed to those of us not there.  My thoughts are with those who are living with this as their reality right now.  The world is watching and I hope paying enough attention to make meaningful change.

Now, on to soup.


Cream of Tomato Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 cup vegetable broth

12 oz can evaporated milk

1 onion finely chopped

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in pot, add onion and saute until translucent.  Add tomatoes with juice, garlic powder, basil and vegetable broth.  Boil 10 to 15 minutes.  Turn of stove, add milk and with immersion blender blend to desired consistency.  Serve with grilled cheese for the ultimate comfort food.

Household, Recipes

Meal Plan January 5th-11th


We are trying to use up the irrational amount of food that we have stockpiled in the pantry and freezer during the month of January.  I have been reading blogs where the family has decided that they are absolutely not going to go to the grocery store.  We already have, we ran out of bananas.  But, I think we are going to be able to cut back on the grocery bill a lot this month.  Below is this week’s meal plan that utilizes food on hand.

Sunday 1/5 – Trader Joe’s Tofu turkey (this is REALLY good) and root vegetables

Monday 1/6 – Broccoli quiche and chicken breakfast sausage

Tuesday 1/7 – Crockpot chicken chili with tortilla chips

Wednesday 1/8 – Homemade cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese

Thursday 1/9 – Orzo risotto with sun dried tomatoes, broccoli and artichoke hearts

Friday 1/10 – Cod and cauliflower tots

Saturday 1/11 – OUT!  We have been invited to a potluck and all I am responsible for is dessert.  I will be bringing brownies and ice cream.

Breakfasts will be oatmeal, eggs, cereal bars or smoothies.  Lunches are usually leftovers from previous dinners.  Snacks are usually fruit, nuts, crackers, etc.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Our garden gave us some beautiful acorn squash this year.  I decided that is was the year that I would do more than bake it with butter and brown sugar.  Below is a recipe for acorn squash that I came up with after reading over several recipes for squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

3 squash

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

4 oz goat cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Boil 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups broth.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.  While quinoa is cooking, bake squash halves in oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft.  When quinoa is done, set aside.  Chop onion.  Heat olive oil and saute onion 5-7 minutes.  Add cooked onion, cherries, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to quinoa and stir.  Scoop into squash halves, sprinkle additional parmesan on top and bake another 10 minutes.  I served this with a salad and zucchini bread that I found in my freezer.  Enjoy!






Zucchini and Corn Fritters

This weekend I came up with a tasty recipe for zucchini fritters.  Fritters are an easy way to make a dent in the bounty that is summer squash season.  Folks, I am getting desperate.  I added the corn last minute because I had a leftover ear that I needed to use.  In the recipe I used parmesan cheese, but I am thinking that with the corn, cheddar might be even better.

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

2 cups shredded zucchini

Corn kernels from one ear of corn

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cheese of your choice

1 egg, beaten

1/4 tsp garlic salt


vegetable oil

Put all ingredients in bowl and stir until mixed well.  Add vegetable oil to frying pan and heat burner to medium high, fry fritters like you would pancakes.  Cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.


Don’t let my terrible photography fool you.  These were delicious.



Watermelon and Feta Salad

We recently had a lot of left over watermelon from family dinner.  I have had watermelon and feta salad and absolutely loved it, so I gave it a try.  I experimented based on several recipes I found and came up with a recipe that works best for my family.   The results were good.  My daughter thought I added too much mint and my husband felt it could use a little more.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

4 pounds watermelon, cut into bite size chunks

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup fresh mint chopped finely ( this is a matter of taste, experiment until you find what works for you)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 limes, juiced

black pepper to taste

Place watermelon in large serving bowl.  Mix olive oil, lime juice and black pepper in separate bowl. Pour dressing on watermelon, add feta, mint and mix.  The result is a refreshing summer salad.  Enjoy!



Potato Salad

I make potato salad several times a month during the summer months.  Usually on Sundays for our family dinner.  My daughters love my salad, as do I.  Of course potato salad is not the healthiest choice, but it’s so good and goes with anything cooked on the grill.  My recipe is very easy and straightforward.

Potato Salad

3 pounds potatoes (i use either russet or red potatoes, depending on what I have)

4 hard boiled eggs

4 chopped dill pickles

1 to 1.5 cups mayo (I never, ever, ever use Miracle Whip)

1 tbsp yellow mustard

1 tsp dill

1 tsp celery seed

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and boil potatoes until you can pierce them with a fork, about 10 minutes.  While potatoes cook, chop eggs and pickles.  Drain potatoes and let cool for about 20 minutes.  Once cool add to a bowl with eggs and pickles.  Mix in mayo and mustard, add more mayo and mustard to your taste.  Add dill, celery seed, salt and pepper.  Mix together and cool until ready to serve.  I try to make this the day before because it tastes so much better the second day.







My basil is beautiful this year.  My family loves pesto and we wait all year for fresh basil from the garden so that we can eat fresh pesto on our pasta at least once a week.  Saturday night, after a day at our local renaissance faire, we came home to fresh pesto pasta salad with a tossed salad and some cold rosé wine.  Here is the recipe for my pesto.

Basil Pesto

2 cups basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup walnuts (I was out so I used pecans for this batch)

salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix to desired consistency.  Mix with pasta.




Lemon Couscous


Yesterday was another hot one.  We had couscous, cherries, bread and cheese in an effort to keep the house cool.  I have an electric kettle, so I heated the water for the couscous in that and was able to avoid turning on the oven or stove.

Lemon Couscous

1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups couscous

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt

12 oz jar marinate artichoke hearts

1 minced garlic clove

1 tbsp chopped dill

fresh mint

2 oz sun dried tomatoes

1 lemon (juiced)

1/4 cup walnuts

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

4 oz feta cheese

Put couscous in a bowl, cover with water.  Fluff with a fork and add olive oil.  Cover the couscous and let sit for 5 minutes.

Once couscous is done, mix in artichoke hearts, garlic, dill, sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Once mixed add feta on top.  Serve at room temperature.  Perfect for summer nights with a green salad, fruit and bread.





Lemon Dressing

It is a hot night this beautiful Monday, so I am making a simple salad for dinner.  Making your own salad dressing is a great way to save money.  Not only that, homemade tastes so much better.  Below is my recipe for lemony salad dressing.  Since it is lemon juice and olive oil, you know it’s healthy.  Enjoy!

Lemon Dressing

1/4 cup  fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake.