Homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix

Last week, I shared our homemade taco seasoning mix.  This week, I would like to share our homemade dried onion soup mix.  This dried onion soup mix is useful in seasoning soups, dips, and meats.  To make this mix, stir together dried minced onion, sodium free beef bouillon granules, onion powder, and sugar and store in an airtight container for up to six months.

This mix makes the equivalent of three packages of store bought dried onion soup mix.  This homemade mix is more expensive than the store bought version. Homemade costs $3.72 for the equivalent of three packages and the store bought is $0.72 for two packages.  However, the extra cost is more than balanced out by the savings in sodium. The homemade version has 15 mg of sodium in 1/3 cup (about the same as one store bought package) while the store bought version has 4,560 mg of sodium in one package, which is 570 mg of sodium per serving.   

The savings in sodium in this mix is important because reducing sodium consumption has health impacts.  Find more information about the connection between sodium and high blood pressure here and sodium for children here.

Try our homemade Dried Onion Soup Mix in our Slow Cooker Roast or any other recipe that calls for dried onion soup mix.

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Sweet Pork Stir Fry

Our October recipe of the month is Sweet Pork Stir Fry. To be honest with you, my children are pretty picky when it comes to stir fry. There is only one stir fry recipe I make that they really like. This is one that they tend to pick around and eat only their favorite pieces.

When this recipe was in the testing phase, I had to make it often to get it just right. Since it was not my children’s favorite, I made it for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. It was such a hit with them that my mother-in-law called me a few days later asking for the recipe because she wanted to make it for her own in-laws! That was almost two years ago, and they are still making this recipe regularly.

What I really like about my in-laws using this recipe regularly is that they have made this recipe their own. They try different vegetables depending on what sounds good to them – carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and asparagus. They will change out the meat depending on what is on sale at the grocery store or even skip on the meat to make a vegetarian meal. They will also switch the noodles out for brown rice sometimes.

This past winter they invited me over to share a meal and they made this recipe for me. This recipe has been one that we have enjoyed together and I hope you can enjoy it with friends and family too!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Black Bean Burgers

Our June recipe of the month, Black Bean Burgers, is sure to surprise you.  My children love these burgers and eat them just the same as they would a burger made with ground meat.  

I make these burgers for my family again and again, and here is why:

  • They are inexpensive – using beans as a substitute for ground meat saves us money.
  • They are quick in a pinch – on nights when we are busy or time gets away from me, I can make these burgers in about 15 minutes.  I try to keep a can of black beans in my pantry for times like this.
  • They are easy – mash the ingredients together with a fork, form them into patties, and cook them in a skillet.    

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Salad…it’s not just a side dish

Chicken Club Salad The topic for the blog today is about having salads for a meal when it is hot. When we planned our blog topics a few weeks ago, we were anticipating we would be experiencing hot weather here in Iowa and across much of the US at this time. However, I have to smile because we are currently experiencing below average temperatures here in the Midwest, in the upper 70’ s and lower 80’s. It’s beautiful! It’s still a great time to enjoy a salad as a meal with all the great produce that is in season and be able to spend more time outdoors.

To make a salad a meal, I would recommend including a source of protein, such as some meat, poultry, beans, or eggs. The protein makes the salad more filling. A couple of weeks ago Justine shared the recipe for our Chicken BLT Salads. Some other salads that would be great as a meal are Whole Meal Salad, Chicken Club Salad, or Confetti Rice and Bean Salad. Pair the salads with a whole grain roll or some fruit and a cup of milk for a balanced meal.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Orange Dressing

Our May recipe of the month is sure to get you in the mood for spring produce if you are not already.   A salad of spring greens (spinach, leaf lettuce, or Swiss chard), chopped spring vegetables (broccoli or snow peas), and chopped spring fruit (strawberries or pineapple) tastes delicious with our homemade Orange Dressing.

Our homemade Orange Dressing is made of ingredients that are easily found in most kitchens.  This recipe needs only four ingredients – orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and oil.  Pour them into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.  Then use this tasty dressing to top a salad made with your favorite springtime produce.

Enjoy!

Orange Dressing with Fruit and Greens

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Do you have an app for that?

Yes, we do! Spend Smart. Eat Smart. is now available as an app. The brand new, free mobile app puts healthy eating and cost saving tools in the palm of your hand at the grocery store. These new tools on the app make it easier to eat healthy and stick to your budget.

  • Unit Price Calculator: You will never have to wonder which product is a better buy again. The calculator will do unit price calculations with ease.
  • Produce Basics: Review nutrition, selection, storage, cleaning and preparation information for a wide variety of fresh produce.
  • Recipe Finder: Keep track of your favorite recipes from the website.

Download for free today from your app store!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Baked Fish and Chips

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe of the month for April is Baked Fish and Chips.  There are many reasons that I love this recipe.  Here are a few:

  • It is lower in calories and fat than fish and chips from a restaurant.
    • Fast food fish and chips – 720 calories, 35 grams fat
    • Baked Fish and Chips – 410 calories, 7 grams fat
  • It is less expensive than fish and chips from a restaurant.
    • Fast food fish and chips – $5.99 per serving
    • Baked Fish and Chips – $1.24 per serving
  • It works with any kind of fish you have on hand or that you like.
  • It is delicious – my family eats every last bite of this meal when I make it.

If, like me, you like tartar sauce with your fish, but do not want to buy an entire bottle – you can make your own.  Just mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise with two tablespoons of pickle relish.  You can adjust the amounts of mayo and relish to your tastes.

I hope you enjoy our April recipe – Baked Fish and Chips!

https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/baked-fish-and-chips/

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Roasted Cauliflower

Our March recipe of the month is Roasted Cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and my children love roasted vegetables, so this recipe goes over well at my house. The delicious roasted flavor of the cauliflower plus the texture from the breadcrumbs really makes this recipe a winner.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making this recipe:

  • Cut up the whole head of cauliflower at one time since it can be a big and messy job. You probably will not need all of the cauliflower for this recipe, but you can store the extra in small baggies or containers to pack in lunches.
  • Coat the cauliflower florets in the oil first and then add the seasonings and breadcrumbs to make sure that they stick well to the cauliflower.
  • Line your baking sheet with foil then spray with nonstick cooking spray to make clean up easy.

I hope you enjoy our Roasted Cauliflower!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Berry and Greens Smoothie

When it is smoothie night at my house, my children get so excited.  Mostly because they love smoothies, but also because they love to help make smoothies.  If you are trying to get your children involved in the kitchen, our February recipe of the month – Berry and Greens Smoothie – is a great place to start.

My oldest children are 6 and 4, so I let them peel and cut up the bananas and measure and add everything into the blender.  My son enjoys turning the blender on and off, while my daughter hides in her bedroom when it is blender time (it is too loud for her).  An older child would be able to prepare this recipe on their own with a little help from an adult to gather the ingredients, double check amounts, and keep an eye on blender safety.

In addition to being a great way to involve children in the kitchen, this smoothie recipe has many benefits:

  • It includes three food groups (fruit, vegetables, and dairy) in one glass, so it is packed with nutrition.
  • It makes a perfect snack or it can go along with any meal.
  • It freezes easily, so you can have smoothies available in your freezer for a quick breakfast. Find out more here.
  • It tastes delicious and can be made any time of the year because the ingredients are always available in the grocery store.
  • It looks beautiful because of the rich, dark colors added by the berries.

Please try our Berry and Greens Smoothie today.

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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A Brand New Look for Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

sses1-web-new-lookOver the past several months the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team has been working behind the scenes to update and improve our website. Our goal was to make the site more modern, simpler to navigate and functional on all of your devices. We are proud to share that our new website is live and ready for your use.

The new mobile-friendly website is home to:

  • More than 150 recipes that are delicious, inexpensive and easy to prepare
  • How-to videos featuring recipes, kitchen organization tips and basic food prep techniques
  • Strategies for saving money in each part of the grocery store
  • Meal planning templates and resources

The web address has changed to spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu. Attempts to access the site at its old address will automatically redirect to the new site.

Join in on the fun with tasty eating and savvy shopping – visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart. today!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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