Friday, December 19, 2008

Pork Taco’s and Lentil Soup

This ends up being 2 meals. Half the pork tenderloin is used for the pork tacos and half is used for the lentils. The lentils form almost like a chili, it is a very hearty bean soup. Also note, I used the tenderloin, not a loin roast. I think that is much better for this dish.

Pork lion 2.5 lb ($9)
1 Onion chopped ($.75)
1 bag of red lentils ($.85)
2 tbs cumin ($.20)
1 jar of sofrito sauce ($ 2.50)
6 cups of chicken stock (made with bullion cubs less than .10)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of red wine optional ($1)
Sour cream ($.50)
1 can of refried beans ($1)
Rice ($.30)
Lettuce for taco ($.25)
Salsa (.25)
Guacamole (.75)
Salad (1.25)
Tortillas ($1.50)
1 tbs oil (.10)

The total for the two dishes comes in at just at $20 dollars, however I feel pretty confident you could get 3 meals for 4 out of this even if you have big eaters. The first meal is pork tacos, with refried beans and rice. The second meal is a pork and lentil soup with salad.

Here is how I did it. In a stock pot I sautéed the onions in a bit of oil. Add the bullion and lentils. Add the wine ( if you do) and sofrito sauce (reserve about 3 tbs for the rice). Bring to a boil. Salt pepper pork tenderloin and add to pot. Add cumin. Reduce and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Check periodically to make sure tenderloin is under liquid and stir the beans. Once the tenderloin is good and tender take it out and shred the meat. Add half back into the lentils. Set the lentils aside for another day. The meat that is left is for the pork tacos. It should have a good flavor form cooking in the lentils, but if you want you add more cumin.

When making the rice for a side to go with the tacos, add the reserved sofrito sauce and put it in with the rice and water. When rice is done fluff and serve. I put a little lime juice and salt in the sour cream too, but you don’t have to. We had our pork tacos with lettuce, sour cream,guacamole and salsa. Obviously if you put more things on it will change the overall cost of the meal. Also we used corn tortillas which I think are better for this. I do suggest, since they fall apart easily, use two tortillas instead of one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rosemary Pasta

I am having a hard time keeping up with Family Meals for Less. I am going to try and get a new meal out here once a week, so bare with me. This is easy and so good. Add some chicken or shrimp for a protein if you want. As it is, the meal is around $6, however if you add a pound a shrimp you are right at $10. I suspect you could use any fresh herb (oregano, basil) to do this, I just love the rosemary so much I have never strayed. However, if you are serving little ones, rosemary may be a bit much for them and you might be safer with a basil. Since this is really simple the Parmesan is a real stand out in this. Get some of the good stuff. I recommend ,hands down, Locatelli. However, if you don’t want a big block go to Ukrops you can by the end pieces and it will cost your near nothing. Plus you can use the extra on popcorn (yummy).

1 lb pasta ($2)
½ c. olive oil ($1.50)
1 stick butter (.75)
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary ($1 or free if you have a plant)
Fresh Parmesan ($1)

Start pasta, while that is cooking melt butter and oil in a pan. When the butter mix just starts to bubble, throw in the rosemary and take off the burner. Allow rosemary to steep in the butter for 5 minutes or more. Once pasta is done, remove rosemary and toss with pasta. Serve immediately with fresh grated cheese over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Salmon with Honey-Soy Glaze with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

This was a recipe that my husband adapted from Gourmet. It originally called for Maple Syrup. We like it far better with honey. This should get you 2 meals worth, but honestly I always eat more than ¼ lb of seafood as does my husband. You can expect to pay about $4/lb for salmon at Costco and about 6.99 (on sale) at a seafood shop. Add it mash potatoes ($1.5) and green beans ($1) and you are at just over $10. You may not get 2 meals for 4 adults out of it but you will easily get a meal and lunch for two/ or two meals for 2 adults and 2 pre-teen children.
¼ c. soy
¼ c. honey
2lb salmon
Boil honey and soy in saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to about 1/3 c. (about 5 minutes).
Heat oven to 450.
Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper. Reserving 1.5 tablespoons of glaze for later use, brush salmon with glaze. After 5 minutes brush with remaining glaze. Put salmon in oven and let cook for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil 4-5 minutes. Brush with reserved glaze (use clean brush) and serve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Note on Junk Soup

I suggested in the previous post that curry might be a good addition to this soup. We had some last night and put pinch or two in our bowls along with some Greek yogurt to make it creamy… it was so very good. And my son loved it with the addition of curry (but put pepper on anything…go figure).

Monday, October 27, 2008

4 meals for 4 for under $30

Let me start with saying soup is about the easiest way to provide a healthy meal and stretch your dollar. I love soups. It is really one of my favorite parts about winter. The first is hands down one of my very favorites. The second is a new one that I came up with (because I hated to throw away the fennel top) and it came out good and my son loves it…even better. If you hate fennel you can subsitute celery, but my husband hates fennel but this is still his favorite soup, so you might want to try it.

Kielbasa and Collard Soup
This was adapted from a recipe I found off of Epicurious. It is a recipe from “Gourmet.” The original calls for pancetta and for swiss chard. I wanted a heartier soup so I substituted the pancetta for kielbasa and the swiss chard for collards.

1 lb great northern beans (or 4 cans) soaked over night ($1)
1 lb package Kielbasa (I use turkey, but use whatever you want) ($2.50
1 large onion chopped ($.50)
1 fennel bulb chopped (just use bulb not stalks or top, however you can set them aside for other use) ($2.50)
1 tbs olive oil (see below)
1 tbs minced garlic (see below)
5 c. chicken broth (or 5 chicken bullion cubes and 5 cups water)
3 c. water
1 (3x2 inch) piece of parm rind (many stores sell just the rind, if you can’t find try 1/2c. of a good grated parm) ($2)
3 Turkish bay leaves (see below)
6 large collard leaves, cleaned, and chopped thick part of steams removed. ($.75)

I buy bulk minced garlic (because I use A LOT) and bullion. The cost per use has to be in the cents. That said. Allow $1 for the incidentals in this. This puts the whole pot at $10.25, or about $5 per meal for four. Add a salad (about $3 for two meals worth of side salad)and a store bought loaf of bread (about $2) and you have two meals for four for $15.25.

Soak beans overnight (or at least 8 hours), and drain.

Heat olive oil. Add chopped fennel, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until soft. Add beans, broth, water, bay leaves, and parm and simmer for 45 minutes (or until beans done). Taste flavorings and adjust now. Add collards and cook another 15 minutes. Served

Junk soup
Fennel tops from other soup chopped($0)
8 c. chicken stock
1 broccoli crown chopped ($1)
2 large carrots chopped (.50)
1/3 head of cauliflower ($1)
1 large chicken breast cut up (1.50)
2 red potatoes or 1 Idaho (.75)
Salt and pepper
1 tbs garlic

Cook fennel, broccoli, and carrots and stock for 30 minutes until everything is tender. Pull off and let cool. Once cool, but in blender (you will have to do this in 3-4 batches) and process (it will still be a bit chunky) . Put contents back in pot and heat up to boiling again. Cut chicken breast in to small pieces. Put in pot. Add cauliflower and potatoes and cook for 15 more minutes. Adjust seasoning.
**Note: If you plan to freeze this (you do have two pots of soup after all) do not add the potatoes until you plan to use it, since potatoes don’t freeze will.

The total for this soup is just under $5.00. Plus this is a extremely health soup. I thought this might also be good with a little sweet curry powder, but left it out for the kids. My son loved it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stuffed Cabbage

Cabbage ($.75)
1can tomato soup diluted ($.50)
½ onion chopped (.50)

Meat filling
1 lb lean ground beef ($2.50)
½ onion grated into meat ($.50)
1 tsp salt and some pepper
1 c. brown rice ($.50)
1 egg ($.25)
Mix together and set aside.

Meanwhile cook cabbage whole in water (salt water) until tender (about 15 minutes after water boils). Pull out head and put in cool water. Once head cool enough to handle peel off leaves. Don’t be worried the fist several layers will be mush and you will not be able to use those leaves just set them aside to throw back into the pot when you cook rolls. Stuff leaves and roll, put seem side down back in pot (water removed). Cover with diluted tomato soup (depending on the size of the pot you may need 2 cans of soup.
I serve this with pierogies. While my grandmother would be terribly disappointed in me I just buy frozen. It will run you about $3. Put a dollop of sour cream on both the rolls and the pierogies and ENJOY.
If you make this with really lean ground beef it is actually a very, very healthy dish. It is filling and a great hearty winter dish. It made 12 rolls. With the pierogies it the total was $8.50, if you add a salad you are right at $10. You could also serve it with mashed potatoes for about $1.50 instead of the pierogies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Roasted chicken with Root Vegetables

The total for this comes in at $15. You will be able to easily get two dinners out of this. So that makes this $7.50 for a dinner for 4 and you can’t beat that. Plus it is one pot for the whole meal so it means easy clean up, you can’t beat that either!

1 whole chickens innards removed (about $3.50 on sale)
2 rutabaga cut into medium chucks (about $2.50)
3 sweet potatoes cut into medium chucks (about $2)
6 large carrots cut into medium chucks (about $2)
2 onion cut into medium chucks (about $1)
3 cups of dry white (preferably not a Chardonnaytry trader Joes Sauvignon Blanc for $3)
2 TBS flour
3 chicken bullion (I would allow $1 for flour and all spice and bullion)
salt pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Cut up vegetables and layer the bottom of a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the 2 TBS of flour. Pour wine over and add bullion. Sprinkle with about 1 TBS of Marjoram. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Sprinkle chicken with Salt, pepper and Marjoram. Place chicken breast down in vegetables and broth. Cover and cook until chicken is done (depends on size). You can use any root vegetable. Parsnips and plain white potatoes would be good as would any winter squash.