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Posts Tagged ‘eating in season’

What's For Dinner?

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One of the best ways I have found to “Make it Do” is to plan my meals a week at time.  I am amazed at how much money I save just by planning ahead.  A good idea is to plan on the day your grocery store ads come out.  Mine come in the mail on Tuesdays.

When I plan ahead I only buy the fresh fruits and vegetables that I need and nothing goes to waste.  And I am able to plan a menu around the sales and based on what I have in my garden.

When I know I have a busy day, I plan a meal that is fast or something I can make ahead of time.  In the past we would go out to eat… which is expensive and usually not as healthy.

Here is my menu for the upcoming week:  All my meat and fish is from my freezer and much of what I am cooking will come from my garden.

  • Tuesday- Chicken Stir Fry with peas and zucchini out of my garden (it’s heating up finally and this is the last harvest of my peas… what we don’t eat I am going to freeze.)
  • Wednesday – Grilled Tilapia with grilled zucchini and a green salad- lettuce and zucchini are from my garden (This is one of my quick easy meals… 20 minutes or less. Since I am helping my mom decorate cupcakes for a wedding that day, I need it to be easy.   I will make the salad, take out the frozen tilapia and put it in the refrigerator to thaw and pick the zucchini… all in the morning before we go.  That way I’m not tempted to pick up dinner on the way home.
  • Thursday- Chicken Milanese with a baguette-  this recipe is so good… I can’t wait to share it!
  • Friday- Cheeseburgers with Macaroni Salad and Cantaloupe slices
  • Saturday- Hot Dogs, left over Macaroni Salad, Watermelon and S’mores – We are heading up the canyon with my 9 year old nephew, Will.  The kids love cooking over an open fire!
  • Dinner at my Mom’s- yeah I don’t have to cook

If planning gives you fits, try having an attractive book or template to plan from.  I found this website with wonderful free templates… all you have to do is email her.  I keep my menu planning in a small cute spiral binder.  Just like the template I write my menu on the left column and my grocery list on the right column.  Then I can throw it in my purse when I go to the store.

Most weeks I plan a left-over night.  I hate to throw away food and this is good way to make sure it all gets eaten.  I also love left-overs for lunch.

I still want to eat really healthy, delicious food even though I am on a budget.  I find that if I am careful to buy what is in season, use what I’ve grown, and buy what’s on sale, I can do exactly that.

………………………………………..

Just a little sad story… I know you all don’t want to hear me cry… but my computer hard drive crashed this weekend!  It is such a bummer!

I just want to take a moment to thank Martha Stewart… I won a contest for my Easter Table Runner this Spring from her and received a SeaGate External Hard Drive and have been backing up my computer dutifully ever since… so with any luck my data including photos will be recovered.  It seems amazing to me that we entrust so much to the caprice of technology… which is why I may start double backing up in the future.  I am working on a borrowed machine now (thanks Dad) but without all my photographs for my posts… so bare with me.

My Favorite Salad

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I just can’t seem to get enough of my favorite salad.  Favorite for today that is… It is a spring lettuce mix with strawberries, spicy pecans, and shaved Gorgonzola cheese.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  It is one of those salads where the flavors come together so perfectly… it’s unique and delicious.

Having just gotten homemade strawberry jam from my mom, I had the perfect excuse to make my salad with grilled chicken for a little party this week with some of my friends. I hope they like it as much as I do.

I have talked before about eating in season. It is a great way to eat well on a budget.  Nothing costs more or tastes worse than strawberries that are out of season.  The greens for this salad are ready to harvest out of my garden this week.   The strawberries have been cheap and delicious.  There are a few things out of season, like the granny smith apples, but they aren’t too expensive.  I love to make this salad in the winter with pomegranate seeds in place of the strawberries.

Lily and Emma helped me prepare the pecans and the vinaigrette today:  (They love an excuse to wear their aprons.)  (I love their help and entertaining with foods that can be prepared ahead of time.)

Lily made the pecans:

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1.  Stir together 1 cup of warm water with 1/4 cup sugar until dissolved.  Add 1 cup pecans and soak for ten minutes.

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2.  Drain the pecans.

3.  Mix together 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. chili powder and 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Toss in pecans and stir til well coated.

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4.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Emma made the vinaigrette:

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Emma is really good at whisking.

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Nothing keeps my kids happy and completely occupied like cooking!

Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry Vinaigrette:
1    tsp. Salt
1    tsp. Pepper
8    Tbs. Sugar
8    Tbsp. Vinegar
1    cup Vegetable oil
8    Tbsp. Strawberry Jam

Sweet & Spicy Pecans:
1/4    cup sugar
1    cup warm water

Stir together until sugar dissolves.  Add 1 cup pecans & soak 10 minutes.  Drain.

2    Tbsp. sugar
1    Tbsp. Chili Powder
1/8  tsp. ground red pepper

Combine ingredients, then coat drained pecans.  Bake on greased cookie sheet @ 350 for 10 minutes.

Salad:

  1. Layer on a platter a bed of mixed greens.
  2. Toss diced apples (I prefer granny smith)  or pear with fresh squeezed lime juice
  3. Add chopped green onions
  4. Place sliced and sweetened strawberries around periphery (Pomegranate is a good substitution in the Winter.)
  5. Optional:  Place sliced chicken in center
  6. Add a layer of crumbled or shaved Gorgonzola
  7. Sprinkle spiced pecans over the top
  8. Drizzle with Vinaigrette just before serving


Optional:
Grilled Chicken:
Marinate skinless chicken breasts for 2 hours in equal parts:
1    cup Italian Dressing
1    cup Lowry’s Mesquite-Lime Marinade
1    cup teriyaki sauce (or soy sauce, sugar, fresh ginger root—chopped)
Add ½ cup Tequila (optional)
Sprinkle with Lime-Pepper (or Lemon-Pepper) on the grill

Click here for the Printable Version.



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