James’ previous job required an hour long commute. He often left early in the morning, and he did not have time to sit down for a lengthy breakfast. During this time period, I started making these breakfast muffins on a weekly.
The muffins have just about everything. You get a little maple syrup, oats, cinnamon, peanut butter, and chocolate in every bite. They are quick to make and easy to transport. Win win!
I prefer to make a small batch (about 6 muffins) because they are really only good for a few days. However, this batch can easily be doubled or tripled.
Despite the amount of flavor in these bites, they are relatively inexpensive. My cost analysis (see below) comes out to about $0.28 per muffin. You could always ditch the chocolate chips to save a few cents, but where is the fun in that?
Before making these lava cakes, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I like chocolate?
Do I have 15 minutes?
Do I have $2?
If you answered yes to all of the above, you should proceed!
These lava cakes are one of my default recipes for entertaining. They are delicious and can be ready in just 15 minutes! My recipe is a modified version of a recipe I saw on Kraft’s website a few years ago (click here for original recipe).
The cost computation revealed that the lava cakes cost about $0.50 per person (without any whipped cream). See below for details:
Gooey and delicious lava cakes that are easy, quick, and relatively frugal at $0.50 a piece!
2 ounces of baker’s chocolate (I use semi-sweet)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons of flour
a few sprays of cooking spray
chocolate syrup and whipped cream, if desired
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut butter and chocolate into pieces, place in a large microwave-save bowl (I use a large glass measuring cup), and microwave until the butter is melted. It usually take about a minute in my microwave on HIGH.
Stir the butter and chocolate mixture until the chocolate is fully melted.
Add powdered sugar and stir. Add egg and egg yolk and stir. Add flour and stir.
Spray a cupcake tin (or small ramekins) lightly with cooking spray.
Pour batter (about 3/4 of the way full) into cupcake tins.
Bake 8 to 9 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Use a butter knife to gently remove lava cakes from cupcake tin.
I am a lover of bread, and rosemary focaccia bread is one of my absolute favorites. This bread is relatively easy and ALWAYS impresses dinner guests. It turns out perfectly every time I make it, and it is unbelievably delicious.
While searching for a great focaccia bread recipe, I stumbled upon a recipe posted by Gimme Some Oven. The bread I prepare is an adaptation of her amazing rosemary focaccia bread. My version uses dried rosemary (as I do not generally have fresh rosemary on hand) and divides the recipe in half.
Another great thing about this bread is that it is relatively inexpensive to make, especially considering the luxurious end result.
A luxurious and salty loaf of focaccia bread elevated with the addition of rosemary.
2/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1.25 teaspoons active-dry yeast (1/2 package)
1.75 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil + additional tablespoon for drizzling
1 teaspoon kosher salt + additional for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Combine yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water to mixture.
Let yeast proof for about 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and one tablespoon olive oil to the yeast mixture. I use a stand mixer with a dough hook, and I use it to mix the dough on low in the stand mixer for about a minute. If you do not have a stand mixer, mix and knead the dough by hand.
Add additional flour, kosher salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix on medium-low for another 4-5 minutes.
Form dough into a ball and put it in a greased mixing bowl. Put a little oil on top of the dough ball and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise for about 45-60 minutes (I tend to wait 60 minutes) in a warm area.
Take dough out of the bowl and roll it into a circle. You can use a rolling pin, but I sometimes just push the dough down with my hands. Put the flattened dough on a baking sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and allow to rise for another 20 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Poke holes all over the dough, drizzle it with a tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and dried rosemary, to taste.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes and enjoy!
Note: This bread is best on its first day. If you are not planning to eat all of the bread on its first day, I would recommend drizzling with olive oil and reheating it in the oven prior to eating.
James and I had a craving for thin crust pizza. We also had leftover homemade tomato sauce, leftover fresh mozzarella, a less than fresh tomato, and a bag of tortillas. What resulted? Crispy margherita-style pizzas. Not super filling, but a delicious and light meal.
The question is, is it a frugal meal?
After completing a cost analysis, the results show a cost of $1.37 per pizza. As the portion was small, this is perhaps not the most cost-effective meal. However, the majority of our ingredients were close to expiration, so it was a good opportunity to reduce our household waste. The cost could also be reduced by changing the type of cheese (but for me, fresh mozzarella cheese is a luxury I am willing to splurge on!)
We could have used the leftovers to make more caprese sandwiches (which were more filling and cheaper to make), but it wouldn’t have satisfied our thin crust pizza craving!
Ingredient Cost per Unit
Units Required for Recipe
$0.23 per tortilla
$ 0.37 per ounce
$ 0.30 per tomato
Leftover Tomato Sauce
$2.64 for full batch
1/6 of sauce
$ 0.06 per leaf
0.23 per tablespoon
$ 0.10 per tsp
Total cost for TWO pizzas:
Total cost for ONE pizza:
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.
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:
Crusty Bread that Will Make You Seem Like an Artisan Baker (That Costs Pennies to Make)
An easy crusty loaf of bread ready to be devoured in a few hours!
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
Combine yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water to mixture.
Let yeast proof for 5 – 10 minutes.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Allow the bread to rise for an additional 30 minutes (or so) while the oven is preheating.
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!
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.
Remove the bread from the dutch oven. For best results, allow it to cool prior to eating.
Delicious miniature chocolate chip cookies to meet your craving without breaking your budget or diet!
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)
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.
Beat butter in a mixing bowl
Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract to butter and mix together.
Add egg yolk to butter mixture and beat.
Gradually add flour mixture and beat after each addition.
The mixture will be relatively dry. Add chocolate chips and mix together with your hands.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and chill dough for 20 minutes.
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.
Place balls of cookie dough on a cookie sheet (spaced out as cookies will spread a bit)