Lazy Budget Chef: April 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

27 Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas for Families

I am spending all of my spare time, and not so spare time, working with Lacey on her fear issues. In the meantime, Husband and I need dinner recipes that use a short list of common real food ingredients that are easy to make and come together quickly.

I asked the smartest people I know – my Facebook friends (you can be one too, click here to Like my page!) for their easy family dinner ideas.

You can easily adjust most of these recipes to fit your family and what is in your cupboards. Can’t eat gluten? Switch to a gluten free pasta or flour. Don’t like vegetarian? Toss in some meat. Don't like canned ingredients? Use fresh or frozen. Don't have fresh? Do just the opposite. You get the drill.

Let’s eat!

 Pin this list of quick, healthy meals on a budget to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

Paleo Primal Chicken Tacos with Bacon   from Tiffany of Nature Moms says, "If I have 10-20 minutes I make tacos. I made paleo tacos for dinner tonight and boy were they ever good!! I don't miss tortillas or taco shells at all when I eat these! Plus, they are a snap to make."

Chicken Pepper Stir Fry from Angie Country Chic Cottage. Like Angie, stir frys paired with brown rice are a quick meal staple at my house.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big Balance Bar Giveaway!

Husband like to keep energy bars around in case he needs one after working out at the gym. Sounds like a simple purchase, right?

Not always. When you read that the ingredients in a lot of so called healthy energy bars are full of high fructose corn syrup and are more like eating a candy bar than something that is supposed to replace protein and carbs after a five mile run.

In this type of situation, it would be easier to bake them myself. I have several recipes for energy bars but haven’t gotten around to trying them. Helping and rehabilitating Lacey with her fear of ,well, just about everything, is the priority right now. That doesn’t give me time for side projects like baking energy bars.

The friendly folks at Balance Bar  offered to help us out and send us (Husband, really) samples of their new line – Balance Bar Dark. Of course, before I agreed to anything I had to research Balance Bar and the ingredients in Balance Bar Dark. Balance Bar Dark bars do not contain high fructose corn syrup. They are high in protein, certified gluten free, contain certified kosher dairy and 4 grams of fiber per serving. Balance Bar Dark follows the 40-30-30 nutrition principle, which Balance Bar explains better than I can.

" 40% of the calories come from carbohydrates - specially blended with our unique protein blend and dietary fat to help promote a slow glycemic response and sustain your energy levels.

30% of the calories come from quality protein - a combination of whey, milk and soy protein for muscle recovery.

30% of the calories come from dietary fat - a concentrated source of energy and source of essential fatty acids."

Husband likes the ingredients in Balance Bar Dark. I like Balance Bar Dark uses Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa. OK then. Let’s sample!

Husband tried all three Balance Bar Dark flavors Dark Chocolate Coconut, Dark Chocolate Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Peanut. Husband the dark chocolate is an immediate plus. He was pleasantly surprised Balance Bar Dark tastes more like an energy bar than like a candy bar as other chocolate energy bars he has tried do – another big plus. The only criticism Husband has is that the name of the Dark Chocolate Coconut should say Toasted Coconut because “toasted coconut is even better than coconut!”

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Shop Seasonally and Save Money when Nothing is Growing Locally

I had a Facebook conversation (Like my fan page pretty please?) about how much money our families spend on groceries each month.  The conversation eventually turned, as it usually does, to complaining that   fresh fruit and vegetables cost a lot more money.

I used to think that way about buying fresh fruit and vegetables too.

I also got frustrated when the media told me to eat locally and in season. Well that is all very well and good if you live in an area with a year round growing season. I don't. I shop Ohio grown as much as I can in the summer. I can’t during the winter and spring. Ohio has six months out of every year where nothing grows – including root vegetables.

How to Shop Seasonally and Save Money when Nothing is Growing Locally

From winter to spring, I sucked it up and paid the extra money if I wanted a summer squash or whatever. My grocery bill fluctuates seasonally. Less in summer, more in winter. I didn’t like it but I didn’t want to eat canned vegetables to cut costs either – yuck.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ham and Cabbage Recipe

Here’s a big money saving tip for you, go grocery shopping is right after a major ethnic or religious holiday because the holiday food that was spendy before the holiday is on super sale!

That’s how Husband and I ended up with an entire spiral sliced ham. It was a cheaper than the turkey ham (turkey cured with ham spices) that is one quarter of its size that we normally buy.

One of the things I like about ham is that the leftovers are so versatile. I watched my foodie aunt whip up this meal one day when she was short on time and long on ham leftovers. This is my interpretation of how I remember her making ham and cabbage.

Since this is a cooking with leftovers recipe, the amounts do not have to be exact. The idea is to use up what you have languishing in the refrigerator before it goes bad.

Ham and Cabbage and Noodles Recipe