Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal planning, recipes, and grocery shopping - inspired by April

Okay, so it seems as though when you yap about your take on food, the way you prepare it, the way you get it, the way you store it, even the way you eat it, that people are going to have questions for you.

One of my closest friends read an article that I gave her out of a bi-monthly newsletter I subscribe to and after reading it, she decided to make some changes.

I spent some time with her last week going over her menus and explaining where I get all of my food. She is able to shop on a pretty tight budget, and although I am fairly frugal, I couldn't exactly tell you what I spend on groceries.
So, let me give you a run down of how my grocery shopping worked last week, and well, we'll just start there.

I did my shopping on Friday. I started at Wal-Mart for pasta, an onion, a small bag of green onions, all-natural Tom's toothpaste and deodorant, Cajun seasoning, Sargento Mexican shredded cheese, Alfredo sauce, and a new rug for the bathroom. Sams for Welch's grape juice, (which I found was cheaper at Wal-Mart :( darn), brown sugar, regular sugar, bananas, tomatoes (thanks to gina who told me they were pretty good), green peppers, milk, all-natural Classico spaghetti sauce, all-natural chicken, Ricotta cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese, and grapes. Beckley produce for eggs. Amish Barn for honey, which I am still trying to decide on where the best place is going to be to buy it, and sliced turkey. And then at Trio Consignment I found 2 pairs of shoes for Emma, and for me, a skirt, a shirt, and 3 pairs of capris....that didn't really matter, but I had to tell you that! by the way, had a credit and got it all for $8!
After talking with my friend, I realized that I cook very low maintenance meals for the most part. Greg loves them, I love them, and the kids love them, however, why is it I refrain from using some extras to spice things up? hmmmm....I don't I decided to live on the edge a bit and I bought some of the Cajun seasoning she had shown me at her house. Well, the seasoning she was asking me if I approved of...ha

Friday night I made spaghetti, and normally I just brown the meat, add my sauce, boil my noodles, and bam, that's it. I decided to chop up a tomato, a green pepper, and some onion to flavor the meat a bit. Then I added the sauce to simmer, and stirred in a cup of shredded mozzarella. The kids and Greg noticed the new sauce and loved it! Thanks for the inspiration to not be so boring April :)
Saturday for lunch, it was Mexican, and then that night, it was leftovers from Mexican. That's right, we do eat out, on rare occasions...We budget to have a meal out, as a family, once a week. Greg always picks Mexican, and the only one I love is the one at Beckley Crossing...their taco salad with chicken vs beef is soooo good! However, we all have learned to opt for water vs soda (which is hard for us pop lovers) and we no longer order the cheese for our chips, just too pricey.
Sunday was lunch at mawmaw's, which is always as far from healthy, organic, or anything of that matter as you can get, and as always, it was to die for yummo! Finished it off with a Reeses peanut butter cup and washed it down with a Mt. Dew. Now, are all of you people who have me on a pedestal feeling better? ha

Monday I decided to get a little off track again, and pulled out the Cajun seasoning I bought. I heated up 2 tblspoons of olive oil in my Wolfgang Puck pot ( love it ), and diced up 2 chicken breasts. While that was just starting to brown, I chopped up some green onion and a green pepper and threw it in, then lots of Cajun seasoning and some cracked pepper. While my whole grain pasta was boiling, I poured in my Alfredo sauce and then added 1/2 a jar of water. Drained pasta, stirred it in, got out Ethan and Emma's servings and then finished it off with some more Cajun seasoning for me and Greg. Again, yummo!
While I was cooking dinner last night, I went ahead and baked 2 chicken breasts, sliced into long pieces @ 350 for about 45 minutes in a dish on aluminum foil with just a tad bit of butter on top of it. I let it cool and cut 1/2 of it up for chicken salad.
I love chicken salad. However, I had never tried to make my own. Well, let me mention my friend April again here, she had some a few weeks ago that I thought was so good, so I just figured I'd give it a try. I tried to think about things I knew were in different types of it that I liked, and I just put it all together.
Well, it was so good, especially on my homemade bread, that I had an extremely hard time stopping myself from taste testing! Greg was leery, because he said he never likes chicken salad, and yet he was thrilled with it, too.

I didn't really measure out anything, I just kinda did a bit of this and a bit of that. It started with dicing up the chicken, probably about 2 cups of diced chicken. Then I cut up some green onions, and some red. Chopped up some grapes and 1/2 of an apple, poured in about a cup of the cheese and added 3 large whopping tablespoons of mayo.
More on this chicken salad, how April also inspired me to organize my recipes and to get a grip on my spending in the next blog...this one was too long as is :) imagine that...

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