Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rotini w/ Spinach & Balsamic Tomatoes

One word.

At least that's one mom's opinion.

Rotini pasta, Light Balsamic Vinaigrette, 2 cans diced Italian tomatoes, 2 bell peppers (red & yellow), spinach leaves

OK, prepare the pasta as directed on the box. We'll add that in later.

Slice up the peppers.


Toss them in a skillet w/ a smidge of oil & whatever seasoning you like. I did some kosher salt & my PC Italian Seasoning.

Add some of the Balsamic dressing.  I probably did about 1/4 cup.

Add the tomatoes.

Add a bit more balsamic vinaigrette.  I'm thinking it was about another 1/4 cup. I didn't measure...just squeezed the bottle a few times.

Now add the spinach. I used just about the whole bag (which was 10 oz). I love spinach a lot.

Stir it all around until the spinach wilts.

Now, I like to mix my pasta with the sauce before it ever hits the plate. Maybe it's a mom thing, but the thought of a 3 year old trying to mix his pasta & sauce on his own gives me a feeling similar to fingernails on a chalkboard.

Good to go. Let's eat!

I seriously considered eating leftovers for breakfast this morning. It was that good.

THIS is my kind of vegetarian meal. For real.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple ways to jazz up cheap muffin mix...

I bought 2 packages of Betty Crocker muffin mix (the ones that make 6 muffins each) last week.
These bagged ones are way cheaper than the more popular boxed kind, but they're nothing to rave about. I'm always looking for ways to improve upon them & this is what I usually do.

Add yogurt.
Add some fruit.
Sprinkle something on top.

This morning I used two blueberry, one wild berry.
I mixed in 3 tbsp oil, 1 egg, 1/2 cup water, 1 6oz blended yogurt & a few blackberries (cut up a bit)

I sprinkled some brown sugar on top and popped them in the over (400 degrees) for 20 minutes.

It makes them more filling and super moist. An easy fix to a plain old muffin.

Pork Tacos

The last pork tacos that I made were a huge hit with the fam.  So now I'm exploring different ways to make 'em. This recipe started with a pork shoulder roast in the crock pot.  All I did was toss it in with some S&P and about a cup of water....let it cook on low for about 10 hours.

My pics are a bit sporadic with this. I had 2 sick kids and a surprise dinner guest. I wasn't as focused as I normally am. Haha...As if I'm ever focused.

So here we go.

Ingredients for the meat:
Meat from a pork roast, some canned salsa stuff (can you tell I just grabbed it because it looked interesting?), Rotel, taco seasoning

First thing I did was shred the meat. Use two forks (or a spoon a fork...whatever works) and pull the meat apart.

Okie dokie...I put 2 tbsp of the salsa stuff in with the meat. This stuff was SPICY!

Add the Rotel.

Add the seasoning. I was only going to do about half of the packet, but I ended up dumping the whole thing in there.

I also added 1/2 cup of water...but didn't take a pic.
Mix it all up and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

That's it for the meat.

And THIS is what happens when you're not paying attention while cooking.
I melted my beloved Measure All Measuring Cup. It was a sad, sad moment for me.

Pressing on.

I wanted to make an avocado sour cream sauce for the tacos.
I used 2 avocados, some sour cream, PC Chipotle Rub & PC Citrus Basil Rub (not in the picture)

All I did was mix the avocado w/ a big spoonful of the sour cream.

I tossed in a shake or two of the rubs and that was it.

I was going to slice up some lettuce for these, but I forgot. Surprising, isn't it?

So instead we had tacos with pork, avocado sauce & cheese. And they were delicious.

Ham Steaks w/ Creamy Mustard Sauce

I've been such a slacker this week. I have totally deviated from my menu.
So amongst the chaos that is my daily life, I've managed to make a few things that I actually planned for.

This recipe came from my friend Jamie (remember the Maple Ginger Pork Chops? Same chickie!).

I will warn you.  I raised my eyebrow at the sauce that this recipe makes.  I thought it sounded delicious...but I also thought that the recipe would be denying me the amount that was really needed. Note to self: Don't try to change a recipe when you're making it for the first time. It might actually work the way it says it will. In other words, I doubled the sauce and ended up with way too much sauce.  Nuff said.

1 ham steak (I found this nice chunk of ham on sale so I grabbed it instead of a ham steak), 1/2 cup honey mustard, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup water, some green onions

First things first...slice up the ham.  I did it about a 1/2 in thick.

Next, mix the water and the mustard.

OK, maybe it's just me, but this looked totally gross to me.

But then I whisked it up and all was right again.

Now place the steaks in a skillet over medium(ish) high heat.  Pour the sauce over them.

Now keep in mind that I have twice as much sauce in there than what's called for.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, slice up your green onions.

When the 10 minutes is up...

...mix in the sour cream and green onions. Swirl it all around until everything is mixed together nicely.

And VIOLA! Dinner is done. I served mine with some brussel sprouts & ghetto garlic bread (hot dog buns, butter, garlic seasoning)

It was better than I expected. The sauce was perfect on the ham steaks. Great flavor!!
And seriously, it was almost too easy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One (or two) Ingredient Ice Cream

A friend of mine found this recipe on another blog and I was instantly intrigued. It was hot on Saturday and I figured it was a perfect day to whip up something cold and possibly delicious.

So here goes....


I decided to add some Nutella into the mix because, let's face it, the stuff rocks. It's creamy and chocolatey....good stuff.

First you peel the bananas

Slice them up into a pan...I used a cake pan.

Now that they're cut, stick them in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours.

Frozen banana slices don't look much different than unfrozen banana slices, but here they are...nice and frosty.

OK, so the recipe says to stick them in a food processor. I don't have one...I've been trying to talk myself into getting one for the past 6 years. I'm not making very good progress on that little matter.
Anyway, I decided to use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

Mix, mix and then mix some more. I had to scrape the sides down a number if times to make sure that all of the bananas were getting mooshed.  The texture when from frozen to chunk to slightly less chunky to smoooooooth.

Now is when I added the Nutella. You can add whatever you want. Next time I'm going to do peanut butter.
I did two big spoonfuls.

And here is what it created.

It was surprisingly delicious! Super creamy and oh so yummy. The kids loved it, I loved it...and it was cheap, cheap, cheap!

So, whoever it was that discovered that bananas can be whipped into a creamy ice creamish dessert, thank you.


Call Your Butcher!!

If you do it like me and plan your meats based on the ads, then this is a good tip for you.

Safeway advertised having pork shoulder roast on sale for $1.49/lb. Sweet. I gave myself $7 to get a nice roast. Now, I have a habit of calling the butchers at every store I shop at. I never used to do this, but I have learned that it's worth the few minutes it takes. Often times the meats that they advertise are prepackaged. So what I do is call and find out about how big the cuts of meat are and then figure about how much it'll cost. This actually makes it so that I can be precise on how much I am going to spend.

Well, I called Safeway b/c there was some small print on their ad. EXTREME VALUE PACK. That means it's a BIG chunk of meat. When I spoke to the butcher I asked how big the packs were she informed me that in order to get the extreme value pack pricing, I needed to have a roast that was 3.5lbs or more. Um, 3.5lbs is not that big of a roast. Hmmm. This little tidbit of information was not printed anywhere. So I get to the store and went over to the meat case. The roasts that were in there were no 3.5lbs. They were massive...I'm talking $25-$35 a pop. So I buzzed the bell at the butcher...armed with my secret information. I asked them to cut me approx $6 worth of a roast (they always end up giving you a bit more for some reason). 5 minutes later I had a nice 4.5lb roast & didn't go over my budget on it.

It pays to know what the deal actually is with meat. And it never hurts to ask the butcher. So do it because it can save you in the long run.


Week 6 Menu & Shopping


Rotini w/ spinach, onions & balsamic tomatoes
Ham steaks w/ mustard cream sauce
Bacon & Broccoli Quiche
Pizza burgers
Potato balls w/pepper rice
Pork tacos
Hot dogs, sweet potato fries & baked beans

Walmart: $21.05
Safeway:  $16.50
King Soopers: $32.37
TOTAL: $69.62