Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Panini $2,03

OK the long, long days of February, are coming to a close, but not soon enough for this sun loving gal. My sons 5th grade teacher told me, even kids in school in the midwest get bummed out in this dreary weather, and February is notorious for being the most unproductive in terms of their schoolwork. So consequently the highlight of our day today was lunch. Paninis excite everyone b/c they get to operate the panini maker, and choose their sandwhich, within reason of course. I dont want to run to the store, so they must work with what I have in my house. Today, everyone went for michaels request- scrammbled eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese all baked on a tortilla. kind odd a bit messy, but non the less it all got eaten.

Here goes-
3 eggs, 3 egg whites .48
6 strips of turkey bacon .45
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese .60
1/4 cup milk .10
4 tortillas .40
total $ 2.03

crack all 6 eggs in a bowl, removing 3 yolks. wisk with milk until smooth
add salt and pepper
heat skillet on medium
pour in eggs, and scramble until light and flufy
remove from pan
place bacon in same pan, cook until crisp
heat up panini maker
evenly devide egg on each
top with 1/2 pieces of bacon, sprinkle with cheese
fold in half
place on panini maker for 1 minute

remove and eat it up!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Linguine Con Scampi $6.62

Here's a standby in our home, that is a favorite of ALL the children. My son Michael loves shrimp as do my 4 nieces and 1 nephew. If you were wondering what scampi means, you may have figured out it means shrimp. "Pasta" doesn't have to be linguine, it can be spaghetti, angel hair, rigatoni w/e.
The "sauce" tonight is agiio olio,(garlic olive oil).. It could also be a marinara sauce, arrabbiata sauce (spicy) fresh tomato and basil etc....
I am in the mood for light and flavorful, but I have to say a spicy tomato sauce sometimes hits the spot with shrimp.
Here's how it goes tonight (watch out, this is fast!)

1 lb pasta .99
3 garlic cloves minced .20
1/2 cup olive oil .25
12 ounces pealed and cooked shrimp $3.99
1/2 lb brocolli or asparagus fresh or frozen(if frozen thaw out)$1.19
S and P

Total $6.62

boil noodles according to instruction
heat oil in large pan on low, add minced garlic(5 minutes)
toss in vegetable add salt pepper. cook 10 minutes until cooked (not too soft)
add in cooked shrimp heat another 2 minutes
drain noodles
mix noodles in pan with shrimp and vegetables, saute together 2 minutes
remove from heat and serve

Red pepper flakes optional (a must for me)
Yum!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spaghetti & Meatballs - Thursday $7.37

Ellie's favorite - I know I've said that before, but this is for real! Too bad she won't be home to eat them - they are her favorite left over night treat, so she'll get hers on Saturday if there are any left...

Here goes!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey $2,43
2 egg whites .16
1/3 cup dry Italian seasoned breadcrumbs** .20
3 Tbsp water
1/3 onion, chopped (approx. 1/3 cup).15
2 cloves garlic, minced .10
1 Tbsp dried Parsley (approx. 3 Tbsp fresh).10
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 jar (26 oz) marinara sauce of your choosing .99
4 portions of pasta of your choice - about 8 oz. .99
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese .25
Total $ 7.37

In a large mixing bowl combine ingredients turkey thru black pepper. Mix thoroughly and shape into meatballs approx. 1 1/2 inch in diameter (I use a soup spoon as a scoop, with a gentle heap to the spoon, this makes the right size meatball for us each to have about 5 meatballs).

Heat a large frying pan with approx. 1 T olive oil covering the pan over medium heat. Place meatballs in pan and cook until they release from the bottom of the pan without alot of scraping or force. Turn occasionally until browned on all "sides".
Once meatballs are browned, add about 1/3 cup water, slide meatballs around a bit, then cover with marinara sauce and bring to a gentle boil - reduce heat to simmer, stir and cover - simmer for about 20 minutes while you bring a big pot of water to a boil and prepare the pasta per the directions.

Place a portion of pasta on each plate, cover with a portion of meatballs and marinara, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and sit back awaiting an empty plate!

**If you don't have Italian seasoned Breadcrumbs, you can substitute plain, in equal portions, but add basil, and garlic powder to the crumbs - I would add 1 1/2 tsp basil and 1 tsp garlic powder to the 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs in this recipe (or just add a touch more fresh garlic to the recipe!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Refried Black Beans & tortillas $3.45

Today is Ash Wednesday - for the Catholic friends among us, it's a day of both fasting and abstaining... fasting from food is currently practiced as 2 small simple meals and 1 small dinner. All with the objective of fulfilling your minimalist food needs, not satisfying your every hunger. Abstaining is what most non-Catholics observe us doing - not eating meat on Fridays... well, we also do it on Ash Wednesday, and throughout the triduim (commonly known as Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, the three days after lent comes to a close but before Easter Sunday) - many folks fast througout the Triduim as well.

Enough about the religious practices of the Catholics among us - let's get on to the food...

Refried Black Beans
1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil .10
1 Tbsp. Garlic .05
1 can Black Beans, undrained .59
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning Mix .10

heat oil to hot, add garlic - heat until savory - about one minute, then add black beans and taco seasoning mix. Mash the beans with a wooden spoon or potato masher until the consistency desired - heat to desired temp (water from beans will both evaporate and soak into the bean "mash").

Top with thick salsa (1/2 cup) and cheddar cheese (1/2 cup) and heat (covered) without stirring until cheese melts - you may place in broiler or oven if your pan is oven proof (no plastic handles!)

Homemade Tortilla Chips
1 package flour or corn tortillas (like for quesadillas or soft shell tacos) .98
olive oil spray .10

using pizza cutter or scissors or knife, cut the tortillas into either wide strips (1") or triangles, whatever you prefer... place on a baking sheet without touching - spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray, then salt to taste. Place in 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes, remove, flip chips, and return to oven for another 5-8 minutes until desired browness is acheived. They will crisp up outside the oven, so do not over cook!

I'm also making a spanish rice type of dish - just for fun since I'm already messing up the kitchen.
I've added:

1 8-oz can tomato sauce .49
2-3 Tbsp. diced mild green chilis (from a little can) depending on taste .39
1 cup rice .40
2 cups water
1 tsp garlic salt .10
1/2 tsp cumin .10
1 tsp. sugar .05
Total $3.45
mix all ingredients in a medium covered sauce pan, heat over medium high heat to a boil, reduce heat to low simmer - simmer covered for at least 20 minutes until rice is plump.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beef and Barley Soup

a savory veggie soup with beef and pearl barley for SIX people - perfect for freezing and pulling out another night - also great for Thursday or Friday's lunchtime leftovers.

Healthy, nutritious, fast soup for people on the go!

Beef and Barley Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil .10
6 portions (1 1/2 pounds) top sirloin beef $4.29
4 cups beef broth(.69)
1 cup water
1 onion, chopped .20
1 rib celery, sliced .10
1 carrot, peeled & sliced .10
1 tsp dried oregano .05
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp jarred) .30
1/2 cup pearl barley .40
1 bay leaf .10
10 oz. frozen green beans $1.09
1 - 14 oz can diced tomatoes .59
10 oz. frozen green peas .99
Total $8.90
1) In a large pot, over med-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add cubed beef and sear for approx. 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all edges.
2) Stir in beef broth, water, onion, celery, carrot, oregano, black pepper, garlic, barley and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 45 minutes.
3) 15 minutes prior to serving, REMOVE BAY LEAF, stir in green beans, tomatoes, and peas. Simmer, covered, until meat and veggies are all tender and hot.
4) Ladle approximately 2 cups of soup per person.

Serve with yummy crusty bread if your family dictates, or as is because this is a perfect balance of carbs and protein due to the veggies and barley with all that great steak!

CROCKPOT VERSION... (never done it, but trying it today - and I was right on!!)
Complete step one per above directions.
Put meat into warm crockpot along with all ingredients listed in step 2... cook about 4 hours on high instead of 45 minutes in a pan.
In step 3, REMOVE BAY LEAF, and add tomatoes and frozen veggies but instead of 15 minutes, allow your frozen veggies at least 30 minutes in the slow cooker - you'll know when they're hot, and you probably can't overcook them unless you add them in step 2.
(my frozen veggies were in the slow cooker soup for 1 hour - perfection!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Southwestern Chopped Salad $4.65

This is one of my favorite salads to order when eating out, and I am thinking an easy salad to make, so I am going to give it a shot. At a local restaurant where I order the salad everytime I dine there, they get $12.95 for this salad and that is without chicken or shrimp. My challenge is the dressing, I think it is some form of Ranch, but something else is added to it to give it a southwestern bite. Im going to try some taco seasoning mix.
I'll let you know how it tastes.

Southwestern Chopped Salad  ($4.65)
1 lb romaine lettuce ($1.79)
1 cup black beans (.35)
1 cup corn (.50)
1 cup red peppers(diced) ($1)
1 cup broken tortilla chips (.30)
1 cup ranch dressing ($.60)

chop salad, add beans, corn, peppers, chips and dressing. toss together and serve.

Chicken, shrimp, beef, avoacodo, tofu, onion, tomato, all optional
Let me beat Barbara to the punch ... MMMMmmmm so good.  Refreshing and totally hit the spot for dinner tonight!  We added chicken and used the following dressing: 

Homemade Southwestern Ranch Dressing
1 cup Fit & Active Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing
2 Tablespoons StoneMill Essentials Taco Seasoning Mix (.11)

Stir to thoroughly combine ingredients - cover and refrigerate for a minimum 15 minutes to combine flavors.  A good solution to the dressing issue - use in the salad in place of the ranch dressing Barbara's described above!

I'm adding no cost on the chicken breast as I had froze it after making that chicken noodle soup a few weeks ago.  Probably if I were to put a price on it (as in freshly prepared frozen chicken), I'd go with $1.05 for a half pound of chicken.
P.S. I can't wait to see Barbara's picture to see what the restaurant version looks like compared to mine!

Week 6 under $70.00 again!!!

I wasnt entirely sure of cost on Saturdays baked potato meal, so I thought safe to say around $7.00.

With that said, 7 good, and healthy meals cost my family $ 46.80. Not bad considering we had chicken a few times, pork tenderloin, roastbeef, lots of veggies, just enough pasta.....looking forward to savings this week.

Meal review:

Sunday- Spicy Buffalo chicken Sandwhich $ 5.84
Monday- Canneloni beans, spinach and pasta $ 4.42
Tuesday- Herb crusted salmon, sweet potato fries and vegetables $ 8.88
Wednesday-Italian Beef Sandwhich and salad $ 8.31
Thursday- Sweet Spicy Pork Tenderloin potatoes and vegetables $ 7.20
Friday- Pasta olive oil and garlic with diced tomatos and basil and Bruscetta $5.20
Saturday-Anything goes baked potato $ 7.00

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shopping Total


If you bought every single thing on the shopping list - in other words you had not a single spice, no olive oil, garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, carrots, onions, nor frozen veggie in the house... you're still cooking dinner for four each of the next seven nights for ...

Now, if you haven't read my "note" at the end of the grocery list, you should - you'll learn how I paid $25.65 for ALL of my groceries for the week.  That's alot of carryover and a couple good bargains that my bargain shopper, coupon shopper husband picked up with his portion of our food budget!

Here's what we think you'll have left over after purchasing all $69.86 of groceries...
ranch dressing, oregano, garlic, parsley, basil, olive oil, cheeses, 10 eggs, salsa, italian bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, 2 peppers, 4 onions, all but 1 rib of celery, all but 1 big carrot from a 2 lb bag, 1 or 2 lbs of frozen chicken breast, 6 ounces frozen beans, 6 ounces frozen peas, 8 ounces frozen corn (approx), all but 1/4 cup of a full bottle of white wine, and barley.

Guess you'd better stick with us so we can help you use up the rest of those "staples!"  That's alot of food if you don't have a clue what to do with it!

Valentines Day! Involtini Di Pollo $6.79

Involtini is a fancy Italian way to say rolled chicken breast. Usually the chicken is stuffed and then rolled and baked or sauteed. Our choice of stuffing for the chicken for today is spinach and provolone cheese, but the chicken can be stuffed with anything that appeals. I've stuffed it with proscuitto, artichokes, asparagus, sundried pesto, peppers, and any kind of cheese.

4 Chicken Breasts(fresh or frozen) if frozen thaw thoroughly $3.60
4 Slices provolone Cheese .50
2 handfulls fresh spinach, or 1 cup frozen spinach .30
1/4 cup flour .05
s & P
1/4 cup white wine .20
3/4 cup olive oil .30
1 lb potatoes .75
1 lb frozen vegetables $1.09
Total: $6.79
preheat oven to 350
Cut up potatoes in bite size chunks, and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper
place in baking pan and bake 40 minutes, until crisp
Pound chicken breast flat, and salt and pepper each side.
place cheese and spinach on each breast(6-8 leaves)
roll breasts tight and roll in flour
secure closed with toothpicks
place in baking pan
coat with 1/4 cup olive oil and white wine
bake 20-30 minutes (Kim broiled the chicken for the last three minutes to give it a beautiful golden glow...
heat skillet with oil, add beans(or other vegetable) cook for 5-7 minutes add salt and pepper
(Here it is in the cast iron frying pan/baking dish - I didn't quite roll it well enough - my helpers were trying to get in on the action ya know!)

(If you're sticking with our shopping list, you'll want to have used the flavored rice package and frozen veggie of choice for tonight's meal... Barbara's family is just potato happy!!!)