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31 Jan

Frugal Cooking… but Fresh!

Posted in 70 Meals, 70 meals one trip to the store, One Trip to the Store, Smart Ingredients on 31.01.12 by Smart Ingredients

I had a great reminder of how well 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store works this week. We had a busier-than-usual week. In addition, I tried to spend very little on groceries. I spent a total of $100 for the week for our family of five… which for me is very little. This included all of our fresh fruit and breakfast items, but also the 14 items on the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store weekly shopping list.

This list includes:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Green Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Bread/Rolls
  • Chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Fish Fillets
  • Tortillas

Combined with the Smart Ingredients that I have stocked in my cabinets, I love that there are so many things I can make, every night this week, using what I have. Tonight we are having Homemade Pizza and Pizza Salad (one of the very best from the 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook). Tomorrow is Chicken Fried Rice with peppers, onions and mushrooms, and the next day is Chicken Fajitas. Beyond that I’m not sure, but it’s nice knowing that I don’t have to plan and yet know that I will have everything I need to make dinner.

My weekly stock up was all fresh ingredients. While I may use some processed foods this week in my meals, the majority of what goes on my table is fresh. And even if you use some packaged shortcuts, know that if you are cooking a fresh meal you are still many steps closer to healthy eating than if you were eating out or wholly-processed pre-packaged dinner.

I was on a frugal cooking chat group for a while. I learned some very interesting tips and recipes for how to eat extremely frugal (who knew you could make burgers out of ramen noodles??). While I was entertained, I was also affirmed that my strategies were innovative and that 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store does frugal in a way that does not have to equal unappetizing or processed foods. If you are looking for a way to save money on groceries, or just to be able to make dinner every night without a trip to the store, try our book. It will pay for itself many times.

 

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19 Mar

30 Days of Dinner; Days 4-7

Posted in 40 Dinner Duos, 70 meals one trip to the store, beef recipes, Cook Once, Cook Once Eat Twice, Eat Twice, One Trip to the Store, pasta, Uncategorized, Win at Dinner on 19.03.11 by Smart Ingredients

30 Days of my play-by-play dinner, continued. For game play definitions, see previous post.

Day 4

Homemade Butternut Squash Soup and pasta salad.

Game Plays applied:

Multimealing: I made a large batch of squash soup to bring some to my Dad who just had surgery, and keep some at home for dinner.

Flexibility: I love the flexibility of pasta salad. Using noodles and basic pasta salad seasonings I always keep on hand (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt and Italian Seasonings) I can make a pasta salad using any number of add-ins I may have on hand. Tonight I used blue cheese, avocado, cucumber, onions and tomatoes.

Day 5

[Tonight I have to work. My sitter knows she can make anything in the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook as I have all the ingredients on hand. Here’s what she chose. The kids loved it.]

Lemon Honey Chicken and Brown Rice

Game Plays applied:

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store: Lemon Honey Chicken

Day 6

Herb-Crusted Beef Roast and Roasted Potatoes

While this may sound like a complicated meal, it is actually one of the easiest, elegant dinners I make. I use and Eye of Round cut, which I find extremely reliable in both cut and preparation. The crust is made by cooking up some onions, garlic and mustard in red wine. Rub this on the roast with some tarragon, salt and pepper, and put it in a roasting pan surrounded by one cup of beef broth, and cubed potatoes, and into a preheated 350 degree F oven until it reaches 140 degrees F. This roast is also typically sold in a 4-pound quantity, which is a perfect amount to feed 5 for dinner one night, and make Beef Stew the next.

Day 7

Beef Stew

Game plays applied:

Cook once, eat twice: last night’s lovingly-prepared roast and potatoes became an extremely flavorful beef stew by just cubing leftover beef and placing it and the remaining potatoes in a crock pot with the remaining beef stew recipe ingredients. This can be done at any point of the day, which worked well with the day’s busy schedule, work and after-school activities. [From the 40 Dinner Duos; Cook Once, Eat Twice cookbook.]

 

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29 Nov

You Deserve a Break

Posted in 70 meals one trip to the store, One Trip to the Store, Shop Smart on 29.11.10 by Smart Ingredients

Because you worked so hard cooking this past week, we are giving you 5 days-worth of easy weeknight recipes from the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook. And the best thing about them is — because like all the recipes in the book they are void of “ingredient clutter” — you can likely make them with ingredients you already have on hand at home!

Today’s recipe is for Strata. The great thing about a strata is that you can make it with so many variations of ingredients. Got eggs? Some bread, or leftover rolls from Thanksgiving? A little milk and maybe some cheese? That’s your base. Here’s the recipe with suggestions for additions to make it any which way you please.

Strata

Ingredients

6 cups bread cut in 1 inch pieces

7 eggs

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup shredded cheese (many kinds of cheese will work, including Gruyere, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Additions of your choice include, but are not limited to: 1 cup diced cooked chicken, 1 can drained diced tomatoes, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup mushrooms, 1 can drained artichoke hearts.

Beat together eggs and milk with a whisk. Add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Put bread in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Add “Additions of your choice”, and half of the cheeses. Mix together and spread evenly around the pan. Gently pour in egg mixture, covering the bread. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least one half hour, up to overnight. Bake the strata for 30-40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven, until egg is set and edges are browned. Serve warm.

 

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23 Jun

Busy Week — Quick Meals

Posted in One Trip to the Store, Shop Smart, Smart Ingredients on 23.06.10 by Smart Ingredients

Who is busy this summer? Anyone? Ha! It may be busy going to the pool or the beach, but it’s still busy. And spending more time outdoors means we need to be even better at economizing our time in the kitchen. This was a very light grocery shopping week for me, picking up just $50 worth of food when I did a quick shop before my Father’s Day dinner. Since I stick firm to my “once every 7-10 days” shopping plan, it was time to head to the freezer. I stock up on chicken, ground beef and whitefish becasue they are a great base for many flavors, and because I follow the 70 Meals plan, I know I have the ingredients on hand to make any of the dishes in the book. Today I thawed some chicken breasts and made Chicken Fajitas. I absolutely love the flavor combination of the Italian Dressing and the taco seasoning in the 70 Meals recipe. I’ve already taken the ground beef out of the freezer to make some of my favorite stuffed burgers (Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burgers and Salsa Stuffed Burgers) tomorrow, and the next day I’ll move on to Tilapia in whichever of the 10 recipes from the 70 Meals cookbooks suits my fancy that day. Check out the recipes section of our website for some of my favorites.

Because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can’t make dinner. It’s having the strategies and Smart Ingredients on hand to make it easy that makes it work. Are you a blog subscriber? If not, click on the green button on the top right to subscribe now, and be automatically entered in to win FREE Smart Ingredients and a copy of the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook. Click on the photo on the top right for more details.

 

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25 Apr

Mother's Day Gift for your Daughter-in-Law

Posted in cooking class, One Trip to the Store on 25.04.10 by Smart Ingredients

When coming up with a title for my book 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store, I had many title variations. One I did not even consider was “The Daughter-In Law”. If I had to rename this book, that name would definitely be a contender. Why, you ask? Because of the number of people who buy the book for their daughter-in-laws in hopes of relieving their dinnertime stress and removing the chicken nuggets and frozen pizza from their son and grandchildren’s dinner menu.

I realize the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is a tricky one in which I wouldn’t interfere if I didn’t think there was a purpose. Anyone’s life deserves a little stress relief, and I know the book can help. I know it is particularly useful to young working mothers because that is when I wrote the book — for myself and my best friend who were both desperate for a solution. I do still have young kids (my oldest is 9, my youngest is 2), and I still, obviously, work. I have used this book for the better part of 7 years, and I will continue for the next 16 and beyond (scary when you look at “dinner” that way, isn’t it?!).

If you are a Mother-in-Law searching for the perfect gift for your daughter in law, 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store is a popular option. If you live in the Chicagoland area and purchase a personalized cooking class as a gift, you will get a free copy of the book for yourself (the recipient already gets one included with her class). You will be giving the gift of time and stress relief, which every mother deserves.

 

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