Irresistible Rosemary Focaccia Bread for $1.20

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.

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:

Irresistible Rosemary Focaccia Bread for $1.20

  • Difficulty: relatively easy
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A luxurious and salty loaf of focaccia bread elevated with the addition of rosemary.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Combine yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add warm water to mixture.
  2. Let yeast proof for about 10 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Add additional flour, kosher salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix on medium-low for another 4-5 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Poke holes all over the dough, drizzle it with a tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and dried rosemary, to taste.
  8. 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.

Hearty Southwest Black Beans & Rice

This recipe is a staple in our house. It is cheap, delicious and makes for great leftovers!

I usually eat mine taco-style in tortilla shells with shredded cheese, tomato, lettuce, and guacamole. James prefers to load his up with taco fixings and eat with chips. Either way is great!

This is a relatively cheap recipe at $0.80 per generous serving. Happy eating!

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:

Southwest Black Beans & Rice

  • Difficulty: easy
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Rice, Black Beans, Corn and some basic spices make for a hearty vegetarian main dish or a great side dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice (I usually use long grain)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or salted water if you don’t have broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can of black beans (about 15 ounces), drained
  • 1 small can of whole kernel corn (8-9 ounces), drained

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium size saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add rice and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (until slightly toasted).
  3. Add vegetable broth and bring mixtures to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add cumin and chili powder and stir into rice mixture.
  5. Stir black beans and corn into the mixture.
  6. Serve with all the standard taco fixings inside of tortillas, with tortilla chips, or just enjoy plain!

3 Ingredient Smoothie to Use Up Those Brown Bananas!

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.

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:

3 Ingredient Brown Banana Smoothie

  • Servings: 1 or 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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A delicious and quick smoothie that uses up an old banana and isn't too sweet!


Ingredients


– 3/4 cup orange juice
– 3/4 frozen fruit (I used strawberries)
– 1 banana (old is fine!)

1. Blend orange juice, banana and frozen fruit.
2. Garnish (if desired) and 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.

Thrifty Tip: Watermelon Edition

Watermelon is one of my favorite foods, but I don’t like the mess involved with eating it off the rind. So, over the years I have developed a quick and efficient process to cube my watermelon.

Instructions:

Step 1: Obtain a watermelon!
Step 2: Cut the watermelon in half
Step 3: Cut each half in half again (so that you have the watermelon cut into quarters)
Step 4: Use a sharp knife to slice the watermelon on the rind from one end to another
Step 5: After it is sliced, cut along the perimeter of the watermelon
Step 6: Slide the slabs of watermelon off of the rind and cut it into cubes
Step 7: Complete with the other three quarters
Step 8: Enjoy!

Thrifty Tip: Celery Edition

Crisp celery is great for a variety of recipes (and even a healthy crunchy snack). Wilted celery is another story. Luckily, there is an easy way to keep your celery crisp MUCH LONGER.

To extend the life of your celery, wrap it in tinfoil and store it in the refrigerator. This should keep your celery crisp for weeks. For more of our thrifty kitchen tips, click here!