Week of 10.31.11

Vacation, work, camp with a bunch of high schoolers, and more work are a really good way to lose almost all motivation to put a meal plan together…let alone stay on budget! But after a couple of weeks off, we’re back. Didn’t I just say that a few weeks ago? For real this time though! And this week we’ve got some new recipes that we’ve been wanting to try for a while so I’m really excited about it. Plus, there are lots and lots of veggies and good grains, and a lot less cheese than normal. We love cheese…too much. I need to start keeping my eye on that. : )

So here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Day 1
Lunch: Baba Ghanoush Pitas
Dinner: Potato and Corn Soup

Day 2
Lunch: Baba Ghanoush Pitas
Dinner: Potato and Corn Soup

Day 3
Lunch: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Dinner: Potato and Corn Soup

Day 4
Lunch: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Dinner: Chickpeas with Spinach, Feta, and Brown Rice

Day 5
Lunch: Broccoli White Bean Soup
Dinner: Chickpeas with Spinach, Feta, and Brown Rice

Day 6
Lunch: Broccoli White Bean Soup
Dinner: Veggie Enchiladas

Day 7
Lunch: Veggie Enchiladas
Dinner: Veggie Enchiladas


And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:
Eggplant: $3
Tahini: $2.50 (this will last a while)
Garlic: $.50
3 Lemons: $1
Feta: $3
Cucumber: $1
3 Green bell pepper: $3
Red bell pepper: $2
Bag of onions: $2
Spinach: $2
1lb Broccoli Florets: $1.50
Cannellini beans: $1
Quinoa: $3 (hopefully this will last me a little while)
2 can black beans: $2
Cilantro: $2
Avocado: $2
2 limes: $1
2 cans chickpeas: $2
3 roma tomatoes: $1.50
Rice: $1
Pitas: $2
Cheese: $2
2 potatoes: $1.50
2 cans creamed corn: $2.50
Cream: $1.50
Tortillas: $1.50
Green chilies: $1
Salsa: $2

If you need to buy broth, or any spices add a couple of dollars.


The recipes:

Baba Ghanoush: So most of the recipes I’ve found say that you need to literally char the skin off of the eggplant. If you’ve got a charcoal grill ready to go you can do it on there, or if you’re like us and live where it’s starting to get cool out, you can use your broiler. Poke the eggplant with a fork several times and place on the grill/broiler and turn recently until the skin is blackened and blistered. The eggplant should start feeling soft. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 375 until very soft, about another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool. Peel the skin off. Put the eggplant in a bowl and mash with a fork (I may use my food processor if I can’t get it as smooth as I want it). Add 1/4 cup tahini, 3 minced cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and a little cumin. Season with salt to taste. We’ll be putting this in pitas with feta and veggies like cucumber, onion, green pepper, and spinach.

Broccoli White Bean Soup: Steam 1 lb of small broccoli florets until tender, a couple of minutes. Save about half of the florets to use whole. In a pot over medium heat saute 1 diced onion and 2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic until translucent. Add 15oz can cannellini beans (drained) and 2 1/2 cups veggie broth. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, add broccoli, and puree in a blender until smooth. Put it back in the pot, add reserved broccoli florets. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan if you’d like.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad: This is super easy. Cook 1 cup quinoa as directed. While it’s cooking rinse a can of black beans. You may want to add a cup of corn. Some people are anti frozen, or anti can. But I really don’t like making corn. So if you want it, go for it. Just add it to your budget! Use whatever type of corn you want. : ) Chop half of a red bell pepper pepper, half a green bell pepper, 1/4 cup cilantro, and an avocado. Let the quinoa cool for a few minutes. Add the beans and veggies and toss.

I’m actually thinking I might cook my bell peppers a little. We like them sautéed better than fresh.

For a dressing you can combine the juice from 2 limes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2tsp cumin. Mmm.

Chickpeas with Spinach, Feta, and Brown Rice: Cook rice as directed (as much as you want to top with the chickpeas). While that’s cooking, in a saucepan saute 1 1/2 chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 3 cups of chick peas, red pepper flakes to taste, and 1 tsp oregano (I have dried in my pantry so I’m using that). Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a few handfuls of spinach and 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato to the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until the spinach is cooked. Add the juice of a lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve over the brown rice, top with feta.

Potato and Corn Soup: This is our favorite soup. It’s cheap, easy, delicious, and great for this time of year. In a large pot melt 2 sticks of butter. Add 1 chopped white onion and saute. The lady who gave me this recipe (she made the soup and I had to have it!) adds a little olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Add 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 32 oz vegetable broth, and 2 peeled and diced baking potatoes. Bring to boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.. Add 3 cans of creamed corn, and a little cream to thicken and to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with shredded cheese if you want. We made this a month or so ago and it was awesome. It made a TON of soup though. We had some help eating it all. : )

Veggie Enchiladas: Chop and sauté 3/4 of a green pepper, an onion, and 3 cloves of garlic until tender. Add to the pan a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), a chopped roma tomato, the green chilies, and any spices you’d like…chili powder, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens. Add 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, cook until heated through.

Spoon mixture into each tortilla. Roll up and place in a greased baking dish. Spoon salsa over each tortilla. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Uncover, top with cheese, bake a couple of minutes until cheese is melted.


Some photos of recent meals:

We made spinach ravioli with homemade pasta sauce and it was SO good. I don’t think we can buy sauce anymore. We just put tomatoes in the food processor with some garlic, and sauteed onion, green pepper, and spinach. Nate loved this.

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