Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I used and altered version of Giada De Laurentis' recipe for turkey meatballs. 
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup of dried bread crumbs
3 Tbsp ketcup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (you can get this at most grocery stores and it's not expensive)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb ground turkey 
3 Tbsp olive oil 
Simple Red sauce (recipe follows)

Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs.Place into your crockpot. Then add the tomato sauce. Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

When the meatballs are cooked through, cook the Whole Grain Spaghetti noodles as per package directions and then drain them and added them to the crock pot.

Red Sauce

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 (14oz) cans of diced tomatoes Italian style, undrained
1 (8 oz) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a skillet over med heat until beef is brown; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chunky Chicken Soup

Here's the recipe of the day:

Chunky Chicken Soup

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 can of chicken broth
2 cups of water
2 cups assorted vegetables (such as sliced carrots, bell peppers, broccoli florets etc. You can use fresh, frozen or canned vegetables. I used Broccoli florets, red bell pepper, yellow squash and asparagus)
1 envelope of Italian dressing mix
1 cup MINUTE rice or small shell pasta
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 

Stir together all ingredients except the parsley in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; Simmer until pasta is tender. Stir in parsley. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. 

This soup was tasty though not as good as chicken soup that you cook all day. When you're short on time it's a great dinner fix.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shopping Day

So I got my week's shopping done today. I went to two stores this week Fresh Market and Smith's. 
So here's my menu for the week:

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs
Beef Roast with Mashed potatoes
Chicken tenders with Potato wedges
Pork Tenderloin with noodles
Tuna casserole
Chunky Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Chicken and rice casserole

As always I went to my pantry firstand then made my shopping list for the remaining foods I need to complete my meals. My shopping list for this week's menu is: 

Fresh Market
1 box of Barilla Whole Grain Pasta (shells) $0.88
1 dozen large eggs  $1.50
2.15 lb Beef Roast  $7.50
1 lb Ground Turkey $1.57
1.61 lb Chicken Tenders $2.88
1.7 lb Hormel Pork Loin Mediterranean Herbs and Olive Oil $5.99
1 lb Cheddar Cheese $3.99
1.05 lb Asparagus $2.09
3 Yellow onions $0.86
Western Family Frozen Orange Juice  FREE

Total: $27.26


Red Pepper  $1.50
Garlic  $0.39
Yellow Squash  $0.69
1.25 lb Broccoli  $1.24
2 cans of Chicken of the Sea Tuna $1.00
2 gallons of milk  $3.33
1 lb Land o Lakes Lunch Meat  $2.99
4 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts $5.99
1 box of fruit loops $1.67

Total: $22.13

Grand Total: $49.39

A couple of notes here. I got free orange juice by using a coupon from the Fresh Market ad. When I bought 1 dozen eggs I got the orange juice.
Also at Smith's when you bought four boxes of Kellogg's cereal you got two gallons of milk for free. As you can see I only have one box of cereal in the list and a price beside the milk. Since we will only eat part of one box of cereal in a week my need for the week is one box not four. I bought all four to get the free milk but the other three boxes will go into the pantry to use another week.So the list here only reflects what I will use this week, not nescessarily what I bought (I'll talk more about this is a minute). To figure out the price of the milk I just figured that I bought 6 items for $10 (four boxes of cereal plus the two free gallon of milk) so divide $10 by 6 items and you get a price of $1.67 each.

Ok I as I mentioned before I bought more than I needed for the week. This is how I stock my pantry and how I have things on hand that I can use in later weeks. When there is a great sale on something that I use frequently I buy more of that item and store it in the pantry or freezer. That way when I need it I have it and paid typically less for it then I would if I bought it later and it wasn't on sale. 

Also most of the time if you buy an item in bulk it saves you more money than if you buy a smaller portion. For instance I will only use about half of the 3.22 lb of chicken tenders that I actually bought this week (which is why only half of that is reflected in my shopping list), but had I only bought 1.5 lb of chicken tenders I would have probably paid nearly $3 or $4 dollars a pound. This way I paid more this week but I can use rest of the chicken next week and save some money.

Most of the grocery stores have twice yearly Case lot sales. This is a great opportunity to take some of the money you have been saving on groceries each week and stock your pantry. I like to buy things like diced tomatoes, black beans and baking goods (flour, sugar, chocolate chips etc....)

If you want a list of "pantry/freezer" items that I bought so you can get an idea of how much I spent on those items here it is: 

1.61 lb chicken tenders  $2.88
3 lb Ground Turkey (it came in a 4 lb package)  $4.71
4 cans of chicken of the sea tuna  $2.00
Kraft salad dressing $2.50
3 boxes of cereal  $5.00
Pork roast  $6.03

Total: 23.12

So in all I spent $73.02 but I can use the meat in those pantry/freezer items for 7 more meals. It was worth it to spend a little more this week to save more later. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Garlic Pork Roast

I haven't gone shopping for the week yet. That's on the list for today. I wanted to share a really yummy recipe we used last night though. I had a 3 lb Pork Sirloin in my freezer so I took it out for dinner last night. I found a recipe for a pot roast online and modified it to our liking. The kids LOVED it and asked for seconds. 

salt and pepper
6 cloves of garlic,slivered
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of chicken stock (or broth)
1 bay leaf

Place the onion chunks in the bottom of a 6 qt crock pot. Place the roast on a plate. Rub all over with salt and pepper. Cut slits all over the roast and stuff slivers of garlic in them. Cut some of the slits deeper and some more shallow. Place the roast on top of the onions. Pour the water and the chicken stock over the meat. Add the bay leaf. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 170F). 
If you want to make a pot roast just add carrots and potatoes to the crock pot.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm back...kicked up a notch

We've had a rough few weeks around here and anything non-essential to getting through the day was put on hold, including this blog and the budget that comes with it. But I'm happy to say that I'm back. Instead of trying to play catch up from what I've not posted I'm just going to start with this week's menu and shopping list. 

Also I am going to start posting my recipes daily. I thought that would be a better format for the blog. I'm also starting a new fitness program and along with it an eating program that requires a specific number of portions from the different food groups. At first I was pretty concerned that this will affect my budget grossly. If you have ever looked at a meal plan for a fitness program they want you to eat things like Salmon, Halibut and Swordfish all in one week (which is exactly what they suggested in my guide book). Well I decided to take the "Portion approach" to my food plan. That means that I will be making my own menu based on the number of portions from each food group I'm supposed to eat and what's on sale that week. I'm determined to keep my budget at $50 and prove that you can eat healthy and follow a fitness plan type diet and not break the bank. 
I guess my blog just got kicked up a notch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Last week's recipes

Wow it's been a crazy week and again I am behind. I haven't had a chance to get my recipes on here until now so here they are:

Brats and Sauerkraut 

This recipe is so easy. You take a package of Brats and you line them in the bottom of a crock pot. Then you take a jar of  Sauerkraut and you dump it on top of the Brats, juice and all. Then you let it cook on low for 7-8 hours. Season with some pepper. You can eat it on a toasted  bun or just as is.

Country Style Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Corn

1 cup Ketchup
1 onion, diced
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1-2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  1 tsp chili powder
   1 can coke

In a crock pot pour coke over the ribs. Bake 6-7 hours. Pour off excess juices. Mix above ingredients and pour over ribs. Bake 45-60 minutes more.

Manicotti with Green Beans

Red Sauce (recipe below)
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (optional)
2 cups small curd creamed cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 tsp pepper
14 uncooked manicotti shells
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Make red sauce. Heat oven to 350 F. Squeeze spinach to drain, spread on paper towels and pat to dry. Mix spinach, cottage cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and pepper. Spread about one-third of the sauce in ungreased 9x13 baking dish. Fill uncooked manicotti shells with spinach mixture (I just use my hands and pack the mixture down into the shells with my's the easiest way I have found to fill the shells). Place shells in sauce in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells, covering the shells completely. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until shells are tender.

Red Sauce

My family loves this sauce. Josh has always hated any type of red sauce since he was younger. I made this sauce one night and substituted cooked Italian sausage chunks and he loved it and couldn't get enough. You can use this sauce for any of your pasta dishes.

1 lb ground beef (you could substitute Italian sausage cut into chunks and browned)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 (14oz) cans of diced tomatoes Italian style, undrained
1 (8 oz) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (optional, I don't use this)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt

Cook beef, onion and garlic in a skillet over med heat until beef is brown; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Crock Pot Cabbage Soup

1 lb ground beef
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
1 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
3 (10.5oz) cans beef consomme, undiluted
2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes (I like the Italian style ones)
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
salt and pepper to taste

Beef Consume: Beef consomme is not the same as Beef broth. I have found that Campbell's makes a beef consomme and that's the brand I usually use. However check with your grocery store to see if they carry it, not all of them do. For instance I for mine at Macey's but Walmart didn't carry it.

Brown meat; drain well. Place meat in a 4 quart slow cooker; stir in water the remaining ingredients except the rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Increase heat to high setting; stir in rice. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

Iowa BBQ Pork Chops with Baked Potatoes and Peas

4 pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (I think we had 8 thin pork chops and had enough sauce for it)
1/2 packet Amazing Taste for Pork (seasoning packet found at the fresh meat counter at Macey's)

1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp vinegar (I just used Rice vinegar)
3 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp orange peel
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Moisten pork chops with water and coat well with seasoning mix. Place in shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Combine sauce ingredients in sauce pan and heat for 5 minutes. Pour into blender and puree. Cover pork chops with sauce and continue baking for 10 minutes.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I got this recipe off of the back of a Campbell's Soup can and my family loves it.

1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked regular long grain white rice (NOT MINUTE RICE!)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups frozen vegetables
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Stir soup, water, rice, onion powder, pepper and vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish. Top with uncooked chicken. Season chicken as desired with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover. Bake at 375 F for 50 minutes or until chicken and rice are done. Top with cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir rice before serving.