Collard Green Wraps

2015-02-08 11.49.13We have continued to get a weekly produce box, which I absolutely love! The only downside is that in the winter months, we get A LOT of greens and I’m not always sure what to do with them. I can only eat a side of greens so many times per week. It has taken a bit of creativity to use up the greens before they go bad. Additionally it has taken some creativity to stick to our food budget with our current dietary restrictions, being that my husband is on a grain free low card diet and I am a vegetarian trying to reduce my grain intake. With those restrictions in mind I found the perfect use for our collard greens in the way of making sandwich wraps out of them. They add the perfect amount of spice and add to the crunch of whatever vegetables are in the wrap.

 

2015-02-08 11.46.13I have also found that it pays off to get good quality cheeses and meats that are packed with flavor. When using a good quality, flavorful cheese, like a raw gouda for example, a minimal amount is needed for big flavor, allowing your dollar to go further. As you can see there was just a small amount of cheese, but it was very flavorful!

 

Carrot “Cake” Juicer Muffins

One of my favorite Juicer Juices is Carrot, Orange, and Ginger. I use 3 medium carrots, 2 oranges and a one inch cube of ginger. It’s a great immune booster and tastes amazing. Not to mention IT’S CHEAP! I have been using my Earthbound Farm coupons to get FREE carrots at Walmart basically every week, and have been getting oranges in my CSA box all winter. So basically the only extra cost is the ginger, and this juice uses maybe $0.04 worth.

After making this juice this morning I thought I would attempt some muffins with the pulp. I went online and found a recipe to adapt, and here is what I came up with:DSC_0987

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • About a cup of Juicer pulp
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1 cup milk (any type is fine)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup combined raisins and pecans

Preheat oven to 400 and place 18 muffin liners in muffin tins. In a med mixing bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients and set aside. Place the Juicer pulp in a large bowl and pull out any large pieces of pulp. Add the next 5 ingredients and mix will. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the raisins and nuts. Scoop equal amounts into each of the 18 muffin tins and bake at 400 for 15-18 min. Let cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to peal off the muffin tin or the muffin will stick to it.DSC_0994

They are definitely more muffins than cake, but equally as tasty, and a great way to use juicer pulp.

Pizza night!

My husband had a change in schedule today which meant it would be just me and the kids for dinner. I don’t know about you, but I have a real hard time cooking big meals for just me and the kids. While I was thinking of what fun kid food I could make for dinner tonight, I remembered that I picked up a really great, fast, recipe for whole wheat and honey pizza dough in, of all places, the WinCo bulk section. Yet another reason I love the WinCo bulk section. I ended up cooking it on the grill rather than in the oven, which I think gives it extra good flavor. Here is the recipe for the dough:DSC_0965

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Preheat over to 350. (I turned on all three grill burners on to high) In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 min. In a large bowl combine flour, wheat germ, and salt. Make a well in the middle and add honey and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for a few min. Roll dough on a floured surface, transfer to a baking sheet, and dock the dough with a fork. Bake for 5 to 10 min, or until desired crispiness. (I turned one burner of the grill was off and the middle one to low. I then placed the pizza, which I made into 4 small pizza’s rather than 1 large pizza, on the cool side of the grill. I let them “bake” for about 5 min.DSC_0969

After baking the crust I had help putting on the sauce and  pre-sauteed toppings and then returned the pizza to the grill until the cheese was melted.  I also made a fruit pizza with cream cheese and maple syrup as the sauce. Yummm. While this was not on my menu plan for the week, I had everything on have, and probably only used $3 in ingredients. I will be using this crust recipe again!

Roasted Chickpeas as an alternative to nuts

As a vegetarian I love nuts as a protein packed snack, but they can be fairly expensive, so I have to limit them as a stand alone snack. While an ounce of almonds has just under 6 grams of protein, an ounce of chickpeas has just under 2 grams of protein. That seems like a big difference, but you could certainly eat three ounces of chickpeas for less money than one ounce almonds, particularly if you have a coupon for the beans.

You can get coupons for beans by signing up for emails from S&W. I received a coupon from this week for $1.00 off 2 cans of beans. Right now at WinCo S&W beans are on sales for $0.68, making them $0.18 a can when you buy 2. That is a really good price.

This week I made these tasty roasted chickpeas. I think they sound strange, but man they are good. My kids also love them. Particularly my daughter, who HATES beans. Typically she will spit any kind of bean out the second it touches her tongue, but the ate the majority of these beans. Which is great, because they are cheap and supper easy to make.DSC_0952

  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 450. Place beans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 min or until beans start to crisp up. Once beans have started to crisp mix in the oil, herbs, and salt. Return to the oven and bake for 5 min or until they become fragrant. Serve hot or at room temp. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Eating Seasonally with Beet Oven Fries

I picked up my amazing weekly CSA box today. I always go online and find out what will be in the box before I get it so I can do my menu planning. I usually do really well at coming up with a plan for everything in the box, but this week I really struggled with the beets. Beets are not something we grew up eating and I just don’t really see the appeal in them…except for coloring Easter eggs. As I was searching for a recipe I had an appifanny. I figured out why my Grandma liked things like Beets, Turnips, and Rutabegga so much, it’s what there was to eat in the colder months. Her generation ate seasonally, because there wasn’t really much choice. If they wanted to eat it in later months they canned it, but they could really only get fresh produce in season.

So for the love of seasonal produce I found a simple root vegetable oven frie recipe and only used beets. This recipe is once again from one of my baby food cookbooks.

Beet Oven FriesDSC_0939

  • 4 medium sized beets cut into 1/4 in sticks
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp dried Sage
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 500. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and oil the pan. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Once Beets are well coated with seasoning, arrange in one layer on the baking pan. Bake for 20-25 min  or until the fries are tender in the middle and start to crisp on the outside, making sure to flip them at about 10 min.DSC_0948

I enjoyed them for the most part, but my kids devoured them! I will be making them again for sure.

Budget Buster!

I have always had a problem coming up with lunch ideas. I’m fine with pulling some random stuff together  for lunch (a piece of fruit, some cheese and crackers, and a few nuts), but my husband needs something more substantial, and so do my kids. My husband can typically count on left overs two or three lunches a week, and is able to pull something together the other days. Last month however, the leftovers must have been in short supply as there was a need for him to run to the store and buy lunch on several occasions. It’s crazy how quickly $5 here and there adds up. And what’s the point in sticking to budget in one area if it just causes you to go over in another area.DSC_0932

So after discovering the issue I had to come up with a solution quick! I don’t like buying microwave dinners as they typically have junk in them and cost a crazy amount for the ones that don’t have junk. Even at Grocery Outlet, the Amy’s frozen entrees are $2.99, and that just doesn’t fit in out tight $80 a week budget. So after taking a quick inventory of the freezer, fridge, and pantry, I came up with a few microwave meals of my own. Here’s what I came up with.

Something like a tex-mex casserole. It had brown rice, canned pinto beans, frozen corn, fresh cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese and hot sauce. I was able to make 2, 2 cup servings

Enchilada casserole. It had leftover corn tortillas, canned pinto beans, frozen corn, sour cream, grated cheese, and a very small amount of enchilada sauce. 1 serving

Butternut squash zitti. It was made from left over homemade butternut squash ravioli filling, ricotta cheese, Italian herbs and whole wheat penne. 3, 2 cup servings

Curry. This was made from brown rice, organic frozen peas and carrots, organic lentil curry soup, additional curry powder, and fennel seeds. 3, 1.5 cup servings

A couscous dish made with whole wheat couscous, canned chick peas, organic spinach, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, 4 greek olives with additional juice, and a very small amount of feta cheese. 3,2 cup servings.

So by getting creative and spending an hour or two I managed to make 12 frozen lunches ready to just grab and go. Hopefully this will supplement all of this month and I can actually plan some out for next month.

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

I don’t really buy cabbage, but once a year for St Patrick’s Day. One of the reason I love my CSA box sooo much, is that I get things I would not normally buy. This requires me to be creative and look for new and different recipes. So this week I tried a Vegetarian Cabbage Roll recipe that I found online. I tell you, it was amazing! I really didn’t think my kids would eat it as the filling was basically Bulgur and veggies and it rapped in “a leaf”. So I made them a portion that was more like a casserole, with a cabbage layer on top and bottom and the filling in the middle. I correctly assumed that they would not do will with the cabbage, but they each had seconds and thirds of the filling!

DSC_0823

 

Here is the original recipe. I adapted it to make it even cheaper.

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 8oz can Tomato Sauce

In a large saucepan, combine the first 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside eight large leaves for rolls (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use, but I think you’d be surprised at how little is left). Cut out the thick vein from each leaf, making a V-shape cut. Overlap cut ends before filling. Stir 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and lemon juice into vegetable mixture.
Place a heaping 1/3 cupful on each cabbage leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll to completely enclose filling.
Pour 1/3 cup Tomato Sauce into a 2-qt. baking dish. Place cabbage rolls in dish; spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Yummm. I will make this again for sure.