Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shopping time - 4/18-24

Assumed items

Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Aisle One
Teriyaki Marinade$1.19
Salsa (jarred, not fresh)$1.19
Oatmeal, not instant$1.89
Instant Mashed Potatoes$1.29
Black Olives (if desired for tacos)$1.19

shredded cheddar or mexican blend$2.29
Sour Cream (if desired for tacos).89

Pasta of choice (farfalle).99
Taco seasoning mix.29
Soft Shell tacos
Hard shell tacos
Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Pineapple (as in with the skin and the greens still on it!)
Red pepper
Onion 1 whole for kabobs, 3/4 cup finely diced
Mushrooms (whole button or Portabella)
1 head fresh cauliflower
Iceberg lettuce head.99
Romaine lettuce bag$1.98
Spinach (10 oz bag)1.99
Zucchini $1.99

1 ½ lbs lean ground turkey breast$2.29
1 lb ground turkey breast$2.29
Thick sliced Deli meat (or) of choice $2.69

Raw Frozen Shrimp
White Fish Fillets$3.99
2 ½ lbs Chicken Tenderloins$6.29
Green beans.99
Asparagus $1.99

1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix (a dried package in the soup/dressing section)
Garlic Bread (either French Bread to make your own, or prepared)$1.99

April 18-24 $38.66

wanna know we're planning for this week, you've hit the right spot!

Sunday:  Teriyaki Shrimp Kabobs, rice, & Grilled fresh pineapple $8.13
Monday:  Homestyle Turkey Meatloaf, magic mashed potatoes $7.18
Tuesday:  Potato encrusted whitefish with asparagus$2.73
Wednesday:  Chef Salad$3.61
Thursday:  Chicken Florentine, Garlic Bread $5.98
Friday:  Zucchini aglio olio $3.63
Saturday:  Taco night! $7.40

Hopefully we'll have more time to cook this next week than I have to put this menu up on the blog right now!  happy shopping!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Peppercorn Coated Pork Loin & Pineapple Salsa Salad$5.13

Pork has been both good and bad in the past few years.  Some pork is good - some pork is bad.  For some reason our world tends to put a ton of salt with pork - bacon, ham, etc. are all cured in salt.  Too much sodium is just plain bad for you... I think the world skipped from bacon and ham and salt to "pork is bad for you".  Hogwash (haha)  Pork is great protein, and it doesn't have to be high in fat - depending, of course, on what cut of pork you choose.  Tonight we're going with a pork tenderloin.  Because of where the tenderloin "grows" on the pig, it's not going to be a high-fat cut of meat... it will be lean, it will be tender, and it is not an expensive cut of pork (as I've already blogged about).

Pork Tenderloin
Both Barbara and I got lucky and found marinated peppercorn tenderloins at the Aldi.  If you didn't, just make a rub out of ground peppercorns, a tiny amount of cayenne pepper, maybe a few red pepper flakes - to do a rub, wash the meat, pat it dry with disposable paper towel type things (ick, I know, but worse to reuse something that has rubbed down raw meat!), then pat (with a bit of pressure) the peppercorn mixture all over the meat.

Pork tenderloin is so super easy to bake - it takes 20 minutes per pound at 400 degrees.  If you have a 1 lb, 4 oz roast, you'll need 25 minutes in the oven.  All we do is remove the tenderloin from the package, place it in a baking dish (spray it if you want, I don't usually), and insert in oven.  After the appropriate amount of cooking, remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil (or some other heat-trapping type product, like a pan lid!!!), and let the roast (for that's what a tenderloin is, a mini roast) REST for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve.

Pineapple Salsa Salad
2 cups remaining pineapple salsa (recipe on Monday)
1 cup black beans.59
1 cup cooked frozen corn.59
2 Tbsp cilantro
1 tsp cumin

wash can of black beans, open, drain, rinse, and drain again.  Place 1 cup frozen corn kernels in a microwave safe dish - add 1-2 tbsp (no more) water, cover with an inverted plate, and microwave for about 2-3 minutes.  You want cool but cooked corn as this is a cold salad - most frozen corn is flash cooked already, so all you really are doing is warming it, so 2 minutes is probably long enough!

Mix pineapple salsa, black beans, corn, cilantro and cumin in a large bowl, let sit for 15 to 30 minutes (while the pork is cooking) and then serve alongside the pork.

Very delicious, very nutritious, and VERY EASY. 

Brought to you by the Fit, Fast & Frugal Foodies

Pasta Brocolli $2.73

Heres an easy go to meal that packs lots and lots of nutrients in those little green florets alone. Brocolli is loaded with vitamin C, E and beta carotene, which provdes for us a good source antioxidents that reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease. Brocolli also contains lots of fiber which reduces the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.
A Large 1 lb bag of brocolli can cost as low as .99 to $2.00. That isnt too much to spend for your health and the health of your family. Couple that with a one lb bag of pasta, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup parm cheese, we are looking at less then $3.00 to feed a family of 4, and possibly have a bit left over. The first lady of our country has made it one of her missions to knock out childhood obesity in this country, because there are 25 million obese children in this country, I believe it starts at home and cooking plays a very important key. cooking doesnt have to be difficult or expensive to be healthy. This brocolli pasta can take about 2o minutes to prepare, it is loaded with nutrients, and cost less then .80 a person.

1 lb pasta(noodle of choice) whole wheat would be great$1.09
1 lb frzen brocolli thawed$1.19
1/4 cup olive oil.20
1/4 cup parm cheese.25
salt and pepper

cook pasta according to instruction
at same time saute garlic in olive oil in large skillet on low for 5 minutes
add brocolli and cook for 5 minutes(until the brocolli is slightly softer)*, remove from heat, and toss with salt and pepper.
drain noodles when cooked
toss them in skillet with brocolli, add cheese
*steaming or boiling the brocolli with very little water is also a great way to prepare vegetables. The longer a vegetable is cooked, the less nutrients remain.

Brought to you by the Fit, Fast, & Frugal Foodies

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuscan Whitebean Soup $4.96

Im not a big soup fan at all, especially tomato based soups, but whitebean soup is something that is difficult for me to pass up, especially when the soup derives a lot flavor from rosemary(yum, rosemary and whitebeans!) I live in the Chicagoland where April is notorious for not really being "springlike", so the idea of soup doesnt sound crazy, however today is forcasted to reach almost 80 degrees, but I have had this soup on my mind, and the beans are allready soaked from lastnight, so I am going for it today.
The recipe is pretty basic, I am going to make it vegan, but it doesnt need to be. A chickenbroth would work as well as a vegetable broth, and added bacon would give wonderful flavor, but I have a friend who is a vegetarian who is ill, and I am bringing her the bulk of the soup. BTW, the recipe will yield a large pot of soup, therefore cut it in half if 10-12 servings is overwhelming. However, leftovers are always nice too!

2 tablespoons olive oil.20
1/2 onion diced.20
5 stalks celery diced.40
3 garlic cloves minced.20
3 carrots diced.30
5 cups vegetable broth$1.48
1 lb whitebeans$1.98
2 tablespoons rosemary.20
salt and pepper

Soak beans over night, or quick boil- boil water in large pot, add beans for 5 minutes, remove from heat and soak for an hour
in large heavy soup pot heat oil on low and add onions, saute until glassy(about 5 minutes)
add garlic, carrots, onion, celery and saute 10 more minutes
add chicken broth, 3/4 beans, rosemary bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer for an hour, hour and a half.
add salt and pepper to taste
remove from heat
place entire contents of soup pot in food processor or blender, and pulse until creamy
pour back in pot and add remaining beans, heat and serve
top with rosemary sprig and or parm cheese(both optional)
Brought to you by the Fit, Fast & Frugal Foodies

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lime-Jalapeno Chicken $4.17

Jillian Approved! - did you know that portion control is probably more important than choice of recipe?  Everything is acceptable in moderation ... Even Butter!  But, if you eat too much of it, it'll sink you everytime!  Get in Sync... create appropriate sized meals for a great kickstart to better health!!

This chicken is the perfect amount if you eat two tenders or about 3.5 ounces cooked. 

Lime-Jalapeno Chicken
Serves 4; 142 calories per serving (for chicken & lettuce salad)
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes.40
2 Tbsp canola oil.10
1 Tbsp white vinegar.05
1 tsp ground cumin.05
1/4 tsp salt.02
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (the heat is in the seeds - discard seeds according to your palet).40
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders$3.25

Whisk lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin, and salt, stir in jalapeno to taste.  Place chikcen in zip loc bag and pour in marinade - refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning once, or overnight.

Preheat grill to high heat.  Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.  (3-4 minutes per side)  DISCARD Bag and excess marinade.  Cool slightly, then slice crosswise to grain and serve with a "bag of premade salad".  If you desire a dressing, you could make a second batch of the marinade, cook slightly to thicken, perhaps omit vinegar and add a touch of honey - this would be great with a salad that included red, orange, or yellow peppers as well.  The well marinated chicken was honestly so good we didn't even need salad dressing!  YUM!


Here's a beautiful picture of the chicken featured in a great meal option as opposed to the Jillian approved Salad! 

Brought to you by the Fit,fast & Frugal Foodies

Monday, April 12, 2010


Last week I wrote of the shopping nightmare about buying beef - today let me share the pleasures of buying pork.

Friday we are having seasoned pork loin with the extra salsa (which we are doctoring up to make into a salad) - I planned to buy a plain pork tenderloin (the tiny thin one) and rub some freshly ground pepper and maybe some extra cayenne pepper or some cumin.... anyway, deep warm peppery rub.  Well, today in the Jewel flyer there are roast or garlic onion flavored pork loin chunks for $4.99 for 24 ounces - that's 3.33 per pound.  I thought I'd be having that for sure, but then it's Aldi Aldi Aldi to the rescue once again!  Their pork loins, which just so happened to be peppercorn seasoned, were $2.99 per pound!  YES!  WOW!  THANK YOU! 

So, in my price planning for you, I said something like $57.50 - but that was for a $7 pork tenderloin - we're eating a big pork tenderloin for our $4.42, and you could "technically" serve four people four ounces of pork and buy just a $3.00 tenderloin!  That's a nice overage.

Now, I was a bit off on the peppers - they've gone up again, they're up to $3.59 for 3 peppers at my Aldi - Barbara, what are they at yours?  STILL, Jewel has multicolored peppers "on sale this week" for $1.50 EACH... simple math folks - three peppers is gonna be $4.50  -  still a dollar saved versus the "regular" store!

As you've come to expect, I have a stock pile and left overs from previous weeks - and I didn't need everything on the list!  My Aldi bill was ... $20.04.  I did have to leave the cilantro, jalapeno, and bacon to Joe as Adli doesn't have the first two, and Jewel has a 4 for $10 sale on the Jewel brand bacon, but then there is a Your Bucks Catalina (which you have to sign up for) for a dollar or two back on 2 packages of bacon - we think the bacon will come down to $2 per pound for what is generally acceptable bacon.  I also need Joe to get the frozen broccoli because Jewel has it for $1.29 or $1.00 (not sure which yet) while Aldi's broccoli florettes are up to $1.19 for a 12 ounce package. 

all in all, we're probably talking about spending $25 on food for dinner this week.

Salmon topped with Pinapple Salsa $7.78

Every since I bought pinapple a few weeks back for the tunafish salad, I have been thinking about it. I love the combo of sweet with non sweet, and pinapple(especially canned) has the perfect tart sweetness, to compliment the savory.

I made the salsa ahead of time today, and allready had some for lunch, yummmm...

salsa ingredients:
1 can 1 lb 4 ounces pinapple crushed or slices(dinced in smaller pieces0
1/.89 medium red onion(diced).40
1 red pepper(diced)$1.10
1 orange or yellow pepper(diced)$1.10
1 tablespoon cilantro.05
1 tsp ginger(optional).05
1 medium lime.20

in a bowl combined crushed pinapple, onion, peppers, cilantro, ginger, and the juice from entire lime(squeezed0
refrigerate until serving

4 pieces of Salmon$3.99
salt and pepper salmon
bake, saute, or grill
remember not to over cook, fish is ready whe flakey to the fork touch

if sauteing add 2 teaspoons of oil to pan, cook on medium

when cooked top with pinapple salsa, serve with rice and vegetable of choice

Here's the Heron Salsa with crushed pineapple!

Always a big fan of crushed pineapple, I'm envious of how great Barbara's looks with the chunked pineapple instead of the crushed.  I love both salsas!  It's great stuff!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

what we did on Saturday...and Sunday

OK friends, time for a frugal lesson -

Here's the background:  Jacob is almost ready to move up a size in bikes.  My friend Jen has been telling me about this "used bike sale" in her town down the road...

So, Saturday morning rolls around, Joe and I are sitting at the table making "weeked plans" ... oh, it was already 9:30 a.m.   Joe reminds me that we wanted to go to the Used Bike Fair in Libertyville.  I had in my phone calendar that it started at 8 - when I sent it to Joe's phone it got moved to 9 - at 9:30 we were still sitting at the breakfast table, and more than one of us was still in our pjs.  Needless to say, we thought we'd probably missed the good bikes.  But we all threw on acceptable "out of the house" attire (don't call Clinton & Stacy) and head off to Libertyville - initially we don't tell the clan where we're going because, well, it's almost gauranteed to be a failure, and to make at least one kid mad.  But, during the seven minute trip I had a lapse in judgement and told them what we were going to do.  Yeap, there were tears!

So, we walk into the bike sale ... there are bikes there that perhaps I rode as a kid - which my kids will politely tell you - is A LONG TIME AGO - in bike years, it's horribly old.  There are four bike trailers, and a seat (without a bike).  There are two boys bikes - one is a Specialized brand bike, the other is something else.  The other bike is missing a seat ... um, no boy is gonna try sitting on that, and no parent is gonna let their child try riding it.  The Specialized has a merciless flat back tire, and is dirty, missing a grip, the seat slides up and down and round and round like a merry-go-round, and looks like it hasn't seen the inside of the garage in a while ... maybe ever.  So, with a price tag of $35, we himmed, we hawwed, and then we said ... "we'll take it".  See, luckily Joe knows a thing or two (or more) about good bikes - his bro used to own a bike store, and Joe and I are HUGE  Tour fans- we've also followed the US Amatuers thanks to a family friend who used to race in them.  Fixing up this bike would not be for the faint of heart or undereducated about bike repairs, but we threw it in the van and started the "Heron Bike Repair Shop".  WHAT FUN!  Everyone got  into it ... everyone got something on their bike fixed, and with alot of love and attention Jacob's bike was working great.  But, it was still missing a grip - so Jacob and Joe headed into the Bike Shop in Libertyville.  (We could have had all of the work done there, but at a minimum $50 to look at it, and more to fix all that was wrong with this beaute, we weren't going that route!).  Joe and Jacob found a similar model, but without all the coolness of Jacob's - it was $189.  Then, they found the real version - a few years newer, but same components - six gears with a grip shifter, "real" brakes, front shocks, etc... sticker price ... ready ... $289.00!!!

YES!  We spent less than $45 (the grips were $9.30) and Jacob has a rockin' cool - super fast bike!  And he's the proudest kid in the universe, for he knows that HE HELPED MAKE THIS BIKE!  It's so nice to have something work out.  We likely could have gotten up on time, gone to the bike sale, found a really nice, in good repair, bike for about $60, and we surely would have walked past this dilapidated Specialized bike with flat tires and a wobbly seat - but look at all we learned, and how much we saved on a really great bike!  What a great family weekend!

Oh, I forgot to mention - the Daily Herald was there, looking to take some pictures (the photographer no doubt got the time wrong too), and JACOB & JOE are in the paper!  Now we have a seriously proud six year old who's picture has been in the paper!


Ah, tis summer - another Masters in the books - I'm so happy for Phil Mickelson - and his fighter wife Amy!  A well fought battle - and done in the media shadows of "the Great One's" return.  I so love when Tiger plays poorly - it's the only time the other contenders in the tourney get any presstime - I love that he played with KJ Choi who was really pulling out some great - balanced - calm stuff.  But today was certainly Phil's day - those shots from the pines were AMAZING!  That's good golf!  Makes me wanna golf again!

When good golf eats up the best of your Sunday afternoon, its time to pull out the summer standby:

4 frozen burgers
4 fresh buns
toppings of your choosing!

My preferred method involves this:  Give frozen burgers to your husband, ask him to prepare them - await his return, and then serve with cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish, chips and fresh veggies.

When I prepare them myself I do this:  Heat grill to medium or hot (basically, crank the gas, ignite the grill, and let it heat for about 5 minutes).  Put the burgers on the grill - know your grill - most have "hot spots".  After about 4-6 minutes, depending on your grill and how well you like your burgers prepared, flip them using a very long handled spatula.  After another 4 minutes, remove to a CLEAN PLATE (not the plate you carried the raw meat to the grill on) and serve.

Now, burgers are a family staple for us from May until October - I'm gonna take you thru preparing all those favorite pub burgers with things like mushrooms, bacon, cheddar, guacamole, grilled onions, raw onion, lettuce, blue cheese stuffed burgers, pizza burgers, etc!  I'm even planning to teach you to patty your own burgers - not because it's easy, nor is it necessarily cheaper, but it is healthier, and some burger favorites require that you make your own patties so that you can stuff them.  That's to come - expect burgers every other week from here to October!  Oh, I forgot, we're also gonna make our own veggie burgers and our own black bean burgers!  mmmm! - oh, and the sides - potato salad, coleslaw, bean salads, mmmmm!  YEAH SUMMER!

Brought to you by the Fit, Fast, & Frugal Foodies