Well, it’s hard not to see the savings with Save.ca. I like that they have the brands I would like to buy, like So Good, and it makes it affordable. My boyfriend is lactose intolerant and still loves his cereal. This is one way to bring some of the name brand products we love, fit into my shoestring budget.

Save.ca coupon savings:

My Coupons

 

with purchase of M&M’s OR Maltesers
FREE With Purchase

Yogurt
SAVE $1.50

Pasta
SAVE 75¢

Salsa
SAVE $1.00

Organic Soy Beverage
SAVE 75¢

Soy Beverage 1.89L
SAVE 75¢

Detergent
SAVE $1.00

Liquid or Sheets Fabric Softener
SAVE $1.00

Pasta
SAVE 75¢

Laundry Detergent
SAVE $2.00

Ultra Liquid or Ultra Powder
SAVE $1.00

Bathroom Tissue
SAVE $1.00

Dog Snacks
SAVE $1.00

Cat Box Filler
SAVE $1.00

Adult Allergy Remedy
SAVE $2.00

Your coupon savings: 

$19.49
Advertisements

Cooking with the Master

Christmas has always given me some of my most memorable moments; the coming together of family and friends can have that affect.  This year I was able to see so much family, although with two large families to see, I never manage to see everyone I would like on Christmas.  I was also the happy recipient of some pretty nifty Christmas gifts and some amazing cooking insight.

My boyfriend’s family lives in Oliver, a small town in the Rocky Mountains that is home to some of BC’s best wine. We aren’t able to make the five and a half hour drive as often as we would like, but we make a point of going up for Christmas to watch the young kids open their gifts.  I enjoy my time with them.  I spent a large part of my youth as an only child and Christmas with them is very different from what I remember from my childhood.  Everyone in my boyfriend’s family is charismatic, vibrant and ready to laugh. They clearly enjoy spending time together, making it hard not to enjoy time with them.

With eight children and spouses, friends and other relatives to serve, ‘a small meal’ is not in the vocabulary of The Cooking Master (my boyfriend’s mom).   From shopping to breakfast, I’m blown away by how much goes into feeding such large groups of people.  Her level of organization, her eye for how much is needed and the quality of her food, is enviable. This is clearly evident by how many people will rave to you about one of her many popular dishes.

Being able to cook with someone who loves to feed her family is one of my favourite past times.  I like to follow behind a good cook and while watching what they are doing, clean up and prep for them.  You can learn so much just by watching and listening.  Often times they are more than willing to share with you all that they know.

The Cooking Master is no different.   I came home with tips and tricks galore.  She is the second person I have seen whose recipe book is actually an index card box.  This really sparked my interest and I liked how easy it was.  There was less risk of me wrecking the book if I spilled something and it was easier to manage an index card than an entire book.  I think this might be on my list of things to do next week.

The morning I offered to make french toast for breakfast, The Cooking Master chuckled as I pulled out a frying pan. “You’ll be at it forever if you use that,” she told me and directed me towards her counter top grill.  I quickly realized that when cooking for thirteen people, you go through about a loaf and a half of bread.  I was very grateful for the grill.

When Christmas morning arrived and I opened my very own counter top grill, my imagination took off.  When we got home, I whipped out this bad boy and reveled in how easy it was to cook breakfast.  Not having to squeeze bacon, eggs and hash-browns into my medium and large frying pans was heaven and my boyfriend laughed at my oooh’s and ahhh’s.  When I pulled it out for dinner, we were treated to a delightfully grilled salmon seasoned with McCormick Garlic and Herb Seasoning Mix, accompanied by scalloped potatoes and seasoned California vegetables.  For me, not having to wait an hour and a half or cook with any butter or oil, made this a highly desirable cooking utensil.  Cooking with my new grill gave us fantastic salmon in under fifteen minutes; turkey bacon was even faster.

As if that wasn’t enough, I received a silicone pig puppet/potholder and a fresh herb grinder, “for those who shouldn’t use knives”,  my friend said.  I think these gadgets are going to make cooking a lot more fun over the next few months.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Despite what you might think, I have not dropped off the face of the earth…..I have however spent a great weekend with my sister Hope, who after being discouraged from dying the stuffing blue, was a fantastic cooks assistant.

I’m sure that you will remember my very awesome $250-spent-at-Superstore turkey, well this 13lb baby was the first turkey cooked in my own home. I was very excited by this, even though the majority of people didn’t understand because I have done dinners like this before; however never with only my limited cookware and without a guru to see me through it.

It was however an unmitigated success, I was thrilled. Although we didn’t have a camera on hand, which really upset me, it went something like this.

Hope made the stuffing, sans blue dye. Seasoned with sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary, we threw in the standard of onions, some red pepper finely chopped and green onions for colour.

The Turkey cooked for 4.5 hours at 350 and was seasoned with sage, thyme and rosemary. The rosemary for me was quite a change, it gave both the bird and the stuffing an amazing smell and of course, it is for remembrance, which for Thanksgiving, seemed appropriate.

To go with all of this we opted for mashed potatoes with Classico’s Alfredo Sauce, which were phenomenal. Candied Yams and california veggies with shredded cheese. I thought this would be more health conscious than cheese sauce. And gravy of course.

The candied yams were really easy, boil your yams for 15-20 minutes, after cutting them of course. In a sauce pan boil 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 brown sugar for 3 minutes. Drain and place yams in baking dish, add sauce and bake for 1/2 hour. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Dinner was a success, the turkey was cooked, I only burned myself once and desert was a hit. The pumpkin pie recipe was pretty simple, a can of evaporated milk, 1 cup pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and garlic, baked at 425 for 15 minutes and then at 350 for 45 minutes. The strawberry jello pie with graham cracker crust and whipping cream was a big hit too.

Whipping cream is one of those things we all seem to buy in those pre-whipped cans, myself however I prefer to opt for the un-whipped carton of whipping cream and whip it myself. Just add a bit of sugar and pull out your hand-held mixer…you will save money and have a much tastier alternative.

All in all dinner went off without a hitch, we had enough to feed all 7 attendees, with enough left overs for me to attempt turkey soup.

 

Wish me luck.

 

So, I am bad for getting consumed in one aspect of my life and not focusing on all of the others. It’s times like this I find we eat out, or badly more often….of course this is usually the time we can least afford it. I know there are things I can do to make dinner easier, but that usually involves an initial sacrifice to the Time Gods, which easily enables me to procrastinate.

However, today I took the time to make that sacrifice, and I’m sure tomorrow I will be grateful.

On today’s menu was Chicken Alfredo Pot Pie on page 200. I’ve now made this pie twice, once right after my last post, and then again today. Both times I doubled the recipe prepared to make two pies. However I realized that the Pillsbury pie crust I purchased may say 2, however that means the bottom and top of one pie.

Having the bottom and top on this particular pie makes it a breeze to put onto plates. Using the ready-made pastry is easy and stress free, which is nice because I’m usually so worked up by the prospect of overworking the dough, that I overwork the dough.

I opted for the Classico Roasted Red pepper Alfredo, much to my families delight, it was a bold flavour that worked well with the Sage. However I did add the McCormick’s garlic and herb seasoning to the Chicken as it was cooking. The only other change that I made was to add fresh garlic and diced onions to the chicken as it was cooking. Personally, if I have onions, I through them in.

The end result was a hearty, veggie filled pie that we all loved. Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower were a nice change from the standard meat pie veggies like peas and corn. The pie took all of 20 minutes to make and 12 minutes to cook, couple this with an extra for the freezer, or my parents and you have my new favourite save-time-during-the-week-dinner.

So for all of you busy ladies and gents out there who greet hump-day with a bag of McDonald’s, try putting this gem in your freezer and let me know how it works for you!

**Note, believe it or not, I did take photos…..however I must remember to delete old photo’s off or it won’t save the ones I take…(Slaps forehead with the palm of her hand)**

Tex-Mex Pork and Corn Soup

There is something therapeutic in cooking for me. Perhaps its the 1950’s housewife in me, or just my overwhelming urge to feed people. Saturday was no different for me. This is one of my big cooking days, although it was not as big as others, it was quite productive and satisfying in the end.

On the table for this night was the Tex-Mex Pork and Corn Soup found on page . I really enjoyed this soup, not only eating it, but learning to make it. Although, as would be expected I changed it little, it was fun, easy and a new way to serve up pork. The more that I try to steer away from red meat’s, I find myself grateful for soups that allow me to prepare for the week ahead and it’s lunches.

To accompany our soup, I made one of my all time favourites from childhood, Corn Meal Muffins. I pulled a recipe off the internet, however I was not happy with it. So I will not share it with you today and while I continue looking for one that I like, please feel free to send me your recipes, should you wish to share.

Now the recipe called for Pork Tenderloin, however I’m sure it’s no surprise by now that I bought a pork roast that fit into my budget. This took longer to cut up, as there was more fat than would be on tenderloin (I believe it’s said to be the leanest cut of pork), however it really paid off. I managed to put aside the fatty bits to spice up my dog’s dinner for a few days, and the pork pieces were moist and lovely.

While the recipe didn’t call for any spices on the meat, which you cook up first, I chose to add a little of the No-salt McCormick Garlic and Herb Seasoning that I have as a staple in my kitchen. Then once those were cooked, I took the onion, corn (they said frozen, I used a can) , added frozen carrots that were nearing freezer burn, and tossed them together with two cloves of garlic diced. The smell was heavenly.

The recipe called for 14 oz of chicken broth. I had one of those tetra packs of Campbell chicken broth so I poured that and one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with spices together in a pot. The recipe only calls for a tomato or two, however I thought this could help me stretch a meal that served 5 into at least 8, and I seem to have succeeded.

In order to keep the Tex-Mex feel and not end up with a tomato soup, I added double the amount of salsa, and twice as much Cilantro. The end result was a rich, full-bodied soup that was filling, colourful and a perfect complement to the corn meal muffins.

****Tip of the day: Did you know that Coriander and Cilantro are the same plant??? I didn’t, my cooking Guru informed me yesterday that Cilantro is the name for the leaves of the Coriander plant, and we use the seeds to make Coriander spice.****

I live with a man who for years has been asking me to make sloppy joes…….However our biggest issues is that I’m a bit more discerning than your average bear, and that can of ‘Sloppy Joe’ mix, is not on my list of acceptable dinner alternatives. I can’t for the life of me find a Sloppy Joe recipe that I like, so on Friday after shopping I decided to try the Chili-Cheese Hoagies recipe found on Pg: 92 of our Budget Cooking Bible.

Now not unlike every recipe that I touch, I did change a few things. Instead of French-Style buns, I chose Kaisers. I prefer these buns, not only for their taste but also because nearly every store is bound to have a great price on this standard bakery bun. They were easy to hollow out as the recipe suggested, and held up to their end of the sandwich bargain quite well.

I started by chopping green onions, one medium sized onion, half of a green pepper, a small bunch of Cilantro and 2 cloves of garlic. Then, as per the recipe, I cooked all but the cilantro with the ground beef in a large skillet until the ground beef was brown. After removing the fat, buying extra lean ground beef helps with this step, I dumped in my can of tomatoes and stirred the cilantro in.

Forgive my blurry pictures...I'm a writer not a photographer

I let this cook down for probably between 30-45 minutes on medium heat. This gave me time to make two batches of oatmeal chocolate cookies, and hollow out the buns. Cookies always get me extra brownie points with my man….however I’ve learned to cook twice as much as you tell him you have and hide the difference, otherwise they will all be sacrificed to the video game gods. In the end they came together quite nicely, next time I’ll do them as open-faced sandwiches with a salad or fresh veggies. My boyfriend tells me that they were spicy and the cheese held it together nicely. I chose to replace the cumin with chili flakes that I picked up from the dollar store of all places, which really seemed to pay off. I liked the bite that they had, and they were filling, one sandwich later, I was stuffed…we had cookies and milk for desert and settled down for a night of Mad Men.

Clean up was phenomenally easy….here, all clean and put away, you will find all the dishes I used to cook this dinner.

Back into the swing

****Tip of the week: The Langley Farm Market has 10lb bags of Russette potatoes on for $1.99****

Yesterday was one of the most productive days I have had in a long time. Not only did I get up and drive my boyfriend to work, I headed off to Superstore, coffee in hand, for an early morning full-blown, large scale grocery shop. I’ve said it before, I love to shop early in the morning, with the exception of some boxes in the aisles, the store was relatively clear and I navigated with ease. MP3player in hand I listened to the vocal stylings of Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.

For this bi-weekly shop I have to account for 14 dinners, 8 lunches, and whatever else I need to keep me going. My budget was $250, as Superstore offers a gift with a purchase of $250 or more. Keep in mind that this is before taxes, however we all know how easy it is to spend that kind of money at Superstore. They carry just about everything you need, and a few things you didn’t know you needed.

My dinner for this Bi-weekly plan are as follows:

Chili-Cheese Hoagies-Pg 79

Greek Style Beef  & Veg-Pg 92

BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Quesadilla’s-Pg 213

Easy Chicken Tortilla soup-Pg 207

Chicken Alfredo Pot Pies-Pg 193

Chicken Shepherds Pie-Pg 193

Spanish Chicken Stew-Pg 184

Taco Spagetti-Pg 78

Homestyle Meat Loaf-Pg 64

Norwegian Meat Balls-Pg 71

Baked Cavatelli Pasta-Pg 77

Tex Mex Pork and Corn Soup-Pg 134

Chicken. supreme Casserol-Pg 197

Chicken Burgers-My No-recipe recipe

  • Check out my shopping list here.

By the end of every thing my bill came to $219 before taxes, the free gift with the flyer coupon was a turkey….an actual Turkey. I know it sounds silly, grocery stores have been giving away turkeys for a very long time. However I have lived in basement suites with freezers that were too small for me to fit a turkey, and all of my frozen foods. Only just recently have I mastered the art of limited freezer space.

So in order to make my total $250, I purchased two storage containers, one for dog food the other for potatoes and a clothing rack for our laundry room. All in all, I was thrilled with my purchases.

Some of the lovely tips of the trade have to do with bulk meat purchases. Ground beef is an economical meat that you can dress up or down as the meal requires. Those large black containers break down easily into four portions, or four meals. If you are a single person this gives you extra each meal you can use as lunches or for another dinner later in the week. For couples, this gives you more than enough for two meals and a lunch.

I like to divide the meat prior to freezing, giving my meal plan more flexibility and less of a chance of waste. Ziplock has great freezer bags, this is one thing I don’t like to purchase as a no name item. Good freezer bags will save you time and money in the long run, it’s well worth the extra $1-2.

For fast freezing, faster defrost time and more freezer room, press the ground beef flat as you close the Ziplock bag keeping the air out. This tip has been a blessing for my cramped freezer, I also divide up the bulk bags of chicken into meal sized bags with 3-4 breasts each, depending on the number of guests.

So now my freezer, turkey and all is neatly packed with veggies, buns, meat and Popsicle….and I can rest easy and prepare my meals knowing I have everything I need.