Sweet & Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

sweet-and-spicy-oven-roasted-chickpeas

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, your weekly recipe from scratch around grocery store matchups! This week I picked up a 7 oz bag of garam masala for $1.79 at Pete’s Fresh Market. When you’re shopping for ethnic spices, you’ll often find a much better deal when you look outside the regular aisle with McCormick, etc., and I found mine alongside their other Indian foods. I paired my new spices with a can of Ziyad chickpeas that ran me about $.59 at Pete’s at one point, but you can also pick up chickpeas cheap at Jewel (Essential Everyday are on price cut for $.79 as of the date on this post, and you can print $1.00/3 here), or Goya garbanzos run under $1.00 every day at Ultra Foods and you can use the $1.00/6 coupon here. Anywhere you choose to buy yours, this will be an affordable and easy gluten free dairy free snack.

Sweet & Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

roasted-chickpeas-ingredients

Ingredients

One can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp brown sugar

Directions

skin-slides-off

Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pat as dry as possible between paper towels. A number of the skins will slide off, so just discard those. In separate bowl, mix olive oil, spices, and brown sugar. Add chickpeas and toss until well coated.

on-cookie-sheet

Spread spiced chickpeas in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, then turn off heat and leave in oven another 10-15 minutes so that they get crispier. Be sure to check them at 25 minutes so that they don’t get a little overdone like mine did, lol! (Although they were still darn tasty…)

Mix it up

roasted-chickpeas

These addictive little crunchy nuggets came out nicely sweet & spicy, with an underlying nuttiness from the roasted chickpeas. If you’re not a garam masala fan, though, spice them up any way you’d like — try chili powder and garlic salt, or if you’re not dairy free perhaps try Parmesan and garlic powder… whatever works for your family’s tastes. When my family tasted these, the kids and I devoured the whole batch within 15 minutes. I think I’ll double the recipe next time!

Easy Print Version

Sweet & Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas
 
Author:
Recipe type: snack
Ingredients
  • One can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pat as dry as possible between paper towels. A number of the skins will slide off, so just discard those.
  2. In separate bowl, mix olive oil, spices, and brown sugar.
  3. Add chickpeas and toss until well coated.
  4. Spread spiced chickpeas in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a
  5. silicone baking mat.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, then turn off heat and leave in oven another 10-15 minutes so that they get crispier.
  7. Be sure to check them at 25 minutes so that they don't get a little overdone like mine did, lol! (Although they were still darn tasty...)

Easy Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

easy-three-ingredient-slow-cooker-salsa-chicken

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, your one stop shopping for weekly recipes from scratch around grocery store matchups! This week Jewel has boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb (Butcher Block only), Pete’s is at $1.99/lb, and Valli has boneless skinless thighs at $1.79/lb, so we’re revisiting an oldie but goodie: Super easy Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken. This one is my go-to for busy evenings, since it takes just two minutes to throw everything in the Crock Pot and forget it in the morning — and everyone here looooves it.

chicken-thighs

For this recipe you’ll want either boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs. It’s juicier with thighs, but they’re harder to find on sale, so watch clearance. My pack here was from Target clearance (regularly $5.99 for 1.75 lbs, minus $2.00 clearance sticker, minus $1.50/1 coupon = $2.49, or $1.42 a pound). Especially if you’re near a Super Target, always check the meat clearance and carry Gold ‘n Plump coupons with you, because you’ll often find a deal. As far as salsa, I used about 2/3 of a larger leftover jar of salsa verde from the Dominick’s clearance sales, but you can print this Chi-Chi’s coupon to get 16 oz jars for $1.04 if you’re headed to Super Target, $.50 at Jewel ($1.50 on sale this week!) or wait for Red Gold to go $.99 at Centrella stores again. Always pick up your tortillas at ALDI, where El Milagro corn are $.33 and flour $.89 every day. We get at least two dinners out of this recipe for our family of four.

Easy Three Ingredient Salsa Chicken

salsa-chicken-ingredients

Ingredients

1.5-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
One packet taco seasoning
One 16 oz jar salsa — verde or otherwise

Directions

pour-salsa-on-chicken

Place chicken in crockpot. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Pour salsa over everything. Cook on low for 7-10 hours, shred, and serve with your favorite taco fixings.

How much easier can you get?

salsa-chicken-burrito

The other nice thing about Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken is that this basic recipe is infinitely adaptable. Want it spicier? Use hot salsa and taco seasoning when cooking, or add jalapeño slices and hot sauce when assembling. Want it milder? Just use mild salsa. Gluten free? Use corn tortillas rather than flour. Dairy free? Skip the cheese and sour cream when assembling your tacos. Low carb? Serve yours on a low carb wrap or lettuce wrap. Want to stretch your chicken further, or sneak in some extra nutrition? Add a can of black beans and a can of corn to the Crock Pot before cooking. Hate tortillas? Serve over rice or on a taco salad.

salsa-chicken-burrito-2

Play with the basic recipe and fixings to suit your own family’s tastes and dietary needs, and enjoy a super easy weeknight meal that should please everyone in the house — it surely does here!

Easy Print Version

Easy Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Ingredients
  • 1.5-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • One packet taco seasoning
  • One 16 oz jar salsa -- verde or otherwise
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.
  3. Pour salsa over everything.
  4. Cook on low for 7-10 hours, shred, and serve with your favorite taco fixings.

Apple Pancakes

pancakes cover

Welcome to Frugal Homemade! This week, I am going to share one of my favorite frugal ways to make a breakfast staple more interesting. Apples cut in to rings add a nice sweetness to your pancakes and look cute too. I love to make these for guests during this time of year because they look impressive and people really appreciate knowing that we are using fruit from somewhere not terribly far away. But they are also easy enough that I am happy to just make them for the family’s weekend breakfast as well.

We are right in the middle of apple season and apples of all kinds are plentiful and cheap. Berries are a popular and tasty pancake addition but they aren’t always cheap or reliably tasty. You can almost always find a decent and reasonably priced apple and they last a while in the fridge, so even when it isn’t peak apple season they are fruits we often have on hand.

This week, apples are on sale all over the place! Caputo’s has all Michigan apples $.39/lb, Pete’s has Honeycrisp for $.99/lb and Johnathan for $.29/lb, Ultra has 3 lb bags of a few types for $1.88, Meijer and Hy-Vee have some for $.68/lb, Strack’s has a bunch for $.69/lb, and Jewel has $1.29/lb Honeycrisp. And no matter where you buy them, Checkout 51 has $.25 cash back on apples.

Add to your existing pancake routine

You can do this no matter how you typically make pancakes, whether it be from scratch, from a box, from a jug or can, gluten-free, etc. And you can use any type of apple you have!

pancake stuff

I am using a Golden Delicious simply because that is what I have, but really anything will work. A more tart apple would be great since you are cooking it, which will make it sweeter, and in all likelihood, syrup will be added.

I use Alton Brown’s “Instant” Pancake Mix. As a side note, I rarely have buttermilk on hand, so use lemon juice and milk for a substitution. For each cup of buttermilk you need, just put a tablespoon of lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and whisking, slowly add milk to reach a cup.

Then, however you are doing it, mix up your batter.

prep apple

Peel and core your apple, then slice it about 1/8″ thick. I usually don’t use the top and bottom slice, so this medium sized apple gave me ten slices, which was perfect for the three of us.

Heat your skillet or griddle. When it is hot, rub some butter on it, then wipe it so there is only a thin coating. This is something I learned from the Alton Brown recipe and it really does work to make them brown but stay light and fluffy.

rings in pan

To the hot pan, add the apple rings.

pour batter

Over each ring, carefully pour batter to cover the ring. Just like any pancake, flip them when they start to bubble all over, then remove and keep warm when cooked through.

These can also be frozen and reheated in the toaster or toaster oven for quick weekday breakfasts.

What are YOUR favorite things to do with apples?


frugalhomemade-logo

Be sure to check back each week for something new! I will be bringing you how-tos, advice, and articles on everything pertaining to easy frugal living: From DIY, to recipes, to practical tips and tricks. To help balance out the couponing and deal chasing we do a lot of here, I’ll talk about easy ways to incorporate frugality into everyday life and to do more from scratch.

Apple Pancakes
 
Author:
Serves: 8-12 pancakes
Ingredients
  • Apple
  • Pancake mix (about 2 cups prepared)
  • Butter
Instructions
  1. Peel and core the apple.
  2. Slice apple into ten about ⅛" slices.
  3. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  4. Butter the hot griddle, then wipe away excess butter.
  5. Place apple rings in hot pan.
  6. Pour batter to cover each apple ring.
  7. When bubbling all over, flip the pancakes and cook until completely set

 

Easy Smoky Chili

easy-smoky-chili-recipe

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, your go-to source for weekly recipes from scratch around grocery store matchups! This week canned tomatoes and beans are a great deal at Jewel, where you can use coupons to pick up Essential Everyday canned beans for $.46 each, EE canned tomatoes for $.36 each, and Hunt’s canned tomatoes for $.67 each.

smoky-chili-cans

Although I did buy both tomatoes and beans at Jewel this week, I actually used up some older cans I had in my pantry and replenished my stockpile with the new ones. Look: Safeway beans! I only have a couple of cans left from Dominick’s now, sniff.

clearance-ground-beef-target

As far as saving on ground beef, my best advice anymore is to watch for clearance: I bought 12 lbs of these 85/20 chubs last month at Target at $1.16/lb, minus $1.00/$5 mobile coupon + REDcard discount = $1.02 a pound. You could also use one pound of meat instead of two and fill in with extra beans in this recipe, because chili is forgiving and flexible, and some things are a matter of taste. (This recipe also feeds a family of four for two nights or more, so keep that in mind when figuring out costs.)

Easy Smoky Chili

smoky-chili-ingredients

Ingredients

3 medium jalapeño peppers
2 small cayenne peppers
2.5 Tbsp minced garlic
2 medium or 3 small yellow onions
2 lbs ground beef
6 oz tomato paste
2 14.5 oz canned diced fire roasted tomatoes (or one 28 oz can crushed, or one batch homemade fire roasted tomatoes)
1 can kidney beans
2 cans black beans
4 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 4 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
3 Tbsp chili powder
3/4 Tbsp cocoa powder
crushed red pepper, to taste
2 cans water (or one can if using 28 oz)
olive oil (for sauteing)

Directions

chopped-peppers

Brown ground beef in Dutch Oven over medium heat and drain well. Meanwhile, finely chop peppers and coarsely chop onion. (I like to hand chop the onions, but chop the peppers very small in the food chopper so that the flavor permeates the whole batch of chili but no one gets a randomly large chunk of too-spicy pepper in their bowl.) Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil in separate large pan until soft.

chopped-spices

While your ground beef and veggies are cooking, chop your herbs if using fresh. The amount of seasoning in a big batch of chili is largely a matter of taste, and often I don’t even measure, but just add and sample until the chili tastes great. You’ll want about a two-to-one ratio of oregano to basil, however, regardless of whether you’re using fresh or dried, and don’t skimp on the seasonings — you have a big old pot of chili to flavor here, so spice it on up!

add-spices

Add onion/pepper mixture, spices, cocoa powder, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water to browned ground beef and mix well. Simmer over low heat at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

big-pot-of-chili

After chili has simmered for an hour or more, drain and add beans. Stir, increase heat to medium low, and simmer another 15 minutes or so until beans are heated through.

bowl-of-smoky-chili-2

Serve topped with shredded cheese (unless you’re dairy free like Junior High Guy), sliced pickled jalapeños, sour cream, crumbled crackers, corn chips, or your own favorite chili fixings. Since low carb MashupDad was out of town last week, the kids and I carbed it up with chili and garlic toast the first night, and chili over baked potatoes the second night — and still had some left over.

SO good for a cool fall day

This is one of those easy warm comfort food recipes, and smells great simmering on the stove all afternoon. The peppers give it an underlying burn, but the cocoa powder mellows that out and combines with the fire roasted tomatoes for a smoky complement to the chili spice.

Easy print version

Easy Smoky Chili
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Ingredients
  • 3 medium jalapeño peppers
  • 2 small cayenne peppers
  • 2.5 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 medium or 3 small yellow onions
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 14.5 oz canned diced fire roasted tomatoes (or one 28 oz can crushed, or one batch
  • homemade fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 4 tsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • ¾ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans water (or one can if using 28 oz)
  • olive oil (for sauteing)
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef in Dutch Oven over medium heat and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop peppers and coarsely chop onion. (I like to hand chop the onions, but chop the peppers very small in the food chopper so that the flavor permeates the whole batch of chili but no one gets a randomly large chunk of too-spicy pepper in their bowl.)
  3. Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil in separate large pan until soft.
  4. While your ground beef and veggies are cooking, chop your herbs if using fresh.
  5. Add onion/pepper mixture, spices, cocoa powder, tomatoes, tomato paste, and water to browned ground beef and mix well.
  6. Simmer over low heat at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. After chili has simmered for an hour or more, drain and add beans.
  8. Stir, increase heat to medium low, and simmer another 15 minutes or so until beans are heated through.
  9. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sliced pickled jalapeños, sour cream, crumbled crackers, corn chips, or your own favorite chili fixings.

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapenos

easy-refrigerator-pickled-jalapenos

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, your home for weekly recipes from scratch around grocery store matchups — or garden bounty! In October we’re really winding down the growing season here in Chicagoland, but I’m still picking pecks of pickled peppers… more accurately, my garden is still producing both jalapeños and cayenne. Just two jalapeño plants do our family nicely: I have several bags in the freezer for use in recipes over the winter, and garden jalapeño peppers have come in handy all summer for chili and salsa and roasted chile-lime chicken and jalapeño poppers and marinara sauce and more. Cayenne is also fantastic, if more sparingly, in chili, and this year I used some homegrown cayenne peppers to make my own crushed red pepper (filled another empty McCormick bottle this week) and copycat chili garlic sauce.

peppers

So let’s take the next logical step with Easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapeños — another easy and flavor packed way to preserve these for later use. Note that I am not canning these and they are not shelf-stable; if you make a batch yourself, be sure to keep them refrigerated. These I actually made a little over a month ago, but I’m planning to do up another batch this week.

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapeños

packed-in-jar

Ingredients

About 16 medium jalapeño peppers
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
3 whole garlic cloves

Directions

Wash peppers, cut off stems, and slice into coins. Peel garlic cloves and add garlic and jalepeño slices to a one quart mason jar. Meanwhile, in small pot heat water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir, then pour over peppers.

pickled-peppers

Seal jar and refrigerate at least a week before opening and tasting, shaking gently once in a while. Your pickled peppers will get darker and a bit softer, but still stay nice and spicy for garnishing tacos and more.

Here’s how they look now

peppers-weeks-later

And here’s what’s left several weeks later, after we’ve eaten some and they’ve pickled about as much as they’re going to. See? Easy, peasy, pepper squeezy.

Easy print version

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapenos
 
Author:
Recipe type: condiment
Ingredients
  • About 16 medium jalapeño peppers
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
Instructions
  1. Wash peppers, cut off stems, and slice into coins.
  2. Peel garlic cloves and add garlic and jalepeño slices to a one quart mason jar.
  3. Meanwhile, in small pot heat water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer, stir, then pour over peppers.
  5. Seal jar and refrigerate at least a week before opening and tasting, shaking gently once in a while.
  6. Your pickled peppers will get darker and a bit softer, but still stay nice and spicy for garnishing tacos and more.

One Pot Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

one-pot-gluten-free-chicken-noodle-soup

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, where we create weekly recipes from scratch around grocery store matchups. This week’s One Pot Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup recipe takes advantage of the cheap ($.69/lb!) chicken leg quarters at Pete’s Fresh Market through Tuesday, but bone-in chicken legs, quarters, and thighs go on sale almost every week at Pete’s, Valli, and the other smaller produce chains in the Chicago area. Not in Chicago? Always check the produce markets for cheap chicken parts, because you’ll generally get them at a much better price than at your large local grocery store. For soup you’re going to want to use the bone-in fattier dark meat for the most flavor anyway, so a perfect use for the chicken leg quarters on sale.

petes-market-cheap-veggies

Pete’s (or your own local market) is also probably where you’d want to pick up the veggies for your soup: 2 lbs carrots for $.99, celery for $.89, and 3 lbs onions for $.99. Since you’re only using part of each pack, you’ll also have plenty of carrots, celery, and onions left for other recipes.

gluten-free-pasta

If you’re using gluten free pasta, Pete’s is generally not going to be the way to go, however. Pasta is one of those things you should always add to your stockpile when it’s cheap so that you can shop your pantry for recipes, and for my Gluten Free Chicken Soup recipe today I used this Ronzoni gluten free rotini I’d picked up a while ago for $.50 after coupon. It’s currently $1.89 at Ultra, and you can use the $1.00/1 coupon here to get it for $.89 if you don’t have any in your stockpile. (If you’re not gluten free, egg noodles — or, ooh, matzoh balls! — would be awesome in this soup, and I’m keeping an eye out for sales on GF.)

petes-cheap-chicken

You’ll want about three pounds of chicken legs and thighs for this recipe, and 3.44 lbs at Pete’s cost me $2.37 the other day. Using Pete’s prices for everything but the pasta here, that’s about $3.00 in chicken and veggies, plus half a box of gluten free noodles and various spices to make for an under-$4.00 recipe… when you stalk the sales. I based this on a recipe in the October 2014 Better Homes & Gardens, but changed up the spices and made it gluten free.

One Pot Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

chopped-veggies-2

Ingredients

3 lbs chicken legs and/or thighs (I used leg quarters)
2 small onions, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
6 oz gluten free rotini
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 tsp fresh thyme (or 1.5 tsp dried)
sea salt
pepper
olive oil

Directions

browned-chicken

Trim your chicken pieces, sprinkle with sea salt, then brown skin side down in olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes. Flip over and add celery, onions, carrots, garlic. Add 8 cups of water, then add bay leaves, parsley, turmeric, thyme, and pepper (to taste), and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Remove chicken pieces with tongs and shred, discarding bones and skin. Taste soup and add salt to taste, then add chicken meat back in.

gluten-free-chicken-noodle-soup-4

Bring to a boil, add noodles, and cook another 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are done but not mushy. Turn off heat and serve.

I love soup on a fall day…

gluten-free-chicken-noodle-soup

OK, technically it’s not quite fall, but give me this one: Chicken soup when you have the sniffles, chicken soup when the leaves start to fall, chicken soup to cure what ails ya — and make your house smell great in the process. While this is a faster soup you don’t need to simmer all afternoon, you still get that deep chicken flavor when you brown your chicken in the same pot you use to cook your soup.

Note that gluten free pasta is really thirsty stuff, so you don’t want to use more than about 6 oz uncooked because it will soak up all your broth and leave you with a pot full of chicken-flavored noodles. A more robust shape like rotini will hold up better, too. Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup will be best the first day, and serves four to six people — Mr. 7 alone ate two and a half bowls tonight!

Easy print version

One Pot Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs chicken legs and/or thighs (I used leg quarters)
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 6 oz gluten free rotini
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme (or 1.5 tsp dried)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Trim your chicken pieces, sprinkle with sea salt, then brown skin side down in olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes.
  2. Flip over and add celery, onions, carrots, garlic.
  3. Add 8 cups of water, then add bay leaves, parsley, turmeric, thyme, and pepper (to taste), and stir.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken pieces with tongs and shred, discarding bones and skin.
  6. Taste soup and add salt to taste, then add chicken meat back in.
  7. Bring to a boil, add noodles, and cook another 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are done but not mushy.
  8. Turn off heat and serve.

Crunchy Homemade Fish Tenders, way better than frozen fish sticks!

fish tenders

Welcome to Frugal Homemade! This week, I am sharing my favorite low-guilt “kid dinner.” I made these last night along with roasted carrots, and my four-year-old could not have been happier. Plus, I enjoyed them as well and was able to freeze a few servings for future meals with babysitters, etc.

Tender fish + crunchy coating, always a hit

ingredients

This is a great kid-friendly dish that can be made ahead and frozen for those times when you need to feed a kid quickly and separately and don’t want to serve overly processed junk. It might seem less frugal than buying a box of frozen breaded fish, but you are getting way more bang for your buck in the amount of quality fish in each serving. Plus it tastes way better, so you can feed it to your whole family!

Cod is great for this because it is nice and firm, very low in fat (helps balance out the frying aspect), and has a mild taste. It is generally wild-caught and either domestic or Canadian, which is nice. And, best of all it goes on sale often! This week, Caputo’s has it for $5.69/lb and it is $6.99/lb at Jewel and Tony’s.

You can also use sole, haddock, halibut, or any other fairly firm white fish.

I like to make my own tartar sauce, based on Emeril’s here, but they are also great with my a semi-homemade version (mayo, sweet relish, lemon juice, white pepper, salt, all to taste). Or I am sure your favorite bottle of tartar sauce would also be just fine if you have some on hand (I never do)!

Prep your assembly line

assembly line

Cut your fish into sticks that are about 3 inches long and ¾ inch square. I am using 2 lbs here so I can have plenty leftover for future quick meals. It doesn’t have to be totally uniform, and it won’t be possible since the width of the fillet varies. But no worries, it will work fine. Season the fish strips with salt and pepper.

Set out three additional bowls. In one, add a cup of flour and 2-3 teaspoons of seasoning. I am using Ruth Ann’s Muskego Avenue seasoning from Penzey’s, mainly because I got is as a freebie and it sounded good, but I wasn’t sure what else to do with it. The blend has salt, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel, and onion. It worked out great for this, but you can use Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, or any other blend or custom spice mixture you like. In the second bowl, lightly beat three eggs. In the last bowl, add about 2 cups of panko.

And now the fun part!

it begins

And now begins the painstaking process of dredging each piece of fish in the seasoned flour, dipping in egg, and coating with panko. This is tedious, I am not going to lie. But if you try to keep one hand dry and use it only for helping the the panko stick to the fish, it will help you avoid turning your hand in to a huge mitt of wet flour and breadcrumbs. Place the prepared strips on a baking sheet.

ready to fry

Being done with that part is a great feeling!

Fry them up

Heat ¼ inch of canola oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add the breaded fish in a single layer, without overcrowding.

frying second side

After about two minutes, the bottom will be golden brown, so flip them all and fry for another two minutes to brown the other side.

drain on paper

Remove the fish to a baking sheet lined with paper to drain. Brown paper is better than paper towels because it lets the oil drain without being too absorbent so as to make the breading soggy. But if you don’t have a clean brown paper bag lying around, use paper towels (stiffer, cheaper ones are better than something like Viva for this), but just don’t let them sit on there too long. Repeat with the rest of the fish. I had to do three or four batches in my 12″ skillet for my two pounds of fish.

leftovers

Let the leftovers cool completely and freeze in a plastic bag for easy access. To reheat, bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.


frugalhomemade-logo

Be sure to check back each week for something new! I will be bringing you how-tos, advice, and articles on everything pertaining to easy frugal living: From DIY, to recipes, to practical tips and tricks. To help balance out the couponing and deal chasing we do a lot of here, I’ll talk about easy ways to incorporate frugality into everyday life and to do more from scratch.

Crunchy Homemade Fish Tenders
 
Way better than frozen fish sticks!
Author:
Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs cod or other firm white fish fillets
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2-3 teaspoons seafood-friendly seasoning blend or seasoning of your choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Cut your fish into sticks that are roughly 3 inches long and ¾ inch square.
  2. Season the fish strips with salt and pepper.
  3. In each of three bowls add: a cup of flour and your seasoning of choice; three eggs, lightly beaten; 2 cups of panko.
  4. Dredge each piece of fish in the seasoned flour, dip in egg, and coat with panko. Place breaded fish on a baking sheet.
  5. Heat ¼ inch of canola oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. When the oil is nice and hot, add the breaded fish in a single layer, without overcrowding. Cook for two minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Flip the fish pieces and fry for another two minutes on the other side.
  8. Remove the fish to a paper-lined baking sheet to drain.
  9. Serve with tartar sauce.
  10. To reheat from frozen, bake in a 400° oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.

 

Honeycrisp apples on sale everywhere — Make EASY apple chips!

applechipsoutside

Honeycrisp apples are on sale all over town this week when the new ads flip tomorrow and Thursday, so let’s flash back to this super easy recipe for Two Ingredient Baked Apple Chips. So good!

Honeycrisp apple sales include…

  • $1.28/lb at Ultra Foods starts 9/24.
  • $.99/lb at Pete’s Fresh Market starts 9/24.
  • $.97/lb at Valli Produce starts 9/24.
  • $2.49/lb (!) at Meijer starts 9/25.
  • $1.99/lb at Mariano’s going on now.
  • $1.47/lb at Fresh Thyme starts 9/24.

See another honeycrisp sale in an ad I don’t have on hand? Comment here, or let me know how your apple chips turn out!

Pinterest Fail Dairy Free Yogurt Frozen Dippin’ Dots

pinterest-fail-dairy-free-yogurt-frozen-dippin-dots

Welcome back to Sunday Scratchups, or weekly recipes from scratch around grocery store matchups. This week So Delicious dairy free yogurt was on sale at Whole Foods, with a coupon to make it free. How rare is that? And deserving of a celebratory recipe, for sure. I decided to make Dairy Free Frozen Yogurt Dippin’ Dots today, since (although I don’t remember where I first saw it) this idea has been following me around Pinterest, Facebook, and magazines for months now, and I’ve been meaning to give it a try.

frozen-yogurt-dipping-dots-2

Well, here’s how mine turned out. It worked… but, they’re not quite as cute as I envisioned. Here are three things you can learn from my Pinterest Fail:

  1. Cut the piping hole in your plastic bag smaller to make much smaller dots.
  2. Don’t ever use chocolate yogurt if you’re planning to take pictures of it being piped onto anything.
  3. Kids don’t care what it looks like, as long as it is chocolate, frozen, and sweet!

You can do this with regular yogurt, too, but this made an easy dairy free dessert for Junior High Guy — and that’s huge. As are my dippin’ dots. ;)

Pinterest Fail Dairy Free Frozen Yogurt Dippin’ Dots

gather-your-supplies

Ingredients

One 6 oz cup of dairy free yogurt

Directions

squeeze-yogurt-dots-2

Fill a small plastic zip-top bag with the yogurt and seal. Snip a bit off the bottom corner, then pipe yogurt in smaller dots than shown here onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until solid, about an hour and a half for small dots, 3-4 hours for bigger pieces. Remove from cookie sheet and enjoy!

… And, he did

frozen-yogurt-dipping-dots-3

The above is tongue in cheek, horrible photos and all, but I think sometimes we do get so caught up in making recipes pretty and keeping up with what we see on Pinterest and in magazines that we forget that the whole point here is to make good food for the people that we care about. It’s also OK to experiment and have fun and enjoy eating the broken bits and the burnt edges and the lopsided inexpertly frosted cake (says the person who can’t frost a cake to save her life, lol). Yeah, we do eat with our eyes, I’m as susceptible to a gorgeous food photo as anyone, and it can be fun sometimes to pretty things up, too — but in the eyes of a junior high boy: Big Chunks of Frozen Chocolate Goodness = Awesome, and that’s what counts.

Easy print version

Pinterest Fail Dairy Free Frozen Yogurt Dippin' Dots
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Ingredients
  • One 6 oz cup of dairy free yogurt
Instructions
  1. Fill a small plastic zip-top bag with the yogurt and seal.
  2. Snip a bit off the bottom corner, then pipe yogurt in smaller dots than shown here onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  3. Freeze until solid, about an hour and a half for small dots, 3-4 hours for bigger pieces.
  4. Remove from cookie sheet and enjoy!

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

homemade-crushed-red-pepper-flakes

And for today’s Sunday Scratchups trick… here’s why crushed red pepper is one of the cheapest spices to buy at the store, because here’s how ridiculously easy it is to make, and peppers are ridiculously easy to grow! So I’m not the best at gardening, but every year I grow at least two different kinds of hot peppers: They’re prolific, they’re hard to wreck, and we use a lot of them. This year it’s one cayenne plant and two jalapeño plants, and since I’ve already filled a little jar to the brim making Copycat Chili Garlic Sauce with the cayenne, I decided to turn my hand to Homemade Crushed Red Pepper.

homemade-crushed-red-pepper

Just eleven ripe cayenne peppers filled about 1/4 of this empty spice bottle. (Yes, I washed it out thoroughly first — but reduce, reuse, recycle, and take advantage of the built-in handy shaker top!) Why eleven? That’s how many were red on the day I picked them and did this, although I’ll be filling up the rest of the bottle with the next batch.

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

peppers-growing-in-garden

Ingredients

Ripe red cayenne peppers

Directions

these-peppers-go-to-11

Dry your whole peppers — I did mine for 10 hours in my very cheap ALDI food dehydrator, but you could also dry them in the oven on foil lined cookie sheets at about 160 degrees for 8-10 hours.

peppers-in-food-chopper

Once your peppers are nice and dry, throw them in a food chopper or food processor. I cut mine in half to fit my little food chopper, which I then proceeded to drop on the floor and break right after making this batch of crushed red pepper.

ninja-chopper

But that’s OK, because I then replaced it with my shiny new Ninja Express Chop food chopper, which is awesome, and has double blades, and will make wicked good crushed red pepper next time. MashupDad is halfway convinced I dropped the old one one on purpose so I could get this new one, but you need to convince him I would never even think of such a thing, and you shouldn’t either, no matter how nice the new one is and how jealous you are of me now. But I digress…

crushed-red-pepper

So anyway, you now have your dried red peppers in your food chopper. Proceed with the chopping until you have a food chopper full of crushed red pepper. Boom: You’re done. Some of the flakes in mine are a bit large, but that will all change now that I have… The Ninja! lol

Yes, it’s that easy

used-old-mccormick-bottle

Ta-da! A one-ingredient recipe. Store in your pantry; just use an empty spice bottle or other tightly covered container. (Unlike me, you can also soak the label off of yours; I was just too impatient and it was just too darn sticky, but next time.) These homemade crushed red pepper flakes were pretty spicy, but still had an underlying sweetness and freshness that doesn’t come through in the basic grocery store crushed red pepper.

Do be careful not to take a big whiff after opening the lid of your food chopper, since coughing fits from pepper fumes are no fun at all. If you’re sensitive to working with hot peppers, also wear gloves while handling, and avoid touching your face until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands.

Easy print version

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper
 
Author:
Recipe type: seasoning
Ingredients
  • Ripe red cayenne peppers
Instructions
  1. Dry your whole peppers -- I did mine for 10 hours in my very cheap ALDI food dehydrator, but you could also dry them in the oven on foil lined cookie sheets at about 160 degrees for 8-10 hours.
  2. Once your peppers are nice and dry, throw them in a food chopper or food processor, cutting in half to fit if necessary.
  3. Proceed with the chopping until you have a food chopper full of crushed red pepper.
  4. Boom: You're done.
  5. Store in your pantry in a tightly covered container.