Tuesday, April 23, 2013

14 meals with $37

I've been a single lady for a little over 8 months and I'm still trying to find my new routine.  Because I couldn't find the point in cooking for just me, I'v been eating out a lot and 9 times out of 10, I'd have left overs and that would be my lunch the next day.  It's not a bad plan until you have 7 takeout containers in your fridge sitting next to a bottle of wine, a bottle of Green Machine, and string cheese.  Sometimes I get milk and eggs but I don't count on them being any good by the time I get around to using them.

So I've been scouring Pinterest, like always, and I found some super simple recipes to keep me under budget and fit my lifestyle - I'm always on the go and I HATE cooking.

I used all quart sized bags to make these individual meals.

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs: 2 meals  ($8.35)
Frozen (fully cooked) Meatballs  3.99
BBQ Sauce  1.37  (I didn't want to make my own sauce)
Grape Jelly  2.99
Rice (I already had this because I'm a Carb-oholic Cuban)
-you can make a enough rice for a couple meals and refrigerate/freeze it, but remember to rehydrate it upon reheating, a cube or ice or a wet paper towel on top if it, in the microwave works for me.

Separate and mix the BBQ sauce and jelly into 2 quart sized bags then add the meatballs. Let thaw for 24 hours in the fridge. Reheat rice like normal.

Chicken/Broccoli Alfredo:  3 meals  ($8.40)
Chicken Tenders   5.71 (you can obviously also use chicken breast)
Bag of Frozen Broccoli 1.29
Portabella Alfredo Sauce  1.40  (BOGO @2.79)

Cut the tenders in strips and pre-cook them, I just cooked them stove top in a skillet with some of the sauce for flavor. Separate the cooked chicken into 3 equal parts in quart sized bags mixed with the sauce and broccoli, also all evenly distributed.

Teriyaki Chicken: 3 meals ($5.16)
Chicken Tenders   4.82
1 cup of soy sauce  -already had it
1 cup of sugar   -already had it
1 teaspoon of garlic salt   -already had it
1/2 Onion, chopped  .34  (the whole onion was .68)

Cut the chicken in strips. Mix everything in a bag then add the chicken. This one will become at least 3 meals after I cook it the first time in the small crock-pot on low while I'm at work tomorrow.  Serve over rice.

Black Bean Taco Soup: 3 meals  (8.62)
1 lb Ground beef  5.73
1 medium onion, chopped   .34  (the whole onion was .68)
1 package mild taco seasoning mix  .38
1 16 oz can corn (undrained)  1.39  (I used frozen)
1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (already had this, ahem, I'm Cuban.  'nough said.)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes  ( I used real tomoatos)  .78
Shredded Cheese topping (already had it, and it was still good!)

Brown meat and onion, drain.
Stir in taco seasoning, corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve with your favorite toppings. After cooking, let soup cool down and then dump into quart sized bags. When you want to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and then simmer on the stove until heated all the way through or microwave until heated all the way through. You could also put it in your crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours to re-heat it.

One Pot Spaghetti: 3 meals ($6.50)
1lb ground beef 4.42
1 onion .68
1 clove minced garlic (I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge)
1 can of chicken broth (already had it)
1 Jar of spaghetti sauce 1.40  (BOGO @2.79)
1/2 cup of water
8 oz of broken spaghetti (UNCOOKED) already had it
parmesan cheese  (already had it)

Brown the ground beef and onion, strain it if you need to, then add everything else minus the parmesan.  there is enough liquid to bring it to a boil for about 20 minutes.  Let it cool. Separate it into 3 quart sized bags, and freeze.

BONUS - I did this on my own!
Frozen PB&J - it'll thaw in my lunch box, but they aren't bad kinda frozen too.  I made three just to have around when I'm feeling particularly lazy.  Good tip for moms - Don't wast your money on the ones pre-made in the store... one jar and most of one loaf of bread yield about 8 sammiches.  ;)
Goober Grape  (3.39)
Bread (1.49)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Round Up : Things I Got

1.  Cake-Pop kits (yes, plural)
2.  Vera Bradly Day/Night wristlet (wallet + holds my phone, for us anti-purse girls)
3.  The Elphaba Woot! shirt  :)
4/5.  Dremel + Accessories (pretty excited about this!)
6.  Sullivan's Folding Hobby Table
7.  Letter Press Starter kit (so excited about this)
8. Cuttlebug (for the letter pressing)
9.  My mom crochet'd these awesome fingerless gloves and beanie <3

And last but not least:  This thing boggles my mind - but I love it.  And it's so cool for little girls.

The butterfly:


I hope you all had a great holiday no matter what you're celebrating!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Round Up: Things I Made

In a rush, I didn't take pictures of what I made for others for Christmas, BUT it was all mostly inspired by something else. (let me know if you have any questions)  Click the image below to see where the inspiration came from:

2 Shot Glasses (& 2 mini liquor bottles):

I made a pearl horse on a silver chain:

The letter 'S' took more corks than I imagined:

These next two were pretty easy:

This one is still a work in progress and I plan to make many more coasters from a tree that fell last spring:

This bracelet turned out to be good for younger guys this year in black and navy:

Merry Christmas!!!
p.s. The photo booth was a hit!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Turks Head Braclet

The complete how-to on the knot is HERE.  I used an extra piece of t-shirt yarn (one strip, stretched, and cut once so it's not an "O" shape.  I formed it around a jewelry gift box because the material is stretchy.  :)  SO EASY!!

This would also be great for guys in black, blue, dark green, gray etc!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Easy, Chewy Sugar Cookies

Let me first say, I have NEVER made cookies from scratch - I am a break-and-bake girl to the core.  But I must admit, this was pretty easy.  I used this recipe.  It appealed to me mainly because you don't need to roll it out and cut 'em.


  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. ( I would let it chill in the fridge for 30 min-1 hour to solidify a bit more.  BTW, The cookie dough was delicious!)

3. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in sugar. (I used a melon baller- single scoop) Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (Total BS. My first couple batches stuck to pan like a permanent adhesive. Spray the pan- unless you use a silicone baking sheet.)

Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. 

**NOTE: This is a photo of my LAST batch of cookies, because the others looked like a deformed cookie cake.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Photo Booth Update: Props!

Over the past couple of days, the living room has tuned into my craft station/ hurricane.  BTW we got a new couch  :D

After looking online for Photo Booth props I found a ton I liked on Etsy, and it made for great inspiration.

1.  Most of these were free handed on paper then I cut that out as a stencil on foam sheets.  The antlers I found, saved as an image, zoomed in, printed, cut and stenciled.

2. At Michael's there was a pack of dowel rods (20 for 2.99)  I spray painted them black at Chad's request. (optional step)  ps, notice Graycie's cameo :)

3. Hot glue the dowel rods to props.

Let dry, and you're done!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Small Photo "Studio"

One thing I love about winter is boxes of clementines.  Well, last night I was peeling one and the  pit came out looking like a really pretty tree, see:

It was late, and bed time, so I though I'll let it dry out over night then take a better photo in the morning.  So here we are, making a photo "studio"/backdrop!

Tracing paper (or any white paper you can see through to wash out natural light)
Aluminum Foil
Another sheet of paper (I used black card stock) 
(Camera & Subject)

1. Tape your sheet of opaque paper to the window.

2. Lay your Aluminum foil shinny-side up

3. Wrap the card stock like a present to give the aluminum foil more stability.

4. Place the wrapped foil up against the paper on the window to create a seamless background.

So you're using natural light to light your subject.... Enjoy :)    (the "tree" looks a little wilted now)