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Helpful And Useful Articles

Cooking on a budget doesn't mean you have to say so long to your favorite dishes.
You can still eat your favorite foods with just a little modification to make them less expensive. Here is a list of great substitutes to help stretch your food budget.

1. Eggplant - Come on; you know you love eggplant Parmesan. This meaty vegetable lends itself well to pasta dishes and stir fries.
2. Mushrooms - These are a very versatile meat substitute in recipes you're trying to make cheaper. As a base for a veggie burger or just a potbello burger, they taste divine. Use them in enchiladas or casseroles and many stews too. They take on the flavor of other things which is what make them a great and cheap substitute.
3. Beans - Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more Stews, soups, chili, and salads, beans are a perfect protein substitute in many dishes. They are healthy and very cost effective.
4. Imitation vanilla - Do you bake? Here's a little-known secret: you don't need to get real vanilla which can be a rather costly ingredient in baking. Imitation vanilla does not alter the taste of recipes and you can get it at a fraction of the cost.
5. Cooking wine - This is a perfect and cheaper substitution to wine in recipes. Unless you know you'll drink that Chardonnay with dinner, then purchasing cooking wine is the way to go. Or for an even cheaper alternative (and one that appeals to some recovering alcoholics), use chicken broth - something you also might have on hand when a recipe calls for wine.
6. Pork in place of veal - Pork doesn't taste all that different from veal and it's much cheaper. Chicken can be used as a substitute in veal recipes as well.
7. Steak - Wouldn't you love a nice Kobe steak? Sure, we all would, but alas that is not a budget-friendly food. That doesn't mean you can't find a good cut of meat, though. Try a USDA prime beef, or if that's still too expensive, a choice graded cut of meat will do. The key is to find one with a good marbling to get that Kobe beef texture that's so sought after.
8. Fish - When it comes to fish it can be pricey. There are cheaper alternatives which taste the same and are easily interchangeable in recipes. For tuna, try yellow fin tuna instead of Atlantic blue fin tuna. Love that Chilean sea bass, but not the price? Then try an Alaskan sablefish instead. Pacific cod is cheaper than Atlantic cod and just as flaky, so it's easy to make that switch. When in doubt ask your local grocery's seafood clerk. He can usually tell you what a good less expensive substitute is for different kinds of fish.
9. Yogurt - In place of sour cream, try plain yogurt instead. Not only is it cheaper, but it's healthier for you, too. There are lots of great probiotics in yogurt.
10. Imitation buttermilk - Need buttermilk? Just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to every cup of milk. Let it sit for about five minutes to ferment.

These ten ingredient substitutions will really help your food budget stretch further. You really don't even have to sacrifice taste for inexpensive ingredients. In most instances no one will know the difference unless you tell them. What are your favorite ingredient substitutions?

Cook a Whole Meal for Less Than $10

Making meals that are inexpensive is something many families are striving for. Having them taste good or maybe even restaurant quality while still not eating a huge hole in your budget can really be a challenge, though. But, it can be done. Here are five tasty meals that can be made for less than $10 each and will feed

1. Roast Chicken
Because you can get a whole chicken for very cheap this is a perfect meal that seems expensive, but isn't. Just include some potatoes and carrots in the roasting pan with the chicken and you have a whole meal in one pan that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Simply take your roast chicken and season with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Place it in a roasting pan with rack. Surround the chicken with quartered potatoes and some cut up carrots with half a cup of water and place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Allow to cook half an hour per pound of chicken.
About half an hour before the chicken is done cooking, pour some chicken broth over it. Once done cooking, remove the vegetables from the pan. Mash the potatoes if you'd like and season with a little salt and pepper. Remove chicken to a cutting board and let stand a few minutes before carving. Meanwhile use the drippings from the pan to make gravy if desired. And there you have it - a full meal for under $10.

2. Meatloaf
This is an American classic that's inexpensive to boot. Pair this with some green beans and egg noodles for a meal that's less than $10.
* 1 lb ground beef
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup ketchup
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 envelope onion soup mix
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Place in a loaf pan. Put in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve over egg noodles.
3. Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
A nice hearty meal to really fill you up. And it's easy because you can set it to cook all day in the crockpot.
* 6 pieces boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
* 6 red potatoes, quartered
* 4 cups chicken broth
* Carrots and peas
Brown chicken on both sides in oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Remove to slow cooker. Add vegetables and chicken broth to slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours (high for 4 hours).
4. Chili
Here's another hearty meal that won't break the bank, but will fill you right up.
* 1 onion
* 1 head of garlic
* Bell pepper
* 15 ounce can of black beans
* 14 ounce chicken broth
* 14 ounce stewed tomatoes
* 1/2 pound ground turkey
In a large saucepan heat onion, garlic, pepper, and ground turkey. Cook until turkey is done, about 6 minutes. Drain the canned beans. Add to turkey with stewed tomatoes and half of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour.
5. Vegetarian Tacos
This is really very simple and basic. To make it more filling, use beans instead of meat. Just heat a can of beans in a pan with some chipotle pepper. Add your taco shells, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese and you have a quick and cheap taco dinner for the whole family. So those are just five recipes you can make that won't break the bank. What other meals do you like to make that cost less than $10?

Fun Recipes to Cook with the Kids to Save Time and Money

Cooking with the kids has many benefits. Shocker of shockers - you can even save time and money when you let the kids get involved in cooking. Here are some fun recipes you can cook with the kids that will save you time and money.
Homemade Pizza
You really can't go wrong with kids when it comes to pizza. Let them put their own toppings on it and they will be more likely to eat it. But why not let them make the whole thing, dough and all? Here's a super easy recipe.

* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup warm water
* 1 tbsp yeast
* 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
* 1 tbsp oil

* Pizza sauce
* Mozzarella cheese
* Pepperoni
* Ham
* Meatballs
* Sausage
* Pineapple
* Pepper
* Mushrooms
* Olives

Dissolve yeast in warm water and add a dash of sugar. In a mixing bowl add salt, flour, Italian seasoning, and oil. When yeast is bubbly, pour into flour mixture to make dough. Form into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl. Allow to rise 30-60 minutes.
Roll out dough on a floured surface and stretch into pizza pan. With multiple children you can make individual pizzas so they can add the toppings they desire. Spread sauce, cheese, and any other toppings over crust and bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese bubbles.
Potato Pirogi
Pirogi are a great kid recipe to make. It teaches them a lot of skills and it's something they enjoy eating. Plus it's way better to make your own pirogi than to buy them from the store - a huge money savings right here.

Pirogi dough
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cake flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 1/3 cup water

* 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 4 cups)
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 cup finely chopped onion
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
* 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
* Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the flours and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and water. Using a fork or whisk, mix just the liquids. Now with a spoon stir the flour into the liquid from the sides of the bowl.
When you have made a dough, knead it for 7-8 minutes on lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Put the dough aside in a bowl covered with a plastic wrap while you prepare the filling.
Put the potatoes in a pan with just enough water to cover them. Heat to a boil. Cook 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
Meanwhile melt butter in a saute pan and add the onion, stirring until it's a light golden brown.
Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the onion, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, 3 tbsp milk and about 1/4 tsp salt. Mash adding salt and pepper to taste. If mixture is a little dry, add more milk.
Roll dough out very thinly on a lightly floured surface. Cut with 3-inch circle cookie cutter. Place 1 tablespoon of potato filling in center of dough cut-outs. Moisten half the edges with a finger dipped in water and fold the moistened end over onto the dry end to seal. Press the edges firmly together.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and place pierogis into the boiling water. Let them boil for 7 minutes. Serve with sour cream.
Chicken Cutlets and Fries
Kids love chicken, but you might not be so crazy about having them fry chicken fingers. All that grease spraying everywhere. But baking them like in this recipe is not only healthier, but also not as dangerous for the kids.
* 2 large baking potatoes
* 1/4 cup zesty Italian dressing
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* 1 lb boneless chicken breast, pounded and cut into strips
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch strips and place in a bowl. Toss with dressing and 1/4 cup cheese until coated. Spread evenly into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake 12 minutes.
Meanwhile mix bread crumbs and the rest of the cheese together. Wet chicken and dip in breading mixture.
Add the chicken to the baking dish with potatoes. Turn the potatoes. Bake 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
These recipes are all great to get kids cooking with you and to save money. It's all stuff they'll love so they will not be throwing any food away, especially since they helped make it.
What are your favorite recipes to cook with kids?


Cooking for Beginners

We all have to start somewhere. Whether you are a young person at home with your parents who can teach you, or are a bachelor or bachelorette out on their own for the first time, the art of cooking is more than microwave dinners.
First thing to know is you’re not going to need to start with a full course turkey dinner with all the trimmings. You can start with simple step by step recipes of the easier variety.
For beginners working with a recipe that’s simple is a good start and as a beginner, you will want to make sure, you are following the directions precisely this isn’t’ the time to experiment or improvise. You will have plenty of chances to be creative as you become more familiarized with cooking.
Two of the easiest recipes is boxed macaroni and cheese; a simple measuring and boiling process for starters. Making ‘rice crispy’ squares is also an easy 5 step process.
Keeping to a few simple recipes like these is a good start, as you become more comfortable with these simple cooking methods, you will be able to branch out from there and eventually discover the cook within.
Cooking isn’t “for” everyone, but, knowing the basics is; for some cooking to be a fun and relaxing time. It may just take a little time and a few burnt dinners until you find their groove but, with persistence and patience you too can learn to cook.


Buy in bulk
 Get ingredients like cocoa powder, rolled oats, flaked coconut, nuts and spices in bulk. These ingredients are easy to store. Get ingredients like cocoa powder, rolled oats, flaked coconut, nuts and spices in bulk. These ingredients are easy to store.
Don't be afraid to use things that are about to spoil. Do you have some bananas which are past their edible state? Use them in some banana bread. Do you have some leftover cooked rice? Turn it into rice pudding. Even leftover mashed potatoes can be used in your baking by making potato fudge. If you have bananas about to turn but don't want to make banana bread or muffins, then freeze the bananas peel and all so you can use them for baking in the future. Use your pantry. Just the basics from your pantry can be transformed into a great sweet treat. With some peanut butter and brown sugar, you have the basis for a peanut butter cake. Add some oats, flour, baking soda, shortening, egg, vanilla and chocolate chips and you've got what you need. Or how about some peanut butter cookies that don't even need flour? Just add some egg and vanilla and you've got a simple peanut butter cookie. Do you have some canned pineapple and some raw carrots? Then you can make a Pineapple carrot cake. If you don't have buttermilk for a recipe, just make your own sour milk by pouring a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of regular milk. Let it sit for a few minutes. It's the perfect substitution for buttermilk. Check online for more substitutions when you're missing an ingredient. Save energy. If you don't need a huge number of cookies, then use the toaster oven instead of your oven to bake it in. It uses much less energy. On the other hand, baking in bulk and freezing for later can be energy efficient too. Do all of your baking at once and have dessert from your freezer for months to come. Use seasonal foods. During the fall and winter months when apples are in season, use them in your baking. Don't forget that pumpkin. You can get a lot of tasty sweet treats in the fall and winter out of pumpkin. In the summer, adding strawberries to things makes for a tasty treat. An angel food cake with strawberries is divine. Think strawberry shortcake even. Baking on a budget can really be quite simple. It's so easy to save by doing all of your own home baking too. And don't think that just because you haven't been able to bake before that you can't now. The more you do it, the better you get. It's like anything else that is learned - practice makes perfect. So, keep trying; you just might find that you can make some really sweet treats.

Breakfast on a Budget
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so you don't want to skip it as a way of saving money. And while cereal might be your go-to breakfast of choice, it can get a little boring and start to add up. If you're looking for budget-friendly breakfast ideas, then try these tips. It's sure to give a little spice to your life while also saving you money.
This is a great thing to make in bulk (which saves you even more) and freeze for a quick on the go breakfast. There's such a variety of things you can get when it comes to muffins. You can make bran muffins, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip muffins, a fruit and veggie muffin, or a nice pumpkin muffin.
Making oatmeal can literally cost pennies. And with different toppings you can really change it up - from cinnamon and apples to blueberries. Or try peaches and milk or some frozen berries. Make it more appealing for the kids by dressing it up with some chocolate chips or fruit sprinkled on top. Make sure it's a texture the kids will like. If your child likes a mushy cereal then he'll like the oats fully cooked. For more of a crunch, cook it a little less and cool it down with some milk.
Okay, we know making eggs every morning can be a pain. While they are relatively quick to cook, there's all the hassle of dirtied pans. But make an egg bake over the weekend and freeze it and you have a great inexpensive breakfast in the morning. Scramble some eggs with spinach or peppers and onions or even some ham and bake it in the oven till set and you have a perfect yummy egg bake all week long.
French Toast
Okay, another not so great one for the week maybe, but if you have a loaf of bread that is starting to go hard, then this is a good time to make some French toast. With just eggs, milk, and bread, you can't get much cheaper than that. You can top with some fruit or add a little cinnamon to the egg and milk mixture.
Make your own granola and it will be much cheaper. Then mix it with a little yogurt or fruit. Just combine rolled oats, oil, honey, vanilla, and a little brown sugar. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees F. Stir frequently to ensure even baking. It will be golden brown when it's done.
These can be inexpensive to make because you can toss just about anything into them. Got some berries that are getting a little soft? Toss them into a smoothie. Keep some plain yogurt in your fridge to thicken up those smoothies.
Peanut Butter Toast
This is a filling, quick, and easy breakfast. Just add some fruit (bananas and peanut butter are delicious, by the way) and you have a complete breakfast. So, the next time you are looking for an inexpensive breakfast idea, don't reach for the cereal. Try one of these; you won't be disappointed. Do you have any other inexpensive breakfast ideas to add to this list?


How to Feed a Family of Four on $100 a Week
Shop the sales. Follow those weekly sales ads. Look for the places that have the best prices on the things you need. That might mean going to multiple stores to save the most money.
Buy in bulk. If you can get a membership to a shopping club you can save a lot of money on meat.
Clip coupons. Be mindful of the coupons you use, though. If you have to buy two of something to save $0.50 on a third item it might not be the best coupon. Use them in conjunction with sales and when you can use double and triple coupons as well.
Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. We know, you love your watermelon. But you will pay more for it in the winter than in the summer. So stick with the fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Name brand doesn't always mean better. Often times store brand is made in the same factory as the name brand. When you buy name brand you are paying for the name. The store brand can be just as good as the name brand.
Cheaper cuts of meat can still be made to taste good. Buy a whole chicken instead of chicken pieces. Drain fat out of ground meat and rinse it after cooking instead of buying the more expensive lean ground meat. Stretch the meat by adding other sources of nutrition such as mashed up kidney beans, shredded zucchini, or whole grain rice to your meat patties. It will make it not only healthier for you, but it will also make the meat last longer.
Canned fruits, vegetables, and even meats can save you money. Add canned chicken to casseroles and wraps. Use canned vegetables and fruit stored in its own juices when money is tight. These items have a longer shelf life so you can buy them in bulk.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as good as fresh. When you're craving a strawberry shake in the middle of winter and strawberries are not in season, you can use frozen to save you some money.
Make soups and stews. These are hardy meals which can be stretched far with a lot of healthy ingredients.
Utilize what's in your fridge and your pantry. Revamping your leftovers into another meal with some items from your pantry will help stretch your food that much longer.
Don't shop on an empty stomach. And make sure if you have to bring the kids with you that they are well fed as well. Otherwise you might see some high price items sneak into your cart.
Following these tips will give you more food for the buck. You really can spend $100 a week to feed a family of four. And best of all - it can be done without sacrificing your health or that of your family.
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Saving Money on Groceries with the Internet

We use the internet for everything these days. And now with smartphones keeping the internet with us at all times, there are plenty of ways we can use the internet to save on our grocery shopping. Here are the top five apps for saving money on groceries.
1. Zip List
We need a list to go grocery shopping, correct? Well, we should have one. That right there is a huge money saver. Getting only what you do need and nothing you don't, but keeping up with the list or remembering to bring the list with you is always my downfall. I do always have my phone, though. And with Zip List, all of my list making troubles are over. Not only is this great at keeping your recipes all in one place, but it can help you create a shopping list with the items you need. It can even organize your list based on the layout of your store. What better way to keep those impulse buys at bay?
2. Weekly Ads & Sales
This app is great for more than just your grocery shopping. Really, it's no wonder that newspapers are struggling so mightily in this information age. This takes away the need for your weekly Sunday paper. You can get all of your local stores weekly sales and deals right there on your phone. This way you can decide where the best place to shop for what you need is right at the touch of your finger.
3. Grocery iQ
This is another grocery list which allows you to check off things as you go. You can completely customize and sort your list. You can even use your phone to scan the barcode to add things to your list. But on top of that you can also find coupons for the items on your list. No more forgetting your coupons when you go shopping.
4. Saving Star
This is more ways to get coupons. Saving Star will take all of your stores loyalty cards and store them and give you exclusive savings on the items you purchase. You can get e-coupons to use. No more coupon clipping with this app at the ready. Beyond that, you get savings when you shop online at places like Groupon, Travelocity,, and ProFlowers.
5. Cell fire
This might be the perfect app for everyone. There's really nothing for you to do. It will alert you to special savings as soon as you walk into a store and automatically loads coupon savings onto your loyalty card so you no longer have to worry about those coupons. It's just that easy to save money on the things you buy. This will even work at restaurants, department stores, and entertainment as well.
Grocery shopping has really gotten much easier with all of these great coupon apps you can add to your phone. And you'll never forget your list again. With your lists stored into these apps, it will make it that much easier to remember all of the ingredients you need to make your favorite recipes.

Saving money using the internet has become so much easier. Aside from using your phone and apps, don't forget that a Google search will often reveal helpful coupons and where the best sales are. So make the internet a part of your weekly grocery shopping. It will not only save you time, but it will also save you money.


A Career as A Pastry Chef

Who doesn’t like dessert? Nothing beats the end of a meal or the accompaniment of a cup of coffee like a nice rich and luscious treat. If you like making them it may be something of interest to you to pursue a

Career as a pastry chef.
A career in making breads, pies, chocolates, candy, cookies, ice cream and cake can be a fascinating choice. It can be especially thrilling for the one who loves to put their heart into it. There is a growing demand for food industry professionals and pastry chefs in particular. Culinary schools are dedicated to teaching the skills necessary for you to become a part of this exciting and rewarding field. Becoming a pastry chef requires patience, organization, and creativity and can be loads of fun. You will take great pride and gain the personal sense of accomplishment in measuring, baking and finishing desserts. There are several educational paths to choose from for a career in pastry arts:

Baking and Pastry Certificate
Associates Degree in Applied Science Culinary
Arts Bachelor of
Arts Degree in Culinary Arts

Choosing the right degree is just part of the goal of seeking to be a pastry chef; having a real aptitude makes a valuable asset in the pursuit of this career goal. Fascinating and rewarding a pastry chef career can be something to be proud of; not only the reward of having a prestigious career, it is also a pretty financially well-paying career for the right individual.

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