Have you ever eaten eggplant? Many years ago, I had eggplant at a restaurant and it was not good, so I thought I must not like it. Fast forward to a few years ago, when a student in our office told me I had to try this eggplant recipe – Baba Ganoush. I knew I did not like eggplant, but she ensured me I would like this recipe. So, my children and I went to the farmers market that weekend and bought a beautiful purple and white eggplant and I made Baba Ganoush for the first time. It turns out that, although that restaurant meal was not great, I actually really like eggplant.
Our September recipe of the month is Baba Ganoush thanks to a student who pushed me outside of my comfort zone. If eggplant is also outside of your comfort zone, this recipe is a great way to try it out. You can use Baba Ganoush in the same way you would use hummus – as a dip or a spread or in our Zucchini Hummus Wraps. Eggplant is in season now, so you can easily find one at the grocery store or farmers market. To find out how to choose and store an eggplant, read our Eggplant Produce Basics.
Our August recipe of the month is Crunchy Coleslaw. This refreshing recipe is one of my favorites. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days, but I eat it for any meal or snack so it is usually gone in a day or two. To make this recipe, you break apart a package of dry ramen noodles and add them to a bowl with coleslaw mix, green onions, and a homemade dressing. This recipe is best if you let it marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.
Reading about the progress in Christine and Katy’s gardens has me thinking about using fresh cabbage for this recipe instead of a bag of coleslaw. I rarely use fresh cabbage, so I looked it up on our Produce Basics. To use a fresh cabbage for this recipe, all I need to do is remove any wilted outer leaves, wash it, cut out the core, and chop it into thin strips. If I spy a cabbage at the farmers market, I think I will give it a try.
Our July recipe of the month is Brown Rice “Risotto”. This is not a traditional risotto recipe which slowly cooks white rice with broth. This mock risotto recipe is much quicker. It calls for instant brown rice and cooks in about 20 minutes making it ideal for someone who needs a quick meal.
In my opinion, one of the best things about this recipe is its flexibility. It can easily go from a side dish to a main dish by stirring in pre-cooked meat or fish towards the end of the cooking time. I have enjoyed chicken, ham, and shrimp added to this recipe. I also like how the recipe allows for substitutions. You can change out the seasonings and the vegetables depending on what you like and what you have on hand. Mushrooms are one of my favorite vegetables, so adding fresh mushrooms and cooking them with the onion and rice is a treat for me.
At Spend Smart. Eat Smart. we like flexible recipes because you can make them your own with flavors and ingredients you enjoy and have on hand. Here are some other flexible recipes to try out:
Our July recipe of the month is Banana Ice Cream. This is a tasty summer treat that my family likes to make and eat together. My daughter, Eliza, helped me make some over the weekend and she did a great job! You can watch our kitchen adventures in the Banana Ice Cream video.
Banana Ice Cream is one of our summer favorites because:
It is a great use for overripe bananas. I find that bananas ripen very quickly in the summer, so I have to find creative ways of using them before they go bad.
It is a simple recipe. It only requires bananas and a little bit of milk. In the evening, Eliza helped me slice and freeze the bananas. The next morning, she ran the blender while I added the milk.
It works for any meal or snack. Eliza likes to have Banana Ice Cream for breakfast because she likes to tell people that she is allowed to eat ice cream for breakfast.
It is ice cream on demand if you keep sliced bananas in the freezer. No need to go out and wait in line at the ice cream shop on a hot night.
If you have some bananas ripening too fast like we did, give Banana Ice Cream a try. I think you will like it. Enjoy!
Our June recipe of the month is Roasted Broccoli. Broccoli is in season right now, so that means it may be ready to eat from your garden, available at your local farmers market, and less expensive at the grocery store. If you are interested in learning more about seasonal vegetables, check out this Fresh Vegetable Guide. An important thing to remember when buying broccoli is that it is less expensive to buy broccoli in a bunch rather than pre-cut.
This recipe is a great way for my family to eat up the broccoli that is available right now. In my home, there are two different types of children – those who like their vegetables cooked and those who like them raw. When I have fresh broccoli on hand, I cut it all up then I leave some raw and roast the rest of it. This makes everyone happy.
To make this recipe, cut up your broccoli. If you are new to cutting up broccoli, check out this quick video for some pointers. Next, coat the broccoli with oil, salt, and pepper. Finally, bake the broccoli for about 15 minutes. If you have never roasted broccoli before, give this recipe a try, I think you will like it.
Our May recipe of the month is White Bean Dip. Last month, our recipe was Spicy Tuna Salad and, along with that recipe, I shared about using shelf stable sources of protein. I keep coming back to this topic as I see less meat available during my (on-line) grocery trips.
As the weather warms up, my family likes to eat simple meals so we can get back outside and play. Our White Bean Dip served with crackers and vegetable slices makes a quick and tasty lunch alongside some slices of cheese and fruit. Here are some other ideas for quick meals that use beans as a shelf stable protein:
I did not know when I was working on this recipe two years ago how timely it would be today. Our April recipe of the month is Spicy Tuna Salad. This recipe is particularly useful as we social distance and our trips to the grocery store are fewer and farther between. This recipe uses two sources of shelf stable protein – tuna and beans.
When I know I cannot get to the grocery store often, I rely on shelf stable sources of protein. These include tuna and salmon in cans or pouches, canned beans, dried beans and lentils, and canned chicken. If you find yourself reaching for one of these sources of protein to round out a meal this week, here are some ideas for how to use them:
No Knead Whole Wheat Bread is a favorite in my home. My family has been making fewer trips to the grocery store as we continue to social distance. I have not been to the store in 12 days, so that means our supply of fresh foods is running low. But we still really like to have bread with our meals, so I have been making homemade bread more often. For the past two Sundays, we have worked to make a loaf of this bread together. To make it, you pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl, beat them together, spread the dough in a pan, let the dough rise, bake the bread, and serve.
Here are some ways we enjoy this bread in my home:
As a side dish to soups, salads, and casseroles.
Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Toast with butter or peanut butter.
Bread and butter as a morning snack.
I hope you like this recipe as much as my family does and find it useful during this time. To turn bread making into a family activity, have children of all ages help with measuring and taking turns beating the dough.
Our March recipe of the month is Vegetable Frittata. We have breakfast for supper once each week at my home, so I use this recipe often. When my children see this recipe on the table, they call it egg pizza because we cut it into triangles when we serve it.
Here are some of the reasons why Vegetable Frittata is on my favorites list:
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. Plus, my family really likes eggs.
I can chop up vegetables that are leftover from other meals for this recipe. Almost any vegetable will work.
It comes together quickly. This is a good recipe for a night when I do not have much time to cook.
The leftovers make a tasty breakfast. We do not have leftovers of this recipe very often, but when we do, they taste great when reheated in the microwave for breakfast the next morning.
One important thing to remember about this recipe is to use an ovenproof skillet. The last step is to broil the eggs in the oven for a few minutes, so you want to be sure it is safe to put your skillet in the oven.
Our February recipe of the month is Overnight Oats. This recipe makes breakfast time easy and filling. In the evening, you stir together your oats and liquid ingredients, tightly cover the mixture, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add your favorite toppings and enjoy a great tasting and filling breakfast.
We have three different types of overnight oats for you to try – pumpkin, peanut butter, and yogurt. Here is how I like my overnight oats:
Pumpkin: the pumpkin overnight oats are my favorite because I love everything pumpkin flavored. I usually just stir a teaspoon of chia seeds into these oats.
Peanut butter: the peanut butter overnight oats fill me up the most because of the added protein and fat from the peanut butter. I love bananas with peanut butter, so I usually add a sliced banana to these oats.
Yogurt: yogurt is a food that I have a hard time eating on its own, so mixing yogurt into oats is a great way for me to get the benefits of yogurt. I like to add berries and chopped nuts to these oats.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own with the liquid ingredients and the toppings. The link to the recipe is below and it includes all three varieties of overnight oats.