Friday, April 30, 2010

Shopping was another success today!

For whatever reason, I REALLY struggled with my menu & shopping list this week.  I literally sat down yesterday and stared at grocery ads & cookbooks for like 4 hours....with nothing to show for it.  I redid my menu about 12 times.  It's not always easy...and this week proved that to me.

I am done though and I'm really happy with everything.

Walmart - $43.66
King Soopers - $18.19
Albertsons - $7.92

GRAND TOTAL - $69.77

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 3 Menu & Shopping List

Fri- BBQ Chicken, corn on the cob & cantaloupe (carried over from last week, since we ordered pizza one night)
Sat- Spaghetti & garlic bread
Sun- Bacon stuffed Pork Chops w/ mashed taters
Mon- Tangy Chicken w/ white rice
Tue- Beefy Nachos
Wed- Chicken Caesar Tetrazzini
Thur- Kielbasa w/ black beans & rice


Bacon stuffed Pork Chops
4 boneless pork chops
8 strips of bacon
1 box stuffing mix (any flavor) + ingredients to make it
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 tbsp butter

Tangy Chicken
2 lbs chicken thighs...boneless/skinless (you can also use chicken breast)
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 small bottle Russian dressing
1 small jar pineapple/apricot preserves
white rice

Beefy Nachos
Tortilla chips
1lb gr beef
1 pkg shredded taco/nacho blend cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black or pinto beans
green onions
sour cream
sliced black olives

Chicken Caesar Tetrazzini
2 cups diced cooked chicken
8oz spaghetti
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup caesar salad dressing
2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Kielbasa w/ black beans & rice
1 pkg polska kielbasa
1 box Zataran's black beans & rice + ingredients to make it
Shopping list:
Baking mix – 2.22 wm
Taco seasoning - .43 wm
Olives – 1.00 wm
Milk – 5.34 wm
Bananas – 2.00 wm
Yogurt – 1.34 wm
Creamer – 2.38 wm
Cereal – 2.00 wm
Drink mix – 1.98 wm
Hot dogs - .88 wm
Frozen chicken thighs - 4.83wm
Apricot preserves - 1.89wm
Salad dressing – 2.50 wm
Bread crumbs – .98 wm
Broth – 0.73 wm
Gr beef 1lb – 2.18 wm
Canned tom - .68 wm
Black beans - .60 wm
Pasta 2 – 1.76 wm
Kielbasa – 2.50 wm
Zatarans - 1.74 wm
Cream of mushroom soup – .88 wm
Bacon – 1.59 ks
Bread (2) – 1.76 ks
TP - .88 ks
PT - .88 ks
Shredded Parm cheese 1.50 ks
Hot dog Buns - .88 ks
Onion soup mix 1.99 ks
Nacho cheese – 1.50 ks
Potatoes 5lb bag – 2.59 ks
Frozen veggies – 1.50 ks
Butter - 0.69 ks
Honey buns 8ct – 1.59 ks
Cantaloupe (2) – 2.00 alb
Mac & cheese (2) – 0.78 alb
Stuffing - 1.00 alb
Frozen Pizza (2) – 3.14 alb

TOTAL:  $65.11

Carrot & Black Bean Soup

This soup started with a recipe that I got from the Food Network. Melissa D'arabian (The Next Food Network Star) has a recipe for Orange-Scented Carrot Soup.
I thought it sounded good, but guessed that it could be improved upon with some extra ingredients.
I think I was right.

The ingredients:
1lb carrots, 1 medium onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 orange (for zest), dried thyme, 2 cans chicken broth, 1 can black beans, 2 cups shredded (or chopped) pork, sour cream, S&P.

First you want to shred the carrots. I've said it before & I'll say it again...if you don't have a serrated peeler, get one!!

Chop 'em up,

Next, chop up the onion.  If you're old school, do it with a knife.  However, if you'd rather be done with it in about 30 seconds w/o tears, use a Food Chopper (PC of course!)

A few smacks on the top and you're done. 
I highly recommend this tool if you have children.  It allows you to get your, frustration...out without feeling like you've lost control.  :)

Now for the garlic. Take 3 cloves...

Place each clove under the blade of a knife...

...and smash it!

This will make the skin practically fall off.

Do this with all 3 cloves and then chop them up finely.

Alrighty. Throw the carrots & onion into a stock pot with about a tbsp of oil (I forgot to put oil in the ingredient pic...sorry!)

Let it cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes...until it starts to soften. Keep stirring it around to avoid burning the onions.

Add the orange zest. I just did mine right over the pot.

Then add the garlic & the tsp of thyme.

Mix it all together and cook for another 5 minutes. Then you want to add the chicken broth & 1 1/2 cups of water.

Bring it to a full boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Then you pour it into a blender.

You have to be VERY careful when blending a hot liquid.  You need to give it room to expand or else the top will blow off and you'll have burning hot carrot soup EVERYWHERE. I learned this when making a sauce for tacos once. Not fun.

So here's what you do.  Take the little plastic (mine is plastic at least) part off of the lid.

Hold a towel over it.

Use the pulse setting (if you have one...if not then blend off & & on) to make sure that you get all the chunks. Blend it until it's nice & smooth and looks something like this:

Drain & rinse the black beans.  Add them to the soup.

Then you want to add the pork.  My pork was left over from when I made the pork tacos.  It's the meat from one pork chop.

Add S&P to taste and then let it cook for another 5 minutes or so until everything is heated through.

Serve it with a plop of sour cream. (I mixed mine up afterwards to make it creamy).

It was VERY well received by all.

My husband suggested throwing some baked tortilla strips on top.  I think that would be a fabulous addition to it.  It was a really great soup...very filling. And super cheap!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Teriyaki Shrimp

I was in no mood to cook last night. I haven't really been in the mood to cook at all this week. However, I like to eat and so does my I drug my feet into the kitchen and whipped this up for dinner. 

1 lb shrimp (I used cocktail shrimp...already cooked), Teriyaki marinade/glaze, garlic chili sauce, long grain rice & frozen stir fry veggies.

First I made the rice.
1cup of rice & 2 cups of water....into my Pampered Chef rice cooker (LOVE this thing)

 Pop it in the microwave for 18 minutes & viola!
While the rice was cooking I threw my frozen veggies into a skillet.

While those heat up, prepare the shrimp. Pour about 1/2 cup (or however much you want) of the teriyaki glaze & about a tsp of the garlic chili sauce over the shrimp.

Mix it up.

Then pour some teriyaki sauce on the veggies.

Since the shrimp is already cooked, you only want to add it at the last minute.  You just want to heat it up, not cook it more. I tossed it in and just let it heat up for about a minute.

Serve it over the rice & that's it.

This was so easy. And it had great flavor.  I love the garlic chili adds just a hint of kick. Fantastic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pork Tacos

When it comes to tacos, we're normally a beef family. Last night I tried pork tacos for the first time.  I had pork chops to work with & I wasn't too sure how that would work.  I looked online and found a technique to cook and shred pork chops & it involved boiling them. Weird, but I figured I'd give it a try.

I took 3 pork chops and a packet of pork flavoring (out of a Top Ramen :) ).

I brought a pot full of water to a boil, dropped in the seasoning & the chops.

I simmered them on med-low for 90 minutes and then let the chops sit in the broth for about 30 more.

It was about now that I started to think that this recipe was not as promising as I had hoped. :)

What I was left with were these:

They were a little tough, but still had pretty good flavor.  I really couldn't shred them like the recipe said though (booooo). So instead I cut the meat up into teeny strips.

These are the other ingredients for my tacos.
Canned tomatoes w/ chilies, taco seasoning, sour cream, corn tortillas, cheese & cabbage

I make my own crunchy taco shells.
Pour some oil in a pan & heat it up. Drop in the tortillas, fold them over, let them brown & them put them upside down on a paper towel.

Now for the meat.

Put about 2 tbsp of oil in the skillet & then add the meat.

Add the tomatoes, taco seasoning & 1/2 cup of water.

Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Now to build the taco. :)

Take your taco shell & add some shredded cabbage.

Add the meat.

Throw some cheese in there.

And a good plop of sour cream.  The meat has a kick to it, so the sour cream balanced it out really nicely.

And that's it.  Nothing fancy...tacos never are.

Let me tell you, they were fantastic.  The pork was such a nice change from the normal beef tacos.  In fact, after the taco shells were gone, my husband ate the meat with just some cheese on top.  He really enjoyed it! Two thumbs up and we will be making these again for sure!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I was bad this weekend....

We spent all weekend ripping out our front yard and installing a sprinkler system. I was POOPED. My back hurts, my legs hurt...heck, my armpits even hurt. It was a lot of work.
I didn't cook dinner all weekend...My husband pampered me with pizza.

But it's Monday and I'm now back on track. Shredded pork tacos tonight!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Maple Ginger Pork Chops & Mashed Taters

I got this recipe from my dear friend, Jamie. I love her more and more every time I make these.
They are so simple and have unbelievable flavor!

4 boneless pork chops (I used 3 tonight b/c they were HUGE)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp butter

1/2 maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (I'm generous with this measurement)
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Sprinkle the chops with salt & pepper.

Beat egg and ginger in a shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in another shallow dish.
Dip the chops in the egg mixture.

And then coat them in bread crumbs.

Place the butter in a skillet over med heat.

Add the pork chops.


Cook them for 5-7 minutes per side.
They should look like this:

When the internal temp reaches 160, remove the chops from the pan.
Mix the sauce ingredients together...looks delightful, doesn't it?

Pout it into the pan.  It'll bubble up all gooey and delicious like this:

Reduce the heat to low ad put the chops back in, coating them with the sauce.

While those sit in the sauce...mash up your taters.
I cube my potatoes really small so that they cook faster.

Toss them back into the pot. 
I added some cream cheese, fresh parsley, milk (I just eye-balled it) & 4 tbsp of butter.

Mash them up. Add some salt & pepper to taste and you're done.

Throw it all together on a plate w/ some veggies and you've got dinner!

How good does that look? Seriously. They are unbelievable.