#SundaySupper: Budget Friendly Meals

Today’s Sunday Supper theme is Budget Friendly Meals. It’s that time of year when budgets become tested and spending levels go off the charts, so why not save some green in the kitchen. A big thank you to Shelby Ruttan of Gumpy’s Honey Bunch and Caroline Williams of Caroline’s Cooking for hosting this week. Be sure to scroll past my recipe for an incredible selection of penny pinching recipes.

Twice baked potatoes have become my go-to mid-week I-don’t-want-to-cook dinner plan. I can re-purpose leftovers by adding them to the mashed potato mixture. Chili, taco meat, or shredded chicken make for fantastic twice baked potato fillings.

I must admit, I am a complete failure when it comes to a baked potato. I mean, how hard can it be?! Stick potato in oven. Wait. But for some strange reason I can never get the insides of the potato to be cooked. And then I discovered the “baked potato” button on the microwave. My whole world had been turned upside down and the amount of potatoes (and sweet potatoes) we’ve eaten has increased.

Today’s original recipe is inspired by French Onion Soup. I used deli roast beef in this recipe but leftover shredded roast would be perfect, too! Or, you could leave the beef out and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian friendly side dish. Swiss or Gruyere cheese would be a more authentic cheese to add to the mashed potato but I was using what I had available to me, and that was Parmesan.

This recipe is for two whole potatoes, which feeds 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

An Original Recipe

French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided use
  • 1/4 tsp beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 baked (or microwaved) potatoes
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/8 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C chopped deli roast beef
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions in 2 tbsp butter until caramelized. This will take approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Season onions with 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add the broth, Worcestershire, and thyme. Cook until saucy, about 1-2 minutes. Set onions aside. Note: These two steps can be done in advance and caramelized onions stored in the fridge.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides.
  5. Mash the potatoes with 1 tbsp butter, milk, and sour cream until creamy. Fold in the onions and roast beef. Season to taste with S+P.
  6. Fill the potato skins with the mashed potato mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and potatoes are warmed through.

French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potatoes for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Save-Your-Pennies Soups:
Bean and Bacon Soup by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Mexican Turkey Bean Soup by What Smells So Good?
Pasta e Fagioli by The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
Turkey and Dumpling Soup by Palatable Pastime
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup by Pancake Warriors

Budget-Savvy Bread and Salads:
Mom’s Buttermilk Biscuits by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Turkey Salad by Food Done Light

Money-Saving Mains:
Black Bean and Bell Pepper Quesadillas by My San Francisco Kitchen
Cajun Blackened Chicken Thighs by Feeding Big
Chicken Enchilada Casserole by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Chicken Enchiladas by The Freshman Cook
Chicken Piccata by Monica’s Table
Chicken Tetrazzini by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
Chimichurri Chicken Thighs by Life Tastes Good
Dutch Baby Pancakes by Brunch with Joy
Easy Cheesy Egg Breakfast Bake with Potatoes and Sausage by From Gate to Plate
Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
Egyptian Rice and Lentils by Wholistic Woman
French Onion Soup Twice Baked Potato by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Gnocchi with Fennel and Pork by Caroline’s Cooking
Italian Baked Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Lasagna Stuffed Acorn Squash by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Noodles by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Orzo with Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potatoes by Cooking Chat
Sauteed Vegetables by Party Food and Entertaining
Turkey Sausage and Pasta by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Twice Baked Sweet Potato Bar by Momma’s Meals
Yakisoba (Japanese Stir Fried Noodles) by Curious Cuisinere

Don’t-break-the-bank Desserts:
Apple Pecan Bread Pudding by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Marshmallow Popcorn Balls by Pies and Plots
Slow Cooker Apple Gingerbread Crumble by The Crumby Cupcake

And more saving suggestions from the Sunday Supper Movement:
Budget-Friendly Meal Ideas for #SundaySupper
8387592742_f6164fd5a8_oJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

French Onion Soup

While in Hawaii Stuart had the idea for me to recreate the foods we ate for my blog. Our favorite meal of the trip was at a little French restaurant in downtown Hilo. I haven’t attempted making crepes yet, but I do know how to make French Onion Soup.

I made this recipe back in 2011 after finding it on Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel. I altered the recipe slightly this go-around to utilize Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions, adjusted the liquid amounts for a desired consistency, and added more cheese.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb onions, sliced and caramelized – less 1 C
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 2 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 4 rolls bakery bread, cubed
  • 1/2 lb swiss cheese, shredded

Steps:

  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pot. Add the caramelized onions, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour, mixing well. Pour in white wine and bring to a boil for five minutes. Season again with S+P.
  3. Add in both broths and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into individual ramekins. Top each ramekin with cubed bread and cover with shredded cheese. Broil for about 4 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

French Onion Soup

Hawaii: The Big Island: Hilo

Hilo was probably my favorite district in Hawaii County. Hilo is on the rainy side of the island which results in fewer tourists than Kailua-Kona, lush green landscapes, and plenty of waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls is the most famous waterfall in Hilo, and as its name suggests, boasts beautiful rainbows… at the right time of day. We did not reach Rainbow Falls until close to sunset, so the lighting wasn’t right for us to see Rainbow Falls in all of its glory but it’s still beautiful. We followed another couple through a path to the left of the falls through a lightly wooded area, through high grasses and over some rocks, finding ourselves on top of the falls! I wouldn’t recommend this excursion as the river could start flowing because of rains upstream and you’d find yourself in a very dangerous situation. But, there we were so Stuart braved a peek over the top of the falls to capture an image of the falls from a different perspective, while I did my best to stay calm.

Rainbow Falls

Country CoffeeA new little coffee shop, Country Cafe opened across from Rainbow Falls. We stopped on in and we didn’t leave with just coffee. We purchased Rare Hawaiian Organic Kiawe Honey. This honey is unlike any you’ve ever tasted. It’s actually white! The following is taken straight from the label, “Organic Kiawe Honey is gathered from an isolated forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. The deep roots of the Kiawe trees have tapped an underground aquifer of fresh water that flows down from the volcanoes. This forest is in a desert and no other vegetation has tapped the aquifer, allowing the bees to collect Kiawe nectar of exceptional purity and quality.” I haven’t figure out a unique way to use this honey yet, but as soon as I do a recipe will make its way to Sew You Think You Can Cook!

Le Magic PanIt doesn’t seem like we did a lot in Hilo, but there was a lot we wanted to do. So why is it my favorite district? Honestly, because of one little restaurant and the best meal we’ve ever had. Le Magic Pan is an adorable French restaurant specializing in crepes in Downtown Hilo. We started our night with a cup of French Onion Soup. Stuart ordered the Polish dinner crepe with Polish sausage, tomatoes, mushroom, olives, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. I went off menu with their special of the night, spicy shrimp, tomatoes, basil, and avocado. It’s actually impossible to go to a crepe restaurant and not get dessert – I wouldn’t even dare you to try it because not getting a dessert crepe would be a sin! We split the Italian crepe with nutella, bananas, and whipped cream. They even added strawberries at my request! We actually tried to return to Le Magic Pan the next night for a dessert crepe, but didn’t reach Hilo after our excursion in Puna before closing. I am now determined to master the art of crepe making. Note: These photos were taken with a cell phone and do not do Le Magic Pan justice!

Without a doubt, our next trip to the Big Island will include lodging in Hilo!

Things to do on our next trip (aka things we didn’t have time for but wanted to see)

  • Hilo Farmer’s Market; corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue. This farmer’s market opened 25 years ago in 1988 and now has 125 vendors selling local produce, flowers, and fish. The farmer’s market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7-noon.
  • Pe’epe’e Falls & Boiling Pots; Wainuenue Avenue. A little past Rainbow Falls is a dramatic series of waterfalls that crash into pools of swirling water that appear to be boiling.
  • Wai’ale Falls; Wainuenue Avenue. Going further down Wainuenue Avenue and hiking a quarter mile through forest will take you to the top of Wai’ale Falls and a view of the ocean.
  • Kaumana Caves; Kaumana Drive. The Kaumana Caves were formed in 1981 by an eruption from the volcano Mauna Loa.
  • Yoga Centered; 37 Waianuenue Ave. We thought it could be fun to try a yoga class in Hawaii, what better way to find inner peace than in the most beautiful of locations? Yoga Centered offers vinyasa yoga classes and has a drop-in rate of $15. Check out their website at yogacentered.com!