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‘Impossible’ recipes make meals possible

By on October 23, 2008

pancake puff
photo by jek in the box

Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good food. Serving common foods in new ways helps to combat the frugal-dinner doldrums. Creativity can stem from having fewer ingredients to work with, too. Out of an ingredient or short on time? Some substitutions will give similar results for less time and money. For example, adding cottage cheese and sprinkling on shredded mozzarella to spaghetti sauce and elbow macaroni can make a mock lasagna in less time. Here are a few more recipes that offer new twists.

Pancake Puffs

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
dash salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease two muffin pans. Using an electric mixer, mix all ingredients until smooth. Equally divide the batter into two 12-cup muffin pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Remove from muffin pans. Top with your favorite pancake toppings, such as strawberries, apples, maple syrup or peanut butter. Makes 24 pancake puffs.

Sloppy Jens

1 cup uncooked lentils
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
hamburger buns

Cook lentils according to package directions. Set aside when done. In a large skillet, saute onion and pepper in the oil, until softened. Add the garlic. Saute. Add the cooked lentils, chili powder, oregano and salt, and mix to combine. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix in mustard, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook for about 10 minutes until heated through. Serve on hamburger buns. — Adapted from a recipe submitted by MissyAli, Ohio

Pumpkin Dip

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice, or use 1 teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon

Using an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients together. Refrigerate until firm. Serve with gingersnaps, graham crackers, vanilla wafers and apple slices. — Patricia, Idaho


1 (3-1/2 ounce) box instant butterscotch pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1-1/2 cups whipped topping

Using a mixer, beat pudding and milk until smooth. Add pumpkin and spice. Fold in the whipped topping. Chill. — Polly, Pennsylvania

Mini Mock Cheesecake

cream cheese
graham crackers or vanilla wafers
strawberry preserves

Spread cream cheese on crackers or wafers. Add a dollop of strawberry preserves.

Mashed Fauxtatoes

1 medium fresh cauliflower, separated into florets, steamed, or 1 bag frozen cauliflower, steamed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
garlic powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
chives, chopped to garnish
sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese

Using an electric mixer or food processor, blend all ingredients until creamy. Optional: Boil cauliflower in chicken broth for added flavor, mash using a potato masher, and sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese. — Jennifer K., California

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