Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monte Cristo Sandwich $2.23 for 4 Sanwiches

Its a rainy Saturday afternoon and 4 hungry kids asking "whats for lunch?" Hmmmm, what would be easy, and yet different? I pull out my Rachael Ray "Cooking Rocks" because there are always good ideas in her book, and usually lots of meals with basic ingredients, because I knew I didnt want to run to the store. One of the first pages I turned to was a Monte Cristo Sandwich. I can picture myself sitting in a resturaunt called Bennigans(are they still in existence?) and eating that very same sandwhich and a friend telling me how she read it was the most fattening, unhealthy sandwhich around. I was about 18, and very conscious about my no longer stick straight hips. I took a look at the ham, turkey and cheese sandwhich that had been drenched in egg and deep fried and ate it for the very last time. I still remember how delicious it was though-crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside with the melted cheese. Rachaels recipe calls for skilleting the sandwich in a fry pan, which I suspect is already so much healthier then most resturaunt versions, that drop the sandwhich in a deep fryer. I used cooking spray to fry them and I only used two egg yolks instead of 4, one slice of deli meat per sandwich, and the results were unanimous, they loved them!
Here's the scoop
serving 4 hungries
8 slices wholewheat bread . 40
4 slices swiss cheese .60
4 slices ham .80
4 eggs(only use two yolks).40
1/4 cup milk .03

On a slice of bread layer a slice of
ham and slice of cheese and top it with slice of bread
mix egg and milk
in a bowl dip each side of bread lightly with egg batter
turn skillet on medium, and spray pan with cooking spray
cook two sanchiches at a time, cooking 3_4 minutes on each side or until sandwhiches are golden brown.
repeat process with other two sandwhiches
slice in half and serve

Rachaels recipe calls for half slice turkey and half slice ham as well, but I only had ham, but both would be great!

Salmon with Mango Salsa $5.08

Mango two days i n a row, kinda crazy I know, but since the Mangos looked good at Aldi, I decided to buy two and since we dont like "waste", I wanted to use up my onion, cilantro, and lime. I did decide to change up the salsa a bit and used some pinapple I had purchased(can) on sale at Walgreens. The results were great. I teamed up the meal with greenbeans and it was a prfect combo.

for the salsa
1 mango, peeled and diced .69(not always available at Aldi, and usually much more $ at local grocery store)
1 cup pinapple diced .49
1/3 cup red onion diced .20
1/4 cup cilantro minced .20
1 tablespoon juice lime .20
mix all together and refrigerate for atleaast an hour

4-6 salmon steaks $3.99
season with salt and pepper
bake or grill
bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until fish is flakey t the fork touch

serve with a generous helping of salsas

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mango Cevice $6.93

We loved the Civece so much a few weeks ago, I thought I would try it with a different sweeter twist by adding Mango. I managed to pick out perfect Mango from Aldi today, paid not even a dollar, and even had half left over to eat alone. Yum, I dont eat mango often, but everytime I do, I remember how much I like the tropical fruit. The fresh tart fruit was a perfect accompanyment to the lime and cilantro which flavored the shrimp. On the advice of a friend, I did make the cevice in the morning, and let it sit it the fridge all day to really merry the flavors. The results was delicioso!!

1 lb cooked shrimp(tail removed) $4.99
1 avocado diced .79
1/2 mango diced .35
1/4 medium red onion diced.20
juice of 2 limes (medium) .40
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro.20

dice the shrimp in small peices and combine all ingreients in a bowl. coat everything evenly in the lime juice and refridgerate for atleast an hour

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mixed Greens with Grilled Shrimp in a Balsamic Vinegrette

Ok, how can one go wrong with mixed baby greens and balsamic vinegrette?? top it with cherry tomatoes, red onion, fresh shaved parmegiano, and grilled shrimp and you got one of my favorite meals. Infact, there is an Italian Resturaunt chain in the Chicagoland called Mia Francesca that serves a salad similar to that and I love it there, but I think I love my own just as much, and I can always go for seconds when I make it at home. I did make my own very simple vinegrette, but store bought is ok as well. I happen to really like the balsamic vinegrete at Aldi, I just didnt happen to have any left at home, so 6:00 I wasnt about to drive to Aldi, so I pulled my own together very quickly.

For the dressing
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon honey
a shake or two of salt
place all in blender or food processor

1 lb mixed field greens
1 cup small cherry tomatos
1 medium size onion thiny sliced
1/4 cup shaved parm cheese
24 medium cooked shrimp(tail on)

heat panini maker, take tails of shrimp, place 6 on maker and grill until a bit golden, continue to cook the rest(if no maker, grilling not necessary)
set out four plates evenly with salad
top immediately with cheese and shrimp
in large bowl toss salad, tomatoes, onion and 1/2 cup dressing

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Penne with Canelloni Beans, Black Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, and Tuna$ 3.86

A lovely combo that is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and quick easy and cheap. If you time it right you can boil the noodles as you saute all the ingredients and have this meal made in 20 minutes.

1 lb penne pasta .99
2 tablespoon olive oil .60
2 medium tomatoes diced .60
1 can 15 ounces canelloni beans .69
can tuna .98

1 small can 10 ounces black olives
add salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles according to instruction
heat olive oil in skillet add garlic on low

add tomato, beans, tuna and olives, saute for 15 minutes
remove from heat when noodles are ready
toss together

Sometimes we don't have everything we need to make a dish. Here's Barbara's ... "used what I had" ... version. She subbed cherry or grape tomatoes for diced, omitted the black olives rather than open a fresh can, and since the spaghetti pasta was closer than the Penne, she went with that. Still beautiful, economical, and fresh, but slightly different.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Black Bean Soup $2.26

Well, anyone that knows me, knows I really DISLIKE to see summer end. I have always been a "summer gal", not much appeals to me about the winter-I dont like being cold, I dont like driving in snow, I dont like kids cooped up in the house for 6 months, I dont like kids trecking snow and slush into the house, however, what I do like is nice cozy nights inside the house with my son watching a movie or favorite show, eating something warm and hearty. Soup is what comes to mind and that is really out of character because I am not a big soup person, but a cold night a nice bowl of soup and some crusty bread, that could make me deal with a friged winter nights a little better. So although this september night was 70 degrees, I made Black Bean Soup regardless and although we ate some, I froze the rest because I have been informed black bean soup freezes very well, and so one cold, snowy, winter night we are set for din din.

1 lb Black beans soaked .99 or 2 cans black beans
8 cups water
1 tablkespoon salt .02
1 cup onion chopped .40
1 cup celery .20
2 tbsp olive oil .60
4 cloves garlic .30
1/2 tsp cumin .05

boil beans in water until soft
heat oil in skillet and saute onion, carrot and celery, until onions are golden brown.
Add garlic and cumin and salt
add 1 cup water from beans
drain beans add to saute in a big soup pot
remove half the soup from the pot and blend
pour back into pot and simmer 15 minutes

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lime Encrusted Whitefush $4.09

This fish recieved rave reviews!! The spices gave it a bit of a kick and combined with the fresh lime added the perfect amound of tartness. I baked the fish, but it would have been amazing grilled.
6 pieces whitefish $2.99
1/2 cup breadcrumbs .20
bunch or fresh parsley or 1/3 cup dried parsley .40
1/2 tsp paprika .05
1/2 tsp chile powder .05
salt and pepper to taste
2 limes- zest and lime juice.40

mix breadcrumbs, parsley, paprika, chile power, zest and salt and pepper

preheat oven to 220
place fish on baking tray, bake for 10 minutes
remove from oven and coat fish in bread crumb mixture and bake 10 more minutes
remove and pour lime juice over fish

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chiles Rellenos $5.18

Very exciting, I made one of my favorite meals at a mexican resturaunt, but that I avoid a lot because of the fact that it is fattening and also looked complicated to make. I found a recipe that cut out lots of fat, and looked relatively easy to make. traditional version of Chiles Rellenos are dipped in light egg batter and fried, I cut out the egg and the dipping and baked the peppers, instead of frying. The result was flavorful, yet light. Infact, many recipes call for breadcrumbs, but I cut that out as well.
2 large Pablano Peppers $2.99
2 tsp olive oil .25
1/2 medium onion.15
1 medium zucchini chopped .40
1 cup fresh or frozen corn .39
1 cup shredded low fat cheddar or monteray jack cheese$1.00

prepared sauce if you have a fovorite
or you can make your own
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion
2 tsp chlli powder
1 can 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 can chipotle chili(optional)

set oven to 450, rub peppers with oil, place on baking sheet for 30-40 minutes. turning until charred on all sides
remove, place in bowl, wait 15 minutes. rub skin off, it should come off easily.
heat skillet with oil, add onion saute 5 minutes, add zucchini, saute 4 more minutes, add corn and mix all together, add salt and pepper to taste
transfer to bowl and mix in cheese
make a slit down each pepper and and stuff with filling, bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes

make sauce:
Heat oil in skillet, add onion and saute 5 minutes, add chile powder, tomtos and sauce, and chipotle, let come to a boil and reduce heat. simmer 20 minutes. pour in blender and blend until smooth
serve sauce over peppers

Menu for Week of September 12-18

Summer is drawing to a close, and with that Kim and I have blogged through almost 3 full seasons. We have made lots of dinners and had lots of fun. We have both tried recipes and meals we sometimes never heard of and never thought we could make, and or like, and have experienced a lot of success and happy eaters!! This week is no different in the "experience" department, we have gone with some old standbys and some new chalenges in the culinary department.
So here goes:
Sunday-Chille Relenos-stuffed Pablano Peppers
Monday- Lime herb encrusted whitefish
Tuesday-Black Bean soup
Wednesday- Penne with fresh tomato, canellini beans, tuna and black olives
Thursday- Salad with mixed greens and grilled shrimp drizzled with balsamic vinegar
Friday-Mango Ceviche
Saturday- Grilled Salmon with a Mango Salsa