Friday, February 1, 2008

Frugal Recipe: Cake Mix Cookies

Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge asked for frugal snack ideas, and I have to admit, I probably provide more prepackaged snacks than most frugal moms do. We often have fruit snacks, packaged granola bars, and box cereal on hand for quick and easy snacks, though many of my snack purchases are limited to what I can get really inexpensively (like at the 99 Cents Only store) or for free (by combining coupons with sales). For example, I just bought a 6-pack of mini boxes of organic raisins for 9 (yes, 9) cents, and you cannot -- at least, I cannot -- make six snacks for less than 9 cents. I know I could generally make from scratch more servings of something than I'm given in multipack of snacks for my $1.00 (or less), but every once in a while, it's about convenience. (I love cooking, I just don't love cooking. Particularly not all the time.)

In addition to those cheap convenience things that come and go as sales and coupons come and go, here are some other more frugal snack food options we consistently rely on:

fresh fruit
chopped veggies
boiled eggs
cheese slices or sticks
banana slices with sugar-free chocolate syrup
frozen fruit/berries (purchased on markdown and frozen from fresh)
crackers with peanut butter
whatever baked goods I'd made throughout the week
tortillas (with butter or with cheese)
toast with jam
croutons (my kids are strange)
graham crackers
mini marshmallows for a special treat (when bags are $1.00)
leftovers or soup if the children are really hungry

A fun, easy, frugal recipe I thought to share is one my Aunt Laura used to make. She'd make up a batch of Cake Mix Cookies (recipe below) to have on hand for a quick and cheap treat, and cake mix can generally be found very inexpensively when purchased with a coupon. Aunt Laura would prepare two or three batches of batter using different flavors of cake mix, then she would roll each of them into a tube shape, wrap them in an empty bread bags, and store in the freezer. She'd slice off a few thin slices of various flavors as needed, and bake only was required to satisfy the hungry children at her house. Our favorite flavors: strawberry, chocolate, or french vanilla!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 (18 1/4 ounce) box cake mix, any brand, any variety
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips, other chips, or other mixins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

** Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix well.
** Stir in chips and nuts, if using, or other mixins as desired.
** Drop by teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or roll into a tube shape, pack in bread bag, freeze, and cook slices from frozen at the same temperature for the same 8-10 minutes, or until crispy around the edges).
** Upon removing from oven, let the cookies stand on sheet for two minutes, then cool on racks, and serve!

For more frugal snack ideas, check out the other posts at The Grocery Cart Challenge, or at this Biblical Womanhood post on the same topic from back in October.

9 Cent Raisins

Baking Chips for a Bargain


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