Thursday, November 8, 2018

10 Kitchen Tools I Rely on to Make Quick and Healthy Dinners on a Budget

Sometimes life gets busy and you don’t have the time to cook an involved recipe for dinner.
Oh. Hold up. That’s me. All. The. Time.

But even when time is short I still manage to cook a quick and healthy meal from scratch using my favorite tools, gadgets, and appliance. I don’t have a ton of storage space in my small kitchen but I rely on these kitchen tools so much I can’t recommend them enough.

10 Kitchen Gadgets I Rely on to Make Quick, Easy, and Healthy Dinners when Life is too Crazy Busy to Cook


Pin this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards! Share it with your friends!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Best Instant Pot Mashed Potato with Olive Oil Recipe

If make potatoes for dinner, 9 times out of ten it is a baked potato because let’s face it baked potatoes are quicker and easier to make than mashed potatoes.  Just pop the potatoes in a microwave oven potato bag like this one for 5 minutes and crisp the skins up in a toaster oven for a few minutes. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Easy peasy.

And lazy.

But most importantly for me -  dairy free. The joys of a severe food intolerance I tell ya! *pout*
Fortunately through my beloved Instant Pot (there are other brands of electric pressure cookers too. You can learn about all of them here) and my in laws growing Yukon Gold potatoes in their vegetable garden introduced me to  the most  creamy, buttery, and velvety 10 minute mashed potatoes I have ever eaten and are completely diary and cholesterol free!


Pin this recipe to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

10 New and Simple Ways I Saved Money this Month

I noticed that my family’s saving money tips, hacks, and  habits sometimes change it with the season. For example, growing a vegetable garden is a great way to save money on groceries but only works in Ohio during the spring and summer.

Since most of these little projects and happy accidents are too small for their own blog post, but still pretty darn useful, I figured why not put them in an old school round up post of quick and easy money saving hacks?

new and simple ways to save money
Save this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards! Share it with your friends!

You might already know some of these frugal ways and already do them or chose not to (which is perfectly fine in Lazy Budget Chef Land by the way.) In fact, I have a few on this list that I’ve known about forever and just started to try them out only to find all of those suggestions are right – they work!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How to Cook a Pumpkin in an Instant Pot in Fifteen Minutes or Less!

I am a super fan of cooking with pumpkin because it is so versatile! You can eat it starting in the morning for healthy breakfast right on through the day and onto dessert.

Which is why I try to buy a pumpkin every year. Pureeing your Halloween pumpkins and freezing or dehydrating them for later is a budget friendly way to enjoy this healthy squash after they disappear from the grocery store on October 31st.

Unfortunately, since pumpkins take an hour to bake in the oven before I can even think about cooking with it or drying it into dog treats with the dehydrator that I can’t live without (learn more about it here) I don’t have the time to puree any more than one pumpkin a year – until now.


How to cook and puree a pumpkin
Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

How to Make Instant Pot Pumpkin the Easy Way

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Why Do My Dehydrator Tomatoes Turn Black and Moldy?

My in laws have another bumper crop of fresh garden tomatoes. Even after canning loads of  almost every conceivable tomato recipe – tomatoes, sauce, juice, salsa,  and new this year ketchup! – their tomato plants are still growing more fruit than even the most dedicated gardener can pick.

Which is how I ended up with two big  bag of very ripe garden tomatoes for which I am very grateful. I immediately brought the tomatoes home, sliced the majority of them, and put them in my portable dehydrator that I absolutely can’t live without (you can learn more about it here) like I’ve done many times before with great success. (I am including affiliate links for your convenience.

When I checked the tomatoes in the dehydrator, instead of packaging them up for later I got my first vegetable dehydrator fail. Most of the tomatoes turned black, moldy, or both in the dehydrator.


Pin this post to your Pinterest board for later. Share it with your friends!


Why?

3 Reasons Why Tomatoes Turned Black in the Dehydrator and How to Prevent It


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Quickest and Easiest Homemade Pickle Recipe You Will Ever Make!

I like nothing better than a good ol’ garlicky Kosher dill pickle. Try as I might, I haven’t quite found the right recipe to replicate what I devour from the store.

Which made me pretty darn sad, when we were running out of those wonderful deli pickles and the last time I went to Aldi they didn’t have any for sale. No worries! I tossed a couple of cucumbers in my cart and trotted home to make the quickest and easiest refrigerator pickle recipe you will ever make!

Let’ s get pickled!

easy dill bread and butter pickle recipe
Pin this post to Pinterest for later! Share it with your friends!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Savory Turkey Herb Rub Recipe

I am all over make ahead herb mixes and rub recipes because they take seconds to make and are an easy way to make dinner taste fancy on the cheap when you don’t have the time to cook something elaborate.

Which is pretty much me all of the time.

Inspired by an over productive summer herb garden, a turkey breast I needed to defrost to get back some freezer space, and my social media feeds blowing up with posts from  friends competing in an international amateur swimming event in France,  I set out to create a savory meat rub recipe that is similar of French Herbes de Provence.

Which is a fancy way of saying spice mix made from herbs that grow well in Provence, France.

Oooh la la!

Pin this post to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


Originally I created this savory herb mix recipe to kick up a turkey (and as a test run for making Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.)  It tastes so fantastic that I used my savory meat rub on just about every type of meat my husband and I could think of: fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and even lamb with excellent, excellent results.

Let’s just say, it’s been a savory kind of summer!

How to Make a Savory Poultry, Beef, Fish, and Lamb Spice Rub Recipe


Friday, August 10, 2018

47 Things Thrifty People Save and Reuse to Save Money

Sometimes I am a complete weirdo and buy something or refuse to throw it out or recycle it because I can reuse the packaging to save money. After years of trying to get a second reuse out of almost everything before it hits the trash can, my family is practically debt free and our weekly household trash fills a grocery shopping bag on a good week.

Now I’m not saying I am some sort of hoarder (there’s no room for bunches of extra stuff when living in a condo! We do a quick check in to see if there is a need for an item and if we don't, then it is put in our recycling, donate, or trash bin.) Turns out by being resourceful with our trash there is a ton of stuff I don’t need to buy because I save and repurpose what I have around me. It saves money in an eco friendly way that works for us.


47 Things Thrifty Zero Waste People Do Not Throw Away to Save Money


47 ideas of things not to throw away to save money
Pin this post to your Pinterest boards! Share it with your friends!

Friday, July 20, 2018

6 Quick Money Saving Ideas So Easy You Can Practically Do Them in Your Sleep!

I try to keep myself busy with little projects on the weekend to keep from getting bored or going crazy especially on rainy days. More often than not, there is an (accidental) money saving component like planting all of this year’s container garden with seeds I found during a junk drawer clean out just to see if they will grow.

Since most of these little projects and happy accidents are too small for their own blog post, but still pretty darn useful, I figured why not put them in an old school round up post of quick and easy money saving hacks?

6 Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money You Need to Know
Pin this post for later on Pinterest! Share it with your friends!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Goodbye Plastic Free and Zero Waste Shopping: Whole Foods Won’t Allow You Fill Your Own Bulk Bin Containers

Every Zero Waste and Plastic Free advocate suggests you can reduce your household waste by filling your own containers from the bulk food bin section at the grocery store. Often, but not always, the bulk bin unit price is cheaper – especially when it comes to buying spices. As always, your mileage may vary - compare the unit price before you buy!

I’ll admit, the even cheaper sale price was the reason I stopped into Whole Foods because they were giving Amazon Prime members a discount on bulk bin items (learn more here via my affiliate link.) I figured it was as good of time as any to cross a few items off my grocery list while at the same time help slim my trash and recycling bins. (We like to keep our weekly household waste as low as we can but are not an official Zero Waste or Plastic Free home.)


Another reason I like filling my own containers is it helps me from accidentally misjudging the quantity I need and overbuying. Let’s face it the two ounces of spice that fills a spice jar looks like nothing in a bag.

No zero waste customer containers allowed in the bulk bin food store
Pin this post to Pinterest and share it with your friends!


Friday, June 15, 2018

10 Easy Recipes When it is too Hot to Cook

Summer is my favorite time of year. Just being able to do anything outside in the warm sunshine after being cooped up inside the house during the harsh winter feels almost decadent.

Until the high heat and humidity kick in and make it too hot to move.

And cook.

10 Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas When it is too Hot to Cook

Basically, I take my hot weather dinner ideas from my travels to the sunny south and southwestern United States because while I have to deal with scorching temperatures for a few months, those folks are living in it year round.

Like they say, travel broadens the mind – and food palette!


10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes When it is too Hot to Cook

Pin these recipes to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Baked French Fries Recipe in 30 Minutes or Less!

There is nothing that goes better with a grilled burger than French fries. They are easy to order when you are eating at a restaurant but let’s face it, deep fat frying French fries at home is messy and in all honesty, most doctors will tell you baked side dishes are generally more healthy than fried.

That’s why I serve my protein burger of choice with fast and easy homemade baked French fries. No my friends, I didn’t buy them in the frozen food section (not cheap and loaded with extra ingredients you don’t need to eat.)

I whip my homemade French Fries up on the cheap from real deal potatoes and they taste exactly like the season salt fries from my favorite local restaurant – for a whole lot less.
 

Pin this recipe on Pinterest for later. Share it with your friends!

 

How to Make Quick, Easy, and Healthy Homemade Baked French Fries – Not Deep Fat Frying Required!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

10 Minute Meals: Instant Pot Chicken Paprikash Recipe

I grew up in the Cleveland area and if it is one thing Cleveland does well, it is Hungarian food, chicken paprikash in particular. Chicken paprikash is the type of comfort food that reaches down to your very soul and gives it a big, warm, Hungarian grandma hug.

It wasn’t something I ate often as a kid and as an adult I now know why – chicken paprikash takes over an hour to simmer! That cooking time doesn’t include the prep or making the traditional spaetzle from scratch! No wonder so many of those chicken paprikash dinners I remember were served over wide egg noodles or gnocchi.

That is, until now. I came up with a paprika chicken recipe that takes 20 minutes in the Instant Pot instead of 2 hours on the stove to make!

That 20 minute meal includes cooking with frozen chicken in the Instant Pot. (aff link to the best thing ever!) Yep, don’t have to defrost meat when you use an Instant Pot. The meat comes out just as tender and the cooking time stays the same. The only difference is the electric pressure cooker takes a few extra minutes to reach it’s cooking pressure when you use frozen meat. No big deal.

Best Ever Quick and Easy Chicken Paprikash Recipe

Monday, April 16, 2018

25 Green Living Items You Can Buy at the Dollar Store to Save Money

Recently I was helping a family change their habits toward green living and at one point the frustrated mom said,”why is eco friendly living so expensive? I think this plastic free, zero waste, and organic stuff is only for rich people.”

In one way she’s right. I know quite a few green bloggers who refuse to mention how they are also saving money doing what they do and look down their nose at those who do. I guess because otherwise your green living heart isn’t pure if you admit to also being being motivate by living within your means?

I don’t think that’s true.

I’ve bought expensive made from eco friendly material high waste stuff at a spendy hippie store and zero waste items at the 99 cents store. It all depends upon what your green living focus is and how you want to go about meeting your goal.


25 Green Living Items You Should Be Buying From the Dollar Store


Monday, April 9, 2018

12 Practical Ways to Use Cotton Balls You Need to Try Right Now!

I recently opened a new big new bottle of vitamins, and found that three quarters of the bottle I bought was stuffed with cotton wading. Being rather annoyed that I basically just bought a bottle of cotton instead of the necessary supplements,  I reused it bu cutting the nonsterile cotton into smaller pieces and using it to remove my nail polish before tossing it into the trash bin.

Rinse. Repeat. Every time I open a new bottle. Why can't they use smaller bottles instead? Grrrr!

Instead of getting mad, I’m getting even. Obviously I shouldn’t cut down and reuse the cotton packing from pill bottles for anything that requires a clean and sterile cotton ball, like cleaning cuts and scrapes, but there are several ways to creatively use non sterile cotton roll for things other than crafts. Here are a few ideas:

12 Ideas to Reuse the Annoying Cotton Roll Packed in Bottles

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Instant Pot Chipotle Pozole Recipe

Snow on the first Day of Spring, a husband with a cold, and a busy concert week rehearsal schedule requires comfort food.

But making dinner has to be quick because I have rehearsals almost every day this week.
And if it could be a soup or a stew my ailing husband would be most appreciative. Poor guy!


Our Kitchen MVP, the Instant Pot, came though with a fantastic 30 minute meal – Chipotle Pozole, a filling pork and hominy dish that almost made me late to practice because I couldn’t leave the house without a big second helping. So good!

30 Minute Meal: Mexican Pork and Hominy Soup

Thursday, March 15, 2018

How I Saved Thousands on Groceries with One Simple Hack

Who knew pantry months and later, kitchen ants, would help me lower my grocery bill 10 – 30% per trip and without using coupons or rebates?

Seriously.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Save Money: 25 Disposables You Can Replace

I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to realize I didn’t have to keep buying stupid disposable stuff like brown paper lunch bags, air fresheners, and furnace filters every month if I switched to using a washable and reusable version.

The light bulb went off over my head when I gave up storing blocks of cheese and leftovers in disposable zipper baggies to keep  the army of reusable food storage containers crammed in my kitchen in check. The amount of trash in my trash can went down and it added a bit of extra money back into my budget.

Everyone knows about swapping out disposable coffee cups, water bottles, and paper plates for the reusable version. I though I’d share with you some ideas on what unusual reusable items are available to make low cost and low waste living an easy switch.

How to Save Money the Zero Waste Way!



Pin this post for later and share it with your friends!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

16 Boredom Busters that Can Save You Money

There are times of the year  when it is too cold, too gray, too muddy, and overall too yucky to spend time outside or to runaway to someplace warm and fun.

Cabin Fever that rolls into Spring Fever can be a great motivator to actually get all of that dumb little stuff you have to (or should do) projects once and for all.


Pin this list for later and to share with your friends!

16 Ideas to Help You Beat Spring Fever, Cabin Fever and the Winter Blues

Monday, February 12, 2018

Best Ever Black Bean Hummus Recipe

I’m not really a sports person except every two years during the Winter and Summer Olympics. The Olympics is my Super Bowl. My World Series. For 18 days I am parked in front of the TV, chips at the ready.

Well I might be ready but my chips aren’t. They need dip.

Most hummus recipes are made with garbanzo beans (also called chick peas.) I’m doing something a little different and using black beans to make black bean hummus. The black beans take less time to rehydrate in my Instant Pot (<—big ol affiliate links in this post!) than garbanzo beans but most importantly, I came up with this recipe when I wanted to eat hummus and only had black beans in the house.

Easy Black Bean Hummus Recipe


how ot make black bean hummus recipe
Keep reading! This is an easy recipe - promise!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why You Need to STOP Making Laundry Fabric Softener Crystals with Epsom Salt (and What to Use Instead)

While I was waiting to buy a replacement dryer I had to line dry laundry in the bathroom. Our laundry was stiff, but the towels were more  absorbent because I didn’t have laundry softener coating my laundry and dryer making both of them less efficient- the same thing goes for sweat wicking workout gear.

A friend clued me in that my clothes felt stiff when I line dried them because I was using too much laundry detergent to wash them.  I easily fixed that by measuring the detergent for each load instead of eyeballing it and popping a couple of dryer balls to fluff everything up while it is in the new dryer.

Sometimes I still get static cling in the dryer during winter which is why I tried Purex Laundry Softener Crystals when they first came out. It worked well with the bonus of making my laundry smell pretty again after I switched to using DIY powdered laundry detergent.

Until it stopped working.

My laundry smelled pretty but it wasn’t soft anymore.

How to Make All Natural and Non Toxic Laundry Fabric Softener Crystals (like Purex) for Cheap

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How to Use a Mason Jar Vacuum Sealer

I try to go with reusable  over disposables options as much as I can with the exception of my freezer. After trying and failing - often spectacularly! -  every method I could think of to stop freezer burn, I finally gave in and bought a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. The Foodsaver quickly paid for itself in the amount of food I didn’t have to toss or try to salvage due to freezer burn or spoilage.  In fact, I like and rely on it so much I have no problem recommend it to you (and using my affiliate link) as a way to keep frozen and dry good fresh.

Yes, I said dry goods. You can vacuum seal grains, spices, coffee, and such in mason and recycled glass jars you might already have at home. I particularly like to vacuum seal the garden vegetables and herbs I dry in my dehydrator to keep the flavor from expiring until I remember I have them in the back of my cupboard.

Yes, I tried sucking the air out of the bag with a straw. It didn't work.

 

How to Vacuum Seal Mason Jars with a Foodsaver

Friday, January 19, 2018

20 Things I Always Buy in Bulk to Save Money

Every time I mull over  buying a warehouse store membership again, I remind myself that with such a small family and house, buying in bulk doesn’t make sense and won’t save us money. I don’t’ have it in for bulk buying stores. If I had room in my condo for an extra freezer, it might work for us but as of now since we cook from scratch I don’t buy bulk.

Did I mention the last time I had this conversation with myself I was hefting a 25 pound bag of brown rice into my cart next to a gallon of soy sauce at the Japanese grocery store?

So, yeah, apparently I do buy a few things in bulk by the giant size (at least to us) and a few things in a custom size from a bulk buying bin. We eat a variety of healthy from scratch meals and I save money doing it.

20 Things I Buy in Bulk without a Warehouse Club Membership and Still Save Money!


20 things you can buy in bulk without a warehouse buying club membership and still save money

Pin this list for later and to share with your friends!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Recycle a Protein Powder Container and Make DIY Laundry Detergent for Cheap!

Liquid laundry detergent makes my washing machine stink. It doesn’t matter if it is scented, unscented, “allergy free”, plant based ingredients, or not. If I wash several loads of clothes in liquid detergent in row, my washer REEKS like nobody’s business.

That’s why I started making my own powdered laundry detergent.

My homemade powdered laundry detergent doesn’t make my washing machine smell bad, it gets even my husband’s toxically sweaty running clothes clean, and by keeping the laundry detergent recipe simple with just three ingredients so it is simple quick to whip up a batch.

 
Super simple hand made laundry detergent!
Some photos in this post are courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Top 10 Money Saving Tips of 2017

It is always interesting when I take a look at which Lazy Budget Chef blog posts are the most popular posts of the previous year because I am almost always surprised!

2017 was the year of trying to reduce waste and the money flying out of your wallet fro the things you need, so you can save money to get those things you want.

10 easy ways to reduce waste and save money
  Pin this post and share these frugal ideas with your friends!

The 10 Best Money Saving Lazy Budget Chef Posts of 2017


 

10 Extreme Cheapskate Money Saving Tips You Won’t be Embarrassed to Try 

 


 

10 Best Leftover Ham Recipes You Have to Try Right Now!

 


 

  Nine Plastic Cling Wrap Alternatives  

 


 

Best Lunch Bags for Girls, Teens, and Women with Food Allergies  

 



How to Dehydrate Watermelon

 



12 Money Saving Tips I Often Forget but Should Do 

 


 

The Replacement Anchor Hocking Glass Storage Container Lid Hack They Don’t Want You to Know! 

 


 

14 Ways Cooking in an Instant Pot Saves Money  

 


 

Non Electric Thermal Slow Cooker Recipes You Have to Try!

 


 

How to Preserve Kale the Easy Way: Make Kale Powder!

 



Did you like this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Lazy Budget Chef RSS feed or by subscribing to Lazy Budget Chef by email.