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Browse all recipes on In Good Cents for more ways to save at home or view the recipes below in the order they were released.

Is this still good? This is one question that you should know how to answer, but don’t always know the answer to. At least, I don’t always know without hunting for expiration dates. And while I have a very modest stockpile I still like to make sure that I go through and donate things if they are close to expiration date.

One of my tricks has been to keep a Sharpie in the kitchen and write the expiration dates large on the box so I can see it easily. But what about those things that don’t have an expiration date on them? All You Magazine has made it easy with this nice chart. I am definitely printing this off and taping it inside my kitchen cabinets for an easy reference for the family. Now for some of those questionable items it will be as simple as jotting down the date they are put away instead of hunting for those impossible to find expiration dates!
How long does food last? Here's what to keep... and what to toss.
[Source: Daily Savings from All You]
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My daughter asked me the other day if she could have some gum, but after a look, I realized we were all out.  Her response was, “Let’s make some then.”

Typically, when we are out of something, we can make it ourselves like bread, crackers, and even hot dog buns, but I had no clue if you could make gum.  We went to the internet and after a quick search, we found that we could.   We didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, so going out to buy gum would have probably been more productive, but not as much fun.

I’ll warn you.  Making gum is messy!  But, we had an absolute blast, so it’s a great way to entertain creative kids.

Before you get started, set the mood with some music! We highly recommend Icky, Sticky Bubble Gum by David Landau or our favorite, The Sticky Bubblegum Song by Carole Peterson.

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We’re mixing things up on In Good Cents and launching some new things, so keep watch.

One we’re most excited about is Wacky Wednesday where anything goes.  We may be sharing some crazy recipes, fun ideas, insane things we do to stay frugal, hysterical things we’ve seen (or done) while shopping, or whatever grabs our fancy that week.

So here goes it goes!

Getting my kids to eat is a never ending challenge some days, but getting fun with food helps!  I’ve learned that adding sprinkles to about anything makes it so much more appealing and cupcakes are always popular, even when they aren’t really cupcakes.

That’s where Hot Dog Cupcakes come into play.  They are especially great if you have left over hot dogs from a cookout or camping.  Though, if you’re like up, you never have left over hot dogs!  I know, it sounds gross, but these are so delicious.

 Hot Dog Cupcakes Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 (8.5 oz.) packages of cornbread mix
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 standard-size eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 5-10 hot dogs (leftovers work great!)

How to make them:

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grab a muffin tin and grease the cups or line them with cupcake liners.

Cut into bite-size pieces.

Next, chop your left over hot dogs into bite-size pieces.  Circles work great, but if you have little ones, try triangles or half-moons to avoid a choking hazard.

Next, mix the cornbread mix and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk, then add to the cornbread mixture.  Stir until smooth.  I typically use my electric hand mixer to save time and get all the lumps out.

Toss in the cheese and hot dogs into the mixture and gently stir.

Spoon your mixture into the muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3rds of the way full.  Make sure the hot dogs don’t settle to the bottom, or you’ll end up a bowl full of hot dogs at the end.  If that happens, no worries.  Just spoon a few hot dogs into each cup to spread them out evenly.

Place your cupcakes into the oven and bake for about 14-18 minutes until they are golden brown.   Keep watch.  You don’t want them to burn on the top!

Serve with your favorite side, like baked beans.  To make them look more like cupcakes, drizzle with ketchup, mustard, or your favorite dip.  Or, if you prefer, you can put the dip on the side to dunk, like we do!  But, they taste yummy even without dip.

Mix things up!  Try this recipe with sausages for breakfast or brats for dinner.

These are a great meal for Freezer Cooking, so just place them in a freezer bag and place in the freezer for storage.  You can pull them out and heat them individually in the microwave to put in lunchboxes or for a quick lunch or snack.

 

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Dump Cake Recipe

by Susan on March 7, 2012 · 1 comment

in Frugal Cooking, Recipes

Frugal Recipes

Dump Cake Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
A friend brought this to work the other day and it was so good. I had to share.
Ingredients
  • 1 can pineapple crushed – Do not drain
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 stick butter
  • pecans and walnuts chopped
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Dump in the pineapple and spread over bottom of pan.
  3. Dump in the Cherry pie filling spreading it evenly
  4. Sprinkle Cake mix over the top
  5. Cut up the stick of butter and put peices evenly over the cake
  6. Sprinkle nuts on top
  7. Bake at 350 for 45min to 1 hour minutes
Notes

Try it with different fruits! Peaches and blueberry pie filling sounds good to me.

 

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Ranch Mashed Potato Recipe

by Susan on February 22, 2012 · 0 comments

in Frugal Cooking, Recipes

Frugal Recipes

 

Ranch Mashed Potato Recipe
A quick and easy way to add flavor to your mashed potatoes.
Ingredients
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 pkt ranch dressing powder
Instructions
  1. Make mashed potatoes as you usually would. (I leave the peels on)
  2. Mix in 1 pkt ranch dressing powder mix
  3. Enjoy

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If you have attended one of my classes, you may have heard me refer to my bread recipe. This is my go-to recipe when store bought bread too expensive and while I am not a bread guru, who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about baking a good loaf of bread, I can tell you this recipe has never let me down.

I was intimidated about the idea of baking my own bread, but decided to give it a try. After many trial and errors, I discovered this recipe, tweaked it a bit, and my loaves have come out wonderful. And you get THREE loaves of bread with just one package of yeast. That’s a bargain in itself.

I have to also add there is nothing like the smell of bread baking to lift the mood on cold winter days.

The complete recipe can be found below, but this bread is so easy to make that you probably have all the ingredients laying in your kitchen RIGHT NOW. So gather up your ingredients and get ready to bake some yummy and so delish bread that works great for sandwiches, toast and anything else you think of.

Eggs, oil, yeast, flour, salt, sugar, a mixing bowl, measuring spoon, stirring spoon, and a loaf pan is all you need. See easy-peesy.

Now that we have everything we need out and ready lets get started.

First thing first, this is really when you want to make sure your water is WARM, not hot, but not cold either. Put 2 cups warm water in your bowl and dissolve the 2/3 cup sugar in the bowl, then stir in the yeast. I read somewhere that you want to use plastic, wooden or glass spoons and bowls when working with yeast. (Like I said, I am not a bread guru, but I get good results following that advice). Once you get it all stirred in, it will become a tan color liquid (not all the yeast will dissolve, it will sit on top of the water, that is okay.). Then walk away from the bowl and leave it sit for about 10 minutes to let the yeast and sugar do their thing. Make sure that you sit it somewhere that it won’t be disturbed by big gusts of air or people bumping into it so that it can really get growing.

After you leave it sit for about 10 minutes it should look foamy on top and have a pretty strong yeast smell. It will look something like this:

Add in 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and the two eggs, make sure you mix these in well, you don’t want chunks of egg in your bread. Now it’s time for the flour. I say 6-9 cups because you are making 3 loaves from this recipe. Add your flour in 1/2 cup at a time, and here is where it is entirely appropriate to make a mess of your counter while you are measuring out your flour because you are going to need some flour on the countertop anyway. I hand stir, I wish I had a fancy countertop mixer so make sure you bring your muscles if you don’t have one. Once you get a nice thick texture, it should start to form a ball while you are stirring, and some of it is sticking to the sides of the bowl, (see picture below) you are ready to move on.

Here is where it really get fun. Remove any jewelry that you have on your hands. I have to add this because I am the type who will typically forget and have to clean my wedding rings afterwards.

Plop all that dough on the floured counter and work it. This is also the part my kids love to come in and help. Coat your hands in flour and keep adding more flour onto your surface and into the dough until you get a nice, smooth elastic texture. It will take about 10 minutes to get there, set a timer, because while you are kneading dough, 10 minutes seems FOREVER. (It does help to think of someone you really don’t like, and imagine that your dough is them.) Kneading bread is one of the GREATEST ways to release your aggression in a safe way. Once you get there roll your dough into a nice ball.

Clean out the bowl that you used to mix up your dough, or grab a new bowl, and put a tablespoon of oil in the bottom of the bowl or spray it with Pam. Put your dough ball in there and flip it around a couple of times to coat your dough ball in a nice thin layer of oil.

Now most recipes say to let your dough rise in a warm safe place. The BEST place I have found is my microwave. Before I put the bowl in the microwave I heat up a mug of water for a few minutes to get the microwave warmed up inside, cover your bowl with some plastic wrap, a clean kitchen towel or just trust that no one is going to open or turn on your microwave and set your bowl of dough in there. Set a timer for about an hour and walk away from the kitchen, don’t even worry about cleaning up yet, because we are going to need that flour on the counter again. If you don’t want to put it in the microwave, or don’t have one, go ahead and sit it on top of your stove covered with some plastic wrap or a clean towel. But where ever you decide to put it, just leave it alone for an hour.

BEEP…. Timer went off and it should have at LEAST doubled in size.Mine almost fell out of the bowl, and that has happened a few times. Now that you have it all big and fluffy, give it a punch or two to deflate it. Remember that messy counter I told you to leave dirty? Make sure you have some flour still on there (not a lot just enough to not make it stick) and divide your dough into three equal sections. Then give each section a few more minutes (about 3- 5) of your pent up aggression. Shape your loaves. The easiest way I have found to do this is to pull my dough into a rectangular shape and starting from the long side, roll it up tight, and tuck the ends under, so the top looks nice and pretty. Do this with all three sections and place them each in a well oiled bread pan. I typically press a little on the top of my loaves to make it squish out even in the pan, just because I think it looks prettier that way.

Pop those loaves back in the microwave, or on top of the stove covered for another hour. If you only want to make 1 loaf right now, you can wrap the other two loaves in plastic wrap and toss it in the freezer at this point. (When you want to make those frozen ones, just pull them out of the freezer, unwrap, put in an oiled pan and let sit to thaw and rise for about 3 hours or so.) Let the dough rise in the pan for about an hour. It should rise again very nicely until it has risen over the top of the pan. At some during this last rising make sure you have preheated your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aren’t they so pretty? All that is left is to pop them in the oven. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees, and place your loaves on the middle rack for about 30 minutes. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN until you are ready to check on it. I typically check at 25 minutes at the earliest to make sure I don’t overcook it. To check and see if a loaf of bread is done, give it a tap on the top of it, if it sounds hollow inside it is finished.

When you take them out of the oven, immediately flip them over onto a cooling rack. The longer they sit in the pan after baking them, the harder it is to get them out. Let them cool for a little bit, apparently it isn’t good to slice into bread straight from the oven…who knew? (shh, I won’t tell if you don’t though)

It smells so good it is hard not to cut into right away, I know.

This makes a pretty dense bread that is very versatile. Use it for toast, sandwiches, cut it a little thicker and make garlic toast, add some Italian seasoning and garlic to the dough and make Italian bread, the options with this dough are endless. I had a friend say she even used different flour and it turned out just as well for her.

I don’t use anything special other than a bread knife to slice my bread, and since it is dense it is easy to slice smaller slices. The key to slicing bread is to let the knife cut it, don’t press down on it. Use a sawing motion for the knife to glide right down the loaf, trying not to put much pressure on it.

But, here is my finished product:You can whip up some easy “gourmet” butters for this bread too as a snack. My favorite is onion herb butter. Toss some chopped green onion, oregano and Italian seasons in a bowl of butter, mix well, spread and enjoy. :-) P.S. I don’t care for onions either, but this butter is delish!

Easy Homemade Bread
Recipe Type: Bread
Author: Elizabeth Hines
Prep time: 2 hours 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 3 loaves
Easy to make, yummy and very versatile bread, (no bread machine needed).
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Warm Water
  • 2/3 C. Sugar
  • 1 pkg. Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6-9 C. All Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. Mix water, sugar and yeast together in large mixing bowl, leave sit for approx. 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt, oil and eggs to yeast mixture, mix well
  3. Slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a nice thick ball
  4. Knead on a floured surface for approx. 10 minutes, let rise, covered, in an oiled bowl for 1 hour.
  5. Punch down, and divide into three loaves, knead each one for approx 3 minutes and shape
  6. Place in a well oiled loaf/bread pan
  7. Allow to rise in pan for 1 more hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350. and Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.
  10. Remove from pan immediately and cool.
  11. Slice and enjoy.

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