Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Low budget calls for creative menu planning!

So, we've been pinching our pennies which is hard but a blessing in disguise because we/I am able to come up with some pretty creative meals (luckily my kids will at least try anything, Ian...well, if it's got meat in it, he'll eat it). Menu planning has, in itself, been a grocery bill saver; I'm guessing that by planning out each week's dinners has cut my grocery bill in half and has left me with bare cupboards and fridge by the time we're onto next week. Rather than filled with spoiled uneaten, don't know what to do with food. I make sure to keep the staples on hand, of course, which come in handy for the creativity when we're making chicken salad out of chicken shit (thanks Dad for that one :) ). AND with summer time here and veggies in full swing in our garden with lots of our usual veggie staples (tomatoes, green peppers, onions etc) we're really able to cut our grocery costs. PLUS it's organic, I know where it's been and what's been on it or in it from seed to thriving plant. Growing your own food rocks, and for some reason, kids who will not likely touch a slice of a cucumber that you buy from the store but will pluck ready to go (or even not so ready to go) cukes right off the plant and eat it (dirt and all) from the garden. I love summer, if only I could have a veggie garden all year long.
So creative meal number one:
Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas with Sauteed Green Peppers and Onions
1/2can black beans, rinsed
shredded cheese of choice ( I used mild cheddar)
baby spinach leaves
corn tortillas (flour-white or whole wheat will work or Labash)
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
cumin,garlic powder and salt to taste
In skillet, sautee green peppers and onions (and raw garlic if you have some on hand) in a bit of canola or olive oil. Meanwhile, layer one tortilla with a bit of cheese, black beans, spinach, cumin, garlic and salt and a bit more of cheese and top with another tortilla (you want cheese touching both tortillas in order to hold itself together, esp important during flipping). On medium heat brown both sides of your quesadilla, letting cheese melt. Top with sauteed peppers and onions (cilantro and sour cream would be awesome on this too). Enjoy!

Next is Blue Cheese BST (Bacon, Spinach and Tomato) Sandwiches
This is basically a regular ol BLT, though in place of Mayo (happened to run out the day before) we used Blue Cheese dressing (chunky), put a few slices of havarti cheese, crisp bacon, baby spinach leaves, tomato slices on some french bread and Voila! Blue Cheese BSTs:)

Big time staple lunch around here for me, is the Green Pepper and Onion Egg Burrito
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner
1/2 green pepper
1/2 med onion
1 egg, plus 1 egg white beaten with a tbsp of water
corn or flour tortillas
black beans rinsed and drained
Sautee green pepper and onion in either olive oil or canola oil, on medium-high heat until slightly tender. Spread peppers and onions over skillet evenly and pour egg over top, let cook and flip (there's an art to this, and sometimes I can manage a clean flip, most times not) to cook the other side. Once cooked on both sides and all the way through (just a few minutes), remove from heat. Turn heat up high and toast tortillas on both sides (about 30 seconds each side, or until golden). Divide egg/pepper/onion "omlet" into tortillas, spoon in some black beans, salsa and cilantro (opt). roll up like a soft shell taco and enjoy! Great with sour cream and guac too. It's excellent plain or all doctored up, just depends on how big of a meal you want to make out of it.

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