Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey all! I'm back on track. I had a little chat with my therapist and she gave me some nifty tricks for my anxiety and a lovely CD with her voice telling me to calm the heck down- all right it's not that blunt, but it should be! I can get soooooo worked up! But I'm trying to get it together.

It's a new week and my meal ideas are coming your way! Today I'm feeling a little cheap, so I'm going to share six meals that cost less than two dollars per serving. I think it's a good idea to have a few inexpensive meals in the planner for weeks when you need to trim from the food budget. So here they are:

Meal 1

2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 (1-inch-thick) slices 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup dry white wine 
3 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
While the noodles cook, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork with pepper and salt. Place pork in pan; cook 5 minutes, turning once.
Combine the wine and mustard; pour into pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.
Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into pan; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until thick. Serve pork with sauce and noodles.

Meal 2

6 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
3/4 cup fat-free refried beans
3/4 cup jarred red salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar (about 2 1/2 oz.)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mist every other cup of a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Press a tortilla into each sprayed cup, flattening out edges, and bake until golden, about 8 minutes.
Divide beans among tostadas, top with salsa and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until warmed through, 7 to 10 minutes.
Place each tostada on a plate and sprinkle with cilantro. Top with some lettuce and a small dollop of sour cream. Serve with extra salsa, if desired.

Meal 3

1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
1 cup frozen peas 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1/4 pound ham, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook tortellini until just al dente (do not overcook), as package label directs. Add peas to pot for last 30 seconds of cooking time.
Drain tortellini and peas and return to pot. Stir in butter, cream, salt, pepper, Parmesan and ham. Turn stove on to medium heat and cook, stirring, until ingredients are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Meal 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces 
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 onions, thinly sliced 
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Combine chicken, olive oil, curry powder and salt in slow cooker and toss to coat.
Sprinkle onions and garlic on top of chicken. Pour tomatoes on top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
During last hour of cooking, stir in chickpeas. Serve hot.

Meal 5

1 7-oz. can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon lime juice 
1 onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 2-lb. beef chuck pot roast, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
Corn tortillas, shredded lettuce and Jack cheese, sliced avocado and sour cream, all optional

In a blender or food processor, puree chipotle chiles with adobo sauce until smooth. Spoon 2 1/2 Tbsp. into slow cooker; reserve remainder for other uses. Add tomatoes, lime juice, onion and garlic; stir to combine. Season beef with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high until beef is tender enough to shred easily with a fork, about 6 hours. Using two forks, shred meat; spoon into a serving bowl with sauce. Serve beef with warmed corn tortillas, shredded lettuce and cheese, sliced avocado and sour cream, if desired.

Meal 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
one 15 oz (1 liter) white kidney (cannellini) beans
2 carrots, sliced
9 oz (250 g) spinach
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 slices Italian bread
1 quart (1 liter) chicken stock
2 tbsp grated Parmesan (optional), for serving
one 14.5 oz (411 g) chopped tomatoes

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, and leek and cook until softened but not colored. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes and their juices, and tomato paste.
In a bowl, mash half the beans with a fork and stir into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining beans and spinach and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Place a slice of bread in each soup bowl. Ladle in the soup, and, if you like, top with a sprinkling of Parmesan.


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