Frugal Meals: Dinner on a Dime

Frugal Meals: Dinner on a Dime

Are you looking to stretch those grocery dollars? Let me show you how to spice up and season that lowly beans and rice dish so you can enjoy several different ethnic (styled) dishes. And FYI, these are representations of this type of cooking, not the actual authentic versions, so don’t be hatin’!

First off, cook up a batch o’ beans. Use something like white beans, pintos, red beans or even black beans. Doesn’t matter; we’re going to use them up a bunch of ways. Secondly, make your rice. Needs to be whole brown rice. I prefer long grain brown rice, some people like a short grain rice. Just make sure it’s brown rice so you get the nutrition! How do you cook beans and rice? Look on the back of the packages to each of them…you’ll get all the info you need. The important part is getting them cooked.

Okay, you’ve got a big batch o’ beans and a big batch o’ rice cooked, right? Now let’s look at all the possibilities:

Mexican-Style Beans and Rice
Jamaican-Style Beans and Rice
New Orleans-Style Beans and Rice
Southern-Style Greens, Beans and Rice
Indian-Style Beans and Rice

For ease of accomplishment, these “recipes” are servings for ONE. Multiply as needed. One serving equals 1 cup rice, 1 cup beans. You can bag these beans up in freezer quality bags and freeze in serving sizes (either individually or enough to serve your family) if you want. You can do the same thing with the rice. Once you have all those beans and rice packages, here’s what you can do when you thaw them out. Remember, these are servings for ONE…multiply them out as needed to serve your family:

Mexican-Style Beans and Rice

Serve the rice and beans plain with salsa, sour cream, grated cheese over the top and a quesadilla on the side.

Jamaican-Style Beans and Rice

In a saucepan over a medium heat, add beans, add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, a pinch of thyme, a clove of crushed garlic and heat through till warm and bubbly. Serve over rice with chopped green onions on top.

New Orleans-Style Beans and Rice

In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat and saute 1/4 cup each: onion, green bell pepper and celery. Add 1 clove crushed garlic, 1/8 teaspoon thyme. Mix this into the beans and serve with a bottle of Tabasco or other hot sauce.

Southern-Style Beans and Rice

In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion, then add 1 cup chopped frozen greens. Add 1 clove crushed garlic, a pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Add 1/2 cup beans and simmer till greens are tender. Serve over rice.

Indian-Style Beans and Rice

In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped tomato and cook till tender. Add 1 clove crushed garlic, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon curry powder. Add the beans and simmer for five minutes. Serve over rice with chopped cilantro on top.

There you go…how’s that for Easy Button easy! Enjoy!

Paleo and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte “PSL” Recipe

Paleo and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte “PSL” Recipe


Fall is in full swing and we’re not above loving that infamous “basic” beverage that explodes EVERYWHERE this time of year: the sweet and spiced PSL (aka: Pumpkin Spice Latte).

Since the Starbuck’s version, that must be credited for bringing this drink such fame, is sooo full of sugar and other mysterious-not-good-for-your-poor-body ingredients we decided to take matters into our own hands and make a version with real ingredients that’s also WAY LESS sugar and even Paleo-friendly!!

May we present our Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe:

(Makes 3 to 4 servings pending on mug size 😉 and it’s maybe a little too easy to consume all on your own if you’re not careful)

2 cups unsweetened cashew OR almond milk (I typically use cashew, it tends to be the creamiest)
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon honey and/or pure maple syrup (I like using just a little of both)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grass fed butter (substitute with more coconut oil or coconut butter for vegan option)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 1/2 cups hot strongly brewed coffee
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A couple shakes of ground cardamom
A dash of ground ginger
A dash of ground cloves
A dash of ground nutmeg

Heat cashew (or almond) milk in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Be careful not to boil the milk, and once it’s become hot, remove it from heat. Add all ingredients, including heated milk, to a blender. Blend for several seconds or until fully combined. A bit of froth should’ve formed after the mixture settles. Give it a quick taste test and adjust accordingly if you wish!

For example: add more spices if you fancy // if you want it creamier, then add a smidge more butter and/or coconut oil // and if you want it as sweet as Starbucks, instead of adding more honey or syrup, use Stevia to sweeten it to taste! A bit more maple syrup will do the trick too, BUT, it’ll lessen its qualifiers as “Paleo” LOL – enjoy hot and with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top!

If you’re feeling especially wild, trying making our Paleo Coconut Whipped Cream for a topping – you can find that recipe HERE.

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

By: Leanne Ely


It’s time for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe! And in honor of this most ultimate summer squash, today we’re giving it the attention it deserves. Sound good?

Zucchinis are packed with beta-carotene, potassium and B vitamins. They also provide fiber and a bit of Vitamin C, but a large zucchini contains only 16 calories!

While zucchini can be used in muffin and loaf recipes, I prefer to eat it in its pure form, simply stir fried as a simple side dish. Oh you know what else is good? Grated zucchini sautéed in olive oil and a bit of garlic with salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious and almost rice-like in texture.

This is one versatile and delicious veggie!


Now, it’s time for your Trick:

If you don’t know what to do with all that zucchini in your garden, grate it up and put it in the freezer, sealed individually in one-cup servings.

Your Tip:

Select small to medium sized zucchini if you’re eating them for flavor. The bigger guys start to lose their taste after awhile. They’re okay for purposes like zucchini bread, but they won’t do much for you in a stir fry.

And your Recipe from our new 21 Day Knock Out!

Fried Egg and Veggie Skillet
Serves 4

2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 pound zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
4 large eggs

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: In a very large skillet over medium high heat, melt half the coconut oil. Add onion, pepper, and zucchini and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in thyme.

Move the veggies to the outer edges of the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining coconut oil. Crack eggs into the center and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip eggs over and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until eggs reach desired doneness.

Carefully scoop vegetables out and top with eggs. Season eggs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

If you want more tasty recipes to help you stay on track and get ready for summer, join me on our new 21 Day Knock Out here!

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

By: Leanne Ely


I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!
grilling asparagus
Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!

Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:

Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen list and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.

Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables would include: asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.

Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also help keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.

Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup, or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst! Especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.

Indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.

Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.

Use packets. Some veggies don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. Peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes, or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.

There you have it.

Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add?

Budget-friendly crock pot meals

Budget-friendly crock pot meals

By: Leanne Ely


It seems like the more you do to feed your family properly, the harder it is to keep the grocery budget in check.

Using the crock cooker is a great way to stretch a dollar for several reasons.

• You can use tougher, less expensive cuts of meat
• Traditional crock cooker meals like chili and soup tend to go a long way
• The convenience of this appliance saves you from spending money on take out
• Crock cookers use less electricity than stoves

Today, I’m going to share some tips with you to help you save even more money with this beloved kitchen appliance.

Make your own stock. If you know me at all, you know I’m pretty big on making stock. With a slow cooker, you shouldn’t ever have to buy canned or boxed broth again. Simply save up bones (I keep one zipper bag for chicken bones and one for beef), trimmings and juices from your roasts and freeze them until you have enough to fill your crock pot about half full. When you have enough, put them in the crock pot, fill the crock 3/4 full with water and let it cook on LOW for 8 hours or so. Then, you can use this homemade broth in your crock cooker recipes and for other uses.

Cook more than you need. Buy a very large, inexpensive chuck roast. Even if it’s much more than your family needs—as long as it will fit in your crock pot, bring it home with you. Put it in the crock pot, fill the crock cooker half way with water (which I would do only for cheap cuts of meat), and let it cook on LOW for 8 hours. Portion the meat and use it throughout the week in lunches and dinners. You can even freeze some of the meat to take out later in the month.

Buy from the Clean 15 list. Even if you make an effort to buy organic whenever possible, you can save a little bit of money on your grocery bill. Use crock cooker recipes that call for ingredients from the Clean 15 instead of the Dirty Dozen list so you can buy the less expensive, conventionally grown option over organic. (You can learn more about the Clean 15 at by the way.) Many Clean 15 items are great for slow cooking, including onions, sweet potatoes and cabbage.

If you’re coming up short on crock cooker meal inspiration, are you in luck!

We have a great promo going on right now on our Crock Cooker Classic and Paleo Menus. Find out more here!

Budget Crock Cooker Ideas

It’s not easy being green (Kermit the Frog)

It’s not easy being green (Kermit the Frog)

By: Leanne Ely


It’s not easy being greens. So packed with goodness and fiber, yet so many people just push them around the plate without any respect for the nutrition in their pretty green leaves.Mixed Salad Greens over white

If you want to get the nutrients you need in your system, you have to get good and comfortable with eating greens. And since today’s produce is so deficient in many vitamins and nutrients, you have to eat as many greens as you can manage.

From late March through early May, there’s a wide variety of spring greens to enjoy, including:

•    kale
•    spinach
•    baby lettuces
•    arugula
•    dandelion greens

Salad greens are chock full of phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

Eating spring greens provides you with many nutrients and minerals including:

• vitamins A, C, E and K
• calcium
• iron
• fiber
• magnesium
• phosphorus
• potassium

Greens can protect the body against diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Greens can help your cells repair themselves and they can help detoxify the body. Eat a wide range of greens and eat them often, but always choose organic. Lettuce and kale are both on the Dirty Dozen list because of the high amounts of pesticide residue that have been found on them. If you can’t find organic greens, choose a different green veggie.

When it comes to choosing which types of greens to use in your salads, you really can’t go wrong. Experiment with different varieties until you find one you like best. I love putting fresh dill in with my blend of spring greens. Gives them a nice fresh flavor.

And when it comes to dressings, don’t toss your money away on the store bought stuff. Simply top your greens with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Perfect.

Dinner Answer gives you great opportunity to use greens deliciously! Click here for details!