Quick Tip: Cottage Pies

Back in November I posted about making variations of cottage pies, and I did the same with a post about shepherd’s pies back in 2013. Last month I posted a tip about using corn and peas, and their liquids, in the pies as well.

I’ve had a couple more questions and wanted to answer them for everyone.

When cooking the carrots, sweet potato, and squash for pies, you can opt to use the cooking liquid from one of these sources rather than from the corn or peas, if you’d like. I’ve certainly done so. Add one to three tablespoons of liquid, depending on the size of the pan, at any point before adding the mashed vegetables.

Also, you can reserve the rest of the liquid after draining to cook the frozen vegetables in, and then use that as the liquid in the pie. I’ve even simply added the frozen vegetables to the hot cooking liquid and not cooked it. Just cover and let sit a few minutes and the hot liquid will thaw the veggies.

Enjoy your pies!

~ Shannon


Quick Tip: Adding Corn and Peas to Cottage Pies

I recently added a post here about making cottage pies and, back in 2013 I had posted one about making shepherd’s pie. I’ve had a few questions from readers, and thought I would answer them here.

  1. When using canned vegetables, I use one to three tablespoons of the liquid from the can as the liquid in my pies, depending on the pan size. Then I drain the vegetables before adding them to the pie. When adding the liquid to the pan, I do so either before or after I put in the ground beef. It doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference which.
  2. You could also add the liquid after the corn or peas.
  3. You can add frozen vegetables strait to the baking pan, pouring them directly over the ground beef along with whatever liquid you use. But…
  4. You could also cook the veggies in water, using a few tablespoons of that water after cooking as the liquid in the pie, and then draining the vegetables and pouring them over the meat.

Happy days!

~ Shannon

Quick Tip: Freezing Zucchini

Buying zucchini when it’s on sale or cheap at farmers’ markets or stands, or growing your own and harvesting them at the end of summer and into autumn, can save a lot of money on your grocery bill. If you stock up when it’s cheap (or free), then you’ll save money throughout the year. This is a frugal way to add to your freezer stock.

This is how I freeze zucchini. I only use it shredded, and in things like breads, muffins and cakes, so I do this quickly and easily.

Rinse the zucchini well and cut off the ends. Do not peal it. Grate the zucchini, then put it into quart size freezer bags/containers in one cup measures. This makes it easier to take out only what I need.


Quick Tip: The Pesky Smoke Detector!

I hate having a smoke detector in the kitchen, but they are supposed to be there – or at least real close. It’s so irritating when you’re not even burning food and the thing has to go off. I think it has just as much to do with heat as with smoke.

So here is my quick tip:

Point a fan toward the smoke detector whenever you bake or cook,

plug it in, and turn it on.

It works for me.

Bonus tip: Set the fan up in a location where it can stay, plug it in, and keep it at the ready. It does not need to be a large fan.

Happy cooking!


Quick Tip: Keep a Few Homemade Single-Serve Meals on Hand

You never know when you may need one. In a hurry and need a meal for work? Grab a container of chili-topped squash or sweet potato from the freezer? Not feeling good and don’t want to cook? Take out a container of chicken noodle soup and heat it in the microwave.

It’s easy to prepare these extra meals without too much extra effort. Simply make a little more than you need at each meal, and freeze a meal or two from that. Here are some recipes that lend themselves well to freezer storage.

Label each container with the meal name and the date it should be eaten by.


Quick Tip: Save Money on Herbs & Spices

A while back I wrote a quick tip for you on growing your own herbs, but there are other ways you can save money on these delectable additions to meals. First, go through your pantry and see what you have. Make note of which herbs and spices you use the most of, and which you use very little of.

  • Decide what items you can grow organically on a windowsill.
  • Learn how to freeze and dry what you do grow.
  • Figure out exactly what you have to buy, and find out where you can buy the organic versions affordably.
  • Find others who also use only a little of the herbs and spices that you use little of. Are they willing to go in on the cost of those items with you and split them? Or maybe someone uses more than you do but would be willing to give you what you need at little cost.
  • Or maybe your mom will be awesome and give you just what is required of those particular items, for the recipes you will be making ❤

Growing your own and going in on the cost with others can be huge money savers.

If you find you haven’t even opened something in the last year give it away and don’t bother getting it again.

While we want to save money in this area – and possibly save huge – it is also important that you buy or grow organically. By doing so, you will get top nutritional benefits. And the organic versions taste so much better!



Quick Tip: Plan Meals AFTER You Shop

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But hear me out.

I don’t always shop with a list, especially if I’m on a tighter than usual budget. Why? Because I can shop, finding the items with the best prices, and create meals from those foods when I get home. If I only have $25.00 to spend, I take it to the store and challenge myself to get as much as I can for that price.

I know the basics: Vegetables first, protein sources second, fruit third, and a healthy fat if I have nothing at home. My basic shopping list literally has these four things – no specifics.

Also, I don’t leave for the trip not knowing what is in my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

On the occasion I want something specific, I do add the specific ingredients I will need to my shopping list.

Happy cooking!




Quick Tip: Using Tea in the Garden

After reusing tea bags a couple of times, add the liquid and tea leaves to your garden. Let the liquid cool after pressing all the liquid from the tea bag, then add the liquid to the water you’ll use to water the plants with. Then, cut the tea bags open and add the leaves to the soil.

Both the liquid and soil can also be added to your compost heap, or be used for indoor and outdoor plants.

Happy gardening!


Quick Tip: Reuse Tea Bags

When I was a young(er) adult, I remember sitting in my mother’s kitchen with my Nan. We were talking about little things, mainly, while making tea. She told me she always uses her tea bags at least twice. She explained that after one use, a tea bag still has plenty of flavor.

This made complete sense, and I started doing the same. I can actually get two-and-a-half decent uses out of a tea bag in a big mug. This also means I’m saving money, an important thing for this frugal momma.

Even when I go to Aroma Joe’s to write or work on a project, I have them reuse the tea bags from my first cup of tea for a second cup. This means my second tea is free.

Spend less, enjoy more, and save money in the process.


Quick Tip: Now is the Time for Thanksgiving Savings

Gather the sales fliers and clip those coupons. It is time to be looking for deals on Thanksgiving and autumn related items such as foods, candles, and other kitchen needs.

Saving money on these items now is a great way to stock your pantry for the coming winter and next year. Look for cans of pumpkin, spices, paper plates, cups, and bowls. Table cloths, napkins, dish towels, platters, and more items will be found. Take advantage if you can. Anything on sale this time of year is fair game.

While many things can be put away to use while decorating the kitchen and table for Thanksgiving next year, the food items can be used throughout the winter.

First year doing this? Keep track of how many of each item you buy, what the regular price for each item was, the sale price, and the coupon discount. How much did you save overall?

Happy Thanksgiving!