Lazy Budget Chef

Friday, April 17, 2020

10 Ways to Reuse Plastic Takeout Containers

One of the ways my husband and I save money and reduce household waste is to try to get an extra reuse out of everything within reason before it goes into the trash or recycling bin. 

Lately, we've been doing Quarantine Takeout Date Night as a replacement for our regular weekly date night and to help keep our local restaurants in business especially those that are now doing takeout to survive. Some of the food containers we can compost in our compost bin. Others are the hard plastic type we cannot compost or put in our city recycling bin because they are made from number 5 plastic.

Lucky for us, plastic takeout food containers are extremely easy to repurpose which makes them very, very useful.


how to recycle plastic takeout containers
Save these organization ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


If you’re looking for ways to recycle those food takeout containers into something useful, we have you covered!

10 New and Easy Ways to Repurpose Empty Plastic Containers


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How to Make Instant Pot Yogurt with Powdered Milk

I keep a small box of powdered milk in our pantry for bread machine recipes and for my husband to use in his coffee on those rare, pre pandemic occasions when we are out of milk.

Which is coming in handy now that we are out of milk.

I planned ahead when I placed our latest Instacart grocery order (you can learn about Instacart here) but Ohio’s latest quarantine order limits the number of people allowed inside a store at one time. I’m pretty sure that is going to  make our hard working grocery delivery hero’s job harder and we’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the delivery. It’s understandable. I’ll pivot. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)


Can You Make Yogurt From Dry Powdered Milk?


how to make yogurt from dry powdered milk recipe
Save this easy yogurt recipe to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Monday, April 6, 2020

5 Easy Bread Machine Recipes You Have to Try Right Now!

I absolutely love the taste of home baked bread. Unfortunately I also have some horrible affliction where I cannot correctly proof bread dough to save my life. Fortunately there is a remedy for that - a bread machine.

I got my first bread machine as a wedding present and love that I can make all sorts of fancy pants bread recipes for a fraction of the cost of a loaf in the bakery or grocery store. I used my bread maker so much I wore it out. Bread maker Number Two is happily chugging along and providing us with yummy bread. Which to be honest, we’ve been eating more of paired with soups and stews to stretch out the time that we have to order groceries using Instacart (learn more about it here). (affiliate link for your convenience.)


5 Easy Bread Maker Recipes You Have to Try Right Now
Save this comfort food bread recipes to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

But mostly, like everyone else who has gone on a bread baking kick during quarantine, we just like the comforting smell of warm bread baking in the kitchen. In fact I have a load of bread started in my bread maker right now as I type that is destined to accompany a big batch of my husband’s  chili for dinner tonight – yay!

The Best Bread Maker Recipes for Beginners

Sunday, March 29, 2020

16 Ways to Save Money That Don’t Cost Any Money at All

I find that the cheapest way to save money is with new habits because habits are FREE!

I like free.

Free is good. 

Free habits are also the easiest way to unintentionally spend more money if you break them. Or in my case, I tell myself the ol’ Oh not doing that frugal thing this one time won’t hurt – which sometimes gets me out of my good habit until I double check a utility bill. Oops!

Save this list of frugal living ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

This is a list of ideas, not money saving absolutes. Some you might already do. Others may not apply to you. You might do something that is even better than what I have here and if you do, please share it with us in the comments below!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quick and Easy Instant Mashed Potato Pancake Recipe

When my husband and I eat fresh potatoes (which is always), we cook them in a Microwave Potato Bag similar to this one for four minutes and then pop them in the toaster oven to crisp the skin while the rest of dinner cooks on the stove because we generally don’t have the time to bake potatoes old school in the oven.  Mashed potatoes are pretty much off the table due to my severe dairy intolerance because let’s face it loads of butter and cream is what makes mashed potatoes taste like heaven. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)

Which is why my husband was baffled first time he found a box of instant mashed potatoes in the kitchen. Why do we have this when we have real potatoes?

waffle maker instant mashed potato pancakes a comfort food recipe
Save this recipe hack to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


Monday, March 16, 2020

How Much Emergency Food Storage to Buy and How Make It Last

When I was trying to get the hang of paying attention to seasonal sale cycles to help my family save money on groceries, I typically bought the household staples we used all of the time, for example like toothpaste, every time I saw it on sale. That way I’d have a sale priced backup on hand when we run out. In theory that should work just fine. In practice I seemed to always have too many of one thing on hand (like  toothpaste) and not any of another when I need it most like my DIY laundry detergent. This grocery buying strategy didn’t help me one bit when it came to having an extra two weeks of food in my pantry for emergencies because I had weird amounts of stuff that didn’t always go together to make a meal.

Reading advice from food storage moms about how many extra pantry items to have on hand in case of emergency (we have storm related blackouts here) didn’t help much either because the amounts they suggest are for families much larger than mine or for food we don’t typically eat, like Jell-O and desserts. The first thing preparedness folks tell you is to store the type of food you typically eat.


That’s great advice but the food some of them suggest are not the things we typically or are interested in eating. For example keeping giant sacks of wheat berries and grinding my own flour is not practical during a blackout when I have an all electric kitchen but having enough oatmeal on hand to keep making our morning oatmeal for hopefully less than a week using the overnight oats method (soaking the oats overnight in milk or water) instead of a the stove is much more practical for us. (As always your mileage and desires my vary.)


how much food do I need to buy in an emergency
Save this post to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!


Determine the what to keep on hand is easier than the how much. How do you determine when you have too much of something and it spoils vs not having enough?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quick, Easy, and Cheap! Instant Pot Ham with Duck Sauce Glaze Recipe

While poking around in the refrigerator,  I moved a little pile of Chinese takeout duck sauce containers aside on a shelf for the eleventy billionth time as  I was looking for dinner recipe ideas to make with what I already had in the pantry and refrigerator. 

Generally we think of duck sauce as a dipping sauce but as a sweet and sour sauce, it also makes fantastic glaze for chicken or pork. Just pour it out the packet and there ya go – instant ham glaze! You can’t get much lazier than that.

I had carrots and potatoes I needed to use and by chucking some ham from the freezer into the pot, I made a hearty and inexpensive 15 minute meal. What’s more to to love about that?

duck sauce glazed ham recipe

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

Instant Pot Ham with Potatoes and Carrots Recipe