Monday, September 13, 2010

Money Saving Monday

Going into this week, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able stick to our budget.  There were great sales on meat so I knew I would be spending a good chunk on just that. Luckily, I had a lot of produce from last week and there wasn't a lot of good sales to push me over . And in the end, I wound up under budget! $76 spent! Here is what I got:
Produce Junction:
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli 
  • Basil

Shop Rite:
  •  4 Rolls of Toilet Paper
  • 5 Bottles Pepsi Max
  • 1 Pack of Boneless Chicken
  • 6 Purdue Chicken Roasters
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Saltines
Redner's Market
  • 3 Packs of Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 8 Rolls of Toilet Paper
  • 1 Pack of Scrapple
  • 1 Can of Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 Jar of Horseradish 
  • 2 Packs of  Cat Treats

The Chickens were on sale for .69lb at Shop Rite, and they also had a coupon in there circular for 1 pack of boneless chicken breast for 1.49lb - this is a really cheap price! I also had a coupon that I earned  from RecycleBank for $5 off when you spend $40, which makes it like I got 1 chicken for free!I am able to buy so much meat because I am fortunate enough to have an extra freezer to store everything.  If you have extra room in your freezer, stock up on meat when it is at a good sale price and you will save a fortune!

    Pesto Turkey Burgers

    So we've gone a little pesto crazy here at YHC, so here is another recipe!!

    • 1 lb Ground Turkey
    • 4 heaping tbsp of Pesto
    • 1 Cup of Mushrooms, Finely minced
    • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
    • Mayo
    • Tomato, Sliced
    • American Cheese
    • Rolls
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    1.  Combine ground turkey, 2 tbsp of pesto, mushrooms, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper.  Mix Well.  Score into an X so that meat is even when you form patties

    2.  Form into 2 patties. Make indentation in the center to help with even cooking 

    3. Heat pan to medium high. Coat pan with evoo.  Add burgers and cook for about 6 minutes per-side
    4. Top burgers with cheese and melt.
    5. Toast buns lightly and slice a tomato
    6. Make pesto mayo, the ratio we us is 2 tbsp of may for every 1 of pesto

    This burger is really good made on the BBQ as well.  Usually that is where I would make it, but it was raining.

    Football Food: Pesto Deviled Eggs

    My husband and I are huge football fans.  On Sunday's during football season, you can count on it that we will be:
    • At home
    • On the coach, watching our sports package
    • Cheering for the Broncos, LOUDLY (even though we live in Philadelphia)
    • Eating some yummy homemade food.
    My husband is a great cook, so on Sundays we each make an appetizer or two so we have plenty to snack on for the 1:00 and 4:00 games.  Each week, I am going to post about something that one of us has made.  This week, we made Pesto Deviled eggs -  Because right now we're pesto crazy!

    • Eggs
    • Pesto
    • Mayo (we use light)
    • Spicey Mustard
    • Paprika
    • Cayenne Pepper (optional)
    1. Cover eggs in a pot of cool water.  Bring to a rapid boil and remove from heat. Let stand for 12 minutes, and you'll have perfect eggs every time.  Drain and crack eggs, let set in cold water to cook.  Using eggs that are less fresh (sitting in the fridge a week, but not expired) will peal easier then fresh eggs.

    2. Slice eggs in half long ways, and put yolk into bowl. Reserve egg whites.

    3. Mix with Pesto and Mayo. Use a ratio of 3 tsbp of pesto to 4 tsbp of mayo. Pesto adds flavor but if it isn't creamy, add more mayo.

    4. Mix in 1-2 squirts of brown mustard.

    5. Take a ziploc bag and fill corner with mixture. Cut off tip. Use like a piping bag, to fill each egg white.

    6. Top each with a pinch of cayenne and paprika

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Menu Planning Saturday

     I love planning a menu.  This is the first time I've ever stuck with making a meal plan and I find it freeing because I don't have to put any thought into "whats for dinner?"  BUT I seem to be having a hard time actually sticking to it! I find myself using the same ingredients to make something different, which is fine but maybe I should start planning my ingredients instead of my meals!

    • Sunday: Leftover
    • Monday: Pork Chops, Stuffing, Green Beans
    • Tuesday: Grilled Salmon, Corn on the Cob, Rice
    • Wednesday: Sausage Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, Green Beans
    • Thursday:  Boca Veggie Burgers, Salad
    • Friday: Stuffed Peppers
    • Saturday: Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

    Cooking anything good this week? I’d love to hear about it!

    Yummy Basil Almond Pesto

    One of my favorite things to cook with is pesto. It is so full of flavor that it can be added it to almost anything for a delicious meal. I make a large batch because it stores well in the fridge for atleast a week. After that, I will freeze whatever is left in ice cube trays, so it is easy to defrost a small amount.
    A few things we add pesto to:
    • Pasta - Hot like spaghetti or cold like pasta salad
    • Burgers
    • Mayo to make a sandwich spread.
    • Bread
    • Eggs
    • Soup

    •  8 Cups of loosely packed fresh basil
    • 1 Cup of Almonds
    • 2 of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Head of Garlic, Peeled
    • 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
    • 1 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
    • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
    1.  Preheat over to 400 degrees. Lay almonds out on a cookie sheet, and toast for  10 minutes. These burn easy, so be careful

    2. Combine basil and garlic in food processor. Turn on medium high to make room to add the nuts.

    3. Let nuts cool, so that they don't melt the cheese.

    4.  Combine all ingredients besides the Evoo. Turn on medium. Begin to drizzle Evoo in the top of the food processor, while on.  Blend for awhile to make sure everything is well mixed.

    5. Store in container in fridge

    Pesto is normally made with pine nuts, but I've always made it with almonds or walnuts.  Not only do I prefer the taste, they are also cheaper

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Grilled Peaches

    This past weekend my husband and I went to pick peaches at a local orchard (Styer Orchard). I couldn't believe the wonderful taste that these peaches held. There is something amazing about fruit picked with your own hands. The freshness can not be beat. We were grilling a lot over the weekend for Labor Day so I decided to grill some peaces for dessert.  I've seen this on countless cooking shows but never tried it. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much it changes the flavor. They were oh so yummy.

    1. Wash and remove core from peaches.

    2.  Pre-heat grill to a medium/medium-low temperature. Spray peaches with a non-stick cooking stray and place on grill.

    3. Close lid and let cook for 5 - 10 minutes, depending on how hot your grill gets.

    4. Check for nice char marks on peaches. They should be soft but not falling apart.

    5.  Serve plain, with cool whip, or vanilla ice cream.

    Peach season is almost over, you only have until mid September before they disappear from local markets. So make sure to get out to your farmers markets to pick some up this weekend! 

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

    Tonight we were feeling a bit under the weather, so I decided to scrap the tacos and make some homemade chicken noodle soup. It is amazing the powers that are held with in a good chicken noodle soup. Hubby and I both commented on how much it helped to improve how we were feeling!

    • 12 cups of homemade chicken stock 
      • I keep this stocked in our freezer. You could try to make this with a really good store bought, but I've never done that so I'm not sure how it would turn out
    • 2 Chicken Breast (or left over roasted chicken is very good!)
    •  2 tbsp Evoo
    • 1 cup of onion, diced
    • 1 cup of celery, diced
    • 2 cups of carrots, sliced (usually use more but that is all we had)
    • 2 Bay leaves
    • 2 tbsp dry parsley
    • 2 Bouillon cubes - chicken

     1. Dice chicken into small pieces, season with salt and pepper. Heat and coat pan with evoo. Cook chicken until done.

    2. Heat large pot and coat bottom with evoo. Add carrots, onion, and celery. Cover and cook on low for 5-10 minutes, until veggies are tender.

    3. Add chicken, bay leaves, parsley, bouillon and chicken stock. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer on low for about an hour.

    4. Cook pasta until al dente. Rinse pasta with water.

    5. Serve by adding pasta to bowl, then chicken, then broth. Store leftover pasta separate from soup or the pasta will absorb all your yummy broth.


    Tip Tuesday: Lengthen the Life of Your Produce

    Some of you may have been looking at my shopping trip that I posted yesterday wondering how I am able to use so much produce before it goes bad, especially because I mentioned that it will last me into this coming week. This week for Tip Tuesday I will show you how I package my produce. By taking the extra time to care for you produce when you bring it home, you will
    • Waste less because food stays better longer
    • Spend less money becuase you are throwing less out
    • Save time. Prepping vegetables at once will improve your cooking time
    • Eat more produce because you will have it prepped and ready to go
    When I go produce shopping, I make sure that I have about a 2 hour window for prep work. This might seem like a lot but I am actually doing to enough chopping and washing to last for over a week.


    1. Each Stalk for celery into 2-3 pieces, removing any pieces you won't normally use.

    2.  Clean sink and then fill with water. Add celery and swish around to clean.

    3.  Drain in stainer until mostly dry before packaging

    4.  Fold paper towel twice over. Wet and ring out, so that it is damp.

    5. Place paper towel in bottom of gallon sized ziploc bag, this is what I do with all my produce. Add celery to top.

    Tomatoes:  Clean, Dry, Bag.  I also chop 2-3 days worth of the ripest for easy salads

    Romaine Lettuce: Chop, Clean, Dry well in salad spinner, Bag. Make sure not to store under heavy veggies in crisper.

    Peppers: Clean out inside, Wash, Dry.  Normally I just package in halfs, so if I want to roast a pepper, I have that option.  But this week I knew I was making sausage, peppers, and onions, so I cut into strips.

    I use these same techniques with all of my produce. At the same time I wash all fruit and chop any melons, as long as they are ripe. Plus I chop some onions so they are easy to grab.  The longer that I've done this, the less time it takes me. In the long run it is well worth a couple hours of work at once.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Money Saving Monday

    Each week I will be giving you an update on how I did on sticking to my $100 budget. I am happy to tell you, that I have $7.32 to spare! Here is what I bought and some tips on getting a lot for a little:

    • 1 Hammermill Copy Paper
    • 4 Oscar Myer Angus Hot Dogs
    • 2 Mission Tortillas Wraps
    • 1Friendship Cottage Cheese
    • 1 Friendship Light Sour Cream
    • 6 DelMonte Ready to Blend Fruit Smoothie Kit (Free after coupon)
    • 1 Large Package of London Broil
    • 1 Large Package of Ground Beef
    •  Thai Kitchen Instant Noodle Soup (Free after coupon)
    • 1 Carolina Rice (Free after coupon)
    •  4 Ears of Corn
    • Half and Half
    • 2 Orange Juice
    • 1 Gallon Milk
    • 1 Oregano
    • 1 Paprika
    • 2 Dozen Eggs
    • 2 Blocks of Mozzarella cheese (that I'll grate myself)
    • 1 Pack of Hamburger and Hot Dog Rolls
    • 2 Bags of onions
    Produce Junction:
    • Ton of Banana's
    • 2 Cantaloupe
    • 1 Pineapple
    • Celery
    • Red Peppers
    • Potatoes
    • 1 bag of white onion
    • 2 Large Eggplant
    • Large bag Plum Tomatoes
    • 3 lbs carrots
    • 3 Bundles of Scallions
    • 3 Heads of Romaine Lettuce

     Styer Orchard
    • 13 Pounds of Veggies
      • 12 Pounds of Tomatoes for Homemade Sauce
      • 3 White Eggplants
      • A few small peppers
    •  10 Pounds of Peaches
    By the time I was done, I got enough produce to last us well into the following week. One way I save money is by using coupons.  If you would like to learn more about using coupons, check out Living Rich With Coupons. It is a great blog that will teach you the ins and outs in the beginners section. Then each week, the deals for multiple supermarkets are listed. Including where you can find the coupons that you need.

    Another way to save is by getting to know your prices. While I saved this week at shop rite buy using coupons, it saved me even more by not buying my produce there.  It is unbelievable how much cheaper Produce Junction is then buying from a supermarket. Check out whatever local produce stand that you have, and find which one is cheapest!

    Aldi is a supermarket that dells mostly Aldi brand items.  There products are either exactly the same as the original or very close. I shop there for anything that I can't get on sale. Again, if you get to know your prices, you will be able to see what is cheaper here compared to the regular supermarket.

    This weekend was the first time that I visited Styer Orchard, a local "Pick your own" farm.  My husband and I had so much fun picking our own produce! I would really recommend looking into local farms, especially if you have children.  It was so refreshing to hear a very young girl get off of the hayride and exclaim, "Oooh Mom!! Peppers!! They have peppers!!". By the time we left, we had 23 pounds of produce and only spent $16. Plus, the atmosphere is so different then from living in a city. The employees of the farm are so friendly and caring. We will definitely be going back a few more times before winter hits.

    This coming week is going to be a pricey one. I've found some good prices for meat to stock up on for the up coming month, so most of the budget will be going towards that.

    Anyone have a great shopping trip this week to share? I'd love to hear about it!

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Stuffed Shells

    Last night I made an AWESOME stuffed shells recipe.  I've never made stuffed shells before, and can't believe how simple they are.  Check out the original recipe at

    Turkey Spinach Stuffed Shells

    • 1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
    • 2 tablespoons parsley
    • 2 cups cottage cheese
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 bag of  Homemade Mushroom Sauce 
    • 1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. In a large skillet saute, garlic and onions
    3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente; drain. Rinse under cold water.  (Normally I wouldn't do this, because it causes the sauce to stick better, but you need to be able to handle the noodles)

    4.  Drain Spinach. Take a Clean dish towel and squeeze until all liquid is gone

    4.  Add ground turkey and cook until evenly brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.  .

    5.  Combine spinach, parsley, cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese

    6.  Remove ground turkey heat and combine with cottage cheese mixture.

    8.  Stuff each shell and place into 9x13 pan. I sprayed the pan with Pam

    9.  Cover with sauce

    10. Top with mozzarella cheese.
    11. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 @ Degrees
    12. Finish under Broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown cheese

    These were definitely one of the best stuffed shells I've ever had.  I never knew I could substitute cottage cheese for ricotta and not know the difference. The only thing I would change next time, is not adding the mozzarella.  It was a bit to much and made it very difficult to get the shells out without loosing the inside.

    Now I have enough leftovers to feed an army!