How to Decorate a Kitchen on a Budget

Keep it Practical

Oh no, the economy has wrecked your kitchen remodeling plans and you feel helpless and hopeless. Don’t despair because you can decorate a kitchen on a budget, and be extremely happy with the end results. Sometimes, home improvement projects are avoided all together because the expense can seem overwhelming. The good news is that there are practical ways to decorate a kitchen on a budget. A crisp and fresh kitchen design is only a few hundred dollars away; so don’t let the economy get you down. A dream kitchen doesn’t have to be a fantasy; it can be a reality. A few simple suggestions will help you decorate a kitchen on a budget.

Choose Laminate Flooring for Decorating a Kitchen on a Budget

Laminate flooring is such a practical and affordable kitchen design option. Laminate floors are fantastic in a kitchen because they can incorporate the other elements of the room design. Laminate flooring comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so your options are limitless. In addition, laminate flooring is so much more affordable than real wood flooring. So, choose this cost saving solution because it gives a great kitchen look for less.

Select Butcher Block Countertops

Natural wood butcher block is a good way to save money when it comes to countertop design in a kitchen. Butcher block is natural and authentic, so it makes for a warm and inviting kitchen theme. Decorating a kitchen on a budget is all about choosing less expensive materials that are sturdy, reliable, and good quality. Butcher block is a timeless material like marble.’

Paint Unsightly Kitchen Cabinets

The expensive part about decorating kitchen cabinets is the effort that is required to build a custom kitchen frame for your cabinets. Since you already have solid cabinets and cabinet frames, all you need is a new paint color. In order to decorate a kitchen on a budget, you can keep the current frames and don’t mess with the piping. Simply, remove the front door of the cabinets and paint the frame and panels a fresh new color. For a crisp and fresh new look, you can paint all of the cabinetry white. With the addition of some new modern hardware on the cabinets, you will be surprised how much the pulls and knobs take the kitchen from one era to another. Decorating a kitchen on a budget is simple and affordable.

Add Sheet Metal for an Inexpensive Backsplash Design

Your local hardware store will have sheet metal that can be used for an attractive backsplash. Sheet metal that has been punched or patterned is even more innovative as a kitchen backsplash design element. An old kitchen design can be transformed to create a room that is the heart of the home. Decorating on a budget is easy when sheet metal is used as a backsplash masterpiece.

Scratch and Dent Appliances are Quality Options

Scratch and dent appliances are a great way to save money when you are decorating a kitchen on a budget. These appliances often have minor flaws that are not even visible with the naked eye or they can be retouched with just a simple dab of appliance paint. Scratch and dent appliances are available for a whole lot less money than a full priced retail appliance

Decorating a kitchen on a budget is a worthwhile home improvement project.

2 Austrian Dumpling Recipes: Cheese Dumplings and Apricot Dumplings

Austrian Cuisine has many forms of dumplings. These examples show the versatility of an idea. One is salty and made of cheese, the other sweet and holds a whole apricot

Austrians have a gift when it comes to dumplings; food hidden inside balls of dough. The styles and tastes vary from appetizers to dessert, but each dumpling has its own merit. The Apricot Dumpling especially has been enjoyed by Austrian kings and farmers for hundreds of years. Here are two examples

Cheese Dumplings (Topfenknödel) – Appetizer

  • 18 oz Cheese curd or Cottage Cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Topping:

  • ½ cup Breadcrumbs
  • 3 T Butter

Plum Accompaniment (optional)

  • 1 lb fresh or canned Plums
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  1. Drain Cottage Cheese and press through a sieve.
  2. Mix chees with eggs, bread crumbs, sugar, salt and Vanilla until smooth
  3. Let stand 45 minutes
  4. With wet hands, form dumplings, about 2″ in diameter
  5. Drop dumplings into salted boiling water
  6. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes
  7. Topping: Brown breadcrumbs and butter in a skillet while dumplings cook
  8. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the skillet and roll them in the crumbs.

Plum Accompaniment:

  1. Wash plums and cut them in half; remove the pits
  2. In a small skillet, combine the plums, sugar, cinnamon, rum and lemon juice.
  3. Simmer until slightly thickened, and serve separately from Dumplings

Austrian Apricot Dumplings (Wachauer Marillenknödeln) – Dessert

  • 1 lb Salad Potatoes (author does not endorse one potato over another)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Semolina (a course grain similar to cornmeal, made from semolina. This can often be found near the pasta or in the baking aisle)
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind

Filling:

  • 1 lb fresh Apricots
  • 5-6 Sugar Cubes

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup Butter, browned with 1 Tablespoon Sugar and
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  1. Boil, peel and rice the potatoes, let cool
  2. Combine salt, flour, semolina, butter, egg yolks and grated lemon rind; let stand 30 minutes
  3. Wash apricots and press the pits out (try to keep the integrity of the apricot, so it fits nicely in the dumpling)
  4. Replace each pit with one sugar cube
  5. Roll dumpling dough until it looks like a sausage, about 2 1/2″ thick.
  6. Cut dough into 3/4″ slices
  7. Flatten each slice a bit and place the apricot in the center
  8. Lightly dust hands with flour and form the dough over the fruit
  9. Roll the ball on the counter until the entire fruit is hidden
  10. Softly drop the dumplings into salted simmering water.
  11. Bring to a boil and reduce heat for 2-5 minutes
  12. Make the topping by browning the butter, sugar and breadcrumbs in a skillet
  13. Remove the skillet from heat and remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon
  14. Rinse the dumplings quickly under cold water
  15. Roll Dumplings in the topping
  16. Place dumplings on a plate and dust them with powdered sugar.
  17. Serve Immediately

Common Kitchen Helps for Recipe Substitutions

Don’t Panic If You’re Out of a Recipe Ingredient

Most kitchens have common kitchen helpers available for recipe substitutions. Don’t go into panic mode if you’re making dinner and you are missing a certain item. You may have a quick substitute right in front of you.

1. Sour cream
Sour cream is often added to casseroles or baking..
Substitute: 7/8 cup sour milk and 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
8-oz.carton plain yogurt

2. Light Cream
Light cream is often used for a white sauce, cheese sauce, casseroles or baking.
Substitute 1 cup undiluted evaporated milk for cup light cream.

3. Buttermilk or sour milk
Buttermilk or sour milk is often used in baking cakes or cookies.
Substitute 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice and enough sweet milk to make 1 cup for cup of sour or butter. Let stand 5 minutes.

4. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is often added to barbeque sauces or other sauces.
Substitute 1/2 tsp. vinegar for 1 tsp. lemon juice.

5. 1 cup sugar
Sugar, as you know, is a main staple in most kitchens.
Substitute 1 cup powdered sugar, firmly packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup honey. If honey is substituted, reduce liquid by 1/2 cup.

6. 1 square unsweetened chocolate
Unsweetened chocolate is often used in frosting and baking.
Substitute 3 Tbsp. of cocoa and 1 Tbsp. margarine.

7. Onion powder
Onion powder is often used in casseroles, making meat dishes, pasta and veggies.
Substitute one small onion for 3/4 tsp. onion powder.

8. Corn syrup
Corn syrup is a sweetener that can be a regular syrup on pancakes or used when making things such as hot fudge or a chocolate sauce for ice cream/other desserts.
Substitute 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Boil together and stir.

9. Baking powder
Baking powder is used in making bread, cookies, cakes etc.
Substitute 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 5/8 tsp. cream of tarter.

10. Fresh herbs
Herbs are used to enhance flavors in most all cooking.
Substitute 1 tsp. dried herbs, crushed.

11. Bread crumbs
Bread crumbs are added when making meat loaf, ham balls, scalloped dishes and as a topping.
Substitute 1 cup crushed cereal or cracker crumbs. Oatmeal can be substituted when making meat dishes.

12. Pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin pie spice makes adding spices to pumpkin dishes quick and easy.
Substitute 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg for 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Cinnamon is needed, but you could probably go without the other spices. Your finished product will be more bland.

Hopefully these quick and easy subsitutions may save your day.

It’s best to check ingredients before we begin, but time and surprise conditions sometime prevent our having everything we need to complete a recipe.

Savory “LBJ” Pie: Leeks, Bacon and Jalapenos Create a Tasty Tart with Bite!

Originally, savory pies were small desserts used to cleanse the palates at the end of a meal. Today the term applies to a wide variety of dishes.

A savory (savoury) pie, is not to be confused with the herb savory, but is a British term that covers a wide array of baked pies that are served hot or warm, rather than a chilled fruit pie. A quiche, which is a French dish consisting mainly of eggs, often falls under the category of a “savory pie” as can the hearty Shepherd’s pie.

The pie as we know it today is actually thought to have originated in the 14th or 15th century, in England. Today, savory pies are generally served as a main course rather than an afterdinner snack and can consist of all sorts of delicious combinations of meats, poultry or vegetables, with added cream and eggs. Savory pies are also a terrific way to revive leftover meat dishes.

The term savoury is no longer exclusive to the palate-cleansing bites of yesteryear. Just try this inexpensive and easy to make dish!

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen pie crust (thawed, 9-inch wide)
  • 3 large leeks, rinsed well, slicing only the white portions
  • 4-5 slices of good-quality bacon
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup of light sour cream
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • ½ cup of low fat milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Recipe

  1. Prick the pie crust with a fork, then put into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Make sure to use pie weights or a heavy cooking pan to ensure the crust does not bubble. Cover with foil while baking.
  2. Remove the pie crust from the oven and set-aside the foil and pie weights. Using one egg, separate the yolk and brush the crust with the beaten egg white. Keep the remaining egg white.
  3. Put the crust back into the oven for another 10 minutes, then let cool.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain, and crumble into bite-sized bits. Retain some of the bacon grease in the pan.
  5. Add the sliced leeks and sliced jalapenos to the pan and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. In a large bowl, mix together the other egg, remaining egg white and remaining egg yolk with the sour cream. Beat well.
  8. Stir in the milk and heavy cream, mixing well.
  9. Mix in the salt and pepper.
  10. Layer the pie crust with the leek, jalapeno and bacon mixture. Then pour the egg and milk mixture on top.
  11. Bake the pie for another 30 minutes until set.
  12. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a crispy salad for a main course, or eat alone for a light snack. Enjoy!


11

Pork and Ground Beef Casserole: Hearty Casserole Makes the Most of Leftovers and Pantry Staples

Leftover pork chops? Ground beef you have to use up? Combine the two into this delicious and easy casserole and never waste leftovers again.

Everyone runs into nights with too many leftovers to throw away, but not enough to make a meal. The same thing often happens with ground beef. This casserole is an excellent way to use up all the leftover meat in your refrigerator while making a creamy and nutritious one-dish meal for your family.

Pork and Ground Beef Casserole

  • 2 or 3 grilled pork chops, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 or 3 large red potatoes, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • ½ large red onion
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned, not drained
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3-4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Butter a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Remove any bones from 2-3 leftover pork chops and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Place in casserole dish.
  4. Wash red potatoes and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. Add to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  5. Drain can of green beans and add to casserole dish.
  6. Wash and cut yellow pepper into 1 inch pieces.
  7. Dice ½ large red onion.
  8. Crumble ground beef into a large skillet. Add onion and yellow pepper, and cook until burger is browned and onion and pepper are soft. Add to casserole dish.
  9. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over meat and vegetables. Stir to coat and then spread out in casserole dish.
  10. Deglaze skillet with ¾ cup red wine, and add to casserole.
  11. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard. Mix well and pour over casserole.
  12. Sprinkle casserole with salt, pepper, paprika.
  13. Top casserole with shredded cheddar cheese.
  14. Bake, covered, on 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
  15. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for another 2-3 hours.
  16. Remove from oven, and stir in remaining flour, one tbsp at a time.
  17. Let set up for 15 mins, uncovered, before serving.

Recipe Variations

There are many ways to make this casserole even more nutritious. You can add a drained can of corn or carrots to the casserole. You can also add fresh mushrooms, diced and sauteed zucchini, and/or yellow summer squash to the mix. If you are concerned about fat and cholesterol, make sure you trim off any excess fat off the pork chops and drain the ground beef mixture before adding to the casserole. You should also use low-fat sour cream, substitute low-fat cream of mushroom soup instead of the mayonnaise, and use either low-fat cheddar cheese or substitute low-fat mozzarella cheese instead.