Tag Archives: frugal

Crock Pot Love: Saucy Cowboy Beans

24 Jul

This recipe is what I think I’d be eating if I was a cowgirl running cattle out in the great wild west. Something the Chuck Wagon chef could have put together with simple ingredients and cooked over an open fire all day in a cast iron pot while everyone was ropin’ and ridin’. Served up with some biscuits or corn bread. Maybe a chunk of beef! Yum. And so the cowboy bean recipe was born. It’s pretty easy. Soaked beans, blend the rest of the ingredients, cook in a crock pot. Very little hands on for something that tastes so amazing!

If you are looking to be frugal, dried beans are the way to go. A 16oz bag of dried pinto beans is just under $2! All the ingredients below? About $10. And you’ll get a couple of meals out of this. This recipe fed 4 adults – two of which went back for a hearty second portion. And there are still leftovers. The recipe itself is meat free, but I’ll cook up some ground meat or shred some chicken to make it more manly for the hubs. See below the recipe for my manly bean bowl variation. All the ingredients in this are things I buy in bulk and stock my freezer/fridge with so it still keeps the cost down.

This recipe has some kick. Not diving headfirst into a cool pool hot, but a nice even heat. If you want less kick, use only half of the chipotle peppers/adobo. This may look a little watery to you once you add in all the blended ingredients. Fear not. The long cooking time combined with the beans soaking up moisture will result in a nice smooth sauce.

Saucy Cowboy(girl) Beans


1 16oz bag pinto beans (soaked overnight in water) drained and picked over (for stones, rough-looking beans, what not)

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 7oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 32oz carton beef broth

1 14.5oz can Hunt’s Garlic Fire Roasted Tomatoes


Place your soaked and drained pinto beans into your crock pot.

In a blender or a large bowl place all of the remaining ingredients (do not drain off the tomatoes). If using a blender, blend to make a smooth mixture. If you have little chunks of onion, no biggie. They’ll be mush in the crock pot. I use an immersion blender so I put my ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the blended mixture over the beans, stirring to get all the beans covered. Cook on high for 10hrs.

Yep, that’s it.

To serve: These beans are great all by themselves with a dollop of sour cream and some cornbread. To make them a meal, I turn them into bean bowls with the ingredients layered and then mixed when you plop your spoon in.

For the manly bean bowl meal, I fry up some ground beef or turkey (or bite size slices of kielbasa). Then I cook up some brown rice, or go old school with some mac n’ cheese (yes, the dayglo orange Kraft kind). Then I steam up some sweet yellow corn. Layer the ingredients in a big bowl as follows: Rice/macncheese, meat, corn, beans. Top with a nice melty cheese and a big dollop of sour cream. Serve with crusty bread or warm flour tortillas to soak up all the saucy goodness. The sweetness of the corn and coolness of the sour cream help to soften the heat of these beans.


The DIY Life: Homemade Instant Oatmeal Mix

19 Apr

So the hubs is on his oatmeal kick again. On the cool mornings he likes to enjoy a bowl of hot oatmeal before heading off to work. Of course, he eats 2 packets because he’s a man. And men eat more than us dainty ladies. So that means that in a week, he consumes a box of oatmeal packets. Which means that I’ve got to stock up on oatmeal packets, and even buying the store brand it’s $2 per box. So, since we just ran out, and I had a surplus of quick cooking oats, I decided to try my hand at making my own mix. This is pretty much the standard recipe floating out there on the internet, I didn’t invent it but thought i’d share it with my penny pinching followers who also want to be more aware of their foods content. You are welcome my fellow thrifters.

I myself cannot eat oatmeal. Boy I wish I could. It’s wholesome, fills your tummy, and good for you. But I cannot get past the texture. No matter how amazing the steam from the hot oats smells, as soon as it hits my tongue I gag. Sigh. I did try this mixture dry for my taste test and it was pretty tasty. A nice flavor combo. Hubs confirms it’s good.

And I didn’t do the math because I had all the ingredients in the house to make this, BUT it’s got to be cheaper than purchasing the store bought stuff if you are going through at least one box per week. I doubled the recipe and filled a gallon sized mason jar. Put a scoop in it so now the hubs can just scoop out what he wants and be on his way.

And it’s way nicer to look at the oatmeal mixture in my sweet ass mason jar than those packets sitting in the fruit basket. I have a thing for mason jars. Like a HUGE thing. In case you hadn’t picked up on that from my posts yet. Like if there were Mason Jar meeting similar to the AA setting, I would have to attend them. But there isn’t any such thing, so i’ll go on collecting mason jars like it’s my destiny.


Brown Sugar Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal Mix

18oz container quick oats

1/3 cup powdered milk

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1-2 tsp Cinnamon (I did 2tsp for more cinnamon flavor)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand. Be sure to break up any chunks of brown sugar. Store in an airtight container.
To serve, place 1/2cup oatmeal mix in a bowl and cover with 1/2cup hot water or milk. Add in fruit or nuts if you want some additional flavor.

The DIY Life: Homemade Fabric Softener

26 Mar

Let’s face it. Gas is almost $4 a gallon here in my neck of the woods. So being frugal and making my own fabric softener to go with my homemade laundry soap isn’t really a far fetched idea. This recipe is cheap, easy, and you can customize it to your liking by picking whatever scent conditioner you like! Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar. Depending on what scent you choose, you can’t even smell the vinegar!

What you will need:

6 cups hot water

3 cups white vinegar

1 15oz bottle sauve conditioner (in the scent of your choice)

Container(s) to put the finished softener in

Place all 3 items in a large bowl and mix together with a whisk to incorporate the conditioner. Place it in mason jars or any other reusable container and have it ready for the next load of laundry! I use one “scoop” worth in the fabric softener compartment of my standard washing machine, and fill it the rest of the way with water. The scoop I use is one left over from the oxy clean that I add to my homemade laundry soap. My clothes are static free, softened, and do NOT smell like vinegar. They just smell clean. Like clothes should. The cost for all of this fabric softener? Under $3.

The original version for this recipe is located over at Frugal Girls so go on over and show them some love!