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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Labor Day Meal Plan

August 26th, 2013

Labor Day Meal, serves 4 for less than $3.50 a person!

Labor day is quickly approaching! This national holiday on the first Monday of September results in a long weekend filled with relaxing, picnics, and spending time with family and friends. This simple menu is easy to prepare and easy on your wallet.

labor day menu plan

 

New labor day label

I put together this menu plan with a day of soaking up sun with friends and family in mind. The pita pocket is easy to eat on the go and provides the perfect opportunity to light up the grill or use stovetop and avoid turning on the oven in the heat. The carrots and whole wheat pita chips are finger foods that are packed with vitamins to keep everyone fueled throughout the day. The dessert will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth while featuring any fresh fruit that is in season.

The total cost of this meal is only $13.85. This breaks down to $3.46 per person.

Click here for recipes! I have separated the recipes into two sections, the first is recipes to prepare the night before serving the meal and the second is recipes to prepare the day of serving the meal.

Guest Blogger,

Liz Breuer

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Tomato Time – Yum

August 5th, 2013

tomato and spinach pastaTomatoes are by far the most popular vegetable grown in our gardens, and for good reason. They are tasty, nutritious, versatile, relatively easy to grow, and return high value for the space they occupy.

I love tomatoes, especially those sweet cherry and grape ones that give you a burst of flavor when you bite into them. Our featured recipe this month packs a lot of flavor into a fresh tasting, light pasta dish.

When I make this dish I substitute basil for some of the spinach and when I have garden tomatoes, sometimes I use large tomatoes. When I use large tomatoes I take the seeds out and cut the tomatoes into large chunks before I roast them. I think you could grill the tomatoes instead of roasting them, but I haven’t tried this yet. I usually serve a green salad, fruit and milk with this dish. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Serving Size: 1¼ cups | Servings: 4

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pasta Label

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 10 ounces) cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup oil (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups fresh spinach or a 10 ounce bag frozen spinach, thawed
  • 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rinse the tomatoes under running water. Cut in half. Spread on greased baking pan.
  3. Sprinkle olive oil (2 tablespoons), salt, pepper, and garlic powder on tomatoes. Stir to coat.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Prepare spinach and spaghetti as tomatoes bake.
  5. Rinse fresh spinach in water, slice in strips OR thaw, drain, and pat dry the frozen spinach. Set aside.
  6. Follow package directions to cook spaghetti. Drain.
  7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, Italian seasoning, spinach, and baked tomatoes to the spaghetti. Stir until heated through. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Peggy Signature

 

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Try Canned Salmon in Wraps

June 3rd, 2013

salmon Wrap with noteI can’t remember ever having salmon when I was a kid. The only canned fish we ate was tuna. As an adult I love to order grilled salmon, but I was not familiar with canned salmon until a couple of years ago. I started actively trying to get fish into my diet a couple of times a week, as advised by the 2010  Dietary Guidelines for Americans to increase my intake of omega-3 fatty acids, and discovered canned salmon in the process.

 

Here are a few things about salmon I have learned:

  • Generally, the redder the salmon the more expensive it is and the more fat it contains.
  • Pink and chum salmon are your best buy.
  • Canned salmon comes in a variety of sizes: the tall, 15½-ounce can contains about 2 cups; the 7¾-ounce can contains 1 cup; the 3¾-ounce can contains about ½ cup.
  • Canned salmon contains high-quality protein. It has a higher fat content than  white fish, but 3½ ounces of canned salmon contains less fat than 3½ ounces of broiled, lean ground beef.
  • The canning process makes salmon bones soft and digestible. When you mash the bones with a fork and mix into the flaked salmon no one will notice and you will get about 290 mg of calcium in a half cup of salmon (that’s the same amount as you get in a glass of milk).
  • Salt is added to canned salmon during processing. Draining and rinsing salmon reduces the sodium by about half.

These Salmon Wraps are a great for hot summer days. No cooking to heat up the kitchen and you can make them ahead. I have served them as both an entrée and as an appetizer. The most important thing to remember is to make sure all the ingredients are not too juicy. Pat the lettuce leaves dry, scoop the center out of the cucumber etc.  You can use tuna in the recipe, but you will get fewer omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon Wraps

Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1 wrap | Per Serving: $1.27

Ingredients:

salmon wraps label

4 ounces low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

1 can (14.75 ounces) salmon

3 tablespoons light Italian dressing

¼ teaspoon black pepper

6 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas

Rinsed lettuce or spinach leaves

1 cucumber

1 tomato

Directions:

1. Soften cream cheese in medium bowl or microwave for 10 seconds.

2. Wipe top of salmon can before opening. Drain salmon in a colander and rinse with water.

3. Add salmon, dressing, and pepper to cream cheese in medium bowl. Stir to blend.

4. Spread ⅓ cup filling on each tortilla. Spread to the edges.

5. Slice tomato thinly and cut slices in half.

6. Peel cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Cut in half crosswise. Lay on flat side and cut into narrow strips (⅓ inch in diameter).

7. Lay lettuce or spinach leaves in the center of the tortilla. Top with tomato and cucumber down the center of the tortilla.

8. Roll up tightly. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Peggy Signature

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Tips for Low Stress, Low Cost Entertaining

May 20th, 2013

caufliflower saladThis weekend is Memorial Day. Are you entertaining friends or family? If so, a little advance planning will save dollars and make your weekend less stressful.

Here are some tips:

  • Grocery stores will feature picnic foods this week. If your family grills or picnics frequently, you may be able to stock up and save.
  • If you are barbequing, consider having everyone bring their own main dish and a side dish to share. Assign appetizers, fruit sides, vegetable sides, and desserts. Then you can supply the beverages, grill, tableware, etc.
  • If you aren’t grilling, consider using the more inexpensive beef or pork roasts to make a batch of shredded meat to put on buns or serve with rice. Another idea would be Any Day Chicken Salad.
  • If you are making the sides for the party, don’t go overboard with choices. The greater the variety, the greater the expense, more time spent in preparing, and usually more leftovers. I plan one starchy side like potato salad/baked beans/macaroni salad, a fruit or vegetable salad/tray, plus a simple dessert like bars or cookies. If you are having shredded meat as I mentioned before, think about a big bowl of rice (very cheap and super easy to make, especially if you cook it in the oven or a rice steamer). Here are some ideas from our recipe collection. These are all very simple to make so your kids can help you (kids tend to enjoy eating food they help make).

Creamy Cauliflower Saladfruit kabobs and yogurt

Pasta Salad

Fruit Salad

Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

Waldorf Summer Salad

As for the beverages make ice tea, lemonade or a drink mix and have water and lemon slices on hand.

Keep it simple and enjoy your guests.

Peggy Signature

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Cookin’ it up for Mom on Mother’s Day

May 6th, 2013

justin and parker cooking

Even though I enjoy cooking meals for my family, it’s always nice to have someone else, like my husband, doing the cooking once in a while. When my husband cooks I request that he makes quiche and butternut squash soup, since those are his specialties. My 3-year-old son also likes to ‘cook’ but his plastic play food or imaginary food just is not very filling!

Mother’s Day, which is on May 12, is a good time to cook for mom. There’s always the option of going out to eat but we have a lot of tasty recipes that are easy to make and easy on the pocketbook on our Spend Smart. Eat Smart website to try. Here are a few ideas:

To Make Mom Breakfast in Bed, Try: For Lunch or Supper, Try:

Yogurt Parfaits

French Toast

Easy Quiche

Oatmeal Pancakes

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Skillet Lasagna

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake

Fish Tacos

mothers day fruit pizza

And for a sweet treat for mom, make Fruit Pizza!

Tip: If you’re a mom, make a copy of this blog and strategically place it for your family to see to give them a hint! :) Jodi Signature Read more…

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Frozen Fruit Cups

April 29th, 2013

Frozen Fruit cupsOne of these days the weather is going to turn warm and sunny and we are all going to be busting out of the house to enjoy gardening, walking, biking, soccer, picnics, and much more. When that time comes, I won’t want to spend time in the kitchen. I’m prepared with plans for some 15 minute meals plus meals in the freezer I can just thaw and serve.

A fruit salad, like our Frozen Fruit Cups, is great this time of year because berries are in season. I usually double or triple the Frozen Fruit Cup recipe, serve it for a meal, and freeze what is left in muffin cups. It tastes very fresh plus it’s low in calories.

The only thing tricky about this recipe is remembering when to get it out of the freezer. You want it to be slightly frozen when you serve it.

Frozen Fruit Cups

Serving Size:  ½ cup | Servings:  6

 

IngredientsFoodProSQL PDF File

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1 medium to large banana, sliced (about 6 ounces)

2 kiwi, sliced

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Directions

1. Mix strawberries with sugar in a bowl. Let sit 20-30 minutes while strawberries make juice.

2. Peel and slice banana and kiwi, add to strawberries.

3. Scoop ½ cup of the mixture into each of six muffin cups lined with paper.

4. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving.

 

Tips:

• 2 cups sliced frozen strawberries can be used and may be less expensive in the winter.
• Freeze ahead. Store fruit cups in a plastic freezer container.  They will keep several weeks in the freezer.
• Use other fruits your family enjoys such as mango or melon.
• Fruit cups can be made in small cups, custard cups, or small bowls.

Peggy Signature

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National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!

April 1st, 2013

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day is April 12. According to punchbowl.com the Romans were the first to make a cooked bread and cheese sandwich. The classic grilled cheese became popular in the 1920′s when inexpensive cheese and sliced bread became available.

Our Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches deliver all of the good filling ingredients but less bread (and calories). I have served them for lunch with soup and fruit and also as an appetizer cut into quarters. They are great because you just make them in a skillet on the stove. You can also modify them for your family by adding tomatoes or mushrooms and changing the type of cheese (but remember mozzarella is lower in fat and melts well).

Supreme Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Serving Size:  1 open faced sandwich | Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peppers, red or green (1 medium)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 slices (about 8 ounces) firm bread
  • 2 tablespoons light mayo or salad dressing
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 4 slices (3/4 ounce each) mozzarella cheese
  • Non-stick spray

Directions

  1. Slice onion and pepper very thin.
  2. Lay out 4 slices of bread and spread with the mayo.
  3. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.
  4. Add in layers the spinach leaves, peppers, onions, and a slice of cheese.
  5. Heat a skillet to medium low. Spray with non-stick spray. Lay sandwiches in pan. Cover with plate, lid, or aluminum foil.
  6. Heat sandwiches until cheese melts (about 2-3 minutes) or until the bottom is golden brown.
  7. Serve warm.

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Fiesta Skillet Dinner, Easy and Inexpensive

March 4th, 2013

Our feature recipe for March is Fiesta Skillet Dinner. Fixing up the recipe was easy while following the simple directions. The recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked chicken. I decided to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can use packaged, precooked chicken or precooked canned chicken.

While cooking the chicken, make sure the raw chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Poke a meat thermometer in the middle of the chicken to test for doneness. Overall, the recipe took about 30 minutes to cook from start to finish. Cooking the boneless skinless chicken breasts took the longest amount of time. To save time with cooking, I suggest cutting the raw chicken into cubes before cooking.

This dish is relatively inexpensive. The cost per serving is only $1.26 and 1 ½ cups is one serving.

This dish is loaded with flavor from the creamy cheddar cheese to the mild spice from the tomatoes and chili powder! My fiancé was very pleased with the robust flavor and dished up a second helping! Pair the dish with crunchy, raw vegetables such as carrots and slices of green pepper. Add a fruit for sweetness like a vanilla banana pudding parfait! If you are looking for a simple way to curb your taco or burrito craving, try the Fiesta Skillet Dinner today!

Guest Blogger,

Allyson Woltman , Iowa State University Dietetic Intern

Fiesta Skillet Dinner

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Serves: 5
Cost Per Serving: $1.26
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup prepared brown instant rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) Mexican style tomatoes
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions:
  1. Prepare the brown rice according to package directions.
  2. While the rice cooks, mix the tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder, and chicken in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
  3. Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve hot.
  • This recipe freezes really well.
  • Putting the cheese on top gives more flavor, but with less cheese.
  • Using canned corn increases the sodium.
  • Wrap in a tortilla to make a sandwich.
Tips:

Rinsing canned beans removes about 40% of the sodium.

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Valentine’s Day

February 11th, 2013

When Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, I’m in the mood for sweet treats. I love baking the traditional heart shaped sugar cookies once a year, but my fiancé complains about how bland those treats taste. This is why he normally buys me a box of individual chocolates every year so that he can eat a Valentine’s Day treat that pleases his taste buds too. For this year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I am on the hunt for a treat that both of us will enjoy. While searching on various websites, I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls. This recipe has several positive aspects. The recipe has few ingredients—only four items are needed for the whole recipe! Most of the ingredients are staples in the kitchen, and the preparation is simple without the need to preheat the oven! Eating one, one-inch peanut butter ball is low in calories, providing 70 calories per serving. This recipe is also kid friendly! Guide the kids to measure the ingredients, mix, and roll the mixture into 12 balls. Then have them sprinkle red, white, and pink sprinkles on top. Or drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate. Jump in the kitchen and surprise your family and friends with delightful peanut butter balls for Valentine’s Day!

Written by Allyson Woltman, Dietetic Intern

Peanut Butter Balls

Makes one dozen.

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

½ cup nonfat dry milk

½ cup crushed cereal flakes

1. Mix peanut butter, honey, and nonfat dry milk in a bowl.

2. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in cereal.

3. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

Nutrients Per Serving (One ball) Calories 70, Saturated Fat 0.5 g, Iron 0 mg, Protein 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Calcium 40 mg, Carbohydrates 9 g, Vitamin A 25 RE, Sodium 55 mg, Total Fat 2.5 g, Vitamin C 1 mg, Dietary Fiber 0 g

Recipe provided by Washington State Dairy Council http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/recipes/hhp/NFDM-Recipes.pdf

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Meatloaf… One of My Favorite Comfort Foods

February 4th, 2013

Our feature this month is Mouth Watering Meatloaf which includes grated vegetables and a whole grain (oatmeal). It tastes so good, and it is healthy, providing great amounts of protein and Vitamin A.

When I make this meatloaf I use 85% lean ground beef to save money. First, cover a cooling rack with foil. Then poke holes in the foil to allow the fat from the ground beef to drain. Then place cooling rack on top or inside of a cake or jelly roll pan. After the meatloaf is formed, place it on the foil covered cooling rack. If you are using a 90% or 95% lean ground beef there isn’t much fat to drain so you can use any baking dish you like.  You could also make the meatloaf with ground pork or ground turkey. Be sure to use a thermometer to make sure it is done.  The minimum internal cooking temperature for ground pork and beef is 160 degrees and  ground turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees.

I think one of the reasons I like this meatloaf is because of the sweet topping. We were careful to use a small amount of sugar. Since I am heating the oven when I make this meatloaf, I try to include baked potatoes or sweet potato fries in my menu.

Mouth Watering Meatloaf

Servings: 6 | Serving Size: 1/6 of loaf | Per Serving: $.88

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • ½ cup dry quick oats
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ketchup, divided (¼ cup in meatloaf and ¼ cup in sauce)

Sauce:
2 tablespoons brown sugar or white sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together the ground beef, onion, carrots, oats, milk, egg, black pepper, salt, and ¼ cup ketchup.
  3. Form the mixture into a loaf and place on broiler pan.*
  4. Bake for 50 minutes.
  5. Stir the remaining ¼ cup ketchup and sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Remove meatloaf from oven and spread the sauce over the top and sides of meatloaf.
  7. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.

* You can make a broiler pan by laying a wire cooling rack on top of a jellyroll pan or cake pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Poke holes in the aluminum foil so the meat juice can drain.

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