Saturday, September 25, 2010

Egg McJoe Sandwich - a microwave meal in 3 minutes $ 1.55

Few among us can say they’ve never partaken in a McMuffin sandwich. They are sort of a staple in the breakfasting world for those on the go. Here’s the homemade version you can - before you leave. In fact, making yourself one of these McJoe sandwiches (which even your average Joe can do, by the way) will more than likely save you time over even the drive thru. The whole sandwich comes together in just over three minutes. You will feel so good about this sandwich: You made it yourself, it’s wholesome, It’s inexpensive, and when you make your own coffee to go with it instead of ordering up one of those mega-expensive super calorie-laden drinks, you’ve really impacted your budget in a great way.

I thank my husband regularly for making me one of these when I'm scurrying off to the bus with the kids. It's a great warm pick-me-up that Joe makes me - and his is not just average - he's a pro at making this sandwich.

Egg McJoe Sandwich

(for one)

1 egg .15
1 egg white .15
Dash Black Pepper .02
2 strips bacon or 2 slices deli meat .60
1 slice cheese .45
1 english muffin, bagel, or 2 slices toast .20

Begin toasting your “bread”
Cook bacon between two sheets of paper towel on a microwave safe plate on medium high setting for 1 -2 minutes depending on desired crispiness.
Break open both the egg and the egg white into a small, microwavable bowl/cup (we use custard cups). Season to taste with pepper.
When the microwave is available, put the bowl of eggs into it. Cook on high for 30-40 seconds, remove the egg, “jiggle it” to move the liquid egg from the center to the edges. (you may flip it in the bowl if desired, not necessary). Continue to heat another 30 seconds.
Remove English Muffin from toaster, put slice of cheese on bottom piece of muffin, then bacon, then slide egg from bowl straight onto bacon. Top with upper bun, and Enjoy! It will be hot, so indulge with caution.

wow...long week last week

OK, so I've been a bit distracted since my kids went back to school.  lots going on, Barbara and I are really working away on a mostly secret project.  It's sucking up a lot of our time...but...I made a pretty silly mistake for you last week on the menu - and in the shopping, which was still pretty darn pain free.  Anyone notice it and not comment?  Uhm, apparently there were eight days last week... we planned eight dinners.  SO...we're just gonna move one of them into this week.  It'll be my secret family recipe for meat sauce - on ravioli.  WHY that one? mmm, cuz we had two pasta dishes at the end of this last week, and you know how i feel about that~

this week.

Sunday - Meat Sauce on Ravioli
Monday - lime and tortilla encrusted whitefish
Tuesday - ginger beef with stir fry veggies & rice
Wednesday - green pepper stuffed with chicken and white beans
Thursday - green pea pesto on pasta
Friday -  cowboy caviar (on chicken or chips - your choice!)
Saturday - Portabello Pizza

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chimichurri Sauce over roasted pork loin $ 9.43

Never had it - never heard of it - but Barbara is stoked about it, and I am totally up for this. I copied the recipe from Epicurious, and then, as you are accustomed to, I tweaked it. See, that's the thing about recipes - in my mind they are guidelines, not rules. Concept not concrete. And so, here's my take on the Argentinian finishing sauce that Barbara's been talking about - and trying to explain.

Pork Tenderloin $3,95
1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley $1.19
1/3 cup olive oil .70
1/3 cup red wine vinegar .35
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro .20
2 garlic cloves, peeled .15
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper .02
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin .04

you throw all that in the food processor, let it whirl, then top your meat with it after it's done cooking - more like a finishing sauce.

I grilled (OK, Joe grilled) a whole pork loin - like 3 1/2 pounds of meat - and the meat, from Aldi of course, was AMAZINGLY juicy and tender and awesome. It was $2.49 per pound, and I spent a bit over $9.00 of my weekly budget just on the meat - but it's so awesomely tender, and there is a lot left, so we'll be enjoying pork sandwiches all weekend!

For what it's worth, I'll keep this recipe here too. this one from Global Gourmet is very different, and is PROBABLY more "Argentinian" than the one from Epicurious above.

Chimichurri Sauce

You can mince the ingredients by hand or use a food processor, which is faster and easier. There are many variations on this condiment, and it is served with everything from empanadas to grilled steak.

1/2 cup olive oil .50
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice .45
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley .40
1 clove garlic .08
2 minced shallots .30
1 teaspoon minced basil, thyme or oregano, or mixture .10
Salt and pepper to taste .10

Combine all ingredients and let set for at least 2 hours before serving.

Read more: Recipe: Chimichurri Sauce (Argentina)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Frutti di Mare $7.78

Ah, Frutti di Mare, fruit of the sea, an entres made even easier when the seafood is available in one bag!! I have made pasta frutti di mare from scratch, meaning I purchased the shrimp, scallops, and calamari separately, and although it was amazing, it was very expensive and much more time consuming to prepare. Kim and I were inspired to make this dish this week when we each individually found the seafood all in one handy 1 lb bag at Aldi. There are certain items that are not always available at Aldi, and that is one of the them. There are three ways to make Frutti di Mare-with pasta, over rice, or in a soup. I have had all three, and ofcourse I am partial to the seafood over pasta, but all are good! Also, Frutti di Mare can be done in tomato sauce or a clear agli olio sauce. I like them both, but tonight we did tomato. This is a meal my dad woud make once a year on Christmas Eve, and no matter how hard I try, and good it is, it is never as good as my dear, wonderful dads.

2 15 oz cans crushed tomato sauce $1.38
2 tbsp olive oil .60
1/2 medium onion diced .15
1/4 cup carrot minced .10
1/4 cup celery .12
2 cloves garlic minced .15
1/2 cup white wine .30
1 lb bag assorted seafood(shrimp, calamari, scallops) $3.99
1b linquine or spaghetti .99

heat oil on low/medium in big sauce pot
Add onion, a few minutes later add minced carrot
when onion begins to soften and become glassy toss in garlic, saute another 5 minutes, on low(careful not to burn garlic)
add parsley
add entire contents of tomato cans
stir constantly for 10 minutes until all the flavors are mixed together
add salt and pepper to taste
splash of red or white wine(optional)
place lid on sauce and simmer for40 minutes
add seafood

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nacho Platter with Chicken and Black Bean and Corn Salsa $4.25

Well this was quite the hit tonight on Biggest Loser premier night!! How can one go wrong with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese and a homemade blackbean and corn salsa. we added more protein by including chicken, so the meal was very healthy.

for the salsa:
1 can 15 oz Diced Tomatoes (not drained) .69
1 can 15 oz BlackBeans (rinsed) .59
1 can 8 oz Corn(rinsed) .39
1 tbsp Taco Seasoning .10

mix all in a bowl including taco season, toss thoroughly

For nacho Platter
40 Tortilla Chips .30
1 can Chicken Breast or 1 fresh chicken breast broiled or baked $1.08
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese $1.10

spread layer of tortilla chips on a serving platter that is oven proof(half the chips)
on top chips layer 1/2 can of chicken, half salsa, and half cheese evenly
top with another layer of chips and then relayer the rest of ingredients
bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is all melted.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Penne Pasta with Pistachio Pesto and Sweet Peas $9.27

Thanks to Rachael Ray and her 365 : No Repeats, we had a fun, unique and healthy dinner tonight that took less then 30 minutes to prepare and had everyone dining saying "yummo!'

1 lb pasta .99
3/4 cup shelled pistachios $1.99
3 tblsp olive oil .60
1 lb frozen peas
2 garlic cloves .20
1 tbsp dried parsley .10
1/3 c grated Parmeasan cheese .40
salt and pepper .10

boil water for pasta, salt water when the water boils(save 1/4 cup boiling pasta water)
in skillet add all pistachios and heat to bring out flavors(5 minutes)
when done remove from pan and let cool 5 minutes
in same skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil
add 1 garlic clove minced
add tsp salt and pepper
saute for 5 minutes
remove from heat
in food processor or blender combine 1/2 cup pistachios, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/3 cup grated parm cheese, pepper, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp parsley, 1/4 cup boiled water from the noodles

in large skillet combine cooked pasta, pistaccio pesto and toss for 2 minutes until all noodles coated.
top with remaining pistachio nuts
more parm optional

Sunday, September 19, 2010

lime almond encrusted tilapia $3.51

This entree is so inspired by Barbara's lime encrusted white fish of last week. I just needed to try something totally different with my crust. Nutrtionally this is pretty sound, with less fat than you would think when you peruse the name. And the tiny bit of bread crumbs is not really enough to throw off anyone's diet unless you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant (is there a difference?).
I made this - and Joe said it was a great crust. On a fish night, the word great coming from Joe's mouth are like gold found in a pond. Almost as exciting as the kids loving baked potato night a couple weeks ago. Life does hold great mysteries, doesn't it!

Here's my "secret" recipe!

Lime Almond Encrusted Tilapia

2 oz Blue Diamond Lime Chili Almonds (from Walgreens :-) ) .80
2 Tbsp plain dried bread crumbs .20
1/2 tsp paprika .02
1 lime .20
16 oz Tilapia (4 4oz portions) $2.29

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. My fish was frozen, so while still frozen I threw it in a bake-able frying pan (metal handle, not plastic). I set the fish in the pan over the stove top at about medium heat, squeezed 1/2 of the lime over the fish and let it start to cook while I did this...
Using the "grater" part of your food processor, grate the nuts into a powder or fine particles - with a few chunks. stir in, by hand, the bread crumbs and paprika.
Very gently flip the tilapia (not sure this is necessary, but I did it, so you might want to if your fish fillets were frozen as mine where. Pat the nut/crumb mixture over the fish, then squeeze the remaining 1/2 of lime over the four fillets. Place the frying pan into the hot oven (400-450 whatever) for about 15 minutes, or until the nut mixture starts to brown nicely.

This was a gorgeous plate served with wild /white rice mixture and brocolli. YUMMO! Thanks B.

Shopping List for 9/19-9/25

Shopping List for 9/19-9/25

IF you haven't bought fresh (new) dried spices lately, this might be a good time of the year to do so.  As we've repeatedly reported, Aldi and Walgreens both have GREAT prices - get yourself some good fresh spices and toss anyting more than a year old.  When you about 1/4 what the grocery store charges, you can afford to get new bottles periodically.

Dried Parsley
Red wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper
Blue Diamond brand Lime-Chili Almonds
Tortilla Chips
Worcestershire Sauce
Brown Sugar

Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream
Sliced Cheddar Cheese (singles or slices)
Turkey Bacon or regular bacon or Canadian Bacon
8 eggs

Bread Crumbs
Taco Seasoning
Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti or Linguine

Fresh Parsley
Red Pepper

2 to 3 lbs. Ground Beef or Turkey (or 1 ½ lb of each)
Pork Roast or tenderloin

Chicken Breast or Tenderloin or Ready to Eat Chicken Chunks
Frozen Ravioli
Fuitti di Mare (frozen blend of seafood – shrimp, scallops, muscles, etc.)

English Muffin, Bagel, or Whole Wheat Bread

Menu 9/19 to 9/25

Hey There... how's your week progressing?
Crazy busy day today, concluding with a picnic to which I took chips and hummus (store bought). BUT, that's just one day, and just one outing, but now we gotta get the menu back on track.

We're recommending the following seven dinners this week:

Pistaccio Pesto with sweet peas over Pasta
Pork Roast in a Chimi Churi Sauce
Tilapia with chili lime almonds crust & wild rice & veggies
Chicken Nachos
Fuitti di Mare
Taco Salad
Ravioli with Kim's Meat Sauce
"Joe's Breakfast Sandwich"