Flippy Floppy Pancakes for a Nickel?

Kristin’s Uncle Bert is big, loud, and extremely cheerful. One of her classic Uncle Bert memories involves him boisterously preparing his “Flippy Floppy Pancakes” on New Year’s Day. Uncle Bert’s pancakes were flippy, floppy, and delicious. He always touted a “secret ingredient” that made the texture just right. The secret ingredient has yet to be officially disclosed, but we think we have figured it out. Here’s to you, Uncle Bert!

Per Uncle Bert’s original specifications, these pancakes are flippy and floppy. They are also a very cheap and easy meal. Pancakes shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a breakfast food. They can be enjoyed at any time of the day!

Cost Analysis:

Read more on the cost of toppings here!
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Flippy Floppy Pancakes for a Nickel?

  • Difficulty: Easy
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These flippy floppy pancakes are nostalgic, delicious, and cheap! Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Pour milk into a glass measuring cup or bowl.
  2. Add vinegar to milk and set a timer for 5 minutes. (This gives the milk time to sour.)
  3. Place a large frying pan on burner and set to medium-low heat.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk together.
  5. Melt butter in the microwave.
  6. Add melted butter and egg to milk mixture.
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is reasonably smooth.
  8. Pour batter into frying pan. Make pancakes approximately 3″ in diameter. We can usually fit three pancakes in a large frying pan.
  9. This batter is thick and bubbles don’t normally form on the top of the pancakes. Watch the edges and when edges start to thicken, look under one pancake. If the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, flip all the pancakes.
  10. Repeat until you use all of your batter. Give your batter a stir before making each new batch. It thickens as it sits.
  11. Serve with maple syrup, butter, or peanut butter!

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Toastie Caprese Sandwich

If you have some leftover artisan bread (or any bread for that matter), this recipe is for you! When I made this recipe today, I used 2 day old artisan crusty bread, but any bread should work! Splurge on fresh mozzarella for this sandwich. Fresh mozzarella makes up half of the cost of the sandwich, but it makes the sandwich much more luxurious!

Cost Analysis:

Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe

Toasty Caprese Sandwich

  • Difficulty: Easy
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An easy gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.


Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bread (see artisan bread recipe)
  • 3 ounces of mozzarella cheese (preferably fresh mozzarella)
  • 4 basil leaves (I keep a basil plant for economical fresh herbs)
  • 1 small tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • balsamic vinegar glaze (or a little balsamic vinegar)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions


Heat a frying pan on medium heat
Butter one side of all 4 pieces of bread and place one piece of bread in the frying pan.
Top the bread with 1.5 ounces mozzarella cheese, half of the sliced tomato, a few leaves of basil, salt, pepper, and the balsamic vinegar glaze. Note: If you bread is very dry, you may want to butter both sides of the bread prior to cooking it in the frying pan!
Cook the sandwich until browned on the bottom and flip. Repeat the process until both sides of the sandwich are browned.
Serve with a salad, soup, or chips! Enjoy!

Make This Crusty Artisan Bread For 50 Cents!

Bread is one of my favorite foods. When I was a child, my grandfather often referred to me as a “breadatarian” because my vegetarian diet seemed to have a serious carb focus. I love artisan bread, but do not love the $5-$6 price tag that generally accompanies it. Thankfully, this bread recipe allows me to have fresh artisan bread at a fraction of the cost (as long as I am willing to sacrifice a bit of time). This bread can also be used to make a great caprese sandwich or be used to make a delicious caprese appetizer!

Frugal Cost Analysis:

This analysis excludes the cost of toppings. For more on the cost of toppings, click here!
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Crusty Bread that Will Make You Seem Like an Artisan Baker (That Costs Pennies to Make)

  • Difficulty: easy
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An easy crusty loaf of bread ready to be devoured in a few hours!

Ingredients

  • 2.75 to 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for dusting)
  • 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast (one yeast packet)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • 1.25 cups warm water

Directions

  1. Combine yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water to mixture.
  2. Let yeast proof for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of flour and the kosher salt to the yeast mixture. If you have a stand mixer, mix on low speed until all flour is incorporated. Otherwise, mix with a spatula or your hands. Add additional 3/4 cup to 1 cup of flour until the dough is starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Note – the dough will seem relatively sticky at this point.
  4. Add a coating of flour to another mixing bowl, and use floured hands or a floured spatula to transfer the dough mixture to the new bowl. Flour the top of the dough and cover with a towel. Let it rise for about an hour in a warm place. (I usually allow it to rise near my oven).
  5. Transfer the risen dough to your lightly floured counter top. (You may want to lightly flour your hands prior to the transfer if your dough is sticking to the bowl). Do not punch down the dough. Instead, pull the corners to the center and repeat this action until the dough begins to feel tighter. Flip the dough over so that the smooth side is up, and shape the dough into a rounded shape. Then transfer the dough back to your mixing bowl (smooth side up). Cover.
  6. Place a dutch oven (with the lid on) and heat the oven to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: I do not have a true dutch oven, but I have on oven safe dish with a lid that I use. You can really cobble together any oven safe items that will trap the steam while the bread is baking). If you have a dutch oven, use parchment paper to place the dough into the dutch oven to prevent sticking.
  7. Allow the bread to rise for an additional 30 minutes (or so) while the oven is preheating.
  8. Remove the dutch oven, take the lid off, and transfer your dough with the smooth side DOWN. Yes, you read that correctly. You want the “messy” side up to create a more rustic and artistic looking loaf of bread!
  9. Quickly put the lid back on your dutch oven and put it back into the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes. At this point, the bread should be a deep brown color.
  10. Remove the bread from the dutch oven. For best results, allow it to cool prior to eating.

Chunky and Easy Homemade Vegetarian Tomato Sauce

Pasta is a cheap staple food in our household, but we haven’t found a jarred pasta sauce that we enjoy eating. So, this chunky vegetarian tomato sauce is one that we make relatively frequently. When we were newly married, we made the sauce about once a week. It is delicious by itself on top of pasta, and can be improved with the addition of cheese. You may even want to use the leftovers as a pizza sauce! Click here for that recipe. Enjoy!

Cost Analysis:

Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Chunky and Easy Homemade Vegetarian Tomato Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious chunky vegetarian tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14-15.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (I prefer low sodium petite diced)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 peeled carrot, or brown sugar to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning (or other dried herbs)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the butter and oil together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add finely chopped onion, garlic and celery to the melted butter and oil. Allow this mixture to saute over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes (until the celery is softened). Stir occasionally.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, and water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Also add in peeled carrot or brown sugar.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thickened when it is done. Remove carrot prior to serving!

Small Batch Miniature Chocolate Chip Cookies for $0.11

I love chocolate chip cookies, but generally don’t want to be tempted by dozens of cookies. So, I compromise with the following recipe. It makes 16 miniature chocolate chip cookies.

Cost Analysis:

Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small batch miniature chocolate chip cookies

  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious miniature chocolate chip cookies to meet your craving without breaking your budget or diet!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups + 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons SOFTENED butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk (from a large egg)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet is our favorite)

Directions

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Use 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of flour in the initial mixture. Add additional tablespoon of flour (if needed) when you add the flour to the butter and egg mixture.
  2. Beat butter in a mixing bowl
  3. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract to butter and mix together.
  4. Add egg yolk to butter mixture and beat.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture and beat after each addition.
  6. The mixture will be relatively dry. Add chocolate chips and mix together with your hands.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and chill dough for 20 minutes.
  8. Use your hands to roll cookie dough into small balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon worth of dough) Note: The dough will be dry. Use your hands to squeeze the dough into balls.
  9. Place balls of cookie dough on a cookie sheet (spaced out as cookies will spread a bit)
  10. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
  11. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes.
  12. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  13. Enjoy!

Homemade White Cheddar Popcorn – Super Easy!

We love white cheddar popcorn, but don’t like to pay for the bagged version at the grocery store. The King Arthur Flour Vermont Cheddar Cheese powder is a splurge at about $9 a canister, but results in a more economical popcorn treat! After analyzing the cost, you will pay approximately $0.22 for a nice hot bowl of cheese popcorn (see below for analysis).

Frugal Cost Analysis:

ItemIngredient Cost per UnitUnits Required for RecipeTotal Cost
Popcorn$ 0.47 per cup1/4 cup$0.12
Canola Oil$ 0.02 per tablespoon1.5 tablespoons$0.03
Cheese Powder$ 0.28 per tablespoon1 tablespoon$0.28
Total cost for 2 large bowls$0.43
Total cost for 1 large bowl$0.22
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Homemade White Cheddar Popcorn - Super Easy!

  • Servings: 2-4 depending on your appetite!
  • Difficulty: easy
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A stove-top version of white cheddar popcorn!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1.5 tablespoon of oil (we use Canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of cheese powder (we use King Arthur Flour Vermont Cheddar Cheese powder)
  • Note: You may choose to add an addition 1/4 to 1/2 of a tablespoon of cheese powder
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Add oil AND five popcorn kernels to a medium or large saucepan. You don’t want to add all of the kernels until after the oil is HOT!
  2. Heat the saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Once the five popcorn kernels pop, add the remaining 1/4 cup of kernels.
  4. Allow the kernels to pop until you the popping slows and you don’t hear a pop every 2-3 seconds. (usually about 5 minutes on medium heat)
  5. Pour the popcorn in a bowl (do not add the cheese powder to the saucepan, as it will burn!)
  6. Shake 1 tablespoon of cheese powder over the popcorn.
  7. Stir the popcorn, add salt to taste, and serve!

Quick & Easy Guacamole

We love avocado, but avocados can be made even better when turned into this easy guacamole! We celebrated Cinco de Mayo by this year by loading up on 25 cent avocados.

Click here for some tips on keeping avocados fresh longer!

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Quick & Easy Guacamole

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fast and delicious addition to any Mexican fare.

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • a few spoonfuls of fresh salsa,
  • or a small roma tomato and 1/4 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, cube and mash your avocado.
  2. Add fresh salsa (or add diced tomato and onion)
  3. Mix avocado and fresh salsa (or diced tomato and onion)
  4. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lime juice
  5. Stir all ingredients together
  6. Serve with chips (or veggies if you prefer)!

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Easy Cheesy & Cheap Vegetarian Quesadillas!

Black bean quesadillas are one of our staple frugal lunches! We sometimes add sauteed onion or fajita style peppers to spice up the dish. Overall, it results in an affordable, hot, and delicious meal! This is great with our homemade easy guacamole!

Frugal Cost Analysis:

ItemIngredient Cost per UnitUnits Required for RecipeTotal Cost
Tortillas$0.23 per tortilla2 tortillas$0.46
Black Beans$0.48 per cup1/2 cup$0.24
Shredded Cheese$0.17 per tablespoon6 tablespoons$1.02
Olive Oil0.23 per tablespoon1/2 teaspoon$0.04
Total cost for 2 quesadillas$1.76
Total cost for 1 quesadilla$0.88
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Easy Cheesy & Cheap Vegetarian Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quick and delicious lunch with a crunch.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 flour tortillas (taco size)
  • 6 tablespoons of shredded Mexican cheese (we use Kraft four cheese)
  • a few drops of olive oil (or other oil if preferred)
  • you may want to add onion (saute first with olive oil and kosher salt!)

Directions

  1. Heat a medium or large frying pan (medium heat)
  2. Add a few DROPS of olive oil to the frying pan and heat the oil
  3. Once the oil is warmed, put one tortilla in the frying pan
  4. Add three tablespoons of shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla
  5. Add a quarter cup of black beans to the same half of the tortilla
  6. Fold tortilla in half and warm until tortilla begins to brown on the bottom
  7. Flip tortilla and continue cooking
  8. Slice tortilla into four pieces (I use a pizza cutter)
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 8 for your second quesadilla
  10. Serve with salsa and guacamole!