Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grill it Up!

It's officially time to clean up that grill and enjoy the best time of year, 4th of July! This holiday, besides the true history behind it, has provided a reason to eat good, grilled foods and spend some quality time with family and friends.  It has also supplied some great grocery sales!

If you do not have a grill, or not in the mood to use it, all of these dinners can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven or on a panini maker.


Monday - Warm bacon shrimp salad served with warm, fresh bread (if desired)

Tuesday - Grilled salmon with lemon and fennel served with wild rice.

Wednesday - 4th of July!

Thursday - BLT sandwiches served with fruit salad

FridayTurkey burgers topped with grilled peaches (or avocados and red onion), served with grilled asparagus 


Monday - This is my family's signature salad.  My mom makes this to perfection, I just try to imitate.  But the secret is the dressing.
Recipe as follows (This will feed approx 6 ppl):
15-20 grilled shrimp (I do about 8 per person)
1 lg. bag spinach: wash and tear into bit size pieces
4 hard cooked eggs: chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, fried crisp: break into small pieces (you can use turkey bacon instead)
1/2 pkg. of pine nuts: cooked in the oven, on high broil, for 1-2 minutes.
1 cup of olive oil              1/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup                1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt                           1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 TB onion flakes

Tuesday - Found this recipe in Martha Stewart's Real Simple Magazine, a summer time classic.
For the wild rice, I buy it in the box, however only use half of the seasoning provided and add sauteed onions and roasted pine nuts.

Thursday - BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches (or TBLT's if you are using turkey bacon)
Making this sandwich is self explanatory.  However, if you  need a how-to make site, here is one I found through pinterest:
If you are using avocado with your turkey burger, add some slices to your BLT.  Also, use left over spinach instead of lettuce.
Fruit salad:
Slice up 2 peaches, a few strawberries, and 1 orange.  Place in a large bowl and toss in some raspberries.  

Friday -  This recipe calls for grilled peaches.  I have never tried this so we are going to experiment.  I will provide slices of fresh avocado and red onion for the non-experiment type.
For the asparagus, sprinkle with olive oil and little salt and pepper.

  • 1 lb. of fresh salmon fillet (on sale for $6.99/lbs)
  • 3 large shrimp skewers (@ $1 per skewer), I buy one per person.
  • 12 oz. ground turkey (on sale for $2.99/lbs)
  • 1 pkg. low sodium bacon (Oscar Mayer on sale, 3 pkg for $10)
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 red onion (or 1 vidalia onion, on sale for $0.99/lbs)
  • 1 pkg of asparagus (on sale $3.49/lbs)
  • 1 avocado (2 for $3.00)
  • 1 pkg of spinach
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 2-3 peaches (in season and very juicy, on sale for $1.99/lbs)
  • Couple tomatoes on the vine ( on sale for 1.69/lbs)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 pkg of strawberries (on sale for 2 for $5.00)
  • 1 pt of raspberries (on sale for $1.99 a pt)
  • Bakery bread for the BLT's and to serve with the salad, if desired. 
  • 1 pkg. of whole wheat burger buns
  • 1 box of wild rice
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mayo (for the BLT)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Onion flakes (by the spices)
  • 1 pkg of pine nuts
  • 1/2 carton of eggs
  • Fresh parsley

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1 meal served 3 ways

This week has been, and continues to be, a busy week due to work, so I was unable to provide a list or have time to be in the kitchen.

For weeks like this, I make a crock pot meal that can last a few days.

With the help of my hubby, we made a big crock pot of taco soup.

We ended up serving it 3 different ways:

Hot dogs topped with the taco soup ingredients and served with sweet potato tater tots.
Taco soup served with corn bread
Taco salad.  (By the 3rd day this soup is thicker so it is nice a hearty)

Grocery List:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 white onion
  • salad mix of your choice
  • tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (whatever you like to top your taco salad with)
  • 1 package of hot dogs
  • 1 package of hot dog buns
  • 1 package of frozen sweet potato tater tots
  • 1 package of corn bread mix
  • 1 16-oz of black beans
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans
  • 1 16-oz of corn
  • 1 8-oz of can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes w/ chilies
  • 1 1.25-oz packet of taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese (if you like to top your soup, salad or hot dogs with it)
This grocery list will cost you around $35 dollars, depending on your store and specials.

Next week will be another short dinner menu week due to 4th of July and all of the fun activities it brings!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day Special

Father's Day is around the corner.   My hubby has asked for a meal fit for a King!  So this week my home cooked meals will begin on Sunday.

Also,  I am changing my blog a bit in hopes to make it little more user friendly.  Let me know what you think!

Sunday - Grilled sirloin fillets, baked potato and a mixed nutty salad. For desert it will be an Crispy Apple Crumble.

Monday- Meatless Monday is back! Mediterranean Quesadilla's from Budget Bytes.

Tuesday- Spicy Basil Chicken (an oriental dish) served with brown rice.

Wednesday- Fish Tacos served with a cold corn/cucumber salad.

Thursday- Grilled Pork Rib Chops with fresh broccoli.

GROCERY LIST: (if you don't already have left over from the week(s) before)

  • 1 - 2 chicken breasts
  • Sirloin fillet (on sale for $6.99/lbs.) Again, I buy about 1/2 lbs. per person
  • Center-Cut Pork Rib Chops (on sale for $3.69/lbs.) 1 per person will be more than enough
  • 2 small fillets of talapia or a white fish. 
  • 1 Mango (on sale for $1)
  • 2 bags of Fresh Express Salad blends, one spinach and one mix spring salad. (These are BOGO, comes to about $2.04 per bag)
  • 1 bag of broccoli, you should only need 1/2 a bag so save the rest for the next week (Eat Smart products are on sale 3 for $5, @ $1.67 per bag)
  • 1 lime
  •  lemon
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot (or small white onion)
  • 2 potato's
  • 1 apple (I am going to buy the Crunch Pak Apple Slices as they are one sale for $2.50 and my son will eat the rest during the week)
  • roasted red peppers (optional for the quesadillas, you can use fresh peppers too)
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives (again, optional for the quesadillas) 
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seads
  • 1/2 cup of almonds ( measure your own amount in the organic area)
  • 1 container of fat-free crumbled feta
  • 1 container of voskos greek yogurt, plain (on sale for $1)
  • 1 package of whole wheat soft tacos
  • Panko breadcrumbs.
  • 1 package of brown rice (Near East Rice or Couscous is BOGO, comes to about $1.01 per box)
  • cornstarch
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Salsa
  • Fresh basil, fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes

Grilled sirloin steaks

  • Season the steak with salt, pepper and fresh garlic.
  • Bake your potato's in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degree.  Found a great website if you have not "mastered" the baked potato:
  • Mixed  nutty salad:  Salad mix, chopped cucumbers, chopped apple, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds and feta.  Then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze. 
For the desert...  AMAZING!! That is all I have to say.

mediterranean quesadilla's, served with salsa.

Spicy basil chicken
I make a few substitutes to this recipe:
  • I use olive oil instead of canola oil. 
  • Instead of chili paste, I use some red pepper flakes (we are not a spicy family).
  • I take the advice of the recipe and do not use fish oil and add some extra low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Also, if you don't want to buy the shallots, substitute chopped up white onion.
For the brown rice (or couscous), I saute 1/4 of the purple cabbage (chopped), red onion and any leftover peppers I had from last week.  Stir the veggies into the rice about 5 minutes before it is ready.

Fish Tacos
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Meanwhile, take the fish of your choice, and lightly cover with planko crumbs.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  
  • After the oil is hot, place the the fish into the pan.  Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  • Transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the over for an additional 5-10 minutes.  
  • While the fish is in the oven, cut up the mango, cabbage and red onion (these are toppings for the tacos). 
  • Instead of tarter sauce, I make my own cream dressing with greek yogurt.  Whisk together 1 cup of greek yogurt, juice from 1 lime, chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  
  • Salad consists of the corn from one ear of corn, 1/2 cucumber peeled and cut into small bites, 1/4 cup of feta, 2 Tbps. of chopped cilantro, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze.
For the pork chops, I marinate mine in a homemade remedy, then dip in whatever bbq sauce we have in the house.
For the marinade, mix together:
  • Juice from 1 lemon. 
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil.
  • 2 garlic gloves, pressed.
  • Salt & pepper
Broccoli, I steam mine.

This grocery list may be a little more than my normal bill (under $80), but hey, we are celebrating Dad's day!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What are we making for dinner Mommy?

The classic quote I get every day.  "What are we making for dinner Mommy?" This question use to make my head spin, but now with my meals planned, I have an answer.

So after looking at what I have in the kitchen, here is next weeks menu....

Monday - Baked Ziti with ground beef and fresh steamed broccoli.

Remember that penne from last week for the lemon chicken, well now use it for this dish.
You can find  numerous recipes for this dish online and in books.

Below how I make my quick baked ziti:
  1. Brown ground beef  (I am using my half pound left over from last week)
  2. At the same time, boil your penne.
  3. After the meat is cooked, add chopped up garlic and onions, cook until onions are translucent. (you can also add some fresh veggies here, like zucchini or squash)
  4. At the same time, combine 1/4 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1 egg in a separate bowl.  
  5. Pour a jar of sauce into the meat mixture,
  6. Then add the cooked penne and cheese mixture into the same pan.
  7. I add some spices and fresh herbs; salt, pepper basil and rosemary.
  8. Transfer into a square baking dish, top with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, and cover with tin foil.
Bake this dish at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday - Pepper Chicken with quinoa (you can use an rice)

I usually make this with steak, but the chicken is on sale again this week, so why not!
  1. Marinate chicken in McCormick's Grill Mates Montreal Steak Marinade, as directed on package. (I slice up my chicken before putting it into the marinade)
  2. Cut up 1 to 2 peppers into thin slices (I use red and green pepper) & 1/2 of an onion.
  3. In a pan, add a little bit of olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, the chopped up onion and peppers.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes (until the peppers are bright in color).
  4. At the same time, start cooking your rice per directions on the box. 
  5. After the peppers and onion are cooked, add the chicken and the marinade into the pan, cook until the chicken is fully cooked (approx. 15 minutes).  
  6. Add some parmesan cheese in the pan and you are DONE!
  7. Place rice on plate, top with the chicken mixture and marinade sauce.
Wednesday - Grilled bbq drum sticks, corn on the cob and broccoli

This one is easy.  Marinate your drum sticks the night before in your favorite sauce. 

Fire up the grill and place the drum sticks over the burners.  If you are intimidated by grilling, here is a great post I found:

While the drumsticks are grilling, I would boil your water for the corn and get your broccoli ready to be steamed. ( I place my corn in the water while it is heating up)

When there is about 10 minutes left for the chicken, I would start steaming the broccoli.   After everything is cooked, place some extra bbq on the table for dipping and let's eat! 

Thursday- make your own omelet served with fresh berries and toast

I am going to use some left over peppers, onions, lunch meat, fresh herbs and feta! 


This night I am going to keep open.  Either for left overs or grabbing something.  Freschetta Pizza is Buy 1 Get 1 Free! 

My grocery list (if you don't already have these items)

  • 1/2 lbs. of lean ground beef (as the meat department to cut a package in half) 
  • 2 chicken breast (Publix chicken is on sale for $2.99/lbs.)
  • 8 drum sticks
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1 package of tri-color peppers (on sale for $4)
  • 1 onions of your choice
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 3 fresh corn on the cob (1 per person) (on sale 6 for $2)
  • 1 pt. package of blueberries ($1.99 a package)
  • 1 package of fresh strawberries (2 for $5)
  • 1 block of mozzarella cheese (Publix brand is on sale 2 for $5)
  • 1 small container of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 container of feta (if you want it in your omelets)
  • Parmesan 
  • 1/2 carton of eggs
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 small bottle of bbq sauce
  • 1 package of whole wheat penne pasta (if you don't have any left over)
  • 1 small package of quinoa or rice of your choice
  • Bread (for lunches and breakfast night)
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar 
  • Fresh basil or rosemary 

I hope you enjoy, and please let me know your thoughts or suggestions.  Would love to hear from you all!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Must have menu of the week

Before I make any menu list, I like to see what I have in my pantry.  For this week’s menu I do have a good number of the items, but I provided a list of everything you would need.  Looking at this list though, it doesn't appear that you would need a lot of ingredients. Also, I chose the meals based on what meat was on sale.

Monday -This week I am incorporating meatless Monday. 

Amy’s Organic Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (@ $2.50 a can) and Chipotle twice backed potato.

For meatless meals I usually like to make a vegetarian chili, but I make that on the weekends when I have more time.  

With the Black bean soup, I add chopped up onions and a dab of Greek plain yogurt or sour cream.  Since I have another item on the menu that calls for sour cream, I am going to put the cream on my list!

There are so many variations of twice baked potatoes.  They are like pizzas in my family.  We love to experiment and be creative with these.  In searching for ideas for the potatoes, I came across this web site.


Stuff Chicken (Purdue Chicken on sale for $2.99/lbs.) with pepper jack cheese, spinach and caramelized onions served with spinach salad. 

Stuffed chicken is the easiest meal. Mine is not stuffed though, it is rolled.  The trick is to pound the chicken very thin, place your ingredients, roll up and place a tooth pick to keep in place. 

For this meal, I am adding about 1/8 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese spinach and onions, then season with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

For this salad I am going to make my own dressing with the left over Dijon mustard and rice vinegar from last week.  Also, adding chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds to the salad.

Dressing: Combine 1/8 cup of Dijon, juice from 1 lemon, 1 table spoon of rice vinegar and dice up a small shallot or onion.  .


Taco Salad

I only use ½ lbs. of lean ground beef.  After cooking the meat, I add a can of low sodium black beans, a package of chili mix, 1 small can of tomato sauce and a little water.  Mix together over medium heat.

Build the taco salad as follows:
Salad of your choice (baby spinach, mix greens, romaine)
Beef mix
Low fat shredded cheese
Sour cream

**Also, make sure you marinate your chicken for tomorrow night’s meal.


Grilled chicken with lemon basil

It calls for you to marinate the chicken for about 24 hours before grilling.

Marinate in the following concoction:
Olive oil
Juice of four lemons
Dijon mustard
A tiny bit of honey (use syrup instead if you do not want to purchase)
A dash of salt

For the sauce, you will need:

Four Lemons
a bunch of basil
1 cup of a hard cheese (either Parmesan or Romano cheese)
1 cup of fat free half-and-half.  It does call for cream and half-and-half, but to cut down on some calories it taste just as good with only the half-and-half.
It also calls for a ½ stick of butter, but I would use a light margarine spread as a healthy alternative.

I purchased whole wheat penne pasta for this dish. 


Going out to dinner this night J

Below is my grocery list of the items you need, if you don’t already have in the pantry or refrigerator:

4 chicken breast (Purdue chicken on sale for $2.99/lbs.)
1/2 lbs. of lean ground beef (as the meat department to cut a package in half) (on sale for $4.50/lbs.)
9 lemons
A couple tomatoes (tomatoes on a vine are on sale for $1.99/lbs.)
2 onions of your choice (Vidalia sweet onion is on sale for $0.99/lbs.)
Bag of spinach (Fresh Express spinach is on sale for B1G1)
1 fresh corn on the cob
Publix fat free sour cream (small)
1 small tube of light margarine spread
Shredded Mexican cheese (or cheese of your choice for the taco salad and stuffed chicken)
Shredded Parmesan
Small carton of half-and-half, fat free
1 can of Amy’s organic vegetarian black bean soup
2 cans of low sodium black beans
1 jar of salsa
1 package of whole wheat penne pasta.
1 small can of tomato sauce
Syrup or honey
Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Rice wine vinegar
Fresh basil