Cooking On A Budget

Friday, October 9, 2015

Tater Tot Casserole

I am extremely happy to have been asked to be part of Freaky Friday in October where a group of mega-talented bloggers come together to make and showcase recipes from each others blog. What a great way to get some new recipes for you and your family.
 A complete meal with meat, taters and vegetables and it's ready in a flash!

At the end of the blog post you'll see everyone's recipes and you can click the link to visit and pin!

The blog and blogger I was assigned is Michaela Martin Kenkel from An Affair From The Heart. I have known this stay at home mother of four for over four years and have enjoyed following her blog. Wife, mother and dog lover Michaela strives to put great food on the table and enjoy the family hour - all around a dinner table. I chose this Tater Tot Casserole because it is in essence what I blog about here at cooking on a budget. Straight forward, simple and easy on the budget. I have my eye on a few other recipes from her blog that I'd love to make. Salisbury Steak & Mushrooms is one that I have wanted to make for quite some time. It's easy to make and so delicious! And for sure I'd love to try Cream of Mushroom soup - I adore soups!

Since I could not pass up the on sale price of fresh mushrooms I substituted fresh in the recipe. Also I used ground chuck as it was less expensive for our budget and we are getting 3 meals (plus the left-overs) out of the family pack I purchased. And because we love cheese, a little bit sprinkled on top of the tots. You are definitely going to want to add this into your weeknight dinner rotations!

Let's get started on this easy and delicious recipe:
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 - 3 oz. can mushrooms drained
  • 2 - 10.5 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 - 14.5 oz. cans green beans, drained
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 - 32 oz. package frozen tater tots
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Brown ground beef with shallots, drain any excess grease, set aside. 
  3. Place ground beef in the bottom of the pan, top with mushrooms, then green beans, then spread cream of mushroom over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with frozen tater tots.
  4. Baked for 45 minutes, uncovered, cut and serve.

How easy is that? That's why this is such a great weeknight meal for families. The prep time was about 10 minutes and with cook time at 45 minutes, in about an hour dinner is served!

And I must talk about how this tastes. It reminds me of a dish my mother made and I have made and one that my daughter loves. It's ground beef, cream of mushroom soup and served over mashed potatoes with frenched green beans. When I took a bite of all the ingredients on one forkful I was so reminded of my mother's dish.

What an explosion of flavor from all of the ingredients in the dish - from the crunchy tater tots down to the earthy mushrooms and beef underneath. All of the ingredients blend together beautifully and taste so good. This recipe is definitely a keeper in our household now and I have Michaela to thank for that.

This Tater Tot Casserole is a complete meal which cost me $15.88. I think it will serve 6-8 people. For six it's $2.64 per portion and for eight it's $1.98 per portion.

If you want to pin this recipe:

And here is a list of all who participated in Freaky Friday:

A Dish Of Daily Life || A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures || An Affair from the Heart || Aunt Bee’s Recipes || Belle of the Kitchen || Cooking on a Budget || Full Belly Sisters || Honey and Birch || LeMoine Family Kitchen || Pic-Nic || The Flavor Bender || The Foodie Affair || The Magical Slow Cooker || Who Needs A Cape || Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mom's Chicken Salad

The humble and ordinary chicken salad mom made gets lifted up by the bread it's served on.

You all know how to make a basic chicken salad I am sure, that's just homemaking 101. This gives me the opportunity to speak with you all about "waste not, want not." Plus, this sandwich seemed not so basic and tasted so much better because of the bread it was served on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Apple Strudel

Pink Lady and Yellow Transparent apples from Kauffman's Fruit & Farm Market led me to thoughts of making strudel.

Disclosure: I am partnering with Kauffman’s Fruit Farm as a blog ambassador. I have received these Kauffman’s Fruit Farm products for free; however, all opinions remain my own.

I searched the one cookbook I felt would lead me to the most traditional strudel recipe. The cookbook I purchased many years ago is called "Good Old Food". It was late in the evening when I remembered I had this cookbook. The recipe was indeed in there with the recipe for the dough. Let me tell you they were talking about how to make the dough and how to stretch it and it was all Greek to me. Then the recipe for the strudel follow and I was so relieved ~ phyllo dough! Okay, there's a market brand of frozen phyllo pastry that won't leave me in a heap crying in the kitchen because my homemade dough isn't thin enough.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Apple and Cider Donut Shortcakes

Sauteed spiced apples atop apple cider donuts with a nice dollop of whipped cream ~ fall is in the air.

My husband had a request for me to make apple pie or pumpkin pie this weekend, so I took out one of the Freezer Apple Pies I made a while back. What a life saver that was to have on hand. I took it out in the morning and by evening it was thawed and ready to be warmed up a bit in the oven. Just delicious! But for me I wanted something a little different ~ out of the everyday as I like to say. Spotting apple cider donuts on sale in our grocery store's flyer was the spark for this easy and simple dessert.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pork, Peppers & Onions Over Rice

A left-over make-over meal that speaks volumes to being frugal and resourceful.

An idea struck me today as I stared down that pork roast sitting in the refrigerator. Quite frankly I've always been baffled by what to make with left over pork roast. I've tried the potato hash thing and really we did not care for it very much, but this dish (Pork, Peppers & Onions Over Rice) so very similar to my Beef, Peppers and Onions will be my go to recipe for left over pork roast from here on out.

When you allow the peppers and onions to simmer in the pork gravy, the gravy takes on those flavors and it is really, really delicious. I still had peppers from our garden and they were a mixed color of green and orange. For this recipe just use the least expensive green bell pepper and it will be just as good, or if you prefer mix green and orange bell peppers.

  • 3-4 cups pork (left over) - cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup homemade pork gravy (or buy a jar)
  • 2 peppers - large dice
  • 1 large onion - large dice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken broth or water (to reconstitute gravy if necessary)
  1. Place a large skillet over medium low heat and melt the butter. To the skillet add in the onions and peppers. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Stir and saute for about 5-6 minutes until they soften up and start to release their juices. 
  2. When that is done, turn the heat down to low. Add in your gravy and if it is thick add a 1/2 cup or so of broth or water to reconstitute it. Stir to make it smooth and simmer on low covered for about 15 minutes for the flavors to meld together.
  3. While that's happening, if you are serving over rice begin your rice. Rice generally takes 18-20 minutes to cook.
  4. When the rice is almost done, add the cubed pork to the peppers and onion mixture. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes to warm up the pork.

While this was cooking I stepped outside and my neighbor asked me what I was cooking. He said, "whatever you're cooking smells terrific." Then my husband came in, tasted the sauce from the pan and was hoping I would serve it for lunch - he can't wait to eat it. I must say for a left-over make-over meal this is pretty darn tasty and I invite you to try it.

Simple, easy and from start to finish takes less than an hour.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Garlic Go-Go Bread

Another restaurant-quality dish I made in my own home and you can too. The ever delicious and exquisite Garlic Go-Go Bread.

 This amazing garlic bread is served at Michael Jordan's Sports Bar Cafe and I re-created it at home. If you've ever wondered about the recipe and how to make it, look no further. I've nailed it and it's as good as what is served in the cafe.

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