If You Aren’t Already, Start Saving Your Bacon Grease

Don’t waste that bacon grease, but save it to use in these simple recipes. So delicious, and so easy! Adds great flavor. – The Nourishing Gourmet

How many reasons do you need for saving your bacon grease? Really, the first one should be the only one needed. Saving and then reusing bacon grease adds that delicious bacon flavor to other dishes that can’t be beat. Bacon lovers, you know what I’m talking about.

There are a couple of ingredients that always make things taste better. For me, those foods are butter, bacon, bacon grease, cream, coconut milk or coconut cream. My husband and kids would add tamari to that list.

Bacon grease – especially when it’s not from the cheap bacon – can add a subtle bacon or smoky flavor to dishes that would otherwise be plain Jane.

The second reason to save it is an obvious one – why waste food that makes everything taste so wonderful? I think people only stopped saving bacon grease when fears about animal fats appeared. (You can read about that controversy here.) Since we choose to eat a more traditional diet (including animal fats) and research is not pointing to animal fats not being a problem, it’s time to bring back the bacon grease!

All you need to do is have a designated bacon grease jar. I just keep adding the liquid gold to the jar, and then putting it back into the refrigerator. I even keep a spoon in the jar for easy scooping when I need a spoonful for a dish. You can strain the bacon bits out of the grease, and that’s probably a good practice (but I never bother because #whohastimeforthat). I find that this method works quite well for me, but you can buy something like this stainless steel bacon grease container  (affiliate link) that comes with a strainer to use for it. However you choose to save it, here are some great ways to use it.

6 Delicious Ways to Use Bacon Grease

Fried Rice

Now we like this best with bacon bits in the fried rice, but even without, it’s delicious. My husband showed me how to make it as it was a family dish he had growing up. You re-fry rice with shredded carrots, thinly sliced celery, and thinly sliced green onions with bacon grease, and then add some crumbled bacon and peas in the last couple minutes of cooking. It’s so good! I want to make a cauliflower rice version soon for a grain-free version. Yum.

Yummy Veggies

I still think that the reason that so many people don’t like vegetables is that they’ve had steamed frozen vegetables served to them one too many times. There are many delicious ways to enjoy vegetables. They can be fancy, like this Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce, or they can be simple – like a simple one vegetable sauté. But when you sauté your vegetables, try using bacon grease! Vegetables that are cooked in a touch of bacon grease are delicious and have a much richer flavor.

Gingery Broccoli and Mushroom Beef Stir-Fry

There are many main dishes that are even better when you use bacon grease. For example, I love it when I have bacon grease on hand when I make this dish. It adds a great smoky touch to the dish.

Eggs

Scramble or fry your eggs in bacon grease. Because bacon and eggs just go together.

Wilted Spinach Salad

Spinach salad never tasted so good! This old fashioned salad is a great way to use bacon grease. You can get my version in my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons.

Baked Goods

I have tried this yet, but you can also use bacon grease as the fat in pie crusts, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, etc. It could be delicious if used in the right recipe. Think of corn muffins made with bacon grease instead of oil served with hot chili. Yum!

Do you save your bacon grease? If so, how do you use yours?

Greek Sweet Potato Hash – $15 Meal from Trader Joe’s

$15 Trader Joe's Meal - Sweet Potato Hash -- The Nourishing Gourmet

By Natalia Gill of An Appetite For Joy

What could be better than diced sweet potatoes fried up with garlic and green onions, then topped with wild peppery arugula, salty feta and a sprinkle of sumac? Not much in this world if you ask me.

This Greek sweet potato hash is also versatile – delicious on its own or stuffed into a pita pocket or lettuce wrap!

One thing I love about the direction Kimberly takes with this blog is learning to save money while eating right. She came up with the idea of buying meal ingredients at Trader Joe’s with $15 in pocket and I thought it was a fun challenge!

I didn’t include cooking fat and spices in the cost. To more than offset this, know that there will be plenty of leftover sweet potatoes, arugula and sheep feta. My son loves packing the feta with olives in his lunch. And the extra sweet potatoes come in handy for our favorite dessert – Sweet Potato Pie with Lemon Zest.

3 FAVORITE TJ’S FINDS

When creating the recipe, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite items at Trader Joe’s:

Sweet potatoes – I find TJ’s to have good prices on basic organic sweet potatoes.

Wild arugula – This was a new one for me. I like that there are a couple of wild-grown foods in the store as a cost-saving option compared to organic (wild blueberries and now wild arugula). This bagged arugula was amazingly fresh and the best arugula I have ever purchased from a grocery store. It was almost as tasty as the one I buy from a local farmer.

Sheep feta – I love this stuff. It comes in a sizable block that is pre-cut into manageable pieces. This cheese is much creamer than cow-milk feta and easier on digestion, like goat’s milk. It lasts all week for us!

COST BREAKDOWN

3 lb bag of sweet potatoes – $4.49
wild arugula – $2
green onions – $1.29
sheep feta – $6.49
lemon – 50 cents

TOTAL – $14.77

This meal comes together in a flash, especially if you can grab a few minutes earlier in the day to prepare the sweet potatoes (I like breaking up cooking tasks). I just cut them into french fry shape (a good knife makes this easy!) and soak in ice water in the fridge til I’m ready to cook.

$15 Trader Joe's Meal - Sweet Potato Hash -- The Nourishing Gourmet

NEED MORE EASY, FRUGAL MEAL IDEAS?

Paprika Chicken Legs (Slow Cooker)
Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls
Easy Mini Meatloaves (Paleo)
14 Easy Dinner Recipes that are Healthy and Frugal too!

Greek Sweet Potato Hash - $15 Meal from Trader Joe's
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Greek-inspired
Serves: 4-6
 
This Greek-inspired sweet potato hash makes a great light meal for spring or summer. Enjoy it on its own or stuffed into a homemade pita, tortilla or lettuce wrap. A cup of bone broth on the side completes the meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and diced small
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons dried oregano, to taste
  • unrefined salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cooking fat (ghee, bacon fat, coconut oil, etc.)
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
  • chunks of sheep feta
  • arugula
  • sumac
Instructions
  1. This is a one-pot meal if you halve the recipe. But with the quantity of sweet potatoes, it's necessary to make it in two skillets.
  2. Heat two skillets over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon cooking fat to each. When hot, add diced sweet potatoes and cook until they start to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Add a little salt.
  3. Add the scallions and cook another 5 minutes, or until they start to get a little crispy. (Add extra fat if needed.)
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and oregano and cook another 5 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with a lemon wedge, a pile of arugula on top and some feta if desired. I also like to sprinkle on a little sumac.

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls

Homemade Instant Noodle Soups (with Paleo Options) - The Nourishing Gourmet

By Natalia Gill, from An Appetite For Joy

Mason jar salads are a healthy and handy lunch idea. But as temperatures drop and we crave more warming foods, how about instant noodle bowls? Simply pack a few jars with savory Asian fixin’s. When you’re ready to eat, add hot broth and you have a satisfying umami-rich soup on the spot.

This quick meal idea was born when my husband and I caught a cold after a fun, rainy wedding weekend in Savannah. We needed something fast but even more so, we needed something restorative. This soup was perfect, two key ingredients being comforting stock and powerful turmeric.

Since then I’ve lined up a few in the fridge for easy lunches on busy weeks.

Incidentally, I like to eat the noodles with a fork or chopsticks while taking sips of broth straight from the jar or bowl. This is how my Japanese colleagues (from my previous life) ate noodle soups when I was in Tokyo. Pictured here are rice noodles, but there are a number of delicious gluten-free pasta options with which you can experiment!

GRAIN-FREE OPTION
Try mung bean threads, found in the Asian section of many grocery stores. They look and taste a lot like thin rice noodles.

PALEO OPTION
Season with coconut aminos instead of tamari, and use kelp noodles. (If you haven’t yet tried kelp noodles, they are silky, soft and neutral in taste!)

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls - The Nourishing Gourmet

HOMEMADE INSTANT NOODLE BOWL
Serves 1
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup cooked noodles (rice, mung bean or kelp)
  • ¼ cup chopped cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions
  • hot peppers such as jalapenos or habaneros (sliced thinly, to taste)
  • 1 cup hot broth
  • unrefined salt and pepper (to taste, optional)
Fill a mason jar with all of the ingredients except for the broth, salt and pepper. Store in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, pour in the hot broth. Stir very well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Homemade Instant Noodle Bowls
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Asian-inspired
Serves: 1 serving
 
If you liked instant noodle bowls as a kid, you will love this easy healthier option. Perfect for quick, make-ahead lunches. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 cup cooked noodles (rice, mung bean or kelp)
  • ¼ cup chopped chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions
  • hot peppers such as jalapenos or habaneros (sliced thinly, to taste)
  • 1 cup hot broth
  • unrefined salt and pepper (to taste, optional)
Instructions
  1. Fill a mason jar with all of the ingredients except for the broth, salt and pepper. Store in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, pour in the hot broth. Stir very well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

 

 

8 Healthy Gluten Free Freezer Meals

8 amazing gluten free freezer meals that are family friendly, healthy and so delicious! I love how easy all of the recipes are too. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

These varied, family-friendly and delicious gluten free freezer meals have been a lifesaver for us. I’m all about looking for ways to make dinners simple and as easy as possible, so I am in love with the ease of making and using freezer meals! It helps me use my time efficiently when in the kitchen and helps significantly with meal planning and food budgeting as well.

With the arrival of my newborn, Larkin, I was glad to have some gluten free freezer meals stored away. I recommend that anyone have freezer meals tucked away for after the baby is born, if possible. But it’s even more important for those who have food allergies or intolerances. Because one of my children is sensitive to a fairly wide variety of foods and I am as well, it makes it a lot harder to have people bring and make us food (although we were blessed by some delicious meals brought to us by friends and family after Larkin’s birth).

I had really high hopes for all of the meals and snacks I wanted to pre-make and store away before Larkin was born. But I got sick for several weeks at the end of my pregnancy and wasn’t able to complete everything. Thankfully, I was able to store away enough meals, or at least the main dish of a meal, that we had a nice little stash waiting for us when we got home from the hospital. These were completely essential to our survival these last two months, and we just have one or two things left. I am looking forward to restocking my freezer again!

Quick Tip

Because I had low energy and my “morning sickness” never quite went away, I had to pace myself during my pregnancy. So what I did was make one of the below items for our dinner, and then just doubled, tripled, or quadrupled the recipe. I recommend the practice as it was easy to fit into our schedule without having to have a whole day set aside for freezer meals.

1. Paleo Freezer Meatballs

Follow this simple method to make your own freezer meatballs! You can take out as many as you like at a time. You can use your favorite recipe, or you can use this grain-free, egg-free Italian Meatball recipe. Yum!

I share here how to make my gluten and grain free meatballs into freezer meatballs. I made a big bag of them, and we mostly used them to serve with spaghetti sauce over gluten free noodles (read this post for some of our favorite brands), or over spaghetti squash (read this post for a comparison of 4 grain free noodle options). I love having them available as they reheat so quickly. They help make great last minute meals.

2. Gluten Free Pizza Crust

I love how simple this gluten-free pizza is to make! I can finally enjoy pizza again!

These crusts are fantastic and easy to make with just whole soaked quinoa and coconut flour. I made enough crusts for our dinner one night, and a bunch extra to go into our freezer to reheat later. I used parchment paper to keep them separated when frozen, and it worked well. You could also make a massive batch of roasted vegetable to freeze for pizza toppings as well.

3.  Egyptian Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with Caramelized Onions - This gentle, cumin-scented soup is topped with sweet caramelized onions, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a blast of fresh lemon juice. It’s incredibly easy and surprisingly delicious considering how inexpensive it is to make.

This is one of our favorite (and most frugal) soup recipes from my soup cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons. It freezes really well! Just freeze the caramelized onions separately.

4. Keema Matar (An amazing beef or lamb curry)

Need a simple but delicious dinner? This beef or lamb curry is very quick to make up, but is really delicious!

This delicious dish froze very well. I made it a little milder than usual so that if the heat increased after being frozen it wouldn’t get too hot for my kids. I love how flavorful this dish is.

5. Chicken and Vegetable Soup

simplechickennoodlesoup

I made a very concentrated chicken broth (get instructions here and here for chicken broth) with a whole chicken. Then I shredded the chicken and sautéed onions, celery, and carrots. I combined the vegetables with the chicken and broth and then separated into freezer bags for freezing. I purposely made my chicken broth concentrated so it wouldn’t take as much room in the freezer and then diluted it with water when heating up the soup. We would add gluten free noodles or white rice to this after defrosting it.

6. Hearty Beef Stew

autumn beef stew

We love beef stew! I used radishes instead of potatoes, and they were delicious and froze well (without tasting spicy, I promise!). While you can make up whatever beef stew is your favorite, I used our family favorite recipe from my soup cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons. Another favorite is this Autumn Beef Stew.

7. Gluten Free Teriyaki Chicken

3 ingredient teriyaki panfried chicken (easiest recipe ever)

I didn’t flatten the chicken this time because it was so much work to do in mass, but instead kept the chicken thighs as they came. All you do is pour the sauce over the chicken and freeze! Because I choose not to flatten the chicken, I just popped it into a pan and baked it instead. Defrost as needed and serve with rice or cauliflower rice, and Japanese Cucumber Salad. Yum!

8. Lemon and Garlic Drumsticks

ng_lemondrumsticks

I also made up several dinners worth of this easy recipe. It also froze well and was very easy to put together in mass. I find that when I am nursing I need to eat a lot of protein, so I loved having this as a dinner main dish option.