Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 28 to April 3

We're introducing TWO new concepts to our shopping list... 1st, a new section entitled things we assume you have... the second, is an ATTEMPT to color coordinate the groceries to the day we're having them.  A little easier way of eliminating the ingredients we're requesting if you're not joining us for a day.  Good luck.

We assume you have

Olive Oil $3.99
Salt .49
Garlic Cloves
Flour $1.69
Milk $1.89

Aisle One - A LOT of Spices this week... HOPEFULLY $1.99
Bar-B-Q Sauce (smoky if you like that flavor)1.29
Mayonaise $1.29
Thyme (dried)$1.09
Cayenne Pepper$1.09
Tarragon $3.29
Garlic Salt$1.09
Chili Powder$1.09
Dried Basil$1.09
Seasoning Salt$1.09
White Vinegar$1.19
Brown Sugar
Marsala Wine$1.98
Hot Pepper Sauce.99
Sweet Pickle Relish$1.19
Yellow Mustard$1.19

Fresh Mozzarella$2.49
Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (4 oz).89

Farfalle (bowtie) Pasta or other smallish pasta$1.09
Parmesan Cheese$2.49
2 cans tuna fish.98
Crushed Pineapple.89

Roma Tomatoes$1.89
Fresh Basil$1.99(Dominicks/safeway)
Cole Slaw Mix$1.98
White Potatoes$2.48
Celery (a lot this week!)$1.19
10 oz fresh spinach$1.29
Portabella Mushrooms (sliced ok)$1.89
White Mushrooms (sliced ok)$1.59
Red onion41.49
Asparagus (fresh preferred, frozen can work)$1.99
Lemon Juice (of 1 lemon)$1.59

1 slab of Baby Back Pork Ribs (not prepared, we’re talking RAW meat, gonna make your own!)$9.89(Dominicks/Safeway, onsale)

Frozen Pizza of your choosing$2.99
Orange RoughyA$3.99
Frozen Chicken Tenders....$3.99
Frozen Spinach (or Fresh) .99
Asparagus $1.99 (fresh preferred, frozen can work)

Red wine (for reducing)$2.99
Whole Wheat Bread (egg salad & tuna salad).99
Chicken Broth (re-sealable box is best – we’re only using ½ cup).59
White Wine$2.99

For future reference, we'll no longer be pricing the list of "assumptions" into our $70.  we've usually left you enough "wiggle room" to buy some of them each week, and they're almost ALWAYS on our list!

Spring Break, 2010 menu (March 28 - April 3) $48.47

Ah, the kids are home, we are taking them places, the in-laws are coming for Easter, we've committed ourselves to taking the kids out for (don't laugh ... Chucky Cheese - or the local ice skating rink and game zone there...) it's gonna be a rocking week. 
Yet, thru all that, it's really important to remember the value of family time around the dinner table.  Heck, maybe even letting the kids help you cook a bit!  My kids are learning to chop, and stir, and mix, and learning that they need to get out of the kitchen at times too.  My house isn't overly conducive to kicking them out of the kitchen entirely as my home revolves around the kitchen... it truly is the center of my home.  When we mapped out this week, we saw the need for some of both.  And...I'm outta town Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and Barbara is out of town Wednesday and Thursday ... but we're pretending you're here, reading us regularly, and that you'll be home to cook it all.  We're planning it that way AND pricing it that way.  Another week under $70!

Sunday:    Frozen Pizza & Caprese Salad
Monday:   Orange Roughy in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Tuesday:  Baby Back Pork Ribs with an awesome spice rub and "supplemented sauce"
Wednesday:  Cream of Spinach Soup and Egg Salad Sandwiches
Thursday:  Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms
Friday:  Asparagus Cream Sauce on Pasta
Saturday:  Tropical Tuna Sandwich

Wow, that was colorful.  Now, we're gonna try something new with the shopping list too... I'm going to TRY to color code the grocery list according to day - that way if you know you're missing one day you can omit the ingredients we've requested specific to one day.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip $4.07

Sometimes you need a snacky dinner... for the next several Saturdays (and maybe Sundays) we're gonna run you thru a series of easy appetizers that can become meals.  The Reuben Sandwich of last week is a good example.  Today we're gonna use up the Artichoke Pesto from a few days ago.

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

1/2 to 2/3 cup Artichoke Pesto (recipe on Thursday) $1.10
1 10 oz block frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and patted dry .89
onion, chopped very finely .30
water chestnuts (optional!)
1  oz block Reduced Fat Cream Cheese .49
1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder.10
crackers $1.19

place cream cheese in a microwave safe 4 cup bowl.  heat on 50% heat for about 90 seconds to soften - but don't melt!  Remove from microwave and stir thoroughly, kind of whipping to add more volume.  run a large knife thru the thawed, drained and thoroughly dried spinach several times to chop into smaller pieces.  Add everything into the cream cheese, stir really well, and sit in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes to "rest" and for the flavors to come together.

Serve with crackers, bread sticks, or even fresh french bread.  The best way is with freshly made crustini bread made as we did when we made Bruschetta.

(As soon as I learn how to link you to our previous recipes, I'll link to it for you!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spaghetti Puttenesca $5.47

This is a pasta entres that is my usual "go to", when I dont know what else to order when dining Italian. It is a basic recipe that is really, really difficult to botch up. History states that it came about and was created out of the need for a simple recipe. In the 1500's in Italy, Ladies of the evening, who were called Putanas, needed to prepare pasta for thier customers after they were done servicing them(sorry, dont know how else to phrase their "job duties") So this combination of diced tomatos, black olives, capers, garlic, onion and olive oil could be whipped together fairly simply and flavorfully. It quickly became the the meal of the putanas, and certainly a more appealing name was pasta puttenesca. The name took and has been around for centuries. I dont know if Ladies of the Evening still have the duty to cook for thier customers, I am guessing not.

4 medium tomatoes diced $1.99
10 ounce can black olives$1.19
2 garlic cloves minced .20
1 medium onion sliced .30
1/2 cup capers .80
1 lb pasta(linguine or spaghetti works best).99

1/4 cup anchiove very finely diced) optional-I just cant do it, but it is traditional and some people dont like puttenesca without)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb pssta(we prefer spaghetti or linguine)

heat oil in pan add onion and garlic saute low until onion glassy
toss in tomato, olives capers
saute 10 minutes, dont over cook so tomatoes fall apart
add salt pepper
boil noodles to instruction(always try to keep al dante)
saute pasta with puttenesca sauce
add cheese if desired or parsley
red pepper(for me, for sure)

the whole meal shouldnt take more then the time for the noodles to boil, and yet it packs a ton of flavor and depth. I am sure Spaghetti Puttenesca has left many, many people dining on the pasta satisfied and happy customers!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Artichoke Pesto Stuffed Chicken breasts with Broccoli $6.94

mmm... remember the amazingly simple and delicious pesto we made in EARLY January to put in the rollups?  We're making it tonight!  Sometime during the day or as soon as humanly possible in the making of dinner tonight, whip up this delight!

Artichoke Pesto
Artichoke hearts($2.29)

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
1/4 cup parm cheese (.40)
1/4 cup olive oil(.40)

In food processor, mash the drained artichoke hearts with a fork so they all fit... add salt if desired, along with the garlic and parm cheese.  Pulse the food processor quickly and drizzle olive oil into the food processor as it pulses - pulse just enough to mix - no more or it might mush.  YEAH!

Now, Artichoke Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

4 4-5 ounce chicken breasts $4.25
1/3 batch of Artichoke Pesto $1.20
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil .30
1 lb brocolli or other veggie $1.19
Holding the chicken breast flat in your hand, use a sharp filet knife to cut a pocket into the chicken breast.  stuff with Artichoke Pesto into the pocket.  (be sure to scoop some of the artichoke pesto from the "big batch" made above into a seperate bowl!  You DO NOT want to contaminate your entire batch of artichoke pesto by touching a dirty chicken spoon to the clean pesto!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In an oven proof frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat to hot, but, of course, not smoking.  Place the chicken in the hot oil, saute for about 3 minutes, flip, and heat for another three minutes.  Remove from stovetop and put in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked thoroughly.

Serve with copious amounts of freshly steamed brocolli!  mmm!  Brown Rice will work well too if you're looking for some carbs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tilapia With Capers and Lemon $5.52

Tilapia is in the family of whitefish, and the reason I like it so much, is it is not fishy at all. It is light and in my opinion always taste fresh, whether it is fresh or frozen. Whatever I bake or grill it with, it takes on that flavor. Tonight I was running late, so I decided to cook the fish in foil, b/c it is quick and easy that way, and the clean up is even easier!

4 filets Tilapia $$1.98
2 tablespoons olive oil.10
2 lemons.40
1/2 cup white wine .30
1/2 cup capers .25
salt and pepper.05

1 tablespoon parsley
4 sweet potatoes $1.25
vegetable $1.19
cut out 4 pieces of aluminum foil in square pieces that are big enough to wrap the tilapia individually in.
salt and pepper each piece of fish and place each on the foil
in a bowl combine the juice of one whole lemon, the olive oil, white wine and capers
mix together well
poor mixture evenly on each of the fish pieces
slice the other lemon thinly, place on the fish pieces evenly
sprinkle on parsley on each piece
close up the foil and place on baking sheet
cook at 350 for 15 minutes or until fish is flakey

I made this and broght it to a friends and she loved it
It was the combo of capers and lemon that really stood out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Risotto Con Funghi(mushrooms) $4.42

Here is part two of my absolutely gourmet meal tonight. I am not a big risoto maker because there is a process to it and it definetly takes time. I am not so patient, so I am a bit nervous to embark on this entres, but Im doing it. I researched a ton of recipes and then settled on a very basic recipe that didnt require lots of ingredients. For instance, I found a bunch that called for shallots, butter, sherry, cream, and we dont have any of those items on our grocerylist, so we are going to do without. I cant imagine in the olden days in the small village in Italy where my family reigns from they had sherry or shallots, so we are going basic bare bones Risoto.

1 cup aborio rice(available trader joes).80
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth .98
2-3 tablespoons olive oil .25
1 small onion .20
1 lb mushrooms(button, portabello, shitake, crimini-an assortment)$1.99
1/2 cup parm cheese .20
parsley optional(dried ok) Walgreens $1, I use it all the time)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium
add finely dice onion and sliced mushrooms
cook till onions are soft
add rice, mixing constantly until rice begins to translucent(add remaining olive oil if the pan seems too dry)
Once this happens begin to add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stiring constantly, keep up this process until the rice is smooth a creamy.
add salt and pepper to taste
remove from heat and place in individual serving bowls
add cheese and parsley
dig in!!(heres Samantha enjoying a second helping and Michael next to her picking out the mushrooms-ofcourse) OK Im psyched for my gourmet night. Im not thinking that an Asian salad and a mushroom risotto dish go together at all, but who makes the rules anyway?
Hey its 60 degrees and sunny in Chicago on a March day, so Im going running before school kid pickup, coming back cooking while kids do homework and enjoying what is hopefully a good meal.
Pictures to follow Ciao for now

Mandarin Orange Asian Salad $5.63

I have to admit I got my schedule all discombulated(is that how you spell that word?) therefore we had Reuben Soup lastnight to everyones excitement(ymmmoooo! check out previous post) The reason was twofold-I dont throw away food anymore, and I had yet more cornbeef leftover. So in honor of my favorite TV night - Tuesday, Biggest Loser night, I am making two entres- Asian Salad and Risotto con Funghi(mushrooms) I know I have commented on this previously but one of the reasons I love this "project" is that I get to swap ideas, troubleshoot and experiment with my good friend Kim. The Asian salad idea was Kims, but she is overwhelmed with kid things this week thus far, so I am researching and creating both these recipes.
Based on the grocerylist I came up with the dressing last night, so here goes it-

3 cloves garlic .10
2 tablespoonjs olive oil.05
1/2 cup rice vingegar .10
1/2 cup soy sauce .20
2 tablespoons honey .15
1 tsp grated ginger(optional)*
1/4 cup water

combine all ingredients in an empty glass jar
shake well
put in microwave for one minute to disolve honey

For the salad:
preheat oven 350
6 ounces cooked shrimp $1.75
10 ounce can water chestnuts(drained)*
2 cans mandarin oranges .98
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds(toasted if you are so inclined),30
10 ounces mixed greens $1.99

toss salad, water chestnuts, oranges and shrimp in a large bowl, toss with desired amount of dressing.
Ive never made this before, but again its a salad, and ive rarely met a salad I didnt like. I would think this salad would be good as well with other vegetables such as brocolli, and definitely chicken.

OK, truth be told, I think the ginger would be awesome in the dressing, but I know I couldnt find it a Aldi, or Trader Joes, and as Kim and most my family and friends know, two stores is like my limit, so I can not tell a lie, my dressing didnt include ginger. I was so fixated on fresh, I didnt even think to look for ground ginger, that would be a great option. Im almost certain Traders carries that. Water Chestnuts, I didnt have any luck on as well, and I truth be told, I just dont like them. So your call, I am thinking Kim will be including them. What are they? are they a nut? I think its the texture I dont like. I am going to reearch them tonight and see what is healthy about them, I am sure they are loaded with something. Good luck and enjoy!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cornbeef Soup $1.68

OK, I have taken the usage of Cornbeef and Cabbage to the limit. I found I still had a bit of Cornbeef and Cabbabge left and the "new" me doesnt throw away food anymore, so I began to research options and I found an interesting repeat for the Irishfare-Reuben Soup. The recipe was actually very basic.
2 10 oz cans of beef broth $1.08
corn beef shredded(2 cups)
any cabbage and carrots I have left over
4 slices swiss cheese .40
4 slices rye bread(cubed) .20
total $1.68
Heat all in a sauce pan 20 minutes
pour steaming hot soup in equal serving soup bowls
drop equal amounts of cubed rye bread in each bowl
top each with slices of swiss cheese
In theory the soup seems a bit like french onion soup, however, I dont think my guests though so.
My brother said it was just "ok", but that is coming off of having cornbeef 3 times in 6 days, that could be overkill.
My friend Jeff said it tasted a bit like dirt ): just kidding(well, not kidding about his comment, but kidding about being sad about his comment) I wasnt upset, sometimes cooking ideas dont work, but the fun part about this year challenge is trying, and in general being happy with the results.
Im done with Cornbeef, there is not an ounce left in my house!! Probably wont be again until next March.
Does anyone have any other cornbeef usage ideas? cornbeef tacos, cornbeef salad, cornbeef casarole?? have we had enough of cornbeef yet?