29
Aug

Week of 08.29.11

Last week we were lucky enough to have my family come down and visit. It was super fun, and we ate tons of delicious food, but we didn’t exactly do any meal planning (there’s no meal planning on vacation right!?) So we’re back in the swing of things this week. Hopefully grocery pricing hasn’t changed too much since our last visit.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have eggs, fruit, and if you’re like us you still have some oats left. We’re still topping ours with brown sugar and frozen blueberries. Yum.

Day 1
Lunch: Mozzarella Tomato and Avocado Salad
Dinner: Muffin Tin Calzones

Day 2
Lunch: Mozzarella Tomato and Avocado Salad
Dinner: Muffin Tin Calzones

Day 3
Lunch: Remaining Muffin Tin Calzones
Dinner: Creamy Spinach and Carrot Soup

Day 4
Lunch: Creamy Spinach and Carrot Soup
Dinner: Vegetable Baked Tortellini

Day 5
Lunch: Vegetable Baked Tortellini
Dinner: Sweet Potato Chili

Day 6

Lunch: Veggie Fried Rice or Omelet
Dinner: Sweet Potato Chili

Day 7
Lunch: Veggie Fried Rice or Omelet
Dinner: Sweet Potato Chili

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Spinach: $2
Pizza Dough (not a cooked crust): $4 – you need 2 tubes of Pillsbury if that’s what you’re using
Garlic: $.50
Ricotta: $2.50
Mozzarella Pearls: $3
Shredded Mozzarella: $2
Marinara Sauce: $2 (or make a recipe you like)
Eggs: $1
Onions: $2
Tortellini: $3
Breadcrumbs: $1
Italian Seasoning: $1
Red Bell Pepper: $2
2 Green Bell Pepper: $2 (1 green and 1 red will be split between the tortellini and chili, one is for your veggie omelet or fried rice)
2-3lbs Sweet Potatoes: $3
2 Jalapenos: $.50
Diced Tomatoes: $1
1 Can Pinto Beans: $1
Chili Seasoning: $1
Rice: $1
Carrots: $1
Cream: $1.50
Cherry Tomatoes: $3
Avocado: $2.50
Lemon: $.50
Baguette: $1
Fruit: $4
OJ: $3

Fried Rice: This is one of those recipes that’s great when I just have a couple of meals left to plan and I don’t have much budget left. We love it, and it uses whatever veggies and eggs are left, and it’s so easy. We always seem to have soy sauce and/or teriyaki around the house so this week it will be rice, egg, carrot, bell pepper, onion, and spinach if there’s any left. Top with sauce and eat. Really yummy. I have it listed as fried rice or an omelet because you can make either of these with the same ingredients…with the exception of the rice.

Muffin Tin Calzones: Preheat the oven to 375. In a pan sauté a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic, some onion, any other veggies or meats you want. Add 8oz of spinach and cook until wilted. Roll out 8 pizza dough disks, about 5in wide and 1/4″ thick. Grease a muffin tin and place the disks into each cup. In each cup put 1 tablespoon marinara, a couple of tablespoons of your veggie/spinach mixture, 1 table spoon ricotta, and 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Seal up the dough. Mix an egg and 1 tablespoon of milk/cream together. Brush the eggwash on the dough cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Vegetable Baked Tortellini: Preheat oven to 350. Cook a package (about 13oz) of tortellini as directed and drain, but take a couple of minutes off the cook time so they don’t get too tender. While they’re cooking combine 1 tbsp butter, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1/2 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 cup of chopped red and green bell pepper in a pan and sauté. Add 1 cup pasta sauce and the vegetable mixture to the cooked tortellini and mix until coated. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella chess, bread crumbs, and 1 tbsp Italian seasoning. Bake for 30 minus.

Sweet Potato Chili: A new veggie chili recipe! Time to get out the crockpot! This sounds really yummy with the sweet potato in it. Wash and chop the rest of your red and green peppers, 2 jalapenos, 2-3lbs sweet potato – probably closer to 2 unless you loooove sweet potato (peeled and cubed), an onion. Toss it all in your crock pot with a can of diced tomatoes, 3 minced cloves of garlic, 2 cups water, 1 can drained and rinsed pinto beans, your chili seasoning, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. You can stir it a couple of times if you want to. Serve over rice. Yummy. *side note* If you’ve got some cocoa powder (or want to buy some) you can throw a tablespoon in when you put everything else in the crackpot too.

Creamy Spinach and Carrot Soup: Blend 1 cup spinach, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 cup cooked carrots, 3/4 cups cream, and 2 tsp butter in a blender. Heat on the stove. Easy! To cook the carrots just chop them up and boil them in water until they’re tender.

Mozzarella Tomato and Avocado Salad: *We are going to make this twice, so we’re just making half at a time so the avocado doesn’t get yucky. If you want to do the same half all of this*

In a large bowl combine a container of cherry tomatoes cut in half, a carton of fresh mozzarella pearls (drained),  and if you want to buy it and like it, 1/3 cup chopped basil. I plan on leaving it out…it’s just too expensive around here right now for one dish. In a separate bowl whisk together the juice of a medium/large lemon 1/4 cup olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pour over tomato mixture. Toss to coat and refrigerate for an hour. When you’re ready to serve it peel and dice an avocado and add to the salad. We’re probably going to eat this on toasted baguette bread. Yummy!

Some photos of recent meals:

Homegrown tomatoes. Yuuuum. Red tomatoes should be red. Not pink. Not whitish. Red.

Grilled cheese with homegrown tomatoes. Yummy. So melty and good.

My mom’s monkeybread. I included a recipe for this a few posts ago. She makes the best though, there’s no topping it. So buttery and sugary and delicious. Mmmm.

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14
Aug

Week of 08.15.11

This past week we ate all the broccoli in the house! All of it! Quite an accomplishment considering Nate doesn’t like it. I think we officially have two ways to sneak it into the meal plan. We also celebrated my birthday (yay!). So we’ve had some yummy treats around the house. In case you’ve never had scotcharoos I’ve included the recipe near the bottom of this post. And again, for anyone that might be new, we are vegetarians. But meat can easily be added to pretty much all of these recipes.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, eggs (make an omelet with spinach, tomato, and cheese!), fruit, and you should have oats left. We’ve been topping ours with brown sugar and frozen blueberries. Yum.

Day 1
Lunch: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Dinner: Tater Tot Casserole

Day 2
Lunch: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Dinner: Tater Tot Casserole

Day 3
Lunch: Remaining Vegetarian Tortilla Soup and Spinach Salad
Dinner: Veggie Paninis

Day 4
Lunch: Falafel Pitas
Dinner: Broccoli Onion Stroganoff

Day 5
Lunch: Falafel Pitas
Dinner: Broccoli Onion Stroganoff

Day 6

Lunch: Spinach and Black Been Enchiladas
Dinner: Veggie Paninis

Day 7
Lunch: Spinach and Black Been Enchiladas
Dinner: Spinach and Black Been Enchiladas

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Spinach: $2
Eggs: $1
Broccoli: $2
Cauliflower: $3
Green beans: $1
Peas: $1
2 Bags Shredded cheddar cheese: $4
Tater Tots: $2.50
Green pepper: $1
Red pepper: $2
Onions: $3
Garlic: $.50
Crushed tomatoes: $1
Green chilies (2 small or 1 large can): $1.50
Avocado: $2.50
Egg noodles: $1
2 cans cream of mushroom: $2.50
Garbanzo beans: $1
Sour cream: $1.50 (I’m getting the large one so I have it for enchiladas too)
Tomatoes: $1 (I’m just getting a couple little romas to have around for paninis or pitas)
Tortillas: $1
Enchilada sauce: $1
Bread: $2
Fruit: $5
OJ: $3
Feta: $3

I make my own broth, so if you need to buy broth or any spices add a couple of dollars.

And the recipes:

Tater Tot Casserole: Steam 2 cups broccoli, 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup green beans, and 1 cup peas until slightly tender. Or you can use canned of green beans and peas. In a large bowl whip 2 eggs. Add most of your cheese and the all of veggies. Layer half of the tater-tots along the bottom of a casserole dish. Pour veggie/egg/cheese mixture over the tots. Add the rest of the tots to the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 75 minutes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup: Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in a chopped green pepper and chopped onion. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic, and cook until veggies are tender. Mix in a can of crushed tomatoes (14oz) and 2 drained cans of chopped green chilis. Pour in 28 ounces of vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.

If you’d like to, mix in a can of or corn and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Top with cheese and avocado and if you’ve got them, serve with tortilla chips.

Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing: Ok, last time I had this on the meal plan we had too much food and didn’t end up making it. So this time we’re going to give it a go. I do know the dressing is amazing though.

Combine 1/4 cup minced onion, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained), 1 slice of bread torn into pieces, a 1 large egg, and a 1 large egg white in a food processor. Pulse 5-7 times or until well blended.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Spoon 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan, sort of in a patty. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

For the dressing combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup diced cucumber, 1/4 cup minced onion, and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Cover and chill.

Fill the pita with a patty, feta, tomatoes, dressing, and some sliced cucumbers.

Broccoli Onion Stroganoff: Lots of vegetarians use mushrooms in their stroganoff. Nate and I don’t like mushrooms….so we’re going to try broccoli. I’m trying to find ways for Nate to enjoy broccoli without having to eat buddha bowls every week. So we’ll give this a try. If you want to do mushrooms or meat just use that instead of the broccoli. I’m thinking this might be good with a little spinach in it too.

Prepare a package of egg noodles as directed. In a skillet sauté an onion (chopped) and a cup or so of broccoli (chopped). Drain noodles, add veggies, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, and 6 oz sour cream. Mix and serve. Also works over rice.

Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas: This should make 8-10 enchiladas. Cook rice as directed, you’ll need 2 cups cooked. Chop and sauté half of an onion. Add 8oz of chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Add a can of black beans, the cooked rice, and 1 cup of enchilada sauce.

Add a few spoonfuls of sauce into the 9×13 casserole dish, just enough to cover the bottom. For each tortilla, add 3-4 tablespoons of filling. Wrap each tortilla and place tightly into the casserole. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, until bubbling. I’m probably going to throw cheese on top for the last few minutes. It’s not mexican food if it’s not cheesy!

Paninis: We’ve had these on here before, and they’re a delicious way to use some left over ingredients. We plan on making sandwiches out of some red pepper, tomatoes, cheese, spinach, and onion.

OTHER YUMMY LOOKING RECIPES:
If you’ve never had scotcharoos you NEED to make them. Right now. Go.
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/scotcharoos/detail.aspx 

Carrot-Pineapple Smoothies.
http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/carrot-pineapple-smoothie-00000000050727/index.html

I love how they do the fruit in this post. I’m not a fan of the food coloring pancakes, but the fruit is so fun!
http://quick-dish.tablespoon.com/2011/03/15/double-rainbow-pancakes-double-rainbow-recipe/

 

Some photos of recent meals:

I love all the veggies in the Buddha Bowls! It makes the kitchen smell so good, and the colors are awesome.

Once the spinach and chickpeas have been added.

This is one of Nate’s favorite meals. And he “doesn’t like” carrots or broccoli. But I definitely ended up making this more than just the number of times I had it on the menu. It’s a good midnight snack too. : )

This is the easiest, yummiest pizza sauce. Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, pepper. Easy.

Naan Pizza

Broccoli Cheese Soup – before blending

After blending.

This was pretty good. And really good with rolls. I’m thinking rice would probably be a good addition too.

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8
Aug

Week of 08.08.11

Last week’s meal plan was one of my favorites. Everything on it was good…although we haven’t made the sauerkraut casserole yet so I’ll get back to you on that one. However, some of the recipes did make a lot more food than we had anticipated. So we had some friends over and made sure it didn’t go to waste! : )

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, egg whites, fruit, and oats.

Day 1
Lunch: Spinach Quiche Cups
Dinner: Broccoli Cheese Soup with Biscuits

Day 2
Lunch: Spinach Quiche Cups
Dinner: Broccoli Cheese Soup with Biscuits

Day 3
Lunch: Black Bean Burgers
Dinner: Buddha Bowl

Day 4
Lunch: Black Bean Burgers
Dinner: Pasta with Olive Oil and Veggies

Day 5
Lunch: Black Bean Burgers
Dinner: Buddha Bowl

Day 6
Lunch: Hummus Sandwiches
Dinner: Naan Pizzas

Day 7
Lunch: Hummus Sandwiches
Dinner: Naan Pizzas

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Spinach: $2
Egg whites: $2.50 (I’m just going to buy the carton)
Cheese: $2
Red bell pepper: $2
Onions: $3
Garlic: $.50
Broccoli: $3
Half and Half: $1.50
Carrots: $1
Cheddar cheese: $2
Biscuits: $1.50
Oats: $2
Black beans: $1
Bread: $1.50
Tomatoes: $1.50 (for burgers, if you don’t like tomatoes you don’t need them)
2 Roma tomatoes: $1
Green pepper: $1
Pasta: $1
Naan bread: $3
Deli Mozzarella: $2 (about 1/4lb or so)
Chickpeas: $1
2 Avocado: $5 (to top burgers, buddha bowls, or make some guar for a snack)
Hummus: $3
Fruit: $6
OJ: $3

And the recipes:

Spinach Quiche Cups: This makes 6 muffin cups, so if you want to double it to 12 double everything. Chop a couple of cups of spinach and sauté. Line your muffin pan with greased foil baking cups. In a bowl combine 3/4 cup egg whites, 3/4 cups shredded cheese, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and a little chopped red bell pepper (or any other veggies/meats you want). Pour evenly into the cups, back at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese: Chop 1/2 of a medium onion and saute it in butter. Set aside. In another pan melt 1/4 cup butter, mix in 1/4 cup flour and whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir and slowly add 2 cups of half and half. Add 2 cups veggie broth and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add 1/2 lb fresh broccoli, a couple of julienned carrots, and the onion. Cook over low heat until veggies are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into blender and puree. Return to heat and add 8 oz cheese, stir until well blended.

Black Bean Burgers: This is a repeat from a few weeks ago. We love them and are craving them again…In a bowl mash up a can of drained and rinsed black beans. In a food processor combine a couple of cloves of garlic, a small onion or half of a large one, and a bell pepper. Process that sucker! in another food processor grind up a bunch of oats until they’re nice and small. Start with a cup or so, but you may need to do more in a bit. If you’ve got bread crumbs lying around those work too. Mix the oats and the green pepper/onion mixture into the bowl with the black beans. Add more oats as needed until it’s a sticky paste of a mixture almost like ground beef, just enough so that you can form little patties of it. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on each side. Thin patties will work better. This usually makes about 12 patties for us. Yep, that’s why it’s on there for so many meals. And if you’ve got spices and such you’d like to thrown in the mix go for it. Nate loves to add chili paste to them. And dress them up with whatever you want. We typically have ketchup, relish and mayo around.

Naan Bread Pizzas
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor combine 1 roma tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil,  a garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Spread a little olive oil on each crust, followed by the sauce. Top with mozzarella, some sliced onion, and a little bell pepper…or whatever toppings you’d like to get. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is brown. We plan on making our two pizzas on different days since it’s just the two of us.

Buddha Bowl
Cook 1-2 cups of rice. While it’s cooking sauté: 1/2 a head of chopped broccoli, 1/2 of a chopped onion, and a grated carrot. Add a 1/2 cup of chickpeas, a little spinach, and some garlic so they’re warm. I plan on peppering this. Serve the veggies/chickpeas over the warm rice. Dress it with a sliced avocado, salt, and whatever other spices you’d like. We like to top it with teriyaki sauce. Yum.

Hummus Sandwiches: We’re going to use garlic hummus, green pepper, spinach, cheese if any’s left, and tomato.

OTHER YUMMY LOOKING RECIPES:

Blueberry lime salsa: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/08/blueberry-lime-salsa/

Avocado fries: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/avocado-fries-10000001886172/

Some photos of recent meals:

Veggie Rueben. So good. We smother them in 1000 Island.

The stuffed pepper filling.

Stuffed and ready to slow cook!

Delicious!

Spinach, tomato, onion, nectarine salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing.

Corn and potato soup. This recipe made a TON of food.

This will definitely be a regular in our meal planning.

Nate’s signature breakfast. Egg, spinach, pepper, onion, and some cheese. Doesn’t take much, but it’s SO good.

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1
Aug

Week of 08.01.11

I am loving the summer foods. Not loving the summer heat. But I am definitely loving the fruit. Especially the cherries. Who needs dessert when you’ve got a bowl full of cherries. We may have gone a little over our fruit budget the last couple of weeks…but in the summer I just have to eat this deliciousness. I’m leaving the cheaper fruits for the fall and winter! This week I’ve got the standard “fruit” item listed, but I’ve also got a pineapple, apple, and avocado on the list. And cherries are on sale…soooo…

And in case you’re new around here, you won’t find any meat in these items. Because we don’t eat meat. But most of them are very easy to add meat to if you want. Although I promise the vegetarian versions are yummy too.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, fruit, and you probably still have oats left…and don’t forget how good and cheap banana bread is to make.

Day 1
Lunch: Veggie Ruebens
Dinner: Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Day 2
Lunch: Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers
Dinner: Potato and Corn Soup

Day 3
Lunch: Potato and Corn Soup
Dinner: Veggie Ruebens

Day 4
Lunch: Potato and Corn Soup
Dinner: Ravioli with Veggies and Marinara Sauce

Day 5
Lunch: Spinach Salad Topped with Veggies/Fruit with Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner: Ravioli with Veggies and Marinara Sauce

Day 6
Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Avocado
Dinner: Sweet Sauerkraut Casserole (Got to use up the sauerkraut!)

Day 7
Lunch:  Grilled Cheese with Avocado
Dinner: Sweet Sauerkraut Casserole

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

4 bell peppers: $4 (Our colored ones are still $. I think I’ll get one of each.)
Rice: $1
Pasta Sauce: $2
Bag of onions: $2
Black beans: $1
Cheese: $2
Bread: $1.50
Sauerkraut: $2
Apple: $1
Swiss cheese: $2 (I just have them slice me 1/4 lb)
Garlic: $.50
3-4 baking potatoes: $4
3 cans creamed corn: $3 
OJ: $3
Cream: $1.50
Pineapple: $4 (Calls for canned, which would be cheaper, but I’m using fresh)
Spicy pepper of choice: $.50
Fruit: $5.50
Ravioli: $3 (One of these days I’m going to make my own…but not this week.)
Avocado: $2
Spinach: $2
Sweet potato: $1
Thousand island dressing: $1.50

* If you need to buy broth or any of the spices (maybe curry?) add a couple of dollars.

And the recipes:

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers: I love these. And they go in the slow cooker, super easy. Cut the tops off your peppers (the tops would be great to cut up and use in your stir fry!) and remove the seeds and all. In a bowl mix together 1/2 cup pasta sauce, a small diced onion, the can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 1/2 cups of rice, pepper, salt, and a cup of shredded cheese. Fill your peppers with as much mixture as you can. Place them in the slow cooker (mine fits four peppers that’s why I cook 4) and pour 1/3 cup of water into the bottom of the cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.

Vegetarian Ruebens: Make them like a regular ruben but without the meat. Instead we’ll be filling ours with sauerkraut, onion, apple, salt, pepper, and garlic that we cook in a pan and then layer on the bread with swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. Yummy. But obviously very easy to add meat too if you want.

Potato and Corn Soup: 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. It’s also good to add some parsley in when you add the corn…if you want to add it to your budget.

Sweet Sauerkraut Casserole: This calls for meat, but we won’t be adding that into it…does sound yummy with ground beef though. I guess we could make some black bean patti for it…we’ll see what Nate says. Most people have spices in their pantry, so I didn’t list them on the grocery list, but if you need them you’ll need to add a couple extra dollars to the budget. Recipe here: http://www.kayotic.nl/blog/sweet-sauerkraut-casserole

Sweet Potato Fries: Did these last week, doing them again. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Peel your sweet potato and cut into strips about 1/2 wide. Place the slices in a ziploc bag. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Seal bag and shake. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Once they’re browned transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and let them cool a little before eating. Again, this is something we plan on making twice. So we’re going to half this each time.

Grilled Cheese with Avocado: Make a grilled cheese like normal, but put avocado on it. Super delicious. You should have some extra spinach, you could make a little salad or pair it with some fruit or something.

OTHER YUMMY LOOKING RECIPES:

Monkey Bread: My mom makes the best monkey bread. It’s a great breakfast. Especially on the weekends. Easy, cheap, and delicious…but not healthy: http://une-deuxsenses.blogspot.com/2009/10/monkey-bread.html

Nutella Hot Chocolate: We’ll be saving this one for fall and winter…is it almost fall and winter yet? http://www.thehungryhousewife.com/2010/12/nutella-hot-chocolate.html

I plan on just eating it. But here are some yummy things to do with the left over pineapple:

Yep, pineapple state fair style: http://sweetlifebake.com/2011/05/26/pineapple-funnels-from-matt-armendarizs-on-a-stick/

Pineapple Mango Salsa: http://penniesonaplatter.com/2010/10/20/pineapple-mango-salsa/

Blueberry, Mango, Pineapple, Spinach Smoothies: http://mamagrubbsgrub.blogspot.com/2011/06/blueberrymangopineapple-and-spinach.html

Some photos of recent meals:

I love when I can cook an entire meal in one pan. Veggie stir fry/fried rice is one of those meals. Well, two I guess, one for rice, one for everything else.

Cook the veggies first then throw the egg in at the end. Mix it all up and you’re done.

Veggie stir fry/fried rice.

Bean and veggie fajita tacos is one of those one pan meals too.

And this week we had some queso around the house. I smothered them in queso. Yum.

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26
Jul

Week of 07.25.11

Well, due to some gifted meals, illness, and Nate’s family coming to town we are now officially a week behind on our own meal plan. But that works, because now I don’t have to worry about not having food in the house ever. But it does mean that I won’t have an instant verdict on some of the new items.

I was pretty close on some of last week’s items that I was worried about my pricing on though. Our pasta shells were cheaper. And you get 35 in a box. 35! Which means I can make the stuffed shells twice. Although the ricotta was .75 more than I anticipated, so it all evened out. We also got lucky this week on our bell peppers. All of the non-green ones are a dollar. So we added some extras in. We can’t pass that up. My mother-in-law was here this week and got to do some shopping at a Kroger store, which is what we have near our house down here. She said she’d been seeing the prices on here and wondering how we do it…now she knows. We’re lucky to have reasonable groceries here in TN. Here are the groceries we got this week for $44. We get our (day old) bread from a local bakery, so add that in and we’re under $46 for the week.

 

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, fruit, juice, and you should have oats left over…and don’t forget how good and cheap banana bread is.

Day 1
Lunch: Pineapple BBQ Onion Quesadilla
Dinner: Veggie Chili

Day 2
Lunch: Pineapple BBQ Onion Quesadilla
Dinner: Veggie Chili

Day 3
Lunch: Chickpea Salad over Spinach
Dinner: Veggie Chili

Day 4
Lunch: Chickpea Salad over Spinach
Dinner: Veggie Fajita Tacos

Day 5
Lunch: Egg White and Asparagus Omelet with Tzatziki
Dinner: Spinach with Pan Roasted Red Peppers and Feta with a side of Roasted Carrots

Day 6
Lunch: Egg White and Asparagus Omelet with Tzatziki
Dinner: Pineapple Fried Rice

Day 7
Lunch:  Pineapple Fried Rice
Dinner: Veggie Fajita Tacos (use up your cheese, tortillas, and veggies. Then make broth with what’s left!)

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:
Tortillas: $1
BBQ sauce: $2
Onions: $2
Cheese: $2
Pineapple: $3.50
2 Lemon: $1
Garbanzo beans: $1
Carrots: $1
Yellow bell pepper: $2
Tomatoes: $2
Feta: $2.50
Eggs: $1
Asparagus: $4
Yogurt: $1
Cucumber: $1
Cherry tomatoes: $3
Rice: $1
Spinach: $2
Green pepper: $1
Pinto beans: $1
Can of diced tomatoes: $1
Rotel: $1
Chili seasoning: $1
Fruit: $5.50
OJ: $3
Red bell pepper: $2
Bread: $1.50


And the recipes:
Pineapple BBQ Onion Quesadillas: I saw an image of bbq onion quesadillas and I thought “well, I like bbq pizza, maybe I can make a quesadilla I like.” So, this may be good, it may not, but I’m trying it. And if it’s just not good the I won’t put it on here ever again. I plan on making a quesadilla with a tortilla, sauteed onion, bbq sauce, chopped pineapple, and cheese.

Chickpea Salad: In a bowl whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, the juice from a lemon, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper (I never measure my salt and pepper by the way). In a separate bowl combine a rinsed can of garbanzo beans,  a cup of shredded carrot, 1/3 yellow pepper diced, 2 diced tomatoes, and 1/4 cup feta cheese. Pour dressing over salad and eat! We’re going to put it on top of some spinach to make a sort of salad.

Egg White and Asparagus Omelet with Tzatziki: I don’t typically like to waste food…and getting rid of the yoke seems a little wasteful to me, but I do want to try just using the whites at least once. And if I’m not a fan I won’t do it again. But I want to try it out and see.

Prepare tzatziki: We always make this to taste, but I’m going to try to guess about how much of each thing we put in. Feel free to look up a recipe! We get one of the little containers of greek yogurt and start with that. Add some finely chopped cucumber, lemon juice, pepper, and a little garlic if you’d like. Taste, adjust, and sit aside.

Sautee asparagus until tender, set aside. In a bowl combine 1 or 2 egg whites and a tbsp tzatziki. Grease a skillet and bring to medium heat. Pour egg mixture in, cook until white. Slide omelette onto a plate and place asparagus, tomatoes, and feta in the middle. Fold and serve with additional tzatziki.

Pineapple Fried Rice: Again, we use the fried rice seasoning that’s in the yellow packet…still can’t remember the name right now…but it’s pretty simple. You just follow the instructions on the packet. We throw in onion, bell pepper, and an egg. This week we’re topping it with chunks of pineapple that we’ve sauteed in teriyaki sauce. Delicious. Oh, and if you don’t have soy sauce around anymore you’ll need to grab some. It lasts forever, so you won’t have to buy it again for a while.

Slow Cooker Chili: My family gives us crap because we eat this so much. But it’s easy, cheap, makes a ton of food, and is delicious. Chop a green pepper and small onion and throw it in a crockpot with a can of pinto beans, can of diced tomatoes, can of rotel, and packet of chili seasoning. Cook on low for 6-8 hour or high for 3-4 hours. We put it over rice, in tortillas, and this week on baked potatoes topped with cheese and sour cream. Afraid of vegetarian chili? Add meat! And if you’re a single person you will most likely want to freeze some of this. It makes a lot. And you’ll be eating it for a week otherwise.

Veggie Fajita Tacos: Sauté green pepper, onion, garlic, and ground pepper. Throw that in a tortilla with some cheese, sour cream, and tomato if you like. Easy peasy. And ready in about 7 minutes. Add beans or meat if you’d like. We prefer black or refried pinto beans the best.

Spinach with Pan Roasted Red Peppers and Feta with  a side of Roasted Carrots: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, slice your red bell pepper and add it to the pan. Cook until the skins are slightly darkened, reduce heat, and cook until tender. Stir in 3 cloves of minced garlic. Add spinach (probably the remainder of your bunch) and cook until wilted. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Plate and top with feta (or goat cheese if you prefer).

Roasted Carrots: My aunt J gave me one of The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks way back before I got married…five years ago…and I’ve been wanting to make roasted carrots ever since and never have. They’re nothing fancy, and if you have dill or parsley that’s what her recipe says to put on them, but since I don’t we’re just going to salt and pepper ours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut your carrots in half lengthwise. Slice the carrots diagonally in 1 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put them on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

OTHER AWESOME LOOKING RECIPES: Here are some favorites I’ve spotted this week that I might need to try…mostly desserts.

Cucumber Honeydew Margarita Popsicles: Um, yum.

Apple Pie Caramel Apple: I love these. Fall is around the corner…

Banana Nutella Empanadas: Banana Nutella anything is good as far as I’m concerned.

Homemade tomato sauce: Who likes the stuff in the jar anyways?

Mmm, cherries. These were gifted to us. And were delicous while they lasted…which wasn’t very long.

Grilling the feta. It makes it so good that way. I put extra non-melted feta on too.

Delicious. Hummus, feta, spinach, onion, red bell pepper, and tomato.

 

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19
Jul

Week of 07.18.11

This week I’m adding a new section to the blog. At the bottom of each post I’m going to start including some additional recipes that I come across and think y’all should know about…like Nutella cupcakes. These recipes aren’t necessarily something that we’ll be making that week, or that fit into the budget, but they’re just yummy ideas for additional snacks or meals you can substitute in if something on the menu doesn’t sound good.

In addition, I think I’m going to start taking veggie broth out of the budget. Since we make it every time we need it I plan on using those extra dollars towards something else…so if you don’t want to make your own, or use something like chicken, then you’ll just need to add a couple of dollars to your budget.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, fruit, juice, and eggs. And again, grab some bananas and you can make banana bread or the banana pancakes from a few weeks ago. Banana bread and oatmeal have become our staple breakfast.

Day 1
Lunch:Chickpea Salad with Feta and Basil
Dinner: Spinach and Ricotta-stuffed Shells with any left over salad

Day 2
Lunch: Spinach and Ricotta-stuffed Shells
Dinner: Spinach and Ricotta-stuffed Shells

Day 3
Lunch: Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup
Dinner: Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup with Rice and Stir Fry Veggies

Day 4
Lunch: Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple, and Spinach Salad with Toast
Dinner: Red pepper and provolone Pitas

Day 5
Lunch:  Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple, and Spinach Salad with Toast
Dinner: Red pepper and Provolone Pitas

Day 6
Lunch: Hummus with Pita Chips
Dinner: Veggie Stir Fry with Rice

Day 7
Lunch:  Egg Sandwich (or make an omelet)
Dinner: Tomato Basil Paninis

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: Again, if you’re like us you probably already have some of these things. Like rice and soy sauce. Save yourself some money, or buy some spices and stuff. This week I’ve taken the broth out of the list (since we always make our own and freeze it) so you’ll need to add a couple of dollars if you need it!

Jumbo pasta shells: $2-3 (It says 20, how many come in a box? No idea.)
Marinara sauce: $2
30 ounces ricotta: $3
Spinach: $2-4 (We may need to get two bunches. We really like spinach)
Parmesan: $2.50
Eggs: $1
Soy sauce: $1.50
Cornstarch: $1.50 (and now I’ll have it in my pantry.)
Rice: $1
Green pepper: $1
Onions: $2
Chickpeas: $1
Cherry tomatoes: $3
Feta: $3
Red pepper: $2
Deli provolone: $2 (you just need a little sliced up)
Pita bread: $2
Garlic: $.50
Lemon: $.50
Sweet potato: $1
Apple: $1
Fruit: $4
OJ: $3
Hummus: $3.50 (or make your own…I’m feeling a bit lazy about it this week. And we’re addicted to Sabra anyways.)
Bread: $1.50

You made need: Veggie broth: $3 – You’ll need to add this in if you’re not making your own.

And the recipes:

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells: Heat oven to 400 degree. Cook your pasta shells. Drain and rinse in cold water. Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. In a bowl combine 30 oz ricotta, 2 cups chopped spinach, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 tsp sald and 1/4 tsp pepper (I’ll probably use more though). Spoon mixture into shells and place them in the pan on top of the sauce. Bake until shells begin to brown and serve.

Vegetarian Egg Drop Soup: In a bowl mis 2 tbsp of cornstarch and2 Tbsp water. Sit aside. IN another bowl beat two eggs and sit aside. Heat 4 cups of veggie broth and add 1 tsp soy sauce and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add cornstarch mixture and heat until the soup begins to lightly boil. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle the beaten egg into the soup while stirring with the other hand. The soup will cook the egg. Heat and serve.

Chickpea Salad with Feta and Basil: In a bowl combine a can of chickpeas (drain and rinsed), a cup of sliced cherry tomatoes, and 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil. In another bowl mix together 2 tbsp olive oil and 3/4 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Pour over salad and toss. Add feta, salt, and pepper to taste.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple, and Spinach Salad: Cube a sweet potato and toss it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until soft. Remove from oven. Build your salad! Spinach, apple slices, onion if you’d like, sweet potato cubes, and feta! Drizzle with dressing of choice.

Red Pepper and Provolone Pitas: This one is from a good friend of ours. Thanks Kevin, this sounds awesome. In a skillet saute (for a couple of minutes) olive oil, red pepper, garlic, a dash of salt, and a bit of lemon juice. Put mixture on pita bread, top with provolone, and broil till the cheese is melted. Sounds good to me!

Pita Chips: So easy. Ok, ready? Cut your pita into triangles. Lay on stone or cookie sheet. Brush with a mixture of olive oil, pepper, and garlic. Bake until they start to brown. Yummy.

Stir Fry Veggies with Rice: We’ll have rice left over and some veggies left over, so we plan on combining that with soy sauce we have and some egg.

Paninis: We’ve had these on here before, and they’re a delicious way to use some left over ingredients. We plan on making sandwiches out of any tomatoes, cheese, basil, spinach, and onion that we have left over.

 

OTHER AWESOME LOOKING RECIPES: So, I think I’m going to start adding this to the bottom of my posts. There are a lot of recipes that I think look delicious…but maybe aren’t meals. Or maybe aren’t in our “plan” for the week. But I really feel like you need to see some of these. So here they are…just click the titles to go to the recipes.

Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes: This is from my friend Leigh’s blog. Can you believe this!? Amazing.

Beet Hummus: How pretty is this!?

Vegetarian Gyros: One of these days I need to try seitan and see what it’s all about.

 

Some photos of recent meals:

Breakfast…banana bread.

Pita Chips

Mock Chicken Salad

Tomato and Peach Salad. This was surprisingly delicious. We’ll definitely be making it again.

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12
Jul

Week of 07.11.11

This week we’ve got some old favorites that we’re in the mood for and a couple of new things to try. If you didn’t try the naan pizzas last time I would highly recommend them. Especially if you’ve got kids and you’re sick of frozen pizzas (yucky yucky). They take less than five minutes to prep and are SO good. We’re also having the Buddha Bowls again because it’s the only way we’ve found that Nate likes broccoli. And the Ethiopian veggies are back because we should be getting our official July adoption numbers here shortly!

And on a side note, we are addicted to banana bread. I had a freezer full of frozen bananas and we have discovered (why did it take so long?) that it’s super easy, cheap, and delicious. It’s a great breakfast idea if you’re looking for something new to try. Oh, and we decided on our favorite recipe to date. It’s the tortellini in spinach cream sauce. Unbelievably good.

And just a reminder to anyone who may be reading this for the first time, we are vegetarians. But you can easily add meat to almost all of these recipes! Although I promise, they’re all good without it too.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, fruit, juice, and eggs. Grab some bananas and you can make banana bread or the banana pancakes from a few weeks ago.

Day 1
Lunch: Naan Pizza
Dinner: Veggie Enchiladas

Day 2
Lunch: Veggie Enchiladas
Dinner: Veggie Enchiladas

Day 3
Lunch: Creamy Spinach and Carrot Soup
Dinner: Naan Pizza with remaining soup

Day 4
Lunch: Ethiopian Veggies with toast and fruit
Dinner: Buddha Bowl

Day 5
Lunch:  Buddha Bowl
Dinner: Cabbage Potato Soup

Day 6
Lunch: Cabbage Potato Soup
Dinner: Cabbage Potato Soup

Day 7
Lunch:  Egg Sandwich with Steamed Broccoli (or make an omelet)
Dinner: Mock Chicken Salad (use the remaining chickpeas from the buddha bowls)

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: Again, if you’re like us you probably already have some of these things. Like rice. Save yourself some money, or buy some spices and stuff. Also, I always put veggie broth on here with an amount, but if you make your own you don’t have to buy it…and it’s way better. This week with the broccoli, carrots, onions, cabbage, and tomatoes you should be able to make yourself a bunch of broth and freeze it!

2 Green pepper: $2
Bag of onions: $2.50
Garlic: $.50
Black beans: $1
Tomatoes: $3.50
Green chilies: $1
Salsa: $2
Rice: $1
Tortillas: $1
Cheese: $2
Naan bread: $3
Deli mozzarella cheese: $3
Broccoli: $2.50
Chickpeas: $1
Spinach: $2
Veggie broth: $3 (or make your own and freeze the extra!)
Cream: $1.50
3 large or 4 small potatoes: $3.50
Cabbage: $3
Bag of organic carrots: $1.50
Fruit: $5
Bread: $1.50
Half dozen eggs: $1
OJ: $3

And the recipes:

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.

Naan Bread Pizzas
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor combine 1 roma tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil,  a garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Spread a little olive oil on each crust, followed by the sauce. Top with mozzarella, some sliced onion, and a little bell pepper left from the veggie enchiladas…or whatever toppings you’d like to get. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is brown. We plan on making our two pizzas on different days since it’s just the two of us.

Buddha Bowl
Cook 1-2 cups of rice. While it’s cooking sauté: 1/2 a head of chopped broccoli, 1/2 of a chopped onion, and a grated carrot. Add a 1/2 cup of chickpeas, a little spinach, and some garlic so they’re warm. I plan on peppering this. Nate will probably add cayenne or cajun spices. Serve the veggies/chickpeas over the warm rice. Dress it with a sliced avocado, salt, and whatever other spices you’d like.

Creamy Spinach and Carrot Soup
Blend 1 cup spinach, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 cup cooked carrots, 3/4 cups cream, and 2 tsp butter in a blender. Heat on the stove. Easy! To cook the carrots just chop them up and boil them in water until they’re tender.

Ethiopian Veggies: Cut up a potato, a little bit of cabbage, a few carrots, and half of an onion into small cubes. Peel and mash the garlic. Heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large pan and add the vegetables. Cover and saute 2-3 minutes. Or longer if you’re like us and like the potatoes a little brown. Add pepper and salt and mix well. Add 4 cups of water, stir and cook over very low flame for 30-40 minutes. So yummy. Like really really good almost mashed stewed potatoes. You can also add tumeric or ginger if you have them in the pantry…that’s how they’re actually supposed to be prepared.

Cabbage Potato Soup: In a large saucepan heat 3 tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and cook until tender. Stir in 3 tbsp flour. Add 4 cups coarsely shredded cabbage, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, and 3 cups vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and 3 cups diced potatoes. Cover and cook until tender. Stir frequently. It should probably take about 20 minutes. Add 1 cup cream (typically I use less cream than recipes call for, so add it a little at a time to taste). Season as needed. Eat!

Mock Chicken Salad: Since you’ve already used some of chickpeas for the Buddha Bowls this is an easy quick way to use them up! Mash them in a bowl and mix in some chopped bell pepper (we like yellow the best, but have green this week), onion (I leave it out and Nate adds it in to what he’s eating since I don’t like raw onions),  mayo to taste, and salt and pepper. We top it with relish and spices, but really whatever you make your regular tuna or chicken salad with would work. Serve on toast or as a sandwich. This takes less than 5 minutes to make and is awesome. And trust me, non-vegetarians will love it too.

 

Some photos of recent meals:

Black bean burger and sweet potato fries. For about .50/each sweet potatoes are my new favorite thing to buy. For $.25/each Nate and I can have delicious homemade fries. And we love fries.

The veggies for the tortellini in spinach cream sauce.

Mmmm, this creamy sauce is SO good. I used less cream than it called for so it was a little thicker.

This is our winner for best tight bites meal. I made it with regular pasta 4 days in a row. Shh, I know, there’s a lot of cheese involved. I don’t care.

The avocado soup was super easy to make. Although I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of chilled soups…just my personal opinion though! If you like chilled soups, and you like avocado, then this may be for you.

The avocado soup is super smooth.

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4
Jul

Week of 07.04.11

Happy 4th everyone! To celebrate, this week we’re going to make versions of some of our favorite “American” foods. And while chances are good you’re like us and plan on eating out or BBQing or something to celebrate, I’m still going to do the full week’s worth. That way if we want to come back and do this list later it will be complete.

Also, I realized last week that, even though black bean burgers was on the menu, I forgot to put them on the list. Oops. I’ve edited it now to include them. Hopefully I haven’t left anything out this week. Somebody call me out if I do!

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

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have eggs and fruit. And if you’ve still got flour, and get some banana in your fruit budget, you can make the banana pancakes from a couple of weeks ago again. Add some juice to the budget if you’re out and you can make some smoothies too.

Day 1
Lunch: Hawaiian Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Tomato Basil soup

Day 2
Lunch: Hawaiian Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Tomato Basil soup

Day 3
Lunch: Avocado Dogs with Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner: Mock Chicken Salad

Day 4
Lunch: Avocado Dogs with Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner: Spicy Mac and Cheese

Day 5
Lunch:  Spicy Mac and Cheese
Dinner: Veggie Kabobs with any left over Mac and Cheese

Day 6
Lunch: Veggie Kabobs, or make an omelet with the veggies.
Dinner: Veggie Chili

Day 7
Lunch:  Veggie Chili
Dinner: Baked Potato topped with Chili

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: If you’re like us you probably already have some of these things. Save yourself some money, or buy something else. I didn’t include the toppings for the “hot dogs” because I figure everyone likes them a certain way, and you probably already have some of the toppings. So you may need a few extra dollars for that stuff if not.

Hawaiian rolls: $2 (I’m hoping this is close to right, first time buying these guys)
Pineapple: $4 (you can get canned to save money, but I’m getting fresh)
Bag of onions: $2
Red bell pepper: $2
Green pepper: $1
Sliced Pepper jack cheese: $4
6 Tomatoes: $4.50
2 Peaches: $1.50
Hot dog buns: $1.50
Avocado: $2
Sweet potato: $1
Garlic: $.50
Basil: $3
Cream: $1.50
Chili seasoning: $1
Pinto beans: $1
Diced tomatoes: $1
Rotel: $1
Macaroni noodles: $1
Potatoes for baked potatoes: $1.50
8 oz cheddar cheese: $2
Eggs: $1 (we get a half dozen)
Sour cream: $1
Milk: $1 (again, we get the little tiny guy)
Marinade: $1.50
Additional Fruit: $3.50
Garbanzo beans: $1
Mayo: $2

 

And the recipes:
Note: As in most weeks, for some of recipes you’ll only use part of the veggie and the rest in on another day. This week in particular the bell pepper, tomatoes, and pineapple go in a couple of recipes.

Hawaiian Grilled Cheese: Based off of the Lil’ Kahuna from the Grilled Cheese Academy this is one fancy grilled cheese. Thanks again for the tip Leigh! For each sandwich you’ll need: A pineapple ring, some sliced onion, sliced red bell pepper, 2 slices of pepper jack cheese, and a hawaiian sweet roll, split (yum).

Saute the pineapple slices in olive oil until caramelized. Removed pineapple from the pan and saute the bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet, butter each slice of bread, and layer the ingredients on. Grill just like you would a regular ol’ grilled cheese.

Tomato-peach Salad: Slice tomato and peaches into wedges. Toss with red onion slices. Drizzle with cider vinegar and olive oil; season with sugar, salt and pepper.

Avocado Dog: Ok, so this is a combination of an old Iowa favorite of ours (shout out to the super dog stand), and something we sort of stumbled on when at a hot dog dinner. Obviously if you’re not a vegetarian and you want to add a hot dog that would totally work. But for us we substitute avocado in instead.

Here’s how we build ours, but this is a pretty standard dish top it as you wish. I didn’t list each of these items in my list because you may or may not want them, and chances are good you have some of them. Like mustard. Anyways…hot dog bun, avocado, mayo, ketchup, mustard, sauteed onion, tomato, crushed potato chips, pineapple, and topped slice of mozzarella. Bake for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Sweet Potato Fries: Did these last week, doing them again. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Peel your sweet potato and cut into strips about 1/2 wide. Place the slices in a ziploc bag. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Seal bag and shake. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Once they’re browned transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and let them cool a little before eating. Again, this is something we plan on making twice. So we’re going to half this each time.

Tomato Soup: We’ve made this before, and it really is “a pinch and taste here” recipe. So like I said before here’s the recipe, but taste it as you go and tweak it til it’s yummy!  One mistake we made last time was dumping all the cream in at once. Go slow, and taste as you go, we definitely didn’t need this much. Same goes for the sugar.

What you’ll need: 1 onion, peeled and chopped, 2 TBS garlic, 1 medium bunch of fresh basil chopped finely, Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 4-5 (or more) large tomatoes boiled and peeled, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 stick butter sliced into pats, 1/4 cup sugar (not sure…just added to taste).

Saute’ the onions, garlic and basil in the olive oil. Salt and pepper lightly. Boil the tomatoes and peel; set aside. Place the peeled and now soft tomatoes in the blender with the sauteed mixture. Place all, after competed pureed, back into the soup pot. Add cream. Add butter. Add sugar until all is blended and smooth. Salt an pepper to taste.

Slow Cooker Chili: My family gives us crap because we eat this so much. But it’s easy, cheap, makes a ton of food, and is delicious. Chop a green pepper and small onion and throw it in a crockpot with a can of pinto beans, can of diced tomatoes, can of Rotel, and packet of chili seasoning. Cook on low for 6-8 hour or high for 3-4 hours. We put it over rice, in tortillas, and this week on baked potatoes topped with cheese and sour cream. Afraid of vegetarian chili? Add meat! And if you’re a single person you will most likely want to freeze some of this. It makes a lot. And you’ll be eating it for a week otherwise.

Spicy Mac and Cheese: Cook about 2 cups of macaroni noodles. In a bowl combine pasta, 8 oz pepper jack cheese, and 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese. Pour into a large baking dish. In a bowl combine 2 tsp flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, one beaten egg, 4 tbsp sour cream, and 1 1/2 cups milk. Pour over pasta, cover with up to 4 oz shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 35, until it starts to brown. Spring with bread crumbs and bake. We plan on making bread crumbs that day by cooking little pieces of Hawaiian bread in butter in a skillet and then crumbling.

Veggie Kabobs: You can really use whatever veggies and marinade you want. And of course, meat eaters, this is an easy one to add meat to. We plan on slicing up the remainder of our red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, pineapple, and tomato. And I think we might use a teriyaki marinade.

Mock Chicken Salad: This is seriously our favorite recipe in a long time. We can’t get enough…and tend to eat it all in one meal. Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans. Mash them in a bowl and mix in some chopped bell pepper (we like yellow), onion (I leave it out and Nate adds it in to what he’s eating since I don’t like raw onions),  mayo to taste, and salt and pepper. We top it with relish and spices, but really whatever you make your regular tuna or chicken salad with would work. Serve on toast or as a sandwich. This takes less than 5 minutes to make and is awesome. And trust me, non-vegetarians will love it too. This week we’re eating it on the Hawaiian rolls.

 

Photos: These are keepers too!

Black bean soup topped with cheese, avocado, onion, and tomato.

Cooking the sundried tomatoes and garlic. Smelled SO good.

Sundried tomato alfredo.

Spinach and apple salad.

I love soups that are this easy. Boil til tender. Blend. Add a little milk. And eat.

This soup was delicious. And a great way to “hide” cauliflower. Although if you’re going to use the whole head of it for this soup you’ll probably want a couple of more potatoes. I only ended up using about 1/2 of the head. We used milk instead of the half and half and it was still plenty creamy. I think it’d also work well as a base…maybe add carrots, corn, or bacon for you meat eaters.

 

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29
Jun

Week of 06.27.11

This week I was in search of recipes that were fast. We’re short on time (which is probably why it’s Tuesday and I’m just now posting this) and we want to keep it simple. So we’ve brought back the black bean burgers and Paninis, but we’re trying a few new things too. Including my first time ever trying fried green tomatoes. I guess that means if they’re not “the best in the world” I won’t know right?

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have toast, fruit, juice, and maybe an egg or two. You may also have stuff left over from last week to make pancakes.

Day 1
Lunch: Black bean burgers
Dinner: Black bean burgers with sweet potato fries

Day 2
Lunch: Tacos made with remaining black bean burgers and veggies
Dinner: Fried green tomato sandwiches

Day 3
Lunch: Avocado soup
Dinner: Fried green tomato sandwiches

Day 4
Lunch: Remaining avocado soup with sweet potato fries
Dinner: Veggie fajita tacos

Day 5
Lunch:  Fried egg sandwich
Dinner: Panini sandwich

Day 6
Lunch: Spinach salad with green apple, onion, avocado, oil and vinegar
Dinner: Tortellini in spinach cream sauce

Day 7
Lunch:  Tortellini in spinach cream sauce
Dinner: Panini sandwich

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: If you’re like us you probably already have some of these things. Save yourself some money, or buy some spices and stuff. Also, I always put veggie broth on here with an amount, but if you make your own you don’t have to buy it…and it’s way better.

Green pepper $1
Bag of onions: $2
Black beans: $1
Oats: $2
Bread: $1.50 (get something like italian bread that will be good for burgers and bruschetta)
Tortillas $1
4 roma tomato: $2.5
Red potatoes: $2
Cheese: $2
4 Avocado: $8 (you only need 3 if you aren’t going to put it on your fried green tomatoes)
Cream: $1.50
Veggie broth: $2.5 (or make your own…do it)
Basil: $3
Green tomatoes: $3 (for us this will be around a lb)
Eggs: $1
Sweet potato: $1 (get at least 1-1.5lb)
Spinach: $2
Green apple: $1
Tortellini: $3.50
Parmesan: $2
Fruit: $4 (just a reminder, this is eat as you want, I don’t tell it which meal to go with)
OJ: $3

 

And the recipes:

Black Bean Burgers: This is a repeat from a few weeks ago. We love them and are craving them again…In a bowl mash up a can of drained and rinsed black beans. In a food processor combine a couple of cloves of garlic, a small onion or half of a large one, and a bell pepper. Process that sucker! in another food processor grind up a bunch of oats until they’re nice and small. Start with a cup or so, but you may need to do more in a bit. If you’ve got bread crumbs lying around those work too. Mix the oats and the green pepper/onion mixture into the bowl with the black beans. Add more oats as needed until it’s a sticky paste of a mixture almost like ground beef, just enough so that you can form little patties of it. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes on each side. Thin patties will work better. This usually makes about 12 patties for us. Yep, that’s why it’s on there for so many meals. And if you’ve got spices and such you’d like to thrown in the mix go for it. Nate loves to add chili paste to them. And dress them up with whatever you want. We typically have ketchup, relish and mayo around.

Spicy Potato Tacos: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl stir together 1 tablespoon of oil (I’m going to use olive) and whatever seasonings you want to use. We’re using a fajita seasoning. Dice your red potatoes and add them to the bowl. Toss until coated. Place them on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. We plan on making tacos out of the potatoes, avocado, sauteed onion and green pepper, and tomato.

Avocado Soup In a blender combine: 2 cups veggie broth, 2-4 lg slices of onion, 2 medium avocados, ½ cup cream, a little curry (or spices of choice), salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled…although I think I’m going to try it warm too. The idea of cold soup has always been a little weird to me. Thanks for the recipe Elizabeth!

Bruschetta Take slices of your bread and lay them on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil. Dice or slice a couple of tomatoes and put some on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with chopped basil. Bake until the bread is warm and a little crispy.

Fried green tomatoes: *Note* We’re making these for two different meals so we plan on splitting this in half and making two batches. Place 1/2 cup flour, 2 beaten eggs, and 1/2 cup cornmeal in separate bowls. Season each with salt, pepper, and any spices you’d like. Line a baking sheet with paper towel. Start 1/2 cup vegetable oil heating over medium. Slice both ends off of each of your tomatoes, cut tomato into 4-5 slices. Dip tomatoes in flour, then egg, then cornmeal. Put a few slices in your pan and fry until golden brown, a couple of minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Repeat until they’re all cool. Eat! We’re going to make them into sandwiches with onion, mayo, maybe avocado. Mmmmm.

Sweet Potato Fries: Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. Peel your sweet potato and cut into strips about 1/2 wide. Place the slices in a ziploc bag. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Seal bag and shake. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Once they’re browned transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and let them cool a little before eating. Again, this is something we plan on making twice. So we’re going to half this each time.

Paninis: We’ve had these on here before, and they’re a delicious way to use some left over ingredients. We plan on making sandwiches out of the tomatoes, cheese, basil, spinach, and onion that we have left over.

Tortellini in Spinach Cream Sauce: Cook the tortellini, drain, and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 3 cloves garlic, cook until tender. Add a couple of hand fulls of spinach, 1 diced roma tomato, chopped basil to your liking, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes , stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4-1/2 cup cream (eyeball it, we used 1/4 cup for a thicker sauce) and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Cook until just coming to a boil, reduce to low, and add tortellini. Heat and eat!

 

Photos: All three of these are keepers for sure!

The veggies for the stuffed tomatoes.

Feta and spinach stuffed tomatoes.

Nate wanted you to know that he drizzled his with teriyaki…and that it was yuuuuummy.

Making veggie broth. This was a really good batch. We had the left over tomato insides, some broccoli, onion and carrot. I actually made two batches with these veggies. Boiled it down, dumped it out, and filled it back up. Now we have a freezer full of broth!

Prep for the creamy spinach and carrot soup. Easy easy easy.

Creamy spinach and carrot soup. Nate is not a carrot fan, and he loved this. It’ll be on here again I’m sure. Literally took 5 minutes to make and was delicious.

Pizza sauce. Tomato, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Naan pizza. This piece is just mozzarella and feta cheese, but the other half was mozzarella, feta, and sundried tomatoes. When our little one comes home and is old enough to want pizza this will be a regular. Took 5 minutes to prep and with the exception of the naan (which only has a few ingredients and no preservatives) everything is fresh. The sauce is awesome.

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20
Jun

Week of 06.20.11

This week I’ve got two soups on the menu. I guess I’m in the mood for soup…maybe it’s the thunderstorms…or the fact that I just made a bunch of veggie broth. There are also a couple of items on here I’ve never purchased before, so hopefully I’m not too far off on the pricing.

Last week I had pimento cheese sandwiches and a dish called the “buddah bowl” on the menu. Both were a huge success. Nate now has a dish that he’ll eat broccoli in!! Which is a HUGE deal around this house. He hates broccoli. And he said he wants it again, so you’ll probably see it again soon. Oh, and for the pimento we used cheddar and monterey jack, not colby.

Here’s this week’s meal plan for around $50:

Breakfast
This week for breakfast you’ll have peanut butter toast, fruit, juice, and if you want to make more pancakes go for it!

Day 1
Lunch: Naan pizza
Dinner: Creamy cauliflower potato soup

Day 2
Lunch: Banana pancakes with fruit
Dinner: Creamy cauliflower potato soup

Day 3
Lunch: Creamy cauliflower potato soup
Dinner: Naan pizza

Day 4
Lunch: Banana pancakes with fruit
Dinner: Sun-dried tomato alfredo

Day 5
Lunch:  Sun-dried tomato alfredo
Dinner: Mexican casserole

Day 6
Lunch: Mexican casserole
Dinner: Black bean soup

Day 7
Lunch:  Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich
Dinner: Black bean soup

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: If you’re like us you probably already have some of these things. Yay! You don’t have to buy them this week! Although, if you don’t have flour or baking powder you’ll need to get those for the pancakes.

Califlower: $3
Yellow potatoes (about a pound): $2
Half and half: $1.50
Cheese: $2
Naan bread: $3
2 roma tomatoes: $1.50
Garlic: $.50
Basil: $2.50
Deli sliced mozzarella: $2.50
Bag of onions: $2
Green pepper: $1
Bananas: $1.50
Milk: $1
Bread: $1.50
Pasta: $1
Sun-dried tomatoes: $3
Cream cheese: $1.50
Tortillas: $1
2 Black beans: $2
Can pinto beans: $1
Green chilis: $1
Sour cream: $1
Cheese soup: $1
Veggie broth (or make your own, it’s way better and super easy): $2
Fruit: $4.50
OJ: $3
Peanut butter: $2.50

 

And the recipes:

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup
You’ll need a small head of cauliflower and about a pound of yellow potatoes. Cut the cauliflower into florets, and peel and cube the potatoes. Place the cauliflower and potato in a stock pot with 3 cups of water and some salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the veggies are tender, around 15 minutes or so. Once tender blend, mix in 1/2 cup half and half, season as you’d like, and serve with shredded cheese on top.

Naan Bread Pizzas
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor combine 1 cup tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, a few leaves of fresh basil, a garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Spread a little olive oil on each crust, followed by the sauce. Top with mozzarella, some sliced onion, and a little bell pepper. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is brown. We plan on making our two pizzas on different days since it’s just the two of us.

Banana Pancakes
Sift together 2 tsp baking powder and 1 cup flour. In a separate bowl mix one mashed banana with 1/2 cup milk until there are no lumps. Add the banana mixture to the baking powder/flour bowl. Add 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Stir together. Cook in a greased pan and eat!

Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo: Ok, since I totally failed at actually making sun-dried tomatoes last time I had this on the menu (we used red pepper instead), I’m going to give it another go. But we’re buying the tomatoes ha. The sauce was delicious last time, so I’m excited to try it again. Start cooking your pasta. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Chop 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes and put in butter, and add 1/4 cup whole sun-dried tomatoes. Add two cloves of garlic. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour and slowly pour 1 1/2 cups of milk, while constantly stirring, until sauce begins to thicken and simmer. Add 1/2 cup cream cheese and cook, stirring, until smooth, then remove from heat and mix in with your strained noodles.

Mexican Casserole: This is our variation of a family favorite. And a repeat on here…because it sounds yummy this week. Although we’re going to go with pinto beans this time. We use our round stoneware to bake it in because it’s round, and tortillas are round, so it made sense to us. In the bottom of the pan put a layer of cheese soup (or cream of chicken if you chose that instead). Then put a tortilla down on the soup. Layer beans, cheese, grilled onions and bell pepper, and green chilies. Then spread some soup on a tortilla and place it soup side down on top of the beans and veggies and all. Repeat until your pan is full to the top. Put the rest of the soup on top and throw a little cheese on top. Bake until everything is melty and warm. Since nothing really needs to “cook” we usually give it about 10 minutes or so. This is also an easy recipe to add ground beef or shredded chicken to. I think we’ll throw in some rice too since we have it around.

Black Bean Soup
Chopped a medium onion and saute it. When it’s translucent add pepper, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and cook for a minute. Add a can of black beans and 2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat. Blend the ingredients and put back in the pot. Add the second can of beans, bring to a simmer. Serve garnished with onion, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, baked tortilla strips, whatever you’d like!

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
This is pretty strait forward. Two slices of bread, smother on some peanut butter, add some sliced banana, and grill like a grilled cheese.

 

Photos: Ok, so the grilled pimento cheese with avocado was an amazing sandwich. A fat sandwich, but a seriously delicious meal. I don’t care how much fat is in it. I will eat it again. We also tried a new “garlic” bread this week, and it was amazing.

This is our favorite way to eat fruit. This one is blueberries, banana, pineapple, peaches, greek yogurt, flax, peanut butter, and orange juice. Yummy.

Making the buddah bowl. This is the first time broccoli has been in our house. A pretty big deal.

Cooking up the veggies…

…and complete. Nate ate all the broccoli and even said we could make it again. We put some teriyaki sauce on it that we had and skipped the avocado this time.

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