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November 2008

Menu in a Box: Never Worry about Dinner Again!

How many times have you been at a loss when it comes time to fix dinner? Are you tired of serving the same meals over and over and over again? Are your children bored with chicken nuggets and spaghetti? Is your spouse craving a good old fashioned homecooked meal?

If you answered "YES!" to any of the above, or if you'd like to have access to 100 easy-to-prepare recipes, The Cheap Gourmet has a solution for you...

Menu in a Box is perhaps one of the best meal planning kits I've ever seen. This super-affordable meal planing kit includes:

  • 100 easy to follow family favorite fast and fresh recipes; along with corresponding shopping lists and meal plans PLUS time-saving, budget and organizational tips
  • 20 Dinner Menus
  • 20 Shopping Lists
  • Tips on how to organize your pantry
  • Tips on how to organize your freezer

Meal in a Box Meal Planning Kit 

Menus you will find in Menu in a Box Meal Planning Kit:

MONDAY: Quick Lasagne served with garlic bread and salad
TUESDAY: Chicken Tetrazzini served with steamed broccoli
WEDNESDAY: Nachos served with salsa, sour cream and cheese
THURSDAY: Roast Chicken served with steamed vegetables and gravy
FRIDAY: Fish served with baked potato wedges and salad

MONDAY: Chicken Cacciatore served with salad and warm wholemeal buns
TUESDAY: Tomato and Basil penne pasta
WEDNESDAY: Teriyaki Stir-fry and rice
THURSDAY: Salmon Spaghetti with parmesan cheese
FRIDAY: Thai Beef Salad

MONDAY: Marinated Chicken served with vegetables
TUESDAY: Pasta Pomodora with garlic bread
WEDNESDAY: Vegetable Soup served with Turkish bread and Hummus
THURSDAY: Salsa Fish served with steamed vegetables
FRIDAY: Beef Noodles

Menu in a Box includes:

  • 20 Menu Plans
  • 20 Shopping Lists
  • 100 Recipes
  • How to Organize Your Pantry
  • How to Organize Your Freezer
  • Plus BONUS EXTRAS including: Kids Birthday Party Menu, 3-course Dinner Menu, Fridge Chart Planner and more!

If time is precious and you are looking for affordable, easy-to-prepare meals for your family, there's no better deal than Menu in a Box. This instant download PDF ebook is available for the incredibly-low price of only $17.50. Backed by a 56-day (8-week) 100% Money Back Guarantee!



The Cheap Gourmet's Top Five Black Friday Picks

In celebration of Black Friday, The Cheap Gourmet has searched high and low to find fabulous gifts at significant savings. We all need that, right? Not only will you find fabulous sale prices on Black Friday, but throughout the holiday season. The following are my favorite picks for gourmet food, kitchen and home decor, cookware, small appliances and unusual gifts that are certain to bring a smile to your loved ones.

Simply click on the banner below each description and you'll be taken directly to each merchant's website. Happy Black Friday and may you receive a bounty of savings!

Plow and Hearth - One of my favorite places to shop, Plow and Hearth offers a wide variety of gourmet foods including the infamous Peppermint Pig (a delightful peppermint candy pig complete with a hammer to crack it open and share!). Plow and Hearth offers hundreds of unique gifts for the home and garden, along with clothing, shoes, and even enviromentally-friendly gifts. This one-stop shop provides plenty of unique and affordable gifts for the entire family!

Great Stocking Stuffer

The Home Marketplace - Hard-to-find products and clever solutions for kitchen and home. From appliances and gadgets to decorations and storage, The Home Marketplace offers a wide variety of products certain to please all who receive them. Every product offers real value and is backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. An enormous selection from a company you can trust!

The Home Marketplace

Fingerhut - Brand-name merchandise including apparel, electronics, home furnishings, jewelry, toys, kitchenware, sporting goods and more. Enjoy convenient credit, low monthly payments, 30-day home trial and 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

Fingerhut Direct Marketing, Inc

Stonewall Kitchen - Save 20-percent on EVERYTHING - Friday, November 28th through Sunday, November 30th. Stonewall Kitchen offers unique and amazing gourmet food items including fruit butters, dessert sauces, jams, sauces, mustards, salsas, relishes, marmalades, chutneys, salts, pancake mixes and syrup, soups, peanut butter, pestos and spreads, gourmet crackers, pretzel dips, baking mixes, beverages, dressings and oils, Barefoot Contessa pantry, and a specialty food club for those who enjoy trying new foods all year long!

Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

Tabasco Country Store - For those who like life HOT! The Tabasco Country Store offers amazing hot sauces, gift packs, bar accessories, clothing, luggage, posters, toys and much more. Receive $10 off all orders of $45 or more, plus a FREE Family of Flavors Gift Box. This offer is good through December 12th. Enter Code CB8 at checkout.

tabasco.com (McIlhenny Company)

Happy Thanksgiving - Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

Happy Thanksgiving! It's hard to believe turkey day is only 2 days away. If you haven't planned your Thanksgiving feast and are looking for healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday fare, I'd like to offer you my FREE "Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection".

This 23-page report includes a complete menu to help you create a healthy holiday meal. Simply choose one recipe from each category, along with two side dishes and you'll be well on your way to creating the perfect holiday feast.

Categories include: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Entrees, Side Dishes, Beverages and Dessert.

Click here to download - Download Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection.

*Please note the recipe collection is a PDF report and requires Adobe Reader to view.


OmahaSteaks.com, Inc.

The Ultimate Beef Crockpot Recipe

'Tis the season for breaking out the Crock-Pot Slow Cooker! There's nothing better than the aromas that fill your house as your fork-tender meal is cooking. Today I'd like to share the Ultimate Beef Crockpot Recipe which I created for my family last weekend.

Before I share the Ultimate Beef Crockpot Recipe, allow me to explain how it came about. On October 22, I underwent oral surgery for complete dental restoration. I had been living off nutrition shakes and soup. My dentist told me I would need to stay on a liquid and soft food diet for several weeks while my gums healed.

After a week, I could barely stand the thought of downing one more drink or bowl of soup or plate of mashed potatoes. Then it hit me... Bring out the Crock-Pot!! I had been craving beef, which is odd since I don't eat much red meat. I'm assuming my body needed the protein to help me through the healing process.

I gathered my favorite ingredients and began adding items to the Crock-Pot I inherited from my mom, the Cooking Queen. She cooked up some seriously good food and I was in need of something with substance. I'm certain she would have loved this recipe and it has offically been added to my family's list of all-time favorites. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Print Friendly and PDF

Serves 6 Cook Time: 4 to 6 hours


1-1/2 pounds Sirloin Tip Side Steak, cut in strips
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, coarsely ground
1 Onion (yellow or white), sliced into rings
2 medium Carrots, sliced diagonally
4 medium Potatoes
1 green Bell Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers, minced
2 Tablespoons Dale's Seasoning (or Worcestershire Sauce)
1 Tablespoon Stubb's Moppin' Sauce (or BBQ Sauce)
1 14.5-ounce can Diced Tomatoes
1 10-1/2-ounce can Campbell's French Onion Soup, plus 2 soup cans Water


  1. Slice sirloin tip side steak into 2-inch strips
  2. Add olive oil to 10-inch skillet and heat to medium.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of meat with coarsely ground black pepper and press pepper into meat with the palm of your hand.
  4. Carefully add meat to skillet and lightly brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  5. Slice onion into 1-inch thick rings. Separate rings and place on bottom of Crock-Pot.
  6. Slice carrots diagonally into 1-inch chunks and add to Crock-Pot.
  7. Cut potatoes into large chunks. I prefer to leave the skin on, but you can remove it if desired.
  8. Cut green bell peppers into rings or large chunks.
  9. Chop garlic and toss in with the rest of the veggies.
  10. Slice jalapeno peppers in half and remove seeds. Mince and add to the Crockpot.
  11. Mix the Dale's Seasoning (or Worcestershire Sauce) and Stubb's Moppin' Sauce (or BBQ) together in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the sirloin steak with the sauce.
  12. Place seasoned meat on top of veggies.
  13. Drain diced tomatoes and place on top of the meat.
  14. Pour French Onion Soup and 2 soup cans of water over the meat and vegetables.
  15. Turn the Crock-Pot on high for 30 minutes, then lower setting to medium or medium-low.
  16. Cook for 4 to 6 hours.
  17. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a French Baguette or warm bread with butter or dipping oil.



Sweet and Sassy Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Caramel Apples

Crockpot Beef Roast with Burgundy Wine Gravy

The Cheap Gourmet Political Rant

Happy Election Day Everyone! Today, is an exciting day. It's a close race and everyone is anxiously waiting to see who will be our next President. As a Floridian, I know how important it is to get out there and vote; I just dread standing in line.

Although I am not really into politics, nor do I care to get into heavy debates about who is the better candidate, one thing I don't like about politics is all the lying. As my husband would say, "Do you know how to tell when a politician is lying?... When his lips are moving." HA! HA! HA! Sad thing is, that's pretty much the truth.

There's been a good deal of lying going on in this country. It seems to be the norm and acceptable. Look how many reality shows are based on who is the better liar and manipulator. They call it 'strategy'. I call it lying, cheating and doing whatever you can to make a buck.

This led me to think of all the liars that exist in the online world. It's ridiculous the extent some people will go to in order to scam people out of their money. I can't tell you how many times I had the wool pulled over my eyes when I first got started with Internet marketing. Let me tell you, it's brutal out there!

All this thinking led me to think about YOU. The Cheap Gourmet Blog is visited by people from all over the world. Some stay a minute, others browse for hours. Currently, 62 people subscribe to the RSS feed (upper right corner of sidebar). But, most of you don't really know me, nor do I know you.

Since today is the day of CHANGE, I'd like to change some things around here. I'd like to know you better. I'd like to know what kind of information you would like to find here. Do you have any questions about cooking techniques or certain foods? Are you interested in more healthy gourmet recipes? What can I do to best serve you?

I believe in building relationships with people. I want to earn your trust. I want to provide you with recipes, resources, discounts, rebates and frugal living tips that will help you stay healthy and on budget!

I truly AM the middle-class American. I am grateful for everything I have, but would like to build my wealth and be able to retire without worrying if I'll be pushing a grocery cart down by the beach. I want my home-based business to be successful because it was founded on integrity and morals.

In closing my acceptance speech (wink), my goal is to make certain this blog is as transparent as possible. I have no ulterior motives. However, I do occasionally write paid reviews, participate in pay-per-click advertising and promote affiliate products to help monetize this blog. I refuse to lie in my reviews. If I don't like the product, I won't write the review.

Additionally, I don't write reviews or promote products or companies that I don't use myself. When the time is right, I will share an experience I recently had with a coffee company. Sad thing is, I really loved their coffee, but they lied to me and I wouldn't feel right promoting their product.

This concludes The Cheap Gourmet's Political Rant. Things are changing and at this blog, they are changing for the better. Not that the blog was ever bad (at least, I don't think so!) but I would like to see us become more of a family.

Please feel free to leave Comments below and tell me what you like, don't like, would like to see or anything else you would like to discuss.

Thanks for stopping by! Now, go VOTE!

Save Money and Time: Top Ten Places to Slash Your Food Bill

#1 Coupons- You can have access to over $100 in free printable coupons from name brand consumer products. Simply download the Coupons.com toolbar to your computer. Then type in your zip code and receive coupons from over 300 familiar companies such as General Mill, Nature's Bounty, Neutrogena, L'Oreal, Johnson and Johnson and more.

I personally saved $17.60 with clipped coupons. I saved an additional $12.32 by using the coupons when the items were on sale. Grand Total Savings was $29.92 in one week. If I can reach this goal every week, I can save approximately $1560 per year. Give Coupons.com a try. If you don't like it, you can always uninstall the toolbar from your computer.

Save on Groceries - Download the CouponBar and never miss another offer!

#2 Mr. Rebates - Do you enjoy receiving checks in the mail? If so, Mr. Rebates is right up your alley. Once you sign-up for a FREE account, you receive an instant $5.00 credit to your account. There is no fee to join, nor any hidden fees. Rebates, coupons and special offers are updated daily, so you never know what you might find at Mr. Rebates. I've found rebates and product discounts of up to 80-percent, so it is definitely worth taking a few minutes each day to check for updates.

Learn more by visiting Mr. Rebates - Cash-Back Shopping at over 1000 Stores!

#3 Mex Grocer- If you love authentic Mexican food, you're going to love MexGrocer.com. You'll find exceptional deals on baked goods, beverages, canned foods, rice, beans, pasta, desserts, mexican candy, snacks, cokies, chili peppers, hot sauces, salsas, moles, spices, herbs, tamales, tortillas, cookbooks, cooking utensils and natural health remedies.

Receive a 10-percent discount using COUPON CODE: MEXITEN

MexGrocer.com- Online grocery shopping store for Authentic Mexican food, cooking recipes and culture.

#4 Herb Trader- If you've been to the healthfood store recently, you are probably aware of how expensive organic foods and natural personal and household products have become. Herb Trader offers more than 8000 products, including 200 of your favorite natural and organic brands, at up to 20-percent off suggested retail pricing. You can obtain just about everything you need to take care of your home, health and food, as well as nutritional supplies, food and accessories for your dogs or cats.

#5 The Healthy Pantry - This unique website offers a variety of alternatives for healthy eating. All ingredients in The Healthy Pantry products are carefully selected for their nutrition, taste, and convenience. Everything is organic or natural and based on simple whole foods without preservatives or additives.

The Healthy Pantry offers proteins, pastas, grains, gluten-free foods, vegetables, fruits, oils, spices, herbs, sweeteners, supplements, flours, soup stocks and nuts. Additionally, individuals who join The Healthy Pantry Preferred Program receive wholesale pricing (25% savings), personal pantry makeover, unlimited recipes makeovers, private online recipe swap, online cooking classes, free samples and referral bonuses with a $50 per month purchase.

You owe it to yourself to take a look at what The Healthy Pantry has to offer. With the New Year just around the corner, now is a great time to make a resolution to eat healthier in '09.

Visit The Healthy Pantry today!

#6 Recipe Secrets- Save hundreds of dollars by learning how to prepare your favorite restaurant dishes at home. Recipe Secrets provides soups, salads, appetizers, entrees and drinks from The Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang's, Red Lobster, The Olive Garden, Hard Rock Cafe and KFC, to name a but a few.

Currently, Recipe Secrets is offering SEVEN free bonus cookbooks on CD including: Secret Sauces Exposed, Good Ole' Comfort Foods, The Grill Master's Guide to Grilling, Special Occasion Cookbook, Diabetic Delights, Kid Approved Cookbook and a Lifetime Access to Recipe Secrets Archives.

Save $20 when you order today AND receive over $140 in bonus cookbooks.

Learn more at Recipe Secrets

#7 ShindigZ- With the holidays rapidly approaching, ShindigZ offers everything you need to host a "Talk of the Town" Party. From themes to holidays, ShindigZ provides party supplies, theme kits, photo stand-ins, wall graphics, banners, entrances and arches, table settings, center pieces, balloons, party apparel and decorations.

Save up to 90-percent on clearance party items like tableware, party favors, photo frames and holiday decorations at ShindigZ.com.

#8 No Name Java- Let's face it...coffee is not a cheap commodity. Many healthfood stores and grocers charge exorbitant prices for Organic and Fair Trade Coffees. No Name Java keeps things simple, yet sophisticated and affordable.

Coffees include single origin, specialty coffee blends, Fair Trade and Organic, gourmet flavored, decaffeinated, and green coffee beans which must be roasted at home. Believe me when I say there is nothing better than the smell and flavor of fresh roasted coffee beans.

No Name Java is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more. Coffee makes a fabulous holiday gift or buy in bulk to ensure you have enough on hand for guests. Better yet, roast your own beans and create personalized labels for friends and family.

Learn more about these delightful coffees at NoNameJava.com.

#9 Peapod- Peapod is an online food delivery service available to residents of Chicagoland, Milwaukee, SE WI, CT, MA, RI, NY, NJ, Washington DC, MD, VA. If you dislike grocery shopping as much as I do, you will love Peapod.com.

You can order produce, meats, deli items, seafood, dairy products, frozen foods, beverages, cereals, soups, breakfast foods, baking goods, condiments, sauces, spices, seasonings, laundry, paper and cleaning supplies, health and beauty supplies, pet foods and more.

Receive $10 off your first order by entering Promotional Code CJN10 on the home page or at checkout.*

Limit ONE coupon per household.

#10 Coffee For Less -Buying in bulk can save big $$ in the long run. Coffee For Less offers 12-ounce to five pound bags of ground or whole bean coffee. Many products are geared toward the consumer who purchases in bulk or for offices, restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops.

Coffee For Less also sells a variety of tea, hot cocoa, K-cups, coffee machines, espresso machines, creamers and sweeteners, flavored syrups, bottled water, water coolers, cold drinks, energy drinks and paper products. Spend some time browsing around and you're certain to find great bargains!

Receive a 5% Discount using COUPON CODE 'CFL' upon checkout.

Free Shipping On Orders Over $25