Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/28

Big week! Our neighborhood's frozen meal swap may be appearing on the local news as an example of one way to save money. To that end, I'm including some more money-saving food tips in this week's blog.

Monday: Stir Fried Pork with Broccoli and Cashews, rice

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, home fries, steamed green beans

Budget tip: use ground turkey, which is cheaper (and leaner) than ground beef. Or, compromise with a half and half mixture of turkey and beef.

Home Fries:

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook. Leftovers (another budget-saver) are a good alternative. Hint, change it up a little: Bake a few potatoes and stuff them with the leftover joe meat, top with cheddar and bake at 350 5-10 min or until cheese melts.

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Stuffed Pork Chops, parmesan noodles, sautee'd yellow squash

Stuffed Pork Chops
4 Pork Loin Chops, 1 1/4" thick
1/2 lb pork sausage (or turkey sausage)
1 C. onion, chopped
1 cup cornbread, crumbled and dried
3/4 C. shredded apple
2 t. fresh thyme, minced, or 1/4 t. dried thyme
1/3 C. apple jelly
1/3 C. apple Juice
1 1/2 T. lemon juice

Cut a slit in each chop with a sharp knife, the length of the fat side almost to the other side, but not all the way through. Refrigerate chops while preparing stuffing. Cook sausage and onion in large skillet until sausage is brown, drain well. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Return to skillet and and stir in cornbread, apple, and thyme. Spoon 2 T. of apple juice over stuffing mixture and toss to combine. Spoon 2 T. stuffing into each pork chop pocket, use toothpicks to secure stuffing in pockets. Set aside remaining stuffing. Place chops on a rack in a roasting pan. In small saucepan combine jelly and lemon juice. Cook over low heat and stir until jelly melts. Brush chops with glaze and bake, uncovered, in a 375 oven for 20 minutes. Brush chops again with glaze, and add the remaining stuffing around the chops. Return to oven for another 20 minutes.

Noodles (use spinach fettucini for the most elegant and colorful meal presentation),1850,154168-236193,00.html

Friday: (budget friendly, vegetarian): French toast, turkey bacon, fresh fruit

Substituting breakfast for dinner 2-4 times per month is a fun way to save money!

Saturday: pizza, carrots

(buying frozen pizza or even take-and-bake pizza is significantly less expensive than delivery)

Sunday: Steak, baked sweet potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables

Budget steak: buy a top sirloin large enough to feed your family. Marinate it in commercially bottled italian dressing for several hours (half a bottle for a 1-2 lb steak, full bottle for a larger steak). Grill to desired doneness, then thinly slice it across the grain. Fan it out on a platter for serving. Elegant, tasty, and not too pricey (for steak that is)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dinner Diva Menu Week of 9/21

Sorry...getting this out late. I'm still catching up in my new routine: homeschool mom, baseball mom, wife, gymnastics coach, puppy raiser. I left out crafter because that part of me has gone dormant! I'm still a cook though, even if my meals are a little more on the quick and easy side.

Monday: we had leftover night before our baseball game.

Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli, rice, commercial pot stickers

1# boneless top round steak, 3/4" thick
2 T. corntstarch
1T. brown sugar
1 can beef broth (14.5 oz)
1T. soy sauce
1/4 t. each garlic powder and gr. ginger
4 C. broccoli flowerets
4 C. hot cooked rice

Slice beef thinly. Mix cornstarch, 1 C. broth, sugar, and soy until smooth. Set aside.

Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat over med. high heat until hot. Add half of beef and stir fry until browned. Set aside and keep warm; repeat with other half of beef.

In same skillet, add remaining broth, garlic, and ginger and broccoli. Cover and simmer 5 min or until broccoli is tender-crisp.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Return beef to pan, heat through.

Serve over rice.

4 servings

Wednesday: Meal Swap Day, Kary's turn to cook. If you're not swapping with anyone, try:

Baked Orange Roughy, steamed peapods (I like the steam in the bag kind), and whole wheat pilaf (made by Near East. You can find it by the commercial rice mixes, like rice a roni, or in the ethnic section)

For the fish, heat oven to 400. Combine 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 t. italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, put mixture into shallow dish. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white.

Lightly brush both sides of 4 orange roughy fillets with egg white, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange fillets on lightly greased baking sheet. Optionally, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Bake approximately 20 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.

Thursday: Meal Swap Day, my turn to cook: Sweet and Tangy Chicken, rice, salad

Sweet and Tangy Chicken

6 slices bacon (I use turkey bacon)
8 boned chicken thighs
flour for dredging
1/3 C. honey
3 T. dijon mustard
1 t. curry powder
cayenne pepper

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, saving drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towel, crumble, and set aside.

Oven to 350. Dredge chicken pieces with flour, shaking off excess.

Place skillet with reserved drippings over low heat, add chicken and cook until all pieces are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a baking dish. Bake chicken uncovered 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine honey, mustard, curry, salt and cayenne to taste. Drizzle mixture over chicken and bake uncovered 10-15 min more, until chicken is tender. Top with crumbled bacon just before serving.

4-6 servings.

Friday: (Vegetarian) Greek Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta, salad, garlic bread

Saturday: pizza, carrots

Sunday: Shrimp Ratatouille Rolls

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 med. eggplant
2 med. zucchini
1 med. green bell pepper
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
16 oz canned diced tomatoes
3 T. tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. salt
2 t. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. cayenne (or less to taste)
6 french rolls
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Cut eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper and onion into small cubes. Saute' vegetables and garlic in large saucepan with olive oil for 5 minutes.

Drain tomatoes. Add tomatoes, paste, vinegar, salt, basil and peppers to sauteed vegetables. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Slice a thin slice off the top of each roll. Hollow out each roll, leaving a 1" border. Place rolls on baking sheet and warm in 350 oven for 5 minutes. Add shrimp to vegetable mixture; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Spoon mixture into rolls; sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese melts and is lightly browned.