Hamburger Gravy over Rice

This has always been a staple in our house. Relatively cheap and filling and goes a long way.



1 pkg Ground Sirloin

2 pkgs McCormick’s Brown Gravy

2 cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 cans of water

1 tsp prepared coffee  (optional)

* It’s important to note that I have brand names here; it does make a difference, so don’t skimp.



Fry up the ground sirloin in a deep skillet or dutch oven till a little over halfway done; if you use a lesser grade ground beef, make sure to remove the excess grease.

Pour in the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, mix with the ground beef until soup is smooth.

Next, put in the 2 packets of McCormick’s Brown Gravy; bring to boil to activate the gravy, then turn stove down to medium.

Put in the coffee.

Put in two cans of water; stir until well mixed.

Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over white rice.


Delicious Cornbread

This lovely side dish I created because I was trying to make cornbread pudding, but this came out instead and my family and I love it!


1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 stick of butter

1 can of cream corn



Combine the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, egg, milk and cream corn in mixing bowl.

Pour mixture into desired baking or cupcake pan. Slice the stick of butter into 1 tbsp pieces and distribute evenly into the mix. Lightly push the butter pat down with finger. If you use cupcake pans, put one tbsp or pat in each cup, gently pressing down. Save a few pats of butter to put on top once it is out of the oven.

Bake 375°  for 30-40 min

Serve hot with butter.

Roasted Chicken Salad

This recipe is always a hit in my family.

Roasted Chicken Salad


2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (1 1/2 pounds)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup pecan and/or 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup green and/or red grapes, cut in 1/2


Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper into a rub and spread generously over the chicken breasts and under the skin without tearing it.  Place on baking sheet skin side up, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 °F for 25-30 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish roasting for an additional 20-25 minutes until cooked through with internal temp about 165 °F . Set aside to cool off.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and fatty pieces. Using two forks, shred the chick breast and place in a mixing bowl.  Then put in the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, pecans and/or walnuts and finally the grapes.

Using a spatula, fold the mixture together until well combined. Depending on your preference, if the salad is too dry, add additional mayonnaise and sour cream, equal parts. Only add more a little at a time until you have the right consistency.

The chicken salad should not be soupy or very smooth. This is a very chunky recipe and the dressing is to add a little flavor and binder properties.

Serving Suggestions

Lettuce Wraps

Puff Pastry

Sandwich Bread



Masoor Dal

Masoor Dal

This is one of my family’s favorite dishes. My husband taught me to make it and depending what ingredients I have, it comes out a little different every time, but still delicious. You can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery or Walmart  The dal can be found in the Indian/Asian section of some grocers, but your best bet is your local Indian store. Don’t buy Thai coconut milk or any coconut cream, it will be way too sweet.

Why is this budget friendly? Depending on what you have in your pantry, it only costs as much as a bag of rice, dal (about 2.99), 1 can of coconut milk ($.99-$1.50) and vegetables. The dal would be just as good without all the spices and bacon if you don’t have them. And it can feed a lot of people.

Don’t be intimidated. It can be a little involved, but why it’s so easy is because you cook it once and you forever know how to do it. It’s an easy recipe to do a little of this and none of that and so on…

Here is what you’ll need:



Cooks in 30-45 Min Serves Approx: 4


2 – 2 1/2  cup Swad Masoor Dal (Split Red Lentils)
1 1/2 cup of water
1/3 – 1/2 can Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Your favorite Curry Powder (do not use Thai curry as it is too sweet for this dish)

or make your own:

  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Red Onion or whatever you have on hand
2-3 Roma Tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 oz Bacon (optional)
Rice (any kind of white rice except instant, Jasmine is best for flavor if you can afford it)



  • In a mixing bowl, pour in the dal.
  • Pick out any obvious debris and rinse well under water.
  • Dal to water ratio: About 1 cup Dal to 1 1/2-2 cups water.


Proper way to clean dal:When you fill the bowl with water, use your hand to mix it up and you will see some hulls and debris float to the surface. Pour it out and repeat, as many times as you need to. This also eliminates some of the starch so you don’t get a sloppy mess.

Note: The lentils measure similar to split pea soup, it doesn’t seem like much dry, but once it’s cooked it seems to double. So keep that in mind when you choose how much. Also, you don’t want to put too much dal in the pot. You won’t have anymore room for the rest of the ingredients.



  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, cook on med to med-high temp.
  • Pour in the olive oil and half the red onion and keep the other half in reserve or a whole yellow/white.
  • If you are using bacon, chop into little pieces and fry till crispy and the onions are translucent.
  • Put in all the spices and the tomatoes.
  • Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes till most of the liquid is reduced.
  • Pour in the dal and water, mix till everything stirs freely. (It should seem like soup.)
  • Let come to boil, stir frequently to keep from sticking on the bottom.
  • Turn down to med-low and cover for about 20 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • Everything should have thickened up and it should have a slight al dente texture.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Pour in 1/3 can of coconut milk. If the lentils are still a little harder than al dente, pour in about 1/2 the can of coconut milk.
  • Put in the reserved red onions.
  • Stir until mixed and cover med-low for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Texture should be a little grainy but creamy.
  • Salt to taste.


Cook white rice according to your usual methods or per directions on packaging. Pour mixture over rice.


Dal  Dal