Cooking On A Budget

Friday, February 21, 2020

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

A hearty, satisfyingly delicious meal the family will love!

My first time making Salisbury steak ended up being a huge hit with my husband and I have since made it over and over. It's a glorified burger let's face it, but it is economical and really tasty.
  •  1 lb. ground beef (80/20)
  •  1/2 large onion - finely ground
  •  3 stalks celery - finely ground
  •  1/8 cup or so of fine bread crumbs
  •  1 extra large egg
  •  salt and black pepper to taste
  •  1/4 heaping tsp. granulated garlic
  •  1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  •  1 package cremini mushrooms - sliced
  •  3 tbsp. butter
  •  2 jars Heinz Savory Beef Gravy
  1. Use a food processor to grind the onion and celery.
  2. In a large bowl combine the beef, the onion, celery and all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix well and add some extra bread crumb as necessary. You want the mixture slightly to the less firm side.
  4. Form into four steak patties approximately 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate wrapped in plastic while you work on the mushrooms and the sides to the dish.
  5. In a large skillet add two tablespoons of butter and sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat, turning them as they cook. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, add a touch of salt and pepper, stir then transfer to a waiting bowl.
  6. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the skillet and turn the heat up to high and let the butter get to the browning stage. Add in your patties and sear on medium high heat until a nice crust forms. Flip them over and sear for two minutes more.
  7. Add the mushrooms and the jar gravy and simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes.
Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes and vegetable of your choice.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tomato Sauce and Its' Budget Value

Tomato Sauce - one of the original five mother sauces can provide you with an array of economical meals!

Pictured above is my homemade spaghetti/marinara made with 2019 garden tomatoes we cooked down and canned.

Making your own large pot of sauce which can be frozen is something I highly recommend to folks on a tight food budget. There are some keys to making it inexpensively:
  1. Often stores have 10 for 10 sales on tomato products and that's when you buy your plum tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato paste - stock up.
  2. Another on sale item is your pasta. In my area some brands will go on sale for $1.00 per box and that's when I stock up.
  3. Third, our store makes a wonderful Italian sausage and I buy it on sale - it is at times so much less expensive than ground beef and is a great meat addition to any Italian style dinner.
  4. I am a fan of fresh garlic and onion. However budget cooking often requires that you go less expensively. There are brands who offer a frozen variety of chopped onions and it's less expensive than purchasing a couple of fresh sweet onions. Also, chopped garlic in jars is economical as you refrigerate it and it lasts for months.
From a large pot of sauce, there are so many meals that you can make:
  1. Pasta with sausage or meatballs.
  2. Lasagna, baked ziti, rollatinis.
  3. Sausage, peppers and onions served with bread or pasta.
  4. Sausage or meatball sandwiches on hard rolls, meatball quesadillas.
  5. Chicken Cutlet Parmesan, Pork Cutlet Parmesan.
  6. Chicken Cacciatore.
  7. Penne a la Vodka.
  8. American Goulash.
The list is endless really. You just have to use your imagination. You can freeze sauce for up to 6 months, but I recommend using it within 3 months.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thanksgiving Chicken

With the flavors of Thanksgiving, this budget recipe is a great replacement for the big Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

I haven't blogged in a very long time and am so excited to share this wonderful recipe, Thanksgiving Chicken with you!
  •  Family pack chicken thighs (bone-in)
  •  3-4 carrots, sliced into bite sized pieces
  •  2 large celery stalks, medium dice
  •  1 cup onion, small dice
  •  1 - 32 oz. box chicken broth
  •  5-6 medium sized red potatoes - cut into small bite sized pieces
  •  1 pkg. fresh sage, minced (be sure it's full of good sized leaves)
  •  1 1/2 cups (dry measure) corn kernels
  •  2 tbsp. olive oil (regular), canola or vegetable oil
  •  1 tbsp. butter 
  •  2/3 cup all purpose flour
  •  salt and black pepper to taste
  •  granulated garlic to taste
  •  onion powder to taste
  •  gravy master or kitchen bouquet - just a few drops

Before I get into the how to make part of the recipe I want to speak about how it originated. With two previous dinners that we had there was some left-over corn, boiled red potatoes along with some carrots. Not wanting to toss them I thought I would make a dish with some chicken thighs and the left-over vegetables. Adding in some fresh sage seemed to bring this dish all together. My husband was the one who remarked that he would prefer to eat this dish over a huge turkey dinner any day - and that's why this is titled Thanksgiving Chicken!

You can add in fresh corn off the cob, canned or frozen - whatever suits your budget. Depending on your families taste, use any other vegetable your family enjoys such as frozen baby peas or fresh green beans. Let your taste buds guide you to your way to a great Thanksgiving Chicken dinner!

For the sake of organization, I suggest you gather all your ingredients, chop, cut, measure, etcetera according to the list of ingredients. That way when you start cooking you aren't scattered - it's all there and ready when you need it! This is what the French call "Mis en Place".
  • Wash your chicken under cold water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. You do not want to add wet chicken to hot oil or butter as it will spatter and could cause burns. Also you want a great sear on both sides - it makes for better tasting chicken and for better presentation.
  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder to taste on both sides of the thighs. Set aside on a clean plate.
  • Next, prep all of your vegetables: celery, onion, carrots, potatoes, corn or other vegetable you are using and place in bowls or on plates.
  • Mince the sage and put it in a small bowl.
  • Have your flour, butter, oil, broth and gravy master ready to go.
  1. To a deep, wide skillet or Dutch oven add the oil and let that heat up over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Place your chicken skin side down and sear until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Be sure to regulate the heat under the pan as necessary. If you are doing more than 4 thighs, do this in batches and as the chicken is seared properly, add to a waiting plate.
  3. Once the chicken is seared on both sides, it's time to add in the diced celery and onion. Stir the skillet or Dutch oven mixture and cook on medium low for about 8 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Next, make the roux. Add the butter and let it melt over medium heat. Add in the flour, whisking until incorporated with the butter and vegetables. Cook this until the flour smell is no longer there, approximately 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the chicken broth and whisk until fully incorporated. Add in the gravy master, the fresh sage and stir.
  6. Add in the potatoes, carrots, corn and chicken. Cook until the chicken is at an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the potatoes and carrots are cooked. This takes about 45 minutes or so.
It's a one pot meal and it can be economical too if you get ingredients on sale! We loved this and I hope you and your family will love it too. Thanksgiving Chicken is the best replacement to the usual turkey dinner.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Comprehensive Guide to Kitchen Information

Comprehensive Guide to Kitchen Information ~ food safety storage, cooking times and a whole lot more!

Today I have something really special to share with you. It is certainly not easy to eat well and eat healthy these days when your food budget is really low. However, as proven here at Cooking On A Budget time and again there are recipes you can make for dinner that are wholesome, delicious family friendly recipes that won't break the bank! There are some things you can learn if you don't already know them that will help you organize your kitchen, keep your family safe by following basic guidelines, the best way to cook proteins and vegetables as well as measurements!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sausage and Beef American Goulash

Sausage and Beef American Goulash ~ a family favorite with a slight twist that's easy peasy for weeknight suppers!

My husband grows tomatoes in the summer and we always cook them down and can them for sauce year round. With this fabulous tomato sauce we create spaghetti sauce and it's just delicious! There's nothing like homemade but if you don't have homemade sauce or the time to put it together, I have a recommendation. The closest sauce to homemade (in my humble opinion) is Ragu's Homestyle Sauce. I did a post using the sauce quite some time ago and I meant every word about how good it is.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Silky Chocolate Mocha Frosting

Silky Chocolate Mocha Frosting ~ a frosting worthy of the name.

My husband as I've mentioned here a number of times is a true chocoholic; he has to have some form of chocolate on a daily basis. I kid you not - he's addicted. Those ice cream bars with chocolate he loves are expensive frozen treats so I have taken to having on sale cake mixes in my pantry and the staples to make homemade chocolate frosting: cocoa powder, cream cheese and confectioner's sugar. I grab those when they are on sale and today I made cupcakes with this Silky Chocolate Mocha Frosting.
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