Saturday, February 6, 2010

What's for Dinner?

It's a big week ... it's Superbowl Sunday!!

Sunday - Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
               carrot & celery sticks

Monday - Canneloni beans, Spinach & Farfalle

Tuesday - Herb crusted salmon, Sweet Potato Fries & Veggie (Peas)

Wednesday - Italian Beef Sandwiches & salad

Thursday - Sweet & Spicy Pork Tenderloin
                  roasted potatoes & veggie (Asparagus)

Friday - Pasta with Fresh Bruschetta

Saturday - Stuffed Baked Potato Bar

6th week of shopping and still under $70, shopping Aldi, $65.31 to be exact

Here it is, time for our sixth shopping list of the year.  Hope you know the drill... check the list before you shop - avoid duplication!

Misc. First Aisle stuff

Paprika $1.09
Chili Powder $1.09
Dried parsley $1.09
Dried basil $1.09
Cinnamon $1.09
Buffalo style hot sauce $1.19
Honey $2.29
Minced garlic $1.19

Sour Cream (3/4 cup) $.89
Blue Cheese (1 oz)$1.99
Mozzarella cheese (optional)$2.29

Green onion .39
Romaine lettuce 1.99
Celery $1.39
Carrots $1.19
Spinach $1.19
Sweet Potatoes $1.99
Bagged salad $1.99
Fresh Tomatoes (at least one pound) $1.69
Baking potatoes $2.49

Cannelloni beans (don’t substitute) .99
Farfalle or short pasta of choice .99
Linguine or long noodle of choice .99
½ cup parmesan $2.49
Bread crumbs .69

Hamburger buns $1.69
Hoagie buns $1.69
French bread or garlic bread $1.89

1 pound chicken breast $6.29
Pork Tenderloin (not a pre-marinated one)$3.95

Salmon Fillets $3.99
Frozen Veggie of choice – we suggest Asparagus $1.99
Frozen Veggie of choice – we suggest Peas $1.19
Pre-packaged Italian Beef $5.69
Chopped frozen broccoli $1.19

Total $65.31
Happy Shopping ...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Stir Fry $5.09

Tonight goes down in History as my son paying me the ultimate compliment when he said "mom, dinner is so good, there is no way you made this" Now in my cooking defense, I dont think Michael has ever had "chinese food" that I didnt order out, so I think he just thought chinese food is to be carried out, not mom making it.
I decided to experiment and make my own Teriyaki sauce. I may have veered a bit from the grocerylist, but never with ingredients that that the marinade absolutely had to contain.

Teriyaki Sauce:
1 cup Soy sauce .25
1/4 water
1/2 brown sugar .20
1 tblsp chopped garlic(or garlic powder).10
1 tblsp chopped onion(onion powder).05
1 tsp lime .05
2 tsp freshly grated ginger or ginger powder .05(optional)

heat all ingredients in sauce pan on low heat, until sugar dissolved.
let cool.

3 chicken breasts diced in medium chunks $1.50
8 oz mushrooms .60
12 oz broccoli $1.09
1 large carrot(sliced to the size of matchsticks) .10
8 oz asparagus .60
2 cups instant rice .50

Total $5.09

Marinate chicken for atleast hour in teryaki in the fridge. Heat oil in skillet, place chicken in pan, do not throw away marinade. Cook chicken 3-4 minutes on medium.
Lower heat pour in marinade, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms. Cook with chicken on medium another 4-5 minutes.
Follow directions to prepare 4 cups of rice.
When rice is cooked, top with stir fry for a delicious, healthy easy meal.

This recipe can be varied in so many ways. Replace vegetables with vegetables of choice, or what veggies remain in your cabinets or freezer. Chicken can be substituted with shrimp, beef, pork, or tofu. Also another idea for the marinade, would be to add orange juice, maybe instead of water, to give it a citrus flavor. Kim how did you prepare your stirfry?

Kim's stirfry was way simple... only Mom & the kids home for dinner, so we did chicken, yellow pepper, and broccoli on white rice.  The one stirfry tip I have to pass along...
     Heat pan and oil to hot (not smoking :-)) - add meat and marinade - lower heat to medium and cover your meat ... leave it covered ... don't open the cover until steam escapes the side.  remove the meat but leave the juice ... throw in the veggies ... replace cover ... don't open the cover until steam escapes the sides.  Open, add meat - stir - and serve.
We used a teriyaki marinade that I had on hand (bought from Aldi never-the-less)... here's a great pic ... and there was none left.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chicken Kabobs $5.00

I know we have Chicken Kabobs on the menu for Friday, but the kids just couldn't wait that long, so we had to mix it up a bit ... besides with my parents here, this was a super easy meal that I could stretch into food for seven not five without breaking the bank.  I had a pound of raw shrimp in the "stock pile", and added that as well.

Chicken Kabobs ($5.00)
1 lb chicken ($2.10)
1 large red pepper ($1.00)
1/4 red onion ($.20)
1 8-oz pkg mushrooms ($1.29)
balsamic vineagrette ($.40)

1.   thoroughly thaw chicken breast pieces, cut into approximately 1 inch cubes.
2.  cut pepper and onions into large chunks - again, about 1 inch
3.  peel mushrooms or brush small "icky parts" from mushroom ... you can wash them if that's your method of cleaning before eating, I prefer peeling.  Cut into half or thirds depending on size - or leave whole
4.  Line broiler pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up)
5.  Place desired combo of meat and veggies on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers.
6.  Lay skewers on covered broiler pan, brush with balsamic vineagrette.
7.  Broil approx. 6 inches from flames for 3 - 4 minutes
8.  Flip skewers and broil another 3-4 minutes
9.  If wooden skewers, serve, if metal skewers, remove food from skewers and serve.

As I said above, I added the pound of raw shrimp - same time required, and UHHH were the shrimp good.  The key, readers, is to really thaw the food before you use it ... neither chicken nor shrimp can be consumed undercooked, and we're recommending a short cooking time that will not work if your meat is not thoroughly thawed!  Do Not Eat Undercooked Shrimp or Chicken.

Fettucini Bolognese(meat sauce) $5.68

Bolognese is a meat based sauce originating from the city of Bologna, Italy. There are many versions of this sauce, that always includes ground beef, but may also include pork, pork sausage, chicken, mushrooms and many other ingredients. It is also not strange to see milk added to recipe or butter, to give it a richer creamy texture and flavor. My family perfers a very basic, traditional recipe, which is made with very few ingredients, but packs a very robust, hearty flavor.

I don't think I ever saw my grandmother or mother use a recipe or a measuring cup or spoon when making thier bolognese, but I am going to, so hopefully others who arent comfortable cooking without a recipe,can enjoy this bologna tradition.

1/2 lean ground beef $3.05
1/1/2 tablespoon olive oil .25
1/4 medium size onion .20
1/2 carrot .10
1 jar prepared marinara .99
salt and pepper
1 lb Fettuchine .99

mince carrot and onion. Heat olive oil in deep pot, add onion and carrot, and saute until onions are translucent. Add gound beef and saute until brown.
Add prepared sauce, and salt and pepper.
simmer for 1-2 hours.
Boil noodles, toss with sauce when boiled. Add fresh parmesean cheese.

Any Pasta noodle will work, however it is thought that the meat sauce grabs the noodle best when paired with an egg noodle.
I added some red wine(1/2 wine glass) into the sauce while I was cooking, I thought it was appropriate since I was having a glass with my mom in honor of my lovely Dad and his birthday, and he truly loved his red wine, and decided to give the sauce a little kick. It was perfect. Red wine by no means necessary, but a nice option.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Merluzzo(whitefish) baked in foil with tomato and black olives $9.36

This whitefish recipe is a very popular Italian dish, and although I make it often, I seem to order it often when I go out to eat as well. I love cooking in foil, I feel like besides saving on some mess in the pan, the foil also enhances the flavor of the spices and herbs. This particular recipe is made in a red sauce, but lemon with rosemary, or other desired herbs would be just as delicious.
Also, preparing this fish on the grill with foil is amazing.

Whitefish fillets $3.99
16 oz tomato sauce .59
2 tblsp minced garlic .30
1 can black olives $1.19
1/4 cup olive oil .50
2 sweet potatoes $ 1.20
16 oz green beens $ 1.09
1 tsp cumin(optional)
total $ 9.36

preheat oven to 425
combine 2 tblsp olive oil salt and pepper(cumin optional) in bowl
peal sweet potatoes, cut in to strips, coat in olive oil mixture
place on cookie sheet, cook for 45-50 minutes, or until crisp

in small saute pan saute 2 tblsp olive oil, 2 tblsp garlic on low, add tomato sauce and olives saute 5-6 minutes
remove from heat
cut foil in square sheets
place individual fish on each
pour tomato olive mixture on each and fold foil until fish is completely enclosed.

place in oven when pototoes are almost cooked.
cook 13-15 minutes or until fish is flakey to the touch
in the mean time boil green beans in water
remove from heat and toss with tblsp olive oil and salt and pepper

Sunday, January 31, 2010

$9.56 dressing

Hey there!

SO, Barbara and I came out with pretty similar WAY HIGH totals for the grocery shop this week... but we know you didn't spend that!  Nor did we go above the $70 alloted funds! (mine was $62.25 plus cranberries and honey which I couldn't find at my Aldi).

I have to say the balsamic vineagar dressing is $1.49 to buy the Aldi brand dressing - the ingredients for the amazing homemade dressing for which Barbara shares the recipe herein cost $9.56.  The cost that Barbara posts for it is somewhere around a dollar, which of course should tell you you'll have a load of VERY USABLE ingredients left over.  I think her dressing is way worth it, but I'm driving home the point that sometimes in this $70 challenge we're building into that budget the purchase of things we KNOW you have in your pantry!  Hopefully you don't have five jars of minced garlic because you've blindly bought them each week!

I bought all that I needed to supplement my pantry this week and spent $18.87.  I must admit I will not be home on Tuesday, so we are replacing the white fish merluzzo with the ravioli dish that we made earlier this year.  My kids loved that, and my parents will too...and it's loads easier for Joe and my Mom while I'm out.  I'm so excited to have my parents here to check out this project!

later friends!

$69.05 Grocery Bill, yikes!

I think this is the highest our groceries have been since starting the challenge. I had to check my numbers a few times to make certian, however, this total is assuming someone doesnt have one food item on this list in thier home. My personal total was much lower b/c I allready have Olive Oil, Balsamic Vin, honey, Walnuts, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Minced Garlic, peas. My total bill from Aldi was $48.70, I was in and out of the store in a half hour, and now my fridge and pantry is stocked with 7 dinners worth of food. Thats a great feeling on a lazy, balmy(15 degrees in the Chicagoland) Sunday afternoon.(: