Friday, March 26, 2010

$0.39 oer serving ~ Super Fast Rotini with White Beans

Fridays are hectic in my house. We get home from work around 4:15 and at 5:15 I need to get Josh off to gymnastics. Usually we rely on "breakfast for dinner" but I had an idea for something fast and easy...

Super Fast Rotini with White Beans ~ $0.39 per serving, $2.55 total cost
1 13.25 oz. box whole grain rotini ($1.00)
olive oil
minced garlic
1- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, NOT drained ($0.80)
1- 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed ($0.75)
chopped dried onion
shredded or grated parmesan cheese

1. Boil water, cook and drain rotini according to package directions.
2. While waiting for water to boil/rotini to cook, saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant.
3. Add tomatoes, beans, and spices to taste. Bring to bubbling and cook about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve sauce over pasta, topped with cheese.
Makes 4 servings

The Verdict
Jim devoured this. Julia devoured it. Josh was grumpy and didn't eat at all. I really liked it too, and we have NO leftovers. I will definitely make this again, but I will double it next time! I served it with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce... YUM :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

$0.88 per serving ~ Bottom Round Pot Roast with Onion Gravy, Sheri's Roasted Carrots, and Mashed Potatoes

Every now and then my supermarket runs a bottom round special... a 2-3 lb. roast, a pound of stew cubes, and 2 pounds of sirloin steak at 99 cents a pound!!! That is just too good to pass up, but I rarely get to actually use the roast as is because a good roast takes a long time. It's been dreary, cold, and rainy this weekend, and I'm not going out, so I get to experiment! My girl Sheri, whom I've never met but know online for nearly 5 years, talked about this fantastic recipe for carrots as well, so I decided to try them too!

Bottom Round Pot Roast with Onion Gravy~ $5.00 total cost
1 3 lb. bottom round roast ($3.00)
Kosher salt
black pepper
crushed bay leaves
salt-free steak seasoning
1 cup beef stock ($1.50)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 large onions, sliced ($0.50)
4 tbsp minced garlic
more spices to taste
1-2 tbsp cornstarch
1-2 tbsp water

1. Mix the salt, pepper, and spices together in a small bowl (eyeball it, you need about 1/3 cup of the mixture.) Rub the mixture onto all sides of the roast. Brown the roast on all sides in a dutch oven or deep coverable stock pot.
2. Remove the roast to a plate. Deglaze the pot with stock and vinegar. Add more spices if desired (I added more rosemary and bay), sliced onions and minced garlic. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Place the roast on top of onion mixture, cover and reduce heat to low.
3. Simmer over low heat for 3 hours. Remove roast to platter and tent with foil, let stand 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch into water and then add to pot drippings. Stir until thickened. If desired, use immersion blender to puree onions.
4. Slice roast against the grain and serve topped with pan gravy.

Sheri's Roasted Carrots ~ $1.00 total cost
1 pound baby carrots ($1.00 at the Acme "buck a bag" sale!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, tossing once while cooking.

The Verdict
Josh did not speak until his plate was emptied. Jim pronounced it "fantastic", Jim's mom said it was delicious, and Julia said "yummy", disregarded her fork and proceeded to shovel it into her mouth with her fingers. I served it with Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes (they are so good and so fast) for a total meal cost of $8.00! We had at least 4 leftover helpings, so I'm calling this a 9 serving meal though I may use the leftover roast and onions for something else.

Alison's Aloha Bread

My high school friend Alison said "It's called Aloha bread because it's gone in seconds!" I liked that so much I named the recipe after her!

Alison's Aloha Bread
2 and 3/4 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 tsp coconut extract
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup coconut
2 mashed bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl by hand.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well blended.
3. Pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Makes 2 loaves of 8 servings each.

The Verdict
This is so moist and delicious, it's more like a cake than a quick bread. Josh likes it with cream cheese, I like it with butter, Jim likes it plain, and Julia likes it in her hair, on her face, on the floor... this one is definitely a hit. I wrap the second loaf tightly in plastic wrap and then foil to freeze it for a later date. Thaw it out and it's ready to slice!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Aunt Lina's Banana Bread

I'm not sure who Aunt Lina actually is. If you come from a big Italian family, anyone of your generation is your cousin and anyone of your parents' generation is your aunt or uncle, regardless of their actual relation to you (or lack thereof!) So finding a recipe in my mother's scrawled handwriting titled "Aunt Lina's Banana Bread" only tells me that someone my grandmother's age gave this to her. No recipe I've ever gotten from a grandmother has ever been bad! And I had some superripe bananas to use up!

Aunt Lina's Banana Bread
5 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of loaf pan.
2. Beat butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugars and beat well. Add egg, egg whites, and vanilla, beat until well blended. Add banana and beat on high for 30 seconds.
3. Combine dry ingredients (except nuts) in a bowl. Add half the flour mixture to better mixture and beat. Add milk and beat. Add rest of flour mixture and beat well. Add walnuts if desired and mix well.
4. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Tap twice on counter to make sure it is even. Bake until brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
5. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Wrap well and let sit overnight for best flavor.

The Verdict
It was delicious, it was hearty, it was... gone in two days. Success!