Spicing Up Your Kitchen, On the Cheap


Last year’s birthday breakfast- banana bread french toast..mmm

Eating is my favorite.  

I will try any food, and enjoy most of it.  I can savor a filet at an amazing restaurant, and get just as much enjoyment out of some awesome tacos.  When trying to save money, though, going out to eat can add up very quickly.  Luckily, cooking from home can be fairly easy and affordable, especially if you plan your meals ahead (I try to do a weekly meal plan, which has been moderately successful).  You can even spread the love–invite your friends and family over to share, instead of going out to eat.  Ask them to bring the appetizer or dessert, and you’ve saved yourself a little more cash, while getting the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones.

Here are my top five resources for finding awesome make-at-home dishes:

  1. Pinterest: Oh, how we all love Pinterest.  Sometimes, I look through my cupboards, and then just type in some of the random ingredients I have as a search query. Half a chicken breast, one orange, and some mustard? Ok, I didn’t really type that one in, but I’m sure someone has made it.  I really did get one of my favorite recipes from a Pinterest link, though.  It’s extremely easy to make, only has a few ingredients, and has been a big hit with anyone I’ve served it to: Blackened Chicken and Cilantro Lime Quinoa.
  2. Steamy Kitchen: According to her mini-bio, Jaden Hair is a “professional recipe developer.”  How do I get that job?!  In any case, her recipes typically don’t have many ingredients, but they are absolutely delicious.  My favorite is: Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage.
  3. Everyday with Rachael Ray: I love Rachael Ray’s recipes.  They’re always really easy to follow, and I don’t think I’ve come across a bad one yet.  Here’s a soup recipe that helps with the chilly winter weather: Butternut Squash Soup with Red Chile and Mint (I omitted the mint).   
  4. The Joy of Cooking: Without a doubt, this is my favorite cookbook, and I would definitely recommend investing in a copy.  The website has some recipes, but the best one I’ve made so far isn’t listed.  I did find it on another site: Chocolate Cake– I made it with 7-minute icing.
  5. Stonesoup: This is a new find for me, so I actually haven’t used any of the recipes yet.  It looks like a keeper, though–most of the recipes are five ingredients or less and require minimal prep/cooking time.  I love broccoli and a good green curry, so I really want to try this one: Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup.

BONUS: Your family and friends! Ask your best friend, your mom, your dad, your grandparents or your co-workers for their favorite recipes.  One of my family favorites is a broccoli casserole that my grandmother has been making since my dad was little.  It costs pennies to make, but is a total comfort food for me.

Happy (cheap) cooking!



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