Watermelon Lemonade

There is no more quintessential summer food than watermelon, and there is no beverage more representative of summer than lemonade. This recipe is a fun way to combine both summer favorites into a refreshing and tasty drink.

We don’t keep many flavored beverages on hand in our home, because we are blessed with tap water that tastes wonderful. Quick, easy summer beverages like this one allow us to offer guests something other than tap water, without investing in a large selection of pre-made beverages that we probably won’t consume on our own.

Cost Analysis:

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

Notes on the Recipe:

Lemon juice: A typical lemon has 2 tablespoons of juice. I don’t normally keep lemons on hand, so I use lemon juice concentrate. It is much less expensive and has a longer shelf life. However, you can use the juice from one lemon in this recipe. Alternatively, you could use lime juice to make an excellent watermelon limeade!

Watermelon: This recipe calls for chilled cubes of watermelon. I typically cut my watermelon into about 1.5″ cubes (click here for a tutorial), and place the bowl in the refrigerator. If your watermelon is not chilled, substitute ice cubes for some of the water.

Tartness: This lemonade is relatively tart. However, you can adjust the amount of lemon juice to your own personal taste. I have made this lemonade with three tablespoons of lemon juice which was a bit sour for me.

Fine mesh strainer: When you blend watermelon, it creates a slight pulp. If you want a smooth glass of lemonade, pour the beverage through a fine mesh strainer prior to consuming.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Watermelon Lemonade

  • Difficulty: Easy
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This fresh watermelon lemonade blends a pleasant tartness with the sweet summer flavor of watermelon. Delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ice cold water
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice concentrate (or from a fresh lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1 cup coarsely diced seedless watermelon (cold from the refrigerator)
  • Ice, optional

Directions

  1. Combine water, lemon juice, sugar, and watermelon in a small blender.
  2. Blend ingredients until the watermelon is well blended into the beverage.
  3. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass.
  4. Add a few ice cubes to the glass.
  5. Garnish with lemon if you are feeling festive, and enjoy!

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Basil Lemonade

I like fresh lemonade, and we are currently having hot, sunny weather. Unfortunately, we don’t have any lemons in the house. Thankfully, you can make lemonade from lemon juice concentrate that tastes deceptively like the real thing!

I made my lemonade with fresh basil leaves. You can omit the basil, or use a different fresh herb.

Also keep in mind that you can easily tweak this recipe to your liking. If you like really tart lemonade, cut the sugar or add more lemon juice concentrate.

Cost Analysis:

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

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Basil Lemonade

  • Difficulty: Easy
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This fresh basil lemonade is easy to make and can be made with lemon juice concentrate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ice cold water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice concentrate (or fresh lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 2 basil leaves, optional
  • Ice, optional

Directions

  1. Combine water, lemon juice, sugar, and basil leaves in a small blender.
  2. Blend ingredients until you can no longer see the basil leaves. Note – the lemonade will be frothy from the blending process.
  3. Add a few ice cubes to a glass. Then, pour the lemonade into a glass. If you do not like the froth, pour carefully or strain. Or, refrigerate the mixture to allow the frothiness to decrease.
  4. Garnish with a basil leaf if you are feeling festive, and enjoy!

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Easy Vegetarian Refried Beans

When we were newly married, we lived near an excellent Mexican restaurant. We didn’t eat there often, but when we did, I always got a dish that included refried beans. We no longer live near the Mexican restaurant, so I make them at home instead!

This recipe is delicious (and reheats reasonably well). It is a great side dish, but we often eat them as part of an entree. I use the refried beans as a filling in my tacos (in lieu of meat). I combine the beans with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and guacamole. It is absolutely delicious.

The beans are also relatively inexpensive. It costs about $1.65 to make a batch of the beans, and you should be able to get two entree-sized servings out of the batch. If you are serving as a side dish, you should be able to get four servings out of the batch. Enjoy! – Kristin

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:

Easy Vegetarian Refried Beans

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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These homemade refried beans are easy, delicious, and cost $0.83 per serving. You'll never go back to the can…

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (more if you like them spicy)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice, optional
  • 1 can (14.5-15.5 ounces) pinto beans, NOT drained

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Add diced onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic and chili powder and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Mix in the pinto beans (with liquid from can), the vegetable broth, and lime juice.
  5. Continue to cook the mixture on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to stir and mash (or mush if you prefer the term) the mixture periodically. The beans are ready when they thicken.
  6. Serve in tacos, as part of a taco salad, or as a side dish to any Mexican fare.
  7. Enjoy!

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5 Minute Salad with Easy Homemade Dressing

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).

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:

5 Minute Salad with Easy Homemade Dressing

  • Difficulty: easy
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This easy and delicious green salad is fresh and hearty, and perfect on a warm summer day.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 ounces canned corn, drained
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Olive oil, 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • Potential Add-Ins: You may want to add crushed tortilla chips (maybe the crumbs from the bottom of the bag), salsa, salt and pepper. You can also add shredded cheese. 🙂

Directions

  1. Combine olive oil, lime juice and dried cilantro to make a quick dressing. (plus salt and pepper, to taste)
  2. Mix lettuce, tomato, black beans, corn, and avocado together.
  3. Cover with dressing.
  4. Add tortilla chips, cheese, and/or salsa, if desired.
  5. Enjoy!

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