How to Make Caramelized Onions

If you have never tried caramelized onions you are missing out. Even if you are convinced you do not like onions, I have a sinking suspicion you will change your mind once you try them. They are sweet and delicious and more like candy than the sharp, spiciness of their raw or mildly cooked counterparts. caramelized onions Caramelized onions are not difficult to make but they do take a bit of time. The key is low and slow. Turn the heat down low and let them do their thing. You don’t have to babysit the pan and keep the onions moving. Just check on them every ten minutes or so. I love to use caramelized onions in soup, quiche and especially on pizza. They are excellent in scrambles eggs and omelettes. They are great on sandwiches. The ingredients are simple – onions, butter and salt. You can add a touch of sugar near the end for a little added sweetness but that isn’t necessary. If you have never tried caramelized onions I encourage you to do it today. Enjoy!

Caramalized Onions
Yields 1
Sweet and tender onions.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 2 large red onions, sliced (or your favorite kind of onion)
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  4. salt
  1. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the butter.
  2. While the butter is melting, thinly slice your onions.
  3. Add the onions to the pan and stir to coat with butter.
  4. Turn the heat to low and allow the onions to gently cook.
  5. Gently stir every 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. If the onions begn to burn turn the heat lower, if possible, or move the pan away from the burner for a few minutes until the pan cools.
  7. Eventually the onions will become slightly sticky and start to look like they are coated in caramel. You can add the brown sugar at this point to bump up the sweetness if you like.
  8. Allow the onions to cook until the sugar melts. Season with salt and enjoy with your favorite recipe.
  1. Caramelized onions will keep in a covered container in the fridge for about a week. They also freeze very well.
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Really Awesome Homemade Pizza

Really awesome handmade pizza

Living in the country means you never get pizza delivered.

We have a few national chain pizza places in the town about 30 minutes from our house.  They make pizza that’s decent in a pinch and will satisfy your craving, but it’s nothing great.

The only really good pizza places are about 70 miles from here so, needless to say, we don’t get pizza very often.

We’ve tried frozen and the only one I can even tolerate is the Sam’s Club in-store pizzas but even they are not meant to be actually frozen.  Just brought home and baked.  It even recommends against freezing on the box.

For years, we tried making pizza at home with varying amounts of success.  We’d get the toppings just right but the crust always had problems.  Too thick. Too floppy. Too Soggy.  We like it fairly thin with a crispy bottom.  I like the outer crust to be crispy on the outside but tender and chewy on the inside.

Really awesome handmade pizza

Recently, I have nearly (nearly) perfected our homemade pizza experience.  I would still rather someone else do the work but 70 miles for a slice of cheesy heaven just isn’t doable even on a semi-regular basis.

The Supplies

A HOT oven
A pizza stone
Corn Meal

The Method

Turn your oven to it’s HOTTEST setting.  Mine goes to 550 degrees.

Place your pizza stone in the cold oven and let it preheat along with the oven.

While your oven is preheating prep all of your ingredients and roll out your pizza dough. I use a combination of rolling with a rolling pin and hand tossing to reach the desired size and thickness.

When the oven has reached temperature, remove the stone and dust with cornmeal.  Immediately place your crust on the pan.  The bottom of your crust will begin to cook as you dress your pizza.

Return the pizza to the oven and let it cook.

When your pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Enjoy your delicious pizza!

Really awesome handmade pizza dough

The Recipe

I think the crust recipe really matters.  A mediocre crust will not taste better no matter how you cook the pizza.  Find a crust recipe that you like.  For us, this is our go to crust recipe that I have tweaked and modified over the years until it finally met our likes.

3 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3-4 1/2 cups bread flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast and the warm water.  Using the dough hook attachment let these ingredients mix for about 30 seconds or so.  Add the oil and salt and continue mixing. 

Slowly begin to add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.  You may not need all 4 1/2 cups of flour so pay attention to the dough.  You want it to be moist but not sticky. 

Coat the dough with a small amount of oil and return it to the mixer bowl.  Cover the bowl loosely with a piece of plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise at least 40 minutes.  The longer you let it rise, the more yeasty flavor it will develop.

Gently punch down the dough and divide it into three equal pieces.  Each piece will be about 10 ounce.  The dough freezes well and can be frozen at this point if you are not going to use all of them.

Roll out your dough and proceed with the method described above.

Your options for toppings are limitless.  Our favorite toppings are mild Italian sausage, pepperoni, and caramelized onions.  What are your favorite pizza toppings? Share your ideas in the comments below.

The QueDog – Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers Giveaway

July is national hot dog month and it’s time for another yummy hot dog recipe. This hot dog celebrates another delicious summer food…BBQ. Okay, BBQ may not just be a summer food but summer is the time of year that we typically think about having picnics and big outdoor meals. Here in the south that often includes pulled pork or ribs or some kind of smoked meat.

This dog is delicious and brings new life to leftover pulled pork. So grab some pulled pork from your favorite local BBQ joint or make a batch of my delicious and EASY Crockpot Kalua Pork, some Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers and your favorite BBQ sauce. Now lets make a QueDog!

The QueDog on @eggsandherbs

Before I give you the super easy recipe I want to invite you to enter for a chance to with 4 packages of Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers Hot Dogs. They will even deliver them right to your door!

To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite BBQ restaurant is and what you love about it.

You can also get more entries by hopping over and checking out my Tropical Hot Dog.

Contest ends August 1st and one winner will be chosen from all eligable entries comined from each post in my summer hot dog series. Winner must live in the continental US.

Now here’s the recipe for the QueDog!

The QueDog
A delicious BBQue Hot Dog.
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  1. Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers Hot Dogs
  2. Buns
  3. Leftover Kalua Pork
  4. BBQ Sauce
  5. Coleslaw (optional)
  1. Cook the hot dogs using your prefered method. Grill or toast the buns. Place the hot dog in the bun. Top with your favorite BBQ sauce and a bit of coleslaw if you like. Enjoy!
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Disclaimer: I recieved free Jumbo Grillers from Petit Jean Meats to help me with the development of these recipes. All opinions are my own.

Crockpot Kalua Pork

Kalua Pork (notice that it’s Kalua and not Kahlua!) is a traditional luau treat. Kalua is a Hawaiian term that literally means to cook underground and in a traditional luau a whole pig is wrapped in moist banana leaves and cooked underground in a hot pit or imu for 6-7 hours. Part of the ceremony in a luau is the unearthing of the pig.

hawaiian luau crockpot kalua pork

Kalua pork is typically very moist, slightly salty and slightly smokey. While it would be totally cool if we could all slow roast whole pigs in our backyards every time we wanted this tasty treat, that probably isn’t feasible. We can however create a very tasty, slow roasted version in a crockpot.

The flavor of this crockpot Kalua Pork is smokey, salty, moist and everything your would expect to find at a traditional luau without all of the work and non of the mess. Seriously, you’d need a backhoe or something to did a giant hole in your yard if you wanted to do this the traditional way!

Well let’s cheat! Were gonna throw FIVE ingredients into a crockpot, go about our merry business for 10 or so hours and come back to the most flavorful pork you will ever eat.

Crockpot Kalua Pork @eggsandherbs

 Note: This would not specifically be considered a {Budget Meal} because a large pork roast can be nearly $20.  However, when you consider the length that this single piece of meat will go, it would be a great choice if you were on a budget and found yourself with the ability to splurge a little.  We serve this as is with some potatoes and a vegetable on the first night. It makes it way back to our table all week in the form of tacos, BBQ sandwiches, a topping for hot dogs and we’ve even used it in enchiladas and to top nachos. 

Crockpot Kalua Pork
Smoky and salty luau style pork.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 1 Pork Shoulder (choose a size that fits your needs)
  2. 3-5 pieces of smoked bacon
  3. Sea Salt (use Hawaiian salt if you have it)
  4. 3-5 cloves of garlic, halved lengthwise (optional)
  5. Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke (optional)
  1. Cut 6-10 slits into the fatty side of the pork shoulder. Insert half a piece of garlic into each slit. Generously cover the outside of the pork shoulder with salt. You want to add quite a bit of salt, several teaspoons to several tablespoons depending on the size of your roast. Lay 3-5 piece of uncooked smoked bacon across the bottom of the crockpot. Place the salted roast fat side up into the crockpot. Sprinkle with several dashes of liquid smoke. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on the lowest setting at the longest time. My crockpot will cook for 10 hours on low. When it is finished you will want to remove the roast from the liquid that forms as it will be quite salty. The pork should be falling apart, tender and juicy. Enjoy!
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Pineapples Don’t Grow on Trees – Tropical Hot Dogs {Petit Jean Meats Giveaway}

Nothing speaks more of summer than hot dogs on the grill. Add some tropical fruit and you’ve got a hot dog that’s perfect for any pool party, lake side grill-out, or family barbecue.

tropical hot dog

About 10 years ago I visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Hawaii. The thing that surprised me the most was that pineapples grow in the ground and not trees. Here I was, in my mid 20′s, and I should have known this simple fact. I was shocked to say the least but have since come to realize that it is very common for people to believe that pineapples grow on trees. If you take away nothing else from this post, please remember that pineapples don’t grow on trees!

When my friends over at Petit Jean Meats asked me if I could come up with a few unique hot dog recipes for the summer I immediately thought of pineapple. I knew I wanted to create a dog that included this quintessential summer ingredient.

Today I have for you a delicious Tropical Hot Dog that even my somewhat picky husband enjoyed. PLUS, you can enter to win a 4-pack of Jumbo Grillers Hot Dogs from Petit Jean Meats!  That’s right! Petit Jean Meats will send one lucky reader 4 packages of Jumbo Grillers Hot Dogs.  You can enter today and each Friday during July.  Contest ends on August 1st and one winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries in each Friday’s hot dog recipe post.  Continental US only.  All entrants must be 18 or over.

You have four ways to get an entry.
1. Leave a comment here on the blog and tell me how your spending the Fourth of July.
2. Share this post via Facebook then leave a SEPARATE with a link to your FB post.
3. Pin a photo from this post and then leave a SEPARATE comment with your Pinterest user name.
4. Share this post on Google+ and then leave a SEPARATE comment with a link to your Google+ post.

Check back each Friday in July for another opprtunity to get 4 entries. I will be sharing with you recipes for the QueDog, the B&B Dog, and the Yankee Dog.

Tropical Hot Dog
Serves 4
This Tropical Hot Dog with a fruity pineapple relish is sure to please and beat the heat this summer.
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  1. 1 Package Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers Hot Dogs
  2. 4 King's Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns
  3. 6-8 slices of Petit Jean Hickory Smoked Bacon
  4. 1/4 of a large red onion, chopped
  5. 1/4 of a fresh pineapple, chopped
  6. 1/2 of a fresh mango, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup of sweet relish
  1. Cook the bacon until lightly browned and crisp. Set aside to cool.
  2. In the same pan, reserve 1 tbs. of the bacon grease and saute the onions until just tender.
  3. Chop the bacon and combine in a bowl with the onions, pineapple, mango and sweet relish.
  4. Chill for at least one hour before serving.
  1. Top Petit Jean Jumbo Grillers with a big scoop of the tropical relish and serve with mac and cheese or your favorite hot dog accompaniment.
eggs and herbs
Disclaimer: I was provided with free hot dogs from Petit Jean Meats for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.

Creamed Spinach

There really is no food that warms my soul quite like a big, juicy, medium-rare steak.  Steak is the one food that I find myself craving over and over again.  Almost as much as I like steak, I like the traditional steakhouse sides like garlicky mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.  Traditional creamed spinach sounds like it should be good for you but contains enough butter and cream for an army with a calorie load to match.  

weight watchers creamed spinach steakhouse

When I came across the recipe for creamed spinach in this months Cookbook of the Month, WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook, I was ecstatic. And, it’s good! I mean REALLY good. Pair it with a delicious steak (my husband and I shared the one pictured below) and a small baked potato and you will have a meal that rivals any 5-star steakhouse!

weight watchers creamed spinach steakhouse style

Creamed Spinach
Serves 4
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 1 pound spinach, trimmed and torn
  2. 1 onion, minced
  3. 1/2 tbs. flour
  4. 1/4 tsp. salt
  5. Freshly ground pepper
  6. Freshly ground nutmeg
  7. 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  8. 1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened
  1. Steam the spinach for about 2 minutes until it is lightly wilted. Drain in a colander. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess moisture and coarsely chop.
  2. Saute the onion in a medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray until transluscent.
  3. Combine flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl and stir into the onion. Add the milk and cream cheese and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the spinach and cook until heated through. Serve.
Adapted from WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook
Adapted from WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook
eggs and herbs

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups

My mom and dad own a Bed and Breakfast so I am always on the lookout for good breakfast dishes.  My husband also loves breakfast and while we don’t often have time for a hot breakfast during the school year, we typically enjoy breakfast several times each week during the summer.  I try to find a variety of recipes so that we don’t get bored.  

This month’s Cookbook of the Month is the WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook and I couldn’t wait to make this recipe for Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups.  One serving is only 289 calories and 7 PointsPlus.

Huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups
Serves 4
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  1. 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  2. 1 (14.5 oz) can of Rotel
  3. 1 (15 oz) can of black beans
  4. 1/2 cup canned diced green chiles, mild
  5. 2-3 tbs. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  6. 3 tbs. chopped cilantro
  7. 4 large eggs
  8. 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray tortillas with cooking spray. Place over inverted custard ramekins on a cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes until lightly crisp and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Combine the Rotel, beans, chiles, Frank's and 2 tbs. of cilantro in a large ovenproof skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 4 minutes. Spread the mixture and break four eggs over the sauce, spacing them evenly apart.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and bake the eggs about 6-8 minutes until the eggs are almost set. Sprinkle cheese over each egg and cook 1 minute more until the cheese is melted.
  4. To serve, place the tortilla cups onto plates and spoon in the eggs and sauce mixture. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve.
Adapted from WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook
Adapted from WeightWatchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook
eggs and herbs

Herbed Crepes with Eggs and Ham to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday!

”Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age.” ~Dr. Seuss

I’m pretty sure what he really meant by nonsense was a hardy breakfast made with Petit Jean Meats EZ Carve Ham and Great Day Farms Eggs!
Herbed Crepes with Eggs and Ham Collage
Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as we now know him, began his famed writing career while in attendance at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Still Ted Geisel at the time, he was writing for the campus based humor magazine Jack-o-Lantern of which he became editor-in-chief during his Junior year. As was tradition for the publication, the content within the magazine was rarely signed by the author. While he claims to have contributed a number of pieces his exact contribution is unclear except in terms of his artwork. The magazine also published artwork which unlike its “lit” was nearly always signed. The publication was peppered with his illustrations from 1921-1925. He admits that, during this time, he “discovered the excitement of ‘marrying’ words to pictures.”

It was during 1925 that he first adopted the use of the name Seuss. On the evening before Easter of his senior year, Seuss and nine of his friends gathered together and shared a pint of gin in his room in Randall Hall. The dorm father discovered what they were doing and called the local police chief who raided the room.

Remember that this was during the time of prohibition. Geisel states, “We had a pint of gin for ten people, so that proves nobody was really drinking” but they were brought before the dean and placed on probation for violation of Prohibiton, “especially on Easter Evening.” This meant Ted was relieved from his duties as editor-in-chief of the Jack-o-Lantern.

But fear not because the anonymous format of the literature portion of the magazine allowed Ted Geisel to keep right on writing. The artwork created another problem however since they were usually signed. So the last four issues of the 1925 school year contained multiple cartoons that were credited simply to the artist, “Seuss” or on occassion “T. Seuss”. The Dr. was added later on.

So today, in honor of the 110th anniversary of Dr. Seuess’ birthday I bring you some “green” eggs and ham!
Herbed Crepes with Eggs and Ham
I was first introduced to Great Day Farms Eggs about 6 months ago when a representative of their company sponsored a breakfast at a conference I was attending. As we ate a delicious breakfast prepared with Great Day Eggs the rep spoke about the company. One thing that really struck me was when he stated that he believes “yard eggs” are the best eggs but that Great Day strives to provide a quality product to those who weren’t fortunate to have their own fresh eggs. Having eaten nothing but “yard eggs” from my own chickens for years I admit I was hesitant to try store bought eggs. My previous experience with store bought eggs wasn’t a great one but my first bite of these and I knew something was different. They were good! And when my chickens quit laying eggs during this cold, dark winter I immediately sought out the Great Day Farms Cage Free brown eggs. At about $4.25 for a package of 18, they were a little more expensive than the other eggs but their quality in color and taste is far superior.

I used the Great Day Farms Eggs to whip up a batch of my Easy Crepes and placed three (one for me and two for my husband) on a well sprayed,foil lined cookie sheet to prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze.

Easy Crepes

Onto each crepe I placed a slice of Petit Jean Meats EZ Carve ham which I cut in half and warmed slightly in a skillet.

Crepes with Petit Jean Ham

We have been eating Petit Jean Meats in our house for several years. This Arkansas based company makes delicious bacon, ham and sausages in a variety of styles and flavors. In addition to their EZ Carve ham they make great family size hams that would be perfect for the upcoming Easter holiday! You may want to check out my Holiday Menu featuring Petit Jean Spiral Sliced Ham.

After I added the ham to each crepe I carefully cracked an egg into the center of each crepe and folded up the sides before placing the whole tray into a 350º oven.


The trick is to bake the eggs until the whites have set and the yolk is still runny. This takes about 8 minutes but you should watch closely. To check for doneness just jiggle the pan a little. The white of the egg should no longer look wet or runny. The yolk should give slightly when touched.

To serve, plate each crepe and sprinkle with fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve with Thyme and Scallion Potato Pancakes, fresh fruit and english muffin. Enjoy!

Herbed Crepes with Eggs and Ham

Herbed Crepes with Eggs and Ham

1-2 Crepes per person (See my Easy Crepe recipe.)
Great Day Farms Eggs
Petit Jean Meats EZ Carve Ham
Minced Herbs (I used Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Scallions)
Cooking Spray
Salt and Pepper

Prepare crepes according to my Easy Crepes recipe. Note: for added flavor you can add a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs to the crepe batter. Preheat oven to 350º. Place 1-2 crepes per person on a cookie sheet sprayed will with cooking spray. Place one slice of ham on each crepe. Crack an egg into the center and fold up the sides of the crepe. Cook approximately 8 minutes or until the eggs are set to your liking. Plate each Herbed Crepe with Eggs and Ham and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Connect with Great Day Farms:

Connect with Petit Jean Meats:

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by both Great Day Farms and Petit Jean Meats and they provided me with eggs and meat for this recipe. All opinions are however my own and I would not promote a product that I don’t honestly and authentically stand behind.

Article Source: The Beginnings of Dr. Seuss: An informal reminiscence. Geisel, Theodor Seuss, 1904-1991.
From the Dartmouth Digital Collection.

Save Money in the Kitchen 7 Tips to Get You Started

You may have noticed that food prices are going up, up and UP! Today I am going to share with you 7 practical tips to help you save money in the kitchen WITHOUT having to use coupons or play the “grocery” game.
save money without coupons

1. Clean out your fridge and the pantry.

About once a year I do a major clean out my fridge. I mean REALLY clean it out. I remove everything, scrub the shelves, check expiration dates, toss all the old stuff and then put back everything in a neat and orderly manner. I did the same with my pantry. They both looked amazing and I really worked hard at keeping them clean.

I noticed in the next few weeks my grocery bill was down just slightly. Why? Because I suddenly remembered all that great stuff that I had to cook with. Keeping a clean fridge and pantry are essential to saving money in the kitchen because if you know what you have, you don’t waste money buying it again.

I recommend doing a MAJOR cleaning at least once a year. I also recommend that you do a quick clean out just before each grocery shopping trip. You just might find a hidden container of sour cream so you won’t need to buy another one!

2. Maintain a well stocked fridge and pantry.

Now that your fridge and pantry are clean it is time to make sure it is well stocked with the items you frequently use.

What belongs in your fridge or pantry will be different for everyone and your pantry may look totally different than mine. A quick Google or Pinterest search will provide you with pleanty of resources on keeping a well stocked pantry.

A note about using coupons to stock your pantry – I am NOT really a fan of using coupons. I have a family of two. Using coupons is not really cost effective for us. We don’t have a need for extras of stuff and I don’t have time in my day to play the “grocery game”. I am also not typically brand loyal on most pantry items and tend to buy either what is cheapest or what looks the best.

3. Plan Your Meals EVERY Week.

Let’s face it! No matter how your family does dinner you are likely faced with the age-old question, “Whats for dinner?” Deciding what to cook or even where to eat out at can be a big hassle. If you are the primary (or sole) chef in your house this question is likely the cause of some deeply harbored ill-feelings from time to time. Nothing irritates me more than when I ask my husband for meal ideas, he doesn’t give any, and then acts disappointed with what I decided to make.

Step 1: Make a database of family favorites.

A database of family meals can be a great tool for solving this problem. Gather up your family and start making a list of some of your favorite meals. This list should contain only the tried and true recipes that you have made. Your “wish list” of food items will come later. You want this to be a list of meals that you know and love.

Once you have the list compiled – write it out, type it up, put it on index cards, etc. Put it somewhere where it is accessible to you AND your family. I keep mine stuck to the fridge but there are a ton of cute meal planning boards on Pinterest that make great use of this database of family favorites.

Step 2: Make a meals “wish-list”.

Did you see something yummy on the Food Network? Did you try something in a restaurant that you think you could replicate at home? Does your food board on your Pinterest account have 300 pins that you have never cooked?

Make a wish list of 24 or so meals that you and your family would like to try in the next year. (If applicable provide links or cookbook page numbers to recipes.) Take your list and pin it on the fridge right next to your family meals database.

Step 3: Make a meal plan every week BEFORE you go grocery shopping.

First, you want to consult your pantry,fridge and freezer to see if you have anything on hand that needs to be used up. Next, take a look at your database of meals and pick 5-6 of your family favorites and once or twice a month throw in one of your wish list meals.
Make your list and stick to it!

4. Plan for your leftovers.

Making good use of your leftovers can really save you some money.  Pack leftovers into reheatable containers and take them with you to work for lunch.  I rarely have to purchase lunch because I plan on taking leftovers most days of the week.  This saves our family about $20 each week not to mention that those leftovers are no longer getting tossed in the trash.

5. Make the most of expensive key ingredients like meat.

If you are willing to eat Ramen Noodles every night you could certainly make a serious dent in your food budget. I myself have never been a fan of Ramen so one way I cut my food budget is to make the most of the meat we purchase.

Whether it is chicken, fish, or expensive cuts like Prime Rib I try to make the meat do double (or even triple) duty in the kitchen. A beer can chicken becomes chicken enchiladas or chicken and dumplings later in the week. Leftovers from a hearty pork roast become Asian lettuce wraps or BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. A large piece of salmon makes a great meal on its own and then resurfaces (HAHA! Do you see what I did there?) later in the week as salmon cakes or salmon burgers. And while we typically only eat Prime Rib once or twice a year during the holidays we stretch this meat too. The tender and flavorful leftovers make amazing fajitas and hearty cheesesteak sandwiches.

Another way to save money on meat is to buy it in larger quantities. Meat is typically cheaper by the pound when you purchase the larger “family packs”. Additionally, if you check your store frequently you will find that most meat counters will slash prices on the day when new meat shipments come in. The meat will still be several days away from its expiration date but likely several dollars cheaper. Bring it home to cook that night or portion it out and stick it in the freezer where it will keep for six months or more.

6. Eat out occasionally.

Eating out may not sound like something that will help slash your food budget but hear me out. I am the SOLE cook in my house. My husband has no interest in learning to cook so the burden of the meal planning and execution falls entirely on me. What that means is that there are nights when I am sick to death of cooking. There are nights when I just need a break. Eating out on occasion keeps me sane and also helps to give me ideas for future meal plans.

But the real bonus is that sometimes eating out can actually be less expensive than eating at home; if you plan well.
There are certain meals that I love and could make at home but once I factor in any special ingredients, the time involved in making the dish and possibly the fact that no one else in my house likes the meal, it becomes obvious that it is more sensible just to eat this meal out.

It is also possible to save a lot of money at restaurants by following them on social media or signing up for email newsletters. Chili’s sends me coupons for free desserts and free appetizers almost weekly. Chick-fil-a sends me text message deals which often include free nuggets and free milkshakes. IHOP and Jason’s Deli send me coupons for a free meal on my birthday. I even won a gift card to a local restaurant just by participating in a social media giveaway they were offering!

7. Invite friends over.

Entertaining can be a lot of fun and Does NOT have to be expensive. Sure it’s fun to invite all your friends over and cook them a 4-star meal but that is also not practical all the time. Entertaining can be fun and exciting AND cost effective if you let everyone chip in. Here are a few ideas:

Finger Foods and Games
Invite several couples (or families) over for an evening of card games or board games. Each family brings a finger food that will feed their family plus a few extra. All you provide is a single finger food and some plate, silverware and napkins. You could serve a simple drink or ask everyone to bring their own. Set the food up buffet style and dig in. Everyone gets a selection of food and only had to do the work for a single item.

Casserole and Sides
I LOVE lasagne but it is also very expensive to make and even if I divide the recipe and freeze half it is always more than my husband and I can eat. Solution: make the lasagne as planned and invite over a couple or two asking them to provide a side salad and bread. You get a delicious meal with good friends, everyone pitched in and you don’t have to fret over money wasted on food not eaten.

Progressive Dinner Party
This is a fun event if you live in a neighborhood but works well even if you are a little more spread out. Each family is responsible for one part of the meal from the appetizer to dessert. Families meet at the first house and all enjoy the appetizer together. Travel to the next house for a salad then on to the main course and so on. You get an evening of great food and the party keeps moving which adds interest to the conversation.

Food can be expensive and we all have to eat. Which tip listed above will you use to help save money in the kitchen? Do you have any tips that I failed to mention? We’d love to have you leave a comment.

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