• Budget Smart Cook

    Spicy Slow Cooker Chili

    The first snow of the season arrived…and thankfully melted because it’s too early for that. It’s not too early for a hearty bowl of chili (this one uses sausage and not ground beef). Once again, let the slow cooker do most of the work for you. Let this cook while you’re out raking leaves and step inside to a hearty meal.   Ingredients: 1 pound spicy bulk pork sausage, crumbled 1 pound sweet bulk pork sausage, crumbled ½ c. chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional, if needed 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 medium white onion, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Mulled Apple Cider with a Twist

          The other day I got a great deal on apple cider. Besides drinking it as is, I thought about another way to enjoy it. You know I love using the slow cooker and went searching for a mulled cider recipe. Most of them used the classic pumpkin pie spices but I wanted to use something more unique and remembered I had some five spice powder sitting in the pantry. That’s the “twist” with this mulled apple cider recipe because it adds a little something special to an already great tasting combination. Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 3 hours – 7 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: ½ gallon…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Slow Cooker Apple-Cinnamon Oats

      It’s apple season, it’s also starting to get chilly too. Two good reasons to make some oatmeal. Not the kind you have to stand and stir on busy mornings. And definitely not the waste of money, prepackaged oatmeal. This type of oatmeal cooks overnight and is ready when you get up in the morning. (Added bonus is your kitchen smells wonderful too). Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 6-8 hours Serves: 4-6 Important Tips:  Do not substitute any other type of oats for this recipe. Cooking times are based on using steel cut oats only. Either line or use non-stick cooking spray before preparing this recipe. If you skip…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    “Creamy” Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

    Fall’s officially here, nights are getting longer and leaves are turning. It’s my favorite time of year and not just because Mother Nature puts on a beautiful display. Colder temps mean you have an excuse to make some soup and this one is especially warm and comforting. The wild rice is filling, while the finely minced and chopped vegetables give the soup a more consistent flavor throughout. What’s more, some its “creaminess” comes from pureed cannellini beans, rather than a larger amount of high-fat dairy products.   Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 3-8 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 1 c. multi-color wild rice blend, uncooked* 1 small white onion, roughly chopped…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Spicy Pineapple Pork Roast

    In the last post, I told you why I love using my slow cookers so much so I thought I’d share this recipe with you- This delicious sweet and savory dish is sure to become a new family favorite. Here, fresh pineapple and spicy jalapeno are paired with toasted sesame oil, five-spice powder, creamy peanut butter, and fresh cilantro for a rich and flavorful combination.   As written, this recipe contains a couple of extra steps you can skip if you’re short on time. To make this a one-pot meal, simply place the well-trimmed and seasoned pork butt roast directly into your slow cooker without searing. In addition, the juices…

  • Budget Smart Cook,  Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Slow Cookers are a Budget Smart Girl’s Best Friend

      I own two slow cookers and I’m seriously thinking about adding to my collection. I’ve owned one of them for close to 20 years but the second one was a refurbished one I bought for $9 from Hollar. It’s programmable where the first one isn’t and to say it gets used a lot is an understatement. These machines use little energy, save you time, and best of all save you money. Bottom line, these wonder machines are a budget smart girl’s best buddy. No Fuss Meals For starters, slow cookers are perfect for creating no-fuss, one-pot meals. As an added bonus, they render cheaper cuts of meat mouthwateringly tender…

  • Budget Smart Cook,  Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Top Tips for Sticking with Your Budget

        So you have a family budget. There’s only one problem – you haven’t stuck with it! Maybe your budget is nicely outlined and detailed, but sits unused on your computer or in your desk drawer. Formulating a budget is a challenge, but once you have it done, it doesn’t do any good unless you stick with it. Sometimes you need to compromise and be somewhat flexible but oftentimes can tweak and adjust your budget to make it easier for you to stick with it. Here are some creative and even fun tips for doing just that… Have a Look-See Maybe your budget didn’t work out because it didn’t fit…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Three Ingredient Summer Cooler

      If like me, you live somewhere that’s been hot and humid this last week or so, you’ll appreciate this quick and easy three ingredient smoothie…slushie, call it what you like depending on whether or not you add ice to the mix or even serve it over ice. It’s refreshing and makes two 8 ounce glasses.   In a blender, add 4 cups frozen chopped mango     1 cup mango juice   <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=susiep-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01N9V5N0P&asins=B01N9V5N0P&linkId=15edc57e776b20115421bba41952201d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”></iframe>     1 cup coconut cream   <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=susiep-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00R61K7FO&asins=B00R61K7FO&linkId=df6d47b95e0555674ff4ce17bed962f6&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff”></iframe>   Blend until smooth and pour into glasses with crushed or cubed ice for a truly…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

    A few of you asked for a recipe to serve with the cilantro-lime rice I posted last week and here’s one of my favorites. This delicious, healthy slow cooker recipe is as easy as it is versatile. This flavor-packed chicken is perfect for burrito bowls, lettuce wraps, (or over a bed of flavorful cilantro-lime rice0. Tip: Don’t skip the squeeze of fresh lime juice after cooking. It really brightens the flavors and pulls them all together.   Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 3–8 hours Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs 2 10-oz. cans Rotel fire-roasted diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained 2 15-oz. cans black beans,…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Quick and Easy Cilantro-Lime Rice

    One herb I plant every year without fail is cilantro…I know it’s a love or hate it one but it does add a lot of flavor to dishes, especially quick and easy one like this rice side dish. The cilantro is already in abundance in my garden so I thought I’d share this recipe with you. Serve  it with just about anything from beef to fish, and it even gives vegetarian dishes an extra boost of flavor too.     Cilantro-Lime Rice   Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 45-55 minutes Serves: 6 Ingredients: 3 c. cooked rice* 3 T. fresh lime juice 2 t. lime zest 3 T fresh cilantro, chopped…

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