Friday, March 6, 2009

Frugal Friday

Welcome to Frugal Friday you scrimpers, savers, and coupon fanatics. And just all around good friends in blog land. First off before I forget about it I want to announce the winners of last weeks giveaway. This time when choosing I let random integer do the choosing for me. I had found out the week before that it took way to much time to write everyones name down, sometimes twice, and to cut them all up in tiny pieces of paper. More work this week than I had time for. So without further ado the winners of this weeks giveaway are:

Noe Noe Girl and Grandma J.

Now you simply need to contact me via email and leave me your mailing address for me to send out your goodies. Congratulations to the both of you. I hope you have hours of fun watching the finches at the feeder.

Today's Frugal Friday discussion is going to be about ways to make your own recipes which will save you money as well as taste great too. Not only cooking recipes but other types as well. Like homemade laundry detergent.

The first recipe we will do is: Country Style Steak It's very easy to make, tastes great and saves time cooking. Made from almost everything you'll have normally in your kitchen. That's one of the great things about cooking frugally. Take what you have on hand and make something really nutritious and inexpensive. No special trips to the store to buy something for a special recipe that you will never use again. This particular recipe came from Hillbilly Housewife Recipes. If you haven't done so yet I highly recommend you look over this site at everything on it. The recipes I have tried are really wonderful.

Country Style Steak

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons flour


  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups beef broth (made from bouillon cubes is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Dash pepper

These steaks are similar to the ones served by the national school lunch program, and country style restaurants, only much much better. My children really enjoy this dish, but Fred is absolutely in love with it. Besides his meatloaf, this is his favorite ground beef dish in the whole wide world.

Begin by preparing the steaks. In a cereal bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Mix it up with a fork to distribute the seasonings evenly. Measure 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour, and set the rest aside until later. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, dry onions and the 1/4 cup of seasoned flour you just measured. Use your hands to combine it like meatloaf. Pat the meat flat into a 9" by 13" rectangular pan. The meat will be very thin. Score or cut the meat into 16 squares with a knife or a pizza cutter. Take the reserved seasoned flour and pat it on top of the meat. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. The meat will shrink up, and there will be a lot of fat floating in the pan. Carefully drain off the fat and recut the squares.

Prepare the gravy while the meat is cooking. Melt the margarine in a small skillet. Add the flour. Cook and stir this for a few minutes over low heat so that the flour browns a little bit, watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. This will make the finished gravy a pretty and appetizing brown color. After the flour is the color of coffee with cream added, stir in the beef broth. Usually I just add two cups of water and 2 beef bouillon cubes. Also add the onion powder and a sprinkle of pepper. Stir the gravy until it is smooth and bring it to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, or until it is slightly thickened, but still a little thin. The gravy is thin because this makes it easier for the meat to absorb it some. Pour the prepared gravy over the steaks in the pan, after you have drained off the fat. Serve with instant mashed potatoes, green beans, canned peaches, and butter-bread. This recipe serves 6.

If desired, you can make a double batch. After cooking everything, arrange the cooked meat in a freezer to microwave container. Cover the meat with the gravy and freeze for a month or two. This is almost like the frozen Salisbury Steaks available in family size packages at the market. These are a lot healthier though, and much less expensive too.

This recipe has been a family favorite for many years. My mother makes it and passed it down to me. It may not be all that new to any of you but still wanted to share it. It's quick, easy and frugal. It's excellent to make for those Sunday get togethers at church, potlucks, and that sort of thing. Trucker can't get enough of it himself. This same recipe can also be made with canned cherries, pineapples and any fruit with a heavy syrup.

Peach Dump Cobbler

  • 1 lg. can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk

In a 9x13 casserole dish, melt margarine in hot oven (350 degrees). Be sure to let margarine melt completely until nice and bubbly in dish. While margarine melts, place the flour and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly until there are no large lumps left. Add the milk and mix until no longer lumpy. This can be done by hand with a spoon or fork but a hand mixer works much faster.

After the margarine is completely melted, remove dish from oven and pour peaches and syrup into hot margarine and gently mix peaches, syrup and margarine together so that all well mixed. On top of the peaches mixture, pour the milk mixture over the peaches.

Place the dish back into the oven and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Check after 15 minutes to see if the crust has started to brown. Keep a close eye on it, if it has started to brown check it every 5 minutes afterwards to make sure it does not get too brown. When ready, the top crust will appear a golden brown.

A quick note about the peaches in heavy syrup...I have tried the lower sugar types but the heavy syrup provides a much better flavor.

This dessert has been a favorite of my entire family for many, many years. I hope that others like it as well. I cook this dessert when I am crunched for time and need something nice to take to a church function or just as a quick dessert when we are all feel a need for something sweet and yummy!

Now we come to the non food recipes. I have tried these and these particular ones are my favorites of them all.

Gel Laundry Detergent:

Measure 2 cups of this arm & hammer super washing soda and put it in a large bucket. 5 gallon bucket with lid works good.

Measure 2 cups of this borax and add to the bucket of washing soda.

Take the Zote and grate it into a powder, about the consistency of instant mashed potatoes. You will need 2 cups of this powder. In a large pot, put the 2 cups of powdered zote into pot. Add 4 cups of cold water. Heat mixture till boiling while stirring. Be careful, the foam may overflow so make sure you use a large pot. Once it is melted, carefully add the mixture to your bucket. Mix all ingredients well.

Now add 2 gallons of tap water to your bucket. I use it room temperature. Mix altogether. That's it!

When you are ready to wash your first load, just mix it with a large spoon. Try using more in top loaders. Maybe 1 cup.

Others have been using a downy ball full of white vinegar as a rinse aid and fabric softener. It helps rinse out any soap residue. I use it in my "he" washer in the tray to the full mark.

If you are wondering if the clothes have a vinegar smell, they don't. While we're on the subject of vinegar, it works awesome as a rinse aid in your dishwasher!

Dishwasher Detergent for you Dishwasher:

To make your homemade dishwasher soap, mix 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of baking soda and 2 - 3 tbsp. of unsweetened lemonade mix in a large storage container.

If you live in an area with a hard water problem, you may need to adjust these amounts to prevent a filmy residue from appearing on your dishes.

Use 2 tablespoons of this homemade dishwasher soap for each load at a cost of just pennies per load.

Cast aside expensive rinse aids and replace with pure white vinegar. This ingredient is any domestic goddess' best friend and easily cuts through grease and grime, helping you quickly deal with many household tasks, such as window cleaning.

Unsweetened lemonade mix is a non-toxic (and more importantly non-caustic) way of helping your washing machines eliminate greasy residues and limescale buildup. So, at a cost of just $.30, consider using them in place of an expensive dishwasher cleaner.

Simply empty three sachets into your detergent compartment and run machine on empty.

Simply empty three sachets into your detergent compartment and run machine on empty.

Well I hope everyone find's these recipes to their liking. I wish I would have had time for more today but I am still it's taking freaking forever trying to put all of my photos onto discs before handing over my old computer to the kids. Someday I will be done and have the new computer hooked up. It can't be soon enough for me.

Till next week my frugal friends, Happy Savings


Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I am going on a hunt for a thrifty blogger award! You get the prize!
Such great ideas and now I have to have the Hillbilly wife cookbook!
Peach cobbler is Cdub's fav!

Mental P Mama said...

You really do deserve an ward for this. What wonderful ideas. And now I want some cobbler;)

playsdolls said...

What a great receipe,I have made something simular to this for years now.And boy do you have some great tips for around the house and saving money.great post and yes you do deserve an award for this.Come by when you get a chance you have been tagged.

My Metabolic Rate is Stuck said...

Agree with previous commentors, you DESERVE an AWARD! I'll let NNG find that for you, She is so Creative!
THANKS for the IDEAS and Recipes..waiting for more to come!!!!

Living on the Spit said...

Congrats to both of the winners!!! I love them both.

BTW...your recipe for the cobbler is the bomb...we loved it.

Deb said...

Fabulous blog!! I am going to follow this one. I too and a frugal nut and am always looking for good, cheap recipes.

BUT, I mainly stopped by to let you know that you are the winner of my giveaway at A Fine Feathered Nest. Please send me your address to and I'll mail it right away.

Thank you for participating!

Snooty Primadona said...

Great, great post! However, now I'm thoroughly exhausted & think I need a nap, lol. Mr. Snoots says he's going to be really pissed if I don't make the cobbler for him. I told him he's got a long way to go before we're even on *pissed off* issues. I did tell him that as good as he is at desserts, he should make it.


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

That peach cobbler sounds yummy :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl