Saturday, May 3, 2008

Menu Week 9: Great Food on a Budget

Menu Week 9

Reflections from the Backcounter
Food prices are skyrocketing. This makes it even more important to shop the grocery ads, stock the freezer and plan the menu accordingly. This weeks menu reflects the sales in my area so it may not be as cost efficient for a different locale. Planning is key to keeping costs under control and your family fed with great meals. Variety is important and tying the menu to the calendar is fun and interesting. This week is Cinco de Mayo. It is easy to spice up dinner with a few decorations and a festive meal!
Cook ahead on the weekend to make the week go more smoothly. Try to make the stuffed shells on Sunday and cook the shredded beef in the crockpot on Sunday also. This gives you two ready to go meals for the weeknight 5 oclock scramble! If you have boundless energy, the split pea soup can also be made on the weekend and stored for later use. Otherwise, it is a fairly quick prep and cook. A great vegetarian meal.


Baked Turkey Breast

Smashed potatoes

Green beans

Turkey breast bone in were on sale today $.97 /lb A great deal so I got two. I plan to roast one in the oven for dinner and roast the other to slice for lunch meat. A much better deal than deli turkey that runs about 6.99 a pound.

Monday Cinco de Mayo!!!

In Mexico, beef is always paired with lime juice. A squeeze of lime enhances the flavor of the beef and brightens the taste. I worked in a hospital in Guaymas, Mexico for 6 weeks while I was in med school and the condiment table always had a bowl of hot peppers and a bowl of lime wedges. My fellow med students from Mexico squeezed the lime on everything!

Shredded Beef Tostadas


Refried Beans

1 (4 pound) frozen rump roast
1 cup white wine
2 (7.75 ounce) cans Mexican style hot tomato sauce (I like El Pato)
3 tablespoons crushed garlic
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place the frozen roast in the slow cooker. Pour the wine and Mexican style hot tomato sauce over the top. Season with garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cover, and cook on Low for 9 hours. When done, the roast should shred easily with a fork. Shred the roast into the juices, and mix in the chopped green onions and cilantro.
Note: Serve shredded beef on warm tostada shells topped with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, avocado and most importantly a squeeze of lime!


Stuffed Shells


  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach thawed

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese1 cup (about 4 ounces)

  • grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons

  • fennel seeds 2 tablespoons

  • chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Salt and pepper
    3 1/2 cups purchased marinara or spaghetti sauce

  • 32 jumbo pasta shells, freshly cooked

  • Additional grated Parmesan


Squeeze spinach dry. Transfer spinach to large bowl. Add ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, fennel, basil and garlic to bowl. Season mixture with salt and pepper; blend.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly over bottom of 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Fill each pasta shell with spinach mixture. Place shells, filling side up, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve, passing additional Parmesan separately.



Garlic bread

I love her soup recipes. The pictures are fantastic and her lentil soup was amazing.




Green beans


This is a favorite recipe for our kids. We are trying to premake some of it on the weekend, freezing it and finishing it on Friday evening. We'll seee how it works

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