Tot Tuesday: Yummy Nachos!

Make a Healthier Version at Home!

So today’s Tot Tuesday WAS going to be Halloween themed, but my little helper just wasn’t in the mood. So instead, this week I bring you a fun kid friendly recipe!

My kids would seriously eat the same exact thing for every meal every single day if I let them. It takes some creativity to jazz things up!

We love nachos, so sometimes I make some right here at home. Corn tortillas are incredibly inexpensive, and making your own chips is a lot healthier than buying a bag at the store. Of course, if you are looking for something quick and convenient, using store bought chips is not really that big of a deal!

Forgive the cell phone pictures. I still cannot find my camera upload cord!

Bean and Cheese Nachos

Ingredients:
-10 corn tortillas (this makes a fair amount of chips for 4 people)
-cooking spray
-salt
-beans (refried, pinto, homemade, canned…whatever your family enjoys)
-cheese (we prefer shredded cheddar)
-shredded lettuce
-1 diced tomato

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Stack all of your tortillas on top of each other. Cut into quarters.

3. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and move them around so they are all pretty evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt

4. Lay the tortillas out single layer on your cooking sheet (you might need more than one) and place in the oven

5. Cook for around 10 minutes, check them often. Sometimes mine need more, sometimes they need less. You’ll know when they are done because they will start getting slightly browned.

6. Allow the chips to cool a bit and place on plates.

7. Top with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and anything else you might want!

8. Enjoy!

If I were making these for dinner, I probably would have added some meat as well, but for lunch just the beans was protein enough!

It’s pretty simple and really doesn’t take that much longer to whip up than some sandwiches!

5 Minute Tostadas

By popular demand, I’m going to start posting some of my most frugal recipes on Family Friendly Frugality. I’m no gourmet, and I’m also not a health nut. I do know how to make a cheap meal that tastes good though!

Tostadas are an an easy easy dinner option when you need to get a filing meal on the table fast. My husband raves about my tostadas. They are so incredibly simple, so it’s a meal I don’t mind making on demand. (my husband NEVER demands anything of me, but you know what I mean!)

5 Minute Tostadas

  • 1-2 corn tortillas per person (If you want to make this even easier, you can buy pre-fried corn tortillas at the store…they aren’t as good)
  • refried beans (I either make my own or buy the fat free in the can)
  • shredded cheddar
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of your frying pan. You want it pretty hot. Test it by sticking the tip of a tortilla in…if it immediately starts to bubble, it’s good. 
  2. Using your tongs, place tortilla in oil. Let cook about 30 seconds each side and place on a paper towel to drain after (the tortilla SHOULD be hard and flat)
  3. Heat beans and spread a layer of beans onto each tortilla
  4. Top with cheese, tomatoes and lettuce
  5. Generously add pepper and just a teeny bit of salt
  6. Serve with rice or a salad
Super easy! I’m not going to claim it’s the most healthful meal. It’s quick, easy and cheap though! Add more veggies if you like, get creative with sides. Use refried black beans. Add meat! Change it up and make it your own!
Happy eating!



The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This is THE best chocolate chip cookie recipe on the internet! Guaranteed to make your house the “cool” house. Try the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and let me know what you think!

 

Today we’re going to talk about cookies. Not just any cookies, but CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (yes that word is bolded, italicized AND underlined…if I could add sparkles to it I would have).

Before I had kids, I was on a mission to find the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever.

I had visions of my children declining invitations to friends houses, instead saying “No, come over MY house. My mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever“.

Of course, I’d have my hair curled and be wearing a pretty dress with heals and a frilly apron. More than happy to bake cookies for all the neighborhood kids.

Well so far, that hasn’t happened. Give it time though, my kids are only 3 and 1. However, I do believe I’ve found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It’s not just about the ingredients! Oh no. It’s also about the techniques!

Get your printer ready for this one!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
adapted from this recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
 

 

 

 

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave (be sure to use REAL unsalted butter)
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. 
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. 
  4. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. 
  5. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour and chocolate chips
  6. Place batter into refrigerator for at LEAST 1 hour, preheat oven to 350
  7. Take out the dough and drop by rounded tablespoon fulls onto an UNGREASED cookie sheet
  8. Let bake for 15-17 minutes, checking often until the edges are browning and the middle is just barely set. Don’t overcook! They cook a little more once you take them out of the oven.

 

As my son would say DELICIOUS!

I guarantee your house will be the hot spot if you bake these cookies! It makes a pretty large batch so you can even freeze some of the dough in portions.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll go ahead and freeze the dough in balls on a cookie sheet. Than I place the balls in freezer bags so I can just pull out however many cookies we want at that time.

Made to order homemade cookies! Doesn’t get much better than that!

(if you are looking for more chocolate chip goodness, don’t miss out on these chocolate chip caramel cookie bars OR this chocolate chip cookie pie!)

Well okay, maybe it does:

Isn’t she precious?!
Tot Tuesday: Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in the microwave (be sure to use REAL unsalted butter)
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  4. Dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  5. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour and chocolate chips
  6. Place batter into refrigerator for at LEAST 1 hour, preheat oven to 350
  7. Take out the dough and drop by rounded tablespoon fulls onto an UNGREASED cookie sheet
  8. Let bake for 15-17 minutes, checking often until the edges are browning and the middle is just barely set. Don’t overcook! They cook a little more once you take them out of the oven.
3.5.3251

 

Guest Post at $5 Dinners-Chicken with Rice

One of my favorite frugal dishes is Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice). A total comfort food for me and my family, it’s a low cost meal that doesn’t feel low cost at all. I’ve tweaked this recipe a lot over the years and I’ve finally settled on a version of it that my family loves. With cooler temps about to set in, it’s the perfect meal to cozy up with on a cool fall night. Serve alone or with some pinto beans and a salad.

Head over to $5 Dinners for the recipe!

How to turn one $5 whole chicken into at least 6 meals

So you know those tiny little whole roasting chickens at your supermarket? Those chickens are a frugal gal’s best friend. They go on sale for $.77 a lb every couple of weeks and a good sized one ends up being around $5-$6(stock up at around $.77 a lb!). So why is that chicken a good deal when I can get a pound of ground beef that is only $2.94?
That pound of ground beef might feed your family for one night…but I’m going to tell you how that little chicken can feed your family for at least SIX meals.

You do need a few other ingredients, but luckily they are things most of us have on hand already

RECIPE:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 carrots (rough chopped)
  • 4 stalks celery (rough chopped)
  • Salt&Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place chicken in a roasting pan either on a rack or just ball up some aluminum foil and set it up on top of the balls. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes.When the chicken is done, let it cool.
  4. Pull off the skin and discard. You can pull off the breasts and dice them and shred the rest, or just shred it all. I like to portion it out into bags in 1 cup portions and freeze.
  5. Now fill a big stock pot with 6-8 cups of water. Put the chicken, celery, onion and carrots in the water. Season the water with salt and pepper (chicken broth is generally pretty salty, you’ll know after it is cooked if it is to your liking). Bring it up to a boil and then bring it down to a simmer. Let simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove until the bones are totally falling apart.
  6. Drain the broth and portion it off in one cup portions into bags or plastic containers, and freeze. If you like, you can also separate out the veggies and serve them for dinner. They will be super tender and flavorful, but you probably want to eat them right away because they won’t taste as good reheated.

Use the chicken for pizzas, tacos, in casseroles or on salads. The broth can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.

Make Ahead Freezer Friendly Breakfast or Lunch Burritos

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So the other day I mentioned making Freezer Burritos. Making your own convenience foods is a great way to save money AND it also is much healthier.



Have you ever had one of those convenience boxed breakfast burritos from the freezer case at the grocery store? Not only are they kind of gross and taste overly processed…they NEVER fill me up. Most likely because they are so packed with preservatives that there isn’t much room for the real food!


This recipe can be tweaked in whatever way you want. You can omit the eggs and sausage and sub in ground beef and beans to make lunchtime burritos. You can add whatever veggies you like. You can even add rice. Whatever sounds good to you!!

Freezer Burritos (makes 8)


  • 8 burrito sized tortillas (or you can use 16 fajita sized tortillas!)
  • 8 eggs (you can use half whole egg/half egg whites if you wish)
  • 16 oz of sausage of your choice
  • 8 oz of cheese of your choice
  • veggie of your choice (we used green onions; BUT they would taste great with yellow onions, red or green bell peppers, etc)
  • foil
  • paper towels
  • Ziploc Bag
  • Sharpie (or other permanent marker)



Crumble sausage and cook in pan. Meanwhile crack and scramble your eggs in a separate bowl.

Depending on what veggies you are using, you might want to cook them while you are cooking the sausage(in a separate pan). I used green onions so I just snipped the green onions into the pan right before I added the eggs.


When the sausage is almost done (don’t let it overcook! remember you’ll be reheating these), add the eggs and cook until the eggs are just a bit less done than you typically eat them.


Wrap your tortillas in paper towels and microwave…about 30 seconds (first make sure they pull apart easily and don’t tear).


Set up a burrito rolling station. Have all your components within easy reach.


Lay out your first tortilla and put 1/8th of the sausage/egg mixture along the center of the tortilla. Add veggies, cheese and whatever else you like. Fold down the top of the burrito, than the bottom. Fold over the left and than the right.



Wrap the burrito in a paper towel, than wrap it in your foil (NOTE: I rarely wrap in foil anymore! I just wrap in paper towels and put them in a Ziploc bag. Like this


Repeat for the rest of the burritos.


When you are done, write on your ziploc bag the date you made the burritos and label if they are breakfast burritos, bean and cheese, etc. Fit as many burritos as you can into the freezer bag (I fit all 8 into one bag).


Place in freezer. Take out as needed. Take foil OFF and heat up burrito in the paper towel for 2-3 minutes (the smaller they are the less time they need heating).



Serve with some salsa, or add some fruit for a fully balanced breakfast!!!

***Notice my sign is still on the bar? It’s actually working!!! More on that later ;)

The Benefits of Cooking with Your Kids: Baker One Bowl Brownies

Looking for a frugal way to provide some entertainment for your kids? Get them into the kitchen! Kids LOVE to help in the kitchen. It will probably be messy and it will probably require patience, so be sure to do it on a day where you aren’t pressed for time or the house needs to be clean for company. Explore the benefits of cooking with your kids!

Today my 3 year old told me he wanted cupcakes. I told him I wanted some too, could he go make me some? I was joking, but minutes later I found him in the kitchen with these supplies:

Not exactly cupcake making material. Muffins maybe? But upon further investigation I discovered we had no cupcake or muffin liners. I asked if brownies would suffice, and after some  hesitation he decided it would.
So we got to work.

When cooking with your kids. Simple is best. Don’t try and make a complicated layer cake with a three year old. One bowl recipes with easy to pour and measure ingredients are probably your best bet.
My favorite recipe to make with my son is Bakers One Bowl Brownies . It really is just one bowl and the simplest of ingredients.

Baker One Bowl Brownies

Ingredients

  • 4 (1 ounce) squares BAKER’S Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped PLANTERS Pecans (we omitted this, just not nut fans here)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
3. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Noah really enjoyed himself a lot (as you can tell). The entire pan of brownies couldn’t have cost more than a few dollars. There are many benefits to cooking with your kids, specifically patience because brownies take a long time to bake!
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