Category: Food

Simple, Healthy, Cheap Recipes: Caribbean Fish Curry

When you think of the Caribbean and food, what items come to mind? Coconuts, mangoes, fish? I am sure there will be many other things that come to mind, but for this Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Caribbean inspired recipe, these 3 ingredients play center stage.

Ingredients: 

Oil

1 to 3 Tbs curry powder or paste – curry pastes are generally spicier than powder

2 tsp salt

1 to 3 tsp ginger – more means more spice / heat

3 cloves garlic

2 cups coconut milk

2 cups water (optional – fish broth)

4 Tbs fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbs sugar

1 mango, diced

1 cup mixed veggies like peas and carrots

1 to 1 1/2 lbs white fish, cut into chunks

2 cups rice (6 cups when cooked)

Instructions: 

1) Cook rice according to rice instructions.

2) Heat oil in a large pot or wok.

3) Add all spices and salt (garlic, ginger, curry powder or paste) and sauté for 30 seconds.

4) Add coconut milk and water – bring to a low boil.

5) Add diced mangoes, veggies and then the fish. Return to a simmer

6) Cook about 10 minutes, making sure the fish is cooked through.

7) Serve curry over the rice in bowls, more rice than curry.

Should make 10 to 12 servings.

I hope you enjoy this frugal recipe.

See this recipe on “Try A New Recipe Tuesday” from Home to 4 Kiddos.

If you want to save money on books with Caribbean or Frugal Recipes, search Ebates for coupons from your favorite book retailers for $$$ off of products and get up to 10% cash back on your purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap Recipes: Jamaican Meat And Veggie Pie

 

Welcome to Caribbean Week here on A Simple Life Too! This recipe is inspired by a vacation we had many years ago to Jamaica, while I was still working outside the home and before we had our children. One of my favorite foods while I was there was these Jamaican seasoned veggie (and sometimes meat) patties / pies. They had so much flavor, they filled us up, and purchasing them local, they were only about $1.00 or $2.00 each. My recipe is an easier variation, turning the recipe into a pot pie, vs. making the individual pockets.

Ingredients for the Meat Pie:

1 full (top and bottom) savory whole wheat pie crust – here is a link to a good recipe

2 – 3 Tbs oil

Curry powder or curry paste – 2 to 3 Tbs – depending on spiciness / heat desired and taste. Note that curry pastes are usually spicier / hotter than the powders.

Thyme – 2tsp

Garlic – 3 – 4 crushed cloves

Ginger – 1 – 3 tsp – depending on spiciness / heat tolerance

Salt – 2 tsp

1 cup diced onion

1 lb ground meat – using ground turkey sausage adds flavor

4 cups cabbage

2 cups mixed veggies like diced carrots and peas

2 eggs

Instructions:

1) Make up your pie crust and set aside

2) In a large pan, pot, or wok, heat up your oil.

3) Add all the seasonings / spices and stir for 30 seconds.

4) Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until onion is translucent.

5) Add the ground meat and cook until browned.

6) Add the cabbage and veggies and cook just until the cabbage starts cooking down.

7) Pull of the heat and let cool for 15 – 20 minutes. If there is more than 1/2 cup liquid (from the cabbage cooking down) you may want to pour the excess off.

8) Roll out pie crust in to a deep dish pie pan or 9X9 or similar casserole dish.

9) Stir the eggs into the mixture, then pour the mixture into the casserole dish.

10) Cook at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes (check it about 35 minutes and test the pie crust for complete cook).

11) Let cool 15 minutes, then serve. Should make 10 to 12 servings.

For the Veggie Only Variation:

Substitute 1 cup of veggies and 1 cup of cabbage for the 1lb of meat.

I hope you enjoy this frugal recipe.

If you want to save on books with Jamaican or Frugal Recipes, search Ebates for coupons from your favorite book retailers for $$$ off of products and get up to 10% cash back on your purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

How I Get My Children To Start Cooking With Me: Train Them While They Are Young

Your children want to cook with you!

Yes, that is one of my own children, by age 4, in the kitchen with me helping me cook. Before you think it is a crime that I have a four year old near a burner, let me assure you that mom is, except for this quick photo snap, right there next to her, literally holding her hand as we stir and boil.

So, how do I get them so comfortable in the kitchen, so young? Well, by the time they are two, they are usually curious about what mom is doing in the kitchen, so I let them start watching on a stool or chair, and teach them some basic kitchen rules:

1) They must not touch anything!

2) Mom points to hazards and says: sharp! or hot!

3) If they don’t obey, they have to leave. If they obey, they might get a taste test, especially if we are making baked goods:-)

Once the children have demonstrated obedience, I usually give them the chance to help stir foods not on a stove / not hot. I hold their hand at first, until I see their confidence, then give them a chance to try it own their own. I always remind them to hold the bowl / container they are stirring with one hand while stirring with the other.

By the time they are 3 or so, I find they are ready and wanting to put in ingredients and may also be curious about watching mom at the stove. As for the ingredients, I usually help them pour / scoop until I see their confidence, then let them try on their own. One of my weaknesses is tolerating spills. I am still working on that so I don’t discourage them.

As for having them at the stove, the rules are clear:

1) No touch anything! Unless I let them stir with me (both of us holding the spoon / spatula).

2) If I have to walk away from the stove for any reason, the little one has to leave the stove with me. I never leave them there w/o me until I feel they are an age that is safe (about 7 or 8).

I have had a few phases where I haven’t felt “up to” having them in the kitchen with me. They will stop trying to help after a while and lose interest in the process, so I have to remember to come and ask for their help again and get them interested again (cookies almost always work).

If you have been wanting to get your children in your kitchen with you, but still feel a little daunted or unsure after reading these tips, contact me or order my eBook – Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way!  The book starts off with some rules and tips, then has a lesson on pouring, measuring and stirring. Finally, it contains 14 recipes, starting very simple and gradually growing in complexity to do in the kitchen with your children.

eBook_Teach_Children_To_Cook

 

Sign up for Ebates and search for coupons from your favorite retailers for $20 – $1000 off of products and 12% cash back on all purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Pho Soup

Asian Soup
Free Recipe!

This Asian soup is full of flavor, nutrition and it is very inexpensive to prepare for a large family. It is also very soothing and filling – one of our family favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken

  • 2 Tbs oil – olive, coconut, grapeseed

  • 8 – 10 cups water – optional to add chicken bullion / substitute chicken broth

  • 2 Tbs honey

  • 2 Tbs fish sauce

  • 1 Tbs Chinese 5 Spice

  • 14 oz rice noodles

  • 1 cup cabbage

  • ½ cup shredded carrot

  • cilantro for garnish

  • lime for garnish

  • sweet chile sauce for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Dice the 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken.

  2. Add the 2 Tbs oil and chicken to a large pot and sauté / brown for about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups water and bring to a boil.

  4. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the 1 cup cabbage and shred the carrots for 1/2 cup.

  5. Add the honey, fish sauce, and 5 spice to the pot.

  6. Add the chopped / shredded veggies to the pot – cook for 10 minutes.

  7. Add the rice noodles to the pot. Check the instructions on the noodles. Some rice noodles cook in 3 minutes and some take 15.

  8. Serve with garnishes.

 

This should last a family of 4 – 5 two meals.

What is your favorite Asian recipe?

Want more Asian inspired recipes? Here are some quality Asian cookbooks:

 

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

Feed A Family For Less Than $60 Per Week: Asian Week


I love Chinese Buffets. It is a weakness of mine. However, even though the price of a buffet usually ends up less than a sit down restaurant, we still don’t eat at one very often. So, I decided to do my own week long Chinese Buffet, making a different Asian dish each night and having leftovers for lunch. The challenge is to use similar ingredients and keep the budget under $60 for the week!

Asian Week Menu:

  • Orange Chicken, Rice & Veggies
  • Pho (a Vietnamese soup)
  • Green Thai Chicken Curry with Pineapple & Carrots, & Rice
  • Pad Thai
  • Lettuce Wraps + Pho
  • Sesame Peanut Chicken Noodles
  • Fried Rice

Note: Our breakfasts were American – we ate oatmeal (x3), grits (x3), and waffles (x1), eggs with some of the hot cereal days (x3)

Shopping List:

  • Orange chicken (frozen, much better than what I can make from scratch) – $6.95
  • Fresh veggies – cabbage, onion, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots – $5.75
  • Fresh herbs / Spices – ginger root, cilantro, garlic – $1.60
  • Lime juice – $.80
  • 2.2 lbs rice noodles – $2.75
  • 3 lbs chicken breasts – $6.95
  • Fish sauce – $2.00
  • Thai Chile Sauce – $2.00
  • Curry paste – $4.95
  • Sesame oil – $3.00
  • 2 cans coconut milk – $3.00
  • 1 can pineapple – $1.40
  • Tamarind concentrate – $2.65
  • Rice Vinegar – $3.25
  • Soy Sauce – $4.00
  • Ground turkey – $2.65
  • Water chestnuts – $.75
  • Grits – $2.40
  • Eggs – $1.75

Note: We got most of our Asian ingredients from an Asian Market. They get imports that are usually less expensive than similar items in the American stores.

Pantry List:

These are items we purchase throughout the year in bulk and usually have on hand.

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Baking Powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Peanut Butter

Curious about my recipes? Follow my blog and I will post them over the next couple of weeks.

Print Free Coupons

Not sure what your budget for your groceries even is each week? You Need A Budget!

Here are some HOT Asian Cookbooks to inspire!

 

 

Saving Money 101: The Chocolate Secret

Saving 101: The Chocolate Secret
Saving 101: The Chocolate Secret

There are only a few delicacies affordable for the average person today and chocolate is one of them.

In an effort to make chocolate more affordable to our family, I have found a couple of secrets and I am sharing them here with you.

Least Expensive Quality Chocolate Bars

I only eat bars with 60% or more coco in them – no Hershey’s® for this gal! My two preferred bars are Lindt® and Ghiradelli® 60% or 70% cocoa bars. The typical price I have seen for these 3.5 ounce bars are around $3.00 per bar. Walmart® has the best prices I am aware of for the past year, ranging from $2.40 – $2.70 per 3.5 oz bar and this was the price I was (willing) to pay…until I discovered a secret:

If you go to the baking isle of Walmart® and look amongst the baking chocolate, Ghiradelli® has a 4.0 ounce baking chocolate bar – for $2.08.

So, not only is the bar bigger, but it costs $.30 to $.60 less than the candy bar. The ingredients are the same as the one in the candy aisle, only the packaging is different. I (although I admit I don’t have the most discerning palate) can not tell the difference in flavor / taste when I compared the two.

Now, in all fairness, when I went to the candy aisle this week to pick up the 3.5 oz bar for the photo shoot, I did notice the candy bar was on sale- $2.23 to be exact or $.63 per oz. The baking isle bar is $.52 per oz, so still a better deal, especially if you pick up a few at a time.

If you don’t have a Walmart nearby (or don’t like Walmart), you can get a Ghirardelli Bitter Sweet Baking Bar, 60% Cacao-4 OZ bar from Amazon for $2.99.

Make Your Own Simple, Healthy, Cheap Chocolate

I came across a recipe awhile ago in my search to make my own chocolate using coconut oil, and after a little modification, I can produce a homemade chocolate bar that I enjoy and know is healthier and cheaper than most of what can be found on the store shelves. The recipe follows:

Ingredients:

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup raw cane sugar

½ cup cocoa powder (100% cocoa)

Instructions:

1) Grind the raw sugar (blender, coffee grinder, etc..) – this makes it “powdered” and will dissolve easier in the coconut oil.

2) In a small pan, heat the oil on medium-low. Add the sugar and stir gently for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved.

3) Add the cocoa and stir until the cocoa is well blended.

4) Pour the mixture into a well greased small baking dish and then put in the refrigerator to set for a couple of hours – or if you can’t wait that long to dig in, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

5) Since coconut oil melts at 76 to 78 degrees, you will have to store your chocolate bar in the fridge unless you keep your house cooler.

The best deal I could find to purchase organic, dark chocolate online was for Newman’s Own Organics 2.25oz Dark Chocolate Bar for $2.57.

Super Simple Menu Plan: One Week Of Meals For Less Than $100

Menu

Our goal for a family food budget is $450 per month. This means that we have $100 or less to shop on each week (since there is 4 ½ weeks to almost every month). We eat fresh, healthy, whole, homemade food, which means very few coupons are useful to us. So how do we do this?

The following is our menu for a week, which I plan Thursday to Wednesday, since Thursday is my usual shopping day:

Thursday –

Breakfast: homemade whole grain waffles with maple flavored agave syrup.

Snack: ½ orange

Lunch: tuna-fish sandwiches on homemade bread (with pickles)

Dinner: Black beans with shredded cheese and tortilla chips

Friday –

Breakfast: ½ banana, oatmeal with non-dairy milk and honey

Snack: store-bought cheesy crackers (with whole grains and real cheese)

Lunch: tuna-fish sandwiches on homemade bread (with pickles)

Dinner: top-sirloin steak, mashed potatoes and carrots, homemade bread, ice cream

Saturday –

Breakfast: grape juice, ½ banana, cold cereal (whole grain, low sugar), non-dairy milk

Snack: store-bought ginger snap cookies (natural, no artificial ingredients)

Lunch: top-sirloin steak, mashed potatoes and carrots, homemade bread

Dinner: mixed veggies and pirogies

Sunday –

Breakfast: oatmeal with berry mix, honey, non-dairy milk

Snack: ½ orange, ¼ protein bar

Lunch: mixed veggies and pirogies

Dinner: Black beans with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, salsa, Panda black licorice

Monday –

Breakfast: grape juice, ½ banana, cornmeal mush with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack: cheesy crackers and peanut butter (no salt or sugar added)

Lunch: veggie salad and tortilla chips

Dinner: whole grain pasta, marinara sauce with ground turkey sausage

Tuesday –

Breakfast: oatmeal with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack: ¼ orange, whole wheat crackers

Lunch: homemade artisan bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip, mixed veggies

Dinner: whole grain pasta, marinara sauce with ground turkey sausage

Wednesday –

Breakfast: cornmeal mush with honey and non-dairy milk

Snack:  gingersnap cookies and ice cream

Lunch: homemade artisan bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip, mixed veggies

Dinner: veggie stir-fry with rice noodles

If you would like to see any of the recipes, please post a request. I would love to hear your healthy, simple menus – post a link if you have one!

Blessings and healthy eating.

 
YWAM

Three Injera Recipes

Image

Based on my $25 weekly menu, I have had some requests for some of the recipes.

Here is a link to a traditional, Ethiopian Injera Recipe using teff flour:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/recipe-injera.html

If you forget to start your Injera one or more days before you want to cook and eat it, you can use this quick version. This is one I have used a few times and it is good, although I wouldn’t call it traditional or as healthy:

http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2012/03/ethiopian-recipes-injera-doro-wat.html

The following is my “Americanized” version of Injera. I still ferment it for a day:

Americanized Injera Recipe with variations

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups rice flour

4 cups water

2 tsp salt

oil for cooking (grape-seed, coconut, olive)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the whole wheat flour, the rice flour and the water in a non-metal bowl. It should be thin like crepe batter.

  2. Let stand in bowl for 1 day (24 hours or close) with a cover over the bowl.

  3. Add and stir in the 2 tsp salt before cooking.

  4. Add a small amount of oil to a fry pan or wok on medium heat (just to coat the bottom).

  5. Pour in enough Injera batter to cover the bottom of the pan.

  6. Cook for a couple of minutes. Flip and cook for another minute or two.

  7. Remove from pan.

  8. Serve while warm or keep warm in oven until all are finished.

Variations:

Other flours that can be used besides rice flour: buckwheat, millet, lentil, garbanzo.

Holiday flair: Add two cups mashed pumpkin or squash right before cooking.

Spices: Try cardamom, gram masala, or cumin, depending on what you serve it with.

We have enjoyed this bread with lentil curry stew and chutney and just by itself.

Let me know if you have any favorite variations of it!

 

How to Feed A Family Of Five For One Week With $25

Learn to eat simple / cheap from other countries!
Learn to eat simple / cheap from other countries!

No, this is not an extreme coupon challenge. We recently had a situation where we only had $25 to shop for the week and feed our family of five. With a very limited pantry and no coupons or stockpile, I had to quickly seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what we would do. And, He did – during the past week, through a series of events, I had learned about Ethiopian Food. Due to their very limited economy, Ethiopian’s have learned to make inexpensive but flavorful and filling food.

What follows is the menu we followed for the week.

  • 5 breakfasts of oatmeal

  • 2 breakfasts of peach muffins

  • 3 lunches and 2 dinners of Injera bread and lentil stew w/ tomatoes and spinach

  • 2 lunches and 3 dinners of fried rice (a couple Asian style and a couple Thai curry)

  • 2 lunches and 1 dinner of mac and cheese with mixed veggies

For total disclosure, the final dinner was pizza when we finally had money in the bank again:-)

This is what we had in our pantry:

  • Whole wheat flour

  • Brown rice

  • Lentils

  • Cane sugar

  • Tomato paste

  • Rice Vinegar

  • Soy Sauce

  • Canned peaches

  • Carrots

  • Cabbage

  • Salt and Spices

This is what we purchased for $25:

  • Oatmeal

  • 1 qt of almond milk

  • Butter

  • Olive oil

  • 5 pack of mac and cheese

  • 2 bags of frozen veggies (one mixed, one spinach)

  • 1 – 18 count eggs

We honesty ended up enjoying the food and did not feel that we were going without for the week. We are so encouraged by this, that we have decided to take up this challenge once a month and only have a $25 budget for one week every month. Our normal food budget runs about $75 – $100.

Oh, and another positive note is that I lost two pounds during the week. There really is something to be said about simple living, including simple eating.

What would you do if you only had $25 for one week to feed your family?

For a list of “Must Have Cookbooks” to learn how to cook healthy, simple and cheap, check out A Simple Life’s Amazon.com aStore 

Aearch Ebates for coupons from your favorite retailers for $20 – $1000 off of products and 12% cash back on all purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.