A Free Cookbook for Cooking on a Budget

These frugal recipes look fantastic!

Sheet Pan Dinners- HERO IMAGE / Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Ali Nardi

Find the free cookbook HERE.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a poet and essayist who recently published The New Economy Chapbook Cookbook: Volume 1, a collection of fortifying recipes for cooking on a budget that’s available for free on the internet. Its contributors are largely poets, other writers, activists—and passionate home cooks. Calvocoressi, who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, solicited their recipes on Facebook and compiled them into a zine-like volume: casually organized, refreshingly anti-aesthetic, and filled with tender personal stories of getting by in tough times. I called her up to hear more about the project.

You can read the entire article on the Epicurious website here.

Cookie Cutter Cookie Recipe

Image result for snowflake cookies

Did you know not all sugar cookie recipes work well when using a cookie cutter?  If the recipe is too soft, your shapes will flatten out too much and not look as cute as you had intended. The key to this stand-up recipe is corn starch. 

Cookie Cutter Cookies
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  1. 1 cup shortening
  2. 2 sticks butter, slightly softened
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 4 teaspoons vanilla
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 5 cups flour
  10. 1 cup corn starch
  1. 1. Beat shortening, butter, sugars, salt, baking powder, and vanilla until well blended.
  2. 2. Add the eggs and beat until well blended.
  3. 3. Mix the flour and cornstarch in a bowl, then add to dough.
  4. 4. If the dough is too soft to work with then wrap and refrigerate. Otherwise roll out on floured surface and cut shapes as desired.
  5. 5. Bake in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool on racks. Frost and decorate if desired.
The Excellent Wife http://theexcellentwife.com/


Sausage-Apple Cornbread

Here’s a recipe that I made when my children were younger.  Recently my husband recalled and requested the meal.  What a perfect suggestion for the fall!


Sausage-Apple Cornbread
Sausage, apples, and thyme top this delicious cornbread!
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 1 small red onion, diced
  2. 2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
  3. 1.5 lbs sausages
  4. 1T olive oi
  5. 1/2t thyme
  6. 1c yellow corn meal
  7. 1/4c all-purpose flour
  8. 1T baking powder
  9. 1t salt
  10. 1 jalapeno pepper, diced {optional}
  11. 2 large eggs
  12. 8oz sour cream
  13. 8.5 oz creamed corn
  14. 1.5c grated cheddar cheese, separated
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute the onion in olive oil.
  3. Add the sausage, breaking up as you cook it. When cooked through, add the apples and thyme.
  4. In a bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In another bowl whisk eggs, sour cream, creamed corn, 1 cup of the cheddar, and jalapeno.
  6. Add the dry cornmeal mixture to the wet ingredients and stir till just combined.
  7. Spread cornbread mixture into a greased 9" cast iron skillet. Top with the sausage mixture, then the remaining cup of cheddar.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 45 minutes.
  1. Serve with a fancy green salad.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine ~ August '99, p.74
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine ~ August '99, p.74
The Excellent Wife http://theexcellentwife.com/

Rose’s Christmas Cookies

If you want some fantastic cookie recipes, consider this book by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  It has everything from fancy tree decoration cookies, to delicate melt-aways, to homemade dog biscuits!

I turn to this book every year to make traditional Christmas-time cookies!  See if you can find it in your local library to try it out first.

Pizza Dough

Pizza: A clever way for me to rid the refrigerator of leftover meats, vegetables, and cheeses.  Whether we have red sauce or olive oil as the base, the pizzas are always delicious.  Have children make their own for fun!

While you’re at the dough making, why not double the recipe and freeze your pre-baked crusts so you don’t have to go through the process next week?  This way you’re only making dough twice a month.


(t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon)

Dissolve 1 package (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) yeast in:

1/4c 110 degree water
1t sugar

In a food processor pulse till combined:

4c flour
1/2t salt

Add to flour in food processor:

Dissolved yeast mixture
1T olive oil
1 1/4c cold water

Pulse till dough comes together and forms a ball. Do not over mix. Take dough out to floured surface and knead till smooth (about 5 minutes). Let rest 3 minutes. Put in oiled bowl covered with damp, clean towel. Put bowl in draft-free place. (In winter, I turn my oven on 200 degrees for about 2 minutes before I even start making the dough. This way it’s just a little warmer than room temp for rising.)

Let rise till doubled (about 1 hour). Mine rarely doubles fully. But it still comes out fine.

Punch dough down. Divide into 6 balls for personal size pizzas, 4 for slightly bigger, and 2 for larger pizzas. Let rest 30 more minutes covered with towel.

Shape dough by pushing it with your hands into a circle shape, or by rolling out. I pre-bake my crust, one at a time under the broiler. When the crust just starts to get brown I take it out and flip it and do the same to the other side. Then I take it out, cool it down, wrap them, and freeze them. This way I only have to make dough once a month or so.

Take pre-baked crust and put toppings on. Bake at 400 till brown on top or desired doneness.

Raspberry Brownies with Velvet Chocolate Glaze

I always make extra of these brownies because my mother adores them. She freezes them in individual servings and eats them at will!

How to make them:

3 squares (3 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
Chocolate covered whole walnuts for garnish

1.Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler. Cool slightly.
2.In another bowl, blend eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
3.Stir egg mixture into chocolate mixture.
4.Stir in flour.
5.Stir in walnuts.
6.Pour into a greased 8″ square pan and bake at 325 for 40 minutes.
7.Spoon jam over hot, cooked brownies and let cool.
8.Spoon Velvet Chocolate Glaze (recipe below) on cooled brownies and top with chocolate covered walnuts.

Velvet Chocolate Glaze

1 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate
2 T butter
2 T light corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 T milk
1 t vanilla

1.Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-proof bowl.
2.Stir in light corn syrup.
3.Stir sugar, milk, and vanilla into glaze mixture.

Country Chicken for a Crowd

Lots of people come and go from our house.  We love to entertain!  Here’s a recipe for slow cooked Italian Country Chicken that is affordable, easy to prepare, and is made  in advance so you can enjoy your company.  Fairly healthy, this meal is always a crowd pleaser.  If you’ve stocked up on sale items like chicken and bacon, this entire menu can be made for less than $30 (about $1.50/person).  Serves about 20.

I serve slow-cooked Italian Country Chicken with crusty bread and a salad made of mixed greens, some type of fruit (pears, apples, figs, cranberries, or a combo of any), some type of nut (walnuts, almonds, pecans), some type of  cheese (blue, gorgonzola, stelton, feta, goat’s), red onion, and a vinaigrette.  The tender chicken in this dish falls apart and the flavors become complex when you add olives, fresh parsley, and crumbled bacon at the end.

Here’s how to do it:

Italian Country Chicken

Brown 2 pounds of chopped bacon, one pound at a time, in a heavy pot.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Drain about 1/2 the fat out of the pot.

In remaining bacon drippings, brown 8-10 chicken breasts on both sides.  No need to cook through.  Remove chicken to slow cooker.

Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.  Saute 4 chopped onions till soft.

Add 8-10 cloves of chopped garlic, a tablespoon or two of dried oregano, salt & pepper, and saute one more minute.

Add 1-2 cups of white wine depending on your tastes (or skip this all together), 2 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes, and 1 14-oz can of chicken broth.  Stir.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.

Slow cook for 8 hours or so.  Serve over pasta and top with a few handfuls of chopped parsley, chopped green and black olives (the good kind if you have them), and the reserved crumbled bacon.


Asian Noodle Bowl Soup

What to do with leftover pork?

Asian Noodle Bowl Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 package (8 oz.) sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
4 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) chicken broth or 4 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice-wine vinegar
1 bunch bok choy, chopped
1 package (16 oz.) firm tofu, drained and diced
1/4 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
3/4 pound cooked Pork Tenderloin (recipe follows), cut into strips (optional)
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook until edges begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to a plate; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic, ginger and carrots and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add broth, soy sauce and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer broth 10 minutes.

Stir in bok choy, tofu, pasta and reserved mushrooms and pork, if desired. Gently boil until pasta is just cooked through, 10 minutes. Stir in green onions and cilantro.

Southwestern Casserole

This recipe from Country Woman was a big hit. Easy enough for an 8 year old chef to make too! The casserole has sausage, black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Healthy AND tasty and plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

12 ServingsPrep: 35 min. Bake: 45 min. + standing


  • 1-1/2 pounds uncooked chorizo, casings removed or bulk spicy pork sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 teaspoons each ground cumin, chili powder and paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese


  • Crumble chorizo into a large skillet; add onion. Cook and stir over
  • medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat is fully cooked; drain.
  • Add the beans, tomato sauce, corn, chilies, salsa, cilantro and
  • seasonings; heat through.
  • Place six tortillas in the bottom of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking
  • dish. Layer with 3-1/2 cups meat mixture, the tomatoes and 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, meat mixture and cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 375° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes
  • longer or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before
  • cutting. Yield: 12 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 piece equals 420 calories, 24 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 1,370 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 22 g protein.

Chickpeas with Chorizo

Recently we picked up some chorizo, a sausage who’s origins are from the Iberian Peninsula, at  a local market.  I wanted to do something quick and easy with it, but also desired something slightly healthy to offset the pork, fat, preservatives, and sodium content of this delicious meat!  So I altered a recipe I found on the Internet to suit my needs.  The result landed this meal on our Thumbs Up list, proving to be a big hit with all members of the family!  Serve with crusty bread.

Chickpeas & Chorizo

Chickpeas with Chorizo
Serves 4
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chorizo sausages
crushed dried chillies
a glass of white wine
6 tomatoes, diced
2 cans chick peas  (or soak a bag overnight, then cook), drained
small bunch of spinach
Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan. Add onions to the oil, stirring to coat them, then letting them cook at a moderate heat. Add the garlic into the onions. Leave to cook, partially covered by a lid, until the onions are soft and pale gold.
Cut each sausage into slices. Mix these in with the softened onions then add a teaspoon or so of crushed, dried chillies. Pour in a glass of  white wine and bring it to a boil. Chop the tomatoes roughly, add them and bring them to the boil, then add the chickpeas, drained and rinsed, then pour in a can of water, then season with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and leave to cook, slowly, half covered with a lid for 45 minutes.
Give it a stir from time to time, and check the liquid levels. What you want to end up with is a rich, brick-red sauce with a spiciness from the chillies and chorizo.
Just before serving. Chop the spinach then stir into the stew till cooked. Serve in shallow bowls.
Recipe inspired by Nigel Slater.