14
Jun

Week of 06.13.11

Back on the wagon we are! We cleaned out our pantry this week and tried some of the recipes from previous weeks that we hadn’t made for one reason or another. Some delicious ones I might add. The vegetarian tortilla soup and mock chicken salad are definite keepers. In fact, we’re putting mock chicken salad on this week too. We love it. Perhaps chicken salad was something we’d been missing since making the switch to vegetarianism…

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

Day 1
Lunch: Pasta with onion, garlic, and spinach
Dinner: Buddha bowl

Day 2
Lunch: Buddha bowl
Dinner: Feta and spinach stuffed tomatoes

Day 3
Lunch: Feta and spinach stuffed tomatoes
Dinner: Creamy spinach and carrot soup

Day 4
Lunch: Grilled pimento cheese and avocado sandwich
Dinner: Creamy spinach and carrot soup

Day 5
Lunch:  Creamy spinach and carrot soup
Dinner: Grilled pimento cheese and avocado sandwich

Day 6
Lunch: Mock chicken salad
Dinner: Lentil shepard’s pie

Day 7
Lunch:  Lentil shepard’s pie
Dinner: Lentil shepard’s pie or Pasta with onion and garlic…whichever is left and sounds better!

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: If you’re like us you probably already have several of these things like garlic, lentils, rice, etc.

Rice: $1
Broccoli: $2
2 cans Chickpeas: $2
Bag of onions: $2
Carots: $1
Garlic: $.50
2 Avocado: $4
Spinach: $2
Tomatoes: $3
Feta: $3
Butter: $2
Half and half: $2
Can of veggie broth: $1.50 (or make your own with a little of each of your veggies for pennies)
Yellow pepper: $2
Bread: $1.50
Mayo: $2.50
Cheddar cheese: $2
Colby cheese: $2
Pimento peppers: $3
Instant mashed potatoes: $1 (the little serving bags are cheap, or make your own with the extra half and half)
Lentils: $1
Can of diced tomatoes: $1
Breadcrumbs: $1
Pasta: $1
Pasta sauce: $2
Fruit: $4

 

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 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.

Feta and Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start a cup of rice cooking. Cut the top off of four tomatoes. Scoop out the pulp and save it in a bowl. I’m going to save the tops to make some veggie broth with. Invert the tomato shells and let them sit on a paper towel for 30min. Sauté 1 cup chopped onion until tender. Add the tomato pulp, a couple of cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup of cooked rice, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until heated. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cups feta. Spoon the mixture into each tomato shell. Grease a cooking pan, place the tomatoes in the pan and cook for 25 minutes.

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.

Pimento Cheese
In a bowl combine 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 cup coolly cheese, 2 to 4 oz diced pimento peppers (drained), and 4oz mayo. Add more mayo and pimentos as you need or wish. Salt, pepper, and spice as needed. Put the pimento cheese and sliced avocado on bread. Grill until warm and melty. Eat it up!

Shepard’s Pie
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook 1 cup of dry lentils. Cook instant mashed potatoes or make homemade ones.

Chop 1 large onion and sauté it along with 3 cloves of minced garlic and any remaining bell pepper and carrots you have left  until tender. Add the cooked lentil. Then stir in 1 19oz can of diced tomato (drained). Stir in 3/4 cups dry breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, top with mashed potatoes and shredded cheese. Bake until melted and browning on the edges.

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.

 

Photos: Non-vegetarians would also love this veggie tortilla soup from a couple of weeks ago. We made homemade veggie broth (which is so much better than store bought) and baked slices of tortilla to top it with. The avocado is a must!

The soup finished.

The veggies cooking for the tortilla soup.

Cabbage, bell pepper, cheese, black bean, and tomato burritos. These tortillas were gigantic.

And the mock chicken salad. We’ve made it with both yellow (above) and green (below) bell pepper. We liked the yellow better. And I leave out the onion. Nate adds it into his, but it’s too strong for me.

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5
Jun

Week of 06.06.11

After a crazy week last week (and no meal plan) it is time to get back on the wagon! I apologize for my absence, hopefully if you were in a pinch you just looked back at a previous week. We unfortunately got too busy and did way too much dining out. So here we go, back on budget…

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

Breakfast: This week you’ll have stuff for oats, fruit, eggs, omelets, toast, fruit and yogurt for smoothies, and a little milk.

Day 1
Lunch: Garlic hummus with chips and raw veggies
Dinner: Veggie/black bean fajita tacos

Day 2
Lunch: Veggie/black bean fajita tacos
Dinner: Garlic hummus sandwich (hummus, onion, green pepper, tomato, feta)

Day 3
Lunch: Apple burgers (yes, these sound weird, but apparently they’re good, so I guess we’ll find out)
Dinner: Stir fry veggies and rice

Day 4
Lunch: Apple burgers
Dinner: Stir fry veggies and rice

Day 5
Lunch:  Guacamole Pasta
Dinner: Guacamole Pasta

Day 6
Lunch:  Hot chili grilled cheese
Dinner: Veggie fajita tacos

Day 7
Lunch:  Hot chili grilled cheese
Dinner: Pasta with olive oil, feta, and any remaining veggies (onion, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice)

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing: If you’re like us you probably already have several of these things like garlic, oats, rice, etc.

Garbanzo beans: $1
Tahini (lasts forever by the way): $2.50
Feta: $2.50
Garlic: $.50
Lemon: $.50
Pita chips: $2.50
Carrots: $1
Tomatoes: $2.50
Yogurt: $1
Feta: $2.50
2 Green pepper: $2
1 Red pepper: $2
Bag of onion: $2
Bread: $1.50
2 tart apples: $1.50
Bread crumbs: $1
Rice: $1
Oats: $2
1 Jalapeno: $.50
Spinach: $1.50
Avocado: $1.50
Milk: $1 (in case you’re just joining me, it’s $1 because I buy the little tiny bottle)
4 poblano peppers: $2 (I’ve never bought these before, hopefully I’m not super off?)
1 can pinto beans: $1
Salsa: $2
Cheese: $2
Fruit: $5
OJ: $3
Eggs: $1

 

Garlic Hummus: In a food processor combine 1 can garbanzo beans (drained), 6 mined cloves of garlic (or roasted garlic if you’ve got the time), 1/3 cup tahini, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil. Puree. If it’s too thick you may need to add olive oil a tiny bit at a time. Easy peasy! We love garlic hummus. It’s great on sandwiches, wraps, or pita chips.

Veggie Fajitas: Chop or slice all of your veggies. Heat up your black beans and build some tacos! We use onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato, cheese, sour cream and avocado if we have them. This week we don’t have them in the budget, but we do have salsa.

Apple Burgers: Grate two apples. Squeeze some of the juice out, then place in a bowl with 1 minced onion, 2 cups bread crumbs, 1 chopped green pepper, 2 cups cooked rice, 3 tbsp ground oats, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Put 3 tbsp of ground oats  in a bowl. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Shape patties (if you need more bread crumbs add them) and coat them with the oats. Fry in the oil until they are golden brown. Probably a couple of minutes per side.

Hot Chili Grilled Cheese: Preheat your oven to 450. Lay the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for a few minutes until the skin blisters. Place them in a plastic bag and seal. Allow them to sweat in the bag for 10-15 minutes. When you remove them they should be easy to peel. Rinse them, peel them, and cut out the seeds and veins.

While the peppers are roasting, combine a drained can of pinto beans, 3 tbsp salsa, 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl. Mash the beans until they form a paste. In a separate small bowl combine 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 2 tbsp plain yogurt, and a little chopped onion (I think I’ll sautee mine first).

To build the sandwiches, spread the bean mixture on a slice of bread, top with a spoonful of the cheese mixture, and place some of the poblano pepper over the cheese. Grill and serve!

Guacamole Pasta: Heat a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted. Sautee 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 chopped jalapeno, a small amount of chopped onion, and half of a red pepped (chopped). Cook until slightly tender. Reduce heat and add a handful of spinach. Add 2 oz of your packaged or homemade guacamole and a splash of milk. Add milk until it’s the desired consistency. Add flour if it needs to be thickened. Stir in cooked pasta and eat! You can also make this vegan by using coconut milk and vegan butter. Save a little pasta for a quick dinner on day 7 with the remaining veggies and oils.

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.

Photos: This week I’ve got a photo of the pitas that I was talking about last post. We had a few of them left so we used some left over veggies we had and some yogurt to make them again. This is a delicious, easy, and healthy go to meal if you’ve got less than 10 minutes. Throw the veggies in a pan, mix some yogurt, chopped cucumber and lemon juice. Build it and eat. Really yummy. The second image is our homemade veggie broth. Not a lovely picture, but seriously easy to make. And way cheaper and more delicious than store bought. Just use the left over remnants of veggies you have. We save ours in a tupperware in the fridge and throw them in a pot with water, salt, pepper, and garlic. Boil. Easy. I stocked up our freezer so we’re good on veggie broth for a few recipes now.

 

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24
May

Week of 05.23.11

This week, thanks to some leftovers from friends and a dinner out, we’re still eating on last week’s list…so there are a couple of things I haven’t made yet, and therefore don’t have a verdict on. However, we did make the cucumber yogurt pitas with black bean patties instead of with the falafel (which I am still excited to make) and it is fabulous. We both agreed that it’s delicious and I wouldn’t be surprised if we put it on everything from now on…everything. The potato tacos were a hit too. Nate spiced his potatoes up with some cajun spices he had, I used garlic, salt, and pepper. The avocado is a must. These would be delicious for any meal of the day…including breakfast. And when you’re eating the left overs just throw them in a pan with some oil and they brown up quite nicely.

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

Breakfast: This week you may have some oats left over, and you’ll have the usual fruit, toast, eggs, omelet, and french toast options.

Dessert: I found a recipe for banana pineapple sorbet that I think I might use some fruit budget to try and make this week. It sounds so yummy and is ridiculously easy. Basically you take 2 bananas – sliced and frozen, 3 oz pineapple juice, and 3 oz frozen pineapple juice. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth. Eat right away.

Day 1
Lunch: Grilled cheese with spinach salad
Dinner: Spaghetti with rice balls

Day 2
Lunch: Spaghetti with rice balls
Dinner: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Day 3
Lunch: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Dinner: Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Day 4
Lunch: Tomato Basil Paninis
Dinner: Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Day 5
Lunch:  Roasted Vegetable Orzo
Dinner: Tomato Basil Paninis

Day 6
Lunch:  Spinach, onion, tomato omlet
Dinner: Roasted Vegetable Orzo

Day 7
Lunch:  Roasted Vegetable Orzo
Dinner: Ethiopian veggies and spinach salad

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:
Pasta: $1
Rice: $1
Oats: $2 (you may have these from last week already.)
Milk: $1
Basil: $2.50
Half dozen eggs: $1
Pasta Sauce: $2
Eggplant: $3
Red bell pepper: $2
Bag of onions: $2
Garlic: $.50
Orzo: $1
2 Lemon $1
Feta: $3
Green bell pepper: $1
Can of crushed tomatoes: $1
2 cans diced green chilis: $1.50
28 oz veggie broth: $3 (or use what you may have frozen last week, or make some this week!)
Avocado: $2
Cheese: $2
Bread: $1.50
Fruit: $4
Cabbage: $2.50
Carrots: $1
Potato: $1
Spinach: $1.50
Tomato: $2
Juice: $3

And the recipes:

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.

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, feta, basil, spinach, and onion that we have left over.

Spaghetti with Rice Balls: Cook pasta as directed. In a large bowl mix together 2 cups cooked rice, 3/4 cup oats (ground in the food processor, we use these instead of bread crumbs), 1 chopped onion, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp chopped basil and/or oregano, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 beaten egg. Shape into balls.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, add rice balls and cook for 10 minutes. Turning until they are golden brown. Serve over pasta and sauce.

Seems like you may need more oil to me…I guess we’ll find out!

Roasted Veggie Orzo: Preheat the oven to 425. Dice 1 bell pepper and 1 onion, and peel and dice 1 small eggplant. Toss the veggies with 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Place on a large cookie sheet and roast for 40 minutes, until brown, turning once.

Cook the orzo until tender. Drain and put it in a large bowl. Add the roasted veggies. Make sure to get all the goodie spice and oil from the sheet!

For the sauce combine 1/3 cups lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the pasta, add feta and chopped basil to taste.

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, but we like them best like this.

Photos: I wish I’d taken photos of the pitas. They were pretty and yummy. I did get a shot of the potato tacos though. Like I said, the avocado makes these SO good. And some of these pieces were a little big, the smaller ones cooked better.


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18
May

Week of 05.16.11

This week I’m going to get brave (or try to) and try something new. Kale. I know, totally not weird, but new to me…so we’ll see how it goes. Sorry if my pricing on it is way off, I have no idea what it costs! We’re also going to attempt to make falafel for the first time. We love falafel, so I’m hoping it goes well so we can add it in to the rotation.

Also, in case you’re just tuning in, we’re vegetarian. Although most of our recipes can be handle meat pretty easily. I feel like I should mention this every few entries just in case you’re wondering where the meat is!

Here’s what we’re eating this week for around $50:

Breakfasts: This week you’ll have your usual fruit, toast, oats, and possibly an egg or two. You’ll also have some plain yogurt that you could make parfaits out of, combine with fruit or honey, or put in smoothies. Yum.

Day 1
Lunch: Black bean burgers
Dinner: Black bean burgers

Day 2
Lunch: Black bean burgers
Dinner: Spicy potato tacos

Day 3
Lunch: Spicy potato tacos
Dinner: Falafel pitas with cucumber-yogurt dressing

Day 4
Lunch: Falafel pitas
Dinner: Minestrone casserole

Day 5
Lunch:  Minestrone casserole
Dinner: Minestrone casserole

Day 6
Lunch:  Fried egg sandwiches (or grilled cheese) with tomato, onion, and avocado
Dinner: Greens with carrots and feta over rice

Day 7
Lunch:  Fried egg sandwiches (or grilled cheese) with tomato, onion, and avocado
Dinner: Greens with carrots and feta over rice

Also, I plan on keeping all of the left over bits of veggies and making some veggie broth to freeze and keep for future recipes. I figure with all the onion, kale, carrot, tomato, and green pepper pieces we ought to be able to brew up a pretty good batch.

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Black beans: $1
Green pepper: $1
Oats: $2
Bag of onions: $2
Bread: $1.50
Feta: $3 (we have a coupon for it for $1.50, yay!)
Dijon mustard: $1.50
2 Cans garbanzo beans: $2
Eggs: $1
Pitas: $3
Plain yougurt: $2
Lemon: $.50
Cucumber: $1
Red potatoes: $2
Fajita seasoning (or spices of choice for potatoes): $1
Cheese: $2
Tortillas: $1
Tomatoes: $2
2 Avocados: $4
Carrots: $1
Italian seasoning: $1
Can of diced tomatoes: $1
Garlic: $.50
Macaroni noodles: $1
Fruit: $5
OJ: $3
Kale: $3
Rice: $1

Also, if you don’t have it in your pantry, you may want cumin for the falafel: $1-2

 

And the recipes: Most of these are new for us too…happy cooking!


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.

Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing: 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.

Minestrone Casserole: In your slowcooker combine 3 sliced carrots, an onion, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 undrained can diced tomatoes, 1 can garbanzo beans, and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in macaroni noodles, increase to high setting, and cook for about 20 minutes so that the noodles are tender.

Greens with Carrots and Feta, over Rice: Cook a cup or two of rice. While that’s cooking put 2 shredded carrots, your kale, half of a finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup water, and salt and pepper to taste into a deep skillet. Mix well. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or so. Stir it a couple of times during the process. Toss with feta and serve over the rice.

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.

Fried Egg Sandwiches: Not much to a recipe here, fry and egg and put it between some bread. But we’ve found that cooking the egg low and slow with butter and lots of pepper is the way to go. Nate also likes to use cajun spices on his eggs. And we top them with avocado and tomatoes. Delicious. I posted a photo last week of one Nate made with some left overs we had. After that I had to put it on the menu.

And a couple of photos from previous weeks:

We did make the tomato soup on the list a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious. I meant to take a picture, because it’s kind of a pretty color, but we ate it before I could remember to. So I only have a couple from when we were actually making it. The basil/onion mixture, by the way, smells amazing.

When we have a patty or two left over from black bean burgers we’ll often it into taco filling. Add some left over green pepper, onion, tomatoes, and some rice from the pantry and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty “free” meal.

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9
May

Week of 05.09.11

Happy mother’s day to all you mamas out there! If there’s one thing my mom is awesome at it’s making a meal out of bits and pieces of random left overs. I always thought that was kind of weird…until I started buying my own groceries and realized that wasting food is expensive and, well, a waste! Thanks mom, you’re the best.

So, here’s what we’re eating this week now that we’re home for around $50 (yep, I bumped it up five bucks. I needed my orange juice and toast…)

Breakfasts: This week you’ll have your usual fruit, toast, and maybe even some oats still. There’s also hashbrowns and maybe an egg or two left over as well.

Day 1
Lunch: French toast or eggs in a basket with fruit
Dinner: Lemon-pepper pasta and asparagus

Day 2
Lunch: Lemon-pepper pasta and asparagus
Dinner: Creamy wild rice soup

Day 3
Lunch: Creamy wild rice soup
Dinner: Creamy wild rice soup

Day 4
Lunch: Spinach salad
Dinner: Tortellini and spinach bake

Day 5
Lunch:  Tortellini and spinach bake
Dinner: Tortellini and spinach bake

Day 6
Lunch:  Pasta with tomato sauce, onion, and spinach
Dinner: Stuffed peppers

Day 7
Lunch:  Stuffed peppers
Dinner: Stir fry veggies

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Rice: $1
Carrots: $1
Onion: $2
5 Green pepper: $5
Vegetable broth: $2.50
Half and half: $1.50
Farfalle pasta: $1.50
Red bell pepper: $2
Asparagus: $3
Lemon: $.50
Can of navy beans: $1
Tortellini: $3
Tomatoes: $2
Spinach: $1.50
Garlic: $.50
Feta: $3
Sour cream: $1.50
Milk or cream: $1
Fruit: $5
Dressing: $1.50
Pasta sauce: $1.50
Black beans: $1
Orange juice: $3
Bread: $1.50
Eggs: $1
Cheese: $2

 

And the recipes. We’re trying some new things this week. Of course we’ve made french toast, pasta, and stuffed peppers before. But the soup, spinach bake, and lemon-pepper pasta are new, so hopefully they’re yummy.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup: Cook 1/2 cup rice as directed. In a saucepan melt butter and add two sliced stalks of celery, a shredded carrot, a chopped onion, and a half of a chopped green pepper. Cook until celery is tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir in rice 1/2 cup of water, and a can of vegetable broth (14oz). Heat to a boil, reduce to low and cover for 15 stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup of half and half, heat until just hot, do not boil.

Lemon-pepper pasta and asparagus: Cook and drain pasta. In a skillet heat 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil. Add 3/4 of a chopped red pepper, cut asparagus, 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stire in 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and a can of navy beans (drained and rinsed). Cook until beans are hot. Add pasta and mix together.

Spinach Salad: You should have spinach, red pepper, and onion left over from other recipes. Add mandarin oranges, carrots if you want, and of course dressing…or oil and vinegar. You might have some feta left, or if you want, hard boil some eggs and slice them to put on top.

Tortellini Spinach Bake: Cook your choice of fresh tortellini, drain and put in an oven proof dish. Add 3 skinned, chopped tomatoes. Lightly saute some spinach (not all of it, save some for your salads) and put it in a bowl. Mix in 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Add to the pasta and tomatoes and mix well. Top with your feta.

In a separate bowl mix 2 cups of sour cream and a cup of milk (or cream). Season with salt and pepper and pour over the dish. Mix and back at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so.

Eggs in a Basket: Believe it or not I’ve never made this before…is that weird? Start by cutting a whole in the middle of a piece of bread. I saw someone suggest using a shot glass and pressing that through it. Makes sense to me. Add butter to a frying pan and fry the slice of bread on both sides until golden brown. Once the bread is toasted add more butter to the pan in the open hole. Crack an egg and drop it in the hole. Cook it for a couple of minutes and flip.

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.

Stir Fry Veggies: You should have rice and random amounts of vegetable pieces left over from all of the other recipes. Maybe an egg or two even. We plan on throwing them in a pan and sauteing them in some of the soy sauce we have from past weeks. It’s not fancy, but it’s not wasteful…and it’s on budget.

 

And here are a couple of photos from previous week’s menu items we made.

A yummy egg sandwich Nate made from some leftovers and salsa.

Teriyaki pineapple cooking up…mmmm. I could eat a bowl of this on it’s own.

Pineapple fried rice.

Black bean burger with mayo, cheese (melted and topped), avocado, and catsup.

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5
May

Week of 05.02.11

It’s May! And we’re back home after a couple of weeks away. Which means our fridge is empty and we need a meal plan asap. Busy with work and no food in the fridge leads to us blowing through our “fun money” for the month in about 4 days ha. Also, I am aware that it is not the 2nd like the title of this entry says. I’m not just bad at reading a calendar. Just behind, ha! Anyways, this week our local grocery store has pineapple at a price we can actually stomach and I am loving it. I know I’ve done fried rice before, but the pineapple fried rice on this week’s menu is really really delicious. I had to do it. Oh, and this tomato soup is one of my favorite ever. The fantastic lady that leads our church community group made it last weekend and it was amazing. I’m hoping I make it half as well as she did.

 

So, here’s what we’re eating this week now that we’re home for around $45:

Breakfasts: This week you’ll have your usual fruit, toast, and maybe even some oats still. There’s also hashbrowns and maybe an egg or two left over as well.

Day 1
Lunch: French toast
Dinner: Tomato soup with a spinach salad

Day 2
Lunch: Pineapple fried rice
Dinner: Tomato soup with grilled cheese

Day 3
Lunch: Tomato soup with toast
Dinner: Pineapple fried rice

Day 4
Lunch: Pot pie
Dinner: Lasagna with roasted carrots

Day 5
Lunch: Lasagna
Dinner: Pot pie

Day 6
Lunch: Eggs and cheese biscuit sandwiches
Dinner: Lasagna

Day 7
Lunch: Breakfast tacos
Dinner: Veggie quesadilla

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Half a dozen eggs: $1 (you’ll probably want more if you like them for breakfast)
Rice: $1
2 Green peppers: $2 (yay! then went back down!)
Bag of onions: $2
Pineapple: $2.50
Garlic: $.50
Bunch of fresh basil: $3
4 large tomatoes: $4
Pint of heavy cream: $1.50
1 can diced tomatoes: $1
1 bunch of broccoli: $3
1 jar marinara sauce: $2
Lasagna Noodles: $1.50
Bunch of spinach: $1.50
Shredded mozzarella cheese: $2
Can of cream of potato soup: $1
1 potato: $1
Carrots: $1
Green beans: $1
Fruit: $5
Bread: $1.50
Cheese: $2
Hashbrowns: $2
Tortillas: $1
Biscuits: $1

 

And the recipes. Again, you’ll be using parts of your grocery list items in different meals like last week. We like to make ’em streeeeetch.

Tomato Soup: The lady who made us this soup calls it “a pinch and taste here” recipe. So here’s the recipe, but taste it as you go and tweak it til it’s yummy! 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 large tomatoes boiled and peeled, 2 cups heavy cream, 1 stick butter sliced into pats, 1/3-1/2 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.

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.

Veggie Lasagna: I have never made lasagna before. You may already have a recipe you like, so if mine looks awful don’t do it k?  What you’ll need: a jar of marinara sauce, a chopped onion, some of your broccoli, 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 1 chopped bell pepper, 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, a box of lasagna noodles.

Sauté the onion. While that’s cooking chop the carrot, bell pepper, and some of your broccoli and add it to the onion. Add chopped spinach and minced garlic and cook until the veggies are tender.

In a casserole dish pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Then layer some lasagna noodles, another thin layer of sauce, cooked veggies, and cheese. Repeat until your pan is full I guess! Don’t put mozzarella on the top yet. Bake at 350 uncovered for 35 minutes. Take it out, sprinkle with more mozzarella, and bake for 10 minutes or so. Some recipes I’ve seen say to cook the noodles, some say not to. I’ve never heard of that, but I think I’ll cook mine unless I hear from one of you not to.

Veggie Pot Pie: Grab your crust from last week! You’ll also need: a onion, 2 gloves garlic, 4 1/2 cups of diced, mixed vegetables ( we’ve got carrots, green beans, potato, and maybe a little broccoli if you don’t make the side), 1 can of chick peas, your can of potato soup, and your biscuits (don’t use them all on the pot pie, you’ll need a couple for lunch the next day).

Mince your onions and garlic, sauté in large pot with olive oil. Chop whatever vegetables you want to use and add to the pot along with a cup of water or broth. Add pepper or any other spices you want. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12 minutes. In the meantime cover your casserole dish with your crust.

Add your can of soup, mix well, and pour into the casserole dish. Top with the uncooked biscuits and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or so. Until the biscuits are brown and yummy looking.

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.

 

I only have one picture of our recent meals for now because the others I took are on my mom’s camera back in Iowa (*hint hint mom, send me them*). But I really did like this eggplant parm we made a couple of weeks ago.

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26
Apr

Week of 04.25.11

Being back home in Iowa for the last couple of weeks definitely threw off our meal planning…in that there was none. Because when you’re home with your parents you pretty much get fed by your parents. And it’s awesome. And delicious. And I think I gained five pounds. So maybe I need to look for some low cal options for the coming weeks. Or maybe not. In any case, hopefully if you were desperate for something to cook last week there were enough options up here from the previous weeks.

This week my mom helped me come up with the list, so it features a couple of the yummy stuff she cooks when we’re home. We had to modified them some to make the rest of the week fit into the budget. And no, it does not include her world famous sugar cookies, or any of the other delicious foods and desserts that would completely blow my budget to smithereens. But this quiche that is on here is delicious. And I’m not even big into eggs.

As groceries creep up this is getting harder to do with $45, but here goes:

Breakfasts: This week you’ll have bread for toast or if you buy a dozen eggs instead of six you can make french toast. Of course you’ll have your standard orange juice, fruit, and chances are good you have oats left over from previous weeks. Or eat a piece of quiche if you’ve got one left!

Day 1
Lunch: Quiche with fruit
Dinner: Pasta with onion, asparagus, feta cheese, and olive oil

Day 2
Lunch: Mango Bean Salad with a Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Quiche with a side of Mango Bean Salad

Day 3
Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Sliced Avocado (so yummy)
Dinner: Quiche with Bean Salad (this will probably finish up both)

Day 4
Lunch: Pasta Salad with fruit
Dinner: Spinach, asparagus, and cheese omelet

Day 5
Lunch: Spinach salad topped with marinated veggies
Dinner: Bean and veggie enchiladas

Day 6
Lunch: Bean and veggie enchiladas
Dinner: Veggie soup

Day 7
Lunch: Bean and veggie enchiladas
Dinner: Veggie soup

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing:

Half a dozen Eggs: $1
Milk: $1
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: $2
Spinach: $1.50
Asparagus: $3
Pie crust: $3 (for two)
Black Beans: $1
White Beans: $1
Corn: $1
Mango: $1.50
Avocado: $1
Red Bell Pepper: $2
Large Onion: $1
Lime: $.50
Bread: $1.50
Pasta: $1
Garbanzo Beans: $1
Feta Cheese: $3
Cucumber: $1
Italian Dressing: $1.50
Tomatoes: $2.50
Fruit: $5
Tortillas: $1
Enchilada sauce: $1
Orange juice: $3
Green beans: $1
Potato: $1
Sweet potato: $1

And the recipes. You’ll be using parts of your grocery list items in different meals, so get your tupperware ready.

Asparagus, Spinach, and Cheese Quiche: You’ll need four eggs, 3/4 a cup of milk, 1/2 a cup of cheese and one of your pie crusts. Save your other one and we’ll do something with it next week. Beat the egg and milk together and pour into the unbaked pie crust. Chop the asparagus and sautee it. Throw the spinach in the pan at the end to wilt it a little. Mix the veggies and cheese into the crust, mix, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Mango Bean Salad: This is one of Nate and my mom’s favorites. They eat it as salad and sometimes on chips as a salsa. This would probably be good over grilled chicken or something too. Dice about two tablespoons of onion. Juice a lime and put the onion in the juice to soak for a few minutes. Take a half a can of corn and throw it in a frying pan with some of the juice and a tablespoon of sugar to caramelize it a little. In a bowl combine the soaked onion, cooked corn, a half a can of white beans, a half a cup of black beans, a quarter of a red pepper, half of an avocado and a half of a mango.  Stir together and eat. My mom and Nate also like to add cilantro, I prefer it without. Ha!

Pasta Salad: None of these ingredients are really measured. I always start with a little dressing and add until I like how it tastes. Just use some of your cucumber, tomato, and onion. You’ll use the rest in the next recipe. Cook half of a box of pasta. In a bowl combine the cooked pasta, italian dressing, chopped tomatoes, half of a container of feta cheese, chopped cucumber, and onion if you’d like. Mix it all together and chill.

Marinated Veggies: You’ll have cucumber and tomato left from your pasta salad. Slice them and some onion up and combine in a bowl with the italian dressing, and feta. Let them marinate for a while and serve over a spinach salad. Feel free to add any other fruits or veggies you’ve got left over too.

Veggie Soup: Dice a potato and sweet potato up rather small. Put them in a pan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Add a can of green beans (undrained), and your remaining corn and white beans from the bean salad. Simmer until thickened and most of the liquid is gone. Salt and pepper to taste. And if you’ve got garlic or any other spices it’d probably be yummy to add them in.

Bean and Veggie Enchiladas: You’ll use your remaining red pepper, black beans, cheese, and onion for these. I plan on sauteeing all of my veggies before using them. In a cake pan pour some of the enchilada sauce in the bottom and spread it out evenly. Take your beans, cheese, and veggies and roll them up in your tortillas and place them in the pan. When the pan is full pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of everything and bake for 20 minutes or so at 350. Nothing really needs to “cook” so just make sure everything is hot and melty. I’d probably splurge on sour cream and add an extra dollar to the budget now that I think about it. Can’t have enchiladas without sour cream!

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12
Apr

Week of 04.11.11

Back on track this week. Anybody else make the eggplant parmesan? Ignoring the fact that my kitchen got really smokey when frying the egglplant (any tips on how to avoid that?) it was actually pretty yummy. I’ll keep that one handy when we’re craving something cheesey, melty, and salty. Even Nate, who says he “doesn’t really like” eggplant ate it and didn’t complain. So, success.

Also, I’ve always been one of those people who rolls my eyes when those local news stories come on and say “I can’t believe how much groceries have gone up in price.”  But lately they really have. Especially bell peppers! Good gravy! I’m going to have to adjust a little bit in the coming weeks until they go back down.

And in local news, if you live in the Franklin or Nashville area the Franklin farmer’s market is back open. Woo hoo! Saturday mornings, see you there. Super exciting stuff. Pretty sure Nashville’s is too…but I don’t know the details exactly.

 

So, adjustments made, here’s what we’re eating this week for around $45:

Breakfasts: This week I have oats back on the list. Eat your oatmeal. It’s good for you. And yummy. You’ll also have toast, juice, fruit…and cold pizza if you’re like me and dig pizza for breakfast.

Sides: Here are a couple of side ideas for this week.
Side 1: Baked french fries
Side 2: Ethiopian Veggies (to celebrate our immigration paperwork!)
Side 3: Teriyaki Veggies and Pineapple (we have teriyaki left over from last week. )

Day 1
Lunch: Pasta
Dinner: Baked potato soup (Tastes like Panera’s. yuuum)

Day 2
Lunch: Baked potato soup
Dinner: Mock chicken salad

Day 3
Lunch: Finish the potato soup
Dinner: White pizza

Day 4
Lunch: Mock chicken salad
Dinner: White pizza

Day 5
Lunch: Black bean burgers (Yep, they’re back. I told you they were a staple around here.)
Dinner: Black bean burgers

Day 6
Lunch: Finish black bean burgers
Dinner: Veggie stir fry

Day 7
Lunch: Veggie stir fry
Dinner: Pasta

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing. If you’re like us you may already have some of these things (like the pasta for instance) in your pantry. Good news! You don’t have to buy those this week!

Pizza crust: $2
bag of onion: $2
grated parmesan: $3
garlic: $.50
Mozzarella: $2.50
Tomatoes: $2
4-5 lbs potatoes: $4.50
1 quart broth (chicken or veggie): $3
Cream cheese: $1.50
1 can garbanzo bean: $1
2 bell pepper: $2.50
mayo: $2
1 lemon juice: $.50
bread: $1.50
Pasta Sauce: $1.50
Pasta: $1
Fruit: $4.50
Carrots: $1
Oats: $2
Black beans: $1
Rice: $1
Cabbage: $1.50
Orange juice/juice: $3

 

And the recipes. Trying a couple of new things this week. Including making our own sun-dried tomatoes. Cheers to trying new things!

White Pizza: Layout your pizza crust on the stone or pizza pan. Spread olive oil, garlic, and if you have any spices like basil, parsley, or oregano on to the crust. Top with thinly sliced tomato and cover with mozarella cheese and shredded parmesean. Bake at 475 degrees until the crust is golden brown.

Baked Potato Soup: Peel and dice 2-3lbs potatoes, and put them into the slow cooker. Add a small diced onion and two cloves of garlic. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt and pepper, and pour in a quart of broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4. The potatoes should be fork-tender. You can use a potato masher to mash the potatoes in the soup, or a hand-held immersible blender. After smashing the potatoes, crumble in a package of cream cheese, and put the lid back on. Cook on high for about 30 minutes, or until the cream cheese is completely dissolved. Stir a few times during the 30 minutes.  Garnish with cheese, crumbled bacon, or whatever else sounds yummy. Sour cream is delicious on it.

Mock Chicken Salad: Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans. Mash them in a bowl and mix in some chopped bell pepper, onion, lemon juice, mayo to taste, and salt and pepper. I’m sure you could add relish, or maybe even grapes or apple. Really whatever you make your regular tuna or chicken salad with. We used to make our chicken salad with caesar dressing instead of mayo (thanks for the idea CarlaGEE) and it was delicious. Serve on toast or as a sandwich with some of the left over cheese and tomatoes you have.

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.

Veggie Stir Fry: You should probably have some soy sauce or teriyaki or whatever sauce you had for last week’s dumplings and stir fry. Start some rice cooking. And while that’s going sauteé some bell pepper, onion, and cabbage or any other veggies you have or want to add. Once tender add whatever sauces you have and serve over the rice.

Baked French Fries: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a medium baking sheet. Cut a couple of potatoes into strips and arrange the potato strips in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, skin sides down. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Ethiopian Veggies: A repeat, but they’re a yummy side and a celebration for our immigration paperwork being submitted. 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, but we like them best like this.

Teriyaki Veggies and Pineapple: In a large saucepan, combine some carrots, 2 table spoons teriyaki sauce,  2 table spoons water, and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir to mix. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the carrots are tender when pierced with a knife. Remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until the carrots are glazed. While the carrots are cooking  sauteé bell pepper, pineapple, and onion in a tablespoon of oil and tablespoon of teriyaki sauce. Combine all veggies and serve.

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6
Apr

Week of 04.04.11

It was bound to happen…I got busy and now I’m a day behind! Fortunately we had some leftovers in the house to eat. We ended up eating a lot of red pepper/tomato/feta paninis last week. Once we made them we were craving them every meal after that. Super yummy. We also got addicted to the hummus and ate it all in one sitting. So our week didn’t go exactly as scheduled, but we had enough meals to last, and we’re actually still eating off of the food we bought last week.

There may be a few price mistakes this week. I’m using some things I haven’t bought in a long long time. If ever. So we’ll see how good of a guesser I am.

 

In any case, here’s what we’re eating this week for around $45:

Breakfasts: This week I am making french toast. Banana peach french toast to be exact. Basically you make french toast like normal. But you top it with butter, banana, sugar, cinnamon, and peaches that have been heated up til melty and yummy. I am super excited for it. Chances are good I’ll have that more than one breakfast. And I’m making it a lunch on here. But we’ll also have a little milk around and some eggs, so who knows. And since we bought the giant size tub of oats we still have those as well. And of course, toast, fruit and OJ!

Sides: This week we’re going to make a couple of sides that you can put with whatever meals you want to. Or for a yummy snack.
Side 1: Roasted Carrots, Onion, and Asparagus
Side 2:  Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Side 3: Algerian Flafla

Day 1
Lunch: Vegetarian Ruebens
Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan

Day 2
Lunch: Eggplant Parmesan
Dinner: Sun-dried Tomato Fettucini

Day 3
Lunch: Sun-dried Tomato Fettucini
Dinner: Vegetarian Ruebens

Day 4
Lunch: Asparagus Omlets
Dinner: Steamed Dumplings

Day 5
Lunch: Eggplant Parmesan
Dinner: Fried Rice

Day 6
Lunch: Fried Rice
Dinner: Steamed Dumplings

Day 7
Lunch: Banana/Peach French Toast
Dinner: Steamed Dumplings

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing. If you’re like us you may already have some of these things (like the pasta for instance) in your pantry. Good news! You don’t have to buy those this week!

Carrots: $1 (You’ll have extras of these for snacks this week, or cook them for a side.)
Cabbage: $1.50
Two Bell Peppers: $2
Fried Rice seasoning: $1
Soy Sauce: $2 (If you want hoisin or a different sauce instead or in addition, go for it! Teriyaki sounds good to me.)
Eggs: $1
Wonton Wrappers: $3 (No idea what these cost…hopefully I’m close?)
Bread: $1.50 (If you live in Franklin check out Merridee’s day old bread. We’re obsessed.)
Onions: $2
Garlic: $.50
Sauerkraut: $2 (Boar’s Head is the best, just in case you were wondering.)
An Apple or Two: $1
Thousand Island: $1..50
Swiss Cheese: $3
Pasta: $1
Tomatoes: $2
Milk: $1
Cream Cheese: $1
Eggplant: $2.50 (Haven’t bought one of these in forever. Am I way off on price?)
Bread crumbs: $1
Tomato sauce: $1
Mozzarella: $3
Fruit: $5
Asparagus: $3 (could be wrong here too…hopefully not in the wrong direction.)
2-3 Potatoes $2
Sour Cream: $1

 

And the recipes. Trying a couple of new things this week. Including making our own sun-dried tomatoes. Cheers to trying new things!

Roasted Carrots, Onion, and Asparagus: I suppose you could roast any veggies. These are what we’ve got this week. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Chop the carrots diagonally first, then straight. Cut off the ends of the asparagus, and shave their ends.  In a stock pot, bring 1 gallon of salted water to a boil. Add onions, let cook 2 minutes. Add carrots and asparagus, cook 2 minutes more. Remove everything with slotted spoon and drain all in a colander. Quickly spread out on a baking sheet and place in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to set color.  In a roasting pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, onion, and carrots. Caramelize for 2 minutes, and while those are cooking, cut asparagus into thirds. Season carrots and onions with salt and pepper. Add asparagus and garlic to pan.  Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired, and place pan in the oven. Roast until vegetables are medium brown in color, about 20 minutes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.  Add 4 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup sour cream, and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork until the ingredients are blended. Add a tablespoon (or more) of milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Algerian Flafla: Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Place a whole bell pepper on aluminum foil. Bake until the skin is spotted black and the pepper is soft, 30 to 45 minutes, turning the peppers once if necessary. Remove pepper from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Peel off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Chop the roasted pepper into half-inch pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in a tablespoon of onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Add a small clove of minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in the chopped peppers and diced roma tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is soft and the mixture is well incorporated.

Sun-dried Tomatoes: Ok, I found this online. We’ll see if it works. I’ve wanted to make these myself for a long time – Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Remove the oven racks. Trim and discard the stem ends of the tomatoes. Halve each tomato lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, side by side and crosswise on cake racks set on the oven racks. Do not allow the tomatoes to touch one another. Sprinkle lightly with salt.   Place in the oven and bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and feel dry, anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. Check the tomatoes from time to time: They should remain rather flexible, not at all brittle. Once dried, remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to thoroughly cool on cake racks. Remove each tomato from the oven as it is dried.   Transfer the tomatoes to zipper-lock bags. The tomatoes will last indefinitely.

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.

Steamed Dumplings: *NOTE – This recipe makes 30 dumplings. Seriously. So We’ll be eating them over a couple of days.* Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.  Combine 1/2 cup grated carrots, 1/2 cup shredded cabbage, 2 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and hoisin if you grabbed some, 1 egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.  To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the veggie mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.  Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer’s surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.

Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo: Yep, this is why I’m making sun-dried tomatoes. But you can buy them if you want. I wouldn’t blame you. 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.

Eggplant Parmesan: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash and towel dry the eggplant. Slice the eggplant horizontally about 1/4-inch thick. Place the slices in a large colander, sprinkle with salt and set aside to rest about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse the eggplant and dry on towels.  In a saute pan, heat 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until just smoking. Press the drained eggplant pieces into the bread crumbs and saute until light golden brown on both sides. Repeat with all of the pieces. On a cookie sheet lay out 4-6 pieces of eggplant. Place 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce over each piece and place a thin slice of mozzarella on top of each. Top each with another piece of eggplant, then sauce then mozzarella. Repeat the layering process until all the ingredients have been used. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the top of each little stack is golden brown and bubbly.

 

And some photos from the last couple of weeks. Keep in mind…I’m not a food photographer. So don’t judge me.

 


Ethiopian veggies while they’re still cooking.

 

Veggie fajita tacos with bell pepper, cabbage, onion, beans, toppings.

 

I can’t help you make a grilled cheese…but he can.

 

Red pepper, spinach, onion, feta, mozzarella, vinaigrette paninis.

 

They were super yummy.

 

Our version of greek pasta.

 

Mexican casserole. It’s not pretty, but it’s yummy.

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28
Mar

Week of 03.28.11

So, how did everyone do? I know we had way more food than we actually needed. I kind of forgot that we had two events this week that provided meals for us. We didn’t even make the cabbage rolls! So I still can’t give a verdict on if they’re any good or not. But I can say that we probably won’t make the veggie soup again. It was ok, but I’ve made other soups that we like a lot more. So I think I’ll try something else next time.

Here’s what we’re eating this week for around $45 ($39 actually because we already had some of these things in our pantry, and you may too):

Breakfasts: In case you missed it last week, I don’t plan breakfasts. But, you should still have oats left over from last week’s black bean burgers, and maybe even an egg or two. This week we’ll be eating oats, fruit, toast, and some egg and cheese breakfast tacos. And again, want something else for breakfast? Plan it in! You can probably get milk and cereal for an additional $5 or so. Chances are good you’ll never see milk on here. And if you do it’ll be a little tiny thing for a recipe. We just don’t drink it. Sorry parents of kids who need their milk. Also, I think I should mention that I don’t plan out the “fruit” consumption either. Especially since everyone will have different fruit and likes to eat it at different times throughout the day!

Day 1
Lunch: Green pepper and pineapple pizza. We’re using the leftover sauce from last week. If you need more add a couple of dollars and grab some!
Dinner: Pizza leftovers

Day 2
Lunch: Spinach salad with mandarin oranges, feta, oil, vinegar, and apple
Dinner: Grilled veggie sandwiches

Day 3
Lunch: Chili with spinach salad
Dinner: Baked potatoes covered with sour cream, chili, and cheese

Day 4
Lunch: Finish off the chili! *Tip: we put it in a tortilla with cheese and sour cream and it makes yummy tacos*
Dinner: Mexican casserole

Day 5
Lunch: Mexican casserole leftovers
Dinner: Paninis with bell pepper, onion, a slice of mozzarella, tomato, and olive oil (or italian dressing if you’ve got it in your fridge…we do, and it’s delicious)

Day 6
Lunch: Hummus sandwiches with spinach, cheese, tomatoes, onion, and green pepper.
Dinner: Greek pasta

Day 7
Lunch: Hummus sandwiches
Dinner: Greek pasta

 

And here is the grocery list with approx. pricing. If you’re like us you may already have some of these things (like the pasta for instance) in your pantry. Good news! You don’t have to buy those this week!
Bread $1.50 (We get ours from a local bakery)
Pizza dough $2 (Pillsbury has one over by their rolls, and some grocery stores make their own.)
mozzarella slices: $4 (This will be for the pizza and the sandwiches so get is sliced thin!)
3 bell peppers: $3 (we’re getting two green and a red this week)
tomatoes: $2

Mayo: $2 (For the sandwiches. If you don’t like mayo you’re lucky. Crazy, but lucky.)
a small bag of onions: $2
feta: $3 (Ours is actually $1.50 this week woo!)
a bundle of spinach: $1.50
pasta: $1
two potatoes: $1.50
1 can of diced tomatoes: $1
1 can of pinto beans: $1
1 can of rotel: $1
chili seasoning packet: $1
shredded cheese: $2
tortillas: $1
small can of diced green chilies: $.50
sour cream: $1

1 can black beans: $1 (Don’t mind buying dry? Even better. Get ‘em in bulk!)
1 can of Campbell’s fiesta cheese soup: $1 (If you’d rather use cream of chicken that works too)
hummus: $3
(store bought or make your own for a little more. But you can make more in the future if you buy the tahini.)
fruit of choice: $5 (Whatever is in season, you like, and is reasonable. Frozen is great for smoothies, in oatmeal, and doesn’t go bad!)
orange juice/juice of choice: $3 (This will be on here every week. I gotta have my OJ in the morning.)

TOTAL: $45


And the recipes. Some of these are pretty self explanatory…if you don’t know how to make a grilled cheese I probably can’t help you…but here’s how we make some of the others:

Pizza: We use pre-made dough. We’ve made our own before, and it’s definitely a better way to do it. But it does take time and the ability not to kill yeast…which I am not fantastic at. But if you want to make your own go for it! We are using some of our fruit budget for pineapple this week and will use that and green pepper as our topping. And as I mentioned before, we have left over pasta sauce from last week, so we’ll use that up.

Spinach Salad: Pretty simple. Make it how you like it. We’re going to put mandarin oranges on it (because we have about 13 cans in our pantry, thanks Papa.), feta, an apple, and use oil and red wine vinegar (also in the pantry) as our dressing.

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches: Grill, sauté, bake, whatever you feel like doing. We’ll be mixing garlic into our mayo to make it yummy and cooking up some red bell pepper, onion, tomato, spinach, and feta. If we end up grilling I plan on grilling the bread too with the cheese on it to melt it a little. Looking forward to this meal…

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.

Mexican Casserole: This is our variation of a family favorite. We use our round stoneware to bake it in because it’s round, and tortillas are round, so it made sense to us. I honestly can’t remember if you’re supposed to grease the pan or not though. I guess better safe than sorry? 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 black 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. We like rice in burritos…makes sense it’d be good in here.

Paninis: We’re going to sauté some bell pepper and onion, layer it on bread with tomato, mozzarella cheese, and grill it in some olive oil. Easy peasy.

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

Greek Pasta: Make your pasta, throw in some feta, cooked onion, olive oil, garlic, and cooked spinach. Have olives or mushrooms? You could throw those in too. It’s just pasta. I don’t think you can screw it up.

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