New to BFS?

If you are new to Budgeting in the Fun Stuff (BFS), please click here. It'll give you a little background and a starting point for browsing BFS. See you in the comments soon!

As Seen On

Forbes

Yahoo
DailyFinance

Get Rich Slowly

House Logic

Categories

Check Out My eBooks!!!

How I Make Money Blogging Managing Your Monthly Nut

My Red Beans and Rice Recipe – Cheap and Delicious!

I’ll admit that I miss the food in New Orleans.  So much so that I did what I rarely do – I decided to full out cook something.  ;-)

Crystal’s Scrumptious Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans – $1
  • Favorite meat for beans – ham hock, bacon, or sausage – $2 for 2 small sausage links at Kroger’s
  • 2 diced onions – $1
  • 1 seeded and diced bell pepper – $0.75
  • 3 stalks of diced celery – $0.50
  • 4 cloves of garlic (up to 1 bulb to taste) – $0.50
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil – $negligible
  • 1 bay leaf optional – $negligible
  • ½ teaspoon of Cayenne pepper – $negligible
  • 1 teaspoon Chili powder – $negligible
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika – $negligible
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary – $negligible
  • 2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning – $0.50
    (I used “Kevin’s Stuff” from the New Orleans School of Cooking but Kroger’s has Zatarain’s and other options)
  • ½ teaspoon crab boil – $0.50
  • 9 cups of water – $negligible
  • Salt and pepper to taste – $negligible
  • Green onion to taste – $0.50
  • TOTAL = $7.25 for 6+ servings

Red Beans and Rice Directions

  1. Add the vegetable oil along with the diced onions, bell pepper, and celery to a 5-8 quart soup pot. Stir until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, rosemary, and the Creole seasonings and stir in for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the kidney beans, meat, first salt, and pepper.
  4. Immediately add water until it is about 2-3 inches above the beans. It is about 9 cups of water.
  5. Add in small amount of crab boil.
  6. Bring that mix to a boil uncovered.
  7. Stir, cover, and bring the heat down to a simmer.
  8. Stir the pot every 15-20 minutes for 2.5 hours.
  9. To make it extra creamy, take out 1.5 cups of the beans and liquid about an hour before your done, blend them into a liquid, and stir them back in.
  10. Right before serving, add salt, pepper, and green onion to taste since every meat leads to different needs.
  11. Serve with cooked rice and/or cornbread and enjoy!

Crystal's Red Beans and Rice

I’ve made this twice this week and it’s gone over well with everyone including my picky husband. This is a conglomeration of recipes I found online and my own changes. I recreated this step by step yesterday to make sure it would taste yummy to all of you! Let me know what you think if you try it!

Cheap and Delicious Beer Bread Recipe!

My friend, Anne, bought a beer bread package from a crafts fair recently and we all LOVED it.  Then our friend, Kevin, mentioned that his ex made it a lot in college.  That got Anne to thinking that it must be pretty easy and cheap, so we looked at the ingredients.

Holy moly!  It’s super tasty AND super easy.  For me, beer bread is the most amazing food ever right now!!!  Seriously, anybody can make this stuff!  Here’s the super easy beer bread recipe along with some subs and alternatives that you can try!

Beer Bread Ingredients

  • 3 cups self-rising flour – less than $0.50
  • 1/2 cup sugar – less than $0.50
  • 12 ounce bottle or can of beer (we used 1 regular bottle of Miller Lite) – $1.25
  • Total = less than $2.25 for a very delicious loaf of bread!
Beer Bread Ingredients

I LOVE SIMPLE RECIPES

Possible Substitutes, Extras, and Notes

  • 3 cups all purpose flour for the self-rising flour IF you also add in 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar instead of 1/2 cup if you rather it be less sweet
  • You can pour a stick of melted butter on top before baking for a buttery, crispier crust.  It’s tasty but unnecessary – the bread tastes great both ways.
  • 1 bottle of hard apple cider instead of beer…it makes a really neat apple bread.  We used it as an after dinner snack.  Yes, Anne and I’ve made 5 loaves of 5 different types over the last 5 days…no judging.
  • Remember to sift the flour ingredients into the bowl!  Sifting is super important!  It’s the difference between beer bread and a beer bread brick…

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Grease a bread pan.

3.  Sift the self-rising flour (or regular flour plus baking powder and salt) into your bowl.

4.  Add in the sugar and beer.

5.  Stir with a spoon until you have a nice clump of bread dough.

6.  Pour/scrape the dough into the pan.  (This is where you can also pour the melted butter on top if you choose to go that route)

Beer Bread Dough

It took longer for me to get out the ingredients and preheat the oven than it did to throw together this dough and get it into the pan.

7.  Bake for 1 hour

8.  ENJOY!!!

Yummy, Yummy Beer Bread

Look at that deliciousness! Golden brown, crunchy crust with an amazingly soft and delicious center…

Conclusion

You just have to appreciate a recipe this simple and cheap.  This ends up making 12 solid slices of bread.  It would go super well with the Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup Recipe that I wrote up last October.  To be completely honest, it goes with pretty much anything.  Anne and I just ate it by itself.  I then had some for breakfast with a little margarine and strawberry jam.  The apple bread loaf that we made with hard apple cider was super yummy with strawberry jam.

Have you made beer bread before?  Do you think it’s tasty?

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup Recipe – Cheap and EASY!!!

Get ready to have a new everyday food backup idea!  Kay made this very yummy soup while I was visiting her and her kids in Salt Lake City.  And when she gave me the recipe, I was so excited!  Cheap and easy – my favorite combo when it comes to cooking!  :-)

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

  • 10 oz of fresh or frozen broccoli – $1
  • 1/2 cup of water – $N/A
  • 2 cans of Cream of Potato soup – $2
  • 2 cups milk – $1
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese – $2
  • Total = $6 to feed about 4 people

 

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup Ingredients

These are all of the ingredients that you’ll need for this soup. How cool is that?!

 

1.  Bring broccoli and water to a boil.  Then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Do not drain the water.

Broccoli

Boiling a little water with some broccoli – easy peasy!

 

2.   Stir in the canned soup and milk.  Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.

Stirring in Potato Soup and Milk

Yep, I just added the canned cream of potato soup and some milk…

 

3.  Add shredded cheese slowly and stir until it melts.

Added Cheese

And the last part is, of course, to add shredded cheese.

 

4.  ENJOY!  Seriously, it is that easy.  You can dip in French bread or use a bread bowl – that choice is the hardest part!

End Result

Okay, so this was supposed to be a picture of the soup in my pretty bead bowl. Well, it looked delicious, so I ate it, and this was the end result. :-)

 

Witches Fingers – The Easiest Decorative Cookie Ever!

Reposting from last year since Halloween is a month away!

You all probably know I sort of stink in the kitchen.  But I love easy recipes.  I also love Halloween.  Put those two together, and the cookies below are just too perfect!  The key is finding the sliced almonds on sale…the rest is just putting a little time into shaping up a great Halloween treat!

Witches Fingers

  • Peanut Butter  (1 cup) – Less than $1
  • Egg  (1 egg) – $0.20
  • Sugar  (1/2 cup) – $0.50
  • Sliced Almonds – $2.00
  • Small spoon
  • Total Cost:  Less than $4

Ingredients for Witches Fingers Peanut Butter Cookies

1.  Preheat Oven to 350° F and TAKE OFF RINGS and WATCHES – trust me.

2.  Mix together the peanut butter, sugar, and egg.

Witches Fingers Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

3.  Roll a spoonful of dough in your hands until it is a long, thin shape like a worm and place on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.

4.  Use the spoon edge to make two knuckle indentations.

5.  Place a sliced almond on the tip like a fingernail.  You can dye the sliced almonds first if you have time.  Red or green works well.  Just soak them for 10 minutes in some hot water with the food coloring of your choice.  Then pat them dry before placing them on the cookies.

Witches Fingers Rolled with Knuckles and Sliced Almonds

6.  Bake at 350° F for about 8 minutes.  Carefully transfer the aluminum foil to a flat surface so the cookies can cool down fully before you remove them.

Finished Witches Fingers

7.  Enjoy!  Makes 16-24 cookies depending on the size.

 

What do you think?  Could these be a great decorative Halloween cookie for you?

Simple Scalloped Potatoes – Easy and Super Cheap!

As you may have been able to tell from all of my food posts and recipes, I like easy dishes the best.  So when my younger sister was nice enough to show me how to make scalloped potatoes in less than 15 minutes for our little dinner for two, I was all over it!

Ambi’s Scalloped Potatoes

  • Large potato – less than $1
  • Milk (1-2 cups max) – less than 50 cents
  • Flour (two handfuls) – less than 50 cents
  • Olive oil (drizzle) – less than 50 cents
  • Salt to taste – negligible
  • Pepper to taste – negligible
  • Garlic to taste – negligible
  • Total Cost = About $2.00

1.  Slice the potato thinly so they will cook quickly.

Sliced Potato

2.  Spread out potatoes in a frying pan (we used our 12 inch nonstick sauté pan).  Fill the very bottom of the pan with milk while the heat is on high.  Drizzle the top of the potato slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.    Turn the heat to medium when you see the first bubbles after a little more than a minute or two (milk heats fast).

Potatoes with Milk, Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper

 

3.  After about 5 minutes you will notice most of the milk has boiled down.  Turn the heat up again, add some more milk, and sprinkle one to two handfuls of flour on top.  Lightly stir the flour and potato slices into the milk to thicken the milk.  Then turn the heat to medium again.

Potatoes when Sprinkling Flour and Adding More Milk

 

4.  In about another 5 minutes, test a potato slice to make sure they are nearly cooked.  Sprinkle some garlic to taste at this point and let simmer for another minute or so.

Scalloped Potatoes

 

5.  Enjoy!  When we did this on Monday with just one large potato, we ended up with 4 servings.  It covered dinner for the both of us and a healthy leftover portion for my lunch the next day.

Cheap and Easy Thanksgiving Sides

Mr. BFS and I have started hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for friends every year and also attend one or two other get togethers that week to boot.  That means we end up cooking a lot in November.  It also means that we’d go broke if we couldn’t come up with some cheap side dishes.  Just click on any of these names to see the step-by-step recipes if you are interested.  :-)

Here are my cheap favorites:

1)  Sweet Potatoes – I’ve posted our step-by-step recipe here before, and they are a huge hit around the holidays!  You’ll need sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar, and orange juice.  Combine them as shown and you’ll be all set for less than $4!  For every day use, you could also try them out with these chicken breast recipes.

2)  Corn Bread Dressing – My husband made this recipe for the first time last year and we LOVED it!  You can see the step-by-step recipe here.  You’ll need 2 pans of cornbread (either from a box, your favorite recipe, or find one like this one if you’d like), 2 stalks of celery, 1 onion, 4 boiled eggs, 1 teaspoon of sage, and 3-4 cups of chicken broth.  Chop the celery, onion, and eggs and mix them into a large bowl with your crumbled cornbread.  Stir or fold in the sage and broth.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and enjoy for about $4-$5!

3)  Pineapple Stuffing – This is another recipe I’ve posted here with pictures that MikeS sent in.  It has been a huge hit with my husband’s family so far and I’ll be bringing it to my parent’s house Thanksgiving Day!  You’ll need sugar, butter, eggs, white bread, and crushed pineapple.  Combine them as shown and you’ll be all set for less than $3.75!

4)  Corn Souffle – You may remember this one from early last year.  You’ll need 2 cans of  kernel corn, 2 cans of cream-style corn, 24 oz sour cream, 3 eggs, 2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, and 8 oz of your favorite cheese.  Mixing this up and cooking it is super easy and ends up only costing $6.75!

Any one of these ends up working great for our dinners, but I won’t hide it, the sweet potatoes are the ones most often requested.  :-D

What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides?

Save on Dining at Restaurant.com!

Sausage Cornbread Dressing Recipe – Just in Time for Thanksgiving

I mentioned our first hosted Thanksgiving dinner last year and shared the recipe to Aunt Barbara’s Sausage Cornbread dressing. It can also be sausage cornbread stuffing if you decide to put it in your bird.  I figured I would post this again – before Thanksgiving this time…

Aunt Barbara’s Sausage Cornbread Dressing

  • ½ Loaf of day old Bread, torn into pieces (50 cents)
  • 4 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix ($2.00 on sale)
  • 3 Eggs (50 cents)
  • 1 Onion (25 cents)
  • 2 Cups Celery, diced ($1.00)
  • 2 Sticks Butter ($1.50)
  • 5 Cans Cream of Celery Soup ($6.00)
  • 1-2 Pounds Jimmy Dean Sausage (we went with 2 for $8.00)
  • 8 Ounces White Mushrooms, diced ($3.50)
  • 48 Ounces Chicken Broth ($2.00)
  • 2 teaspoons Sage (25 cents)
  • 1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning (25 cents)
  • ½ teaspoon Salt ($negligible)
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper ($negligible)
  • Total Cost – $21.75-$25.75 for two 9″x13″ pans

1. Preheat Oven to 350° F and TAKE OFF RINGS and WATCHES – trust me.

2. Cook Cornbread per directions on box. Let Cool.

Jiffy Cornbread

3. Brown Sausage, drain, let cool.

Drained Sausage

4. Crumble Bread and Cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Mix together well with the dry seasonings.

Bread, Cornbread, and Seasonings

5. Saute Onion, Celery, and Mushrooms in Butter until Onions are translucent.

Sauteed Onion Mixture

6. Mix Chicken Broth, Eggs, and the Onion mixture above together in a different large bowl.

Broth, Eggs, and Onion Mixture

7. Combine Breads, Liquids, and Sausage together and stir until evenly mixed. You will need to use the biggest pot you have, lol.

Everything Combined

8. Pour into two 9×13 aluminum pans.

One Poured Pan

9. Bake in oven for 60 – 90 min until the edges are browing and it isn’t sloppy anymore. We actually left it in for about 10 minutes too long as you can see from the pic below, but it was still very yummy.

Done and Yummy

10. Let cool for 10 min before serving.

Each pan contains at least 12 healthy servings!

Hope you all like it as much as I do!