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Budget Egg Tips

Budget Egg Tips

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Save money and buy the best eggs with our advice.

Skip the egg substitutes.

Egg substitutes are essentially egg whites with added food color. Yet they’re pricier than whites from whole eggs. Just one-quarter cup of Egg Beaters (the equivalent to the whites of two eggs) costs $.50. That’s nearly twice the amount you’d pay for an equivalent amount of whites from whole eggs. Plus, once you open the container, they spoil more quickly, too.

Brown eggs offer no cost advantage.

Despite a price tag that’s 40 percent higher on average, brown eggs are identical to white in terms of taste and nutrition. Hens that lay brown eggs are bigger, so they eat more feed―a cost that’s passed along to you.

Choose the store brand.

Store brand eggs have the same quality as name brands, but they’re almost always less expensive.

Shop your supermarket.

While eggs from the farmer’s market may seem fresher, they aren’t subject to the same regulations as commercial eggs. "When you buy eggs at the farmers' market you don’t know where that egg has been, if it’s been refrigerated, or if it’s been washed or cleaned," says Mary Torell, public information officer with the Poultry and Egg Division of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. "When you buy eggs from the grocery store you know they have been gathered quickly, USDA inspected, washed, transported in refrigerated trucks and shipped to the supermarket within 36 to 48 hours of being laid."

A beginner’s guide to Kamado cooking (Big Egg-style) on a budget

If you know me, you know I’m a fan of the smoked meats. Living in Austin, Texas, it’s kind of a requirement. Aside from eating a (frankly) absurd amount of the stuff, I’ve been cooking it myself for the better part of a decade now. Usually on random pits or at a friend’s place, but we recently moved into a house and I decided to step up my game.

I bought a Kamado cooker. And like a kid with a new toy, I want to tell you allll about it.

Meal Prepping on a Budget

When I first started meal prepping, I did it to save money as I would buy a lot of my lunches at work. Meal prepping definitely saved me from spending $10-15 a day at work and my wallet has been thanking me for it! Over the years, I’ve gotten the hang of budgeting for meal prepping and saving the extra money that I had used to spend on purchased lunches on my student loans.

Some weeks though, while I was saving money by meal prepping, I would spurge on things like a nice block of cheese or you know, accidentally buy way too much at the Nordstorm Anniversary Sale and suddenly my budget for my weekly meal prep just shrunk in half. Oops. During those weeks, I find myself turning to very simple recipes that involves a lot of pantry basics. I have four go-to budget meal prep recipe categories that I always turn to when my dollars are low. These budget meal prep recipes usually consists of items that are very cheap to purchase in bulk and have a very long shelf life so they’re almost always in my pantries (think dried lentils, beans, etc!)

My budget meal prep staples

These 4 categories cover thinks from breakfast to dinner! I also find that these “staple” budget meal prep recipes to be very versatile as well so they’re very easy to change up without spending too much. Some of these recipes can also do double duty as well as you can incorporate the leftovers into new meals such as using leftover vegetables and adding an egg to it to turn it into a new frittata!

Tips on meal prepping on a budget

  • Seasoning is your best friend when meal prepping on a budget. Seasonings increases the flavour selection that you now have with very basic recipes – for example, using smoked paprika and chili flakes in a frittata vs using lemon pepper for your frittata.
  • If you can’t get fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen vegetables are a great budget alternative. Studies have suggested that frozen veggies have just as many nutrients (if not more) as their fresh counterparts as they are being frozen right after they’re harvested. (here’s a study on it if you’re curious).
  • Dried beans tend to cost less than canned beans so extra step of soaking dried beans overnight can save you money on the long run.
  • Consider purchasing generic instead of name brands.
  • If you love meat but want to still meal prep on a budget, consider a less expensive cut of the meat. For example, consider buying skin-in, bone-in, or tougher cuts of meats. You can always remove the skin/bone yourself and use a slow cooker or Instant Pot to make those tough cuts of meats tender! Bonus if you purchase a whole chicken you’ll have a ton of meat and you can use the bones to make chicken broth.
  • If your only options for purchasing cheap bulk foods that aren’t freezable is Costco, consider splitting a yearly membership with a friend or family member so you can both get bulk items for cheap.
  • Look for sales in your weekly flyers and plan your week’s worth of meals accordingly – for example, my local supermarket has ground beef on sale very often but it’s usually the large family packs. I’ll buy it, plan a week’s worth of recipes that is based on ground beef with half of the beef, and freeze the second half (since it’s usually like 4lbs and that can be too much for just me). Another thing I do is buy cuts of meat (like chicken breast or thighs) in bulk and then I split it into individual ziploc bags and freeze it.
  • Check back on this post every so often! If I find another delicious budget friendly meal prep, I’ll add it here!


  • I’m a huge fan of glass containers for packing my lunches in as they’re great for reheating in the microwave and they don’t hold onto smells over time. You can even get containers that have dividers if you want to keep certain components of your meal separate.
  • I’m also a fan of mason jars as they’re great for soups or anything that is layered (ie salad with dressing on the bottom).
  • Always use freezer friendly ziploc bags when freezing and write on it with a sharpie to know when the meat was purchased.
  • I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot and slow cooker as I can set it and forget it and a delicious meal prep comes out of it afterwards!
  • Subscribe to my newsletter (sidebar or click here) to get a copy of my weekly meal planner printable.
  • If you are interested in a meat subscription so you’ll always have meat in your freezer, check out Butcherbox for hormone and antibiotic free meat delivered to your door! Use “AP10” for $10 off and free bacon in your first box! Shipping is free.

Budget Meal Prep Recipe Ideas: Rice and Beans

This Spicy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Meal Prep is inspired by the chicken burrito bowls from Chipotle! It’s so easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes to meal prep for four days!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice are a delicious and healthy vegetarian meal from The Food Blog.

A Hearty and flavourful meal made from rice, beans, and sausage to satisfy your crowd from Deliciously Plated.

A hearty, protein-packed, super nutritious, and one-pot vegan meal featuring rice, beans, tofu, and greens from The Full Helping.

Spicy Cajun flavors magically turn beans and rice into a delicious bowl of healthy, wholesome goodness from Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures.

These Rice & Bean burritos taste AMAZING, but are easy to make! They’re also freezer-friendly so they are perfect for Meal Prep from From My Bowl.

Budget Meal Prep Recipes Ideas: Egg Based

Need a breakfast meal prep idea? Why not try this delicious and fun breakfast wonton egg cups?

Ready in less than 30 mins that are gluten-free and keto? Try these pantry staple 6-Ingredient Veggie Egg Cups from Recipes From a Pantry.

Here’s an easy breakfast muffin recipe with eggs, bacon, cheese, and simple Tex-Mex ingredients from the Rising Spoon.

These Quinoa Frittata Muffins are a healthy, quick, and easy breakfast meal prep option! Packed with vegetables and healthy quinoa and completely satisfying. Recipe from My Kitchen Love.

Go to bed excited for the morning with this delicious make ahead breakfast taco egg bowl! Great for lunches as well.

Ready in just 20 minutes, enjoy this tasty sweet potato frittata for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner! It’s full of nourishing ingredients with a hit of cheese. Recipe from Veggie Desserts.

This tasty mixture of buttery potatoes, spicy chorizo, and eggs makes a great meal that everyone will love. Recipe from Muy Bueno Cookbook.

This Double Cheese, Bacon, Mushroom, and Egg Hash is not only perfect breakfast but for any meal of the day! It’s super easy to make and ready in 40 minutes in addition to being budget friendly!

These veggie, bacon, and cheese Meal Prep Breakfast Sandwiches reheat in the microwave in no time, so they’re perfect for starting busy days off right.These veggie, bacon, and cheese Meal Prep Breakfast Sandwiches reheat in the microwave in no time, so they’re perfect for starting busy days off right. Recipe from Wholefully.

Budget Meal Prep Recipe Ideas: Overnight Oats

Breakfast can be tricky – it’s a meal that’s easy to skip when you want an extra 10 minutes in bed. Enter these healthy and easy overnight oats to make your mornings easier!! Strawberries and Cream, Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake, PB&J, and Apple Pie.

Make these Overnight Coconut Mango Oats with West African flavours for a quick breakfast or breakfast on the go. Recipe from Recipe from a Pantry.

Are you ready for breakfast with a twist? Prepared in under 10 minutes the night before, this Chocolate Chia Steel Cut Overnight Oats is so delicious and creamy, that it’s like eating ice cream for breakfast!

These Blueberry Lemon Coconut Oats really are the taste of summer! Recipe from Lemon and Zest.

Healthy, delicious and loved by the whole family, these Strawberry Yogurt Overnight Oats are packed full of gluten-free rolled oats, Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, milk, and chia seeds for an easy, grab-n-go, protein-packed breakfast. Recipe from The Forked Spoons.

Maple Spiced Chia Overnight Oats are the perfect make ahead breakfast. Filling, creamy and delicious, make some up before you go to bed and you have the perfect grab-and-go breakfast for those busy mornings. Recipe from Whole Food Bellies.

Budget Meal Prep Recipe Ideas: Soups/Stews

Hearty and affordable, this traditional Québécois pea soup will keep your stomach full and warm.

This Instant Pot Borscht is healthy and delicious. It’s a perfect and affordable way to stay warm during winter while eating cozy and comforting vegan and gluten-free soup. Recipe from Imagelicious.

This super Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew will have you grabbing a second bowl! A thick and rich sauce filled with hearty potatoes, carrots, onions, and melt in your mouth beef that will only take under an hour with an Instant Pot!

Curried Lentil soup is vegan, protein packed and naturally gluten free. Perfect for a simple meatless meal and made with budget friendly ingredients. Recipe from Nutritious Eats.

Easy and delicious Vegan Roasted Carrot Soup with lentils and Moroccan spices. This velvety, rich and healthy carrot soup has a unique and perfectly balanced flavour. Recipe from Happy Kitchen Rocks.

This Southwestern Kale and White Bean Soup gives you a nourishing bowl full of veggies, quinoa, and warming spices like cumin and chili powder. Recipe from Killing Thyme.

Enjoy this really super simple Green Bean & Potato Curry that is budget friendly, only has 8 ingredients & needs no fancy-schmancy spices. Recipe from A Virtual Vegan.

$1.66/serving, this delicious and healthy soup won’t break the bank, or your health goals. Recipe from Nourish Nutrition Blog.

This easy summer gazpacho is a cool and refreshing way to start your next dinner. It’s healthy and fresh, with just the right amount of spice. With just 10 ingredients (including pantry staples such as salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic!), this soup last up to 3 days chilled in the fridge. Recipe from All The Kings Morsels

The Big Green Egg cooker is a versatile kamado grill/smoker/oven, if you know how to use it well. Here are 10 tips to help you make the most out of yours.

1. Start with a full load of natural lump charcoal.

Start with a full load of natural lump charcoal. That means 5 pounds lit with a paraffin fire starter cube or an electric lighter. No chimney needed (the Egg’s unique design makes it sort of an oversize chimney). And never use lighter fluid.

2. When lighting the charcoal, have all the vents wide open and keep the lid open the first 7 to 10 minutes.

When lighting the charcoal, have all the vents wide open and keep the lid open the first 7 to 10 minutes. Then close it to bring the Egg to the desired temperature. This will take 15 to 20 minutes (a bit longer in winter).

3. Once the Egg is hot, “burp” it before opening it completely.

Once the Egg is hot, “burp” it before opening it completely. That is, raise the lid a few inches to release some of the heat, then lower it. Do this a couple times. This keeps you from getting blasted by a “back flash.”

4. For direct grilling (of steaks, chops, burgers, etc.), preheat the Egg to 600 to 700 degrees.

For direct grilling (of steaks, chops, burgers, etc.), have all the coals lit, open the bottom and top vents wide, and preheat the Egg to 600 to 700 degrees. Sear the steak on the grate for 2 minutes per side (giving a quarter turn after 1 minute), then lower the lid. Here’s where the genius of the Egg comes in: The juices drip on the coals, sending fragrant smoke up to the steak. The lowered lid traps the smoke and seals in the moisture. It also speeds up the cooking time—7 minutes in all should do it.

5. For indirect grilling and smoking, install a convEGGtor.

For indirect grilling and smoking, install a convEGGtor (a.k.a. plate setter)—a heavy three-legged ceramic plate that fits in the top of the bottom section of the Egg’s firebox. Insert it upside down (that is, with the legs up and the flat section down).

6. For slow-smoking, add the normal measure of charcoal.

For slow-smoking, add the normal measure of charcoal. Mix in 2 handfuls (1 to 1-1/2 cups) hardwood chips (for a regular size Egg, 3 handfuls for the XXL), which Bruce Bohannon, Big Green Egg cooking instructor, does not bother to soak ahead of time. Scatter the chips over the charcoal, then push them between the coals with a poker. Using a paraffin fire starter, light only 3 or 4 coals in the center. Then close the lid and adjust the vents to obtain the desired temperature (225 to 250 degrees). Another ingenious feature of the Egg becomes obvious here: The lit coals in the center gradually light the surrounding coals and wood chips. The fire spreads slowly to the periphery, giving you as much as 16 to 18 hours of heat and smoke on a single load of charcoal.

7. For a stronger smoke flavor, toss 3 chunks of hickory or other hardwood on top of the unlit coals.

8. Invest in a Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru to further control the heat.

To further control the heat, invest in a Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru. This battery-powered thermostat regulates the airflow through the bottom vent, allowing you to control the cooking temperature almost to the precise degree.

9. Yes, you can cold smoke in an Egg.

Yes, you can cold smoke in an Egg. Set it up for slow-smoking and preheat to 200 degrees. Fill a large pan with ice and place it on the convEGGtor, then place the food to be cold smoked over it.

10. Use the following guide for approximate cooking times.

You want approximate cooking times? Use the following guide for an Egg preheated to 225 degrees:

How to Make Icing Roses:

There are many good tutorials on the Internet for piping flowers and shapes, but here is a quick lesson.

Rose tips are wide at the base and narrow at the top. The roses used on these eggs were made with a #104 decorating tip. You may want to get a decorating tip set that includes the #352 Leaf Tip, so you can add leaves to your flowers.

Items Needed:

  • Royal Icing (recipe above)
  • Icing Bag with a #104 decorating tip (or Plastic Bag with the tip cut off)
  • Rose Nail (or Meat Thermometer)
  • Waxed Paper
  1. Cut a small stack of 1 ½-inch waxed paper squares. Put a little frosting on a rose nail (or a meat thermometer) and place a waxed paper square on the frosting. Put the desired color of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a rose tip.
  2. Always holding the wide side of the tip down, make a small cone in the middle of the paper, turning the stem of the rose nail as you work.
  3. Add 3 petals, squeezing the bag and overlapping the petals a little.
  4. Add another layer of 5 petals, staggering the beginning of the second row of petals so they are in between the first row (like laying bricks.)
  5. Add another layer if you wish.
  6. Slide the waxed paper and rose onto a flat surface.
  7. Repeat!
  8. Allow the flowers to dry for several hours.

Tips to help you save money on Easter meals

  1. Shop your pantry. Chances are, you’ve already got a lot of great food on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Do a look-see to determine what you already have that you can plan into your Easter meals.
  2. Shop the sales. In the coming weeks, you’ll find lots of great ingredients on sale at the grocery store, especially in the produce and meat aisles. Look for great deals on berries, asparagus and peas, ham, and lamb. You may also find sales in the baking aisle, so keep your eyes peeled, and built your menu around what’s on sale.
  3. Plan simple, frugal meals. It’s a holiday, yes, but that doesn’t require you to go overboard. Never spend more than you have, even for a special occasion. Instead, focus on the basics: a hearty protein that stretches well for many people, some simple side dishes, and a stellar dessert. Or two.
  4. Invite others to contribute. Likewise, you don’t have to do all the cooking. If your guests offer to contribute, let them! It may be that they have a special holiday tradition that they’d like to include. The more the merrier! And less for you to buy and cook.
  5. Have a back-up meal plan. There will always be those times when things do not go according to plan. Hedge your bets and have a backup meal plan on hand.

Week 5 Recipes

tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
c. = cup
oz. = ounce
pkg. = package
g = grams
mg = milligrams
lb. = pound

Oven-fried Chicken

Equipment you will need

• cutting board
• measuring cup
• sharp knife
• measuring spoons
• baking dish
• tongs or fork
• plastic bag

2 tsp. margarine or butter
2/3 c. Master Mix**
½ tsp. paprika, if desired
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 lb. chicken

Cut the chicken into serving-sized pieces and take off the skin. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Melt the margarine in the baking dish in the oven. Mix the Master Mix, paprika, salt and pepper in the plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces and shake. Put the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes, then turn the chicken over and bake 15 minutes more (50 minutes total).

Serves six. Per serving: 340 calories, 9 g fat, 52 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 480 mg sodium.

Spicy Baked Fish

Equipment you will need

• cutting board
• small sharp knife
• baking dish
• small pan
• mixing spoon
• cheese grater

1 lb. frozen cod fillets, without skin
vegetable oil
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped green pepper
1 c. (8-oz. can) chopped tomatoes
1/8 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. oregano
1 c. grated cheese, if you like

Thaw frozen fish in the refrigerator. Cut fish into six servings. Oil baking dish and spread fish in dish. Bake fish in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. While fish is baking, chop the onion and green pepper. Cook the onion and green pepper in a small pan in a little water for three minutes. Add tomatoes and spices. Cook on stovetop for 10 minutes to blend flavors. When fish is done, pour liquid off. Pour vegetable sauce over fish. Bake 10 minutes. Grate cheese and put over fish. Bake two or three minutes to melt cheese.

Serves six. Per serving: 150 calories, 7 g fat, 18 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 250 mg sodium.

Yogurt Fruit Crunch

Equipment you will need

• small mixing bowl
• mixing or serving spoon
• 4 small serving dishes
• measuring cup

2 c. low-fat yogurt (plain or vanilla)
1 c. fruit, fresh (1 banana) or canned in light syrup (drained)
1 c. dry cereal, crunchy

Drain fruit if using canned fruit or cut up the fresh fruit. Mix the yogurt and fruit together in a mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture into small serving dishes. Sprinkle ¼ cup cereal on top of each serving.

Serves four. Per serving: 170 calories, 1.5 g fat, 7 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 135 mg sodium.

Quick Skillet Hot Dish

Equipment you will need

• frying pan
• measuring cup
• can opener
• cooking spoon

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 (5 oz.) package macaroni
1 (1 oz.) package dried onion soup mix
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can corn
1 (10½ oz.) can tomato soup or 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce plus 1 can water
2 c. water

Brown ground turkey or beef in a frying pan. Drain fat. Add the other ingredients, plus 2 cups water. Cook at a low heat for 10 minutes or until the macaroni is cooked and all the liquid is gone.

Serves six. Per serving: 360 calories, 7 g fat, 26 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber and 790 mg sodium.
Developed by the dietetic students at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, Minnesota.

**Master Mix

Equipment you will need

• measuring cups
• measuring spoons
• large mixing bowl
• pastry blender or fork or 2 knives
• mixing spoon
• storage containers

9 c. flour
1/3 c. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1 c. vegetable oil

Measure flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, sugar and dry milk into mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon to mix well. Measure and add oil. Blend the oil into the dry mix using the pastry blender, the fork or the knives. The mix should look like coarse cornmeal. Store the mix in covered plastic or glass storage containers in the refrigerator.

To use the Master Mix in a recipe, stir the mix in the container, then spoon it carefully into a cup and level it off with a knife.

Makes 11 cups. Use in recipes similar to commercial baking mix.

Ask your local Extension Service office for more recipes featuring “Master Mix.”

Homemade Pizza

Equipment you will need

• cookie sheet or pizza pan
• frying pan
• measuring spoons
• measuring cup
• mixing bowl
• mixing spoon
• can opener
• cheese grater
• cooking spoon

Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
½ lb. ground beef
1 tsp. oregano
2 c. Master Mix**
½ c. low-fat milk
1 (10 oz.) can pizza sauce
1 c. chopped vegetables of choice, such as green pepper, onion, tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) mushrooms, drained
½ c. grated mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or lightly oil cookie sheet. Brown the ground beef in the frying pan and drain the fat. Add oregano and mix well. Let sit. Measure Master Mix and milk into a bowl. Mix lightly to make a dough. Spread flour on the counter. Dump dough onto flour and knead six times. Pat half of dough to fit size of cookie or pizza pan. Move dough to lightly oiled cookie sheet. Pinch the edges of the dough to make a rim. Spread pizza sauce on the dough. Cover with half the ground beef, assorted toppings and grated cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat with second half of dough.

Serves eight. Per serving: 230 calories, 8 g fat, 12 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 630 mg sodium.

Note: This recipe makes two pizzas, so you will have “planned-overs” for lunch, too.

Egg Salad Sandwich

• small pan
• measuring cup
• small bowl
• mixing spoon
• small sharp knife
• cutting board

4 hard-cooked eggs
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ c. mayonnaise*
8 slices whole-wheat bread
tomato slices and lettuce leaves, if desired

Put eggs in pan. Cover with cold water. Put pan on the stove and heat until the water starts to boil. Take pan of eggs off the stove, cover the pan and let it stand for 15 minutes. Wash and chop the celery and put in small bowl. When eggs have stood for 15 minutes, pour cold water over them. Take out of water and peel the eggs. Cut eggs on cutting board and put in bowl. Measure and add mayonnaise and mix well. Place four slices of bread on cutting board. Put one-quarter of egg mix on each slice. Spread egg mix over bread, top with tomato slices and lettuce, and put another slice of bread on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Serves four. Per serving: 220 calories, 7 g fat, 12 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 390 mg sodium.

Beef and Cabbage Casserole

Equipment you will need

• cutting board
• small sharp knife
• frying pan
• measuring spoon
• measuring cup
• can opener
• mixing bowl or large measuring cup
• covered casserole dish

½ lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped onion
1 tsp. chili powder
½ c. uncooked rice
1 small head cabbage, sliced thin (about 2 c.)
1 (15 oz.) can tomato soup, mixed with 1 can water

Brown meat in the frying pan and pour off the fat. Chop onion and add to meat. Add pepper and chili powder and mix well. Slice about one-half a head of cabbage into thin strips. Place half of the cooked ground beef in the bottom of a casserole dish. Spoon half the uncooked rice and half the cabbage over the meat. Repeat the meat, rice and cabbage layers. Mix the soup and water in a bowl. Pour soup over the top of the casserole. Cover and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Serves four. Per serving: 220 calories, 3.5 g fat, 16 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber and 310 mg sodium.

Sugar and Spice Snack Mix

Equipment you will need

• mixing bowl
• mixing spoon
• airtight container or resealable bags

3 c. toasted oat squares cereal
3 c. small pretzel twists
2 Tbsp. margarine, melted
1 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. raisins or dried fruit of choice

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large plastic bag with a tight seal, combine oat squares and pretzels. In a small bowl, stir together melted margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour over cereal mixture. Seal bag and gently shake mixture until well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Spread mixture onto paper towels to cool. Add dried fruit and stir to mix. Store at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Serves 14. Per serving: 140 calories, 2.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 250 mg sodium.

Oven Fries

4 medium potatoes
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, such as canola oil or sunflower oil
paprika (optional)
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Wash potatoes, but don’t peel. Slice into ½-inch-thick strips. Blot dry with paper towels toss potatoes with oil in a bowl until coated. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Toss with Parmesan cheese (optional).

Serves eight. Per serving: 100 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 10 mg sodium.


Equipment you will need

• cutting board
• small sharp knife
• frying pan
• can opener
• mixing spoon

½ c. chopped onion
½ lb. ground beef
2 tsp. chili powder
1 can (16 oz. or 2 c.) tomatoes, plain or stewed
1 can (8 oz. or 1 c.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz. or 2 c.) kidney beans, undrained

Chop the onion. Brown the ground beef and onion in a large frying pan. Pour off the fat. Stir in the rest of the food. Heat for 10 minutes and serve.

Serves four. Per serving: 230 calories, 3.5 g fat, 20 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber and 540 mg sodium.


Equipment you will need

• sharp knife
• cutting board
• frying pan
• can opener
• cooking spoon
• fork, potato masher or blender

½ lb. ground beef
1 (16 oz.) cans kidney, pinto or red beans
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning or 1 Tbsp. chili powder
grated cheese
chopped lettuce
chopped tomatoes
8 soft tortillas (corn or flour)

Chop onion. Brown onion and ground beef in frying pan. Pour off the fat. Drain one can beans and mash with a fork or potato masher, or blend in a blender. Drain other can of beans and add it and mashed beans to ground beef. Mix well. Fill warm, soft tortillas with ground beef and beans, grated cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve with salsa.

Serves four. Per serving: 460 calories, 13 g fat, 29 g protein, 58 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber and 820 mg sodium.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Equipment you will need

• cutting board
• can opener
• small sharp knife
• small bowl
• measuring cup
• mixing spoon

1 (7 oz.) can tuna
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ c. mayonnaise*
8 slices whole-wheat bread

Open tuna can and drain tuna. Put tuna in small bowl. Wash and chop celery on cutting board. Measure ¼ cup mayonnaise. Add celery and mayonnaise to tuna in bowl. Mix well. Place four slices of bread on cutting board. Put one-quarter of tuna mix on each slice. Spread tuna over bread and put another slice of bread on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Serves four. Per serving: 190 calories, 2 g fat, 16 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 450 mg sodium.
*To cut calories and fat, use nonfat or low-fat mayonnaise, or use half nonfat yogurt.

Cheeseburger Loaf

Equipment you will need

• mixing bowl
• measuring cup
• cutting board
• small sharp knife
• cheese grater
• baking dish or loaf pan

1 egg
1/3 c. low-fat milk
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
¼ c. chopped onion
¾ lb. ground beef
1 c. grated cheddar cheese

Beat egg in mixing bowl. Add milk and bread pieces and let soak a few minutes. Chop onion and grate cheese. Add to mixing bowl. Mix in ground beef. Shape into a loaf and put in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Serves seven. Per serving: 160 calories, 8 g fat, 15 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 180 mg sodium.
Quick tip: Buying a block of cheese and grating your own can save you money. Compare the unit prices of block cheese and grated cheese.

Potato Salad

Equipment you will need

• peeler
• scrub brush
• small sharp knife
• cutting board
• 2 covered pans
• medium mixing bowl
• measuring cups
• measuring spoons
• mixing spoon

4 medium potatoes
2 hard-cooked eggs
1 stalk chopped celery
¼ finely chopped onion
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. vinegar
¾ c. mayonnaise (use part yogurt to cut calories)
½ tsp. salt

Wash, scrub and peel potatoes. Cut into ½-inch cubes. Put potatoes in covered pan in 1 inch of water and cook until potatoes are tender (10 to 15 minutes). Put the two eggs in another pan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil on the stove, remove from the burner and let sit for 10 minutes. Mix all the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. When eggs are cooked, peel and cut them. Drain potatoes. Add eggs and potatoes to everything in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate two hours or overnight to let flavors blend.

Serves four. Per serving: 360 calories, 3 g fat, 11 g protein, 74 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber and 740 mg sodium.


Equipment you will need

• small paper cups
• Popsicle sticks or plastic spoons

Fruit juice of your choice (½ c. for each fruitsicle)
— use apple, orange, or grape

Pour juice into the paper cups. Add a Popsicle stick or plastic spoon. The stick can be at an angle. Put filled cups in freezer to freeze juice. Tear off paper cup when you are ready to eat the fruitsicle.

Per fruitsicle: 60 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber and 0 mg sodium.

This material was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with a low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your county social services office.

For more information about food safety and nutrition, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

Hashbrown Egg Casserole

I love holiday mornings! I love the laziness, I love the laughter and I love the fun.

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Easter, or whatever other holiday, I love to serve a late breakfast/brunch with a delicious egg casserole. I love these specifically because they can be made the day before and they get better with “age.” And they are an easy option for holiday breakfast/brunch because they are so hands off – just put into the oven and it’s ready in an hour.

While it’s baking, we can be opening Christmas gifts, or preparing gravy for Thanksgiving, or getting the ham and other side dishes ready to cook on Easter.

This is a potato-egg casserole, which is similar to a bread-egg casserole…just uses frozen shredded potatoes instead of bread!

This egg casserole can be prepared the evening before…just cover it with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated. Remove it from the fridge at the same time you preheat the oven, so it’s warmed up a touch before you bake it.

Here’s a closer look at this amazing egg casserole…

I prefer to use the shredded potatoes when making potato-egg casseroles…but you could use cubed as well!

And green onions…because they just put it all into perfect flavor balance.

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Lisa MarcAurele has been creating keto friendly recipes since 2010. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen to create low sugar foods that taste like high carb favorites!

Lisa's recipes have been featured on popular magazine sites including Fitness, Shape, Country Living, Women's Health, and Men's Health. Her long-awaited cookbook, 5-Ingredient Keto, is also a popular go-to for those on a low-carb lifestyle. Learn more about Lisa. .

The Most Budget-Friendly Healthy Foods

Don't let the grocery budget hinder your healthy-eating goals! Just toss these 10 healthy items in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the market and watch how far you can stretch your dollar.

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Egg-cellent sources of protein and brimming with the antioxidant lutein, eggs are an anytime-of-day protein. Boil a dozen and to store in the fridge for grab-and-go snacks, or whip up a frittata, quiche or omelet for a quick and easy dinner.

Estimated Cost: $2.20 per dozen

Greek Yogurt

With twice the amount of hunger-satisfying protein and about 40 percent less sugar and sodium than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is a healthy addition to any diet. Use this versatile ingredient to make dips, sauces, dressings, pancakes and baked goods.

Average Cost: $1.25 per single-serve container


Whether you start your morning with a boost of potassium, fiber and antioxidants or grab a banana before a workout, these yellow fruits are one of the most-affordable foods around, and they come in their own individual packaging. Bananas are also a perfect swap for fat, without compromising flavor, in many baking recipes.

Estimated Cost: $1.99 per bunch

That large canister of plain rolled oats can really stretch your food dollar. One serving of rolled oats provides 150 calories, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The fiber found in oats has been shown to help lower cholesterol and keep you satisfied. Oatmeal can be enjoyed hot, topped with inexpensive banana slices, or you can make a bowl of overnight oats to enjoy on the go.

Average Cost: .30 per 1/2 cup dry oats

Dry Beans

Whether you prefer black, pinto or kidney beans, these babies are one of the most-inexpensive healthy foods around. Dry beans need a little soaking overnight, and then they’re ready to be cooked. A half-cup of cooked beans has about 114 calories and 7.5 grams of each fiber and protein. Extra protein and fiber in a meal helps you feel satisfied, plus fiber helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and makes for a healthy digestive tract. Use beans to make healthy dishes like chili, rice and beans, or healthy versions of Mexican-inspired dishes like fajitas, quesadillas and tacos.

Average Cost: $1.47 per 16-ounce bag

Canned Tomatoes

Unless it’s tomato-harvesting season (August), you’ll be paying a pretty penny for fresh tomatoes. The answer: canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are picked at their peak of ripeness and canned within hours of being picked. Plus, processed tomatoes have significantly more lycopene than fresh. Lycopene is a natural plant chemical shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (poor eyesight as you get older). Crushed tomatoes are versatile for dishes like soups, stews, chili and pasta dishes.

Average Cost: $1.50 per 48-ounce can

Frozen Peas

This legume is brimming with good-for-you nutrients. One cup provides 100 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Frozen peas are much more convenient than shelling your own, plus they can be stored for months. Toss them into soups, salads, pasta or rice dishes, chili, or stews.

Average Cost: $2.19 per pound


Nuts may have a bad reputation for being expensive, but they’re pretty budget-friendly when you keep portions under control. Although folks tend to snack on several handfuls (or ounces) at a time, a 1-ounce portion (about 22 almonds) is a perfectly portioned, budget-friendly snack. They’re also delightful when baked into bars or snack bites. Almonds are also filled with heart-healthy unsaturated fat, protein and the antioxidant vitamin E.

Average Cost: .33 — $1 per ounce


One of the most well-liked vegetables is also healthy and budget-friendly! One cup provides 30 calories and more vitamin C than an orange. You can enjoy them raw, steamed, roasted or stir-fried. Purchase the entire head, with the stalks, and you’ll get an even greater bang for your buck. Use the stalks to flavor soups and stocks, or shred them to make a yummy slaw.

Average Cost: $2.50 per bunch

Sweet Potatoes

One medium baked sweet potato provides almost 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and close to four times the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. The bright-orange color indicates the presence of beta carotene, an antioxidant linked to cancer prevention and antiaging. Enjoy these babies roasted, mashed or grilled — the possibilities are endless.

Dessert and Cake Recipes Using Lots of Eggs

There are a lot of great breakfast and dinner recipes with eggs, but did you know that egg based desserts are also delicious? They're also something you can make when you're completely sick of eating eggs.

You can try both sponge and angel food cakes that use a lot of eggs. Recipes with meringue, like pavlova, can also help make a dent in your egg stash. If you have an ice cream maker, take advantage of the opportunity to make ice cream the old fashioned way, using rich egg custard as the base.

Start your baking fun with this recipe for Famous Chocolate Magic Cake.

This decadent recipe is the perfect way to transform leftover eggs into dessert magic!

Test Kitchen approved! Indulge a little with this delicious cake recipe. If you like eclairs, then you will love this dessert!

Take a trip back in time with this fantastic lemon pound cake. You'll use up 5 eggs in this recipe!

Key lime pie is always a treat. Combining it with cheesecake creates a dessert you have to taste to believe!

If you prefer your desserts to be light and citrusy, then you've got to give this cake recipe a try!

Cheesecake is a great dessert for using up eggs, and this amaretto almond version is truly an inspiration!

We aren't quite done with cheesecake suggestions! This double chocolate version is almost too indulgent to be allowed.

Did you know that Swiss meringue buttercream calls for a lot of egg whites? It's true! Give this elegant and delicious recipe a try.

This delicious ricotta cake looks and tastes really impressive, and it uses a cake mix so you get to skip some of the work! Enjoy this delicious dessert this weekend.

If the holidays are approaching as you're reading this, then you've got to give this delicious homemade eggnog a try! This version is made with rum, but you can easily omit that if you'd like.

If you are a fan of caramel desserts, then you've got to give this recipe a try. You'll make your own caramel and then create a rich custard of eggs, milk, and dulce de leche. The finished dessert is so indulgent and delicious that you might not want to share!

If you like creme brulee, then you've got to give this delicious pumpkin version a try! It's got loads of indulgent flavor, plus that crisp toasted sugar topping that everyone loves.