Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

A few months back I found a great deal on mexican food at Kroger.  I stacked a few coupons and with the catalina coupon at checkout, my purchase ended up being free.  That’s right, I paid nothing but my time to get these items below. I chose to stock up on this because we LOVE mexican food around here.  Burritos are always a huge hit  and we’ve made nacho night a part of our weekly menu.  Just recenlty I decided to try something different and used the homemade pizza dough recipe found here and created a Mexican Pizza.  I’ll have to admit, I was pretty shocked when my girls wanted me to add this recipe to the favorite list.  Beans

Ingredients you will need:

1 can refried beans

1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

Shredded cheese

2 tomatoes

1 can of olives

Evenly spoon a small amount of beans onto the surface of the dough.  Leave a small margin on the outer-side of the dough sheet, which allows the crust to rise and crisp more quickly than the covered dough; creating the classic, puffed up edge of the pizza.  Once you’ve cooked your taco meat spread a small amount over the top of the layer of beans.  Now create a layer of shredded cheese over the beans and met.  Shred about two cups of cheese.  Arrange your toppings over this layer of cheese.  We like tomatoes and sliced olives.  Be creative and add toppings according to your preference.  You can also add sour cream and hot sauce once your pizza is ready.

Preheat your oven up-to the temperature of 450° F for about 10 to 15 minutes. When preheating is done, place the Mexican prepped pizza in the oven at the centre. The baking will take about 10-15 minutes at that temperature.

Signs to look for that the pizza is ready are:
1) The cheese has melted on top and is beginning to brown.
2) The crust edge has browned, from a medium to a golden brown.
3) Now carefully lift the edge of the Mexican pizza to inspect its bottom, it should be evenly brown.

If these signs are evident, your pizza’s done! Now your ready to throw a Mexican fiesta your kiddos will LOVE!

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March is National Frozen Food Month

March

March is National Frozen Food Month.  Even if you’re not what we at two frugal gals call extreme, you can still strategize your grocery shopping to save time and money and learn how to be a Savvy Shopper.

Coupon site BeFrugal.com founder Jon Lal offers this advice:

1. Make a list. This basic strategy saves a ton of time and money. One simple way is to use the notes feature of your smartphone and add items to your list as you realize you need them. Since we usually have our phones with us 24/7, the list is easy to manage. When you shop stick to the list to save lots of time and money.

2. Check your grocery store’s weekly ad in advance. Sunday flyers are available online, so you do not need to buy a paper or wait until Sunday. Look at it online whenever you want and review the sale items while comparing that to your list.

3. While you are looking at the sales online, now is a perfect time to find coupons for items that are already on sale. Get grocery coupons online; quickly search for the items you have on your list or see as being on sale in the grocery store’s flyer then print them out and you are ready to shop. This eliminates clipping coupons and keeping coupons you may never need in a bulky binder.

4. Stock up (if you can). Some grocery stores will be having big sales on frozen foods in honor of Frozen Food Month. As discussed in the tip above, you can also get grocery coupons for these items to get additional savings. If your freezer is already full or you do not need these items, skip them – even if they are on sale. It’s not a bargain if you cannot use it!

5. Consider buying groceries online. In addition to some grocery stores offering online orders and delivery, you can often get great deals buying items online (and getting free shipping on them, of course) when you use promo codes and earn cash back – this is a portion of your total that gets deposited into a free account for you – especially when buying items which grocery coupons are rarely offered on and nonperishable foods. Don’t rule out getting grocery store delivery, either. While there may be a fee of $6-10 for delivery, it may be worth it to you, depending on how much time it can save you

Homemade Vanilla Cake

I like recipes that are easy to make and don’t require a lot of special ingredients who doesn’t right?  Not to mention it’s super nice to have something on hand to throw together at last minute.  The great thing about this bread you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen right now which makes this a frugal recipe!  And to make it a frugalistic recipe you can go here and learn how to make the Homemade Vanilla Extract!

Homemade vanilla cake 2

Ingredients

2 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ cup butter at room temperature

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Pre­heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a medi­um bowl, whisk togeth­er flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt. In a large bowl, cream togeth­er but­ter and sug­ars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, adding them one at a time, fol­lowed by vanil­la extract. Stir in half of the flour mix­ture, fol­lowed by the milk. Add in remain­ing flour mix­ture, stir­ring just until no streaks of dry ingre­di­ents remain. Pour into pre­pared pan. Bake for 50-55 min­utes, or until a tooth­pick insert­ed into the cen­ter of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 5 min­utes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool com­plete­ly.
Makes 1 loaf. Serves 8-10.
Homemade Vanilla Cake

I had a slice with my morning coffee and it was fabulous!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

photo(83)Have you ever learned about something that you can make, and gotten really excited?  No…REALLY excited.  I don’t know what it is about this vanilla but I LOVE it!  When I learned how easy it was to make it, my first move was to google the nearest liquor store.

That was HUGE for me.  I had never been in one.

So here is what you need for this FRUGALIRIFIC recipe:

(Please excuse the lack of picture here….In my excitement.  I forgot to snap the picture.)

1 Liter of vodka (you can use rum or brandy also)

12 Vanilla beans

Vanilla beans can be pretty expensive IF you can even find them in the grocery store.  I bought mine at olivenation.com because I got an online coupon code.   You can get them pretty cheap on eBay!

photo(62)Split your vanilla beans down the middle and peel open.

Drop them into the bottle of vodka.  Let sit for a minimum of 2 months.  The longer it sits, the better it will taste.

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This is after one month.

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Two months later.

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At this point, I was out of my store-bought vanilla.  I wanted my vanilla to keep brewing, but I needed a little.  I poured a small amount into a 4 ounce bottle that I bought on Amazon.  I used a napkin (a coffee filter would have been better) to filter the vanilla through the funnel and into the jar.  This filtered out any of the vanilla beans that snuck out.

The rest of the vanilla is still the original bottle…….soaking up even MORE flavor!

Now here are some cool tips about this vanilla:

When you use some of it, you can just add more alcohol to replace what you took out.  Some people say you can only use the beans twice.  I have heard others say that they just drop a couple of extra beans in the bottle and leave the old ones in there.  I am going to experiment with both ways to see if I notice a difference.

If you use up all the vanilla, you can take the beans and put them in a container of granulated sugar and let them sit for a couple of months.  This will make some FANTASTIC vanilla sugar.

You don’t necessarily need the fanciest vanilla beans.  Most of the extract you buy at the store use Grade B beans.

You also do not need expensive vodka.  The alcohol is used to draw out the vanilla.

Are you ready for the GRAND TOTAL?????

If I use the beans for 2 batches of vanilla it is $0.28/ounce.

That is all natural vanilla…no corn syrup or artificial flavors.

Oh…and you can make lots of other kinds of extract.  Almond, maple, peppermint, lemon…….I just might become a regular at the liquor store! 🙂

KOHL’S SHOPPING

photo(1)With seven people to keep clothed, I am always looking for a good deal.  Kohl’s is one of those stores that inflates their sticker prices, and then puts things on sale so you THINK you are getting a good deal.  You know how I know this?  Last week, I was in there and decided to pick up a package of underwear for my boys.  When I pick them up at Target they are about $7.00.  At Kohl’s a package with half the number of underwear was $15.00.  Even on sale for buy 1 get 1 free, it was not a good deal. (I sat them right back on the shelf!!!)

That being said, I still shop at Kohl’s.  They have great clearance!  I have found some smokin’ hot FRUGALTASTIC deals from their clearance racks!!!

Plus…they send me coupons.  Daily.  Being on their email list means you will always have a coupon on hand.  And the greatest part is that you don’t even have to print the coupon.  You can just pull up the bar code on your phone and they will scan it.

Yesterday, I got an email in my in box with a bar code for $10 off a $10 purchase.  WHO HOOO!!!  Today I went in and picked off a couple of clearance items and walked out paying only $1.39.

Kohl’s……expect great things!

Caramel Sauce Recipe….YUM!

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Caramel….it’s delicious!  I love it on cinnamon rolls, in my coffee, on ice cream, or just on a SPOON!

Like many of my most favorite homemade creations, this one came about when I had a hankerin’ for some caramel and hubs was not around.  When faced with the choice of loading five kids in the car to go to the store, or make it myself……..you can guess which one won!

After spending some time with my good friend Mr. Google, all the recipes I came across had heavy cream.  I DIDN’T HAVE ANY!  So I modified my search to find one that called for milk rather than cream.  VICTORY!  Bright-eyed baker had a fantastic recipe!

 

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Here is what you need:  (Just three SIMPLE ingredients!)

1 cup Sugar

1 1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp Salt

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Sprinkle the sugar in the bottom of a deep pot.  This is important because later it will bubble up and a shallow pot will overflow.  Plus, you want your sugar in a THIN layer so it doesn’t burn.

Set the timer for ten minutes.  Turn the heat on medium low.  DO NOT try to speed up the process by using a hotter stove.  Then, sit and watch the sugar. Really.  It will take about another 5 minutes or so but the sugar WILL start to melt.

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While keeping an eye on the sugar, warm the milk in the microwave for 1 minute.

photo(74)Ok.  So this picture is a little disappointing.  Here is what the picture did not capture.  You will start to SMELL the sugar and then you will begin to see little spots in the sugar.  They are a little brown and a little translucent.  When you see this……GET READY!

photo(75)Start folding the melted sugar on top of the unmelted with a rubber spatula.  Don’t stir it, just fold it on top.

photo(76)When it looks like this.  Take it off the heat!

photo(77)Whip in half of the milk.  QUICK!!!  Then add the remainder of the milk.  If you are a pro, which I am not, you can just keep stirring until it is well blended.  If you end up with rock hard chunks of hardened caramel…….

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Put it back on the heat (still Medium-low).  Stir constantly until the clumps melt.  It is not hopeless!  Just keep stirring.

This caramel is a little thin if you stop here.  If you want it thicker, keep it over the heat for 5-10 minutes stirring constantly.  It will still look thin, but as it cools it will thicken up.

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Add the salt and stir well.  Let cool in the refrigerator.

PASTA BOWLS

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Once a month all the pastor’s wives get together for a pot luck dinner.  It is always delicious, but you just never know what you are going to get.

This month, I decided to try a recipe I had never done before.  Risky, I know.  It turned out GREAT!

Here is what you need:

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1 batch of pizza dough (or you can buy a pre-made crust)

1 box of pasta  (I used Ziti, but you can use any kind you want.)

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 jar pasta sauce

1/2 cup sliced sausage

1/2 cup sliced pepperoni’s

olive oil

Italian seasoning

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Take your pizza dough and form it into 8 pasta bowls.  Pour a little olive oil in each bowl.  Brush evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the edge of the dough.

photo(60)Bake Pasta bowls on 400 for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool.

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Cook pasta and strain. Toss in pepperoni, sausage, pasta sauce, and parmesan cheese.  Stir well.

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Scoop pasta into bowls.

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Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 8-10 minutes on 350.

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ENJOY!!!!!!

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