Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bargain Meal of the Week: April 28-May 4, 2010

Don't you love this time of year?! The weather starts tempting you with days of sunshine and warm temps, and all of the summer produce starts to make its appearance.

This week's ad got me all excited because one of my favorite produce items is on major sale this week--the first sweet corn of the season! Yummy!

Enjoy the frugal menu, and enjoy the hints of summer. ;-)

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa
and Corn on the Cob

Boneless Chicken Breasts--$1.99/lb. ($3)
Ataulfa Mango--2/$1 ($1)
Cilantro--2/$1 ($0.25)

Fresh Sweet Corn--4/$1 ($1)

Est. Cost: $5.25

(Remember to stop by the Grocery Gathering for other local deals!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It doesn't come naturally!

As I have mentioned before, I am slowly trying to convert our eating habits. We have never eaten THAT BAD but there are areas that I know I could be healthier in. One way is to eliminate products with tons of preservatives. My husband thinks I am wacky, but it just makes sense to me that our bodies work with as little "extra" stuff in them as possible. (I know many of you are with me on this! ;-)

The problem for me: we do not have any room in our budget to buy more expensive organic products right now.
I have heard all of the speeches--"It is not that much more expensive", "It pays to buy healthier products in the long run", etc., etc. I understand all of that, but I really cannot stretch our budget any more than it is already stretched. Therefore, I need to buy healthy products that are reasonably priced for the common man. ;-)

Here are a few items that I have begun buying.....ones that are lower in sugar or preservatives (not necessarily "organic" though--I am not to that point yet).

Mountain High Yoghurt: It contains only 7 ingredients (all natural ones), and I can get coupons for it by signing up on the website. I usually buy it for $1.50 for a large carton!

Kashi Cereals: This is one of the few organic products that I can afford. You can find coupons for their cereals quite often (I just bought a box for $1.88 today!)

Agave Nectar: I use this to sweeten my coffee, and am planning on experimenting with other uses. It is a low glycemic index sweetener, so it absorbs more slowly into the body, preventing spikes in blood sugar. I buy it in a two-pack at Costco.

Florida's Natural Fruit Nuggets: These are the only fruit snacks I buy for my kids now. They contain no dyes and no artificial sweeteners. Plus, they are often on sale at Target for under $2 a box. My kids love them......
We also eat whole wheat bread--King Sooper's brand was $1/loaf this week on an in-store special! Target carries a whole-grain white bread in their store brand, that is under $3 a loaf. And I have stopped buying processed lunch meat, and am experimenting with cooking turkey and chicken breasts and slicing them thinly to use in sandwiches. If this is too much work, look for a store that carries Boar's Head lunch meats...they are all-natural and often on sale at my local organic market.

So tell me--what ways do you eat organically or naturally on a frugal budget?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm just makin' it up as I go.....

I was supposed to bring a meal to church last night, to help out a family with a new baby.

The only problem: I was out of money and time. What to make??!!

Since I have begun shopping frugally at Costco, there are several items that I ALWAYS have on hand.......refried beans, corn tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream. Plus we have a whole freezer full of organic ground beef, thanks to some generous friends.

I decided to create an enchilada casserole out of these ingredients. I had seen recipes for that dish before, but I couldn't find a good one on-line. So I went to the store and grabbed a big can of enchilada sauce and a small can of mild green chiles. And then I created my own recipe!
Here it is.....

Enchilada Casserole
(This recipe makes 2 9x13 pans. You can freeze one for later or to give away.)

1 lb. ground beef (free :-)
1 small can green chiles ($0.89)
1/4 onion, chopped finely ($0.25)
1 (28 oz.) can red enchilada sauce ($2.29)
24 corn tortillas ($0.50)
1 1/2 cups sour cream ($0.75)
2 cups shredded cheese ($1.40)
2 cups refried beans ($0.40)

1. Cook ground beef. Drain. Saute onions until soft--add meat and green chiles. Cook about 5 minutes.
2. Add 2 cups enchilada sauce and simmer together for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, spread beans on each tortilla.
1st layer: Place 4 tortillas, alternately, on bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Spoon 1/4 meat/sauce mixture over tortillas. Dollop sour cream over the meat. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.
2nd layer: Place 4 more tortillas over 1st layer. Add 1/4 more meat mixture, more sour cream.
For final layer: Place 4 tortillas on top of 2nd layer. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over top--sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.

(Repeat this process for 2nd pan. Cover and freeze.)

4. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with additional sour cream for topping.
Add rice and a tossed salad and you are good to go!

Cost: $6.48 for 2 main dishes!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You were always on my mind (oatmeal)

I mentioned awhile ago that I was going to experiment with new recipes that used oatmeal. I bought a 9 lb. bag of the stuff, so I had to do something creative!
Several of my readers gave me suggestions for homemade granola
(which, sadly, is still on my to-do WILL get made though!).

I just noticed this recipe in my blog feed on my sidebar, which also calls for oatmeal. And it will fit in perfectly with my "eliminate processed foods/preservatives from my family's diet and replace them with healthy homemade things" kick that I am on. ;-) I am adding to my "to-do" list right now......hopefully I get to it sooner than I did the granola recipes!

Just yesterday, my friend asked me for some suggestions about what to do with oatmeal.
I gave her all of my favorite recipes--do you have any favorite oatmeal recipes that your family loves? If so, please share!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Love at second sight.....

I just remembered that I own a food processor. Granted, it is a tiny (cheap) one that came with my blender, but it works!

I used it to make homemade baby food for my last two kids, and it worked well for that. But we moved, and totally forgot that I had the food processor. When I re-discovered it this week, I was very excited.......because I had just watched a cooking show on Food Network and the chef was making something in his food processor. :-) is my new favorite kitchen appliance for the moment (besides my coffee maker, which will never leave its throne as the king of all my appliances. lol) I have used the f. processor to make a crumb topping for a salmon recipe and also to finely chop the "filling" for my home-grilled burgers. It worked perfectly! I felt like Rachael Ray or something.......

Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance, and if so, why do you love it?