Menu Sunday

Our suggestions for what to eat during the week- based on sales in the weekly circulars.  For more information on sales this week see our posts on ShopRite and A&P.

Monday:  Pan Fried Flounder with Rice and a Vegetable
Dip flounder in egg and cover with bread crumbs. Pan fry in butter. Flounder is on sale at A&P for $3.99lb through Monday. Serve with rice and veggies of your choice. Carolina Rice is on sale at A&P- $0.99 but Free after coupon. Some varieties of Green Giant frozen boxed veggies are on sale at A&P 5/$5.
(Or) if you are in the mood for something a little more adventurous- you can make the rice in chicken broth College Inn broth is on sale at A&P for $0.75 per can and add some veggies to the rice with a little chopped onion.  Cook the onion in a pan until translucent then add to the rice.

Tuesday: Baked Ham with Sweet Potatoes (or Candied Sweet Potatoes) and a Vegetable
America’s Choice Spiral Sliced Honey or Brown Sugar Ham is on sale for $1.37 lb. at A&P through Monday. Bake it in the oven with some sweet potatoes and a veggie and you have an easy meal with extra for leftovers to freeze or serve later in the week. A&P has assorted frozen veggies on sale this week and at ShopRite BirdsEye Steam Fresh 4 pack corn cobs or 10-12oz package any variety vegetables are on sale for $0.99 or $0.66 after coupon.
(or) For something a little more decadent, serve your ham with candied sweet potatoes. Peel potatoes and cut into medium size cubes. Toss into a frying pan with butter and add brown sugar towards the end when potatoes are cooked through.

Wednesday: Grilled Lamb Burgers with Tomatoes and Cucumber in Yogurt
Ground meat is on sale 50% off at A&P this week (including lamb). Mix 1-1/2lb ground lamb with1 diced onion 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 3 shots of Worstechire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste (I usually use 1/2tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper). Cook in a grill pan or broil in oven until cooked through. While cooking dice one large tomato and a small cucumber and mix with plain lowfat yogurt of your choice. Add salt and pepper to taste and a bit of dill.

Thursday: Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and a Salad
Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters are on sale at ShopRite for $0.99lb this week. Rub a little olive oil over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 400 degrees and cook until done. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. To make a quick pan gravy- discard some of the fat from the roasting pan (leave about1-2 Tablespoons). Over medium high heat, add 1 can of chicken broth (College Inn broth is on sale at A&P for $0.75 per can) and bring to a boil while stirring to get the browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. If you are going to have a glass of wine with dinner, you might want to add a bit of this wine to the sauce with the stock (say 1/3 cup) but it is not necessary. Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened- and add salt and pepper to taste. (NOTE- you will have extra chicken left over. Save some to shred for tomorrow’s recipee and save the chicken carcas- put into a ziplock bag and shove in the freezer as this can be used to make a nice soup- (I have an idea for a new posting already)  I’m planning on picking up some lettuce at a green grocer on Washington Street to make a salad as a side but you can make a frozen veggie as well.  

Friday: Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Pignoli Nuts, Raisins and Shredded Chicken in a Balsamic Vinegar and Oil Sauce
Ronzoni pasta is on sale at A&P this week for $0.69. Cook pasta- while cooking open a jar of roasted red peppers and pulse in the food processor. Do not throw away any oil in the jar- reserve for later. Chop up some pignoli nuts to make them a little smaller. Chop up some fresh parlsley- or some frozen spinach (cook first then squeeze out the water and chop). Shred some chicken from last night’s roasted chicken (the idea is to use the pieces that were small and on the bone) When pasta is done, mix in large bowl with red pepper puree, pignoli nuts, raisins and chopped spinach or parsley and shredded chicken. Add oil from jar roasted red peppers came in and some balsamic vinegar (you can use white balsamic vinegar which is a little more delicate or the regular red type). Mix togeter. Add olive oil if more oil is needed.

Saturday: Pulled Pork
I’m defrosting mine.  When I make stuff in the slow cooker I make more to store so I can skip a night of cooking every once in a while. To get the recipe click here.

Sunday: Lasagna
I’m defrosting mine.  I have a tray from last time I made lasagna ready to go.  However, this would be a good week to make two lasagnas (one to eat and one to freeze for later) as some key ingredients are on sale at ShopRite. To get recipe click here. Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna is on sale this week at ShopRite for $0.99 as is Sorrento Mozarella which is on sale for $1.98 or $0.98 after coupon.


Menu Monday: Cabbage

Everyone knows that cabbage is one of the cheapest foods you can get and sauerkraut is one of the cheapest meals to serve. Why not consider this interesting take on sauerkraut for a bit of a different meal:

Sauerkraut Strudel

1 package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 lb prepared sauerkraut
1 egg
3 oz grated swiss cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound bacon cut into inch long strips
2 tbs melted butter
sausages (ex. bratwurst), for serving with

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together in a bowl sauerkraut, egg, cheese, cream and bacon. Lay phyllo dough on a baking sheet. Arrange sauerkraut mixture down the center of the dough, covering only about one third of the dough. Brush the exposed dough with melted butter. Roll dough up and brush top with more butter. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve with sausage (ex. bratwurst) on the side.

Slow Cooker Sunday: Pulled Pork

This is how my family makes Pulled Pork.  This recipee makes a lot of food. I like to freeze what I know we won’t eat for the day so I can defrost it for another night when I know I won’t have time to cook.

This recipee for Pulled Pork is originally taken from but has been edited to suit my family’s taste. To make the recipee from the Williams Sonoma site click here.  My version follows below.

Ingredients and Equipment:
Large Oval Slow Cooker
Large Dutch Oven
2-3 Tbsp olive oil (enough to cover bottom of Dutch Oven)
5 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder (I prefer butt- trimmed of excess fat, cut into 2 or 3 pieces as it is easier to brown this way)
2 yellow onions, sliced finely or chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp honey
1 tps garlic minced (about 2 cloves)
1-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 Tbsp Worstechire Sauce
1/3 cup Grandma’s Unsulfured Molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar but you can substitute light)
2 tsp mustard (I like Dijon)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 to 10 hamburger buns

In a large bowl, mix mustard, ketchup, honey, garlic, Worstershire Sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Over medium-high heat, in a large dutch oven, heat the oil – just enough to cover the bottom of the pot and two pats of butter. Place the pork butt in the pot and brown on all sides. Take the meat out of pot and place it into the slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to the pot and cook until caramelized and golden. Deglaze the pot with the apple cider vinegar then add the ketchup mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring occassionally, then pour over the pork in the slow cooker.

(Note- you can skip all of the above steps and just put the pork in the slow cooker with the onion, and mixing the vinegar with the other ingredients for teh sauce and pouring them over the pork, but I find browning any meat I plan on cooking in the slow cooker and deglazing the pan helps develop the flavors more. It takes a few extra minutes, but I won’t skip this step as I think it makes all the difference)

Cover and cook for 8-10 hours on the low heat setting or 4-6 hours on the high heat setting.

Transfer the pork to a large cutting board and, using two large forks, shred the meat. Discard any fat. Put the meat back in the slow cooker and mix with the sauce.

Enjoy your Pulled Pork on the hamburger buns. We like to eat ours with cole slaw on the side.

Effortless Entertaining: Homemade Hummus

A friend, who happens to be an excellent cook himself, gave me this wonderful recipee for his mother’s Hummus. Break out the white wine, some antipasta and you have an instant party! Thanks PT. Note- I like to use the leftovers (if we have any) to jazz up my favorite sandwich.

Ingredients and Equipment:
Food Processor
1 15.5oz can garbanzo beans (rinsed)
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup canola oil (he recommends Canola as it has a lighter flavor, but you can use corn or olive oil in a pinch- just note that the flavor will just be a bit stronger)
Juice from 1 large Lemon
1 Tbsp. Tahini
Dash of Milk
Water or Chicken Stock
Olive Oil to drizzle over top at end
4-5 Olives (or more as desired) sliced with some juice (Note- PT only adds a handful of olives and the slightest bit of juice- and his recipee specifies Calamata olives, though you should feel free to substitute whatever olives you like and have on hand)
Pita cut up into triangular wedges- (serve plain or brushed lightly with olive oil and toasted under the broiler if desired)

Using food processor blend the beans with the canola oil, lemon juice, garlic and Tahini. Add a dash of Milk for flavor and then add water or chicken stock to thin to your desired consistency. Put olives and juice on top with a dash of olive oil and mix into the hummus. Sprinkle the top with Paprika for color and serve with pita wedges.

Menu Monday – Rethinking potato

Cooking on a budget means making the most of cheap ingredients. The potato is king in this regard. Consider some of these potato recipes:

Potato Pizza

Instead of topping your homemade pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella, make it a potato pizza. Thinly slice potato (food processor works great) and then blanch by dropping it in boiling water, leaving it there for 3 minutes, then draining the water. Top your pizza dough with goat cheese, some rosemary, and the potato and brush with olive oil. Who knew potato could be so fancy?

Potato gratin plus as a main dish

Instead of making potato au gratin as a side dish, add some ham or vegetables to make it a main meal. Thinly slice potato (again, food processor works well). In a glass dish, put one layer of potato, one layer of shredded cheese, one layer of ham or broccoli, and repeat. Bake in oven for 45 minutes.

Garden mashed potato

Make mashed potato your main meal by adding some veggies and cheese to it. My favorite mix-ins are peas, grated carrots, chopped spinach, sauted onion (maybe not all at the same time!). Serve with some sausage or ham and you are set for dinner.

Potato dough

Potato can be added to different types of dough to create a heartier dish. Consider the following: Potato cake, gnocci , potato cookies.

Soup Sunday: New England Clam Chowder

clamchowder-photoHere is a recipe I made for the first time the other night.  We all really enjoyed it and soup is a perfect meal when it is cold outside.

1/2 cup cut up bacon (use more or less according to your taste)
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 cans (6.5oz each) chopped or whole clams (drained.. reserve the juice for the soup if you want a richer fish taste- otherwise just use the 1 cup bottled clam juice)
2 medium waxy potatoes diced (I used red potatoes)
2 celery stalks diced
3 cups milk (I used whole)
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbps butter
1 cup (8oz) bottled Clam juice (you may be able to use the reserved juice that the clams are in, but I had to add extra clam juice to get to 1 cup liquid)
1 Bay leaf
Parsley (fresh or dried). I used 1 tsp dried.
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Put butter in large pot and melt over medium heat. Add onion and bacon and saute while stirring frequently until bacon is cooked through and onion is golden. Add celery and cook for a minute then add flour and cook two minutes while stirring. Add 1 cup clam juice (bottled, juice from the chopped or whole clams or a combination of both. Note- for a richer fish taste soup add more juice to taste), potatoes, milk and bay leaf.

Raise the heat to medium-high and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot while bringing soup to a simmer. Do not bring soup to a boil or soup may curdle. Once soup is simmering, reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender (approx 15 mins)

Remove Bay leaf and add clams, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute to warm clams.


If you want a richer fish flavor, add more clam juice to taste.
I used whole milk, but I imagine you can substitute reduced fat milk if you are looking for a lower fat recipee.

I combined two recipees from two different sources to make this recipee. I used the New England Clam Chowder Recipee on p. 17 of Williams-Sonoma Soup by Diane Rossen Worthington (excellent recipe but calls for fresh clams and I wanted to be able to make this soup by using canned chopped clams). The New England Clam Chowder recipee on p. 443 of the Betty Crocker Cookbook Bonus Edition helped me figure out how to make the recipee with canned clams.

Don’t Throw Out Your Food Thursday: Use Up Your Vegetables Making Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes I always thought was hard to make- before I discovered how to make it. Sure- you have to stir a little bit, but it’s easier than a lot of people would expect. Also, it is a good way to use up vegetables that you might otherwise have to toss. By cooking your veggies, you keep them from going bad and get to enjoy them a few days longer!

Today, I had asparagus and mushrooms on hand, so that’s what I used. However, you should feel free to be creative. Once you have the general idea of how to make risotto, the possibilities for what you can make it with are endless.

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto
Ingredients and Equipment:
Medium Pot
Large Pot (I have a LeCreuset and it is perfect for making risotto as I find the rice does not stick to the bottom as much but use what you have and just soak the pot in warm water after cooking to remove caked rice)
4 cups Chicken Broth or Stock (I like reduced sodium)
1 bunch Asparagus (woody part at end removed and stalks cut into bite size pieces (I quartered mine))
1 package Mushrooms
olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)

Put broth in medium pot and heat on medium flame till warm. Reduce heat to low and cover pot so broth stays warm. Meanwhile, put some oil (2-3 Tbsp) in the large pot and warm over medium heat. Add onion, asparagus and mushrooms and cook while stirring frequently. Once onions start to turn transparent, add risotto. Cook for approx 2 minutes while stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add wine if desired and stir till absorbed. Otherwise, start adding broth- one cup at a time, stirring occasionally. When each cup of broth has been incorporated into the rice, add the next. Stir as you are able but you don’t have to stir constantly. You may not need to add all the broth. On the other hand, you may need to add some water if the rice doesn’t seem to be cooked adequately for your taste as you find yourself coming to the end of your broth. Making risotto is a somewhat fluid process. Taste the risotto as you get to the end of the process and go with your gut. If you like the risotto and think it is done, then stop the cooking process- even if you have some broth left. If you taste the risotto and think it is still too al dente, add some warmed water and keep cooking till absorbed.

When the Risotto is done, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the the parmesan.