• 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…

  • Budget Smart Cook,  Budget Smart Girl's Guide

    Eight Ways to Buy Organic on a Budget

    I’m of a mind that thinks all food should be grown organically. Sadly, that’s not the case, so anything that is labelled organic (and not just produce), has a higher price. However, I’ve never let that stop me from buying what I love. My motto is there’s a way around every challenge. I’ve touched on this topic before but here’s an updated version of eight ways to buy organic even when you’re on a budget… Shop Sales Just like other goods on supermarket shelves, organic products have regular sales cycles. Watch for store flyers, promotions, and use that time to stock up or eat all organic fruits and veggies during that…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Easy to Make Chicken Salsa

    Just in time for Cinco De Mayo, I gave this easy to make dish a test run last weekend. I’ve been relying more on the slow cooker than ever before (a great bargain buy from Hollar!) and this chicken dish just needs three other ingredients.     Wash and pat dry, four chicken breasts (I used the boneless kind)     Place them in the slow cooker. Top them with 2 cups of salsa.     Set on high and cook for one hour. Then add one can of black beans which have been drained and rinsed. Also add, one can of drained corn. Let this cook on high for…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Three Ingredients and a Slow Cooker Dessert

    Most of you know I like to keep a full pantry. A couple of times a year I sort through it and begin using the older supplies. Last week (a surprisingly chilly one for this time of year), I wanted something gooey and sweet for dessert. I had a box of Devil’s Food cake mix that needed using and soon. A quick search of the rest of the pantry yielded candied ginger and a can of sliced pears. The combination sounded too good to pass on and with the help of the slow cooker, this dessert was ready in a couple of hours. I topped it with Greek yogurt but…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Plant Based, Budget Friendly Meal Challenge

    I just received an e-mail about this and thought I’d pass it along to you. If you’re thinking about eating a plant based diet this year or just looking for ways to eat on a budget, Plant Based Meals has a New Year’s challenge you can join, here’s the link if you want to check it out.   https://www.plantbasedmealplan.com/

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Quick and Easy Supper-Mediterranean Cod

    Here’s a quick supper that uses cod (or any similar fish), along with peppers, onions, some herbs and olives for a good for you but budget friendly meal. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add about two tablespoons of oil and then add one onion, sliced thinly and one green pepper that’s been thinly sliced.   Sprinkle in some salt and pepper and sauté until the onion and pepper is slightly softened.   Add a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes.   Stir in one teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil. Add one pound of cod to the mixture, cover and let simmer for about ten minutes…

  • Budget Smart Cook

    Homemade Ginger Ale

    I come from a family of migraine sufferers so a bottle of ginger ale has always been a staple in the pantry. (For those of you who haven’t tried it ginger ale helps with the nausea that often accompanies a migraine). While a bottle of ginger ale won’t break the bank, I thought I’d try making my own and use cane sugar instead of regular white or brown sugar. Yesterday was my first attempt and the results were so good I thought I’d share the process with you. You’ll need- A piece of ginger about two inches long. Peel it and chop it and place it in a food processor…