Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut pancakes $6.43

Nothing brings out the best in my young t-ball player better than cinnamon raisin walnut pancakes with a side of sausage! MMM. That is pretty sure to bring about at least one home run - or at least this t-ball Mom is sure hopin' so!

Pancake flour has made our world just so easy it's kinda cheating. Then, they made it easier by introducing "complete" brands. I don't like the complete brand as much, and homemade is best yet - but use what you got, and roll with it! Another day I'll give you a great recipe for easy homemade pancakes, but this morning, it's pancakes from a box made better with raisins, cinnamon, and walnuts!

enough pancake mix, per box, for your hungry family $1.99
egg, oil, water, etc. per box .16 (eggs) .10(oil)
about 1 tsp cinnamon .05
about 1/2 cup raisins .50
about 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped ,80

syrup (at least 1/4 cup per person) $1.00

sausages, cooked per package. $1.99

serve with OJ, Milk, Apple Juice, or coffee. Relax, enjoy the process of planning the rest of the day, and watch 'em ask for more!

Shopping List for 5/23-29

Walgreens
Eggs (2 dozen needed for week)
Cheddar Cheese (or cheese for omelets)
Deli Sliced Ham
Bread of choice for toast

Assumed Items
Cooking Spray
Olive Oil
Cumin
Salt
Baking Powder
Flour

Aisle One
Artichoke hearts
Teriyaki marinade
Balsamic Vinegar
Shredded Coconut
Sesame Ginger Dressing

Dairy
Eggs (need 2 dozen for week)
Swiss Cheese slices
Blue Cheese

Pantry
(6 inch) flour tortillas (or whole wheat if desired)
Spaghetti pasta
Parmesan cheese
CousCous – or some other grain that you don’t eat all the time … try something new
Mandarin oranges (check @ Walgreens)
2 cans black beans
Bread crumbs

Produce
4 limes
2 bags Mixed salad greens (2 nights)
Fresh garlic
Avocado
Red onion
Jalapeno pepper
Cilantro
Romaine lettuce leaves
Little red potatoes
Fresh parsley
Fresh Basil leaves
Fresh Oregano leaves
Portabella mushrooms

Meat
Turkey bacon (or real bacon)
Chicken Breast or Chicken Tenderloins

Frozen
4 portions swordfish or other “thick” fish
Spinach
Veg of choice
4 portions salmon fillets
Raw shrimp

Misc.
Beer (six ounces)

Menu 5/23 to 5/29

Let's jump right in!

Sunday - Ham and Cheese omelet
Monday - Fish Tacos
Tuesday - Spinach Spaghetti Carbonara
Wednesday - Chicken and Artichokes with Swiss cheese on Couscous
Thursday - Balsamic Salmon Salad
Friday - Choconut Shrimp on an Asian Salad
Saturday - Black Bean Patty with Mushrooms

check my next post for shopping directions!

Chicken Enchiladas - Corn tortillas $5.95

Chicken Enchiladas are so easy to make, yummy, - and really, quite healthy if you can exercise portion control. Now yummy and portion control don't necessarily go hand in hand - so be careful!

Chicken Enchiladas
1 lb pre-cooked chicken breast, shredded $2.10
1/2 cup chopped onion .25
1 28 oz can green enchilada sauce $2.79
1 package (12) corn tortillas (small size).31
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese .50

saute onion in cooking spray heated in a frying pan over medium heat. When soft, add shredded chicken then ABOUT 1/2 the enchilada sauce. Be a bit generous with the sauce.

Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan lightly with cooking spray. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl. Dip the tortillas in the remaining sauce, put 1/12th of the meat into a line along the middle of the tortilla - roll, and place, seam side down, into the baking pan. Repeat until all are filled. Cover LOOSELY with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil, top with cheese, return to oven to melt cheese.

Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce if desired.

A bit on the cost of this meal. The sauce is about $2.79 ... Aldi just started carrying a red version - but Joe picked up a few of these when they were on sale at the Jewel for $1.99. The chicken I used was left over from the roaster that we did on Monday - no cost (remember, the chicken was a free chicken I got with coupon for buying ham (with a $9 off coupon) in December and froze until Sunday). The tortillas were corn, which are incredibly cheap - $.31 ... thirty one cents ... here in Chicagoland. If I add a quarter for the onion and fifty cents for the cheese I'm up to $3.05 ... that's $.76 per person!

Carmelized Onion, Blue Cheese, Cilantro Pesto Pizza $4..87


Heres an old favorite of mine, that I havent made for years, mainly because cilantro is not something I cook with often or ever have on hand. However, after I made the pesto yesterday, and had about a cup remaining, I started thinking of a bunch of otherways to use he sweet, colorful, and tastey pesto. I realize in calling it a pesto, that makes many think immediately of nuts, whether it be pine, almonds, walnuts, however, I am going to forgo the nuts. Truly, "pesto" just means paste- a bunch of ingredients combined to form not so much a sauce, but a thicker, clumpier topping. I went with a basic recipe, that doesnt require tons of ingredients, nor a long process to make it. A food processor, blender, or morter and pestal(thats how it was done in olden days-yikes) to blend he pesto.

Ingredients:
a big bunch of cilantro(about two cups).89
2 tablespoons olive oil .20
1 garlic clove .05
1 small onion chopped.20
1 tsp honey .10
salt and pepper

I put all ingredients in food processor an pulsed for less then 1 minute.

Ingredients for pizza
2 medium onions sliced in medium slices. .40
1 tablespoon olive oil .10
1 tsp brown sugar .05
10 ounces, goat, feta or blue cheese(I prefer goat, but no one in my family likes, so we went with bluecheese) $1.89
boboli pizza crust, english muffins, tortillas, flatbread, make your own crust-what ever you feel like .99

To carmelize onions:
heat oil in skillet
slowly add onion and sugar
stir constantly for 30-40 minutes, until golden. Its kinda time consuming, but worth it!

When onions are down, spread pesto on pizza crust of choice generously
add onions, cover evenly, and then top with cheese

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
*if using a boboli pizza crust, you may want to precook first for 1 minutes to get it a little crispy, because once topping is on pizza, the pizza cooks really fast and cook leave the crust tasting raw.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shrimp Fajitas $7.46


mmm were these tasty. So Barbara found the idea, and I was totally pumped about it - it's such a nice, light meal ... WITH THE RIGHT TORTILLAS (I didn't have healthy tortillas:-(

here's what we whipped together - it was so easy too!

1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rinsed $2.99
1 red pepper - sliced in thin strips $1.10
1 yellow pepper - sliced in thin strips $1.10
1 medium white or yellow onion .20
2 Tbsp cilantro (optional) .10
1 avocado (optional) $1.10
4 flour or whole grain tortillas.40

Marinade
juice of one lime .20
2 Tbsp olive oil .20
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cumin .05
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.02

Mix lime juice etc. into a marinade - toss peppers and onions into marinade, cover equally, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove veggies to a hot frying pan - toss raw shrimp into marinade. Allow peppers and onions to saute on low heat for about 20 minutes ... soften the veggies up really well!
Heat a separate frying pan over medium heat for 45 seconds or so, then strain shrimp from marinade and toss with 2 Tbsp cilantro in frying pan - allow to cook for 3 minutes, flip 'em over and repeat. Try not to overcook - just make the little shrimp pink.

Assemble into a burrito/enchilada type food and eat!

I have to include this picture just to show you that the Herons and the D'Egidios were on the EXACT same wave length last night! I just didn't mash the avocado as it wasn't ripe enought for guac, and it was really yummy this way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nicoise Salad $4.29


My technique to cooking or creating on this blog is to research a recipe on many sites and then tweak to my personal taste. I dont see any reason to put achiovees on any recipe(coincidentally this salad calls for anciovees on almost every site I checked) but true to my word, I dont like them, so I aint doin it.
I believe in most resturaunts this salad is served with seared tuna steak. I am not using tuna steak, I am using tuna fish from a can. Tuna is ultra healthy, less expensive and easier to prepare. This salad happens to be Julia Childs favorite salad(atleast that is what she says) It is one of my faves as well, and I know Kim is very excited to try it!!

1 head iceberg lettuce or rommaine lettuce .99
2 medium size tomatos cut in 8 wedges .99
2 medium potatoes cut into 8 wedges .45
4 boiled eggs, each cut them each in half .32
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans(if fresh, steam them slightly, so they still crispy).25
1 can tuna fish .89
1/3 cup olive oil.25
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar.10
1 Tbsp dijon mustard .05

for vinegrette- mix oil, vinegar, and mustard well in a jar

place boiled potatoes and greenbeans in a bowl, pour in half the vinegrette, and toss well
on four individual plates devide up chopped lettuce
in the center of each plate of lettuce, evenly devide and place tuna
around the plates place tomato, beans, potatoes, pour remaining dressing on salad

this salad can also work well with onions, peppers, artichoke, black olives

Monday, May 17, 2010

YOU PAID WHAT for that meat?

Ah, yes ... you know by now how much I love to gripe about meat prices ... get this one.
Tonights chicken was a turkey breast... we bought it at Christmas, it's been in the freezer since.  the deal at Christmas (or was it Thanksgiving?) was to buy a ham, get a turkey free - plus there was a $9 coupon on the ham... so, we bought the tiniest ham we could find, the biggest turkey we could find, and in the end spent like $9 for a ham for five people AND a turkey breast for at least 10 - 12 people (it was a $19 turkey breast that I prepared today).

Since I have a $0 meat cost and a $.99 marinade, which I used 3/4 of, I'm up to $.75 for the turkey we ate tonight plus a good 4-6 add'l servings in the frig which I'll use later in the week.  I also used four baking potatoes - a 10 pound bag was $1.49 today at the Aldi, so let's say $.25 for potatoes, and $1.19 for broccoli ...

Turkey, roasted potatoes, and broccoli (the first two of which the kids LOVED!) = DINNER FOR $2.19!  TOP THAT BABY!

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes $5.24

So Barbara wanted to Roast a whole chicken... ABSOLUTELY!
What could possibly make the house smell better than that? mmm. And, it's a pretty healthy meal too!

I intended to cook the chicken as follows:

thaw and rinse a 3-5 lb. Whole Chicken $4.29
lightly oil skin with olive oil .15
salt and pepper lightly, but to taste

Peel and cut into wedges 4 baking potatoes .80

Put potatoes in bottom of baking pan, add chicken, top with 1 to 2 cups of broth and maybe a couple pats of butter (1 pat = 1 tsp). Bake for 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with aluminum foil for the first hour, then remove foil and bake the remaining 30 minutes. Obviously the time depends on the weight of the bird. If the legs fall off, it's done... if they don't fall off, it's probably still done, but use a meat thermometer to be sure!

BUT... when I was doing my shopping today I stumbled across some Tuscan Garden Herb & Garlic marinade ... couldn't resist, and got it (I think it was $.99, MAYBE $1.19). I used it instead of the broth and right now the house smells absolutely delish! Joe just walked thru the door with a big smile on his face and growlin' stomach sayin' what smells so good! That's good news!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shopping List May 16-22

Assumed Items

Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
Brown Sugar

Aisle One
1/3 cup small black Ni├žoise-type olives
Wine Vinegar
Dijon Mustard
Pancake Flour
Cinnamon
Raisins
Walnuts
Pancake Syrup

Dairy
6 Eggs
Sour Cream
Shredded cheddar
Goat Cheese (feta can substitute)

Pantry
2 – 3oz cans chunk tuna
Flour tortillas
Corn Tortillas
Salsa
3 cans (28 oz needed total) enchilada sauce (red or green, your choice)

Produce
Bag Salad
8 baking potatoes
Whole garlic
Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
Green onions
Tomatoes
Lemon (Juice)
Colored Peppers
Onions (at least two large white or yellow onions)
Romaine lettuce (for 3 meals this week)
Cilantro

Meat
Sausages (links or patties)

Frozen
Whole Chicken (enough for two meals)
Broccoli (Frozen or Fresh)
Green beans
Raw (uncooked) Shrimp

Misc.
Anchovy fillets (optional)
Capers
Pizza Crust

Turkey and Cheese Panini $9.67


Here is the Walgreen Sunday Night Special, made even more special by using my Walgreen Panini maker. I love this Panini maker, it has served me well for years. I cant even imagine how many tummies I have fed with this $10 contraption. We even went through a stage where we were making Pb&J's with it, and every once in a while we will make a nutella panini. Its Sunday night, so dinner will be very simple. Im Italian,and in my house we still eat a big Sunday pasta lunch.
The beauty of panini is anything goes. Tonight we will be having turkey and cheese paninis. I didnt really get any deals on anything at Walgreens because I chose this Walgreens menu on a whim and wanted to show how easy it is to use panini maker, no matter where one shops. So I decided on sandwhiches without anything really being on sale that I needed. Now if this was Joe, Kims husband, he would have very wisely said, "make omelettes tonight eggs on sale for $1.29 for a dz, and canned ham on sale for $1.99". I would have thrown in a bit of swiss and the whole meal would have cost roughly $4.00 to serve up 4 nice omlettes loaded with protein and calcium. However, thats ok, b/c when I went into Walgreens to get the panini fixins, I bought the ham and eggs, and I will definitely have left over cheese from tonight, so omlettes will be had this week.
Here we go on the recipe and pricing for 4 very generously large turkey/swiss cheese paninis.

12 ounce comtainer deli turkey $3.99
10 ounces swiss cheese $3.29
1 loaf of wholewheet bread $2.29
spray of olive oil on bread .10
Total $9.67
on bread, pile on turkey generously, top with slice of cheese, and bread, spray sandwhich with olive oil, and toast until cheese is melted

Is this sandwhich more costly then I would pay at Aldi or Costco? absolutely, however sometimes- time, gas or transportation have to be considered. This sandwhich came out to about $2.40 each, if someone was going to Subway or PotBelly, they would be paying $1.00-2.00 more per sandwhich, and for 4 people about $7.00 more. Not to mention there will be about 20 peices of bread left and 6 ounces of cheese. The bottom line is, there really is no excuse about eating healthy or not healthy, sometimes the "best" prices on grocery items are impossible to attain due to time or travel, but it is just as easy or easier to get to a convenience store such as Walgreens as it is probably to get to McDonalds and it is more then likely much cheaper.