Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Quesadilla with Corn and Blackbean Salsa

Kim and I love the combo of blackbean, Corn and Tomato so much we are always trying to find different ways to use them together in meals since this is a no repeat recipe year. This time we have incoropated spinach into the mix and cheese which just adds to the already nutritious trifecta. Spinach adds vitamin K and calcium and tons of other nutrients and cheese of course tons of calcium and protein. This is one healthy and easy meal.
give yourself about 10 minutes and you will be done in no time.
Ingredients and directions
preheat oven to 350

8 flour or corn tortillas
1 cup black beans
1 cup corn canned or thawed out frozen
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 tsp cilantro(optional)
1 tsp cumin(optional)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
about 40 fresh spinach leaves or 1 1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed
1 cup shredded cheese(cheddar or a mexican blend)
mix beans, corn, diced tomato in its sauce, cilantro, cumin and taco seasoning
lay out 4 tortillas on baking sheet, top each with salsa, spinach leaves(about 10 leaves per) or frozen -1/4 cup each and shredded cheese(1/4 cup each)
sandwhich each tortilla and topping with the other tortilla and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until tortilla top slightly brown and cheese is melted.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crescent Rolled Sausages

Yes... all from Aldi - this breakfast runs $2.39 for 10 "pig in a blanket" breakfast surprises - and about "$1,000,000" in happiness from the kids because it's super easy for them to make, and super easy for them to eat - and really, eating a "pig in a blanket" is pretty funny sounding.

Now, the health aspects of this aren't great - and that's not something I'm proud of, but on occasion, this is one of those "all things in moderation" type of meals.  That said, buy turkey sausages and reduced fat crescent rolls and you're modifying in the right direction!

1 package of 10 turkey sausage links-refrigerated precooked or cooked and cooled traditional links. 
1 package of reduced fat crescent rolls (still yummy butter flavored!)

lay the crescent rolls out per the package - and roll them up as directed (wide end to skinny point), but put a sausage in the middle and wrap around it. 

Bake per directions on crescent roll - I believe it's about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

(Picture note:  USUALLY I don't photograph half eaten plates of food - it just doesn't seem right.  But, for two reasons, I've done so here - a) you can't see the meat if the blanket isn't opened b) the kids jumped on these before I could stop them.  Guess that's a good thing!)

Here's a picture of the one that didn't get bitten into before I could get the camera out  --  and see you'd never know there was a pig in there were it not for the bite!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

mmmmm.  another one of those Body For Life/Eating For Life cookbook recipes that I absolutely love - the reasons 1) it's easy  2) it's an equal balance of carbs and protein, 3) pretty low fat - subbing olive oil of butter and 4) it looks great on the plate!

I had sort of forgotten this recipe until Lucy reminded me how flavorful the butter buds make this dish.  They're another trip to the real supermarket, but the health advantages - plus the amount of time one bottle of Butter Buds lasts vs. a pound of butter (which costs almost the same price) - it's pretty darn great!

Here you go...

8 oz uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil
lots of garlic (recipe calls for 6 cloves)
1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup Butter Buds - divided
1/3 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 lemon
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped.

Cook penne per package

MEANWHILE... heat olive oil and garlic in large skillet over medium heat until warm and fragrant.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp Butter Buds and white wine to shrimp - saute another 2 minutes.  Place cooked pasta in large serving bowl and mix it with remainder of Butter Buds and black pepper.  Mix, then toss fresh shrimp in and gently mix a bit longer.

Divide into four portions, and squeeze with lemon juice, parm, and parsley - serve it up!

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)

My college roommate made this for my bridal shower about 13 years ago - and I loved it!  And periodically I break down and make it - and for weeks after I wonder why I don't do it more often.  Other than the trip to the grocery store (as opposed to Aldi's) - or in my case SuperWalmart (horrors!) for the special tomatillos this is a total NO WORK salsa that is so yummy and delicious - and unlike store bought salsa - it's sodium free - and can be sugar free!  I love it on chips, salad, chicken, nachos, you name it!  So what's to it you ask?

1 pound green tomatillos (freshest when the green/brown skin is still tight
about 1/2 jalapeno pepper (seeded)
1/2 cup white onion
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
juice of 1/2 medium lime
1/4 tsp sugar - optional - I usually omit

place tomatillos in a pot of boiling water - boil additional 5 minutes - skins will loosen
drain, cool to touch, remove skins and core.
Place everything in a food processor or blender - do your magic until it's the consistency desired.  Some like it runnier, some chunkier - it's your salsa!

We served on top of chicken nachos (diced chicken, tortilla chips, colby-jack cheese broiled for about 4 minutes).  Black olives would have been added, but we were out - and of course the sour cream goes in last!

Here's my reduced carb version - no chips for me, just a huge ole' salad with tons of salsa as dressing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Horseradish Encrusted Whitefish

Tuesday night-Biggest Loser night and so I knew I had to do something Jillian and Bob would approve of, so we did a Horseradish Encrusted Whitefish. Our menu actually listed Mahi Mahi as our fish of the week, but my store of choice was out of Mahi Mahi, and I was forced to go to my local grocerystore for the fish. I had no idea what the price would be, but when I saw $12.95 lb, I just couldnt do it. I dont alway even think the fish at this unnamed major grocery store is good. It seem to always smell and taste fishy. Now, ofcourse Jillian from BL would love if everyone would purchase fresh, organic fish, and that coming from Wholefoods or a Fish Store, Im sure would be delicious and not fishy tasting, however the cost on that would probably blow half our budget for the week to feed 5 people. It just isnt realistic Jillian to make such I decided to go home and see what I had in my freezer, not having spent any money at the grocerystore felt good. I had some Tilapia and some whitefish, and I thought the whitefish would be a fit heartier for the encrusting.

Baked Polenta With Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Still on my quest to find ways to use up my cornmeal, so Im back to another creative way to make Polenta. This time, this way was a bit of a process, and baking the polenta gave it a bit of a different texture, it was kind of like polenta toasts. My polenta squares were thinner then I will do next time, but other than that, I liked them.
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup prepared marinara
1 cup mozarlla cheese

boil water, add bullion

slowly add cornmeal and stir constantly
stir for approximately 20 minutes or until cornmeal and water are a smooth consistency
remove from heat and pour into a 9x9 bake dish
smooth out so the whole pan is an even sheet of polenta
cook at 300 for 40 minutes
while polenta is baking heat sauce in pan
remove baking pan from oven and pour sauce over evenly
sprinkle with cheese and bake in oeven for 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted
remove from oven let stand for 10 minuted and cut into squares

Sunday, November 14, 2010

what to buy!

Wanna Eat what We're cooking?  FOllow this shopping list - laid out Aldi style, with a few items from your local grocery store listed at the bottom.

Tortilla Chips

Dijon Mustard
Black Olives (stock up – thanksgiving is a big Black Olive sale - $.88 at Albertsons Stores like Jewel)

Mozzarella Cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – or store brand equivalent
Breakfast Sausage Links

Plain Breadcrumbs
Tortilla for Quesadillas (flats could work)
Black Beans
Jarred Salsa
Whole Wheat Penne
Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Garlic
Fresh Spinach (Frozen can Sub)
Fresh Parsley (dried CAN substitute)
Field Greens
Fresh Fruit of Choice

Mahi Mahi
Veg of choice
Frozen Corn
Raw Shrimp
Ahi Tuna Steak

Tomatillos (small green tomatoes – in closed “skins”)
Corn Meal
Butter Buds
White wine (or chicken broth)

Happy Shopping!

Week of November 14 to November 20

Wow - almost Thanksgiving.  About a year ago Barbara and I dreamt this little gem up - and we didn't know what it would do for us.  We've got a few things to do, but we're gonna start letting others know about our cost saving recipes and menus - and hopefully we can make our mark on the world.

Here's what we've arrived at for this week.

Green Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde') over Chicken Nachos
Baked Polenta with Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce
Horseradish mustard encrusted mah mahi
Cheese and Spinach Quesadillas with White Corn Black Bean salsa
Ahi Tuna on a bed of field greens
Shrimp Scampi with Penne
Crescent Rolled Sausages (Pig in a Blanket)

exciting for us!  Nervous as can be about the Ahi Tuna - it's just GOT to be cooked the right amount of time ... and what to top it with.