Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slow-Cooker Meatball Stew

Thursdays are a big day around here. In the mornings we have a homeschool science class on the Human Body. In the afternoon/evening we have gymnastics for both girls. My poor son is dragged to the gym. Well...the white stuff was pounding us again and science class was postponed (AGAIN). Gymnastics still happened in spite of the snow. Thankfully, my husband stayed home for the day and spared my son from sitting at the gym for 2 1/2 hours!

I have, however, put my planned dinner in the crockpot and regardless of what happens, we had hot, warm, comforting dinner in the midst of the snowicane (yes, a real word they have coined this year, sad).

The highest compliment food can receive in this house is that it is "blogworthy". This received HIGH praise! :) So, for you, here it is!

Slow-Cooker Meatball Stew

1 Bag Mama Cozzi Original Style Meatballs ($1.99)
1 lb. Baby Carrots (.99)
1 stalk celery, chopped (.10)
1/4 Large onion (or half small) (.10)
1 green pepper, chopped (.99/2)
3 to 4 medium sized red potatoes, quartered ($2.49/5 lbs)
2 Cans Fit & Active Cream of Chicken Soup (.69/can)
1 clove garlic (.05)

Starting with the onions, layer in a 4 or 5 quart slow-cooker. In this order: onions, carrots, celery, pepper, potatos, garlic. Place meatballs on top (make sure still frozen). Pour the soup over top. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours. RESIST THE URGE TO STIR TO OFTEN!!! The meatballs soften quite a bit, and if you stir too much you'll break them up.

Makes 6 servings @ .94 per serving.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Texa-Mexa Black Bean & Corn Chili

We lived in Phoenix for 4 years, which only further solidified our absolute love for good Mexican food. In Phoenix, there are Mexican restaurants on every corner (sort of like pizza shops in Philly). Tacos, chili, tortilla soups, enchilladas, and women selling tamales out of the back of their cars! This chili is a blend of flavors, less "americana" due to the choices of beans, etc.

I do need to give my husband credit, he was the first to "beef up" our chili by adding black beans and corn. So yummy!

Texa-Mexa Black Bean & Corn Chili

1 20 oz package Fit & Active Ground Turkey ($2.49)
1 15 oz Can Dakota Black Beans, drained (.55)
1 15 oz Can Happy Harvest Diced Tomatoes, drained (.55)
1 8 oz can Happy Harvest Tomato Sauce (.25)
Frozen Corn, thawed (I fill one of the empty 15 oz cans with corn to measure) (.99)
3 Tbs. Spice Club Chili Powder (.10)
1 1/2 Tbs Spice Club Cumin (.05)
1 Tbs Spice Club Onion Powder (.02)
1 Tbs Spice Club Garlic Powder (.02)
Pinch salt

Brown ground turkey in skillet. Drain black beans and tomatoes and add to browned turkey. Add tomato sauce and corn. Stir in spices cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. This makes 6 servings at $.84/serving!

I like to serve with shredded mild cheddar cheese and sour cream as condiments. This increases the per serving cost minimally! :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti

The idea for this recipe originated from Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee of Food Network fame. The episodes aired within a day of each other, if I remember correctly (we're going back a few years here!). Rachel Ray's version was a bar cookie using prepackaged sugar cookie dough, coconut, macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. Sandra Lee's used the same ingredients, but hers were a drop cookie, and instead of including the white chocolate chips INSIDE, she melted and drizzled on top. Either way, I can't think of a more perfect combination of flavors for a cookie and a sweet treat.

Record-breaking snow falls this week have turned my mind to baking, again. It keeps the kitchen warm, keeps my hand busy. Lets face it, hot chocolate tastes so much better with cookies to dip into it, right? Well...tea, coffee, hot chocolate, you NEED biscotti. Using the flavor profile of the Ray/Lee cookies, I set out to create a biscotti that would satisfy.

The added benefit of these being a great treat for your sweet coming into Valentine's Day!

Coconut Macadamia Biscotti

2/3 Cup sugar (2.29/4 lb bag - .20)
2 large eggs (1.29/dozen - .22)
1 tsp vanilla extract (.99/bottle - .10)
1 teaspoon baking powder (1.19 - .05)
1/4 teaspoon salt (.01)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (1.99/5 lb bag - .15)
1/2 cup Southern Grove Macadamia Nuts, chopped (4.99/2 cup package - $1.25)
1/2 cup Baker's Corner Coconut (1.29/3 cup bag - .22)

1 bag Bakers Corner White Baking Chips (1.69)
1 tsp Carlini Canola Oil (.05)
1/4 cup milk (3.59/gallon - .06)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall off the beater in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped macadamia nuts and coconut.

Transfer the dough to your parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log, about 12 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. You may have to dampen your hands, or coat with cooking spray to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer the log to a cutting board, using a serrated knife cut into 3/4 inch slices. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To glaze the biscotti, melt the white baking chips, oil and milk in a double boiler until smooth. Dip biscotti in the mixture and place on parchment paper do "dry". Refrigerate if you just can't wait!!! With the leftover white chocolate - pour in a container and refrigerate until solid but soft. Scoop by tablespoonful and roll into balls....white chocolate truffles as a bonus!!!

Makes about 10-12 biscotti (cost per biscotti - .33 - .40, I think we can agree that's better than a Starbuck's Biscotti!!!)

Pork Chops in Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce

A way back when my oldest was still a bun in the oven, and I subscribed to all the baby things i could get, I received a monthly mailing from Carnation called "Very Best Baby" magazine. Every month they would send recipe cards with delicious, healthy recipes using Carnation products. One of my favorite recipes was the pork tenderloin in mustard cream sauce. I have long since lost the recipe, so I set out today hoping to recreate it using some of my favorite Aldi ingredients, I did have to sneak an non-Aldi ingredient, but it can be omitted OR purchased at another store rather cheaply.

Pork Chops in Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce

1 1/4 - 1/2 lbs of Roseland Bonless Pork Chops (2.89/lb - this package was $4.28) - used it all
3/4 Cup Friendly Farms Evaporated Milk (.39/can) - used .22
1/4 Cup Fit & Active Chicken Broth (.59/can) - used .08
1 Tbs. Dijion Mustard (our brand is currently called "Tate", but it used to be "Briargate", 1.19/btl) - used about .05
1 clove garlic, crushed (.69 for 3 full bulbs!) - used about .05
2 or 3 scallions (green onions), sliced thinly on the bias (.99 for 15) used .12

Place pork chops between plastic wrap sheets and pound to about to about 1/4" thickness. Salt & pepper lightly.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat and and spray pan with Carlini Canola Oil Spray ($1.39/can!).

Add two pieces of the pork to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm, repeat with remaining pork. Remove 2nd set of pork. Add evaporated milk and chicken broth to the pan and scrape pan with spatula while warming it up to loosen the pork drippings into the milk, this process is called deglazing (fancy term for scraping up the extra bits, huh???) Add dijon mustard, stir in well. Add crushed garlic and allow to thicken slightly. Return pork to pan, turning to coat in the sauce. Sprinkle scallions over top and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. This is $.80/serving!

I like to serve with Fit & Active Quick Brown Rice ($1.49 for a 10 serving box) and steamed green beans (.99 in Frozen section). Add these, and it's still about $1.10 serving!

I hope you enjoy this one! A comment or two wouldn't hurt so I know you're all out there! ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cranberry Orange Muffins

A few weeks ago, we had the delight to travel with our oldest daughter to Scranton area as she competed in the Janet Rothenberg Memorial Gymnastics Meet. We stayed in a BEAUTIFUL Raddison hotel. If you have the chance, check it out - and get a salad because they have the most incredible citrus champagne viniagrette, I could have drunk VATS of it!!!

Anyway, due to the time in the morning that we needed to report for the meet, we ordered room service for breakfast. One of them included cranberry orange muffins. They were good....but not worth room service prices for sure.

I've been smelling, tasting, and desiring for the last few weeks, I decided to raid my pantry stock of Aldi goodies to see if I could recreate - or rather reinvent - these delicacies.

As it turns out, I actually had the Southern Grove Dried Whole Cranberries in my cabinet leftover from Christmas baking! Therefore, doctoring up the blueberry muffin recipe on the Baker's Corner All Purpose Baking Mix made these tidbits more than possible. A reality, in fact!

Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 Cups Baker's Corner Baking Mix ($1.89/box - has about 10 cups per box - .38)
1/3 Cup Sugar (2.29 for 5 lb bag - used very little....going to guestimate .20)
2/3 Cup Milk ($3.59/gallon - .08)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil - ($2.49 for 32 oz - .21)
1 Tbs Sugar (.01)
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract (1.99/2 oz - .40)
1 Large Egg (1.29/dozen - .11)
3/4 Cups Dried Cranberries (I got this package on sale for 1.29 when Aldi was clearing out - so basing on that - .97)

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together baking mix and 1/3 Cup sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Gently fold in dried cranberries. Place in greased muffin tin (or line with paper liners), fill almost full, using the 1 tbs of extra sugar, sprinkle the tops of the filled muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (watch that you don't overbake as that will dry them out).

I calculate the total to be $2.36 for this whole recipe. You can get 6 (for filled almost to the top) or 10 (filled about 1/2 to 2/3 way to the top). So that works out to be $.39 to $.22 per muffin.

Take that Otis Spunkmeyer!