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.
The humble egg sandwich is a fast, convenient, and relatively nutritious meal. Although this is usually something that I would consume for breakfast, I have eaten a lot of egg sandwiches for quick lunches or lazy dinners. At only 250 calories, with 11 grams of protein, the egg sandwich is also pretty nutritious and very cheap!
For many years, I had an hour-long commute to and from work every day. I often made one of these sandwiches, wrapped it in waxed paper, and ate it on the way to work.
If you want to make your egg sandwich even cheaper, use a slice of bread (or two) instead of an English muffin. (If you opt for 2 slices of bread, use a slightly larger bowl – at least 4 inches in diameter.) Although I usually top my egg sandwiches with nothing more than salt and pepper, feel free to experiment. Cheddar or pepper jack cheese, hot sauce, bacon, ham, fresh tomato, or even ketchup or mustard can liven up your sandwich.
It is a gorgeous summer day, and James and I wanted something light for lunch. We had some leftover crusty artisan bread (click here for recipe) and decided to make a lunch out of one of our favorite appetizers: easy summer caprese!
We had some fresh mozzarella, a few tomatoes that had seen better days, our trusty basil plant, and the leftover homemade bread. On a colder day, I would make make a toasty caprese sandwich (click here for recipe), but some days are just too warm for a grilled cheese!
A few notes: If you don’t have fresh mozzarella, you can use part of a block of mozzarella cheese (or even mozzarella cheese sticks). If you don’t have fresh basil, a pinch of dried basil will still be tasty! If you don’t have or want bread, this is delicious as a salad.
If you serve this as an appetizer, it will cost you approximately $0.60 per person (assuming you 4 servings). If you eat as a light meal, only plan on 2 servings. See the cost analysis below:
An quick and easy appetizer perfect for a warm summer day.
1/2 loaf of bread (see artisan bread recipe)
3 ounces of mozzarella cheese (fresh mozzarella if you have it)
4 basil leaves, sliced (I keep a basil plant for economical fresh herbs)
2 small tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil + more for bread if desired
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine chopped tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil in a bowl.
Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to bowl.
Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve with slices of bread (cut into half or quarters) or as a salad. If you would like, you can toast the bread and serve this as bruschetta! Advise your guests to put the mixture on top of the bread for optimal deliciousness!
If you don’t have much time on your hands to prepare lunch or dinner, this easy and nutritious salad might be the recipe for you! It is a quick and easy southwest style salad that we frequently make in the summer.
The salad itself is relatively inexpensive to make. Note, the recipe uses one half of an avocado. Read how to keep the other half fresh here.
Based on what I paid for my own ingredients, it costs about $1 per salad (see below for a cost analysis).
If you are like me, you probably have an old, brown and mushy banana sitting in your kitchen. For some reason, you didn’t get a chance to eat it. Like me, you have already made too much banana bread, but you don’t want to let the banana go to waste.
Never fear! In 2 minutes you can get that mushy fruit off of your counter and enjoy this delicious fruit smoothie. The addition of the orange juice in this recipe really cuts the sweetness of the overripe banana. I made this smoothie with frozen strawberry, but feel free to add any frozen fruit you have on hand. It is also good with frozen pineapple, mango, blueberries, etc.
From a cost perspective, it costs about $1 to make this recipe. James and I usually split the smoothie, but most people would probably consider it to be one smoothie.
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!
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
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!
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:
Ingredient Cost per Unit
Units Required for Recipe
$ 0.47 per cup
$ 0.02 per tablespoon
$ 0.28 per tablespoon
Total cost for 2 large bowls
Total cost for 1 large bowl
Note: This cost analysis is based on what I paid for my own ingredients in the year 2020. Actual prices may vary.