Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ground Turkey Italian Sausage

I am a huge fan of ground turkey, not just for the price, but also for the light and versatile flavor. This recipe I used in making a lasagne last week and was the perfect accompaniment to the richness of the tomato sauce and the creaminess of the cheese. The hint of sweet from the sausage gave this dish a whole new dimension. The best part - I used ingredients I already had one hand and was able to put the entire lasagne together in just 1 hour.

1 pound ground turkey ($1.00)
1 small onion ($.05)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped very fine ($.10)
1 tsp. minced garlic ($.05)
1/2 tsp. each: fennel seed, chili powder, and onion salt ($.05)
1 T. basil ($.05)
2 tsp. oregano ($.05)
pinch of cumin ($.05)
2-3 T. Sundried Tomato Vinagrette ($.05)

Add ground turkey to a pan and combine will all ingredients except vinagrette and brown together over a medium heat. Once meat is no longer pink, add dressing and cook 2-3 additional minutes.

Yields = 1 batch
Cost: $1.45

Great to use in:
Pasta sauce
Stuffed mushrooms

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pear Ginger Toffee Blondies

I've made this fresh and fabulous dessert with both apples and pears and cannot pick a favorite. The fresh fruit flavor with the rich toffee and luscious frosting makes these a dessert bar you can justify having for breakfast. The hint of cinnamon with the apples or the ginger tang with the pear really set off the dish and will make a great dessert - something all your friends and family will love. Best part is, both of these fruits are in season and ripe for the picking.

2/3 C. room temperature butter ($.40)
2 cups packed light brown sugar ($.40)
2 eggs ($.20)
2 tsp. rum extract ($.20)
2 C. unbleached flour ($.15)
2 tsp. baking powder ($.05)
1 tsp. cinnamon (with apple) or ginger (with pear) ($.05)
2 medium apples or pears peeled ($.55)
1/2 C. toffee bits ($.40)
1 container cream cheese frosting ($.65)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking spray or lightly grease the pan.
Cream butter and brown sugar in mixer until smooth. Then add eggs and rum, beat on medium until combined.
On low, add flour, baking powder, and spice. Mixing until just combined.
Stir in the chopped apples or pears and toffee bits until evenly distributed.
Spread in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until the center is set.
Let cool completely before frosting and slicing.

Yields = 30 bars
Cost: $3.05
Cost per bar: $.10

Greek Chicken Paninis with Black Olives

I love Greek chicken and when I made it last time, there was a little bit of leftovers, which I was excited about. Not a lot of leftovers when it comes to chicken in my house, so this recipe was a great way to use what we already had on hand on a night when I didn't have a lot of time to cook. I tried to keep this simple, nothing too fancy and it's ready in 15 minutes.

1/8 C. black olives ($.25)
2 pieces of leftover Greek chicken ($.55)
1 plum tomato, sliced thin ($.15)
salt and pepper to taste ($.05)
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings ($.10)
2 slices mozzarella ($.20)
1 T. olive oil ($.05)
4 slices whole wheat bread ($.10)

Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil and heat a grill pan over medium heat. Place two slices of bread, olive oil side down on grill pan. Top each slice of bread with lightly shredded leftover Greek chicken, half the black olives, 2-3 slices of tomato, a few onion rings, season with salt and pepper to taste and top with cheese and remaining slice of bread - olive oil side up.

Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, or until bread is firm and golden with grill marks. Serve hot.

Yields = 2 sammies
Cost: $1.45
Cost per sammie: $.73

Roasted Turkey and Garlic Mushroom Paninis

I love paninis - they are a quick dinner, fantastic solution to using the last bit of leftover meat - especially from a roast or roasted turkey or chicken, it's reasonably healthy and a fun way to incorporate a little extra veggies into your dinner. Serve with fresh fruit or a light salad or soup, it's a 15 minute dinner option that has endless possibilities. This is a twist on my favorite panini, which revolves around leftover rotisserie or oven roasted chicken is packs lots of flavor and fun between 2 slices of bread!

1 T. olive oil ($.05)
1 tsp. butter ($.05)
1 clove garlic, minced ($.05)
8 white button mushrooms, sliced very thin ($.40)
salt and pepper, to taste ($.05)
1/4 tsp. basil or rosemary, optional ($.05)
1 T. olive oil ($.05)
4 slices whole wheat bread ($.10)
2 slices of Provolone cheese ($.20)
4 slices of oven roasted turkey breast ($.50)

In a small saute pan, over low heat add 1 T. olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add garlic and mushrooms and basil or rosemary, season with salt and pepper and sautee until tender.

Brush 1 side of each slice of bread with olive oil and place 2 slices on grill pan over medium heat, olive oil side down, top with 2 slices of roasted turkey, half the mushroom mixture, and a slice of cheese, top with slice of bread, olive oil side up and repeat to make the second sandwich.

Grill until bread is lightly golden and firm, with grill marks, turn over and grill for an additional 2-4 minutes, second side always grills a little faster.

Serve with side salad, fresh grapes, and serves well with coffee, tea, lemonade, or a glass of Zinfandel.

Yields = 2 sandwiches
Cost: $1.50
Cost per sandwich: $.75

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hearty Veggie Quesadilla

Looking for a new twist on a meatless Mexican meal, these veggie quesadillas are fun, easy to make, and loaded with flavor.

2 T. olive oil ($.15)
2 large yellow onions ($.60)
1 red bell pepper ($.25)
1 orange or yellow bell pepper ($.30)
12 cremini or white button mushrooms ($.70)
1 clove garlic, minced ($.05)
1 tsp. oregano ($.05)
1/8 C. chopped cilantro ($.10)
1 C. shredded Munster or cheddar cheesed ($.75)
6 flour tortillas ($.50)

Julienne onions, peppers, and slice mushrooms. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add veggies, season with garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano, and cook until onions and mushrooms are tender and peppers are tender-crisp.

Heat a flat skillet over medium-high heat and place one tortilla on the preheated skillet and top with 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the veggies, sprinkle with cilantro and top with another tortilla. Cook until tortilla is pliable and cheese is melted, flip over and cook until tortilla is warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Yields = 3 quesadillas or 12 quesadilla wedges
Cost: $3.45
Cost per quesadilla: $1.15

Veggie Quesadillas are great as both an entree and an appetizer, serve hot.

Perfect Peach Salsa

2 medium peaches ($.65)
1 small yellow onion ($.05)
1-2 T. lime juice ($.10)
1/2 red bell pepper ($.15)
1/8 C. chopped cilantro ($.05)
1 tsp. salt ($.05)
1 clove garlic, optional ($.05)

Rinse peaches and remove peach pits. Chop peaches finely and mince onion, garlic, and pepper.

Toss all ingredients together, check salt and adjust seasoning to taste.

Yields = 4-6 servings
Cost: $1.10
Cost per serving: $.23

Serve with tortilla chips, on tostadas, in tacos (especially good with pork and chicken), or serve alongside quesadillas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

I was looking for a way to make a new twist on my favorite classic cookie - oatmeal raisin. I've stocked up on all kinds of chocolate chips from deals I found last winter and was looking for something new to make for a family potluck and my oatmeal cookies are always a huge hit. This funky twist on oatmeal chocolate chip cookies was fun, the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly balances the tart pop of the cranberries - fun, yummy, and full of flavor. This cookie packs a flavor punch!

1 C. margarine, softened ($.25)
1/4 C. sugar ($.05)
1 C. brown sugar ($.20)
2 eggs ($.15)
1 tsp. vanilla extract ($.05)
1/2 tsp. butter extract ($.10)
1 tsp. baking powder ($.05)
1/2 tsp. baking soda ($.05)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg ($.05)
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour ($.10)
2 C. oats ($.35)
1/2 C. white chocolate chips, roughly chopped ($.35)
1/2 C. dried cranberries (any flavor), roughly chopped ($.40)

Heat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine and sugars, the gradually beat in eggs and extracts. Whisk baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg into the flour. Gradually beat flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir in oats, then white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Drop dough by rounded teaspooonful onto ungreased cookie sheet - spacing cookies approximately 2" apart (cookies will spread).

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool.

Yields = 4 dozen
Cost: $2.15
Cost per cookie: $.05

Angel Hair Pasta with Rosemary Parmesan Sauce

1/2 lb. angel hair pasta ($.35)
2 T. olive oil ($.10)
2 T. butter ($.10)
1 small onion, minced ($.05)
2 cloves garlic, minced ($.05)
salt and pepper ($.05)
1 tsp. dried rosemary ($.05)
1/2 C. heavy cream ($.50)
1/4 C. parmesan cheese ($.20)
1 tsp. parsley ($.05)

Cook angel hair as according to directions on the package to al dente.

In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter. Add in olive oil once the butter has melted and add onion and rosemary, cooking until onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add in garlic. Cook for a minute, then add in heavy cream, bring to just a simmer and fold in parmesan cheese. Add pasta to the pan once it is cooked al dente, if sauce is thick, add a ladle full of pasta water and gently fold to combine. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Yields = 3-6 servings (3 as an entree, 6 as a side dish)
Cost: $1.50
Cost per serving: $.50 entree
Cost per serving: $.25 side dish

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chicken in a White Wine Sauce with Peppers

8 chicken thighs ($1.90)
salt and pepper ($.05)
3 T. olive oil ($.10)
1 T. butter ($.05)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned ($.55)
3/4 C. white wine ($.90)
1/4 C. heavy cream ($.35)
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin ($.05)
1/8 C. chopped green onions ($.10)
2 T. parsley ($.05)

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan once the butter has melted and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, once chicken is golden on one side, turn over and add sliced onion and bell pepper and cook until juices run clear on the chicken.

Add white wine and heavy cream, cook until sauce reduces and wine cooks out, peppers should be tender. Garnish with parsley and chopped green onions.

Serve with hearty green salad and mashed potatoes.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $4.10
Cost per serving: $1.03

Oven Roasted Greek Chicken

8 chicken thighs or 4 breasts, bone in and skin on ($1.85)
3 tsp. salt ($.05)
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper ($.05)
1 tsp. white pepper (or lemon pepper)
2 tsp. oregano ($.05)
1/4 C. olive oil ($.15)
1/8 C. lemon juice ($.10)

Mix together salt, pepper, and oregano - sprinkle over the chicken to coat well. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and lemon juice. Add 1 C. water to the bottom of your baking dish and roast the chicken at 325 uncovered for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165.

Serve Oven Roasted Greek Chicken with oven roasted potatoes and veggies and small side salad. Garnish chicken with finely chopped green onion, if desired.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $2.15
Cost per serving: $.56

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cream of Chicken and Rice Soup

1/2 C. rice ($.05)
1 C. to 1 1/4 C. water (free)
1 T. olive oil ($.05)
1 small onion, minced ($.05)
4 white button mushrooms, chopped small ($.15)
2 carrots or 7-8 baby carrots, sliced paper thin ($.05)
2 C. oven roasted chicken, chopped ($.75)
1/8 tsp. rosemary ($.05)
3 T. cream cheese ($.10)
2 C. veggie stock (free)
2 cubes chicken bouillion ($.10)
1 C. half and half ($1.00)
1/2 C. water combined with 1/4 C. flour ($.05)
1/4 C. parmesan ($.15)
salt and pepper ($.05)

Lightly toast rice, add 1 C. water and cook for 14-16 minutes, until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed. Set rice aside.

Heat olive oil in pan and gently saute onions until translucent, add mushrooms and cook until tender, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add carrots, chicken and rosemary, and fold in cream cheese, cook until cream cheese melts, slowly whisk in veggie stock and half and half, add bouillion and cook over low heat, bring just to a simmer, stirring constantly. Pour in water and flour mixture by tablespoon full to thicken, add 1/4 C. parmesan, if desired. Fold in rice and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until the soup is thick and the texture is smooth.

Serve with garlic bread and spring mix salad.

Yields: 4 servings
Cost: $2.60
Cost per serving: $.65

Chicken Taco Burger

I'm a huge fan of "chicken burgers" - swapping out the tried and true ground beef for a lovely boneless, skinless chicken thigh. All the moisture and flavor that you often find a a burger....but starring chicken. Here's a twist on a chicken taco is the form of a burger and since it's loaded with veggies, it's a good for you twist to try.

1/2 tsp. oregano ($.05)
1 tsp. paprika ($.05)
1/4 tsp. cumin ($.05)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder ($.05)
1/2 tsp. onion salt ($.05)
1/4 tsp. black pepper ($.05)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs ($2.04)
3 T. lime juice ($.05)
dash of hot sauce, to taste ($.05)
2 T. minced onion ($.05)
4 slices pepperjack cheese ($.55)
1 large red onion, cut into thin rings ($.25)
2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin ($.26)
1 C. salsa, any variety ($.40)
3 T. cilantro, chopped ($.05)
4 hearty buns ($.65)

Mix dry seasonings together and dredge chicken thighs in seasoning. Let set 4 to 24 hours. Mix lime juice, hot sauce, and onion together, marinade chicken in this mixture for 1 hour. Grill over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, turning over once when the chicken starts turning white on the sides and chicken releases easily from the grill.
Top with cheese and grill one to two additional minutes, until cheese is melted.

Serve on a bun, topped with thin sliced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and salsa.

Yields = 4 servings
Cost: $4.65
Cost per serving: $1.16

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Breakfast Sammie

12 slices Sweet and Smoky Tenderloin ($.75)
3 eggs ($.30)
3 slices provolone cheese ($.25)
6 slices whote wheat bread ($.15)
2 T. honey butter ($.25)

Toast bread lightly and spread with honey butter, meanwhile, coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray to fry the eggs. Once the eggs come out of the pan, add the pork and heat through. Top 3 slices of the bread with one fried egg each, one slice of provolone, and 4 slices of pork tenderloin and another slice of buttered bread. Cut in half and serve with fresh fruit.

Yields: 3 sammies
Cost: $1.70
Cost per sammie: $.57

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sweet and Smoky Pork Tenderloin

2.5 lb. pork tenderloin ($2.75 - carved from a 7.5 lb. tenderloin)
1/2 C. Sweet and Smoky Rib Rub ($.50)
2 T. olive oil ($.15)

Heat oven to 350.
Rub pork with rub mixture. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place pork in dish, fatty side up. Drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Let rest 15 minutes before slicing very thin against the grain.

Serve on a hearty sub roll with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and sauteed garlic mushrooms with thin sliced tomatoes.

Yields: 8 servings
Cost: $3.40
Cost per serving: $.43

Sweet & Smoky Pork Rub

2/3 C. dark brown sugar ($.15)
2 tsp. garlic powder ($.05)
1 1/2 tsp. onion salt ($.05)
1 1/4 tsp. smoked sweet Spanish paprika ($.10)
1 tsp. cumin ($.05)
1 1/2 tsp. smokehouse black pepper (free after coupons)
1/4 tsp. ginger ($.05)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg ($.05)
pinch of cayenne, optional

Mix well, store in an airtight container.

Cost: $.50

Works well on:
Pork tenderloin
Chicken Breast
Beef Brisket
Root Veggies

Chicken Sausage Tacos

4 chicken sausage links ($2.00)
8 corn tortillas ($.25)
1 lime ($.10)
2 plum tomatoes, diced ($.15)
1 1/2 C. shredded lettuce ($.25)
1/3 C. black olives, sliced ($.30)
1-2 medium onions, sliced thin ($.15)
1 tsp. olive oil ($.05)
salt and pepper ($.05)

Saute onions in olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until translucent and fork tender. Chop chicken sausage into bite sized pieces, add to onions, heat through and lightly brown the sausage.

Serve chicken and onion mixture in corn tortillas, topped with diced tomatoes, black olives, and lettuce, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Servings: 8 tacos
Cost: $3.30
Cost per taco: $.41

Smoky Veggie Flatbread Pizza

1 medium orange bell pepper ($.20)
1 medium red bell pepper ($.25)
1 tsp. olive oil ($.05)
5 cremini mushrooms, sliced very thin ($.15)
1/2 medium red onion, sliced very thin ($.10)
1 tsp. garlic powder ($.05)
pinch of oregano ($.05)
1 pkg. pizza crust mix ($.33)
2/3 C. marinara ($.20)
pinch of cumin ($.05)
1/2 tsp. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza spice ($.10)
2 T. parmesan ($.10)
3/4 C shredded Munster ($.30)
1/8 C. shredded cheddar ($.20)
1 tsp. basil ($.05)
pinch of rosemary, optional ($.05)

Heat oven to 425. Drizzle peppers with olive oil and roast until blackened - about 10-15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove skins and seeds. Slice in long thin strips.

Turn up the oven to 450. Prepare pizza crust according to package directions, adding to the crust garlic powder and a pinch of oregano. Let dough rise for 15 minutes, roll out and bake for 5 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

Mix cumin into marinara and spread sauce evenly onto prepared crust. Top with mushrooms and pepper strips. Sprinkle with Chicago Deep Dish pizza spice, top with munster and cheddar, add thin sliced onions, and sprinkle with parmesan, basil, and rosemary.

Bake at 450 for 5-7 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve.
Yields = 2-3 servings (12 square pieces of pizza)

Cost: $2.23
Cost per servng: $.75 - $1.12