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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu Plan 8/31

Yikes. I made a meal plan last week. Didn't even post it. My shoulder has made sitting at my notebook tough to do for long periods of time. Especially after a long day at work. So I completely skipped last week. I think that's the first time in 9 months. I still had a plan that I followed. I also had a great shopping week. Stockpiling really lets you just buy the best buys for the week, along with any fresh food needs. My spend for the week was around $40. Today I spent $21 between Walgreens and Bag n Save. Got $5 RR to boot. I plan to make a Target trip this week, and then we'll just see what's on sale come Wednesday's grocery ads. Tonight I had hubby grill the 3lbs of chicken breasts I got for $4, and I put them all in the freezer for future meals.

The menu this week is fairly simple. Using the fresh produce in my garden, as well as preserving as much of it as I can, which has been a challenge with the aforementioned shoulder, but I'm making the best of it. 7 dinners for 4, clocking in at just under $30.

Monday 8/31

Meatless Monday

Angel hair with spinach, feta and sundried tomatoes $2.50

Pasta .50, spinach $1.50, feta .50, tomatoes .00 (homegrown and dried)

Tomato and white bean salad with basil .50


Tuesday 9/1

Grilled pork tenderloin $4.00

Cheesy mashed potatoes 1.00

Steamed Broccoli w/ lemon vinaigrette .75


Wednesday 9/2

Spaghetti with Italian sausage and homemade sauce $2.50

Salad $1.00


Thursday 9/3

Asian Roll Lettuce Wraps $3.50

Pineapple .65


Friday 9/4

Cheeseburgers $3.50

Bbq beans .25

Tomato and corn salad $1.00


Saturday 9/5

Chicken and black bean quesadillas $2.75

Fresh salsa .50

Apple slices .50


Sunday 9/6

Italian beef sandwiches $4.00

Tater tots .75


Tomato and White Bean Salad

Healthy. Inexpensive. Easy. And a great way to use your garden veggies.

2 cups of cooked white beans, or 1 can, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
3T fresh basil, chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
3T olive oil
2T lemon juice
rind from one lemon
2T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In medium bowl, add all ingredients to basil. In small bowl, whisk garlic powder, oil, juice, rind and vinegar. Add to salad, stir to combine, add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Great leftovers, if you have any. I sometimes make double just so I have some for easy lunches in the fridge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Catch Up

Wow. I really can't believe how the weeks are flying right now, and having a bum shoulder is not helping the situation. I haven't been posting as much, because it hurts to even sit at the computer for very long. I am feeling better than I was, though, so hopefully I'll be back at em very soon.

R started school with a half day on Tuesday. I really like his new teacher and I'm excited about 2nd grade for him. I think it's going to be a good year for learning, but also for making friends, which hasn't been his strong point. He's been out all weekend playing with the neighbor kids, which is great. I'm excited to see them bond. That can only help him build skills to make friends at school as well. His birthday is coming up and we're inviting the entire class, so I hope that will also help.

The garden is in perpetual harvest mode right now, and that's not been easy with the shoulder. With 13 tomato plants going crazy, there's been a LOT to preserve! Today I'm currently canning 7 pints of salsa. I've been dehydrating, roasting, freezing, you name it. My cucumbers have made lovely pickles. I hope to make relish soon.

I have to get the menu plan ready for the week. I usually have it written by Thursday or Friday. Not so lucky this week. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday Week of August 16th

Sunday 8/16

Grilled chicken $1.75

Noodles .50

Asparagus $1.00

Tomato slices .00


Monday 8/17

BLTs $2.00

Potato salad $1.25

Sliced apples .50


Tuesday 8/18

Beef fajitas $4.30

Sirloin $2.60, peppers in garden .00, onion .30, tortillas .65, lettuce .25, cheese .50

Fresh salsa with garden veggies .00

Refried beans .50


Wednesday 8/19

Grilled pork chops $2.50

Grilled potato packets .75

Bbq beans .75


Thursday 8/20

Chicken alfredo pasta $2.75

Broccoli .75

Tomato and basil salad .00


Friday 8/21

Pizza Joes $2.00

Cucumber and tomato salad .00

Green bean fries $2.50


Saturday 8/22

Grilled pork steaks $2.50

Baked potatoes .75

Salad $1.00


Sunday 8/23

Angel hair pasta with roasted tomatoes, herbs and asiago cheese $1.00

Salad $1.00


Working Wounded

Sore shoulder or no, we will start drowning in vegetables if I don't do something. So working slowly today. These cucumbers slices are soaking in ice water to help their crispness before they become cold packed dills and cold packed bread and butter pickles. I still haven't done a full can on the pickles. I'm almost afraid to because I like the crunch from the cold packed ones so much. Afraid the canning process will make them mushy. Guess I'll get brave eventually.

I still have 3 large bags of cucumbers in the fridge even after slicing 56 of them up. Crazy.

Next will be the 5 bags of roma tomatoes begging to be peeled, diced and canned or frozen or made into yummy sauce or salsa.

When your freezer meals come in handy

I have even more awe and respect this week for those that deal with chronic pain. I have been living with severe shoulder pain for the past few weeks. Some trigger point injections will hopefully improve this situation, but it is amazing how something like that can affect everything. Your mood, your energy level, your ability to do even simple things around the house. You can take pain medication, but I find that taking enough to kill the pain makes me even more ineffective around the house.

After the doctor nagged at me yesterday, I decided to actually listen (what a concept, huh?) and take it easy for the day, despite the bags and bags of tomatoes and cucumbers building up that need to be processed into sauces and pickles.

I also deviated from my dinner plan, as I'd already spent some time in the kitchen yesterday morning making a batch of sausage and cheese biscuits for the freezer for the boys' breakfasts, and didn't particularly feel like spending more time than necessary. (I'm left-handed, and this is my left shoulder, so even chopping gets to be painful)

So I finally got to use the lasagna that I'd made for the freezer back in mid-April. Right after I made the pans it got really hot and I've been avoiding the oven as much as possible. Yesterday was not so bad, though, so I took on of the lasagnas out, barely thawed it, added about a 1/3 cup of water, sealed the foil down tightly and baked it for about 90 minutes at 350. It was awesome!

Taking the time to make some meals and freeze them can really save you when you need it the most. Often I will just make double what we plan to eat and freeze half. Takes you no extra time, yet you have something ready to heat and eat.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all these tomatoes and cucumbers! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

This is a fast, comfort food recipe that my whole family likes. I'm including the price breakouts for what I paid to make this last night based on sales, coupons, garden, etc., to show how affordable it can be, too.

1 Kielbasa sausage rope- 16oz. ($1.50)
6 medium potatoes, skins on, sliced (.75)
1 medium onion, chopped- (.40)
1 green bell pepper, chopped- (.00-from garden)
3T olive oil, divided (.10)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2t smoked paprika
1/2t garlic powder
8oz shredded swiss cheese ($1.00)

In large skillet, heat 1T olive oil over medium-high heat. Slice sausage into bite size pieces. Place in skillet and cooked until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet. Add remaining oil, onions, potatoes, pepper, and spices. Cook, flipping potatoes occasionally, until well browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese over top and cover until melted. Serve with a veggie or salad.

This dish cost me $3.75 to prepare, plus some fresh steamed asparagus for $1.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good week at Walgreens

I had a $10 RR about to expire, so I decided to take advantage of this week's deals and my coupons and see what I could do. Here's what I got:

2 Maxwell House cans of coffee @ 2 for $5.00
4 packages of Bic pens @ .50 each= $2 minus 2 $1/2 coupons= free

For $6 RR- Buy 3 @ 3/$9 and receive $6 RR
2 Reach toothbrushes @ $3= $6 minus BOGO MF= $3
1 Listerine Mouthwash @ $3 minus .50 MF= $2.50
Total $5.50 plus received $6 RR

Jergens Lotion @ $5.99. Got $5 RR
Colgate toothpaste @ $2.99 minus .75 MF= $2.24. Got $3RR

My total OOP after coupons and RR= $10.13. Got back $14 in RR. Hubby still can't figure out how I made money on two bags of stuff! :)

Menu Plan Week of 8/10

We'll try this again. Let's see if I can post photos and recipes this week. I posted tonight's menu again, as I roasted a pan of tomatoes for this earlier today, and will be posting the recipe.

Sunday 8/9

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and Italian sausage $3.80

Pasta .40, tomatoes .00, onion .30 mushrooms $1.29, sausage 1.00, cheese .50

Salad $1.00

Strawberry shortcake $1.50

Angel food cake, sliced strawberries, cool whip


Monday 8/10

Apricot glazed grilled pork steaks $2.50

Bbq beans .25

spinach salad $1.50


Tuesday 8/11

Chicken patty sandwiches $2.00

Fries .75

Caprese salad $1.00


Wednesday 8/12

Rotini pasta with Italian sausage, tomatoes and cheese $1.50

Salad 1.00

Green beans in freezer .75

Garlic toast .50


Thursday 8/13

pork fried rice $2.25

Mandarin oranges .50


Friday 8/14

Beef fajitas $4.30

Sirloin $2.60, peppers in garden .00, onion .30, tortillas .65, lettuce .25, cheese .50

Fresh salsa with garden veggies .00

Refried beans .50


Saturday 8/15

Grilled chicken $1.75

Potato salad $1.25

Asparagus $1.00


Sunday 8/16

Italian beef sandwiches $5.00

Roasted potatoes $1.00

A dessert to be named later


What a week!

I apologize to you if you follow the blog- I have had one of those weeks- long days at work, a trip to ER with hubby, you name it, we did it. As I've had a chance to breathe and catch up a little bit, I will be back to posting.

I did not get a chance to put up all of last week's recipes. I didn't even get a chance to MAKE all of last week's recipes! :) I had a couple of requests for my cuban sandwich recipe, and I promise to post it. We didn't get to make it here, though, as I set aside leftover grilled pork tenderloin for the recipe, and then forgot to tell hubby. It became his late night snack. Lovely.

This week I hope to get back to posting some recipes, along with pictures of the garden bounty coming in, and ways that I am using, preserving, freezing, etc.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Menu Plan Week of 8/3

You can tell it's summer here and that I have a lot of produce to use in the garden. I will be posting recipes across the week so please check back if there's something that interests you. I am trying to be better about posting pictures of the foods with the recipe, so that means posting the recipe afterwards. This week's dinners are just over $30 for 7 dinners for 4, with ample leftovers.

Monday 8/3
Meatless Monday
Cheese ravioli w/ white beans, fresh tomatoes and basil $2.00
Salad $.75

Tuesday 8/4
Steak, black bean and cheese quesadillas $4.50
Fresh salsa .00
Corn 1.00
Pineapple .65

Wedensday 8/5
Cheesy Ham and Potatoes $3.50
Broccoli .75
Apple slices .50

Thursday 8/6
Chicken nachos $3.00

Friday 8/7
Grilled Pork tenderloin $4.00
Asparagus $1.00
Make ahead carrots in freezer .50

Saturday 8/8
Cheeseburgers $3.50
French fries .75
tomato, corn and basil salad (using leftover corn from Tuesday) .00

Sunday 8/9
Cuban sandwiches (using leftover pork tenderloin) $2.50
Leftover Calico beans from freezer .00
Grilled bananas with caramel sauce and ice cream $1.50

Chicken Pita Wraps

I'm not into traditional gyros simply because I don't like the lamb. I like the rest of it, though, so I've improvised through the years using grilled chicken. I think it makes this dish pretty darn healthy as well.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2t dried oregano or 1T fresh, chopped very fine
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1/2t garlic powder

chopped lettuce
chopped onion
diced tomatoes
diced cucumbers
garbanzo beans
feta cheese
4 pita wraps
Cucumber Sauce

Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Whisk marinade ingredients together in bowl, and pour over chicken in bag. Marinate at least 30 minutes on counter or 2 hours in fridge. Grill chicken until no longer pink. Slice into bite size pieces.

I like to wrap the pitas in foil and place on the grill with the chicken for the last couple minutes to heat them. You could also do it in the microwave or oven.

Serve with toppings. I use garbanzo beans, but you could substitute hummus if you prefer.

This recipe is linked to Simply Delicious Sunday

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cucumber Sauce

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? So, if life gives me cucumbers, I make cucumber sauce. I can't officially call this tzatziki, because it only has sour cream in it, not yogurt. You could do half and half w/ plain or greek yogurt and sour cream to make it a little more authentic.

2 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 lemon, juiced
2T olive oil
1T fresh dill or mint
1 16oz container of sour cream
sea salt to taste

Place sour cream in a small bowl. Place garlic in food processor and pulse until minced. Add cucumbers, lemon juice, olive oil and dill and pulse 4 or 5 times. Stir mixture into sour cream. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Overnight is even better.