Thursday, September 27, 2012

Raisins and Spice Oatmeal Dry Mix Recipe (Quaker Raisins and Spice Instant Oatmeal Copy Cat Recipe)

Lately I have been all about saving money at the grocery store. In the past, I will admit to going to the grocery store HUNGRY and WITHOUT a shopping list and simply getting things that looked good. The problem with this? I was paying way too much for things, and buying more than we were able to eat before it went bad. We would wind up throwing half of it away.

My other problem? I wasn't too fond of freezing meat. I would buy fresh meat for each meal. Meaning grocery store trips every 2-3 days. This was NOT very wallet friendly. My new plan consisted of a weekly budget and 1 weekly trip to the grocery store. A big step in this for me was coming up with a weeks worth of dinner ideas. ( I always factor in 1 night eating out- whether its out to a restaurant, or dinner at a family or friend's house.) I also had to get over my aversion to freezing meat. We now buy our meat in bulk when it is on sale, and rinse, package and freeze it immediately after getting home from the store. Some weeks I don't even need to buy meat if we have enough stored in our freezer. I package everything in servings of 3-4 servings, which allows for dinner for the 2 of us, and leftovers for each of our lunches. Boyfriend usually takes leftover meat from dinner along with the leftover sides (rice, potatoes, etc) for his lunch, While I take my leftover meat and use it on a salad for lunch the next day. This usually works out PERFECTLY for us. For my weekly shopping trips I also figure out what I will need for the entire week, and work that into our weekly budget. I try to get ingredients that are on sale, and versatile so I can use them for several different recipes. For example, this week we got tons of onions, red peppers, and green bell peppers on sale. We used them one night with chicken for our homemade Kung Pao chicken, and we used them again with chicken the next night for baked Chicken Fajitas. Same ingredients, different spices. Completely different meals. Delicious.

So back to saving money. We have been trying to limit our spending, as we are planning on buying a house early next year. This new budget so far has saved us a couple hundred dollars a month. I told you, we were not watching our wallets at the store before. We also cut back a lot on going out to eat. I have also been trying to make things from scratch, that usually cost a lot more at the store. So far I have made my own fajita seasoning, biscuits, muffins, waffle mix, ranch dressing mix, and my latest feat? Homemade Raisins and Spice Oatmeal. The boyfriend has Quaker's Raisin and Spice Instant Oatmeal every single day for breakfast. Only recently did I realize that we are overpaying for this. He can eat 2-3 packets at a time! So I set out in search of a Raisin and Spice Oatmeal that could be not only  less expensive, but healthier and taste better!

Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal Mix
Yields: 10 cups dry mix (10 large servings)

7 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups raisins
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 pinches salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch all spice

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Place in labled, zip lock baggies*.

To Serve: Scoop out 1 cup of Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal mix, combine with 1 cup water or milk. Microwave on High 1.5-2 minutes. Stir before serving.

*I placed mine in two large freezer bags, 5 cups per bag for Ryan to take to work. 
Now each bag is perfectly portioned for an entire week's worth of breakfasts!

The Verdict? Boyfriend absolutely loved this. The store-bought stuff costs about $0.33/oz and this only cost about $0.06/oz to make from scratch. Not to mention tastier, healthier, and less proccessed. Now I am dreaming of Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal and perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal mix!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cheddar Green Onion Biscuits

These buttermilk cheddar biscuits are reminiscent of Red Lobster's Cheddar bay biscuits.. yum. The best part? They require no stand mixer, no hand mixer. You mix them with your HANDS which means less dishes. Less dishes are always good in my book.

Word of the wise on this recipe, and any recipe calling for buttermilk. Don't buy buttermilk. Who can use an entire thing of buttermilk before it goes bad? This recipe only calls for 1/2 cup. The smallest container is 1/2 a pint, which leaves me with extra buttermilk leftover that I will never use! This 12 oz container of dry buttermilk costs about the same amount as a 1/2 pint of buttermilk but it can make up to 6 cups of buttermilk when combined with water. And the great part is you only have to make as much as you need. GENIUS! 
New favorite thing.

I am getting really excited for my new Williams Sonoma cookie sheets that I will be receiving for Christmas this year. As you can see I am in desperate need of them.

Feel free to double this recipe. It only makes 7. 
7 is not enough.

Cheddar Green Onion Biscuits
Yields: 7 large biscuits

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp truvia
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz green onions, chopped (green and white part)
1/2 cup buttermilk (substitute 2 tbs dry buttermilk + 1/2 cup water)

Cutting board
Biscuit cutter or drinking glass
Cookie sheet


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F 

2. Measure your flour, baking powder, baking soada, salt and sugar into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add your cubed butter, and mix in with your hands, breaking it down with your fingertips until it resembles large crumbs. Stir in your cheddar cheese and scallions. Make a well in the center of your biscuit dough, and pour in the buttermilk. Gently fold your flour mixture into the buttermilk until combined. Do not over-stir!

3. Flour a cookie sheet and pour the biscuit dough out onto it. Pat it down a bit and cut it into circles using a biscuit cutter if you have one, or use a regular drinking glass. Make sure to flour the rim of whatever you are using so the biscuits come off easily.
4. Place the biscuits on the a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

This might be the best cupcake recipe I've ever tried. The cake is a bit crumbly and loaded with chocolate chips and the frosting is a little salty and not too sweet, and covered in a chocolate drizzle.

This recipe is adapted from the original recipe from The Cupcake Bible. I was ready to make these cupcakes and realized I was out of eggs, so I improvised. I mixed 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water in a separate bowl. Feel free to use an egg, which I think will result in a much more moist cupcake. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
(makes 10 cupcakes)

1/4 cup peanut butter 1/8 cup (1/4 stick)  butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg (you can substitute 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat Oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with 10 muffin cups. Beat together peanut butter and butter on medium until well blended. Add brown sugar and egg (or cornstarch mixture) and beat well. Mix flour, baking soda and baking powder in separate bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture alternately with milk, at low speed until blended. Gently fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon evenly into muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting 
(makes 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

Beat Butter and peanut butter in electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla until blended. Slowly add milk until texture is smooth. Frost cupcakes and drizzle with melted chocolate**. Top with chocolate chips.

**To drizzle chocolate on cupcakes: Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl, stirring every 20-30 seconds. Do not overcook! Place melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and snip off the corner of the bag (making a very small opening). Gently squeeze bag over cupcake to form drizzle pattern.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

6-8 red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion - finely diced
6 tablespoons ranch dressing mix (2 packages)

Chop potatoes and finely dice onions. Throw all ingredients in a zip-lock bag and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture out onto a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes.


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