Thursday, April 30, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal April 30 - May 7

Bargain Meal of the Week

Do you have recipes that bring back good memories? The August 2002 issue of Cooking Light had a recipe for Crawfish and Corn over Gouda Mashed Potatoes. We had just moved into a new house, in a new city, for my husband to attend graduate school. I had three weeks off before I started my job, was busy painting and unpacking, and every night, I tried to cook supper with the least amount of heat in the house (we didn't have air conditioning, for the first time in our lives). This is one of the meals from that time period. It has become a family favorite, and I've made it so many times since that hot night in August. Like all good recipes, it has become very flexible over the years, and it can encompass much more than the original.

The original is very good, but also not $5. So, in the interest of keeping it a bargain meal favorite, I'll show you how I make it for normal weeknights. It also goes without saying that this recipe needs a fair amount of hot sauce at the table.

Crawfish and Corn over Smoked Gouda Potatoes (aka Shrimp and Corn over Rice)
2 cups hot cooked rice--Uncle Ben's on sale 5 lb/$3.50--$0.28

2 tablespoons butter--$0.15
1 cup chopped onion--$0.25
4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)--on sale 4/$1--$1.50
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and chopped--on sale $4.99/lb--$2.50
1/2 cup chopped onions--$0.25
Fresh tyme sprig (optional)--are your herbs growing yet??

To prepare shrimp, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Stir in corn; saute 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, red pepper, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and shrimp; saute 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated and shrimp is pink. Remove from heat; stir in green onions. Serve shrimp mixture over rice. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Serve with broccoli (frozen)--on sale 32 oz/$1.69--$0.85

Total cost--$5.78

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Date night!

Picasa was acting a little wonky with my pictures this week, so these are a little slow getting up. This weekend was beautiful! My husband is the king of the yard around here. My chief job is to admire and entertain kiddos while he works on it. And, honestly, I think I have the best end of that bargain! I hate to sweat (tell me again why I live in the south.... but I digress). So, for date night this week, I found some steaks on sale, and I talked Mike into grilling. We were able to sit on the back deck and admire his beautiful yard, freshly mowed, and his beautiful garden, with tiny little seedlings smiling up at us.

As always, we had to have a special drink. No pictures unfortunately. This week's drink was a sparkling honey grapefruit soda. Gotta love the soda club machine!

Salad, with the end of the pickled beets from last summer

Steak and baked potato. Really, what could be better?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kroger Bargain Meal April 26- May 2

Bargain Meal of the Week

Is it summer where you are? It definitely feels like late spring here. I told my husband that I could live with this weather every single day of the year. I'd miss tomatoes in July, but other than that, I think I could handle it. It's just so beautiful and warm out there. Even for someone that avoids outside a good part of the year, there is something enticing about the spring.

So, in honor of this fabulous weather, this week's Kroger sales call out for a simple, grilled supper. I like chicken breasts with the bone in. I think the flavor is better, plus you get the bones for stock. However, I have found that if you just serve the whole breast "as is", the meat doesn't go as far. I usually grill/roast/whatever, then take the meat off the bones. We find that we're satisfied with 1/2 pound of meat, which is roughly half a large chicken breast. We're big eaters, so that's not denying ourselves, either. It's what works for me.

If you remember from this post, we love a huge variety of barbecue sauces. I think that this white one (from northern Alabama) is really good. Go ahead. Click over there. You've never even heard of white sauce. I hadn't either until Mike traveled over to Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue in north Alabama on business. Now, even my mayo-hating husband likes it. Go figure.

Grilled chicken breasts--on sale $0.99/lb--$1.99
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (Duke's of course)--$3.29/quart--$1.02
1/4 cup horseradish--$0.25
3 tablespoons cider vinegar--$0.20
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Serve with:
Corn on the cob--on sale 3/$1--$1.33
Cucumbers--on sale $0.49--$0.98

Total Cost--$5.77

Meal Plan Monday

My mom has a beautiful backyard, where she's been busy all weekend planting and weeding, readying everything for summer. We're headed over there today to enjoy the sunshine and maybe even do a little digging in the dirt ourselves. Enjoy the day everyone! Oh, and if you have time, don't forget to check out orgjunkie's menu plan Monday for lots of inspiration.

Breakfasts: cheese toast, cereal, oatmeal. On Saturdays, sometimes I cook, but not this week. LOL. Sunday, I did make a test version of bread pudding (that was really good).

Lunches: leftovers, ramen, salad.

Friday: venison french dips, succotash salad

Saturday: leftovers (lunch), steaks, salad, baked potatoes (supper)

Sunday: out (lunch), clam chowder (supper)

Monday: crockpot chili

Tuesday: tacos with venison, beans, cheese, salsa AND tacos with chorizo and potatoes (not quite enough of either filling--smile)

Wednesday: chana masala, rice, raita

Thursday: chicken pot pie (if it's cool enough for the oven)

Also, this week, I have a brunch potluck, so I'm taking a bread pudding made with leftover muffins, biscuits, and hamburger buns. As well as this breakfast casserole. (We take 2 dishes, but we only take food to every 4th meeting, so still a good deal for me)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal April 23-29

Bargain Meal of the Week
In my family, and in my region, barbecue is a big deal. Everyone has their favorite. I'm very, very lucky that I married a man that grew up only an hour away from my hometown. He understands barbecue. He likes the same type as me. Whew. I'd hate to be in a mixed marriage. Or worse yet, in a marriage with someone that considered grilling out hamburgers "barbecue".

Thank you, God, that you care about the small things.

So, this week's meal is two meals. The first is simple. Barbecued pork butt, corn on the cob, and baked beans. Generally, in the summer, my husband does the butt on the grill, but if the weather doesn't cooperate, I've had good luck slow roasting in the oven. It isn't barbecue, but it's pretty good. We like a variety of barbecue sauce in our house, from vinegar based to ketchup based to the hybrid unique to my hometown, half vinegar, half ketchup based. It's good stuff. If we have pork for supper, I generally make 2 or 3 sauces to go with it. This (without the liquid smoke) is one of them. And, for baked beans, well, y'all, I'm still in love with the lowly pork n' beans in a can from my childhood. There you go. Dirty food secrets.

Pork--on sale $1.69/lb--cook it all, eat about 1 pound--$1.69
Corn--on sale 4/$1--$1
Baked beans--approx $0.50/can--$1
Ketchup--on sale buy one, get one free--$0.87/bottle--1 cup for sauce--$0.30
spices, brown sugar, worchestershire for sauce--$0.20

Total cost for this meal--$4.19

Then, for the leftovers...Brunswick stew. In talking to my friends from other parts of the country, many of them have never had this meal. Shocking! Honestly, that's crazy talk to me. There are as many ways to make this as there are people, but here's how I do it. This is based on a recipe from the cookbook, Best of the Best from Georgia. We love stew, and anytime I can talk Mike into barbecueing, I get him to make extra meat just for the stew. Extra meat also freezes well, so sometimes I get him to do a ton, so we can have this meal anytime.

1 pound leftover pork--on sale--$1.69
1 pound leftover chicken--on sale--$1.69
Hot sauce, to taste, 1+ teaspoons
Worchestershire to taste, but 2+ tablespoons
Barbecue sauce to taste, 1/2 cup+--leftover from your barbecue meal--free
Lemon juice to taste
White vinegar to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups ketchup--on sale--$0.45
2 cups diced potato, cooked--on sale $1.97/5 lbs--$0.40
1 package frozen corn--approx $1
Enough water to get it to a soupy consistency (how's that for precise? LOL)

You just throw all that in a pot, simmer for 30 minutes to 3 hours, then serve. You'll noticed that there is a lot of "to taste." It's because stew is really very, very personal. In some parts of the world (um, Alabama), they put lima beans in the stew. Here's another (chicken only) take on the recipe from (she has some great recipes so if you haven't already, check her out!).

In my house, we also run the whole thing through the food processor so that it has a more chopped texture. That's just us, though, cause we love a local place that does the same. Lots of people just leave it as is, and that's not bad, either. Brunswick stew serves a lot. We usually freeze half for another busy day (and it's a huge treat to find it in the freezer), so I'd say it easily serves 8.

We eat this with white bread, potato chips, and slaw. Healthy I tell ya, healthy.

White (loaf) bread--nothing fancy here--approx $1
Chips--approx $1
Slaw--we'll be generous and call it $1, too

Total cost (for 4)--half of stew, plus sides--$5.62

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Birthday Meal

I love birthdays. I love remembering someone on their birthday (though we all have seasons of life that make that harder some years than others), and I love celebrating someone's presence in our lives. My husband's family of origin didn't do much for birthdays. My family always went out to eat (birthday person's choice!) for birthdays. As a young family, we don't have a lot of birthday traditions (yet!), but we're leaning toward the birthday person choosing whatever they want at home.

I love to cook, and it is fun to create a special meal. If I start to despise cooking, we'll start getting take-out. LOL

Mike loves Mexican food. I used to work at a Hispanic clinic, and everyone there teased me that I cooked more Mexican food than Mexican people. They were almost right. We do love the spicy, flavorful food of Mexico. Yum!
So, for this birthday meal, I broke out my trusty Rick Bayless cookbook, Mexico, One Plate at a Time.
I chose a favorite recipe to repeat.
I dragged my husband shopping, to the Buford Highway Farmers' Market. I had heard that they were recently remodeled, and that it held all sorts of treats. Mike dearly loves the "treat" part of grocery shopping. He got two new kinds of coke.
Discovered two new kinds of hot sauce after a brief meeting of the minds with a fellow hot sauce lover in the aisle.
Because it was a birthday, I splurged on out of season tomatoes (shocking!). Roasted, they are pretty good in salsa. Nothing like August, but it'll do.

Salsa, all ready for eating.

The true highlight of the Buford Highway Farmers' Market? Fresh masa. I've been looking for fresh masa for years. These tortillas? Soooo good. Soooo good. Like an El Milagro tortilla (which aren't bad in and of themselves), but a thousand times better. Masa is like crack. I'm already plotting my next trip to get some.

I roasted and peeled poblanos.

This is queso fundido. Melty, cheesy, and really good. It's roasted poblanos, homemade chorizo, and queso quesadilla all melted together to form this molten goodness that you can't stop eating.
We made it into tacos with the roasted tomato salsa and tortillas.
Happy Birthday Mike!

Date night!

Saturday night, in a HUGE break from our usual at-home date nights, we got to go out. In public. Without children. Enjoy a meal that didn't include a single bib, a highchair, or the phrase, "food is for eating only." Special thanks go to Honey and Poppy (my mom and stepdad) for keeping our monkeys.

Oh, and because it was a birthday, we went to a wonderful local place with a James Beard nominated chef. To die for.

buffaloed quail breasts with chopped lettuce,
celery, carrot and ‘ranch’ dressing
grilled skirt steak, salsa rossa, a spring stew of asparagus,
farro, shiitake, swiss chard
maple pecan pie

Everything...the company, the meal, the childless-ness. Everything was so wonderful. We can't wait to do it again.

Kroger Bargain Meal April 19-25

Bargain Meal of the Week
We spent yesterday at a state park, having a picnic and celebrating my husband's 37th birthday, and, so, I stepped away from the Kroger Bargain meal for a day. The day was gorgeous--I wish you could have all been there to enjoy wonderful 65 degree weather with us.
Today's meal is sloppy joes with roasted potatoes and canteloupe. I make my own sloppy joes, and it's always a little of this and a little of that. But, I'd say it usually turns out similar to this recipe. I almost always put a spoon of pepper jelly in instead of the brown sugar. It is really, really good. Try it!

Hamburger--on sale--$1.77
Tomato sauce--2 cups--$1
other seasonings--pennies
bell pepper--free if you have a source; otherwise leave it out
Hamburger buns--on sale $1/8 buns--$0.50
Potatoes--on sale $3.99/10 lbs--$0.80
Canteloupe--on sale--$1.38

Total cost--$5.70

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

I should rename my meal plan "Meal Plan Friday", because that's really when my week starts. But, then, there would be no catchy ring, no fancy orgjunkie gathering to link to, and I think it becomes obvious why I stick with "Meal Plan Monday." ~smile~

Friday: sparkling honey lemonade, buttered garlic saltines, hamburgers, pinto bean/corn salad, roasted sweet potatoes

Saturday: leftover hamburgers (lunch), OUT (supper)

Sunday: quesadillas (lunch), homemade tortillas with queso fundido con chorizo y rajas (YUM!), roasted tomato salsa. Pictures here. (supper)

Monday: soup made with garbanzos, tomatoes, & greens, served over small pasta, salad

Tuesday: red beans and rice with andouille, salad

Wednesday: venison pot pie (from the Silver Palate Good Times cookbook)

Thursday: chicken parmesan, spaghetti, salad

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mustard Seeds

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Matthew 17:20

This verse has always been one that has encouraged me. Such a teeny tiny amount of faith we need--the size of a mustard seed! How exciting! How refreshing! So much so, I used to keep a few mustard seeds on my desk to remind me of this verse.

My boys have a way of changing the way I do things. I think I'll stick to remembering the verse in my head from now on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Planning

Last weeks' menu plan went shockingly according to plan! I did make chicken piccata over polenta and spinach instead of the white beans (had some manager's special spinach to use), but other than that, I made what was plan on (even more shocking) the day it was planned! We'll see how this week turns out.

Friday--black bean and sweet potato burritos
Saturday--broccoli cheese soup (lunch), shrimp scampi over linguine, salad (supper)
Sunday--pizza (lunch), biscuits and sausage gravy (supper)
Monday--grits and grillades, salad
Tuesday--going to try again on this white bean stew
Thursday--fried chicken livers, rice, lima beans

I love reading everyone's menus over at orgjunkie. How about you?

Publix Bargain Meal April 13-22

Bargain Meal of the Week

Heads up--Publix's specials this week are really for 10 days, due to the Easter holiday.

This week, the best meal deal seems to be a simple one. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. I use this tomato soup recipe. Y'all. It's really, really good. Sometimes, I also add a diced onion with the tomatoes. If it's not basil season (and around here, that's not quite yet), then I sometimes top the soup with a little bit of sour cream and dill. Either way, it's fantastic.

Bread (use half a loaf)--on sale $1.85/loaf--$0.90
cheese--on sale $1.69/8 oz--$1.60
tomatoes--Hunt's on sale $0.70/can--$1.40
butter--approx $0.50
cream--approx $1

Total cost--$5.40

As always, there are lots of great ideas at Erin's $5 Dinners blog roundup. Check them out!

Kroger Bargain Meal April 12-18

Bargain Meal of the Week

This week, Kroger has pork loin on sale. Normally, I buy pork loins and cut them into chops for us to eat. I allow about 4-6 ounces per serving. We like pork a lot, and it's a fairly reasonable cut of meat for us.

This week, I read an awesome recipe from The New York Times for pork loin stuffed with figs. It calls for the whole pork loin, which sounds great, but is a little pricier than $5 for a weekday meal. I have also made a recipe similar to this in the past, but some of the ingredients can get pricey as well. But, a combination of the two might be just the ticket!

Pork loin--on sale $1.99/lb--16 ounces for 4 people--$2
Dried figs (to stuff in the pork chops)--approx $1
Rosemary (fresh from your yard or dried)--pennies
Red wine for a reduction sauce--$3/bottle wine--1/2 cup--$0.50

Serve with simple side dishes:
honeymoon salad--"lettuce alone"--hahaha--on sale $1.39/head--$1.39
salad dressing--we like oil and vinegar--$0.35

Total cost--$5.54

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Date night

Last night was fun!
Fried chicken sushi (yes, bizarre, but really, really good)
Sweet potato and black bean burritos (a bit bizarre as well, equally as good)
Sparkling lemonade (a bit tart, but we survived)

Nothing went together, but it was all good, and as always, the company was the best part.

And, in really, really (I mean really!) big news.... Next week's date night is OUT OF THE HOUSE . My mom is baby-sitting for Mike's birthday date. Woohoo!!! We can't wait.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Food

When my first son was a baby, he balked a little at homemade baby food. Okay, he balked a LOT. A whole lot. He wasn't having any part of it. Oh, I tried. But, in the end, I hated seeing my efforts rejected time and time again. I gave up and fed him the beautifully smooth stuff in a jar. He was happy, I was happy that he was happy, and all was well.

Fast forward two years. We have a new baby around the house now. (as an aside...isn't he the cutest thing you ever saw?) This baby is a bit more laid back. A bit less likely to balk. Add to that a mama that is a little more calm and less likely to freak out if a baby rejects a new offering once or twice or ten times (as another aside...what is it about kids that really, really forces the issue of not sweating the small stuff?? I'm not sure I like this whole growing and stretching stuff **smile**).

All that added to up to.... homemade baby food! I've had a lot of fun making baby food this time. My little one has only been eating for a month, so it's still been slow going. But, so far, we've had oatmeal, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes (as my Mamama used to call them), egg yolk, carrots, spinach, applesauce, blueberries, peas, and pumpkin. As well as avocado, banana, and since this is Mike's baby, too, pieces of tortilla.

His favorite is what Will calls "super baby food." A (kinda gross, truthfully) mixture of applesauce, egg yolk, and spinach. He also loves all the orange stuff--pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, and the like. He gets to try butternut squash this week.

So, now, I get to open my freezer and see these beautiful little ice cubes in fabulous colors. Does my heart good.

Let's hope his non-pickiness sticks around for a long, long time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


One guess to the flavor of cupcakes we made yesterday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kroger Bargain Meal April 5-11

Bargain Meal of the Week

We love ham at my house. The first time my toddler had it was in a restaurant. He asked, "what's this?" We told him, and he responded, "Ham good!" So now, in our house, we always refer to it as "ham good!"

This week's meal is an easy, separate (as opposed to a casserole) meal.

Ham--on sale $0.99/lb--$1.98
Sweet potatoes--on sale $0.49/lb--$1
Green beans--on sale $0.99/lb--$1
And, as a nod to my dad, brown and serve rolls--on sale $0.99--$1
Total cost--$5

As always, there are many other bargain meals of the week featured at $5 dinners. Check them out!

Menu Planning

What would Monday be without the menu plan? In my house, I usually write it out on Thursdays, then grocery shop on Fridays. But, it seriously becomes my brain. When I sit down to plan my week, I try to arrange the easy meals for days that I know I'll need those, the oven meals for days the weather is colder, and so on. (**disclaimer** those are the good weeks**)

Real life often involves things like your dog eating your dinner on an average Sunday night or eating up all the freezer meals as you recover from a crazy hard hitting (but thankfully short) cold that winds its way through your household. I'm looking forward to a quiet week!

Friday: steamed dumplings, hot and sour soup

Saturday: leftovers (lunch), take out pizza (supper)

Sunday: leftover pizza (lunch), big salads with grilled chicken, black beans and corn (the dog really loved the chicken!) (supper)

Monday:venison stew over egg noodles

Tuesday: chicken country captain, rice, salad

Wednesday: tamale pie

Thursday: a white bean stew similar to this, but not quite

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal April 2-11

Bargain Meal of the Week

My family loves a dish we refer to as sausage cornbread. It is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Southern Living's October 2003 issue. I've been making it ever since. It's very versatile, too. It's great made into muffins (mini or regular) for a savory covered dish item, it's great cut into small squares for an appetizer, and most often, I just make it in my cast iron skillet for a casserole type main dish. (Oh, by the way... Publix's ad is especially long this time because of Easter. The same ad is in effect until April 11.)

Sausage Cornbread

1/2 pound spicy ground pork sausage--on sale $2.50/lb--$1.25
1 medium onion, diced--$0.25
1 cup self rising cornmeal mix (like this )--$0.10
1 egg--$0.10
1 cup buttermilk--approximately $0.25 (if you can't get cheap buttermilk,
sweet milk is fine)
1/4 cup vegetable oil--on sale $2/48 ounces--$0.08
2 cups cooked black eyed peas--use dried for maximum money saving--$0.25
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese--on sale--$1.67
3/4 cup cream-style corn--if I have this, it does taste great, but I usually just
put frozen corn (thawed) through the food processor for a few seconds--
frozen on sale $1/16 ounces--$0.50
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeƱo peppers--$0.25
2 chopped fresh jalapenos (seed if desired)--$0.20

Cook sausage and onion together until done.

Stir together eggs, buttermilk, and oil until combined. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. (Batter will not be smooth.) Add sausage mixture, peas, and remaining ingredients to batter, stirring well.

Pour into a hot greased 9 inch skillet.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until golden and set.

Total cost--$4.90 for easily 6 servings, so $3.26 for 4 servings

That cheaper price allows you to add a spinach salad--on sale--$1.25
and serve the casserole as my husband loves it--topped with salsa--on sale--$0.25

With side dishes, total cost--$4.51


Suddenly, it's 1986, we're having spaghetti, and the garlic sticks are magically repurposed hot dog buns.

Oh, wait. It's 2009. Those aren't Sebagos on my feet. That's not Olivia Newton John in the background. And I was the one that cooked supper, not my dear mama!

Stretching a dollar is the one thing that never goes out of style.

Gumbo and Potato salad

After being reluctant to try something new (oh, if only my children knew that I was being all "do as I say, not as I do"), we finally had the gumbo and potato salad. And this is how happy you'll be

if only you try this

It really is good, good stuff. My mama was right.
Who knew?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009