Banana Muffins

This is another recipe I made to put in the freezer. I used my mom’s banana bread recipe as a base (I ONLY use this recipe as I don’t like how any other turns out right to me…maybe it is the proportions??) but changed it so it was healthier and with 100% whole grains, as we don’t use white flour in our house. I tripled the recipe and made two loaves of bread and a dozen muffins.

Banana Bread

2 eggs*
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 very ripe bananas**
1 1/2 cups ww flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Mix wet ingredients.
2. Add dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.
3. Pour in prepared pans and bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes for loaves, 25-30 for muffins.

*I actually used 1 egg per recipe and 1 tbsp flax seed + 3 tbsp water per recipe.
**I used bananas that I had stashed in my freezer. I just took them out and stuck them in the fridge (on a plate!!) the night before.

If you like super sweet muffins, this isn’t the recipe for you. But the small amount of sugar (for muffins, anyway) add just the right amount of sweetness to these moist muffins that make great on-the-go snacks and quick breakfasts with a piece of fruit. When these cooled, I cut up one of the loaves into 12 slices, and froze those and the muffins (what was left…) in a big container so I could just grab what I wanted. The second loaf I wrapped separately to thaw altogether at a later time.

Since this recipe uses whole grains, I am submitting it to LifeAsMom Ultimate Recipe Swap: Whole Grains.

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Free Potatoes!

If you have an Earthfare, this week you can use this coupon to get a 5 lb bag of organic potatoes FREE with any purchase.

You can also sign up for their newsletter where they send a new coupon every week, usually for free food! I used to get these emails, but they stopped for some reason. Maybe it is time to sign up again!

Thanks, MoneySavingMom!

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Broiled Tilapia

Last night’s dinner was an easy one that I just threw together.

Broiled Tilapia, Asparagus, and Quinoa

3/4 cup quinoa – $0.94

1 1/2 cups chicken stock – $0.00

0.9 lb organic asparagus – $4.47

2 tbsp lemon juice (bottled), divided - $0.20

4 cloves (4 tsp if jarred) diced garlic, divided - $0.20

2 tsp olive oil - $0.40

pepper

1. Mix stock and quinoa in a pot. Bring to boil, lower heat, let simmer 15 minutes or until stock absorbed. Or use your rice cooker :)

2. Meanwhile, snap ends of asparagus and put in saute pan with 2 tsp garlic and a little water. Put lid on. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp tender. Sprinkle with 2 tsp lemon juice.

3. While that is cooking spread oil in baking pan and put fillets on top. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tsp each lemon juice and garlic. Sprinkle with pepper to taste. Put in 400 degree oven about 5 minutes, then turn on broiler until fish flakes easily (about 5 minutes).

Total Cost – $6.21 for 2 full adult servings and a serving of quinoa for the Kid

The asparagus was a MAJOR splurge for us ($4.97/lb? are they crazy?), but it has been so long since we have had it and the husband requested it when we were at the store, so I bought it. With another vegetable instead this would have been a pretty cheap meal, though it was still much cheaper than if we had ordered the same thing at a restaurant!

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Freezer Cooking Update

MoneySavingMom posted her Freezer Cooking roundup on Tuesday, but I can’t do anything on time. So I am posting mine on Thursday. Only I am not done, so it is just an update. I posted earlier this week about everything I wanted to cook/bake, and I knew that I was not going to get everything done in two days. But I have gotten a few things done and I will continue to work on my list. That is usually how my freezer cooking goes. In case you were wondering (I know you have been anxiously awaiting this post), here is what I have gotten done:

disclaimer: These are horrible pictures. Shield your eyes from them and only read the words if you must.

I made Ellie Krieger’s Nutty Granola recipe, only using 3/4 cup each of almonds and peanuts, omitting the walnuts. This is really, really good. This isn’t all it made, of course, but this is what I have kept out.

Breakfast Cookies (adapted from Heavenly Homemakers)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1/2  cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup milk with a tbsp lemon juice)

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups whole rolled oats

1 cup raisins

1. Mix everything from oil to milk.

2. Stir in flour and oats. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips.

3. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool 3-4 minutes on cookie sheet before removing cookies to cool on a wire rack.

Making them the size I like I get about 14 cookies.

Here are a dozen (minus one…I wonder where it went) breakfast burritos rolled and ready to go in the freezer. Once they are frozen I will transfer them to bags. All I did was brown up a pound of ground sausage, scramble 8 eggs, and mix it together. I then wrapped a little of that up in each of 12 tortillas. And I did make the tortillas.

I quadrupled my favorite pancake recipe. The kid and I tasted them while the other batches were cooking – we approve.

I also have two big bags of cooked rice, two bags of pinto beans (both of which are in 4 cup portions), and three meals worth of shredded chicken. Not pictured are three cans worth of white beans that I froze in mason jars.

Not pictured is a batch of peanut butter cookie dough in the freezer. I used the easiest peanut butter cookie recipe ever:

1 cup peanut butter (I used natural)

1 cup sugar (I used sucanat)

1 egg

1. Mix.

2. Roll in balls and lightly press down.

3. Cook at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

If freezing, stop after step 2 and freeze individually on a cookie sheet before putting in a bag. Pull out as needed and bake.

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White Bean & Quinoa Chili

In case you have never seen quinoa before, I wanted to give you a visual reference. Pronounced KEEN-wah, this yummy whole grain is actually a seed from a type of grass. It has a light texture and almost nutty flavor and can be used in place of grains such as rice and cous cous. It is a complete protein and a good source of fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and potassium. In one word it is AWESOME.

My chili tonight was supposed to have black beans in it, but I did not take a bag (that I had cooked and frozen) out beforehand, so I used white beans (which I had just cooked yesterday). I liked this and thought it was a great meal. We were supposed to have a veggie to go with it on the side, but we were hungry and I figured we would be OK :)

White Bean & Quinoa Chili

1 cup quinoa – $1.25

2 cups chicken stock (you could use water) – $0.00

onion, diced – $0.50

2 organic carrots, diced – $0.20 (guessing…I’m not doing the math :) )

32 ounces organic diced tomatoes - $2.78

4 cups white beans - $0.75

chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, cayenne, pepper, cumin, garlic powder to taste - $0.50

1. Mix stock and quinoa in a pot. Bring to boil, lower heat, let simmer 15 minutes or until stock absorbed. Or use your rice cooker :)

2. Meanwhile, saute onion and carrots in a little bit of water.

3. Mix in rest of ingredients (including quinoa when done) and bring to simmer for as long as you can stand to wait.

Total Cost – $5.98 for 6 servings

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Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

Last night’s dinner was a cheap one, but it is easy to prepare and we really enjoy it. It is simple but can easily be changed to accommodate different flavors and spices.

Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole (based on recipe from The Complete Tightwad Gazette)

3/4 cup organic lentils – $0.38

1/2 cup brown rice - $0.50

1 cup chicken broth* – $0.00 (I make my own so it might as well be free)

2 cups water* – $0.00

2 tsp italian seasoning - $0.15

1 tsp garlic - $0.10

1/2 cup cheddar cheese – $0.35

2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets – $1.00

1. Mix all ingredients except cheese in baking pan (I use an 11×7).

2. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour 10 minutes at 300 degrees.

3. Uncover, cover with cheese, and bake 20 minutes more, or until cheese is nice and melted. Like most casseroles, it is best to let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it.

4. Steam broccoli and eat with casserole.

Total cost: $2.38 – The casserole technically makes 6 servings…but the two of us (and the Kid when he feels like eating) can polish off a whole one off if we are really hungry. The broccoli was just for one meal, though.

* You can use any combination of liquid here that you like – chicken/veggie broth, water, even tomato sauce. You just want to make sure you have 3 cups total.

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Vegan Chili Mac

image courtesy of mexicandestinations.com

I am not vegan. I am not even a vegetarian. But that does not stop me from loving FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I have no idea how I originally found this website, but I am glad I did. I have tried several of her recipes and loved them all. I also have several thousand more bookmarked to try. Why do I like her recipes so much? Because they are all about healthy, whole ingredients. But the dishes she makes are far from bland. Take her chili mac recipe for example. Traditional chili mac should be loaded with lots of fatty cheese and ground beef, but since those are a no-no for vegans, her’s has nutritional yeast (for that cheesy flavor) and pinto or kidney beans. It has been over a year since I first made this recipe (though by now I merely use her’s as a basic outline) and it is one dish that the husband requests over and over again (but that’s probably because he knows I won’t cook him the fatty, cheesy version…).

There are only a few changes as a result of our preferences (we have found we do not like onion in this dish) and what we generally have on hand. The way we make it is shown below.

Vegan Chili Mac (based on recipe from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

8 ounces organic whole wheat spirals – $0.65

8 oz tomato sauce - $0.50

1 – 1 1/2 cups water – let’s say $0.00

2 generous tbsp chili powder – $0.14

10 oz organic frozen corn – $1.50

2 cups cooked pinto beans – $0.35

3 tbsp nutritional yeast – $1.35

3 cups fresh spinach – $1.33

1. Cook pasta until desired tenderness. Drain.

2. Put pasta back in pot and mix in rest of ingredients (exact amount of water will vary)

3. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (or it WILL stick…not that I would know)

Total cost – $5.82 for four servings

*Fresh kale as suggested in the original recipe is delicious in this dish and gets a more spicy bite to it. But frozen (or fresh) spinach works well in it, too, and is usually what I have on hand.


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