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Ideas, suggestions and thoughts on my favorite topic.

Frugal Food January 19, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Entrees,Panini,Products,Soups,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 3:36 pm

Frugal is something that by nature, I am definitely not.  Especially when it comes to food.  When Ross and I got married, we knew that our biggest downfall is that neither of us is very good at all about spending money wisely.  We’re a little too “live in the moment” when it comes to spending!


However, there are a few major home improvement projects that we really  want to do, so we are trying to save money in order to complete them before we move out of this house.  We’ll see how it goes.  Unfortunately, food is the most logical area to cut back on.   After all, it’s easier to cut back on food than electricity or something, right? 


I think in part this is why I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  Our food just hasn’t been interesting enough to talk about.  I’m going to try to be more creative with our cheap groceries and get more interesting.  Food is one of my highlights each day; I look forward to dinner the second I finish lunch.  So, I want it to be exciting and fun and interesting, even if it is cheap.


There was chicken on a major sale at Lowe’s this past week and I bought a whole bunch.  I froze them in packs of 2 so that instead of making 1.5 lbs of chicken for just the 2 of us, I am making a more reasonable amount and saving the rest for another meal.  On Saturday, I took 2 chicken breasts and covered them with my favorite lemon garlic marinade from Wegman’s.  (I always bring a bunch of this back everytime I visit NY).  I let it cook for about 6 hours and then shredded the chicken with a fork.  We loaded ciabatta rolls with the shredded chicken, caramelized some red onions and sauteed some mushrooms and topped it all with a slice of Swiss.  We grilled these and ate them alongside a new and tasty soup. 


Campbell’s Select Harvest Caramelized French Onion Soup was wonderful.  It was close to some I’ve tasted at restaurants, and only required being heated in a pot.  It is lower in sodium than most French Onion soups, but didn’t taste like it was.  We threw a slice of cheese on top and let it melt and really enjoyed this with our sandwich.


Last night, I wanted to make homemade soup.  I have a recipe for one that we’ve only had once, but I remembered that we really liked it.  I cooked this up last night, and ended up tossing in the leftover shredded chicken from the night before.  2 chicken breasts fed 2 people for 2 meals!  I’m proud 🙂


Bean, Pasta and Pepper Soup


1 tablsespoon olive oil

2 large carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

1/2 cup uncooked diatalini pasta (I couldn’t find it so I used elbows)

1 can chicken broth (or veggie to make it vegetarian, and I used doulbe this amount)

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Heat oil in a pot.  Add carrots, celery, onion, parsley and garlic, cook until tender.  Add tomatoes, beans, pasta and broth.  Heat to boil.  Cover and cook 15 minutes or until pasta is done.  Add peppers and vinegar, heat through.


That’s all!  It is quick, easy, cheap and has a wonderful flavor.


Lots of Good Food! January 7, 2009

Filed under: Entrees,Life,Panini,Pasta,Side Dishes,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 2:22 am

I’ve been lazy about blogging this week!  I have a few great meals to catch up on.


On Sunday, I went to see Marley and Me.  It was a great movie, but I sobbed.  A lot.  It was worth it, though.  Being the wonderful guy Ross is, he made me a great dinner.  Homemade manicotti!  ALL homemade!  He found a recipe in the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine for them using crepes as the pasta.  Here’s the recipe.  He claims it was easy.


Three Cheese Manicotti

2 c ricotta cheese

1 3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 c grated romano cheese

1/3 c flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons  milk

3 large eggs

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3 c meat sauce (store bought or your own)


Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup romano, the parsley and milk.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with 1 cup water.  Whisk in the flour.


Heat a greased 8″ nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Ladle 3 tablespoons batter into the skillet, swirling to cover the surface of the pan.  Cook for 1 minute, flip and cook for 1 minute more.  Repeat with remaining batter, greasing the skillet after each crepe.  Stack the crepes on a plate.


Spread half of the meat sauce in a 9×13 pan.  Spoon the cheese mixture down the middle of each crepe.  Roll closed; arrange in the baking dish.  Top with the remaining meat sauce and cheeses.  Bake for 25 min.


Ross used regular marinara sauce and added browned ground beef/sausage mixture in with the cheese.  He also sauteed onions with the meat mixture.  It was awesome!


Last night we wanted something quick and easy since we were both pretty tired.  I made chicken tenders, seasoned with some Mediterranean spices and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  I put those on top of Rachael Ray’s Orzo with Chick Peas and it was delicious!  I love orzo and was excited to have a new recipe to use.


Today Ross found out that he got a promotion!  I told him he could pick if he wanted to go out to celebrate or stay home, and he decided to stay home and have… paninis!  He wanted something with ham. I searched for recipes, but couldn’t find anything too interesting, so I made one up.  I used French bread and Ross used honey wheat.  We put swiss cheese on the bread, honey ham, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and some red onion slices.  I made up a sauce that I put on mine by mixing together some mayo, a little Dijon mustard and some honey.  We grilled them up and they were delicious!


As a side note, one of my best friends had a baby yesterday.  Richale gave birth to KJ very early and he weighs only 1.4 pounds.  They were out of town for his birth, so although they live in Washington state, they are in Nevada indefinitely.  She’s told me he’s a fighter and is doing well considering how tiny he is.  Please keep Richale, Kyle and KJ in your thoughts and/or prayers.  I know they would appreciate it and I would, too!




Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner December 7, 2008

Filed under: Breakfast,Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Entrees,Life,Panini,Pasta — lindsayrose @ 12:26 am

I think today is the laziest day I have ever had in my life.  I am not one that finds it easy to sit around.  I can’t sit still for more than about 5 minutes, even to watch TV.  That is actually the main reason I started this blog, so that at night when I was attempting to sit down and relax but couldn’t, I would have something to occupy me. 


Well, it is after 5:00 pm and I am still in my pj’s.  I’ve only left the house to walk the dogs around the block, and I did that in my pj’s too.  I have been working on a Blackboard proficiency all day so that I can teach online classes next semester, but I have barely left the couch.  As much as I don’t do well with not having any plans, every now and then it is kind of nice.


During one of my breaks from my online work, I decided to put dinner together in the crock pot.  I bought ingredients last week to make Chicken Casserole with Swiss Cheese, a recipe out of  The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook (on sale at for $10.36 if you are looking for a holiday gift!).  It is a great cookbook that I have used tons of times over the past few years.  I’ve been trying to do at least one crock pot recipe a week, just to make life easier and to make evenings a little less rushed here and there.  Well, here is what I put together this morning.  We haven’t eaten yet, but it smells super delicious and I think the ingredients are going to be very uniquely tasty together.


Chicken Casserole with Swiss Cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 lb chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (I used about a pound and a half)

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced (as much as I love them, we were out and I wasn’t into going to the store, so no mushrooms tonight)

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

12 fresh basil leaves, minced (I used 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1 tablespoon minced onion (I’m out, so I used 1/2 of a medium sized onion, diced)

2 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon celery seeds (didn’t have any of those either, so I used 2 stalks of celery, chopped)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon milk Louisiana style pepper sauce

3 oz Swiss cheese, cubed (it calls for reduced fat, but I think cheese is the only thing I cannot stomach reduced fat versions of… and I am definitely using at least 5 or 6 oz.  I love cheese.)

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, toasted

8 oz rotelle pasta


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cicken and mushrooms; saute, stirring, until the chicken is lightly browned, 5-8 minutes.  **Since I used fresh onions and celery, I added those here, too.

Combine the chicken mixture, tomatoes, garlic, basil, onions, sugar, celery seeds, nutmeg and pepper sauce in the crock pot.  Cover, cook on LOW until the chicken is cooked through, 6-8 hours (mine is done and on warm and it’s only been 5 hours).  Stir in the cheese and cook until melted, about 20 minutes. 


Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain well and divide among 6 plates.  Top with the chicken-tomato mixture and bread crumbs.  **To toast breadcrumbs, place them in a non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat, shaking the skillet frequently until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes.
I can’t wait to eat this!!!!
Making food in the crock pot around noon made me hungry, so I had to fix something to eat. I finally decided on scrambled eggs, and figured I’d make it into a panini since I love them lately.  I just put cheddar cheese on one slice of bread, topped it with a slice of bacon broken up and scrambled eggs, then topped those with another slice of bacon, some monterey jack cheese and the top piece of bread.  I grilled it up and dipped it in ketchup (if you thikn that is gross, you just haven’t tried it yet.  So very good).  It was a perfect breakfast/lunch treat all in one!

Mmmmmmexican! October 22, 2008

Filed under: Entrees,Panini,Soups — lindsayrose @ 12:39 am

Tonight for dinner we tried a recipe that was posted on another blog I frequently read, The Peppertree.  The recipe for Creamy Black Bean Soup sounded delicious, and I immediately e-mailed the link to Ross and told him we had to try it.  We decided that tonight was the night.  We both really loved this soup.  It has a great flavor and the fresh cilantro added at the end makes it taste very fresh.  It is easy to put together and pretty cheap to make.  Making this soup reminded me once again how much I love my new Mario Batali Dutch oven.

Not only does it cook wonderfully, but I am amazed at how well it cleans up.  I don’t have a single dish, pot or pan that cleans up more easily than this.  It really just wipes clean.  I absolutely love it, and in the 3 months that we have had it we have used it a ton of times.  They are pricey, but I can tell that it will last forever and we use it so often that it makes it well worth it (not that we paid for it, it was a very generous gift from my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, but still… it was their money well spent)!


Along with the soup, I decided to make paninis.  We might as well put our other favorite kitchen appliance to use.

I bought some nice, fresh sub rolls from Lowes and made a mixture of sour cream, green onion, cilantro and a little bit of cumin.  With a spatula, I spread a thin layer of it on the bread.  On top of that on each half of bread I put a slice of pepper jack cheese.

In a skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, I sauteed some peppers and onions, sliced very thin.  I added 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips.  I cooked them most of the way through and added a tiny bit of taco seasoning mix and a little bit of water, then let it finish cooking. This mixture was placed on top of the bread, the top was slapped on and we put it on the panini maker to grill.


It was soooooooo good along with the soup.  We used the sour cream/green onion/cilantro mixture to top the soup with some cheddar cheese and it was so tasty.  We will have this meal again for sure.


I seem to be in a picture mood tonight and the camera was sitting on the counter when we sat down to eat, so I snapped this picture.  There is spilled soup on the counter and the presentation is nothing fancy (this is why I don’t normally take pictures of what we make), but it still looks good.  And it was.  Mmmmm.