June 28, 2011

To Market to Market

I've mentioned before that my local market discounts their produce when it reaches that just barely beyond peak stage. Well, I've decided that Monday morning is the jackpot day to get loads of stuff for very cheap. Now, I will mention that I do draw the line at slimy looking mushrooms, mushy peaches and brown limes, but this stuff I'm getting is perfectly fine & edible, maybe just not as pretty and shiny as the apples, etc, that they just put out. I'm so glad they don't just throw it away. So, here is my loot for today:

A big bag of sweet potatoes, a bag of yellow & zucchini squash, 7 apples, an eggplant, two bagged salads, head of cauliflower, bag of carrots and a yellow & green pepper. Know how much all of this cost? $9.13! That's a bargain. And all these lovely things are my meal planning inspirations for the week.

For dinner tonight I made some noodles with yellow squash sauce. I've made it several times before, it's a recipe I came up with when we grew some squash in the garden a couple years ago. It's so good and you'd never even guess there was squash in it!

Tomato Squash Pasta Sauce
2-3 yellow squash, peeled sliced and quartered
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pepper, chopped (I used yellow)

Saute in a couple tablespoons of olive oil till limp, then add-

2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t garlic salt
2 T sugar

Then, dump it all in the blender or food processor till it is all blended together. It turns such a pretty orangish red color, it almost has a creamy look to it. The color, along with its smooth consistency makes it very kid (and husband) friendly.

We ate it along with some roasted cauliflower and salad on the side. It was a successful meatless Monday dinner!

I think tomorrow we will have something with sweet potatoes and definitely an apple dessert. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the eggplant.

June 20, 2011

Mystery Potato Salad & More

I made some potato salad today. I don't make it very often and when I do I seldom follow a recipe. That was the case again today but this batch turned out so extra good, I wish I had measured things so I could duplicate it exactly. I'm thinking this is pretty close to how I made it, try it at your own risk:

My Very Good Potato Salad
3 pounds new potatoes
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup ranch dressing
2 T yellow mustard
handful of bacon bits
garlic salt & pepper to taste

Quarter the potatoes and boil for about 18 minutes.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl then add cooled potatoes. Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

I'll have to try it again using this recipe to see how it turns out!!

Another yummy something I made this weekend was inspired by THIS recipe from WebMD. I get their recipes emailed to me everyday and have bookmarked several. This one I changed up a bit and made into a main dish by adding chicken and then using that as a filling for burritos, tacos, whatever, topped with cheese, salsa, lettuce & sour cream. I only had a few flour tortillas left so I made some with those, a couple with corn tortillas and a couple in taco shells. Delish no matter you pile it on. My rough recipe for it:

Zucchini, Corn & Chicken Taco, Burrito, Whatever filling
1 large zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
garlic salt to taste

I marinated my chicken in a little olive oil with maybe 1 T of taco seasoning mixed in. Then I sauteed it till done and cut it into small pieces. Put it back in the pan and add all the veggies and seasonings. Cook till veggies are limp.

There's a pretty high veggie to meat ratio here but everyone in my family liked it a lot. Success!

Here's one more thing we tried last week, roasted chick-peas. I always prefer to call them garbanzo beans, it's so much more fun to say and it takes me back to when my son used to call them "gonzo beans," you know, like the muppet guy. These peas/beans didn't turn out crunchy & crispy like I had hoped but they were still yummy and made a good salad topping. My daughter popped one in her mouth and asked if they had bacon in them. No, they don't, but can you get a higher compliment than that?!

Roasted Gonzo Beans
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 T olive oil
1/2 t garlic salt
couple cranks of black pepper

Toss the beans with the oil, salt & pepper, Roast in 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

You could easily change up the seasonings to make them more interesting. If you search allrecipes for roasted chickpeas there's several variations.

That's all for now! I'm taking a little trip up to Frilly Details land this week so no blogging for a while :)

June 06, 2011

New Summer Stuff

So, last week I tried a couple new recipes from the Eating Well cookbook I checked out from the library. We had barbecue tofu burgers with cucumber soup on the side. The burgers turned out fab, even though my rolls didn't rise properly.

The soup was blah and kinda yucky so no pic.

And here's something else new to me, Watermelon Salsa! We had two giant watermelons leftover from Memorial Day, so I made a large batch. It was very...interesting. I liked it, but it was hard to get past the fact that it was watermelon. Mixed with onion, jalapeno and garlic. It just seemed weird. But, the more I ate, the more I liked it. Doesn't it look pretty though with these guacamole chips?!

My garden was a flop last year. It was in an awkward spot that is not easy to water and I wasn't motivated to weed it or give it the attention it deserved. I didn't feel like repeating all that so I'm just going to do some container gardening this summer. I have a few larger pots that I'm using, they are closer to my flower pots so I can just water everything together. I'm not going all out, just doing tomatoes and a few herbs and maybe some peppers. I'm getting a late start but I finally got a couple of the pots put together today. Maybe I'll post weekly pics so I can keep track of the progress.

And, here's something new and (hopefully) fun that I came up with. I made charts for each of the kids so they can keep track of their daily fruit and vegetable consumption. The goal is 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day and they put a sticker for each serving they eat.

My daughter asked today if chips were a vegetable. I guess Doritos are made from corn but I told her no. I really should make one of these for hubby too :) I'm proud to say I have no problem getting my 5 servings a day. I think I had 5 servings of carrots alone today. I may turn orange soon, I can't get enough carrots lately.

Grocery budget is tight this week so I'm going to have to get new and creative with whatever is in the pantry. Good luck to me!

June 03, 2011

A Couple of Yummy Things

So, now that summer has hit with full force (seems we skipped Spring, again!) I'm trying to come up with some new fun/yummy things to keep us all entertained and fed.

This shake is really not totally new, it's similar to my Banana Shake I posted about a while back. But my son specifically wanted it with NO banana, and I decided to add some ice cream (of the lite variety) and a fun squirt of whipped cream on top (also the lite variety).

It's funny to me how both my kids just LOVE coffee flavored things. None of us in this house drink coffee, but we just returned from a long weekend at the lake with some family, including my coffee-loving brother-in-law and somehow we ended up with his large canister of coffee. It's sitting on the counter and the kids request to smell the stuff several times a day. They are a lot like me. I love the smell, I love a hint of the flavor, but I don't think I will ever be a coffee drinker unless my cup contained 10% coffee and 90% cream & sugar. Anywho, here's the recipe for this icy coffee drink that we've had for our afternoon snack the last couple days. I'm estimating the measurements like usual.

Icy Coffee Shake

2 c milk
2 T flavored coffee powder (that Int'l Foods stuff in a tin, if kids will partake, I do decaf)
1/3 c cold water
a couple hand fulls of ice
a couple scoops of chocolate-y ice cream

Put it all in the blender and blend till thick and icy.
We have ours with a nice squirt of whipped cream on top.
Makes two servings.

Just for fun, I calculated (roughly) the calories and fat per serving.
155 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. That includes a generous dollop of cream on top!

Just for more fun, I'm going to compare that to a (small) Sonic Mocha Java Chiller, which is....drum roll please...505 calories and 23.7 grams of fat. Wowza!

Next time I have one (tomorrow probably) I'm going to drizzle some chocolate syrup on top for good measure.

And this next recipe I found in my newest Taste of Home magazine. It is a cranberry/sauerkraut/onion (helloooo Vidalia onion season!) relish for hot dogs. Sounds a little weird but it was really good! We had lots of hot dogs left over from our weekend so I decided to give it a try.

Sweet & Sour Cranberry Relish

1 T olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T sugar
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t hot sauce
1/2 c sauerkraut rinsed and drained

Saute onion in oil till tender. Add cranberry sauce, mustard, sugar, garlic powder and hot sauce. Heat on medium until sauce melts. Then add sauerkraut and heat through.

Twas delicious on our dogs, such a fun mix of flavors, though we all decided a little ketchup and mustard was still good along with the relish.

A sloppy pic-

And just a note, I checked THIS book out from the library today and I'm SO excited about it. There are so many awesome-looking recipes in it, I may have to splurge and buy a copy for myself so I don't get this one all messy. I already have several I'm dying to make. I'll be sure to post about them when I do!