Couponing for the Rest of Us

Mexican Rice: Spruce Up Packaged Rice for a Fast & Easy Side Dish!

Mexican Rice Recipe

.As we’ve shared before, both my family and Jamie’s love Mexican food.  Mexican Rice is one of my favorite side dishes, as long as it’s moist and flavorful.  Recently, I started making packaged Mexican Rice with Chicken Broth and loved the results.  Sounds almost too simple to be true, but I can assure you it’s not!  Just replace water with Chicken Broth and you’ve got yourself a fast and easy side dish. [Read more...]


Chicken Fajitas

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My family loves chicken fajitas!  We usually eat out at our favorite Mexican Restaurant at least once a week.  Lately, we have been trying to eat at home more, so I made up this recipe for homemade Chicken Fajitas.  They turned out sooooo good!!  I’ve included a photo tutorial below.  I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine did!

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Recipe Box: Mexican Cheesy Taco Soup

 

cheesy taco soup recipe

 

Now that the weather is getting cooler, homemade soup is one of my favorite go-to meals for dinner.   I love the fact that soup is a one dish wonder – which translates into less pots to wash.  Mexican Cheesy Taco Soup is one of my family’s favorite.  I combined a couple of different recipes together and the end result got rave reviews from my kiddos and hubby!  I’ve included several pics below for those of you who are just learning to cook.  I know it can be intimidating not knowing what something is “supposed” to look like. 

We posted a list of printable and newspaper coupons last night specifically for this recipe.  In case you need to run out and grab the ingredients don’t forget to check out our post here.  It’s worth it to save a couple of dollars.

 

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Easy Cheesy Enchiladas Recipe (A real family pleaser!)

I meant to post this yesterday – but the boys had a friend sleep over and my whole evening got turned upside down!  Here it is a day late!

My family really loves Mexican food – and since they’re all such fussy eaters I make it at least once a week.  But my sweet little Caden loves Enchiladas the MOST.  He asked for it on Monday this week, but we had so much going on with Karate and Youth Group and Math Olympiads that I didn’t get around to making it until yesterday night.  He thanked me at least 5 times – and asked for three helpings – which made it totally worth the effort :)

Here’s my recipe for Easy Cheesy Enchiladas – I hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do!

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas Recipe

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas Recipe

Ingredients

    For Enchiladas:
  • 10-12 Flour Tortillas
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Onion Diced (or onion flakes)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans or Black Beans
  • 1 Can Rotel
  • For Cheese Sauce:
  • 1/3 Lb Velveeta Queso Blanco Cubed (or any kind)
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/4 C Milk
  • 1 Packet taco Seasoning
  • 1 4oz Can Green Chiles (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat Oven to 375
  2. Meat Filling:
  3. Brown the beef and saute the onion together in a large skillet. Drain off excess grease.
  4. Turn down to simmer and stir in half the Rotel & ALL the Refried beans.
  5. Add 3/4 packet of taco seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Cheese Sauce:
  7. In a saucepan on medium-low, heat remaining Rotel and Cream of Chicken Soup.
  8. Add milk, Velveeta and remaining taco seasoning
  9. *For an extra kick - divide a can of green chiles between the meat and the sauce while cooking. This gives it a great flavor!
  10. Assembly:
  11. Once the meat and cheese sauce are ready, spoon your meat across a tortilla and then spoon some of the cheese sauce on as well. (Make sure to save a lot for the end)
  12. Roll each tortilla up and place crease-side down in an 8x11 (or 11x14) pan.
  13. Once all the tortillas are rolled up and in the pan, pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top, covering all the nooks and crannies.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove and sprinkle cheese on top.
  15. Serve with Mexican rice, lettuce, black olives, sour cream, etc....
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Velveeta Coupon & Ro-Tel Recipe

 

Velveeta & Ro-Tel Dip

Get $2 off Velveeta & Rotel  (Coupon no longer available)- which is all you need to make a batch of Ro-Tel dip this weekend!  In case you’ve never made Ro-Tel Dip, it’s one of the easiest things in the world to make – we make it every Sunday afternoon for all the boys to chow down on after church. Here’s the directions.

Ro-Tel Dip Recipe:

  • 1 lb of Velveeta cut in cubes
  • 1 Can of Ro-Tel
  • Heat over stove on low until melted, stirring occasionally.  Serve with tortilla chips.

That’s it guys.  No joke!  I like to add black beans to mine – so it will be more filling.  You could also substitute the Rotel with salsa if that’s what you have on hand.  Honestly – you can’t really go wrong with melted cheese and chips, you know?

See more of our family’s favorite Mexican Recipes in our Cinco de Mayo Recipe Roundup!

 

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Recipe ($1 per Cup!)

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Photo Courtesy of Tostitos

Our friend, Deal Detective Kim, occasionally writes frugal recipes and meal ideas here on Time 2 $ave – and we love it when she stops by to share with us.  Take it away Kim!
For those of you who love Tex-Mex, this is for you.  For those of you who like cheap cooking, this is for you.  For those of you trying to eat light and healthy, well, this is for you, too!
My boyfriend of almost seven months is just over a year into a health-related weight loss journey.  It has not been easy for him, and I’m really proud of his progress.  I walk a fine line between helping just enough and helping so much it becomes hindering.  I am, as you all know, a foodie.  I love playing with food, experimenting with flavor combinations.  I am learning that, with him, don’t talk about it so much, just do it.  The recipe I found last week is a perfect example.  It’s from the good folks at Tostitos, slightly adapted to my taste.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Recipe

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz. can of kernel corn, drained OR 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium onion, diced (yellow, red or white, doesn't matter)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper, finely diced (the hottest part is the seeds and ribs inside, you can lower the heat by removing them--or raise it by adding a second one)
  • 4 tbs minced fresh cilantro OR 1 tbs dried cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (I used one medium fresh) diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients except the black beans together, add them last. Chill and serve with Tostitos tortilla chips.
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I price-checked these ingredients at Aldi – and you can make this for very little cost:
  • Cans of black beans, .59
  • 3pk tricolor peppers, still $1.49
  • 3pk green peppers, .99
  • Bag of yellow onions, .79
  • Tray of Roma tomatoes, .99
  • Bagged frozen is always .99

Now, my notes:  First off, the boyfriend LOVED this!  It made a large Rubbermaid bowl full, which is 6 cups (That’s just bout $1 per cup!)   In the interest of weight management, I served this as a side dish, rather than a dip, although he did eat some later on with whole wheat tortilla chips.  If you’re using Weight Watchers Points Plus, one cup is only 3 points!

I said I served it as a side, so I’m thinking you’re wondering what I served alongside it.  Two things: For Saturday night, I made basic meatloaf but I used ground turkey instead, and changed it up to give it a Mexican flavor.
Mexican Turkey Meatloaf 
  • 1 pkg ground turkey (they are usually 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 sm or 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4-1/2 cup salsa verde (I just poured some in.  If the mixture gets too runny, just add a little more breadcrumbs to soak it up, but remember it’s easier to add more salsa than to take some out!)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 clove minced garlic
Mix all of the above together.  I put mine in a sprayed glass dish that’s about 6 x 8 (only because I was at his house & he doesn’t have a loaf pan!).  Awhile back, I had a coupon for a free can of NEW Ro-Tel tomato sauce WYB 3 cans Ro-Tel.  So I poured that on top & baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.  You can use plain tomato sauce if you don’t have or don’t like Ro-Tel.  Also, if you like your food really spicy, you can add some chopped jalapeno (fresh or canned) to this recipe as well.  I have not keyed this into the Weight Watchers site yet, but I will.  If you do it before I get around to it, leave a comment with the points value–it should be really low!
I don’t do bell pepper AT ALL–it seriously upsets my digestive system–but if you like it, totally put some in this.  My boyfriend said it was his favorite of anything I’ve ever cooked for him.  Since I don’t do bell pepper, I made myself some roasted garlic mashed potatoes for the side, and kept it light by using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and skim milk.  To roast garlic, lay a whole bulb of garlic on its side and cut off the pointy top.  Set it upright on a sheet of foil, drizzle a little olive oil on top, then gather the corners of the foil and twist closed.  Throw it in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Let it cool, and then just squish all the garlic (it will be gooey) out into your pototoes and mash as usual.  It’s very yummy!
On Sunday, I made my Chicken Enchiladas Recipe.  I said I’m trying to lighten up, and I did.  I used light sour cream (always cheap at Aldi!) and some whole-wheat tortillas I stocked up on a couple weeks ago at Bi-Lo when they were 2/$3 (which is cheaper than BOGO!).  When I keyed this recipe into the Weight Watchers tool, it came out at 9 points per enchilada and that’s with LOTS of sour cream because my boyfriend piles it on his.  If you just use what’s in the recipe and don’t add any on top, it’s more like 7 points.  We also add salsa, which I always have plenty of, on top.
One last thing, since bell peppers seem to be today’s theme.  When I was a kid, my mom would make stuffed bell peppers every so often.  I would eat the filling and leave the peppers, but my boyfriend wolfs those right on down with everything else–he loves ‘em!  And they have NO points, which is always a plus.  You could totally use the meatloaf mixture to make stuffed peppers, especially since they’re always cheap at Aldi.  All you have to do is either cut the top off the pepper (if the bottom is level enough for it to sit upright) or cut them in half lengthwise, making two boat-like pepper halves.  Drop them into a pot of boiling water until they’re tender but still hold some shape.  Drain them when they’re done and let them cool, then put them in a sprayed casserole dish, pour the tomato sauce over the top and bake the same as the meatloaf.  Just check it sooner than 30 minutes, maybe at 20, because the peppers are smaller, so they’ll cook faster.
That should keep you all busy for awhile, so I’ll sign off by saying it’s good to be back! 
Email me with questions or suggestions for future posts at DealDetectiveKim@gmail.com

Ground Beef Tip: Buy, Cook Ahead, & Freeze for Meals

When it comes to making easy family meals – ground beef is one ingredient that pops up pretty often.  Since it doesn’t go on sale every week – it’s better to buy it in bulk when you find it at your stock-up price (Mine is about $1.99/lb).  But what do you do with all that meat when you get it home?  If you stick it all straight in the freezer, it’s a bear to thaw out each night.  If you leave it in the fridge, you’ll have some of it going bad before you use it up.

Here’s my tip for buying, cooking and freezing ground beef:

  1. Buy in bulk.  I like to buy a good 10 lbs at a time for my family of 6.  That way – all the cooking and cleaning I’ll be doing will last me more meals.
  2. I divide the meat in half – one half will get Italian-seasoning, and one half will get Mexican-seasoning.  Get out two large pots to cook your meat in.
  3. In the first pot, cook ground beef with diced onions, minced garlic, & Italian Seasoning
  4. In the second pot, cook ground beef with diced onions, Ro-tel, & Taco Seasoning  (or cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt)
  5. Drain the meat and let cool.
  6. Portion it into freezer bags at about 1 lb each. Lie the bag down and flatten the meat into a thin layer inside the bag. Label it as Italian or Taco and stack the flat bags on top of one another in the freezer.  You now have 10 easy meals that just got much easier to prepare!
    • When I’m ready to make Pasta, I take it out of the freezer, put it in a skillet with my pasta sauce, and simmer while I cook the noodles. I usually make baked pasta, so I would then throw all this in a pyrex dish, stir in some ricotta and parmesan, dump a layer of mozzarella on top, and bake on 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

    • When I’m ready to make Tacos/Burritos, I take out the taco meat and heat it in a skillet with black beans/refried beans/green chiles/salsa/what-have-you. All I have to do meanwhile is heat up tortillas and put all the topppings on the table!

 

With winter coming up, this is also a great timesaver for chili and various casseroles. It’s not rocketscience, but if you simply cook it all up at the same time, bag and label it, and tuck it in the freezer- you will have a little extra peace of mind when the dinnertime hour rolls around!

Taco Tip: I stretch my taco meat even further by stirring in a can of refried beans while thawing out the beef in the microwave or skillet.  This way it’s less greasy and sticks to the kids tortilla shells a little better :)

 

More Leftover Turkey Ideas!

Three days ago, the Thanksgiving turkey was the star of the table!

But now, everybody’s avoiding it.  It’s the big white elephant in the fridge.  And unless you’re willing to just toss it all out, it’s time to up the leftover turkey ante a little bit.  You can check out my (Jamie) recipe for “Thanksgiving on Toast” HERE – but check out the new recipes our Deal Detective Kim just sent in to help us clean out the fridge!  Over to you, Kim……

OK, so realistically, today is the last day for those Thanksgiving leftovers. Since leftovers is a recurring Thanksgiving theme, I thought I’d keep in the theme by giving you LEFTOVER recipes. That’s right, ladies and gents, I bring you leftover recipes from previous columns! (wink, wink)

Chicken (um…Turkey) Enchiladas:

  • A couple of cups of cooked, shredded turkey–use what you have, it doesn’t matter what part of the bird it came from.
  • Sour cream–about a cup
  • Shredded cheese–about 2 cups, divided. If you like it mild, one of the Mexican blends is good, I like to use Pepper Jack inside & mild Mexican blend on the top.

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