Sunday, December 27, 2009

Frugal Holiday Recipes

This is the beginning of a make-ahead brunch casserole. Yes, that is browned pork sausage atop a bed of croutons. Fear not...

...topped with an egg/milk mixture, kept in the fridge overnight, and baked and topped with cheese- this Sausage Mushroom Brunch Casserole was delightful! The only change I made was to add some cracked pepper to the mix. Five adults demolished this in 20 minutes.

I've been looking for a recipe for Refrigerator Potato Rolls since I saw them mentioned in the Tightwad Gazette. I found this recipe yesterday in my efforts to use leftover mashed potatoes from dinner with my mother to make rolls for a dinner with my in-laws. My mother made the mashed potatoes with olive oil and a small amount of garlic powder, and we couldn't taste either of them in these rolls. The rolls were perfect! They are absolutely something you can make ahead of time.

My company gave us a gift certificate for a Honey-Baked Ham, and in addition to the ham and rolls, I made a simple pan of Roasted Root Vegetables. I omitted the beets and kohlrabi, and used fresh rosemary for the herb. It turned out very well.

Our local grocery has been selling eggs for 75 cents/dozen, so I've made a lot of deviled eggs (using Alton Brown's recipe) to take to parties. Cheap, cheap- but very good.

I also eschew boiling the eggs, in favor of the much easier oven-baked method.

I admit, I have been finding it difficult to hit the $60/week grocery budget that I've set for myself. My son's dairy allergy means we are giving him almond milk and goat's milk, which is super expensive. Almond milk is generally $3.50 to $4 for a half gallon, and goat's milk is nearly $5 for a quart. We are also supplementing with a daily soy-based Pediasure to help him gain weight, and my husband can only drink soy milk- and refuses to drink anything other than one brand. I'd say $25 of my weekly budget goes to all these milk alternatives. It sucks!

Yesterday, I'm happy to say I only spent $65. A few things that keep me on budget:

1) Having a plan. I peek around in my pantry, see what we have, plan some meals around that and the weekly sales, check frugal mommy blogs for deals, and make a list. Without a list, I am doomed.

2) Having a meatless meal at least twice a week. Meat is expensive, period.

3) Eating breakfast before going to the store, even if I'm in a hurry. Or I will buy loads of crap.

4) Paying in cash. This, by far, is is the most important. I bring only enough to cover my needs. I leave the credit card at home. This method is how I stuck to my stringent $10/week grocery budget when I made peanuts working at a group home.