Saturday, January 9, 2010

veggie wrap $7.82

See post below titled "fridge cleanup" and we provide recipe and cost etc....

Tonight was veggie wrap night, and unfortunately due to some technical difficulty, I could not upload my pictures, and neither could my niece Julie, so that means that there is something wrong with my computer, b/c she is very computer savvy. I will get pictures up tomorrow with a different computer. This has been my favorite meal thus far. I love roasted vegetables. This wrap consisted of peppers, mushrooms and spinach, and an artichoke pesto spread(which took 2 minutes to make) It was so quick and easy to roast the veggies with olive oil, garic salt and black pepper. Any vegetable can be used, brocolli, eggpant, zuchini etc.....lettuce, tomato, onion, you name it. I like using a pesto or a flavored mayo or mustard, because it adds flavor and also helps to close the wrap.
I would love to say it was a hit with kids, but it wasnt, however I loved it, grandma loved it, and I will love it again tomorrow.
The kids ate paninis they made themselves with our new panini maker from Aldi!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Grocery list January 10-16, 2010

I've laid out this shopping list in the same order as the Aldi store that I shop at.  Hope it helps!  Remember, if you want to print it easily, e-mail it to yourself and print it from your e-mail.  Otherwise you can highlight, cut and paste it to a word type document and print it there.

Spices (1st aisle at Aldi) 
Cumin (optional, but one of my favorite spices)
Chili Powder
Minced Garlic in a jar (or fresh)
Beef bouillon cubes
Chicken bouillon or veggie bouillon or chicken broth

Salad Dressings
Black olives

Vegetables, pastas, and ethnic foods
15 oz. can black beans
1 can tomato sauce
Tomato basil pasta sauce
Thin spaghetti or penne pasta
Tortillas or wraps

Fresh Produce
Garlic bulb (or minced in a jar)
Cilantro - not usually available at my Aldi -
Roma tomatoes (at least 6)
Green onions (optional – can substitute whole onion)
2 lrg. Onions
Sweet Potatoes
Large carrots (not baby)
Fresh or frozen broccoli
1 orange (optional if you aren’t going to eat the oranges)

Ready-made garlic bread
Pizza crust of your choosing (perhaps not from Aldi)

Dairy/Refrigerated Meats
Mozzarella cheese
Canadian bacon or crumble sausage

Buteher/Meat shop
Approx. 1 pound (or as much more as you want) Stew meat - cubed
Ham steak (or bacon)

Frozen Goods
1-3 pound bag Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Individually quick frozen tilapia fillets
Frozen peas
Frozen asparagus

White wine – store brand or cheapest
I've typed in GREEN the things we think you should have left over from last week...make sure you're using what you had in the freezer before you found our blog as well!!!  Don't let that expensive cheese you bought elsewhere go to a waste because you're following our blog shopping list!  Aldi saves, but not if you're throwing good food away because you forgot about it.

MENU January 10-16

Here's what we've got lined up for you for next week:

Sunday - Pizza night
Monday - Split Pea Soup and bread
Tuesday - Pasta Primavera
Wednesday - Mediterranean Fish Fillets
Thursday - Southwest Chicken Salad
Friday - Simply Stew
Saturday - Clean up the Frig Fajitas

Grocery list to follow in a minute.  Please feel free to reorganize the meals to fit your schedule...we don't mind if you like your Pasta on Mondays and your soup on Tuesdays!  We just like fish on Wednesdays.

mmm - chicken tenders & sweet potato fries $5.25

YES!  Nailed it on the sweet potato fries.  Absolutely have to have the "no touch" rule when cooking these fries in the oven... AND the regular pan, not the airbake pan.  I made my fries on two pans tonight, one on the airbake and one on the conventional dark pan (dark with age and love!)... the airbake ones were soft, but not browned, and certainly not crunchy.  The dark pan fries were browned, a touch crunchy, and the insides were nice and soft! 

And the chicken - while my Jenna wanted me to have less "crunch", the rest of the family ate them without problem.  And so easy to cook - about 8 minutes per side.

And finally, how strange is it to have two veggies ... I could barter - if you don't want the sweet potato fries you can eat three hunks of cauliflower.  Ellie went for the cauliflower while Jacob doubled down on the fries.  Jenna, she's just a cauliflower type of girl.  She ate three huge hunks of cauliflower, a fry, a bite of chicken, then dumped her milk all over the rest of dinner.  Is that a success with the kiddos?  I've had easier kid eating nights ... but I'll take it!

What I do know is that the whole meal was alot healthier than McDonalds or other fast food places, and the cost was around $5.25 for the five of us  (1/3 of chicken @ $5.99 = $2.00), oils and seasonings ($.60), sweet potatoes (we used three, estimated at $1.50), and the cauliflower (approx. 1/2 of $2.29 head = $1.15).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holy Moly Ravioli!! $4.79

Got up today to a lovely Chicagoland snow storm. Its January 7, and we really haven't had one yet, so we are due!! Perfect day to have a yummy pasta dinner!
This recipe was a very popular entres at an Italian restaurant I worked at years ago. I believe they used butter instead of olive oil, but I like all the health benifits of olive oil, not to mention the flavor.
I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil everyday in my cooking, it adds great flavor to all my food, and is loaded with vitamin E, which aids in the proper clotting of blood, which decreases heart disease. It is also a great antioxident and aids in cellular repair. If a recipe call for butter or margarine, I simply swap it out with EVOO, if you think you would miss the flavor of butter, why not start by going half EVOO and half butter, then atleast your are providing your family with some of the health benifits of olive oil.
The most exciting news about this meal is the cost. I am going to have six people for dinner tonight, so I will be making the whole box of ravioli, which is 1 lb 9 ounces.(plenty!)
The cost of ravioli is $2.29 from Aldi(ofcourse) I have to say, Im a born, raised and fed Italian girl and the ravioli from Aldi is good. Does it beat homemade? no! never! but who's got time to make homemade ravioli?
So at $2.29 for ravioli
$ 1.19 for peas
.80 olive oil
.50 cheese
we are looking at a cost of somewhere around $4.79 for the dinner, or .80 a person.
I may throw in a salad, and the kids are definitely drinking milk to get there protein.
I will not be battling the snow to get to the grocery store to buy dinner fixings today, yeah!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stirfry with Shrimp $6.48

Can't get much easier than this for dinner now can we?

Finished product - about 12 minutes later.  I have a huge pan in which I cooked about 1/2 of the package and 3/4 of the 12 oz. shrimp package.  Ellie had a friend over who enjoys seafood - seriously, an eight year old who enjoys shrimp.  I invited her over for dinner every seafood night!

To the kids' portion of the veggie/noodle mix I added chicken instead of the shrimp (a couple left over tenders from the paninis of Sunday night).  I enjoyed it, Ellie's friend cleaned her plate, and my kids did "OK" for this type of meal - too many cooked veggies for them - they prefer raw crunchy veggies.  They did eat the Aldi Potstickers that I had in the freezer and broke out because of the company... mmm... lucky them!

Saturday's "Clean up the Frig" Veggie rollups

Quick and Easy Veggie rollups

I love these b/c they are easy to make, super nutritious and I use up all the veggies I have from the week. I used to have a tendency to "forget" vegetables that were all used up from another recipe and then inevitably had to throw away a pepper or mushrooms of my goals for this year, is no more waste! Also, really, the beauty of these rollups is you can adjust them to what vegetables you or your family likes.

peppers(orange, red, yellow($2.69)
mushrooms 8 oz($1.29)
4 tortillas(.70)

Artichoke hearts($2.29)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
1/4 cup parm cheese (.40)
1/2 cup olive oil(.40)

black beans(,59)
Total cost: $ 7.82

Cut pepper peppers into strip, and slice onions thinly. place all vegetables in a roasting pan toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and s&p, garlic salt always optional to give extra flavor. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees, tossing occasionally.

In blender, food processor or a bowl with a fork, drain, rinse, then mash articoke hearts, remaining olive oil, salt, garlic, and parm cheese until it is a pasty consistency(you just made artichoke pesto!)You wont be using more then half of the pesto so store the remaining in the original artichoke heart jar and refrigerate.

Lay tortillas flat on a plate or tray, spread pesto all over tortilla, top with heaping helping of veggies and roll up. Slice in half to serve.

Rinse black beans, toss with salt and pepper, chopped onion and cilantro are optional as well.

Friday's Chicken Tenders

Kids wanting fast food? Try your own chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and cauliflower (yes, we know, McDonalds doesn't serve cauliflower).

1 pound chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
spices to taste (try Seasoning Salt, Chicken seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic salt, etc.)
1/2 cup canola oil

4 Sweet Potatos
2 Tbsp olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

1 lb frozen (or fresh) cauliflower

Peel sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into strips (1/2, then 1/4 then continue cutting until they resemble pencils or "french fries"). lightly coat with olive oil while still on the cutting board, then transfer to baking sheet (NOT an air bake pan), and pepper (or season) to taste. Take caution to keep strips individual, not touching, to promote crispier fries. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes, turning periodically.

Thaw, rinse, and pat dry chicken tenders. Place flour and seasonings in a bag. Heat canola oil in frying pan to hot, not smoking, drop chicken in bag of flour, shake. Place chicken in oil, cook approx. 4 minutes per side, flipping with extreme caution as it can be splattery. When cooking is complete, remove chicken from pan to a papertowel lined serving plate.

Steam cauliflower and a couple Tablespoons water in microwave safe bowl with an inverted plate covering bowl for 3-5 minutes depending on volume and power of microwave.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Tuesday

Yesterday was so weird - mid morning I realized I DIDN'T HAVE TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE.  See, when I'm diligent about planning either I get it all ahead of time or my husband goes to the store to get it all for the family.  Same thing this morning ... all I had to do was take the porkchops out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator.  Nice!

Last week Barbara and I did our shopping for this week at Aldi on Wednesday, and everything is keeping so nicely...  We're putting the next menu together on Wednesday - I'll post it on Friday, along with the grocery list.  I'll also post the results of our shopping trips again.  If you have a suggestion of something you'd like to see us include in our menu  -  as in a favorite food, please comment.  We're NOT out of ideas, but it's fun to see what other people eat!

The pork chops for tonights dinner are thawing, the rice is ready on the counter, all I have to do is prep the broccoli.  YES!  That's the best kind of meal.  Here's hoping you like these pork chops as much as Jacob does ... when I told him what was for dinner tonight he said "Do I have hockey tonight?"  Funny how he's come to associate his favorite foods with his evening activity.

Anyway, I'll get some pictures of my way tasty salmon up along with those of the pork tonight.  After I watch The Biggest Loser premier ... I love Jillian!  I want shoulders like hers... in fact, that's what I was thinking as I did my (boy style) pushups this morning.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thursday's Ravioli al Forno

Ravioli al Forno

1 lb Bremer Frozen Cheese Ravioli
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 frozen peas
1 Tbsp choped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat overn to 350 degrees. Boil Bremer cheese ravioli per package directions (approx. 7 minutes)

sautee frozen peas with olive oil and garlic (low heat-don't burn garlic)

place ravioli in a baking dish, toss with olive oil, top with peas and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is crisp and light brown.

Kim's ideal salad with this meal is romaine lettuce, bleu or gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, pears and some raspberry viniagrette dressing... but with a simple meal like we've planned tonight, a "man salad" will work too ... a "man salad" you ask... that's torn romaine, dressing, and if you're lucky, a fork! The man salad is cheaper too - we've alloted $2.00 for your four person salad:-)

Wednesday's Oriental Stir Fry w/ Shrimp $6.48

Wednesday's Teriyaki Stir Fry with Shrimp

This is perhaps the EASIEST dinner we'll ever share on here - yet so good - and so seriously inexpensive!  We're talking about $6.35 for FOUR people  and so many many veggie it'll make your doctor smile, and shrimp to boost your protein intake!.  Use a little less of the the teriyaki sauce packet and your heart doctor will be OK with the sodium intake as well!  If you had a fruit smoothie and baguette for lunch and a three egg white omlette with fresh salsa for breakfast, this will be fine for the day!

Quick thaw the shrimp by soaking/rinsing in a strainer in cold water for 5-7 minutes unless you thawed 8-10 hours in refrigerator not sitting in their own juices.

The cooking directions on the Teriyaki Stir Fry bag are as follows:

In a large fry pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil oveer Medium heat until hot
add 1 bag (more than 2 pounds!) Asia Specialties Teriyaki Vegetables - cover and cook for 5 min. sirring occasionally.
Add 1/2 the Asia Specialties Teriyaki Sauce packet AND about 12 ounces of shrimp to the fry pan or wok.  Cook covered for five minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are cooked and the shrimp are hot.
Stir and serve

The nutritional information on this is amazing (I've served a double serving of teriyaki veggies/noodles with a single serving shrimp):

8 ounces of veggies is 180 calories, no fat, 36 g. carbs, 6 g. fiber, and 8 g. protien - 340 mg sodium.
3 ounces of shrimp is 60 calories, 1 g. fat, 0 carbs, 0 fiber, and 12 g. protien - 480 mg sodium.

together ... just 240 calories, 1 g. fat (maybe 2 g with the <1/2 tsp oil), 36 g. carbs, and 20 g. protein!  The folks from Body for Life would love this meal!  (well, maybe not the sodium ... but again, all in moderation!).

Tuesday's Parm encrusted Pork Chops, broccoli, & wild rice $8.18

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

One of my (REALLY) picky-eater son's favorite foods! He loves pork - and this recipe makes it very juicy for the rest of us! And wild rice mmmm - makes me feel like I'm eating out while I know I'm eating right!

Start the long grain and wild rice mixture per the package directions - we're using Uncle Bens ($1.69 at Aldi) so it will take 3 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to boil. A little standing/resting time at the end won't hurt it.

then assemble:

2 large eggs

1 c. dried Italian-style bread crumbs

3/4 c. greshly grated Parmesan

4 pork loin chops
freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. olive oil

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate. Place bread crumbs (substitute plain bread crumbs and 1 T Italian Seasoning if substitution is required) in a second pie plate - put the parm in a third. Season the pork with salt & pepper - coat the chops first with the parmesan cheese (be generous), then dip into the egg, finally coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork and cook until golden brown and center is 150 degrees - approx 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of meat (our Aldi chops are approx. 3/8 to 5/8 inches thick. (The pork chop will "slide" in your stainless pan once it has reached the "browned" stage - before that, it will stick).

while cooking the first side of the pork chops, put the egg bowl and everything else that touched the raw meat into the dishwasher! No safer way to sanitize your dishes than the hot water and heat drying of your dishwasher.

While cooking the second side of the pork, dump the bag of frozen broccoli into a microwave safe bowl, cover with an inverted dinner plate (no plastic wrap!), and place in microwave for 3-5 minutes. STEAM WILL BE HOT when you remove the plate! The Herons use fresh broccoli (Ellie like's it raw) so I'll be washing it while the first side is cooking, then steaming it for the same amount of time in the microwave during the second side.

Have the kids set the table - pour them their milk, and ENJOY! You're supporting America's Farmers!

Menu January 4-9 (repost)

January 4-9, 2010 menu

Just to ease the searching, here's a re-post of this week's menu!

January 4 - Salmon, roasted potatoes, green beans  ($6.35 for four people)

January 5 - Parm. encrusted Pork Chops, Broccoli, rice ($8.18 for four people)

January 6 - Oriental Stir Fry w/ Shrimp ($6.48 for four people)

January 7 - Ravioli al Forno ($4.05 for four people)

January 8 - Home breaded Chicken Tenders - fast food substitute ($4.50 for four people)

January 9 - Veggie Rollups ($5.47 ... less if you pay yourself for cleaning up the leftover veggies that would otherwise have gone to waste!).

Remember friends, Barbara and I shopped at Aldi for 9 days worth of "dinners" for $65 each.  YOU CAN TOO... just check out the shopping list I posted a few days ago.

Monday's Salmon w/ roasted potatoes & whole baby green beans $6.35

Pan seared Salmon, Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Here is a quick easy dinner packed with vitamins and nutrients. I try to eat Salmon once a week, whether it is for lunch or dinner b/c it is high in omega 3's and very important to our bodies. Another thing, usually buy my salmon frozen because the truth of the matter is, salmon comes in to any store frozen anyway, and then it's thawed to sell, when sold "fresh". I like the convenience of always having a bag in the freezer, and the cost difference is huge!!

4 Salmon filets ($4)

4 medium potatoes, any kind.(.50)

1 lb bag frozen whole baby green beens ($1.49)

1/2 cup olive oil(.50)
1 tbsp dried rosemary(optional)(.10)

Total cost approx $6.50

Season Salmon with salt and pepper(cracked always preferable)

Clean and dice potatoes (large chunks), lightly coat with olive oil (start with 3 Tbsp, add more if needed), then salt, pepper and if desired rosemary.  Place in roasting pan and bake at 300 for 40 minutes (or until golden brown).  Toss the potatoes in the pan a few times while baking.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil (1 to 2 tbsp) in skillet (medium heat, don't smoke the oil) add salmon, cook 3-4 minutes on each side.

In final minutes of cooking the salmon, bring approx. 1 inch water in a medium covered sauce pan to a boil - add a bag of frozen green beans - cover tightly to steam/cook over med heat for approximately 5 minutes.  Drain, then toss with olive oil (maybe 1 Tbsp) and salt and pepper to taste.

mmmmm.  and SO pretty on the plate!