Saturday, April 10, 2010

shopping time $40.00

here's a nice compact list of great spring favorites... it's got "ready for spring or summer burgers" and a soup.  We think this might be the last real soup of the season ... check the archieves for some of our past successes!

Assumed “on-hand” items

Olive oil$3.99
Canola oil41.99
Black pepper.59

Aisle One – staples
White vinegar.79
Potato Chip type item of choice$1.19

Crushed Pineapple.89
Ready to make Rice Package.99
White Beans (like great northern white or other dried white bean)$1.98
Pasta of choice (not spaghetti)$1.09
Parmesan Cheese$2.29
Black Beans.59

mini carrots or fresh veg of choice w/ Burgers$1.29
3-4 limes.80
1 fresh jalapeno pepper.50
White onion.30

Pork Loin – plain or marinade flavor of choice$4.29

Burgers (12 burgers per packet)$5.99
Salmon Fillets$3.99
1 ¼ lbs Chicken breast tenders$2.29
Veggie of choice$1.19
Frozen Broccoli $1.19
Frozen Corn$1.09

Hamburger Buns.69
Hamburger topping of choice – like ketchup, mustard, relish, cheese, etc.$3.00
Chicken Broth (resealable box).69
French Bread (for making Crustini).99

Remember, the color coding matches the menu - and if you are going to omit a day, you'll want to omit those color ingredients from your shopping list this week.  Keep it fresh, keep it real friends!

My fairly educated guess puts this shopping bill at $57.50.  Let's see what Barbara's accurate calculations put this at!
Here comes our April 11 to 17 menu - a rockin' welcome to warm weather!

Sunday - Burger Time ... hopefully you can join us for some grillin', but a George Foreman can work, as can a pan on the stove or the broiler!!
Monday - Salmon with Pineapple Salsa, rice, and veggie of choice
Tuesday - Lime Jalepeno Chicken
Wednesday - White Bean & Bacon Soup
Thursday - Broccoli Pasta
Friday - Pork Loin with Pineapple Black Bean Salad
Saturday - Crustini

ENJOY! - Just a note on our menu - on Monday we have you making a GIANT batch of Pineapple salsa.  On Friday we have you adding to that Salsa to make a great Black Bean salad.  It should be really yummy, and help us all on the way to conserving time and making good use of "left overs" or better yet - planned left overs!

Crab Cakes $3.26

Shortly after Joe and I were married and long before we had kids I remember Joe making me crab cakes for a special dinner. I don't remember anything else about it other than he made them for me. I don't really know what that means, but Barbara always has really interesting stories to share before her recipes, so I'm trying to share more anecdotal comments about the foods we pick.

I do know that Barbara really likes Crab Cakes, and that she frequently orders them if they are "on the menu" at a restaurant. Both Joe and I hope this recipe of Joe's lives up to Barbara's expectation!

Crab Cakes
1 pound imitation crab meat $2.29
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs (divided into 2 portions).50
1/4 cup egg substitute OR 1 egg OR 1/4 cup egg whites.10
2 Tbsp mayonnaise product of choice.05
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard.10
1 Tbsp Dill Weed (optional).10
1 Tbsp lime juice.05
1 tsp lemon juice.02
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce.10

Process crab meat in a food processor unti very finely chopped. Combine crab meat, half cup of the bread crumbs, egg, mayo, mustard, dilll, lime & lemon and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into eight patties. Place remaining bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip each patty into crumbs to cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a large, non-stick skillet, lightly coated with cooking spray, cook patties over medium heat until browned on both sides.

Serves 8
When made with fat free egg substitute (or egg whites) and fat-free mayo, contains: 150 Calories, 2 g fat, 11 protein

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chicken Vesuvio $6.55

First time I really paid attention to Chicken Vesuvio was when I was waiting tables in College. I always knew when someone ordered it, to tell the diner that the chicken took 45 minutes to prepare, and apparently to most customers it was worth the wait, because no one ever changed thier order after learning of the long wait. It wasnt until once I dropped a chicken vesuvio dish in the kitchen before serving it, that I realized just how much people loved the garlic, white wine, oregano dredged chicken dish, because although, the diner wasnt happy with my news, he was willing to wait another 45 minutes for the dish.
Giada's theory is that chicken vesuvio was named after the vesuvio volcano because the meal spews out so much aavory flavor when cooking, but another theory is it is named after the Chicago Resturant in the 1930's- Ristorante Vesuvio, because it was famous for inventing the dish. That seems more likely the origin. "Vesuvio" has since become a style of preparation, it is not uncommon to see on a menu: steak vesuvio, pork vesuvio, salmon vesuvio, and definitely common is vesuvio potatoes, served as a side dish. I have never actually made chicken vesuvio before, but have had it many times because my dad was known for his awesome chicken vesuvio. Even my mom never even attempted to make it because his was so darn good. Once again, a meal that is not just about good ingredients, but about technique. So between my mom and I, we kind of figuired it out.
BTW, we opted not to use boneless breasts, because a lot of the flavor from this chicken comes from the skin of the chicken.

4 chicken thighs $2.25+
4 chicken legs $2.25
1/3 cup olive oil .25
1 lb white or red potatoes, pealed and cut into wedges .50
1/4 cup flour .10
4 large garlic cloves, minced or mashed .20
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the chicken
In large heavy skillet heat 1/2 oil, add chicken slowly one piece at a time, saute, turning from side to side until chicken is all sufficiently golden brown- about 15 minutes
Remove heat
Place chicken in large roasting pan and pat evenly with flour
In same skillet, add remaining oil garlic and potatoes, saute for 10 minutes, turning until golden color
add chicken broth, white wine, oregano, thyme, cook together 5 more minutes
remove from heat
pour mixture over chicken in roasting pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

shopping trip

What a downer day at the stores...
So I went to Aldi with my "severly pared down" list because I'm a stock piler and I just got a whole trunkload of goodies from my MIL.  I needed like 6 things - I splurged and bought new salt and some more olive oil, even though I didn't need it ... stock piling again I think.  My bill for the groceries i needed to finish out the meals for this week was ... $15.52 (including the $3.99 olive oil and the $1.39 salt grinder). 

BUT, I didn't get the flank steak.  I'm not a good meat buyer, I usually leave that to my husband, who actually enjoys not only shopping in general, but also buying beef.  Aldi didn't have anything called flank steak, and I didn't think I could subsitute a "roast" for a steak, so I passed.  I swung, confidently, into my worst grocery shopping nightmare - the Super Walmart ... I know, I can't generalize ... the prices are generally great, but seriously, the Super Walmart by me is a nightmare - checkers who don't give a rats butt whether they charge you for a red pepper or a red apple or a red onion or a banana - checkers who give me 13 bags for my 12 items - checkers who stare at me (in that frightening way that makes me glad I can't read their mind ... it might get them fired) - checkers that are too busy talking to the person in line behind me to worry about whether I gave them a $10 or a $100... seriously, it's a nightmare and don't even think about going to the "Customer Service" department.  Generally, though, the prices are not too bad, and so long as I'm not in a hurry (ha ha ha), I can have a ok shop, so long as I'm not in it for the "experience"....  anyway, they didn't have flank steak either - they did have a skirt steak, but it was $4.88 per pound .... no typo there, it was freakin' $4.88 per pound for what is suppose to be "cheap steak".  are you freakin' kiddin' me? 

Now, I'm stuck sending Joe to the Jewel tomorrow to buy some Flank Steak... hopefully he can find something there. 

This is a really weird problem - I can't find inexpensive cheap steak anywhere.  (and that's not a typo, I meant not good steak that didn't cost a lot).  Flank Steak should certainly be about $2.50 to $3.50 per pound.  Hopefully on the low side of that number!

Bring on the burger season!

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche $1.66

Don't even know when or where I found this recipe, but it sounds interesting, and i dont have any other inspiration for tonight ...

this serves six, and has only 142 calories in your 1/6th of the pie (with non-fat milk)!

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche
1 medium onion, diced .20
6 oz. fresh baby spinach$1.20
2 large eggs .15
1/2 cup egg whites (4 egg whites?).30
1/2 cup flour .20
1/2 tsp baking powder.05
1/4 tsp salt.02
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/3 cup non-fat or 1% milk.30
1/2 cup feta cheese.25

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Lightly spray a 10 inch pie plate (or quiche pan)
in a medium frying pan, cook diced onon with a bit of cooking spray over medium high heat until transparent and tender.  Ad  in fresh spinach and cook until just wilted.  Set aside
In a large mixing bowl, whisk toether eggs, flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk in milk, then spinach mixture.
Pour quiche into prepared pan, top with feta cheese.

Bake 25 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.
Let set for 5 minutes, slice, and serve.

good luck!

Tilapia & Veggie packets $6.95

Both Barbara and I found this recipe individually - both storing it away for "someday", but when she saw it in my "someday" pile, we had to jump on it right away!  I think we were both intrigued by the combo & the parchment paper (though foil will work if necessary).

Tilapia & Veggie Packets

4 cups baby spinach $1.99
4 tilapia fillets$3.99
8 tsp olive oil
8 oz thin asparagus, trimmed & cut into 2" lengths .99
4 tsp capers.60
4 tsp green onions
2 tsp fresh thyme (1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper.05
8 to 12 thin slices lemon .40

Place oven rack in center of oven - preheat to 425 degress.
gather a "rimmed" baking pan and 4 pieces of parchment paper or non-stick foil about 16 inches long

place 1 cup of spinach in cener of each parchment - top with tilapia fillet, brush with olive oil, scatter 1/2 cup of asparagus on and around fish.  scatter 1 tsp of the onoins, capers, and 1/2 (1/4 if dried) tsp thyme on top.  Drizzle with another tsp of oil, sprinkl with salt & pepper, top with lemon.

Fold paper securely around fish  (Woman's Day says to "bring long ends of paper together and fold down 3 times to make a seam.  Place on baking dish and tuck ends underneath".)

bake 15 minutes until packets are puffed - open to check - if not opaque at center of fish, reseal and return to over - check again in 5 minute increments.

284 cal, 39 g protein, 6 carbs, 2 fiber, 13 g fat.  Not bad!!! - AND a complete meal in one dish!  Easy clean up!!!

Once again, the Herons and the D'Egidios both made the same dish, and came out with remarkably similar pictures!  We liked this dish ALOT!  It doesn't always happen that the Heron/D'Egidio dishes look the same!  Must be a good, EASY dish!  This is what my fish looked like "right out of the oven!"

Beer Soaked Beef $6.56

Got your attention?  Mine too - actually, Joe's more than mine, but it sounds like a great dish - and probably something Jillian would approve of as I got it from the Weight Watchers site a million moons ago.  I thought it would be good thinly sliced and served over a bed of romaine lettuce - with a ranch dressing maybe if you don't like the beer marinade? 

Anyway, with no further delay:

Beer-Soaked Beef

12 oz. beer .50
2 tbsp olive oil .20
1 large garlic clove .10
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice .10
1 tbsp brown sugar .10
1 tsp salt.02
1/2 tsp whole cloves.05
1 1/2 lbs raw lean flank steak - washed & patted dry.$4.49
romaine lettuce 1 lb $1.00
in a 1 gallon ziplock type bag, combine beer, oil, garlic, lemon, sugar, salt, & cloves - zip and shake to mix:  add steak and marinate in frig, turning 1 or 2 times, for somewhere between 2 and 24 hours.

Heat Broiler or grill (times for broiling, adjust accordingly for grill) Remove meat from marinade (DO NOT DISCARD MARINADE) and broil on a "grill pan" for 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare longer for more-done meat.  Remove meat from broiler to a plate, loosely cover with foil and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Weightwatches said this is 6 "points", so that means somewhere around 325 calories for this entree - a fav. dressing from the frig will clearly cost you more calories!

Meanwhile, place grill pan (if you used one) or a frying pan on stovetop over high heat - carefully pour marinade heated pan, bring to a boil and cook until all alcohol burns off, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Slice steak thinly and serve with sauce over a bed of romaine lettuce.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hearty Macaroni & Cheese $2.81(WoW!)

This recipe might come back a few times with different variations!  I like this recipe, but must admit I am not certain this is "exactly" what I follow each time.  Barbara has a yummy recipe she likes as well, but since I based the shopping list on this recipe, we're using my recipe this time around.  Expect to see this item with a different recipe in the summer.

To make mealtime easier, you may assemble the dish earlier in the day and refrigerate;  allow a little extra baking time if taking directly from the refrigerator.  For a browner top, run the baked casserole under the broiler for two to three minutes.

Hearty Macaroni & Cheese
12 ounces elbow macaroni .99
1 1/2 cups reduced fat cottage cheese
1 tbsp flour .05
1 1/2 cups 1% milk.20
1/2 tsp salt.05
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper.02
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz).90
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions.20
2 Tbsp dijon mustard .10
2 Tbsp plan dried bread crumbs.10
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese.20

Cook noodles until JUST TENDER - do not overcook
in a food processor or blender, puree the cottage cheese until smooth - approx. 1 minute
place flour in a large sauce pan over medium heat and whisk in the milk - bring to a low boil and add salt & peppers.  Cook, whisking continuously until th emixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes - then  add the cottage cheese puree, 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar cheese, the green onion and mustard until combined and melted - another minute or so.  Add the cheese mixture to the macaroni and toss to combine.

Place macaroni mixture into a 1 1/2 to 2 quart sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with the remaining cheddar chesse, bread crumbs & parm cheese and then bake for 25 minutes or until the top is crusty and lightly browned.

Note:  I used whole wheat Rotini in the picture on top photo - I also used small, individual serving dishes because they are fun to eat from on occasion! - Barbara's version is right here - big pan, bow tie pasta  - and lots of creamy goodness with NO BUTTER!

Sunday's Easter Apple Egg Bake $1.62

Perfect to whip up before the kids get up to find their baskets, then eat after mass (reheated slightly, of course!). 
Super easy, and something you can make at night and feed to your kids for breakfast on the way to school too!

Apple Egg Bake
2 cups sliced apples .50
3/4 cup rolled oats .30
1 cup 1% milk .20
4 egg whites .32
2 tbsp honey .15
1 tsp vanilla .10
1/4 tsp cinnamon .05

spray a 9" square pan with cooking spray, then arrange the apples in the pan.
In a blender, finely chop the oats, then add everything else, processing until well blended.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

excellent with whipped topping.