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Category: Food

DIY Taco Seasoning {and a recipe to use it in!}

I’m not on my frugal high horse with this homemade DIY taco seasoning. I know that taco seasoning packets aren’t going to break the bank, they cost like $0.69. But, by making this spice blend I am not contributing to senseless packaging waste and I know exactly what is in my spice blend. No starchy fillers here.

homemade taco seasoning

The following recipe will fill a 3 oz glass jar. I used these nifty little jars that I found on clearance. You can use virtually any type of container, just make sure that it is air tight!


DIY Taco Seasoning

3 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

I combined all of the spices in a small mixing bowl and stirred them together really well. I also gave the jar a good shake once all the spices were in.

So, now you have this delicious homemade taco seasoning. What are you going to use it for (besides tacos, obvs)? While I was sick last week, Mr. Daisy made this delicious One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet that the entire family loved! It’s basically like a homemade version of hamburger helper. What I really love is that it is a one pot, 30 minute dish. It’s even quicker to make if you prep your meat ahead of time! I have successfully used rotini and elbow pasta in this recipe.

One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet


1lb ground beef, venison or turkey

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch of black pepper

3.5 tbsp of our homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packer store bought)

2 cups water

1 cup salsa

8 oz uncooked elbow or rotini pasta

~1.5 c shredded Taco style cheese

Optional toppings: cilantro, fresh tomato, sour cream


(Skip 1-4 if you have prepped your meat already)

  1. Preheat a deep skillet (a lid will be needed!) over medium heat.
  2. Add ground meat and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook thoroughly.
  4. Drain grease.
  5. Add and stir in taco seasoning, follow with the water, salsa, and pasta noodles.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Stir well, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the pasta is tender.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese.
  10. Season and top with additional toppings if preferred.

This recipe tastes just as good as leftovers the next day! If you’re looking for a new, fun, quick & easy recipe to add to your arsenal – this One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Skillet will fit the bill!


This week in frugal food {what we spent & what we ate}

I apologize for the blog silence over the last week. I came down with what my doctor diagnosed as viral pneumonia. {Truth be told I don’t care what it’s called, it was awful.} I was laid up for 5 straight days and am just now starting to feel like myself. If it wasn’t for my meal prep last Sunday, we would have likely eaten takeout all week. But since I had food prepped and ready to go, Mr. Daisy took over dinner duties when he got home from work each night. So – back to our regularly scheduled programming! 🙂

frugal shopping frugal meal plans

Last week’s roundup

You can see our meal plan from last week HERE and I am so proud to say that we stuck to meal plan every night except one! Because of how awful I was feeling, I didn’t get around to throwing ingredients in the crockpot for vegetable soup. Instead, Mr. Daisy cooked up some turkey paninis for him and Little Daisy and I made myself some Ramen.

Weekly frugal shopping trip

Little Daisy and I made our way out to do some grocery shopping today while Mr. Daisy worked in the garage. We spent $67.04 at our regional retail chain and $11.22 at ALDI. I mentioned in last week’s post that I had been avoiding ALDI due to how incredibly packed it is. It was no different today, there were only 4 carts left! But, the prices again reminded me of why I need to suck it up and just do it. The prices make it worth it. For example, Mr. Daisy loves to have pretzel rods with chip dip as a snack. Pretzel rods at the regional chain store are $4.59 for a rather small bag. At ALDI, a large tub is only $3.49. Sliced Muenster cheese at the regional store is $2.50 for 10 slices, and $1.89 for 11 slices at ALDI. Some other great deals at ALDI this week were $0.29/dozen eggs, $1.04/ gallon of milk, and the everyday $0.99 spices. However, the regional store had an amazing stock up deal on bread, $0.50/loaf! I bought 6 and plan to freeze most of the loaves. I’ve never froze bread before, so here’s to hoping it works out. If it doesn’t, I’m only out a handful of change per loaf. I’m over budget by $20ish, but I’m not stressing about it too much.

If you’re interested in a detailed list of what I purchased this week, you can find it in pdf form here: Frugal Shopping Trip April 2 2017

I also snagged some FREE laundry detergent at CVS this week with a coupon, yay!

Weekly frugal meal plan

Breakfast: Nothing out of the ordinary here. I made some blueberry muffins that we’ll work our way through for breakfasts and snacks.

Lunches: I’ll be taking leftovers when they’re available or make a big salad with some lunch meat. Mr. Daisy will take his normal packed lunch.


Monday| Pork shoulder roast in the crockpot

Tuesday| Family dinner at my grandfather’s (not my week to cook, yay!)

Wednesday| Cornbread chili casserole

Thursday| Breakfast for dinner

Friday| Homemade chicken nuggets

There’s not much meal prep on the horizon for this week’s meal plan. I moved the pork shoulder from the deep freezer to the fridge to defrost, cooked up 1 lb of ground venison for Wednesday’s casserole, and made the blueberry muffins.

What’s on your meal plan for the week? Did you stay on budget shopping?

Weekly Frugal Meal Plan

I’ve decided to change things up a bit and talk about what we spent and are planning to eat in the beginning of the week. If I lay my frugal meal plan out here for everyone to see, there is a better chance that I will actually stick to it. Fingers crossed!

frugal shopping frugal meal plans

Weekly Grocery Trip

On Sunday I spent $85.52 at the grocery store and accrued $.60 in fuel perks. Mr. Daisy ran his truck over later that evening to fill up for a whopping $1.20/gal. Full disclosure, I haven’t made it to ALDI the last few weeks. It’s just too. damn. crowded. I truly love the efficiency of ALDI, but I have zero patience when it comes to cart traffic. I don’t have the option of going shopping in the middle of the day or at other potential slow times. I’ve tried everything…Saturday mornings as soon as they open, Wednesday evenings an hour before closing…but to no avail. I don’t browse through the grocery store. I have my list and I know what I want. I’m afraid you’ll see me on the news for reckless operation of a cart 🙂 So, that’s why my grocery bill has been a bit higher than normal. I have no doubt that this grocery trip would have been more around my goal of $50 but I just wasn’t in the mood to battle the crowds.

No grocery picture, sorry! So, here’s a quick rundown of what I purchased. I put it in a pdf so that if you’re interested, you can click and read it. If you’re not interested, I haven’t wasted any extra blog space for you to scroll through .

Shopping 032617

Weekly Meal Plan


Mr. Daisy eats Clif bars each morning on his way to work with his coffee. I can get them for $1/bar at a regional chain store. That’s not too frugal, but in comparison to him running through a drive-thru each morning, it’s definitely frugal. I’ll take the $5/week breakfast over a potential $20-$30/week.

We are fortunate that Little Daisy’s daycare provider feeds her breakfast each morning. If she’s up especially early one morning I will give her a piece of toast while I get ready for work.

For myself, I alternate between peanut butter toast and maple brown sugar oatmeal. With coffee of course. Both of these tend to hold me over until lunch so I’m not itching for a snack at 10am.


Our predominate lunch expense is with Mr. Daisy. He is unable to re-heat leftovers or have a hot lunch. Most of the time he will eat right in whatever equipment he’s operating (not while in operation, though). He alternates between egg salad, tuna salad, and salami sandwiches. He also packs some chips or pretzels, cashews (which are not cheap!), Gatorade, and some sort of snack. It reminds me of a lunch your mom would pack you in 4th grade, but it works and he’s not picky. Little Daisy of course eats at her daycare and I always try to bring leftovers to avoid food waste. However, there are times when I get restless and need to leave my desk. Once per week I’ll use some of my weekly spending cash and grab lunch out (usually meeting with my brother’s girlfriend).


Here is our weekly dinner plan:

Monday| Breakfast sausage and cheese quesadillas with rice and black beans

Tuesday| Family meal at my grandfather’s. It is my week to cook and I am making a big batch of baked spaghetti.

Wednesday| Crock Pot vegetable soup with grilled cheese. I have a love/hate relationship with my slow cooker, but that’s a post for another day.

Thursday| BBQ shredded chicken sliders with a veggie side.

Friday| We have bowling league this night. I’m sure we will have leftovers from the week, so we will try to eat some of those up.

Saturday| We are going to experiment with our new smoker on Saturday. I think my husband is planning on smoking a wild turkey breast, so we will have that for dinner!

Sunday| We will pick through the fridge and try to gobble up leftovers to reduce any food waste.

Meal Prep for the Week

In order to spend as little time as possible preparing dinner after work (and more time with my family!), I try to do a bunch of meal prep on Sundays. This saves in cooking time as well as clean up time. This week I spent only 45 minutes doing the following:

  • cooked up 1 pound of ground breakfast sausage for Monday’s meal
  • cooked up 2 pounds of ground beef for Tuesday’s baked spaghetti
  • boiled 4 chicken breasts for easy shredding for Thursday’s meal
  • moved the wild turkey breast from the deep freezer to the refrigerator to thaw for Saturday
  • I have a small basket on the counter full of Mr. Daisy’s lunch items. He is NOT a morning person, so rifling through the house getting his lunch ready is not the way Mr. Cranky Pants wants to start his day. So, on Sunday we pre-portion out his chips, cashews, and fill his basket with his other items so all he has to do is grab what he wants and go.

That 45 minutes is time well spent in my eyes because it leads to more time with my family during the week.

I’m hoping to calculate a cost for each meal because I am curious to know, maybe you are too! I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, sorry 🙂 I will update you next Sunday on how well we stuck or didn’t stick to plan!

Do you meal plan or prep food for the week? Why or why not?

What We Spent | What We Ate {still on budget!}

Although we had a crazy busy week with dance rehearsals, recitals, and broken vehicles; we managed to stay on budget and eat from home. Hooray!

What We Spent

This week’s grocery trip was $95.00. Although it is much more than my budgeted amount per week,  we *should* come in right on budget. This week’s shopping trip included several toiletries and household purchases like toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, shampoo, deodorant and so on. Moving forward, I think I’m going to break the budget down into a few more categories and be more specific about what is spent on food vs. household items vs. personal items so that I can visually see what is being spent on each. What do you think?

grocery haul
This week’s cart. Groceries this week included household and personal items, lunch-y items for Mr. Daisy and items for a big family dinner this weekend.

What We Ate

Sunday 3/19: I spent a few hours doing some food prep for the week ahead. I have no doubt that this is what saved us from ordering take out while we were running around everywhere. I made some venison meatballs (so yummy), cooked 2 pounds of ground venison, and boiled chicken breasts to shred. Mr. Daisy threw a venison roast in the crock pot when we woke up that morning.

Monday 3/20: We had dance rehearsal and photos, so we didn’t make it home until about 7pm. Little Daisy and I ate some granola bars on the way to rehearsal and Mr. Daisy had packed a larger than normal lunch. When we got home, I pulled the pre-made meatballs out and threw them in a skillet with homemade pasta sauce while I pre-heated the oven. Once the oven was pre-heated, I quickly assembled some meatball subs and baked them for 10 minutes. We had green beans on the side. Quick and easy and definitely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t prepped.

Tuesday 3/21: It was Little Daisy’s first ballet recital! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little bit. Again, we got home around 7pm and Little Daisy was whooped. I made her a PB&J with some grapes on the side before she collapsed into bed at 7:30. I had some Ramen and Mr. Daisy made macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t the healthiest, but I prefer it over going through a fast food drive-thru!

Wednesday 3/22:The day that the dreaded budget setback reared its head. While Mr. Daisy was out in the shop diagnosing his truck, I made some angel hair pasta with leftover meatballs from Monday’s meal. Served with garlic bread and some peas on the side.

Thursday 3/23: On Thursdays, Little Daisy usually spends time at my mother-in-law’s with her aunts and baby cousin. Mr. Daisy and I used what was left of our weekly spending cash and stopped in at our favorite local restaurant. We had wings as an appetizer, Mr. Daisy had a huge hamburger, and I had a chicken wrap with their delicious homemade potato chips.

Friday 3/24: Today we will be running around getting the parts that are needed for Mr. Daisy to work on his truck. I’m not sure what our plans are for dinner. If we eat at home, it will be something quick and simple like a tuna melt.

What was your week in food like? I’d love to hear about it

*I am attempting to grow my blog audience to foster a community of like minded people to engage in thoughtful and fun conversation.  If you like what you read, please consider sharing this post over social media, it would be greatly appreciated!*


What We Spent | What We Ate {we’re on budget!}

A quick grocery trip this week cost us $50.83. While this is over my super strict goal of $20/week due to one heck of an expensive shopping trip a few weeks ago, we’re trending right on budget which makes this momma happy.

You’ll notice that this week’s shopping trip is mainly snacky, processed foods. Mr. Daisy was fresh out of food for his lunches. He is unable to heat leftovers at work, so he packs what I like to call a high school lunch 🙂


What We’ve Spent: 

March trip #1 : $33.65 + $27.97 ( I forgot to throw the second shopping trip in last week’s post, oops!)

March trip #2: $50.83

Total: $112.45 

I budget $225  per month for groceries (to see a breakdown of our budget, look HERE or HERE), so we’re left with $112.55 to get us through these last two weeks of the month.


What We Ate: 

Monday is ballet night. We had a snacky dinner that consisted of veggies, fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches.

Tuesday  is family dinner night. It wasn’t my turn to cook (yay!). We had pizzas at my grandfather’s.

Wednesday, I made some delicious homemade chicken nuggets. They were perfect and crispy and moist and so good. I will get a recipe post written and share this deliciousness with you all. We had edamame and some homemade applesauce on the side.

Thursday was a night out to eat. Little Daisy went to spend time with her aunts and new baby cousin, so Mr. Daisy and I stopped in at our favorite restaurant in town. Everything at this place is amazing. Whether it’s the pulled pork, chili, pizza, wings, subs, chicken parmesan…it’s all good. It is a locally owned, family run business so we have no qualms whatsoever about spending our money there.

Friday is bowling night. I have errands to run after work so I brought an extra sandwich and a granola bar, Little Daisy is having dinner with her grandma, and Mr. Daisy is on his own.

We will be spending this weekend trying to master our new smoker, planning the garden, and doing some frugal DIY projects that I hope to share next week.

What did you have to eat this week? Are you on budget?

I am attempting to grow this blog and its audience to form a community of like-minded individuals that can learn from each other.
So please comment and share on social media. I love to interact and share with people!

What We Spent | What We Ate

This week did not go as planned whatsoever. The good news though is that we only spent $33.65 at Aldi! I’m over my goal of $20/week that I talked about HERE, but $33 is a win in my book! Even better news is that I am not going to need to spend more than $5 on groceries this week. We just need some bread and milk, and we’ll be good to go.

On Sunday, I made a beef and rice taco recipe based off of one from DAILY DOSE OF PEPPER. Rather than baking it, I just made the beef and rice on the stovetop and combined.  I had them over nachos while Mr. Daisy had it in a burrito, and Little Daisy just ate it with ketchup. We served some homemade apple sauce on the side.

Beef and rice taco filling

I also made some banana blueberry muffins to use up the fruit before they went bad

Monday is ballet night, we all had something quick and different. Little Daisy and I had some sandwiches and fruit, while Mr. Daisy made a chicken patty…I think.

Tuesday is my Frugal Fail of that week that I talked about HERE. Convenience trumped frugality this day.

Wednesday we spent the evening at my family’s farm. It’s calving season so all hands are on deck. It was pretty amazing to watch Little Daisy experience seeing a freshly newborn calf for the first time. We ate dinner in the barn, a roast beef made by my stepmom.  It might sound icky to some, but it’s life for us.

On Thursday, my in-laws invited us out to dinner at a new restaurant in town and it was DELICIOUS. It is a small, family owned place where all of the food is homemade each day. Nothing premade and reheated. We will definitely be eating there again!

I have some lunch meat to use up, so I’m thinking paninis tonight with homemade applesauce for dinner.

What was your week in food like? I’d love to hear about it

*I am attempting to grow my blog audience to foster a community of like minded people to engage in thoughtful and fun conversation.  If you like what you read, please consider sharing this post over social media, it would be greatly appreciated!*

What We Spent & What We Ate

I am still working out kinks in the blog’s design, specifically with links showing up in a different text color. All CAPS denotes a link. Thanks 🙂 

I apologize for the few days of radio silence. I am a scientist in the food, beverage, and nutritional supplement industry and attended a Food Industry Summit for my state.

I’m taking a page out of the book from Kristen over at THE FRUGAL GIRL because I love this installment of her blog so much. I really enjoy seeing what other people are eating while living on a budget and what they’re spending. Maybe you’re curious too?

What We Spent

Food spending in March is $0 so far 🙂

Remember the $155 GROCERY TRIP from when I mistakenly took Mr. Daisy and Little Daisy grocery shopping with me?

Well that was in February, so I’m counting it as February spending. 3 days into March and we are $0…woo hoo!

What We Ate

I don’t have photos of my meals, I need to remember that for next week!

Monday is ballet night so we have a quick, snack-y dinner. Little Daisy and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples and grapes, and yogurt to dip the fruit in. Mr. Daisy threw a chicken patty in the oven when we got home. After bath time, we had some delicious Halo Top ice cream.

Tuesday is family dinner at my grandpa’s. We alternate who cooks and bring it to my grandfather’s house for a lovely, weekly family dinner! This week, my mom brought some of my step-dad’s delicious goulash while I brought some french bread and cookies.

Wednesday was a Chicken Stroganoff from Cooking Light magazine. This is a new recipe, and you guys, it was awful. Edible, but awful. And bland. I am struggling to get through the leftovers because I refuse to throw them away. At the industry conference I attended this week, we learned that 1.8 billion tons of food is lost or wasted in the world. That is enough food for a 2000 calorie diet for every single person every single day (according to the representative from the NIFA branch of the USDA that was speaking). So, I am taking one for the team, dousing this stuff in hot sauce, and consuming it all.

Thursday was some homegrown T-bone steaks from my family farm, buttered noodles, roasted carrots and asparagus, and some toasted french bread. It was filling and delicious.

Friday is bowling night. Usually we throw something together quickly like grilled cheese or tuna sandwiches, but Mr. Daisy is still on a shortened work week due to the cold weather (four 10 hour days) and is off work today. He is planning to make some spaghetti with venison meatballs (venison that we harvested this year) and homemade spaghetti sauce from our garden last summer. What makes it even more delicious than it already is is that I don’t have to cook it 🙂

What did you have to eat this week and how much did you spend on it? Leave me a note in the comments!