Eggless Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

You need at least a few good eggless baking recipes in your repertoire. You may be short on eggs, or you may need to consider a friend or loved one with an egg allergy.

The lack of eggs won’t be what you are thinking about when you bite into these luscious treats. These cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie. In fact, they may remind you of a grown-up version of some of your favorite childhood packaged snack cakes, but without all of the artificial flavors and preservatives…

Notes on the Recipe:

Soured milk: Combining vinegar and milk is a quick way to create “sour milk”. If you have sour milk that you would like to use up, you can use it in lieu of the vinegar and milk mixture.

Batter: This cupcake batter is very thick. The batter will not pour easily, and you will need to spoon it carefully into the muffin tins.

Cupcake Texture: These eggless cupcakes are drier than traditional cupcakes and have a texture similar to a cake brownie. They are very good, but taste differently than a traditional cupcake.

Cost Analysis:

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Eggless Devil's Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: easy
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These eggless cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie.

Ingredients


For the cake:
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon softened butter
– 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 3/8 teaspoon white vinegar
– 5/8 cup (or 10 tablespoons) flour
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons boiling water
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the frosting:
– 4 tablespoons softened butter
– 7/8 cup (or 14 tablespoons) powdered sugar
– 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
  2. In a small bowl, combine milk and white vinegar. Set this aside for 5 minutes to “sour” the milk.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and water in a separate small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and cream it with a mixer on medium-low speed.
  5. Add brown sugar and oil to the butter. Mix on medium-low until the mixture is combined.
  6. Combine boiling water and baking soda. Add this to the brown sugar mixture and mix until well combined.
  7. Gradually stir flour mixture and “sour” milk into the brown sugar mixture. Alternate between adding the flour and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Stir until well combined, but don’t over-mix the batter!
  9. Fill 6 cupcake liners about 1/2 of the way full.
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out relatively clean when the cupcakes are done.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  12. For the frosting:

  13. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed. It should form a thick buttercream. If it is too thick, add a little bit of extra milk.
  14. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  15. Enjoy!

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Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One

Everyone needs a few good single-serving recipes. Whether you need dinner-for-one, or a quick homemade lunch, this recipe is a good addition to that list.

Fettuccine Alfredo has been one of my favorite indulgent meals since I was a child. Unfortunately, my husband James is not a fan of Alfredo sauce. So, I make this single-serving recipe for myself when I am craving a creamy pasta lunch.

This recipe is creamy and flavorful with the addition of garlic and parsley. You may, however, also consider adding steamed or sauted vegetables. Alfredo pairs especially well with broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes. Simply saute the vegetables in a separate frying pan with olive oil until softened, or steam the vegetables while you prepare the Alfredo sauce. Then, stir the vegetables into the completed sauce prior to adding the pasta.

Notes on the Recipe:

Garlic: This recipe calls for one clove of minced garlic. You can also use about 1/2 teaspoon of already minced garlic or 1/8 teaspoon of dried garlic powder. If you are a garlic-lover, add two cloves of garlic. I frequently do this, but the garlic flavor is very strong.

Half-and-half creamer: I use half-and-half for this recipe because it is something I usually have on hand for my coffee. It has more fat than milk, and this makes the Alfredo creamy. You can also use whipping cream, which will result in an even creamier sauce. If you don’t have either on hand, you can use milk. If you use milk, the sauce will remain relatively thin.

Cost Analysis:

Fettuccine Alfredo is known as a rich and indulgent meal, so the cost and time requirement to make this dish may surprise you. This single serving recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and costs about $0.76 for the serving.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One

  • Difficulty: easy
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This easy homemade Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is made with common household ingredients, costs less than a dollar to make, and results in one delicious serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half creamer
  • 4 ounces pasta (I used fettuccine, but any shape will do)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter on low heat in a small saucepan. Separately, boil water in a saucepan and prepare pasta noodles per box instructions.
  2. Add minced garlic to the melted butter. Increase the heat to medium-low and allow the garlic to cook for about one minute. Stir carefully and do not allow the garlic to burn.
  3. Add half-and-half creamer to the butter mixture one tablespoon at a time. Wisk or stir after each addition. Allow the butter and creamer mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, until it has thickened slightly.
  4. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and wisk or stir until well combined. This should take about a minute.
  5. Add dried parsley to the sauce and stir.
  6. After the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the sauce mixture. Stir until well combined.
  7. Top the pasta dish with additional Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper, to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

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Oven Baked Black Bean Quesadillas

Black bean quesadillas are a staple in our household. They are easy-to-make, cheap, quick, and tasty. Plus, you only need four ingredients to make this recipe! Well – perhaps five ingredients because I rarely eat a quesadilla without good salsa!

Why make quesadillas in the oven?

I frequently make quesadillas in a frying pan (click here for that recipe). A frying pan does get a quesadilla nice and crispy, but there are two major reasons to bake your quesadillas.

  1. It is easier to make a batch of quesadillas. If you want to make multiple quesadillas at once, you can prepare all of your quesadillas and bake them in one or two batches. If you use a frying pan, you will need to prepare and bake each quesadilla separately.
  2. All the quesadillas will be ready at the same time. Unlike preparing quesadillas in a frying pan, all of your quesadillas will be hot and ready to eat at the same time.

The only noticeable difference between oven baking and pan frying is the texture of the tortilla. The oven baked tortilla is much crispier, while the pan fried tortilla has a crunchy yet chewy exterior. Both are good.

Cost Analysis:

Black bean quesadillas are a nice and cheap meal or appetizer. A basic black bean quesadilla will cost about $0.88 to make. This doesn’t include the cost of salsa.

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Oven Baked Black Bean Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2 quesadillas
  • Difficulty: easy
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This quick and easy vegetarian quesadilla recipe is the perfect no hassle lunch or party appetizer!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 flour tortillas (preferably taco size)
  • 6 tablespoons of shredded Mexican cheese
  • a few drops of olive oil (or other oil neutral oil if preferred)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay your tortillas on a baking sheet. Place a few drops of oil on one side of the tortillas. Lightly rub the oil into one side of each tortilla.
  3. Flip the tortilla on the baking sheet so that the oil side is DOWN.
  4. Add three tablespoons of shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla (non-oil side)
  5. Add a quarter cup of black beans to the same half of the tortilla (non-oil side)
  6. Fold the tortillas in half
  7. Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, and flip halfway through the baking process.
  8. Slice tortilla into four pieces (I use a pizza cutter)
  9. Serve with salsa, preferably pico de gallo!

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Oatmeal Granola (small batch)

James is the granola-maker in our house. He used to make it frequently, and we would eat it by the handfuls. It is salty, crunchy, and naturally sweetened with honey. Plus, the baking process makes your house smell great!

This is James’ go-to granola recipe. It is simple, but absolutely delicious. It is so good that I usually eat it plain, but it is also a great topping for yogurt.

It is also relatively cheap to make, especially compared to specialty pre-made granola that you find at the grocery store. This granola costs about $0.21 for a quarter cup serving.

Cost Analysis:

The cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

A few notes:

Granola (especially in a small batch) can burn easily! You need to check and stir it frequently. For this batch, we stirred it at the 3-minute mark, 6-minute mark, 8-minute mark, 10-minute mark, 12-minute mark, and then every minute for the final three minutes.

Allow the granola to cool completely before eating. It is worth the wait.

We prefer small batch baking because we are a family of two. However, this recipe can easily be multiplied if you need more granola!

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small Batch Oatmeal Granola

  • Difficulty: easy
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This small batch granola recipe is easy-to-make and sweetened naturally with honey.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons uncooked oats (we use old fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • a pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, flour, almonds, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Melt butter in a small container and stir vanilla and honey into the butter mixture.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until it looks evenly combined. Try not to over-mix.
  5. Pour granola onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Push the granola together into a lump and gently push the granola down until it is 1/2 to 1/3 deep.
  6. Bake granola, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. The granola will brown around the edges of the lump, so you need to mix it often so that new pieces will brown. For this batch, we stirred it at the 3-minute mark, 6-minute mark, 8-minute mark, 10-minute mark, 12-minute mark, and then every minute for the final three minutes. It can burn quickly, so it is best to check and stir it often.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely before enjoying!

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Roasted Breakfast Potatoes with Easy Homemade Seasoning

Crispy, salty breakfast potatoes are a key component of a lazy morning breakfast. This recipe combines a few basic spices and seasonings with some oil and a potato. The result is our favorite roasted potatoes.

A few notes:

This recipe is for one generous portion of breakfast potatoes, but can easily be multiplied to create more servings.

I used a yellow potato for this recipe, but I sometimes use russet potatoes. Either is fine. If you use russet potatoes, make sure to peel them first. I do, however, leave the skin on my yellow potatoes.

I use Kosher salt for my roasted potatoes, but you can substitute table salt. Sometimes the Kosher salt will give the potatoes a bit of a gritty texture (which I like), but you may not.

If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can substitute a different dried herb of your choice. Perhaps parsley or rosemary.

Cost Analysis:

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020. Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Roasted breakfast potatoes with easy homemade seasoning

  • Difficulty: easy
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These crispy, roasted potatoes are the perfect side dish for a great breakfast. This recipe makes one generous serving, but can easily be multiplied.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow potato with the skin (or a medium peeled russet potato)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika powder (sweet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (or table salt)
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Dice potatoes into quarter cubes.
  3. Combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add olive oil to the bowl and mix until a runny paste forms.
  4. Add diced potatoes to spice mix and toss until combined.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread potatoes on baking sheet.
  6. Bake potatoes for 25-30 minutes in oven. Check halfway through and flip.
  7. Enjoy! (I eat mine with tomato ketchup)

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Low-Cost Gifting: Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

One of the best smells in the whole world is the aroma of cinnamon roasted nuts. I associate it strongly with fairs and carnivals, and with wandering around with a little paper cone of nuts in my hand, trying not to devour the pricey little treat too quickly.

Fortunately for me (and for you), cinnamon-roasting your own almonds at home is easy, inexpensive, and just as delicious as the ones you can buy at fairs and carnivals. I have even given glass jars of cinnamon-roasted almonds as very successful (and budget-friendly at $3.64 per batch) gifts on several occasions. People never fail to be impressed and delighted with this tasty treat! If you are interested in more creative ways to save on gift giving, visit our post here!

Frugal 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:

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

  • Difficulty: easy
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Sweet, savory, and crunchy. The perfect thrifty gift, or a great homemade treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups natural almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (white sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Add water, sugar, and cinnamon to the frying pan. Mix it thoroughly and wait for it to come to a low boil.
  4. Add the almonds and stir slowly and constantly in a circular motion. Scrape the sides of the frying pan to keep the sugar from building up.
  5. When the water/sugar mixture begins to form a thick syrup, remove the pan from heat and pour the almonds onto the baking sheet. (Note: It is hard to gauge when to remove the almonds. If the sugar starts to form granules, take it off the heat immediately).
  6. Allow the almonds to cool for 15 minutes before enjoying.

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Pea & Parmesan Risotto

I had a dish similar to this one on a vacation about five years ago, and I absolutely loved it. The dish was delicious, so of course I attempted to recreate it! I have tried a number of variations (including topping with fresh pea sprouts, omitting the additional peas, and experimenting with dried basil), but the recipe I am including in this post is the one I make the most often.

Concerning modifications, I don’t think the pea sprouts are worth the extra cost, but are a lovely topping if you are serving to dinner guests. I also prefer the dish with fresh basil, but have made it a number of times with dried basil. I use frozen peas, but it is good (if not better) with fresh peas. The great thing about cooking is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. So, use what you have and enjoy!

Side note: I love bread. I almost always serve rosemary focaccia bread (click here for recipe) with this risotto. I think it is a stellar combination!

From a cost perspective, the dish cost us about $1.50 per serving to make. An obvious way to make the dish cheaper is to either make your own vegetable stock or use a stock cube. I usually pay for pre-made broth, which makes the dish a lot more expensive than it needs to be.

Frugal 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:

Pea and Parmesan Risotto for $1.50 per serving

  • Difficulty: Easy
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This easy and delicious risotto combines frozen peas, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese, which results in a delicious vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth + hot water, if needed
  • 10 ounces frozen peas (you don’t need exactly 10 ounces. Less is fine. If you love peas, more is fine!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat vegetable broth in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat.
  2. Heat frozen peas following bag instructions. Note: Steam in the bag frozen vegetables are more expensive, but quite convenient for this recipe.
  3. Add butter to a large saucepan and and heat using medium-low heat. After it is heated, add diced onion. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until onion is softened. Stir the onions occasionally, and do not allow them to burn.
  4. Increase heat to medium and add arborio rice. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. While the rice is cooking, add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and 1/2 cup of peas to a blender. Also add 4 fresh basil leaves (or a pinch of dried basil). Blend until smooth. Set aside for use later.
  6. Reduce heat of the large saucepan to medium-low. Add a ladleful of broth to the rice. Stir (you will need to stir frequently throughout the entire broth process). Once the broth is absorbed, add another ladleful of broth. Continue this process until the rice is tender. (I generally taste the rice to confirm it isn’t still crunchy). This process will likely take 20-25 minutes. If you use up all of the broth, continue with hot water.
  7. Remove from heat. Add pea puree and stir. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and stir. Add remaining peas and stir. Allow to set for about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, pepper, and salt (if desired). Enjoy!

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15 Minute Dangerously Delicious Lava Cakes

Before making these lava cakes, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I like chocolate?
  2. Do I have 15 minutes?
  3. 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:

Cost Analysis:

Please note, costs are based on what I paid for my ingredients. You costs may vary.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

15 Minute Dangerously Delicious Lava Cakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Gooey and delicious lava cakes that are easy, quick, and relatively frugal at $0.50 a piece!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate (I use semi-sweet)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • a few sprays of cooking spray
  • chocolate syrup and whipped cream, if desired

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir the butter and chocolate mixture until the chocolate is fully melted.
  4. Add powdered sugar and stir. Add egg and egg yolk and stir. Add flour and stir.
  5. Spray a cupcake tin (or small ramekins) lightly with cooking spray.
  6. Pour batter (about 3/4 of the way full) into cupcake tins.
  7. Bake 8 to 9 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Use a butter knife to gently remove lava cakes from cupcake tin.
  9. Garnish with chocolate syrup and whipped cream!

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