Blog

Vegetable Quesadillas

Bean and Lentil Recipe Round-Up

Saving money on food seems nearly impossible right now. One thing I do to save some money is to make meals with beans and lentils. These are usually less expensive than other protein foods. They also tend to be easy to make. If you are new to cooking with beans and lentils, check out these two tip sheets:

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Our family has been kind of busy this fall. On top of our own responsibilities, my husband and I have three children who all like to try new activities, so they keep us on the move. This cuts down on the amount of time I have to prepare meals. To make up for this lack of time in the kitchen, I rely on quick and easy Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipes like our October recipe of the month – Slow Cooker Refried Beans.

banana oatmeal bread

Banana Oatmeal Bread

Our September recipe of the month is a Spend Smart. Eat Smart. favorite – Banana Oatmeal Bread. We have had this recipe on the website for many years, but it needed an update. Below are some highlights from the updated recipe. I hope you find some time to make it yourself because it really is a great recipe for any meal or snack.

kids outside

Spend Smart. Eat Smart. – With Friends

This month is our third blog in our interview series. I enjoyed hearing from Christine’s mom and Katy’s friend. This month we are going to take a different view of our interview questions. This blog is all from a child’s perspective. I interviewed my three children, Kenny (age 12), Eliza (age 10), and Miles (age 6). Before I asked them the questions, I asked one of the questions to myself – what is our go to meal that is easy and healthy? The answer was breakfast food and I was surprised to see that answer reflected in some of their responses below. I hope you enjoy reading my children’s perspective on eating healthy on a budget as much as I enjoyed interviewing them.

Salsa Fresca recipe in a bowl

Salsa Fresca

Ripe tomatoes are everywhere this time of year. You may find an abundance of tomatoes at your farmers’ market, food pantry, food store, or even in your own yard. Ripe tomatoes taste so good, but it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with them all. Our August recipe of the month is here to help you out.

sweet corn

Sweet Corn Time

Each summer we have a window of time when sweet corn is fresh, ripe, and ready to eat. For me, that short window of time makes sweet corn a special food with many good memories attached to it. I smile when I think of times picking sweet corn with my family, eating a sweet corn meal around my parents’ and grandparents’ tables, and watching my children eat their first ears of corn. I even smile when I think about the bags and bags of sweet corn we froze growing up – it was a lot of work, but we always liked thawing a bag of corn for dinner in the winter.

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Our July recipe of the month is Chickpea Salad. This salad is ideal for these hot summer days with chickpeas, chopped vegetables, and a quick homemade dressing. The only problem is, I am not really a fan of this recipe. Like most people, there are foods I like and foods I do not like. Chickpeas are my least favorite type of bean and I only like mayo in certain recipes. Thankfully, my friend Christine loves this recipe and has been making it for many years. Below Christine shares her thoughts on Chickpea Salad.

bowl of thai chicken curry

Thai Chicken Curry

Our June recipe of the month is Thai Chicken Curry. When I first started working on this recipe a couple of years ago, I had no idea the price of groceries would increase the way they have. Thankfully, this is a great recipe to have on hand when food prices are high because it is flexible.

Home Questions? – Call AnswerLine

When I was a student at Iowa State University, I worked in a job where I shared an office with an amazing resource. That resource was AnswerLine – a hotline that answers your questions about home, food, and family. As a young adult starting a home of her own, the AnswerLine folks gave me tips on food safety, food preservation, and cleaning. A few years later, I found myself working at Iowa State University again. Throughout my career, AnswerLine has been there to help me when I have tough questions about food and nutrition. As a mom, I rely on AnswerLine for tips on getting stains out of laundry. If you cannot tell already, I love AnswerLine and I want to share this resource with you today!

Berry Crisp

Berry Crisp

Fruit crisp is one of my husband’s favorite foods. He often requests it for his birthday or other special meals. I do not mind because it is a dessert that gives my family some fruit and some whole grains (oats). Plus, it is an easy dessert to make. The only problem is that it can be expensive. Below I have some tips for making a fruit crisp fit into your budget.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Our April recipe of the month is Fish Tacos. This is a homemade version of restaurant fish tacos with coleslaw and chopped veggies wrapped in a corn tortilla. I enjoy this recipe because the different flavors and textures come together to make a delicious meal.

Potato

Microwave Baked Potato

Microwaving a potato is a quick and easy way to add a baked potato to a meal. Sometimes potatoes get a bad rap for not being good for you. However, potatoes are a good source of potassium and Vitamin C and they do not cost a lot. The instructions for microwaving a potato were a little out of date on our website, so we have updated them. Below are the steps and some recipes to go along with your microwave baked potato. You can also find the instructions on our website at: https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/microwave-baked-potato/