Coupons or not, serving processed food straight from the can isn't an option for me and my family.  Its easy to turn that bargain into a masterpiece.  You can do a lot to improve on the original.  In tribute to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, here's how we pimped our pasta.
Issue #1: Flavor

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, washed and chopped
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
1 tsp celery seed
1Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp beef base

Saute onion and peppers in oil for about 5 minutes.  Stir in seasonings and beef base.  Add 1/4 cup hot water to pan and cook another 3-5 minutes adding more water as needed to keep from burning. *Red wine, spinach, olives, squash, eggplant, sliced carrots would have all been great additions too.

Issue #2: Broken ravioli
I know how to add flavor to the sauce, but how do I get the pasta out intact?  Heat water to boiling in a small stock pot and turn off heat.  Place cleaned unopened cans in water for about 10 minutes.  Remove from water with tongs.  Allow cans to cool for a minute or two and out they come!

Empty cans into pan.  I set ravioli to the side and combined canned sauce with my onion and pepper mixture. Lower heat to simmer. Then pushed sauce to the side and arranged ravioli in single layer in the pan.  Simmer for another 5 or so minutes, top with a tiny bit of cheese and you're done.

All this food for $47
Apologies for Saturday's drama fest.  As I'd stated before, my last 9-5 was spent showing folks how to eat healthier by transforming common fare.  Our house was another story, replaced 90% of processed foods with staples and cooked from scratch AND we have chickens in the backyard.  I'm working towards hard core healthy 'round these parts.  That practice got away from me for a bit in my quest to get up and the couponing frenzy that soon followed.  But it can be done!  Think of processed food as a half glass of empty.  Just fill it up with nutrition!

Little to no whole grains in your favorite muffin mix?  No problem. Too much fat and or sodium in a frozen dinner.  Gotcha covered.  Here's how.

Remember my list of healthy foods no kitchen should be without?  Well, filling the processed food glass with nutrition means adding in the stuff that's missing.  Simply adding a cup of old fashioned oats to a muffin mix dilutes the concentration of hydrogenated fats, salt, etc. as long as you don't add these things back into your new and improved recipe.

After going out and buying two June All You mags, I waited to redeem the Chef Boyardee coupons for a number of reasons. 1) We make our own pasta dishes and sauces and when you get a taste for highly flavored tomato sauce, often what's found in a can seems lacking. 2)  The ravioli seemed to disintegrate if you thought about them too hard.   Four step solution coming up!

Easy Recipes for Cheap Living
Last Updated November 26, 2010
Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (
Easy Recipes for Living Well on a Budget