Saturday, May 8, 2010

BLT Wraps $2.20

Perfect day for a quick and easy lunch! Im actually heading out the door now take my son to baseball practice and after a two hour practice for one team, he has a half hour break and then a game for another team. Normally, I would have gone and grabbed a Subway Lunch for him, complete with chips, cookie an a drink, and probably spent upward of $7.00, but instead I made him two wraps which cost a grand total of $1.10. His water was water from the tap, and two homemade brownies(I bought Paula Deans mix at Walgreens) and they were as good as from scratch. Michael was happy, we saved money, and the lunch, using turkey bacon was nutritious and lean. I personally am not a bacon eater, but I love, love, love lettuce, tomato, mayo sandwhiches, and I cant remember which niece of mine does as well, it may be Jackie, but it is just soooo dang good! I especially love them with lettuce and tomato fromt the garden. Hmmmmm, difficult to think of anything from the garden when it is 50 and freezing out with freezing rain in May. Only in the Chicagoland can it be 76 degrees one day, and 50 two days later. This sandwhich is definitely a comfort food lunch.

4 strips of bacon .40
2 tortillas .20
handful lettuce .10
1 medium tomato slices .30
1 tblspoon mayo .10

cook bacon
slice tomato
shred iceberg lettuce
spread mayo on tortilla
layer with bacon, lettuce and tomato, roll and eat!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chilies Rellenos Bake $3.21

So I have no idea when I stumbled upon this recipe, but I know I've made it more than a time or two.  There are two versions...both of which I've included herein.  It's pretty much straight outta Betty Crocker, so it's hardly rocket science for Barbara or I, but never the less, we present... Chili Rellenos Bake

Chilies Rellenos Bake
4 large Eggs .32
1/2 cup sour cream .25
1/8 tsp salt
1 drop red pepper sauce .05
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz).56
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz).56
1 can chopped green chilies, undrained.49

Heat oven to 350 - spray a 8 X 8 pan
Beat eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper sauce in large bowl with wire whisk.  Stir in cheeses and chillies, Pour into prepared baking dish
Bake uncovered about 40 minutes or util golden brown and set in center

Meanwhile, prepare
1 cup salsa .50
2 tbsp chopped cilantro.15
1/2 cup black beans (drained/rinsed).18
1/2 cup corn..15

When chilies rellenos bake is done, top with the salsa and serve.

A "Lighter Chilies Rellenos Bake" is presented in the cookbook...
it allows for 1 cup Egg Beaters and 1 cup of cooked rice instead of the cup of Monterey Jack cheese.  It also recommends using low fat versions of sour cream and cheddar cheese.

WALGREENS- Tuna Balls in Tomato Sauce $5.68

So when I tell people about this entres I get wierd looks, like "that doesnt sound good at all", however, for me, tuna in tomato sauce over pasta is a very common meal in our home, and I have always liked it. Im not a huge tuna fan, and because it is loaded with protein and omega 3's, It is a great healthy option, and combined with tomato sauce, not a super big tuna taste. My sisterinlaw has been making tunaballs(like meatballs, only tuna) for years and my family loves them. I am certain she is using fresh garlic, onion, possibly shopping at Walgreens, those ingredients wont be an option, but I am a big believer that enough flavor can be created from dried spices, infact a rub I made a few months back for salmon, with dried herbs from Walgreens, ranks as one of my favorite recipes on this blog. So I decided to give the tuna balls a try, and I cooked and served it in a tomato sauce made from items at Walgreens as well. So far this Walgreens "challenge" is going to be fun.
grocery list
2 cans tuna(regular $1.89) on sale for .69
1 egg .12
2 slices of whole wheat bread .16
1 tablespoon dried parsley .10
1 tablespoon dried minced onion .10
2 tsp garlic powder .08
1 tsp pepper .05
1 tsp red pepper flakes(optional, or more if spice wanted).05
1 tablespoon olive oil(onsale last week for $3.69) .30

set oven to 350 and place bread on cookie sheet, bake 15 minutes or until hard
remove from oven
combine all dry ingredients
put tuna, eggs, bread and dry ingredients in food processor, blender or mash with spoon or by hand, until smooth(can have a bit of a lumply comsistency, as long as it is evenly mixed)
form into balls and put in freezer for 1 hour

for sauce
1 can 14 oz diced tomatos $1.79
1 can 8 oz tomato sauce .99
1 tablespoon olive oil.30
2 tsp garlic powder .08
2 tsp dried onion .08
1 tsp salt .05
1 tsp pepper .05

heat oil and add onion and garlic powder, for 5 minutes
add tomato sauce and dinced tomato
add salt and pepper
stir and let simmer for a few hours

to cook tuna balls
heat oil in skillet on medium heat
cook tuna balls on each side for 5 minutes until slightly browned
place in sauce for 30 minutes on low

serve in sauce, if desireable, pasta of choice(if served with pasta, double the ingredients for the sauce)

This recipe made 8 medium size meatballs, we ate them without pasta, just with sauce, and they were thoroughly enjoyed by all. If a fuller meal is desired, cook up a pound of pasta, there is certainly enough sauce for that. The cost even for that would bring the meal cost up to $7.68. Just $1.42 per person, for a healthy nice meal.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Swiss Cheese toppedChicken Breast baked on bed of Asparagus $5.38

TBL night, and wanted to make something special, but time is not permitting a complicated meal for Kim nor me tonight, so we are combining some good ingredients and hoping for the best. I love cheese of any kind, so how can we go wrong with asparagus and swiss cheese in the same dish. We got our protein, our dairy and vegetable serving with this dish.
4 chicken breast$3.00
4 slices of swiss cheese .64
10 oz frozen or fresh asparagus$1.99
3 tablespoons olive oil .25
1/2 cup chicken broth .20
1/2 cup white wine .30
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 350
season chicken
place chicken in baking pan and add white wine, 2 tablespoon olive oil and broth
bake for 20 minutes, top each peice of chicken with swiss cheese and bake 5 more minutes until cheese is melted
in skillet heat remaining Tbsp oil, add asparagus, saute for 5-6 minutes, season with salt and pepper
divide aspargus evenly on 4 plates
place a chicken breast on each bed of asparagus

KIM's notes:
So, we needed to grill the chicken because the sun is shining and it is over 60 degrees.  Well, that I thought that flavor would go good tonight.  So, Joe grilled the chicken and I cooked the asparagus in a frying pan with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup chicken stock, and 1 tsp garlic salt.  Honestly, the best asparagus Joe's had in forever... and it was frozen.  Ellie, Jacob & Jenna each at 2 bites of aspargus. 
I will admit that my dish would be LOADS more attractive if I had broiled the cheese, but the hockey schedule got in the way of the gourmet cooking, so you get the following - at least you get the idea!

Pulled or Barbequed Pork $ 6.52

Look at the amazing texture of this shredded pork.

It was so tasty like this I hardly wanted to cover it in bbq sauce.  I did, and it was DELISH!

This is one of the easiest, most versatile meats to throw in the crockpot and forget for 6 or so hours.  My sister, who raises a pig or two every year just to have her own home-grown pork, does this roast alot!  I've also made this using a combo of meats - including beef, pork, and venison.  It's actually an excellent way to "hide" the venison meat yet still reap the benes of the very low fat meat.  Anyway, this recipe doesn't ask you to hide anything - it's wonderfully delicious made with just pork and a bit of seaoning TLC.

Many times I just throw the meat in the crock pot, but this time I did some research on how to season the meat before throwing it in... I decided to adopt a few ideas from a few friends.  Here you go...

For Meat:
any amount of Pork Roast (can be loin, shoulder, whatever is on sale or on hand) - we recommend making at least three pounds of meat - it freezes really well, and keeps in the refrigerator for a week or so.
$5.00, no more then $6.00, sales are always available if searched out
 For Dry Seasoning Rub:

1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground pepper .05
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar .10
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika .05
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper .02

For cooking:
8-12 ounces of Rootbeer .30
For Barbequing - 1 cup (depending on how much meat you have) Prepared BBQ sauce of choice. .50 I happen to have Sweet Baby Ray's original sauce on hand, we we're having that.
So, remove your meat from the packaging to a baking pan, rub the dry rub over the meat covering as well as possible.  Allow rub to work into meat for as long as possible up to six hours--refrigerate during the marinating process, of course!
Once you're ready to get it into the crockpot, heat a non-stick frying pan large enough for your roast(s) - or cut the meat small enough to fit into your frying pan if needed -- heat the non-stick frying pan to high and toss in the meat.  Your just trying to get the outer 1/4 inch or so of the meat seared, so it'll only take about 2 minutes on each side.
Once seared, put the meat into the crockpot and pour the rootbeer over the meat.  Turn the crockpot to low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours and ignore!
When the time has come to serve, remove the meat from the crockpot to a clean baking dish and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.  DUMP the rootbeer liquid out - down the drain or out in the weeds.  Then using two forks, (one to hold, one to pull) pull the meat with the grain into long strings or strands of awesomeness. 
Return the meat and any juices back to the crockpot and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups barbeque sauce and 1/2 that amount of water (1/2 cup or so).  The water is only if your sauce is quite thick, as mine was.  Give the meat another 30 or so minutes to marry the flavors, then serve it up on a yummy hoagie bun or versatile hamburger bun.  serve with chips or veggies.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pasta Primavera

I think we have done a pasta with the same name, but different ingredients(may have been in a tomato sauce) Primavera means spring in Italian, and this dish will no doubt drum up feelings of spring, with all its bright colors.
Fresh, vegetables are always welcome, but truly as far as the greens are concerned, frozen work just as well, and in my unprofessional but "well read" opinion, are just as nutritious. Nutrients are locked in pretty quickly with frozen vegetables because they are frozen so quickly, vs fresh that are picked before completely ripe and sometimes transported thousands of miles, all along losing valuable nutrition. Other then cherry tomatoes, and garlic, my vegetables are all frozen.

1/2 lb asparagus .99
1/2 lb green beans.55
1 orange pepper cored and seeded and cut into 1/2 inch strips $1.30
1 red pepper cored as well $1.30
1 lb spaghetti .99
3/4 cup half and half .30
3/4 cup chicken broth .10
3/4 salt
1/4 pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
garlic cloves minced
2 cups grape tomatos halved
1/4 grated parm cheese

cook pasta according to instruction
while pasta cooking, place half and half, chicken broth, salt and pepper in small saucepan, bring to simmer over medium heat
heat medium nonsticks nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and cook 30 seconds, add beans, asparagus and peppers, saute for 10 minutes on low, add tomatoes, saute another 2 or three minutes.
drain pasta and pour into serving bowl
add grated cheese to 1/2 1/2 mixture, stir
pour sauce over pasta, add vegetables and toss altogether
mix in parsley and shaved parm cheese(optional)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pizza Panini $2.47

We have not done the Panini to death!!!  There are likely more paninis to come!  We could do a month of Paninis and not repeat.  Tonight's was a perfect way to celebrate 12 years of wonderful married life with my husband - an easy to prepare method of one of his most favorite foods!  The Pizza Panini - like a perfect match!

So, like most Paninis, this one is pretty self explanatory:

Pizza Panini
8 slices bread (we used Whole Grain White Bread).25
1/2 cup pizza sauce .30
4 ounces sausage (a few left over breakfast links or patties!).25
4 ounces cheese .77
1/2 cup red pepper .65
20 slices of mushroom - sliced thiner .25

Saute the red peppers and mushrooms with the sausage for about five minutes - basically rewarming/softening all.
Spread the sauce equally (sparingly) onto the eight slices of bread
Distribute the cheese equally onto the eight slices of bread as well.
Aportion the sausage/veggie mixture onto four of the eight slices of bread.
Place bottom (the one with meat) piece of bread onto panini press, carefully flip top onto bottom - so the cheese is on top of the meat/veg toppings, then close press.
Wait for the light to go out (90 seconds?), open remove panini, repeat until all paninis are done, and serve!

ENJOY, we did!