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.