Sunday, September 6, 2015

Long holiday weekend

Hey there foodies! Hope everyone is staying safe and having fun on the holiday weekend. I am sure most of you are out having cookouts with friends and enjoying the end of summer. Luckily, I live in FL so it is always summer here so- HA HA, enjoy the upcoming snow season y'all! 

Anyway, I read an interesting article in the local newspaper today about how much food goes to waste in this country. The amount was staggering! The article also stated that something like 40% of food in your own home. Now just think about that number, 40%. Almost half of the food you cook at home goes in the trash. Stop for a minute and consider how much you spend every time you go to the grocery store. Math is hard for me so work with me here- if you spend $100 a week then $40 a week is being thrown away. WHAT?!?! I don't know about you but I do not want to throw that much money away. That money could be put somewhere useful like into a bigger dang house or college fund or name brand mac n cheese once in a while. 

So this made me take a look in my already scarce pantry. Oh, one glance will tell ya that it is in between pay weeks in this household too! What I came up with is simple but hopefully delicious. Tonight's dinner will be Pulled BBQ Chicken Sammies and what I now call Scrappy Tater Salad. Nothing fancy by any means but filling, uses up those rogue potatoes that are beginning to grow sprouts and what little bit of chicken was left in the freezer. Here are the recipes for both:

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sammies 
6-8 Chicken Tenderloins
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
Onion Powder
Brown Sugar(cause I like it sweet)
Crockpot liner (OK, you don't need one but they are AMAZING)

Place the chicken in the crockpot, sprinkle with onion powder, cover in Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours. The chicken will easily shred at this point. I added a bit more sauce, a few tablespoons of brown sugar and a tad bit more onion powder to kick it up a bit. Stir it all together and keep on low. Serve it up on whatever kind of buns or rolls you have around. 

For the potato salad this was a total experiment. I had never made potato salad but I think it turned out OK considering I did not have any onion or celery to add to it. If you dig around on the interwebs you will see that most recipes contain both. Here is what I pulled together for it:

Scrappy Tater Salad
4 large baking potatoes
4 eggs
1 1/2c. mayo
1/2c. mustard
pickle relish plus some juice
onion powder
black pepper

Peel the potatoes and rinse off. Cut up into large, bite size chunks and place in a medium size pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes, add in some salt and bring to a boil. Cook 10-12 minutes at a rolling boil until the potatoes are done but not mushy! In another pot, hard boil the eggs. Dump the potatoes into a strainer to drain the water off and set aside. Peel the eggs and dice up; set aside. In another bowl ,mix together the mayo, mustard, pickle relish and onion powder together. Mix in the potatoes and eggs until all is coated. Taste test it and see how it turned out! Cover and chill until it is ready to serve.

And once it is all assembled and plated this is what it looked like. I added a few of my Grandpa's sweet dill pickles too. 
It was a big enough hit that the teenager even came back for seconds!Hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

For the love of Aldi!

If you are not shopping at Aldi I am sad for you. No really- I am sad. For anyone on a budget this store is heaven! And for those not on a budget, well, I have never met someone not on a budget but if I do I will convince them to shop at this store. Just to be clear, this is not a paid endorsement from Aldi. I just love the store and want to shout its praises to all 5 of you that might read my blog.

Being cost conscious, (that sounds better than saying I am broke, right?) I have shopped around in my area for the best prices and quality and each week I scurry back to Aldi. Normally I will hit up another store for meat but I do like Aldi's ground turkey packs. Here's the thing, no they do not carry well-known name brand products that you will see advertised. But their, for lack of a better term, "generic" items are the same thing! Yes you have to put a quarter in to the shopping cart to unlock it but when you return the cart you get it back; already saving money.Yes you have to bag your own groceries. Well this is not difficult and you can keep your bread from getting smooshed. If these little facts have not convinced you to at least walk in the door of your local store let me show you my menu and weekly spending. 

Keep in mind that I already had what I call my anchor items, i.e. stew meat, chicken breasts, etc. and all of my meals are done for 3 people. So this weeks dinners will be tacos, enchiladas, chicken philly sandwiches, pasta and sauce, and turkey burgers with fries. Lunch is either sandwiches or I take leftovers to work. And breakfast is either toast, eggs, oatmeal or cereal; everybody chooses their own.

Here is my list from Aldi:
8" Soft tortillas (10/pk)  $1.99
Iceberg lettuce $1.39
Frosted Flakes (17 oz. box) $1.59
Coffee K Cups (12/box) $4.79
Taco mix (1 envelope) $0.35
Taco shells (8 shells)  $0.99
Brown sugar (1 lb.) $1.19
Wheat bread  (1 loaf) $0.99
Colby jack shredded (3 cups)  $2.46
Deli cheese slices (11 slices)  $1.99
Ground Turkey (1 lb)  $3.29
2% Milk   (1 gal)    $3.29
Italian Sweet Cream coffee creamer (32 oz)  $2.19

Total $ 27.52

Now I did forget to buy hoagie rolls for today's chicken philly sandwiches but those will be less than $3 to grab. But seriously, $30 for a week of decent meals? Not bad, admit it. They are not extravagant by any means but it gets us thru and we are by no means starving. I highly recommend that you just take a few minutes to visit your local Aldi and check it out! Buying K cups alone will save you $5 and the coffee creamer- it is running $3.99 at my local chain grocery store.. C'mon and give it a whirl. You have nothing to lose but cents.. (see what I did there??)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Falling off the wagon

That is a funny saying isn't it- "falling off the wagon"? It sounds quite painful to me. Well, I have fallen off of the wagon but not in regards to drinking (which is what the phrase originally meant). I am actually not a drinker at all. The wagon that I have fallen off of is my budgeting and organizational wagon. The holidays kind of steamrolled over me and I just have not had the determination to get back up on the wagon until now. And let me just tell you it was a true labor to do this. Once I get back in the habit of doing it again life will be fine but I really struggled to focus on it. 

So I began by checking the inventory in my little kitchen and then I checked out Pinterest for some new recipes. I am not good at creating my own recipes but I sure can follow a recipe with the best of 'em! After all that business I set out to make my menu and grocery list. I find it easier to do it at the same time but everyone will have their own method. The menu I came up with for this week is as follows:

Breakfast- everyone chooses what they want each day.
Breakfast burritos

Turkey roll-ups & chips
leftovers (this will be eaten most days)

Baked ziti
Black bean & rice quesadillas
Chicken mozzarella pasta with sun-dried tomatoes
Creamy vegetable soup
Chili and cornbread

Cheese cubes
Fruit cups

Now I already had quite a bit of stuff on hand so my trip to Aldi was quick and I spent $86 which included a few extras that were not on my list. But that's OK because I know I can use them later on. For example, they had their loaves of whole wheat bread on sale for $.79 each which is half price! So I bought 4 loaves because, well, it's bread.

Once I got home and situated I started my meal prep. I have found that buying blocks of cheese, cutting and portioning it up not only saves money but is super easy to grab for my lunches in the mornings. So i set out cutting up 4 blocks of cheese and putting it into individual snack size baggies. Then I worked on the breakfast burritos. This was a new recipe for me but I gave it a whirl. The true test is when the boy eats them and let's me know how they are! Once the burritos where finished and in the freezer I started working on the creamy vegetable soup for dinner. Again, this was my first attempt at this recipe and I am not enjoying it but the boy is. I made a large pot of it so I think it will get divided up and frozen for later meals too. I really need to invest in a chest freezer.

Now it is time to get my beans soaking for the chili and quesadillas later this week. Have a great week friends! Feel free to leave me a comment too.