Monday, June 25, 2012

Meal Planner Monday

Challenge! Plan meals that are healthy and inexpensive! Can it be done? I think it can! Why you might ask would I proclaim such a bold declaration?! The proof is in my muffin top baby. Since beginning our our extreme lifestyle change, mainly eating more leafy greens and less meat, I've dropped quite a few pounds! How many, I do not know. You'd need to own a scale to now those important details and that contraption was banned from my house years ago. The true test is pant fitting without extreme overhang. It's a beautiful thing when you can pull up your pants and have them fit around your hips. Now if I only hand a butt to hold them up!

Here are six Healthy Recipes for your eating pleasure:

Quinoa, Mango & Black Bean Salad

 20 minutes


    • 1/2 cup quinoa,
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/4 cup orange juice 
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • 1 small mango, diced  
    • 1 small red bell pepper, diced 
    • 1 cup canned black beans,  rinsed 
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced   


          1. Toast quinoa in a small dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it crackles and becomes aromatic, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly. Return the quinoa to the pot and add water. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
          2. Meanwhile, whisk orange juice, cilantro, vinegar, oil, ginger, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add mango, bell pepper, beans and scallions; toss to coat.
          3. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add to the mango mixture and toss to combine.
        • Total Cost of this meal: $7.00
        • Moo Shu Vegetables

          ACTIVE TIME
           20 minutes


            • 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
            • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
            • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
            • 2 cloves garlic, minced
            • 1 12-ounce bag shredded mixed vegetables, such as “rainbow salad” or “broccoli slaw”
            • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
            • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
            • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
            • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
            • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce


                  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs; cook, stirring gently, until set, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
                  2. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, 1 minute. Add shredded vegetables, bean sprouts, half the sliced scallions, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved eggs and hoisin; cook, uncovered, stirring and breaking up the scrambled eggs, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions and remove from the heat.
                • Total Cost of this meal: $7.20
                • Grilled Corn Salad with Black Beans & Rice

                  ACTIVE TIME
                   30 minutes


                    • 2/3 cup short-grain brown rice
                    • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
                    • 3 large ears corn, husked
                    • 2 medium red onions, cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices
                    • 1 green bell pepper, cored and quartered lengthwise
                    • 1 small ripe avocado
                    • 1/2 cup hot tomato salsa, preferably chipotle
                    • 1/2 cup orange juice
                    • 1/3 cup lime juice
                    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
                    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
                    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
                    • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
                    • Baked tortilla chips, (optional)


                          1. Cook rice in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and rinse. Place in a large bowl, toss with beans and set aside.
                          2. Meanwhile, preheat grill.
                          3. Oil the grill rack. Grill corn, onions and bell pepper, turning frequently, until tender and charred, 10 to 12 minutes.
                          4. Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved rice and beans. Dice the bell pepper and half the onions; add to the rice mixture. Place the remaining onions in a mixing bowl. Peel and dice avocado; add half to rice mixture and half to the bowl with sliced onions.
                          5. Whisk salsa, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, oil and cumin in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss 3 tablespoons of the salsa mixture with sliced onions and avocado. Toss the rest with rice mixture.
                          6. Spoon rice mixture onto a serving dish and top with onion-avocado mixture. Serve with chips, if desired.
                        • Total Cost of this meal: $14.00
                        • Summer Vegetable Crêpes

                          ACTIVE TIME
                           30 minutes


                            • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
                            • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, divided, plus more for garnish
                            • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk
                            • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
                            • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
                            • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
                            • 2 cups chopped zucchini
                            • 1 1/4 cups chopped green beans
                            • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
                            • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
                            • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
                            • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
                            • 4 9-inch “ready-to-use” crêpes, (usually found in the produce section of the store or were the refrigerated tortillas are found)


                                  1. Stir sour cream, 1/4 cup chives, milk, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
                                  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, green beans and corn and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in ricotta, Monterey Jack, the remaining 1/4 cup chives, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently, until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
                                  3. To roll crêpes, place one on a piece of parchment or wax paper (or leave it on the piece of plastic separating the crêpes in the package). Spoon one-fourth of the vegetable-cheese mixture (about 3/4 cup) down the center of the crêpe. Use the paper (or plastic) to help you gently roll the crêpe around the filling. Place the crêpe seam-side down on a dinner plate. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling. Serve each crêpe topped with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce and more chives, if desired.
                                • Total Cost of this meal: $17.00 (About $7.00 Less if you make the crepes yourself)

                                • Tortellini Primavera

                                  ACTIVE TIME
                                   25 minutes


                                    • 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
                                    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                                    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
                                    • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
                                    • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese or 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
                                    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, dill or chives or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
                                    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
                                    • 4 cups chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and snap peas, or 16-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
                                    • 1 16-ounce package frozen cheese tortellini


                                          1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
                                          2. Meanwhile, whisk broth and flour in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth mixture to the pan, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese, tarragon (or dill or chives) and salt.
                                          3. Add vegetables and tortellini to the boiling water; return the water to a simmer and cook until the vegetables and tortellini are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain; add to the pan with the sauce and stir to coat.
                                        • Total Cost of this meal: $10.30

                                        • Ravioli with Arugula & Pecorino

                                          ACTIVE TIME
                                           20 minutes


                                            • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese ravioli, preferably whole-wheat
                                            • 1 large clove garlic, minced
                                            • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
                                            • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
                                            • 2 large shallots, sliced
                                            • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
                                            • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
                                            • Freshly ground pepper to taste
                                            • 6 cups arugula
                                            • 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


                                                  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook ravioli until tender, 7 to 9 minutes or according to package directions.
                                                  2. Meanwhile, mash garlic and salt into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife or back of a spoon. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic paste and shallots and cook, stirring often, until just starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, mustard and pepper; remove from the heat.
                                                  3. Drain the ravioli well. Place in a large bowl and toss with arugula and the dressing. Serve sprinkled with cheese.
                                                • Total Cost of this meal: $11.00

                                                Grand Total:

                                                $69.50- $76.50


                                      1. Ooo. These look delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

                                        I am in love with your blog...from your recipes to your frugal DIY's so inspiring. Thank you!

                                      2. Yummy, yummy scrumptious! I have to give these a try especially the corn and black beans!

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