Saturday, May 1, 2010

shopping list for First week in May!

Assumed items

Black pepper
Brown sugar
olive oil

Aisle one
Cayenne pepper$1.09
Parsley $1.09
Evaporated skim milk$1.39
Red pepper sauce .99
Salsa $1.19

Mozzarella Cheese$2.99
Swiss Cheese slices$2.29
Eggs (1 dozen).99
Red. Fat sour cream.89
2 c Shredded cheddar$2.29

Pizza Sauce.99
BBQ sauce of choice$1.19
Pasta (prefer Spaghetti or Vermicelli).99
White rice
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
Black beans (1/2 cup).59
Tortilla Wraps.99
Tomato sauce.49
Bread Crumbs$1.59
2 cans Tuna $1.38

Pizza toppings of choice (mushrooms, pepper, onions, etc.)mushrooms $1.99, peppers $3.29, onions $2.29
Baby Carrot .39(on sale at my Aldi)
Sweet Potatoes $2.29
Red pepper
Cherry Tomatoes$1.99
Cilantro (optional)$1.29
Romaine Lettuce heads$1.79
Onion $2.29

Pizza topping of choice (pepperoni, ham, Canadian bacon, or sausage)pepperoni 42.19
Pork Loin or shoulder – not marinated – about 3 pounds$4.99
Bacon (regular or turkey bacon)$1.99

1 to 1 ½ lbs frozen chicken$6.19
2 packages Frozen (or fresh) asparagus$1.99
Green beans (or fresh)$1.19
Frozen corn (1/2 cup)$1.19

12 oz Rootbeer.30
Hoagie Rolls$1.49
Chicken Broth (box or 1 can).59

Happy Shopping Friends!
Sunday - Panini is Burgandy
Monday - Pork is Brown
Chicken is green on Tuesday
Wednesday pasta is blue
Egg dish on Thursday is purple
Friday's Tuna meatballs are red
and Orange is for Saturday's BLT Wrap

Eggdrop Soup $1.92

Eggdrop soup or Stratchatelle, is a soup my mom made for me when I was young and not feeling well, and I in turn make if for my son when he isnt feeling well. I think its the soothing broth and the egg which is loaded with protein that provides a big "pick me up". I never followed a formal recipe to make it, so this time I am going to measure it out

4 cups chicken broth$1.18
3 eggs beaten.24
1/4 tsp grated ginger.05
1/4 tsp garlic powder.05
1 tsp soysauce.10
2 small green onions.20
1 tablespoon cornstarch.10

pour 3 1/2 cups chicken broth in a pot and add ginger, garlic powder soy sauce and onion
bring to boil
in bowl combine remaining chicken broth and cornstarch, stir together completely
add mixture to broth, and simmer
slowly add beaten eggs
eggs should form white ribbons

This is usually a soup I like on a cold winter day, but a rainy overcast day will do!!

What's for dinner - May 2 thru 8 $29.37

Wholly Cow what a week for the Heron Family!
Something BIG going on most every night this week...

Sunday  - Pizza Panini
Monday - Pulled Pork
Tuesday - Chicken with Asparagus and swiss cheese
Wednesday - Pasta Primavera in a white sauce
Thursday - (Fake) Chili Rellenos Bake
Friday - Tuna Meatballs
Saturday - BLT Wraps

Happy Anniversary to my Husband on Sunday - Congratulations to my daughter as she celebrates her first communion on Saturday.  And all the company comes to town, and we cater an event, and the kids still have their gymnastics, hockey, skating practice, t-ball, brownies, and ... crap, I can't remember the other thing.


Linguine White Clam Sauce alla Walgreens $4.85

Well Kim and I were planning on kicking off our Walgreens challenge next week with Tuna Meatballs, and then Kim and I realized our recipe for yesterday- Eggplant Parmegeana didnt really appeal to either of us....for some reason, of all the vegetables in the world, I just dont like the texture of eggplant, and neither does my blogging partner Kim. So since my Aldi didnt have eggplant lastweek, and I really didnt want to go to the grocery store on such a beautiful day(80 and sunny- awesome for Chicago in April!)we decided to start the Walgreens challenge yesterday. So I got on my bike and headed over to Walgreens(about 5 minutes from my house by bike) and scanned the food aisle. Within minutes, tons of recipe ideas came to my mind, and I realized this "challenge" wasnt going to be difficult at all.
Lastnight, I needed something basic and easy, so I grabbed a box of spaghetti, and a can clams. Now, if I was doing all my shopping at Walgreens for my Linguine White Clam sauce, I would have purchased olive oil(on sale for $3.29-and that is on sale often)garlic salt, garlic powder,red pepper flakes and dried parsley, all available at Walgreens, but I allready have those items. Point is though, I would need to go no further then Walgreens for this meal.
meal takes 20 minutes from start to finish to prepare- here goes it:

1 lb linguine$1.99
1 can clams$1.99
3 tablespoons olive oil .40
1 tsp garlic powder .10
2 tsp garlic salt .12
1 tablespoon dried parsley .10
red pepper optional(as much or little as you like) .15

Total: $4.85
$ 1.22 per serving

Boil noodles as directed
heat large skillet with oil on low
add clams with clam juice, garlic salt, garlic powder
when noodles cooked, drain and toss in skillet with clam sauce
serve with parsley and red pepper if desired

This pasta was very good and very tasty. I would say honestly fresh garlic would have been the only ingredient I would have preferred, however, I know many, many people who dont like a lot of strong garlic in their food, whether they dont digest it well, or just dont like it, so it isnt always missed.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Walgreens Challenge

A while back I challenged myself to not go to Walgreens everyday, not because I didnt like Walgreens, but because I LOVE WALGREENS!!!!! The problem with Walgreens is they have such great sales at all times, that if I go in there to get a "posterboard" for my son, I end up getting some makeup, or lotion, or fuzzy socks,or a candle, or a bunch of things in the "markdown" section, inotherwords,I dont stop at the posterboard. Walgreen is a siv for me when bargain shopping. Now, sometimes out of convenience, I shop Walgreens because we may absoloutely need something, and dont want to go to the local Target, which may be less expensive but 5 miles away, Aldi(which as you know from blog is my "goto" store, but its 15 minutes away and I cant drive there for a few items)and lastly I dont want to deal with the hassle of shopping at the local grocery store simply because it takes so long to get in and out of store. Also, the truth is, in my area, Walgreens everyday prices on milk and eggs are always less expensive then Safeway.
I read an article about Walgreens increasing its food selection, and right away, I thought, how genius of Walgreens to cater to convenience shoppers like myself who want to cook and not eat out and cant or dont want to get to a big grocerystore? So that is when Kim and I came up with the idea to do the Walgreens cooking challenge. We are going to incorporate into our blog atleast once a week a recipe from Walgreens. There is a bunch of criteria this challenge has to meet starting with the entres have to be healthy and meet many food group requirements, fairly easy to prepare, relatively inexpensive(hopefully we will find sales) and use instore and manufacturer coupons. The challenge doesnt include frozen or prepackaged meals, and lastly the challenge can include breakfast, lunch, dinner appetizer, snack or healthy dessert.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Napa Cabbage Salad w/ Chicken $5.90

About 30 years ago my Aunt made this salad and brought it to a party.  It didn't have any chicken in it, and it wa sn't nearly as healthy as I've attempted to make this one because it had twice the dressing and 3 times the crunchies.  Never the less, this has become a favorite of the grownups for some time, and I share it with you today.

Napa Salad

1 head Napa Cabbage - approx 1 1/2 to 2 lbs$2.29
5 green onions (or red onions if preferred).40

2 packages Ramen Noodles - crushed - toss the sauce mix in the trash..98
1/2 cup butter or margarine.18
1/2 cup slivered almonds.60
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds.25
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (the nuts, no shells).35

1/2 cup Canola Oil.30
1/2 cup sugar.25
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce.15
1/2 cup white vinegar.15

Melt butter in frying pan, add remaining ingredients for "crunchies", then saute together until everything is lightly browned.

Mix dressing in some sort of container - pint jar with lid works great, but an open bowl will suffice.

Cut napa into smaller than bite size pieces and onion into tiny shreds. 

Combine all three parts, along with 4 servings of chicken breast, prepared as you wish.  Mix well, allow to stand for about five minutes, and serve.  Do not mix more than 45 minutes in advance as crunchies become soggies, and that's gross!.

Happy 200

200 posts!
AND, more importantly, a very Happy Birthday to my dear friend Barbara!  Really, I can't tell you how much you've pushed me to try new things - to go beyond my norm with this blog stuff!  I've tried new recipes, brought back old, tried new combos - and broadened my horizons with chickpeas and more olive oil than I'd eaten in my life to date!  But, it's good!

Next phases ahead you hot thing!  Can't wait to work more with you on the direction of the new steps!

Happy Birthday friend Barbara!  I hope someone made you a princess cake for your birthday!  And that they lit more than two candles for you!

(PS, I'm gonna find a different cake to post here every so often until you acknowledge the cakes, Barbara!!!).  Ever had a Hello Kitty Cake?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bruscetta Chicken $6.30

Big running joke in my family amongst Awesome Italian cooks is that my specialty is Bruscetta, which Ive always said, how can anyone not make bruscetta good if fresh tomato, basil, garlic and EVOO is used? I think my theory is correct because I made this chicken lastnight and Michael ate two helpings which is unheard of considering the evil "green" color was on the chicken and he still devoured it. Infact it was so good and easy to make, I made it again today for my friend who is at my house doing some painting. Oh by the way, he snapped the picture of the chicken with his hightech camera, and i snapped a picture as well wioth my not so high tech camera, so I could compare quality of the pictures. I, who have never been very much into taking pictures, have suddenly taken to admiring "food" pictures in magazines, other blogs, cookbooks. I love all the depth an colors that can jump out from a picture, just like I love all the flavors that come out from using different herbs and spices and cooking techniques.

Bruscetta Chicken

4 chicken breasts $3.05
2 medium tomatos diced$1.50
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped.60
3 cloves garlic chopped.15
2 tablespoons olive oil.25
1/4 cup white wine.65
salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil.10

preheat oven 350
salt and pepper chicken breast
place chicken in bake pan
coat chicken breasts with white wine and olive oil
place in oven and bake for 15 minutes
while chicken baking, mix tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil
evenly top chicken with mixture
make another 15 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked

I have to say something about chicken. I understand the theories that fresh chicken would taste better or be more moist, because that is how I used to feel. Before, I would never purchase frozen chicken, I thought there had to be a reason that it was so much cheaper then fresh, but when we started this blog and one of our main focuses was to save money, I couldnt escape the glaring difference in price of fresh vs frozen chicken. My local Aldi or Trader Joes has chicken priced at $2.10 per lb, my local grocery store $3.50 pr lb, whole foods $5.50 per lb. Thats a big difference. I think all our chicken dishes have tasted just sa good as they would have with fresh chicken. The difference is in the preparation and ingredients. The ingredients dont have to be expensive either. This chicken dish cost around $6.30 to serve 4 people 4 large chicken breasts! Im digging the saving and unless I find fresh onsale, frozen is the way I am going to go.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blackened Orange Roughy with Jalepeno Lime sauce $3.79

Doesnt this sound good? This is not for the non spice lovers, but for those who can take some heat. Not only does it seem like it is going to have a kick to it, it would appear very low fat(Kim whats your rough estimate?) I like to go light when watching Biggest Loser especially since I didnt have time to work out today. Infact, I a going to have to get this recipe posted and then dash to get my child at play practice and get him to baseball practice until 7:30. I allready made my blackening rub and my lime/jalepeno sauce, so making the fish should take more then 15 minutes to whip on out.
First time making or eating this, so I or Kim will make adjustments if need be after

4 orange Roughy filets$2.29
1 jalepeno.50
2 tablespoons lime.40
1 tablespoon chili powder.10
1 tsp cumin.05
1 tsp paprika.05
1 tsp black pepper.05
1 tablespoon oil.20
2 tablespoons butter.15

First cook up jalepeno in skillet until blackend, or slice up and place on panini maker or George Foreman Grill
after blackened,place in plastic bag and close bag
in the meantime combine all the spice, mix well
poor oil into skillet and heat
sprinkle dry mixture on fish, pat evenly on both sides of fish
place fish in skillet cook evenly on both sides for 4 minutes each
while fish is cooking, remve skin from jalepeno and place in blender or food processor with lime juice, pulse until smooth consistency
when fish fully cooked, brush melted butter on each piece and brush on jalepeno lime combination.
ok, Im excited, I hope it comes out as good as it sounds.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Country Style Spare Ribs ($6.45)

Time for another Ellie favorite - Country Style Spare Ribs.
I do at least two pounds, but sometimes alot more... certainly a favorite around here
Now, these can be fatty, so if you find alot of fat on your meat that is trimmable, do so, if not, you could drain out the juice after the two (or more) hours of cooking but before adding the juice -

Country Style Spare Ribs

Approx. 2 to 3 lbs. Country Style Spare Ribs (2 lbs $4.80)
Brown or grill lightly.

Small Sprinkle of ground Rosemary on each rib – or a few sprigs thrown in on top of the meat.
Orange Juice to cover the bottom of the pan – not much perhaps ½ cup.
1 tsp APPROX minced garlic sprinkled on top of meat.
1 med to large onion cut into LARGE wedge, put on top of meat.

Cook 2 hours @ 250 degrees covered – try not to open the electric frying pan except for when flipping after 1 hour (try to reposition onions to top of meat).

Combine in a sauce pan
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 T Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar (optional – if you don’t have this, increase plain balsamic vinegar to 3 T.)
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
1 T white vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 T honey
Approx. 6 dashes Worcestershire sauce (maybe less)

Combine – and heat approx 5 minutes. (make sure sugars are dissolved/combined)
Add to meat by pouring over the top…Cook with meat for at least ½ hour…

We also served the MYSTERY MASHED POTATOES (no one but me has a clue what's in the things ... Ellie's eaten them twice, and loved 'em.  First time ever!)

2 large red potatoes (I bought these on sale for $.49 for 5 lbs @ St. Patrick's Day! = .03)
1/3 head cauliflower  (.85)
1 oz. bleu cheese(.40)


Typical Cooking Hints and addendums:

• Every time you open the frying pan you lose a large amount of necessary water – if the pan dries out, add more water by the tablespoon to remoisten. Do not let the pan get too dry – dry ribs will be tougher.

• If you don’t have Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, and want the raspberry flavor, substitute 3 T of crushed fresh Raspberries OR 3 T fruit jam. The raspberry flavor is NOT essential – the OJ in the bottom of the frying pan is.

• I like saucier ribs, so I frequently use two cans of tomatoes and APPROX. double everything else in the sauce.

• If you don’t have an electric frying pan, you can use a crock-pot or a dutch oven … set crock pot to high for first hour, low for rest of cooking time. For dutch oven, set oven to 250 degrees… be sure to cover either.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blackbean Burgers $3.91

If I had to choose my favorite Super Food, I think it would be a toss up between blackbeans and blueberries. I not only like them prepared many different ways, I even like them alone. These little black treasures are extremely high in fiber, which aids in lowering cholesteral, and aids in lowering blood sugar which is awesome, especially for diabetics. They are also high in antioxidents which is great for keeping free radicals at bay(inother words, important in the prevention of horrendous cancer cells, Ya!!) Also, lets not forget the all important protein these tiny black jewels contain, they contain so much iron, 20.1% of our daily reccomnded allowance. Can you believe a can of blackbeans with all their goodness cost a mere .59? I actually couldnt get to my Aldi today, so I went to my local grocery store which I usually dont frequent unless I purchase items on sale. I did get kinda lucky at Jewel(Albertsons) and got 2 cans of blackbeans for .79 each on sale from .99, and that did make me happy, well happier, .59 would have been better. Sometime when planning a meal and shopping, one must weigh out time, travel and quite frankly gas prices. Gas right now is high, and I need to be in the area of Aldi tomorrow, so I didnt want to take the 15 minute drive two days in a row. My minivan is a gas guzzler! This folks is why grocerylist and meal planning is KEY! However, even at the "over payment" of blackbeans the burgers still only cost $2.31 for 4 of them!! Throw in another .60 for buns(if desired) another dollar for tomato, lettuce onion, maybe some mustard, we are talking $3.91 for a protein, iron packed SUPER FOOD dinner that can feed 4 hungry people.
For my recipe tonight the only ingredient I didnt allready have was blackbeans, so going local made sense, tomorrow I will do the big shopping, which never is that big since starting this project. I have "hidden" blackbeans in ground beef before when making meatballs, but I have never had a solid beanburger before, so I am interested to see how the recipe turns out. OK, lets give it a shot: oh BTW, I have an avocado, so I am going to make a guacomole to top the burger, I can hardly wait.....

2 cans black beans $1.58
1/2 onion .20
2 tsp cumin .05
1 egg.08
1/2 chili powder.05
1/2 bread crumbs.20
2 garlic cloves chopped.10
2 tsp parsley.05
drain beans very well
combine all ingredients in food processor
pulse until combined but not so much that it is smooth(inotherword, keep kinda lumpy)
remove and form mixture into patties
if frying, add 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil to large skillet on medium flame
add burgers 2 at a time, cook 3 minutes on each side
or bake on a cookie sheet
5 minutes on one side then flip to the other

1 ripe avocado pealed and destoned(is that a word?)
1/4 onion diced well
1 tsp fresh lime or lime juice
salt and pepper
combine ingredients and mash with fork very well

Burgers can be served with bread, hamburger buns, or lettuce like a wrap(thats how I am eating it, because I have been having too much carbs with all that Agio Olio pasta Ive been eating(: )

The Herons were CRAZY about these patties!  We LOVED them, and will make them again with different varieties!  Like mushroom, swiss, or sweet onion & bbq, mmm, terrific starter, B!

trying not to overdo the carbs, we too went open face topped with the AWESOME Aldi fresh tomato Salsa  and with a side of home-baked corn tortilla chips!

Saturday's Taco Bar ($7.40)

A HUGE favorite around our house is "make your own Taco Bar".  I think it's a combination of lovin' tacos and having the freedom to make them yourself, but the taco bar is a no lose meal for me!  I don't have a single complainer when I way ... taco bar!  I even have lots of help with the cutting and chopping if I'm moving slow enough in the kitchen to allow it.  Really, I throw all the ingredients pictured above (sometimes more) in the middle of our HUGE kitchen table and let them have at it!  We have great discussions because someone is always asking for something to be passed their way!

This time I did have a couple gripes - I forgot to buy black olives - and man oh man, did I hear about it from Jacob.  He LOVES black olives.  And I was a bit disappointed in myself that I had not gotten an avocado somewhere this week - mmm, the avocado has really become one of my favorite foods ... I used to be disgusted by the green gem, but now, bring it, baby!  When I was shopping on Saturday the avocado offerings could have doubled as yard sculptures (ROCKS) they were so hard, and I forgot to request them from any other shopping trips, so my taco was sans avocado!  (this was NOT a personal challenge to see how many times I could use the word Avocado in a paragraph, but I did use it alot, didn't I!)

Anyway, here's my 'secret recipe'!!!

1 package ground turkey ($2.49)
1 package taco seasoning  ($.33)

1 heart of Romaine Lettuce (.63)
1/2 red pepper (.55)
1/2 jar salsa (.75)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($1.10)
1/2 cup sour cream (.25)
1 pkg crispy taco shells (we used four from the box - .33)
1 pkg soft shell taco shells (we used six $.66)
1/2 can black beans (.30)

Most people also put fresh tomatoes and black olives in their tacos.  Add in those plus the Avocado and maybe fresh cilantro and you're STILL under $10 for a great taco feast!  Can you go to Taco Bell for less than $10 for four people?  Didn't think so!

(I don't personally eat taco shells - strange issue for me ... here's my solution!  that's a HUGE taco salad with 2 1/2 cups lettuce that packs just 234 calories 16 carbs, 8 fat, and 23 protein)
The (Aldi layed out) Shopping List for April 25-May 1.  Hope you enjoy, we're super excited - lots of good stuff this week!

Assumed Items
Olive Oil

Aisle One
Garlic Powder$1.19
Balsamic Vinegar
White Vinegar
Brown Sugar$1.19
Worcestershire sauce
Soy Sauce$1.09
Chili Pepper$1.09
Sesame OR sunflower seeds
Slivered almonds
Canola Oil$1.99

Orange Juice
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
ButterBlue Cheese

Black Beans.59
Diced Tomatoes.69
Parmesan Cheesea$2.49
Tomato Sauce.39
Plain Bread Crumbs
2 pkgs Ramen style noodles
Spaghetti noodles

White onion$2.59
Napa Cabbage
Green Onions
Ginger $1.09
Jalapeno Pepper.50
Tomatoes (At least one pound)$1.99
Fresh Garlic.89
Bagged Salad$1.99
3 small potatoes.60
2-3 lbs Country Style Spareribs

Orange Roughy$3.99
Green Beans (or veg of choice)2 ½ lbs chicken$1.09 tenderloins (1.25 lbs for Grilled Chicken in salad,$6.19 1 1/4 lbs for Bruschetta Chicken)

2 slices old Bread
Hamburger Buns .89
1 32 oz box Chicken Broth

Sunday April 25 to May 1 $34.21

Here we are, a bit late, with your what to eat for the week post.
What a crazy week we've had - but we ate healthy, as a family, on a budget, and we're bringing it right back at you once again.  Can you believe we're closing out our fourth month of doing this together EVERY NIGHT!  I wonder how much money we've spent - have you saved as much as we have?

Sunday:  Black Bean Burgers
Monday: Country Style Spareribs w/ Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday:  Bruschetta Chicken, pasta, & small side salad
Wednesday:  Blackened Orange Roughy with Jalapeno Lime Sauce, green beans
Thursday: Napa Cabbage Salad with Grilled chicken
Friday:  Eggplant Parmesan
Saturday:  Egg Drop Soup

Let's hope the way we chose this menu doesn't become the norm - I miss my fit fast fabulous foodie more than I thought I would as we put this thing together over e-mail and phone.  Our banter while deciding menus is a star in my week.  RESCHEDULE!