Saturday, January 23, 2010

Price review on Mustard Salmon

FOLK... I just totalled the amount of money I spent on our stay at home entertaining meal.  I had planned to serve this to a friend, and would have had she not taken ill the night before.

I totalled this up for us, planning to make enough for four I spent $8.45.  In a restaurant I would have ordered this meal - and I would have spent $18.45, and that would have left Joe and the other three people sitting around watching me eat - because we'd have already spent too much!  If they all ordered as well... you know our bill is well over $100.  I didn't spend that on GROCERIES for A WEEK my friends!

It's fun to eat out on occasion, and it's fun to eat something other than what my husband is eating, because we've always like to "share plates", but until I can save $30 or more of my weekly allocated "food" dollars for two weeks, we're going with this eating at home plan!  We're growing closer as a result of it!

Love - your Fit, Fast, and Frugal Foodie friend Kim

Shopping Time - January 23

Aldi's 1st aisle Pantry Supplies
Rosemary (fresh or 1 tsp)
BBQ Sauce (~ ½ cup)
Baking Powder
Flour (approx. 1 cup)
Honey (couple TBSP)
Ranch Dressing
4 oz walnuts
1 jar Artichoke Hearts
Nutmeg (sprinkling)

Canned Vegetables/Dry Goods
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can low-sodium beef broth
Louisiana Hot Sauce or Buffalo Hot Wings Sauce
1 lb. penne pasta
Parmesan Cheese
Soft Tortillas for Quesadillas

Red Onion
4 large carrots
4 ribs celery
2 whole onions
Enough salad for 2 nights (1 bag romaine hearts or 2 ready bags)
1 bag Baby Spinach
2-3 limes
Peppers (1 green, 1 colored, or 2 colored)
1 lemon
4 medium Sweet Potatoes

3 eggs
½ c. Mozarella Cheese
Cheese for quesadillas if you've got none left

2.5-3 lbs beef chuck roast

1 lb Individually Quick Frozen Chicken Breast
1 Whole Roaster Chicken – it can be cut up (4 lbs)
4 Swordfish Steaks or Mahi Mahi Fillets (a thick cut of fish)
1 package Vegetable Normandy (or your choice veggie)

Misc OR Other Store Needs
Pita Pockets or Pita Flatbreads
1- 7 oz can Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (available in any Mexican Foods aisle)
Ginger Root (tan, knobby root in produce section… frequently used in Asian cooking)

Menu for January 24 to January 30

Menu for January 24-January 30

Let's start the week with a Happy Birthday Jacob callout on Sunday!

Sunday - BBQ Chicken Pizza (and birthday cake!)
Monday - Chicken Dumpling Soup & crusty bread
Tuesday - Chipotle Beef Salad
Wednesday - Ginger Lime Swordfish, Sweet Potatoes & Vegetable Normandy
Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Salad
Friday - (Welcome Rachel Ray) - Artichoke & Walnut Pesto Pasta
Saturday - Quesadillas - with leftover meat/cheese/veggies

If you cook the chicken for Monday's soup on Sunday you'll have the chicken for Sunday's BBQ pizza!  And, depending on how big your chicken is, and how many people you're really feeding, you might even have enough meat left to use as the chicken in the Buffalo Chicken Salad (I'll add it to the list just in case).  And, the Chipotle Beef from Tuesday will be great in the quesadillas on Saturday!  Well Planned Cooking my friends!  YES

Depending on how long you've been shopping with us, you might have alot of this stuff already in the frig or pantry... be sure to check your stock before buying the whole list.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mustard-Crusted Salmon, Broccoli, & roasted Potatoes$ 8.44

Oh, and all Jillian night!  YES!

The mustard-crusted salmon takes but 20 minutes, so start with the

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes ($1.95)...

4 medium baking potatoes (or equivalent in red potatoes) ($1.25)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (.50)
salt (.05)
Fresh Ground Pepper (.05)
Rosemary (.10)

Wash and cube 4 baking potatoes into about 1x1 squares.  Toss with 2 Tbsp oil, a touch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and some fresh rosemary or dried if it's all you have.  Place on a dark baking sheet, seperate the potatoes so they are only minimally touching, and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Actually, the next thing you'll do is to start the
Broccoli with Caramelized Onions and Almond slices. ($1.90)

3 Tbsp almond slices ($3.47 fo 12 oz, we used 1/2 oz = $.15)
2 tsp. olive oil (.20)
1 cup medium size peices onion (.20)
1/4 tsp salt (.05)
4 cups broccoli florets (1.19)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (.10)

Toast almond slices in a medium, dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

add oill to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and salt, cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as necessary, until soft and golden brown... be patient, use lower heat that you'd think ... 15-20 minutes! (Barbara would add a touch of brown sugar after about 10 minutes to really caramelize the onions - maybe 1 tbsp).

while the onions are caramelizing in their own beautiful sugars, steam broccoli until just tender, 4-6 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the nuts, onion, vinegar, and pepper.  Toss and serve immediately.

Ahhh, the recipe you've all been waiting for...
Mustard-Crusted Salmon - $4.60

1 lb salmon fillets (3.99)
1/4 tsp salt (.05)
fresh ground black pepper (.05)
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream (.15)
2 tbsp stone ground mustard (.25)
2 tsp lemon juice (.10)

Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil, coat it with cooking spray

Place salmon pieces, skin-side down if skin is still on, on the prepared pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Combine sour cream, mustard, and lemon juice ina  small bowl.  Spread evenly over the salmon.

Broil the salmon 5 inches from the heat source until it is opaque in the center 10-12 minutes.
     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So, to make this all work in one oven, after the potatoes have been in at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, crank the oven heat up to broil (it's only 100 degrees hotter), and throw the salmon under the broiler.  The mustard won't "crust" if you don't broil it.  So long as the potatoes aren't sitting right on top of the broiler (in my gas oven I'll have them near the top) they won't burn.  Just remember to turn them every five minutes...and take them out if they start to get too done.

Thursday's Lemon $7.20

Lemon Chicken

2 Tbsp flour .10
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest.02
1 Tbsp lemon juice .10
1/2 tsp. cumin.05
1 to 1 1/2 punds chicken breasts $4.90
2 Tbsp olive oil .30
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions or 2 Tbsp green onions.20
1/2 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped or 2 Tbsp dried parsley OPTIONAL.20
1/2 cup dry white wine.25

Combine the flour, lemon zest, cumin and 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper.  Coat the chicken with the flour mxture.
1 lb frozen green beans $ 1.19
total $ 7.20
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook approx. 1/2 the chicken until golden, approx. 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove to a plate.  Repeat with other half chicken, and remove to a plate.

Wipe skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat  Add onions and cook until soft about 5 minutes.  Add parsley, wine and lemon juice and bring to boil.

Nestle the chicken in the wine/onion mix.  Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.

While simmering the chicken in the yummy lemon wine sauce prepare the asparagus according to package directions.

Plate beautifully together and serve with a smile... you're serving a wonderfully delicious and very healthy meal!

P.S. those onions are so amazingly good ... Joe and I fought over them!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday' Fritatta NUTRITIONAL

So... worried about tonight's meal ... IT IS nutritionally its sound IF you alter it a bit.

Eggs are one of nature's perfect food... but eating two eggs along with swiss cheese and ham can get a touch fattening ... so, throw away one egg yolk per person - four in the whole batch, and you really improve the nutritional aspects of this meal! 

I calculated it at:
240 calories
4 g. carbs
13 g. fat
26 g. protein
and ... 1402 mg. sodium

I love spinach (for those of you who haven't noticed :-) ), so I'll be doubling up on the spinach, and I may add onion and tomato as well (they were in our original recipe and shopping list).  I need some more veggies in my day, and this seeems a perfect meal to add them.

enjoy your eggs tonight!

Here's a picture of my Fritata, which I made in a frying pan, and baked in a frying pan (time/temp as in recipe) after cooking on the stove top for about 4 minutes.  This really browns nicely, and makes a beautiful presentation!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Panzanella Salad $4.00

Panzanella salad originates from the Tuscan region of Italy, and the name is derived from the word pane(which means bread in Italian) the main staple to the salad is bread that may be 1,2 or 3 days old. This bread may be too old to eat alone, but softened by olive oil and vinegar, then tossed in a salad of tomatos, onion, cucumbers, fresh mozarella, becomes a perfect addition to the salad. I first had the salad at a friends a few years back and she called it her "garbage salad" because she threw in anything that appealed to her at the moment- red peppers, artichokes, black olives, I loved the idea, and the salad...once again there is no rule to cooking, just go with your and your families taste buds and preferences.

Recipe for my Panzanella salad was as follows
2 day old submarine rolls .60
1 large cucumber .30
3 medium tomatos.85
1 medium onion .20
8 oz fresh mozzarella $1.20
1/2 cup olive oil .50
1/4 balsamic vinegar .35
Total: $ 4.00

heat oven to 350
break bread into dime size squares
place on a tray, drizzle with olive oil
bake 20 minutes or until brown
dice cucumbers and tomatos
cube mozarella
slice onions thinly
toss all ingredients including bread in a bowl, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add s&p to taste

Shopping Update

I totally feel the need to talk to you all tonight about the power of Aldi in my world...

On Sunday afternoon I did a million things with my family (and I ran a bit for me).  Anyway, about 4:00 I realized that I had not made the Aldi run, and I needed to leave for Barbara's house at 5:00.  FEAR NOT my shopping friends.  I pulled it together, jumped in my van (another 15 minutes later), and headed off to Aldi.  Lucky for me it's not too far away, but I did do the following...

look for every item that was on the shopping list that I provided for you
purchase those I needed
record the price of those I did not.
buy the "other food" that my family consumes that is not within this project (list to follow).

I spent $29.71 on food. (spinach, chips, broccoli, chicken, salmon, almonds, lemons, salsa, 2 avocados, taco mix, bacon ... also a new Black Pepper Grinder (1.69), and more minced garlic($1.19)... I had everything else in my frig.

I spent $15.36 on "other food" ... (breakfast sausages, pizzas for Joe & kids to eat for dinner that night while I dined w/ Barbara, pears, fajitas and 5 2-quart bottles of apple juice).

and I pulled back in my driveway at 4:51.  NICE WORK (and thanks Aldi for opening that second checker when I was fourth in line - second with the added checker!).

I did the math - had you bought everything on the list (and not the garlic, black pepper grinder, or extra avocado), you would have spent $57.05.  This week Aldi did not have stone ground mustard, balsamic vineagar, green onion, frozen Asparagus or Chiabatta Bread.  With those things bought at a discount store - not your top brand store, I think you're still below $70...but what will you have left of this at the end of the week!!!  I'm still eating my roasted red peppers from the first purchase, and the black olives in the tacos tonight were left from last week's fish.  And, my onions were still from week one as well!

See, here's where Barbara and I differ ... food in Barbara's refrigerator makes her nervous... open jars and "fallback options" in my refrigerator are comforting to me.  I was raised as a person who stocks and stores and shops in advance (my parents worked until at least 5:30 pm, and the nearest real grocery was about ten miles away) ...Barbara (and my husband) prefer to shop for today when today gets here ... around 5pm.  Great for freshness, poor for time management in my opinion.  I also prefer to have 3 cans of black beans and 6 cans of green beans and 6 cans of tomatoes around ... just in case - and that's just a sampling of my stock.  This blog is HELPING ME OVERCOME MY NEED TO STOCKPILE.  See, before I had to publicly account for my shopping I would have taken that list and probably bought at least one bag of peppers, maybe two or three taco seasoning mixes, more roasted red peppers, even though there is a perfectly good jar in the frig, four more packages of pasta (it's such a great price!) and, well, just because you "might need it", some more cheese.  Now, I stuck to the list ... except my "just in case" came out when I bought two avocados instead of one, and on the personal list 5 bottles of apple juice.  It's a comfort to me to know that I won't run out of my kid's breakfast drink of choice (for 5 weeks).

My only excuse on the avocado is that I am home during the day and I do eat lunch at home with my three year old.  I do need an occasional fresh lunch that's not leftover!

Hope that helps you, it helped me!

Tuesday's Ham and cheese fritata $1.75

No School Monday, so I decided to make the kids the fritata for lunch instead of dinner, since they were all starving by 11am and didn't want sandwhiches. I like fritatas b/c they are usually baked not fried, and so much easier to prepare. Also, they can be made with many different ingredients, depending on everyones taste. Today, I decided on ham and cheese, since I had left over sliced ham from school lunches. I threw in some spinach for some vegetable nutrition and this meal was packed with calcium, protein, vitamin A and K, folic acid, so basically all good!

Recipe: preheat oven 350
8 eggs .65
4 slices of swiss cheese cut in small pieces .40
6 slices deli ham cut in small pieces .50
16 spinach leaves .20
s and p
Total $ 1.75

In a baking dish crack eggs and beat until smooth consistency
add ham, cheese spinach snd s and p.
bake 15-20 minutes

Monday Taco $7.46

Tacos are a huge fan favorite at our house.  My kids love the independence afforded them by "taco bar"!  We've done this for birthday parties, kid pick night, and pretty much anytime I "needed" a quick fill in for dinner.

The recipe is pretty self explanatory, and most of you "know" how to make tacos... so here goes the cost breakout/recipe demo.
1 package Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey ($2.49)
1 package Aldi's Taco Seasoning (.33)
water per directions on taco seasoning ($0.00)

4 taco shells - $.99 for a whole box of 10 shells (.40)
4 soft tortilla shells - $.89 for 10 (.36)

1 cup lettuce $.50 (1/2 heart from pkg of 3 romaine hrts)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($1.15)
salsa ($.50 - 1/4 of newly bought container)
sour cream (1/4 of .89 container = .22)
black olives (1/8 of $1.19 can already open) $.15

These tacos cost about $6.10 for a fun family night around the table with everyone feeling like they owned the creation of their own meal!  And, my kids are so much more likely to eat their own creations without coersing.
As an added treat tonight, we're having guacamole.  This can get a touch pricey if avocados are $1.69 each and you use a $.99 seasoning package, but Aldi had them on sale for .89 yesterday - so Joe and I will enjoy a huge bowl of guac (kids won't touch it) for $.94...  here's my recipe

1 avocado, soft and ripe
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp seasoning salt (like Lawry)
1/8 tsp garlic pwdr or 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Aldi's Blue Chips ... 1.69 ... we'll use 1/4 bag (.42)

cut open avocado, use spoon to grab all the yummy delicousness inside, season, and mash well.  Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes if possible to marry the flavors.  Some friends say that if you put the avocado stone in your guac it won't turn brown.  I've also read that if you use a wooden spoon to remove the flesh from the skins it will help.  The brown that sometimes sits into guacamole is oxidation ... if you eat your guac fast enough it won't happen.  That's my solution!

Now, some folks like their guac with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, or sour cream.  I would certainly use leftover cilantro from the Southwest salad, but I gave it to Barbara (nice cost savings for her :-) ), and sometimes I add REALLY finely chopped onion, but Joe prefers it just avocado and spices. 

In reality, if you have blue taco chips at my house we'll eat far fewer taco shells, and eat the blue chips instead.  Blue chips are a real treat for us because we usually eat the whole bag in one sitting.
Aldi also has great black beans... they're $.59 per can (not making this up, folks!).  Mash, and heat for a great healthy refried beans alternative.

In total... a rather expensive meal by the standards we've set so far... but WELL under the $10 threshhold.
$7.46 for blue chips, guacamole, and fully stuffed adult sized tacos.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Paninis! $6.00

Kim and I are dining together tonight!! Yeah for both of us!

Yeah, there were alot of other people here too. Thank Goodness for my big table, and two panini makers - Kim and I made a ton of Paninis ... custom ordered no less.

Here's the amazing results.

This was Kim's panini - it had
10 leaves spinach .10
thinly sliced chicken breast.50
1 slice turkey bacon.10
1 3/4 oz slice swiss cheese.10
2 pieces roasted red pepper.10
this was cost on Kims $1.45, so I will gestimate cost on for sandwhiches $6.00ish and that is guessing high considering my sons idea of Panini is cheese, and a couple slices of tomato and bacon- and he's a happy camper!!

Grocery Shopping done for week of January 17

Since last week I was very determined to use up all my food in the fridge, my grocery cart was fairly packed today. My grand total came to $ 56.15, I did not purchase balsamic vinegar b/c I allready had some as well as a cooking standard for me, olive oil. Also, I have a rosemary bush(everyone should) I can deal with most other dry spices, but I really love rosemary, and it makes my whole kitchen smell devine!! Cant wait for Paninis tonight!!