- March 12, 2007 at 2:05 pm #238748BiggerPiggyBankParticipant
Most frugal souls know that you can add yesterday’s leftover corn to
today’s stew and no one will know or care that it’s not fresh from
the can, but not everything is easy to disguise or reheat or
incorporate into a stew!
One of my favorites is mashed potatoes. Now, don’t laugh, but I
sometimes make extra just so I’ll have them on hand for my favorite
recipes – potato cakes and mashed potato salad. As a matter of face,
mashed potatoes may very well be the world’s most frugal convenience
Besides all that, potatoes are nutritious and satisfying.
Mashed Potatoes Recipes
Mashed Potato Recipes
Savory mashed potato recipes. Garlic, ranch, sour cream, more.
Even when the price fluctuates upward, they make a reasonably priced
dish. They’re versatile, too, even when they’ve already been cooked
Potato cakes are rich and satisfying whether you make them for
breakfast in the place of pancakes or for a side dish at dinner. The
recipe is slightly different for each of them, though. If you want a
dinner side dish, add three or four eggs to about a cup of leftover
mashed potatoes, then add salt, and pepper if desired, and mix in
enough flour to make a sticky dough that’s not too stiff to drop by
tablespoons full into a skillet of medium hot fat. Fry the cakes
until they’re golden brown on both sides and brush with butter.
Serve while they’re still hot for the best flavor.
(If you’re staying away from fried foods, you can bake this in a
greased casserole at about 350 for thirty minutes or so – enough to
cook the egg. Check it by inserting a knife in the center. It should
come out clean.)
The recipe for breakfast potato cakes: Use one or two eggs, and a
heaping teaspoon of baking powder for each cup of potatoes, and stir
well. Add enough flour to make a dough that’s still a little sticky
but can be shaped with your hands. Fry the same as dinner cakes, and
serve with butter and syrup, honey, jelly, jam, or molasses.
‘Twice Baked’ Potatoes
Twice baked potatoes really aren’t baked twice, but they’re ‘cooked’
twice. To make a similar casserole with mashed potatoes, add your
choice of spices and top with cheese or crushed potato chips and
bake long enough to heat through, around about 15 to 20 minutes.
These two flavoring combinations are favorites:
Sage with celery leaves and onion
Oregano with caraway seed and garlic
Grease a casserole dish and mix the seasonings into the potatoes
well and either layer them with crushed (be frugal about it and save
your bottom of the chip bag dregs for this) chips or grated cheese –
whatever kind you have on hand. This is very frugal but your family
will think it’s special.
Making delicious dishes with leftover turkey
So the turkey was good but it’s boring now… the pudding’s all gone
and the olives are shriveling. It must be the week after
What to do with that leftover turkey? You’ve had the traditional
sliced turkey sandwiches and diced turkey soups, so what else is
Plenty! Everyone has their favorite ways to use it, but here are
some quick and inexpensive ways to get the very most from your
Barbecued turkey for open face sandwiches is simple to make. Shred
or cut up leftover turkey and add your favorite barbecue sauce.
Presto, it’s done.
Turkey and noodles are made just the same as chicken and noodles.
Cook the noodles and add turkey. You can add chicken boullion if
necessary and vegetables if you like.
Turkey salad: Add a cup or more of diced turkey meat to shredded
lettuce, minced onion, shredded cheese and sliced black olives.
Turkey Meatloaf Recipes
Top with sour cream or ranch dressing.
Don’t forget the turkey pot pie. Add leftover vegetables from the
same feast if you have them, then add a half cup of water with a
couple of teaspoons of corn starch dissolved in it, dump it all in a
pie crust, top and bake until the crust is lightly browned.
Turkey sandwich spread can be made in a food processor or blender.
Add whatever suits you – pickles, onions, cheese, etc., to a cup of
turkey and a tablespoon or more of mayonnaise or creamy salad
dressing, then blend until it’s fairly smooth.
But what if you’ve used all the “good meat”? If you’ve picked the
best and biggest chunks of meat, you still have quite a bit of
turkey left. It’s time to cook the carcass in a big pot. Break it in
two if you need, cover with water and simmer for an hour or more,
until the meat begins to fall off the bones. Cool and pick the meat
off and portion it into containers for use right away or for the
freezer. Strain the leftover liquid and freeze for using with the
turkey later. Or you can freeze it with the turkey if you only
intend to make casseroles or soups with it.
Turkey is generally frugal meat anyway, but you can make it even
more so by using it all. Get the absolute most from that turkey.
The ultimate frugal recipe
I’ve seen the cartoons, yes. And I’ve eaten a few bad meatloaves.
I’ve even made a few myself. For the most part though, making a
meatloaf is a great opportunity to use up leftovers, and make a
pound of ground meat act like two pounds or more. It’s frugal, it’s
good and it’s convenient.
Meatloaves are basically mixtures of meat, binders and “fillers”.
Any meat can make a loaf. Tuna, ground beef, ground turkey or
chicken, sausage… just about any ground or small chunked meat you
have on hand. If you have meat in one large hunk, just dice it up,
either by hand, or chunk it and put it in a food processor. It
doesn’t have to be a certain consistency to work, but it needs to be
in small pieces to mix well.
The binder is used to hold things together as they bake into a loaf.
Usually whole eggs are used, but egg whites will work by themselves.
Use one whole egg or just the white for each pound of meat as a
Some meatloaves, particularly fish and poultry, use white sauce
(flour, water and fat) to bind the ingredients. You can use whatever
you prefer, or whatever is on hand.
Fillers are chopped or minced foods of many kinds that extend the
meat and sometimes add their own flavor. There are three basic
categories of fillers, and they’re usually all three used in a loaf.
Cereals and grains consisting of:
Whole grains like rice, wheat and barley (cooked)
Cracker and bread crumbs
These will absorb excess meat, sauce and binder liquids so the
meatloaf won’t fall apart or be soupy.
Beans, peas and lentils, cooked
Fresh, raw vegetables like shredded carrots, cabbage, and green
Preserved vegetables such as sliced olives and pickled anything
Cooked, leftover vegetables that can include almost anything.
This is true filler. It will expand the bulk of the meat
accordingly, but some uncooked vegetables tend to shrink when
cooked, so allow for that. Make sure all of it is minced or shredded
to cook evenly.
Sauces and spices
Tomato sauce, steak sauce, white sauce, cheese sauce…
Garlic, onions, chili powder, dill seed… just about any spice or
seasoning you have on hand.
Use spices and seasonings generously, and don’t be afraid to mix
them! Poultry seasoning can be good with beef and chicken, and chili
makes for a great chicken loaf.
Fillers have two distinct purposes. One, as mentioned, is to absorb
excess meat, sauce and binder liquids. The other is to extend the
meat. That is, to make it go farther than it would by itself.
When you make a meatloaf, make it with this in mind. Pastas,
leftover vegetables, bottom of the box cereals (not the sugar coated
kind!), leftover rice (seasoned or not), half a tomato, a bit of
green pepper, shredded or crumbled cheese… they’re all fair game
and they all can make a unique and very frugal meal.
A little imagination, a few leftovers and a pound of ground beef and
you can have a meal fit for company. Serve it plain or dress it up
with gravy over it. Or slice and quickly fry the slices. Smother it
with something else – mushrooms, cheese, onions.
No one will ever know that it’s made with leftovers and throwaways!
Frugal ways to deal with leftover candy
It seems like every holiday from Halloween to Easter has been
created (or maybe recreated) just for the candy companies. Even with
small children in the house, it’s easy to wind up with an overload
of all sorts of different candies – peppermint candy canes, milk
chocolate bunnies, candy corn, and Valentine ‘conversation hearts’,
to name a few.
As we go from holiday to holiday, it’s frugal and sensible use the
excess and ‘day after’ bargains of one holiday for the next. For
instance, chop Halloween candy corn to decorate a cake for
Thanksgiving, or use it whole to fill in a cornucopia. Christmas
candy kisses, wrapped in gold and silver and red foil, can be used
on Valentine’s Day. Save the green ones for St. Patrick’s day!
Green, gold and silver are still appropriate for Easter or nearly
any other holiday, so stock up on those, or save back some.
Save small or unusually shaped candy to decorate cookies for any
celebration, or for gingerbread houses next Christmas.
Candy Wedding Favors
Distinctive Candy Wedding Favors For Your Big Day!
Gourmet Caramel Apples
Soft or hard, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re not bigger than
Some real frugal tips:
Use redhots to decorate Valentine cookies.
Put chocolate coated peppermint patties in weak hot chocolate.
Use crushed hard candies in place of colored sugar.
Melt chocolate of the same type together and freeze to put in a mold
If you really want to be frugal, save the different colored foil
wrappers and ‘repackage’ your own homemade or recycled candy.
I remember when growing up, we could never have envisioned a world
where there was too much candy! Your young ones may very well feel
the same way, but it’s not good to eat too much candy, either. One
thing that will help, and it’s one of the cheapest things you can
do, too, is to use a package of candies like Lifesavers or Rollos.
Repackage them, one at a time, in recycled foil. It’s amazing how
much more important each piece of candy seems to a child when its
If you don’t have an excess of holiday candy, wait until a day after
any given holiday and go get some! Candy that was ridiculously high
priced in anticipation of holiday shoppers becomes excess baggage to
the retailer, too, and he wants to get rid of them.
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