Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shopping List 10/16 or 17

Happy Shopping - nothing expensive here, but a great great week of meals!


Pancake Flour

Caramel Sauce – ice cream topping
Dried Cranberries
Brown sugar
Evaporated Skim Milk
Baking Soda
Vegetable or canola oil
1 cup walnuts

Apple juice
Hominy (28 oz can)
Diced chilies
Corn tortillas
Apple Sauce

Blue Cheese
Sour cream
Plain yogurt (fat free)

Apples – loads of them! Whatever flavor you like
Field Greens
Tomato (or fresh salsa)
Bagged Salad

2.5 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
Pork Chops

8 cups chicken broth
white wine

October 17-23, 2010

Weekly Menu number 987 or close ...
October 17-23, 2010

still filled with fresh ideas we present this week's menu...

Sunday:  Caramel Apple (or Taffy Apple) Pancakes
Monday:  Harvest Salad
Tuesday:  White Chili
Wednesday:  Pork Chops with baked apples
Thursday:  Salmon with ginger cream sauce & green veg of choice
Friday:  Rigatoni with Vodka Cream Sauce
Saturday:  Apple Harvest Coffee Cake

So, Barbara had a pumpkin week last week - this is apple week.  mmm I love apple week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Its officiually pumpkin season!! I think pumkin doesnt get all the credit it deserves! Its number 1 and 2 uses are carved and decoraed for Halloween, and pumpkin pie. Its bright color indicates that it is full of nutrients, including Vitamin A, E, K, fiber, beta carotene. Also, suprisingly to many, there are many ways to use pumkin in recipes. Pie is just one, bread, muffins, cake, pasta, rice, smooties, latte, pumkin butter and many more. Im thinking in the next month we will explore many recipes using canned pumpkin. Today, I am making pumkin bread with cranberries. The cake is loaded with nutrients, and fairly low in fat because the pumpkin puree contributes most of the moisture.
I doubled my recipe because I didnt want to waste a half of a can of pumpkin puree. So this recipe yields two loaves of bread. I gave one to a friend, but I certainly could have froze it as well. The results were really good.
preheat oven to 350
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 salt
2 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 can 15 oz pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts(optional)

combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt in a mixing bowl, beat in a mixing bowl-egg, sugar, pumpkin puree, when done mixing, mix all together
fold in cranberries and walnuts
mix another minute until fruit and walnuts evenly mixed
pour in two 9 x 5 bake pans
put in prebaked oven for 50-60 minutes.
remove from oven and let cool for an hour
slice and serve, mmmm goooooood

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

Its crockpot time. Kim isnt so keen on crockpot cooking, and I wouldnt say Im not keen on it, I actually love the idea of getting a meal ready early in the day, and then letting it cook or simmer all day. I just havent crockpot cooked often, but fall is definitely in the air, so what better time to make a beef stroganoff. I found a bunch of recipes and tweaked them inorder to cut out some fat calories. I thought the results were pretty good.

1 lb beef stew meat $ 4.95
2 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil .20
1/4 cup flour .04
2 cups water
2 beef boulion cubes .10
1/2 cup red wine .30
1 cup lowfat sour cream .89
1/2 lb egg noodles .50
salt and pepper

salt and pepper meat, roll in flour
heat oil and brown meat for 5 minutes
turn crockpot to high, add meat, water, wine boulion cubes, and cook for 8 hours on high
in the last 30 minutes add sourcream
boil egg noodles
serve beef over noodles

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roasted Corn and Pepper Soup

Here's another "researching" recipe ... we found this recipe just like you found it... while searching the web for something that sounded irrestiably good!  We hope we enjoy it!  But really, read the ingredients, what's not to LOVE?  And there are only about 150 calories in a 2 cup serving!  YUM!  Serve it with a side salad and a regular size serving of crusty bread and it's a full meal.  you could also, of course, pair it with meat of your choosing - fish or chicken, probably even burgers or even a steak.  It's a very versatile soup!

Roasted Corn and Pepper Soup

This is a great recipe when the garden is overflowing. (but if it's the dead of winter, we've got alternatives!)


4 ears yellow corn, shucked OR a pound of frozen corn kernels

3 bell peppers, (red, orange or yellow) OR 1 jar roasted peppers packed in water

5 Roma tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped  OR 1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes, drained

1 T olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, finely diced
pinch red pepper
1/4 t cumin, ground
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t black pepper
16 oz chicken broth, low sodium
1 T chives, chopped (optional)


Roast the corn and peppers over a grill set on medium heat or in a 400 degree oven until the kernels just start to brown and the skin of the peppers starts to char. Place the peppers in a paper bag or in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel. Allow the peppers to steam for 10 minutes. While the peppers are steaming, allow the corn to cool to the touch. Using a knife and slicing away from you, remove the kernels from the cob. (if using frozen corn, follow the same directions, but spread the kernels out into a single layer on a dark baking sheet and bake as outlined herein).  Remove the charred skin from the peppers and chop them.

Heat a large stock pot or saucepan over moderate heat. Add oil and once hot, add onions. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree approximately half of the soup with an immersion blender or in food processor - mix the puree and the "chunky stuff" together and serve.  You can also puree all of the soup - it's your choice!

Make four two-cup servings.

Cilantro and Lime Encrusted Tilapia

I can't believe how easy and yummy it is to "encrust" fish.  Doesn't the word "encrust" sound so difficult.  Really, you just cook one side of fish, flip, top with some "crust", and cook until done.  That's "encrusting" something!  I've paid dearly for horseradish encrusted steaks and blah blah encrusted fish and really... it's something the chef throws on the meat, broils until it's crispy, and plates.  WOW!
I know, some "encrust"-ed foods are more complex, but this is what I've mastered, and will continue to do!

This is "a few of my favorite things" on some tilapia.  Tilapia is a "safe fish" in my house - it doesn't taste like fish, it's easy to tell when it's done, and it's pretty darn inexpensive at Aldi ... especially when you notice that tilapia is sold in a 24 ounce bag, not a 16 ounce bag (salmon) or even a 12 ounce bag (boiled shrimp).  Tilapia also absorbs the flavors of the crust nicely!

Lime Parmesan with Cilantro encrusted Tilapia
4 servings tilapia
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup cilantro
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) lime juice squeezed
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 lime (to squeeze on fish)

In a small bowl, mix the cheese, crumbs, cilantro and 2 tbsp lime juice. 
Preheat Broiler
Place frozen or thawed fish in a hot, Oven-Proof, non-stick frying pan heated to medium over medium heat.  Cook until the fish releases from the pan when nudged with a spatula.  From frozen this is about 5 minutes, from thawed maybe 3.
VERY CAREFULLY flip fish - squeeze 1/2 lime evenly over pieces of fish.  LIGHTLY sprinkle with cayenne pepper (or paprika if you prefer).  Place the "crust" on top of the fish.  Cook for 2 minutes (assuming frozen fish). Place frying pan under the broiler for 3 minutes. (skip add'l cooking and just broil thawed fish).

remove from pan to plate and serve!
I tossed a bit of grated parmesan cheese on top of this just for fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Polenta with Mushrooms

I was at a wedding last weekend and three food items being served struck my fancy, I decided I want to make them all on this blog. There was a cream of polenta that was out of this world. It was similar to mashed potatoes, but it was very creamy considering polenta is very gritty. Im not sure how this was accomplished, possibly lots of butter and it was run through food porcessor after cooked, at any rate everyone was raving about the "polenta".
I decided to make polenta as a main entres on the blog this week, since I have never actually made it before and nor has Kim. However, I decided to not try to replicate what I had the other night since I really dont know how it was prepared and It was more of a side dish, not an entres. Upon researching Polenta, I discovered their are tons and tons of ways to make cornmeal- boiled, baked, fried, as a pizza crust, muffin base, pie crust the list goes on. The first choice was easy, I decided to boil it because that seemed easiest route, because even if I was to bake or fry the cornmeal, I would have to boil it first to get it ready to bake or fry. Does that make sense? I decided to top the polenta with a combination of button and portobello mushrooms sauce. All in all, I think my first attempt at polenta came out pretty good. I made a few mistakes, but the good news is, Kim is making hers tonight and upon discussing with her, she already knows how she will make it better then mine, so hers will be near perfect.
I learned a few facts about polenta in the last few days and made lots of discoveries

First, it originates from northern Italy(long ago :))
It is ground up corn(I guess I knew that but never really thought about that)
It was considered paesant food because it was so cheap to make
It is served at some of the finest dining establishments and a pretty penny is charged for it(may be considred so gourmet because of its long prep period)
It is healthier then white pasta or rice, containing tons of fiber
oh, and lastly, it is cheap, cheap, cheap!! $1.99 a 5 lb bag at my very expensive local grocery store. That translates to 25 cups of cornmeal in a bag, and 1 cup(which serves 4 hungry eaters, cost .08, so that would be .02 a person! unreal.

lastly, it was easier to make then I thought, I did however boil the cornmeal with water, and i did think it very bland, even after I added some salt, and thats when Kim said "chicken broth" would have been better than water.

Recipe for Polenta
1 cup cornmeal
4 cups of water(thats what I did, Kim is going to use chicken broth instead)
salt to taste
Boil water, when the water is boiling add cornmeal slowly, stirring the whole time, slowly lower heat to low-medium and continue stirring 10-20 minutes
add salt if water is used and not chicken broth

serve imediately

for mushrooms
1 lb button mushrooms sliced in quarters
1/2 lb portabello mushrooms sliced in quarters
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup white wine

heat oil on low
add garlic
saute 5 minutes
add mushrooms, stirring
saute for 10 minutes
add white wine
saute 10 more minutes
add salt and pepper and parsley

keep on low until polenta is made
plate each plate with equal portions of polenta
top with mushrooms
add parm cheese or red pepper if desire

Green Bean, Black Olives, and Boiled Egg Salad

This salad containing green beans which are high in Vitamin C and Fiber and eggs which are high in protein, packs in a lot of nutrients and can be made incredibly quickly. Ive made this salad several times for parties and it always goes over very well. I did buy all ingredients at Aldi, however, these ingredients can be picked up at most convenient stores. Would I and I suspect most others perfer fresh or frozen greeen beans? absolutely, however, green beens in a can are a mainstay of most convenient stores, and sometimes are the only option that some people have. Canola oil can be used, as well as white or red vinegar, but I would prefer olive oil and balsamic venegar.

1 lb green beans(1 can 15 oz green beans rinsed very thoroughly)
1 can 15 oz black olives
2 boiled eggs(sliced or diced)
1/4 olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

in bowl combine beans, black olives, oil and vinegar and salt and pepper
top with boiled eggs

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Salad with Beets, Red Onion, Feta Cheese $3.89

If I had to choose the vegetable with the most beautiful color, I would have to say it is the beet. Its fuschia eye popping color, give life to any dish. I have the family that seriously fights over the beets. My neices love beets, and that is amazing because I truly dont think I could tollerate them until way into my 30's. I went through a big juicing faze about 10 years ago, and my favorite drink was carrot/beet(talk about a beautiful color!) I just got tired of all the waste from juicing and so I quit and decided to eat my vegetables and not drink them, but I loved carrot beet juice. Beets are not only beautiful, but incredibly nutritious. They contain high amounts of vitaimin C B1, B2, folate, and iron. They are also extemely high in fiber, and contain iron as well. Eating beets really are a slam dunk in our house, and incredibly economical.
1 Lb Romaine Lettuce $1.40

medium sliced onion .40

1 can 8 oz sliced beets .69

1/4 cup feta cheese .60

1/4 cup olive oil .60

1/8 balsamic vinegar .20

mix olive oil and vinegar

chop salad

add onion, beets and toss with dressing

salt for taste

top with feta cheese (optional)

Menu October 10-16

We are in homestretch of our blog and I cant believe all the meals I still want to make. This will be a week of some original stuff! I went to my favorite Aldi store to do my weekly shopping today and the Aldi manager noticed my hair color. The reason that is so amazing is because I got rid of my ridiculous highlights that in the past 4 months went from light brown to blonde, which looked really funny with my dark brown hair. Not one friend or family member of mine noticed my dark hair, but the Aldi worker did!! He said and I quote "you changed your hair, it looks really good." Aldi, not just a great store, with great products and great prices,but great observant employees!!

Here is the line up:

Sunday-Beet salad, served on a bed of lettuce
Monday- Roasted corn soup
Tuesday-Tilapia encrusted with cilantro and parm cheese, roasted brussel sprouts
Wednesay- Mushroom Polenta
Thursday- Beef Strogenoff
Friday- green Bean Salad with Boil Egg and Black Olive
Saturday- Pumpkin soup and Pumpkin dessert

Beef Stew and Brocolli Side $2.19

OK, confession time, as I was looking back at our blog I discovered we had made and blogged about a beef stew in January. Since I had allready purchased the ingredients and was about to start cooking, I decided to make the stew anyway. One of our driving forces behind this blog was not to have to run to the store at 5 pm to buy ingredients to make dinner, and I have LOVED not having to do the Dominiks Dinner Dash all year long.(Dominicks is our local grocery store that I only frequent in a pinch.) Aldi is the way for me to go, and Im sorry for anyone who doesnt live near or close enough to an Aldi. So to spice up this meal and make the post a bit different Im going to blog my roasted brocolli, which I prepare the same way I roast brussel sprouts, asparagus, and french green beans, and actually I do it often. Sometimes I even make them for a snack!

1 lb bag frozen brocolli $1.19
4 garlic cloves silced thin .30
2 tbsp olive oil .60
salt and pepper .10
total $ 2.19

preheat oven to 450
in a baking dish place thawed out brocolli
coat in olive oil and toss in garlic slices
salt and pepper
bake for 15 minutes

I like my brocolli cooked, but still with a bit of crunch
yum! The whole house will smell devine