Penny Pinching Peach

For the semi crunchy, homeschool friendly and totally frugal!


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Dinner For a Dollar

Dinner For a Dollar

Dinner For a Dollar

“Dinner for a dollar?!?”  they exclaim, “It can’t be done!!”.

Let me tell ya, honey, it most certainly can! Tonight I made this delicious pasta dish for less than a dollar. It fed my five year old, two year old and me with leftovers…and we all ate seconds!

I am challenging myself to stretch our grocery money as far as possible, and cook from the pantry as much as I can to help with a money crunch while my husband is taking a career furthering class for several weeks and missing a lot of work to do so. I haven’t been shopping in about a week and a half, so I am doing pretty well with it thus far.

I found some pasta with no crazy ingredients, just semolina and durum flour, marked down for 25 cents each when I was shopping a couple of weeks ago, so I grabbed several packages. I used half a pack of those noodles for this dish, plus a can of Italian diced tomatoes (66 cents), a sprinkling of parmesan, a handful of mozzarella cheese and the last few slices of ham lunchmeat we had in the pack before we go grocery shopping tomorrow.

Dinner For a Dollar? It's Doable!!

Dinner For a Dollar? It’s Doable!!

I mixed the cooked pasta with the tomatoes, let my oldest sprinkle on the cheese and the shredded lunchmeat and warmed it in the oven for about five minutes. TADA!!!! A super cheap and yummy supper created in less than 10 minutes! 🙂

While this cost me less than a dollar, with more average prices it might cost closer to two dollars. Even still, it’s a budget friendly and speedily prepared meal for the penny pinching parent who is crunched for time.

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”

Need more recipes on a dollar budget? Check out this ebook on Amazon, Easy Recipes: Budget Dinners: Eat Well for A Single Dollar, as low as free!

What is the cheapest home cooked meal (that your family actually enjoyed ) you’ve made recently? Want another delicious pasta recipe? Try my You Can Have Your Cheese and Tomato Sauce, Too, Pasta Casserole!

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Canny Canning

Canny Canning

Canny Canning

Most folks who are avid canners also appreciate the art of saving a buck. I have gathered together a few ways for myself and other savvy food savers to preserve their food and pennies at the same time. Read ’em and whistle! 😉

Outdoor Cooking is running a special through August 18, 2014, giving you 20% off of canning stoves and canning supplies when using the code CANNING14. This code only applies to items in the Home Canning category, but it is a fantastic savings!

Amazon has some wonderful bargains on canning items right now, as well, such as this less than half price Granite Ware Water Bath Canner and this Back to Basics 286 5-Piece Home Canning Kit at 35% off and a Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker at 29% off!!

Ball has a coupon for 10% off using the coupon code C88367. If you need me to explain who they are, you probably have never seen a shiny new mason jar in real life! 🙂

I found something that says you can get a free jar scraper with any online order from  Canning Supply using the code CS2013JS or a free set of four wooden corn on the cob holders with any online order using the code CSS812A.

Please note that I haven’t used any of these bargains. I discovered all of them through sources I have found accurate and useful in the past, so I have every reason to believe that they are valid, but I certainly can’t guarantee anything without having used them myself. Please let me know if you try them out!

 

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


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Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Kids Eat Free

Ideally, we’d all have time to cook a balanced and delicious dinner every single night. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, and many of us just plain enjoy going out to eat at a restaurant with our family now and then, I’ve scoured the web for resources for finding those infamous kids eat free specials that make eating out with children so much more affordable. I’m sharing a few of my favorite links here.

Kids Eat Free This site lets you search for your state and city, giving you a list of restaurants who have any sort of free kids meals, including details about times and eligibility. Really great site!

Kids Eat 4 Free Super duper user friendly, this site allows you to either search by city & state or by zip code and distance. It also gives clear details about the when, where and how of all the bargains listed.

Kids Meal Deals Not only listing free kids meals, but also places with super special bargains, this site has a simple search engine where you type in your zip code, select a day of the week (or all days) and there you have your results. Click for details of each. 🙂

Out to Eat With Kids This site has a similar search system to Kids Eat 4 Free, but each of these sites seem to have slightly different lists of restaurants where munchkins can eat free. It’s worth doing a quick search of each to see which you can take advantage of.

What restaurant do you wish had free kids meals? Which are you happy is participating? What is just plain your favorite restaurant to eat at with your kiddos?


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Super Yummy Don’t-Tell-Them-They’re-Healthy Snacks

Veggie snack

Veggie Snack

I decided to come up with healthier versions of premade snacks my kiddos can just open the fridge and get out when I’m in the middle of something.

My kiddos are always munching away, and often get hungry when I really don’t have time to make even a quick snack.  By the way, I actually do tell my kids when their food is healthy, because I want them to know they are eating well and still enjoy what they’re eating instead of thinking junk is better. It sounded cute, though. 😉

Here are a few of my ideas for quick and healthy snacks…

One idea I came up with for inexpensive premade snacks of the healthy variety is to chop up some veggies into little stick shapes, get some ranch dressing or other preferred veggie dip and put it all together in a two sided container. In this case, I used a KFC Go Cup, because it is about the right size and already divided into two sections for the two parts. I have a lot of cucumbers from the garden and carrots are cheap, so that was my choice for this particular cup. Some other suggestions would be celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, sugar pea, broccoli, cauliflower or baby carrots.

*Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Using the same KFC Go Cup, or a similar divided container, such as these awesome Easylunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers “Classic” (Set Of 4). Bpa-Free. Easy-Open Lids (Not Leakproof)
, try slicing apples or green grapes and making a dip of peanut butter and honey.

The above suggestions have to be refrigerated if not being used immediately, but the ideas below are good for a snack drawer or shelf the kids can free range graze. 🙂

In small sandwich baggies, put in handfuls of homemade snack mix. One that I tried recently was Taco Seasoned Chex Mix. It could be adapted with your own seasonings you’d normally use in tacos, I was just trying it following their recipe to start. I like that it has very little sugar (a small amount in the cereals) and is fairly filling.

Another sandwich bag filler is GORP: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. I mix two parts each of raisins and peanuts with one part M&Ms or chocolate chips, and it is soooooo yummy! I wouldn’t call it a health food, but it will fulfill your kiddos’ junk food cravings without allowing them to completely binge on sugar.

You can whip up a batch of my Yummy Oatmeal Banana Healthy Cookies and put a couple in each baggie for a great quick and healthy snackeroo that will satisfy even a hungry hubby. 🙂

This premade healthy thing can be applied to simply putting various fruits, veggies or nuts into serving sized containers for your kids to grab at will. Children tend to eat what is easily accessed, just like adults, and it is up to the grownups in their lives to provide them with solid choices.

What are some of your favorite homemade convenience snacks? Need more snack ideas? Check out After School Snacks!

 


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Freezing Peppers

2017-03-22 21.54.12

Freezing Your Own Cayenne Peppers!

I always I try to stretch a dollar while feeding my family with healthy foods is to keep a garden and put up what we won’t eat while fresh for later.

To be honest, I haven’t progressed to the point of having a humongous garden to provide limitless bounty to can for stocking a huge pantry of shelves I don’t yet have. I was raised doing it, but haven’t been able to do it myself yet as an adult on my own. This year I have a little semi raised bed measuring roughly 16′ by 3′, plus a few potted veggies. It won’t provide enough food to last us year round, but it does provide a large chunk of our produce for the spring and summer, plus a bit to put up for later.

*May contain affiliate links,  which help my little family without costing yours any extra.*

One of my favorite vegetables I put up last year was excess peppers.

Order non GMO seeds and supplies using the coupon code SAVE10NOW for 10% off at SeedsNow!

Since I don’t get enough of anything at once to make a big batch of anything, I tend to freeze things more than canning. I can always can most things later if I get enough of something frozen and want to make a sauce or jelly or some such delicacy out of them. I froze bell peppers and cayenne peppers to use in cooking.

Wanna know how to do it yourself? Here’s how I froze my peppers…

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Preserving Your Own Bell Peppers!

Wash and seed peppers, then slice and lay out on cookie sheets. Pop them in the freezer just like that. This step keeps them from clumping together in a big mess in your freezer bags. I left them in for about an hour, then got them out and tossed them into labeled freezer bags. I squeezed out all the air I could before sealing, then laid them flat to freeze. They should keep like this for at least several months. I still have a couple of bags left from last August, and they are fine & dandy.

Which veggies and fruits do you prefer to freeze to keep them fresh & yummy? Which would you like to try freezing, but haven’t yet? Go see how I made some great diy topsy turvy style tomato planters!


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Ramen Noodle Meals

Ingredients

Ingredients

If you are like me, you make an honest attempt at feeding your family healthy meals, but sometimes…you settle for kinda sorta healthy. One of my “I’m too busy to be truly healthy” meals is to make souped up Ramen noodles.

One beyond easy option? Merely fix a box of the teriyaki flavored noodles in the microwave while sauteeing some fresh spinach and mushrooms in a pan with a bit of butter. When the noodles are finished, just stir it all together and eat. I only use half of the seasoning, because the sodium content is through the roof and it tastes fine without it all.

Fancy Pants Ramen Noodles

Fancy Pants Ramen Noodles

Another way? Get the regular type of ramen you have to boil. The flavor doesn’t matter because you aren’t going to eat it. While the noodles are boiling, shred a carrot, slice a few mushrooms and toss some mushrooms into a pan with a little butter or olive oil. Saute until just tender, then push to the edges of the pan and scramble an egg or two in the middle. Add the noodles. For seasoning, I either saute some minced garlic with the veggies, sprinkle a generous ammount of parmesan with the finished product or spritz it with some soy sauce. Whichever way you choose, it’s yummy and even moderately healthy. 🙂

Yet another yummy Ramen twist? Make it into tuna casserole. Cook the noodles while you mix a dollop of mayo, dollop of sour cream, handful of cheddar cheese, diced celery, and sliced mushrooms (canned or fresh). Stir it all together in a small baking dish and top with either crushed Ritz crackers or cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F until warm through, usually about 20 minutes.

One last version for the day? Boil two packs of the noodles at the same time as microwaving a steam bag of broccoli florets. When they are both ready, throw together in a large pot with a can of cream of chicken soup, half a cup of sour cream, and about a cup of cheddar cheese until warmed through. Supper is served!

What are some of your favorite twists on Ramen noodles?

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Home Flavored Yogurt

Home Flavored Yogurt

How to Make Your Own Home Flavored Yogurt!

My family loves to eat yogurt, but I’ve ran into a couple of problems with the pre-flavored yogurts available at the store.

First off, they are getting too stinkin’ expensive for my taste! Second, there is a ton of sugar, artificial dyes and extra junk I can’t even pronounce added into most of them, and I’m not too crazy about that when I’m trying to make a healthy choice by eating yogurt in the first place.

So, being the penny pinching peach that I be 🙂 , I decided to start experimenting with making my own flavored yogurt, starting with the big (and much cheaper!) tubs of plain yogurt.

The first thing I tried was a recipe I found for chocolate chip cookie dough yogurt. It was just a couple of scoops of plain yogurt (Greek or regular works, although the recipe asked for Greek), a couple of scoops of creamy peanut butter, a sprinkling of vanilla extract and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was surprisingly good!

Next, I used some of my son’s baby food to flavor some of that same plain yogurt. Both of my children were crazy about it! It actually tasted very similar to the store bought fruit flavored yogurts, just slightly less sweet because there was no sugar added. This one is 100% healthy and sugar free, which is fantastic since too much sugar makes my munchkins act like they’ve been transformed into the Energizer bunny until all hours of the night. 🙂

Banana baby food and a generous dollop of peanut butter mixed into yogurt was a definite hit, with both my daughter and myself! Some other baby food flavors I’d suggest: strawberry banana, apple blueberry (sounds weird, but my kids loved that one), peaches, banana, apricot & mixed fruit…pretty much anything fruity that sounds yummy to you will work.

My husband brought me a yogurt mix treat the other day, bringing with it more yogurt mix-in inspiration. Try almond slivers, dark chocolate shavings or chips and shredded coconut. Can we say delicious? Ooooo, yeahhh! 😉

A winning flavor is mashed banana and peanut butter mixed together and then mixed into your yogurt.

Cinnamon, honey and raisins makes for a different twist, with flavors reminiscent of rice pudding.

Does anyone else flavor their own yogurt? What’s your favorite?


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Crafty Snacking

 

Smiling With A Smiley Face Cracker

Smiling With A Smiley Face Cracker

Crafty Snacking

My daughter loves all things cutesy and yummy. Combining those two loves, I sometimes make her snacks or meals in cutie patootie delicious forms.

Princess Peach loves peanut butter on crackers. I take large round crackers, peanut butter and either craisins or raisins. I spread the peanut butter on the crackers, then make faces, flowers or sun designs with the craisins or raisins. She loves it!

Flowery Crackers

Flowery Crackers

She also adores marshmallows, so that was an obvious one to make a crafty critter out of. I took eight small pretzel sticks, painted a smiley face on a flat side with one of the pretzel sticks dipped into a drop of Hershey’s syrup, then jabbed them in the sides of the marshmallow to look like spider legs. This would be a fun and easy snack for those who celebrate Halloween.

Happy Spider

Happy Spider

We often have sandwiches for lunch. Sometimes I’ll cut it into triangle shapes and put a large cherry tomato in the middle, all arranged like a flower. I’ll also take a cookie cutter and cut three or four pieces out of the sandwich in whatever shape it is.

Flower Sandwich

Flower Sandwich

There is an endless array of cool things you can do with food! I only do the quick, easy and cheap varieties myself, since I am actually chasing around the kiddos I’m feeding, but I’ve seen some “food art” that would break your heart to eat.

Does anyone else like to get creative with food for their munchkins sometimes for no reason other than making them smile? 🙂

For more great food for kids, check out After School Snacks!

 


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Happy Birthday Freebies!!

First Birthday

Three out of five members of our family have birthdays coming up in the next three weeks, and I’m already seeing some of the fun free stuff we are going to get in this year. There are alot of birthday freebies out there, and many of them have perks all year long. I’ve seen alot of them, but haven’t take advantage of them all. Some are not in my area, others I’m not interested in, some I just wouldn’t use. I’m only sharing a dozen of the birthday freebies I’ve actually signed up for, used myself and liked, so I can vouch for them. I’m aware of alot more, and plan to sign up for a few new ones I discovered while looking up these links to share with you, so I’ll probably update this list in the future to share some new favorites. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Which birthday freebie are you most excited about getting for your birthday or someone in your family? For free clothes, check out  Schoola Discount Clothing

First Birthday

First Birthday


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Mexi-Mac

Mexi-Mac

Mexi-Mac

I must admit. This recipe was born from the same place many of my “recipes” are born from: It was simply a case of me wanting something quick and easy to make to fill up my family’s grumbly tummies with ingredients I had on hand. I actually had leftover mac and cheese when I first made this, and just scrounged around the cabinets for something different to make a dinner-in-a-dish with my leftovers. My kiddos really enjoyed this Mexi-Mac, but if you don’t like any spice at all, you could probably do it with plain diced tomatoes or half plain and half the kind with chilies. It would be good with ground beef added, as well. There are so many ways this could be changed up, and it would still be yummy. It’s really just up to your family’s tastes and what’s in your cabinets that day. I’m the queen of playing with recipes to make them work for my family better, or just to use ingredients I don’t have to run out and buy. 🙂

Mexi-Mac

1 10 ounce can Rotel mild green chili and diced tomato
1 16 ounce can black beans
1 box mac and cheese, prepared according to the instructions on the box
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix Rotel, beans and mac and cheese together in a 9X13 baking pan.
Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until everything is warmed through and cheese is melted.
Enjoy!

*keep reading*

Do you have any dishes that were inspired by leftovers? Does you family eat leftovers or turn up their noses to them? I know some folks hate leftovers, but we hate wasting ours! We often eat them just reheated, but almost as frequently we have leftover makeovers. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know what the original meal was. Yep, I’m that good! 😉

There are no coupons for these specific ingredients, but they are so inexpensive that it almost doesn’t matter. There is a coupon for frozen Hanover beans here, if you want to try those, though: http://www.coupons.com/coupons/Food-Coupons-107/

If you want to earn points toward gift cards while printing coupons, see my post here: https://pennypinchingpeach.com/2013/05/15/mypoints/

For more recipes, please click the Chef’s hat!