11/24/2013 8:30 pm
Looking to serve up a delicious Thanksgiving meal on a budget?
Look no further.
Here is a complete Thanksgiving meal, including wine!, for about $10 per person.
Take a look!
The Appetizer: Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
These dates are heavenly.
Sweet. Salty. Cheesy. Perfect to kick off Thanksgiving festivities.
The Salad: Beet and Orange Salad with Candied Pecans
This dairy-free salad is full of beets, oranges and sweet candied pecans!
The Bird: Butterflied Turkey with Fennel, Sausage and Ricotta Stuffing
Flattening the turkey decreases the cooking time! And the stuffing with fennel and sausage. Come on. I have to try it.
Estimated Cost: $25, including a quick pan gravy
Sprouts to Believe In: Brown Butter Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
I’m not kidding, you might pop these brussels sprouts like they are McDonalds fries. They’re the reason I’m a brussels sprouts convert.
An Alternative (Gasp!) to Idaho Spuds: Mashed Butternut Squash
A great alternative to mashed potatoes, one that everyone will enjoy!
Rolls and Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Estimated Cost: $5.00
The Grand Finale: Creamy Pumpkin Banana Tart
A hint of banana, lots of creamy pumpkin and spice and a graham cracker crust. And far less than buying one of those fancy desserts at the store.
I almost forgot about WINE! If you’re looking for some great wines under $8 and you’re near a Trader Joes, take a look!
10/26/2013 8:31 pm
Raise your hand if you’re pretty excited about the abundance of delicious fall foods!
There are so many parties and cold nights and about a hundred reasons to cook, and while I have lots of recipes yet to try there are a few I could make over and over again. And I’ll tell you that it would seem as though, in order to be selected as a top 5 fall favorite, said recipe must include bacon or pumpkin. Hmmm…that’s telling.
So in no particular order, here are a few favorites I’ll be cooking up this fall!
Stay warm with a glass of Pinot and this Pear, Bacon and Gorgonzola Flatbread.
Sweet meets salty pair up in this totally divine flatbread.
These Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Scones are just like those you might pay a pretty penny for your local Starbucks, minus the extra glaze and for way less the cost.
Enter bacon again.
I’ve decided these Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Raisins should be a staple at every Thanksgiving table.
Pumpkin plus goat cheese equals one unforgettable Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese recipe.
And last but not least, these simple and easy Roasted Fall Vegetables. They roast themselves right up while you tackle more pressing issues like putting the training wheels back on your youngest child’s bike after your oldest removed them herself…or something like that
Happy Fall Cooking!
06/04/2013 8:17 am
…and just like that it’s nearly summer.
I feel totally surprised and caught off guard. Which is also how I felt a few nights ago when I was stung by a wayward bee while sitting on my couch at 9:15pm. It’s been a good 2 decades since my last bee sting. Jiminy Christmas, those little guys sure pack a punch. And why on earth was there a bee crawling into my shirt on my couch in my home anyway? Geesh, talk about violating my personal space. And then just like that it died. It died! Surely I wasn’t worth ending its life for in the name of self-defense!
Ok moving on…
Anyone else rushing to mentally prepare for summer? Camping, swim lessons, bbq’s, beach trips…lots and lots of sunshine and sunblock and hours with the kids
So let’s wrap about a few recipes to get summer started! And off we go…
For those long afternoons after lots and lots of sunshine and sunblock and hours with the kids
Grilled Corn on the Cob Smeared in Garlic Butter.
Come on, now. Who doesn’t like corn on the cob? Especially when smeared with garlic and butter?
Bandera’s Macho Salad.
This salad’s a go-to around our house when it’s just too bloomin’ hot to turn on the oven. Delish!
Grilled Chops with Peach and Red Onion Relish.
Easy, tasty, and light! Which means you can save room for…
Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate.
Don’t think. Just make it. I can’t even begin to describe this one to you. A summer favorite.
Dark Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream.
Homemade ice cream is the quintessential summer treat. And this ice cream is full of cherries and chocolate chunks.
Resistance is futile.
Happy Start of Summer!
What are some of your favorite summer recipes? Let’s hear them! Leave a comment below or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.
04/01/2013 1:38 pm
A little window into our life: Andrew started a new (and totally AWESOME) job today for the most incredible company, so this week we’ve been doing a lot of playing. A quick drive down to the San Diego Zoo? You bet. A little jaunt over to Palm Desert for an Easter getaway? Why not? After all we’re about to enter an entirely new and exciting season.
This post is for those of you who like to weigh your options before making a decision…
I’ve included a recap of the first 8 weekly meal plans (WITH grocery lists!) for you to choose from. So sit back, relax, and go for whichever plan sounds best to you (and your wallet)!
Week 1 for $53.87.
Pick this week and you’ll enjoy…
- feta and herb chicken
- sausage and tomato pasta
- cashew chicken curry
- breakfast pizza, and more!
Week 2 for $48.68.
Lots of easy and delicious recipes here! Enjoy…
- lemony goat cheese pasta
- southwest turkey soup
- cottage cheese pancakes, and more.
Week 3 for $50.43.
One of my favorite weeks! Included this week are…
- food snob’s meatloaf
- sausage and tomato risotto
- curried chicken and zucchini couscous. and more.
Week 4 for $52.14.
Talk about some new and different recipes! This week enjoy…
- pan roasted sirloin with a corn salsa
- turkey meatballs with golden raisins and pinenuts
- chipotle black bean soup, and more!
Week 5 for $54.96.
Get ready for company with these crowd pleasing dishes. Enjoy…
- green chile chicken enchiladas
- pork medallions with cherry zinfandel sauce
- grilled chicken with chipotle cilantro carrots and feta, and more!
Week 6 for $61.05.
Week 6 plan includes…
- roasted salmon in a jalapeno blackberry butter
- sausage pasta with broccoli and asiago
- chicken tortilla soup, and more!
Week 7 for $55.12.
Pick this week and you’ll dine on…
- prosciutto and caramelized onion pizza
- spaghetti with golden beets, arugula pesto and goat cheese
- greek panzanella with chicken, and more!
Week 8 for $57.35.
- a potato rosemary frittata with feta?
- a pizza with bacon, pear and mascarpone?
- Bandera’s macho salad?
Choose this week and you’ll eat like you mean it, on a budget of course!
SO which one did you pick and how did it go? Let’s connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@frugalfoodiefam).
03/17/2013 8:58 pm
I love gathering with friends and family around a big meal. But sometimes feeding a lot of people can get costly. So let’s talk about a few dishes that are easy, delicious and great on the budget!
Here are 7 ways to feed a crowd of 6, for less than $2 per person:
Pumpkin and Sage Pasta Bake
There’s nothing like a big pasta bake to feed a hungry crowd. Serve with a side salad and you’ll keep some cash in your wallet for a little dessert!
Rosemary Balsamic Glazed Chicken
This recipe is always a crowd-pleaser! Pick up a chicken that is a little larger than the one in the recipe to ensure everyone gets enough.
Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup
Soups are a great way to feed lots of mouths! Pair with a salad and cornbread and your guests will be happy campers.
Beef Cobbler with Rosemary Biscuits
This cobbler is akin to a chicken pot pie, but heartier with lean beef. You’ll need to find a lower quality cut of meat to stay within the $2/person range so if you prefer grass-fed, organic beef you might need to add a little to your budget.
Creamy Sausage and Tomato Pasta
Pasta is always a great budget-stretcher, and if you can pick up sausage for less than $3 per pound you’ll stick to the $2/person budget. Serve with a side salad and crusty bread.
Chicken and Wild Rice Salad
I could go on and on about this salad. I make a big bowl of it and we enjoy it for several days! It is a great recipe for showers or brunches as well.
Chicken and Chickpea Stew
Soups and stews can be great ways to make your budget go further. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Think you’ll try any of these recipes? Have any more favorite dishes that feed a crowd Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or finding me on Facebook!
01/02/2013 4:00 pm
Was that the longest post title ever or what?
Well it could have been longer – initially I had planned to include something about meeting your newly-made resolutions to simplify your life and become more organized in the 2013. In that case it might have gone something like this…
“Dinner in 30 minutes: 5 fresh recipes, on the table in 30 minutes flat, to keep you organized and healthy in the New Year.”
A tad on the lengthy side…
My goal is to help you save time while still eating fabulously in 2013, so here are 5 recipes that you can prepare in the time it takes to watch a sitcom.
Breakfast Pizza, served with Fresh Fruit or a Side Salad
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta, served with a Side Salad
Almond Crusted Chicken, served with Orzo and your favorite Roasted Veggie.
Chicken, Goat Cheese and Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts. Serve with a crusty baguette.
Chipotle Black Bean Soup, with a Side Salad and Pre-Made Cornbread.
TOTAL: I estimate these 5 meals would cost under $45, based on the prices I typically pay and have listed on this cost spreadsheet.
What’s your take on resolutions? Love them or hate them? Do tell…
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
12/11/2012 7:04 pm
I’m sure some of you read my posts here on OC Family and think I might be a little nuts. Maybe a full-on liar.
When I started this blogging thing last year our monthly food budget was $385, and for 2012 I upped it to $400 (yippee!). And yes, that food budget includes wine, snacks and entertaining, for our family of 4.
So I thought it might be interesting (and I hope helpful for some) to invite you on a recent shopping trip so you can get a sense as to what I buy and how that translates to what we eat during the week.
So grab a glass of Pinot and let’s go…
Trader Joes and Sprouts…My Homes Away from Home
If you’ve spent any time on this blog or just around me in person you know I gush over Sprouts and Trader Joes. I find they typically have everything I need and the best prices on the items on my list. I’ve included the prices I pay per item on this spreadsheet so you can take a look at an exhaustive list of items, especially if you’re suffering from insomnia.
Menu Plan Around Higher Priced Items
As I plan my menus for the week I look at the weekly circulars to see what the best prices are on various cuts of meat, then I build my menu plan around those items. This week it was chicken thighs (which I pay up to $1.99/lb for) and semi-vegetarian dishes (it was a big bacon week, I’m not going to lie…). I do the same for cheese; I’ll buy goat cheese and sprinkle some on a pizza, in a couple salads and maybe on a pasta if I can make it last that long.
Here’s the rest of the Sprouts receipt and what I picked up at Trader Joes.
$75.61, my total for the week.
So here’s the breakdown of how I made that work for the week:
- Ancho and Cumin Chicken Tacos + Salad
- Pizza + Salad
- Baked Oatmeal + Eggs + Fruit
- Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash, Bacon and Apples + Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Baked Sweet Potatoes with a Bacon-Sesame Brittle + Salad
- Chicken Stir Fry
Lunches Typically Include:
- PB&J or Turkey Sandwiches
- Grilled Cheese
- Turkey and Cheese
- Lentils (I bake up a big pot on Sundays an we eat them all week)
Breakfasts Typically Include:
- Homemade Granola
- Turkey Bacon
Snacks I keep on hand (you’ll see I limit the snacks, and try to avoid too many pre-packaged items):
- Baby Carrots
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks
- Graham Crackers
- String Cheese
- Homemade Trail Mix
So, any of you care to share how you shop? Whether you meal plan? How you make your food budget stretch (if you have a budget?). If you think I’m totally nuts?
Let’s talk…you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
11/25/2012 11:06 pm
I have a hard time receiving things…
- Acts of service.
The funniest part is that I love, love, LOVE to give! What’s wrong with this picture?
This weekend Andrew and I swapped houses with my amazingly generous parents and they watched our kiddos while we stayed at their home…on the beach…without children. Holy smokes. Talk about a gift. Did I mention my 2 year old is sick?
But they didn’t stop there; a gift basket greeted us when we arrived, filled with 4 glorious kinds of cheeses and a bottle of one of my favorite wines (Layer Cake Shiraz for those of you playing at home)…there were chocolates on our pillows…AND I came home to find new family portraits hung on our walls, my kitchen cleaned out and reorganized and an entirely spotless house.
If someday I can bless others half as much as my parents and in-laws bless me, I’ll be a happy woman.
So I hope this helps you in some way! Here’s a list of 6 dinners, shopping list included, for only $55.55! Of course that’s based on the prices I purchase the listed items for, which I have included in this spreadsheet.
Pan Roasted Sirloin with Corn Salsa + Roasted Cauliflower
Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total: $7.86 for the sirloin + $1.88 for the cauliflower
Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake + Simple Side Salad
Prep and Cooking Time: 45 minutes for rice, then 30 minutes for bake.
Total: $8.70 for the bake + estimated $2.00 for a side salad
Turkey Meatballs with Golden Raisins and Pine nuts + Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total: $7.91 for the meatballs and $1.64 for the spinach
Lemony Chicken and Potatoes + Veggie of Choice
Prep and Cooking Time: 90 minutes (most of it cooking time for the potatoes and chicken)
Total: $5.64 for the chicken and potatoes + estimated $2.00 for the veggie
Pumpkin and Sage Pasta Bake + Simple Side Salad
Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total: $10.70 for the pasta +estimated $2.00 for the salad
Chipotle Black Bean Soup and a Simple Side Salad
Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total: $3.22 for the soup + estimated $2.00 for the side salad
Total for 6 nights of dinners: $55.55! That’s about $2.31 per person.
Shopping List (items you likely don’t already have in your pantry):
- 1.5 pounds sirloin steak (I look for $3.99/lb or less)
- 3 pounds chicken breast ($1.99/lb if you can find it)
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken ($2.99/lb if you can find it)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 jalapeno
- 2 3/4 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 heads garlic
- 1 bunch italian parsley
- 1 bunch green onions
- 2 onions
- 5 lemons
- 1 lime
- 1 bunch spinach
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
- veggie of choice
- 2 heads of lettuce for 3 salads, plus additional toppings
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans or make your own and you’ll need about 5 cups
- 1 pound pasta (i.e. farfalle “bowtie” or penne…gluten-free brown rice works too)
- 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (buy just what you need in the bulk section)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (buy just what you need in the bulk section)
- 2 cups salsa
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (you can buy or make your own)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup asiago cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta or cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
If you make any of these recipes or have any thoughts, feedback or questions I’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter!
11/06/2012 10:29 pm
- My 1 pair of skinny jeans.
- Squeegeeing the shower.
- Whining children.
- “Call Me Maybe” on the radio.
- The out-of-place, HOT weather we’re having (to whom do I send the memo that it’s October 7, for crying out loud?!)
Things I get tired of.
Maybe you, like me, buy chicken in bulk when it’s on sale (and as well you should!). Maybe we both also wonder how to breathe life to dinner while still sticking to our budget, with recipes that are new, easy and delicious?
Well here are 5 dishes to try next time you’re looking for a new way to prepare chicken:
African Chicken Peanut Soup
Different? Yes. Delicious? You bet. This soup has peanuts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter and ginger as well as chicken breasts or thighs. Give it a try on a cool, fall evening. You’ll be glad you did.
Bandera’s Macho Salad
This one’s a must. You simply can’t go wrong with cornbread croutons, avocado, dates, goat cheese, corn, toasted almonds and diced roasted chicken. I’m not saying it’s the healthiest salad out there, but it might be the tastiest.
Cashew Chicken Curry
Easy, tasty and good. This chicken curry is a great change from your go-to stir fry!
Pan Roasted Orange Balsamic Chicken
Fresh, light and delicious…and you likely have all the ingredients for this recipe already in your fridge. I like to make this one when I plan on splurging on some evil kind of dessert.
Curried Chicken and Zucchini over Couscous
Does it get any easier than one-dish recipes? Chicken with matchstick zucchinis in a curry yogurt sauce, served over couscous. I typically don’t even make a salad when serving this one; just plate and enjoy!
Who says poultry is boring? Spice things up by giving one of these dishes a try!
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or finding me on Facebook!
10/22/2012 3:37 pm
I’m all about loving people through food.
Well, maybe not through casseroles…I’m not sure that’s love but still…
If there are opportunities to bring meals to new moms, the sick, the elderly, the homebound, families in crisis, you name it, I’m all about it. In part because I love to cook but also because I feel it’s a tangible way to connect with and serve those around me.
Many of you have asked about meals or recipes that are easy to make, nutritious, relatively transportable and don’t break the budget, so without further adieu…here are 6 recipes the are easy to transport, simple to get on the table, and most importantly delicious!
If you have any other suggestions please let me know!
1. Chicken and Wild Rice Salad
Why they’ll love it: Light and nutritious, this meal is ideal for new moms and a great break from the pasta and casserole brigade. There’s no preparation required – just plate and serve!
Why you’ll love it: Once you’ve chopped your ingredients, toss together and let the salad sit until it’s time to deliver!
Serve with: Fresh fruit and cranberry orange oatmeal cookies.
2. A Food Snob’s Meatloaf
Why they’ll love it: A break from the norm, this meatloaf is made with ground turkey or chicken as well as parmesan cheese and italian parsley. What the what?? Your recipients will enjoy something different, as well as the minimal prep time required!
Why you’ll love it: The meatloaf (once combined and assembled) is easy to transport, and double! So not only will your recipients enjoy it, your family will too!
Serve with: Mashed or roasted potatoes and a salad. I often transport these sides in large gallon zip-lock bags which minimize the platter transport and any need to go chasing after your dishes.
3. Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Why they’ll love it: These babies are a cinch for your recipients to prepare. Simply bake, then top with cilantro! And who doesn’t like enchiladas??
Why you’ll love it: Once the prep is done, you’re done! Just prepare the filling, stuff the tortillas and roll them up. Send in a baking dish ready to pop in the oven, plus a little chopped cilantro for the top.
Serve with: Mexican chopped salad and cookies.
4. Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
Why they’ll love it: It’s kid-friendly and easy to finish (just stick in the oven)! No preparation needed other than pre-heating!
Why you’ll love it: Easy to prepare and simple to double!
Serve with: Side salad and fruit.
5. Sausage, Tomato and Spinach Risotto
Why they’ll love it: It’s different, it’s delicious, and it feels totally gourmet.
Why you’ll love it: With this one incredible dish you’re foodie status will be totally elevated in the hearts of those you’re loving on. Send with spinach, cheese and butter ready to be added as the last step.
Serve with: Lemon coconut cookies. You may want to include a salad based on the number of people you’re feeding, but the risotto is full of spinach and is wonderfully filling.
6. Hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup
Why they’ll love it: A large pot of soup will warm their soul, plus this recipe makes a lot so they may enjoy leftovers!
Why you’ll love it: This hearty soup is super tasty and your family will likely love it too. 1 recipe serves 6 so you could plan on 1 batch or double depending on the amount of people you’re cooking for.
Serve with: Cornbread and a salad, if desired.