Thursday, May 30, 2013

Detox Week 3

Eating this way now feels normal to me. I feel light and strong and energized! I've gotten much faster at grocery shopping and I'm finding it interesting that there is so much food at the store that I have no desire to eat! I've also noticed that by not eating dairy and gluten, it's relatively easy to eat healthy because it automatically eliminates most of the junk food out there. I need to totally rethink my food philosophy from this point forward. On a negative note, the detox has kind of burnt me out from cooking. It's exhausting to plan and cook every single meal and snack for 3 weeks for 5 people - 3 of whom are not completely on the detox. I really feel for people who have to do this all the time because of food allergies, sensitivities, etc. Anyway, here are a few recipes I enjoyed from my final detox week.

Rice Noodles with Broccoli Almond Pesto

Avocado and Black Bean Tacos

Halibut with Roasted Beets

Grilled Beef Skewers with Zucchini and Mint

Creamy Mango Pops

Banana Ice Cream

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Detox Week 2

Fish has never tasted so good! I'm generally not even a fish person, but after eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds for a week - it tastes freaking AMAZING! And I have so much energy from adding back gluten-free grains. We also packed up our Maryland house this week and hung out with friends and all of the delicious food that comes with them. I packed a cooler of my own food and so was able to resist eating pulled pork, iced Amish raisin bread, Ledo's Pizza, and waffles. It was tough, but I didn't have any of the food/beer hangovers that I saw my friends struggle with either. The only times I find myself really craving non-detox foods are when I'm over-hungry or stressed. Yoga helps with the stress and I try to have healthy snacks with me at all times to help curb the cravings. Fickle Toddler and Picky-Eater husband are still putting up with me. Although, I have been getting complaints about "veggie breath." :) Here are my favorite recipes from this week. Enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potato with Citrus

Banana-Oat Pancakes

Sesame Kale Salad

Broccoli and Chickpea Salad

Raw Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Walnuts

Spicy Black-Bean Salad

Baked Salmon with Coconut Broth

Baked Trout with Broccoli, Apple, and Fennel Slaw

Grilled Salmon and Bok Choy with Orange Avocado Salsa

Spiced Cashew Cream with Fruit

Cherry Date Oat Bars

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Detox Week 1

So I convinced my mother-in-law to do a cleanse with me this month following the guidelines from Whole Living magazine's 2012 and 2013 Action Plans. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time, but I have also been pregnant or nursing for a long time. :) As we approach the end of our first week, I feel energized! However, that's not to say there weren't some rough days. I definitely experienced fatigue, headaches, and bloating. Also, the food preparation is pretty time consuming and I've easily doubled my weekly grocery bill! I'm planning to stick with it, though. The menu for the first week consists of fruits, vegetables, lentils, nuts, seeds, oils and seasonings. And processed food or beverages, added sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol are off-limits throughout the 21 day detox. Picky-Eater Husband has been drinking the breakfast smoothies and eating the dinners as a side dish to some kind of meat. Fickle-Toddler has eaten just about everything along with meat, dairy, and gluten free grains. Here are the recipes I loved from this week. Enjoy!

Carrot, Mango, and Herb Smoothie

Orange-Berry Smoothie

Roasted Beets on Greens

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Lentil Salad

Cauliflower "Rice" Stir Fry

Avocado with Bell Pepper and Tomato

Roasted Peppers, Cauliflower and Almonds

Roasted Portobellos with Kale

Minty Pea Dip

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bird-Day Brunch

Fickle Toddler has turned two! Here's another mini-version of my regular blog. Enjoy! :)

Fried Worms
A.K.A. Bacon :) If you've never made it in the oven, I highly recommend it!

Bird Seed
I gave this out as a holiday gift last year, too. It's addictive!

Bird Nest Cupcakes
Skip the vanilla glaze and mound the streusel topping up around the edges so you have a little space to add Cadbury Mini Eggs after baking.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A lot of you have been asking me when I'll get back to blogging again. And truthfully, I have no idea! Moving is a tricky business! We are lucky enough to be able to stay with in-laws who cook for us while we are between houses. However, I have been able to try out some yummy recipes recently that I would love to share with you. No pictures. No ratings. No week-in-a-day strategies. No cost breakdown. Just straight up good food. Enjoy!

Breakfast Pizza
I used to make these for myself when I worked at Pizza Hut in high school/college. It's a great way to use up your hard-boiled Easter eggs!
Servings: 6
1 lb. Pizza Dough, store bought
1 cup Alfredo Sauce
6 Hard-boiled eggs, diced
2 cups Shredded Cheese - Pizza Blend
6 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Prepare pizza dough according to package instructions. Top with Alfredo sauce, eggs, cheese, and bacon. Bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Coconut & Mango Parfaits
Servings: 4
1 Quart Vanilla Yogurt
2 cups diced mango
8 coconut macaroons, crumbled
Lime zest, optional
Layer ingredients in parfait glasses. Sprinkle with lime zest, if desired.

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Red Pepper Pizza

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Don't forget to buy a loaf of sourdough for dipping!

Cranberry, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Salad
The dressing is the key here. Wishbone or Kraft Italian dressings just don't cut it.
Top Spring Mix Lettuce with Craisins, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Chopped Walnuts, and Ken's Steakhouse Italian Dressing & Marinade (Cinci folks can also use LaRosa's Italian dressing)

Tuscan Shrimp with White Beans
Make sure to buy some crusty bread to soak up the yummy sauce!

Penne with Sausage and Peppers
I basically just used this recipe for the cooking technique. I used regular Italian sausage and substituted a store-bought spicy marinara sauce.

Bourbon Sauce
I used bourbon instead of Jack Daniels and it turned out really well! We ate it on salmon and burgers. Yum!

Honey Cashew Stir Fry

Jess's Grilled Chicken Marinade
This recipe comes from a great friend and totally brings me back to MD summer barbecues!
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Mayo
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Oregano
3 cloves Garlic, minced

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Verde
EASY recipe! You can cut calories by swapping out non-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream and cutting back on some of the cheese on top.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Gieslers are moving to Ohio! I'll be taking some time off, but if you've been following my "Week-in-a-Day Strategies" you've got a freezer full of goodies to tide you over: Blueberry Pancakes, Beanless Chili, Pulled Pork ("Soup"er Bowl Week 2/3/13), and Mediterranean Mac 'N' Cheese (Week of LOVE 2/10/13). And here's one more breakfast idea until we meet again... :)
Egg Muffin with Pesto
Servings: 1   Prep Time: ~5 minutes
   1 English Muffin
   1 Egg
   1 Slice of American Cheese
   1 Slice of Canadian Bacon
   1 tablespoon Prepared Pesto
Directions: Split and toast the English muffin. Spray a muffin-sized microwaveable bowl with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then poor it into the prepared microwaveable bowl. Spray one side of a paper knapkin/towel with cooking spray and place it spray side down over top of the microwaveable bowl to cover. Microwave the egg on high about 40 seconds until egg is cooked. Place Canadian bacon on bottom half of oasted tmuffin and top with hot egg. Place cheese on top of egg and let cheese melt and bacon warm. Spread pesto on the other muffin half and place on top of sandwich.
$   .50     Thomas' Multi-Grain Light English Muffins, 1 ($3/6 ct.)
$   .44     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 1 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .18     American Cheese, 1 slice ($4.29, 24 ct)
$   .40     Jones Dairy Farm Canadian Bacon, 1 slice ($ 3.99/10 ct.)
$   .17     Classico Traditional Basil Pesto,1 tablespoon ($2.67/8.1 oz.)
$ 1.69

Griddle Me Good

Ditch the oven and get out your griddle for an easy way to prepare meals in a flash!

RATING KEY:          Jenni, Picky-Eater Husband, Fickle Toddler
*** = great, ** = good, * = okay


Yogurt and Berry Parfaits
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~10 minutes + sitting overnight
   1/4 cup Sliced Almonds
   1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
   1 cup Nonfat Plain Yogurt
   1 cup Nonfat Milk
   2 tablespoons Honey
   1 cup Quick Oats
   1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
   2 cups Frozen Mixed Berries
Directions: Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over a medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, milk, honey, oats, and vanilla. Divide the oat mixture evenly among 4 small dishes or parfait glasses. Top each with a half cup of berries, then 2 tablespoons of nuts. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Balsamic Mushroom Omelet
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~40 minutes
   1 teaspoon Olive Oil
   8 oz. Sliced Mushrooms
   Salt and Pepper
   1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
   8 Large Eggs
   4 slices American Cheese, halved into triangles
Directions: Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and cook an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Beat 2 eggs, season with salt and pepper and pour into skillet. When eggs are almost set (about 5 minutes), arrange two cheese triangles over half of eggs in skillet.  Spoon 1/4 of the mushrooms on top of the cheese.  Once cheese is melted, use a rubber spatula to fold the omelet in half and slide it out of the skillet and onto a plate.  Repeat with remaining eggs, cheese, and mushrooms.


BBQ Chicken Salad
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~10 minutes
   4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Filets, about 1 lb.
   1/2 cup bottled Barbecue Sauce
   Tortilla Chips
   Romaine Lettuce, chopped
   1 cup Frozen Corn, thawed
   1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
   1 tablespoon Chives, chopped
   1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
Directions: Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook chicken on griddle about 3 minutes per side or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Slice chicken into strips and mix with barbecue sauce in a medium bowl. Arrange tortilla chips around the perimeter of 4 dinner plates. Top with lettuce, corn, chicken, cheese and chives and drizzle with Ranch dressing.

Chicken, Bacon, and Guacamole Sandwiches
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~15 minutes
   4 Whole-Wheat Sandwich Rolls
   4 slices Bacon 

   4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Filets, about 1 lb.   
   4 slices Swiss Cheese
   1/2 cup Prepared Guacamole
Directions: Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. Split sandwich rolls in half and place cut side down on griddle to toast, 1-2 minutes. Set rolls aside and cook bacon on griddle until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and cut slices in half. Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook chicken on griddle about 3 minutes per side or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve chicken on rolls topped with cheese, bacon, and guacamole. 


Rich & Creamy Beef Stew
Servings: 6   Prep Time: ~1 hour, 10 minutes
   1 lb. Stew Beef
   2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
   1 packet Dried Onion Soup
   12-14 small New Potatoes
   1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
   1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
   8 oz. Whole Mushrooms
   1 cup Sherry or Marsala
   Chives, optional
Directions: Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. Brown meat about 4 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a large pot along with two soup cans full of water and bring to a boil. Add cooked beef and reduce to a simmer. Cook 1 hour or until meat is tender and potatoes are cooked. Garnish with chives, if using.
Source: My mother-in-law :)

Chicken Parmesan with Basil Mashed Potatoes
Servings: 6   Prep Time: ~40 minutes
   2 cups fresh Basil leaves, lightly packed
   2 pounds large Yukon Gold Potatoes
   6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breat Filets, about 1 1/2 lbs.
   Salt and Pepper
   1/2 of a 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
   3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
   1 clove Garlic, minced
   1 cup Nonfat Milk
   1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
    3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
   1/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
   1/4 cup Shredded Provolone
Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add all but 1/4 cup of the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge the leaves into the ice water to set the bright green color. Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Add the potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender. Drain potaoes well, return to the pot, and steam over low heat until any remaining water evaporates. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese until the milk simmers. Drain the basil and place in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the hot milk mixture and process until smooth. With a potato masher, break up the hot potatoes in the pot. Add the hot basil milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth. Meanwhile, heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook chicken on griddle about 3 minutes per side or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Finely chop remaining 1/4 cup of basil. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, garlic, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked chicken to skillet and cover with sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, and provolone. Cover with lid and cook until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine breadcrumbs with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons basil. Sprinkle over chicken and serve with basil mashed potatoes.

Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish with Broccoli and Mashed Root Vegetables
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~30 minutes
   1 Turnip, peeled and cubed
   3 large Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
   Salt and pepper
   1 lb. Broccoli Crowns
   2 tablespoons Butter
   A splash of Milk
   1/4 cup Yellow Cornmeal
   1 tablespoon Paprika
   1 teaspoon ground Cumin
   4 Catfish fillets (8 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry
   Lemon wedges and Tartar Sacue for serving (optional)
Directions: Place turnip, carrots, and 1 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a large pot fitted with a steamer basket and fill with water until it just covers the vegatables. Cover and bring to a boil.  After the pot has come to a boil, place broccoli in the steamer basket, attach to pot and cover. Steam broccoli until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove lid and steamer basket and continue to cook turnips and carrots until fork tender about 15 more minutes.
Drain turnips and carrots and return to pot. Add butter and milk, and mash with a hand mixer to desired consistancy. Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. In a shallow dish, mix together cornmeal, paprika, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge fish in cornmeal mixture, turning to coat both sides. Cook catfish on griddle 6-8 minutes per side or to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce, if using.

Week-in-a-Day Strategies
Total Time: ~1 hour, 30 minutes
  1. Prepare RICH & CREAMY BEEF STEW according to the recipe.
  2. Cook 4 slices of bacon on the same griddle about 3 minutes per side until crispy. Drain on paper towels and store.
  3. Pat dry 14 chicken breast filets and season both sides with salt and pepper. Cook chicken on same griddle in 3 batches, 3 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Store chicken.
  4. While the chicken cooks, prepare the coating and dredge the fish according to the recipe for CORNMEAL CRUSTED CATFISH. Begin preparing basil and potatoes for BASIL MASHED POTATOES according to the recipe. 
  5. When chicken finishes, cook catfish on same griddle, 6-8 minutes per side or to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Store fish. 
  6. While fish cooks, prepare mushrooms for BALSAMIC MUSHROOM OMELETS and store.
  7. Wipe out saucepan with a paper towel and then use it to heat milk and parmesan for BASIL MASHED POTATOES. Finish potatoes according to recipe and store.
  8. Prepare BROCCOLI AND MASHED ROOT VEGETABLES accoring to recipe and store.
  9. While root vegetables cook, mix but don't heat tomato sauce for CHICKEN PARMESAN and store. Also mix and store the breadcrumb mixture.
  10. Prepare YOGURT AND BERRY PARFAITS according to the recipe.
Reheating Instructions: Serve YOGURT AND BERRY PARFAITS cold. Warm BALSAMIC MUSHROOMS in microwave before adding to omelet. Serve BBQ CHICKEN SALAD cold or warm chicken in microwave. Toast CHICKEN, BACON AND GUACAMOLE SANDWICHES open-faced without guacamole in an oven/toaster oven. Microwave or heat CORNMEAL CRUSTED CATFISH in an oven/toaster oven. Everything else can be microwaved.

Disclaimer: Saving money is not one of my strengths. Suggestions are encouraged!
*Spices excluded.

$   .60     Sliced Almonds, 1/4 cup ($3.59/6 oz.)
$   .60     Diamond Chopped Walnuts, 1/4 cup ($4.79/8 oz)
$ 1.35     Chobani Greek Yogurt Plain Non Fat, 6 oz.
$   .84     Organic Fat Free Milk, 1 cup ($ 6.69/1 gallon)
$   .34     Aunt Sue's Raw Honey, 2 tablespoons ($7.49/32 oz.)
$   .25     Quick Cook Oats, 1 cup ($3.79/42 oz.)
$ 2.99     Organic Frozen Mixed Berries, 2 cups
$ 6.97     ($1.74/serving)

$   .05     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon ($13.99/51 oz.)
$ 1.00     Sliced Mushrooms, 8 oz.
$   .13     Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tablespoon ($3.99/16 oz.)
$ 2.33     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 8 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .72     American Cheese, 4 slices ($4.29, 24 ct)
$ 4.23     ($1.06/serving)

$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$   .77     Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce, 1/2 cup ($2.69/18 oz.)
$   .91     Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, 4 oz. ($4.99/22 oz.)
$ 5.99     Organic Romaine Lettuce, 12 oz.
$   .53     Frozen Corn, 1 cup ($1.50/16 oz)
$   .63     Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese, 1/2 cup ($2.50/8 oz.)
$   .88     Ranch Dressing, 1/2 cup ($5.29/24 oz.)
$12.70    ($2.12/serving)

$ 1.23     Martin's Whole Wheat Potato Sandwich Rolls, 4 ($3.69/12 ct)
$   .74     Reduced Sodium Bacon, 4 slices ($3.33/16 oz.)
$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb. 
$ 1.24     Sliced Swiss Cheese, 4 slices ($3.09/8 oz.)
$ 2.00     Wholly Guacamole, 1/2 cup ($3.99, 14 oz)
$ 8.20     ($2.05/serving)

$ 6.99     Beef Stew Meat Boneless Top Round, 1 lb.
$ 2.30     Cream of Mushroom Soup, 2 cans ($1.15/can)
$ 1.50     Lipton Dried Onion Soup, 1 packet
$ 1.66     Yukon Gold Potatoes, 1 lb. ($4.99/3 lbs.)
$   .11     Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon ($3.29/15 oz.)
$   .15     Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce ($4.29/15 oz.)
$ 1.00     8 oz. Whole Mushrooms
$ 1.76     Marsala Cooking Wine, 1 cup ($3.59/16 oz.)
$15.47    ($2.58/serving)

$ 2.99     Basil, 2 cups
$ 3.33     Yukon Gold Potatoes, 2 lbs. ($4.99/3 lbs.)
$ 4.49     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 1/2 lbs. ($2.99/lb)
$   .50     Crushed Tomatoes, 14 oz. 
$   .42     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3 tablespoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$   .05     Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$   .84     Organic Fat Free Milk, 1 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$ 1.60     BelGioioso Parmesan Cheese Chunk, 1 cup ($ 8.99/16 oz.)
$   .27     Bread Crumbs, 3/4 cup ($2.00/24 oz.)
$   .31     1/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 2.5
$   .31     1/4 cup Shredded Provolone 2.5
$15.12    ($2.52/serving)

$   .50     Turnips, 1 ($1.49/lb.)

$   .40     Carrots, 3 ($1.19/lb.)
$   .88     1 lb. Broccoli Crowns
$   .29     Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 2 tablespoons ($ 4.69/1 lb.)
$   .05     Organic Fat Free Milk, 1 tablespoon ($ 6.69/gallon)
$   .13     Quaker Yellow Corn Meal , 1/4 cup ($2.49/24 oz.)
$ 7.10     4 Catfish fillets (8 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry
$   .34     Lemon, 1 ($2.99/2 lb.)
$   .80     Tartar Sacue, 4 oz.($1.59/8 oz.)
$10.49    ($2.62/serving) 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Week of LOVE

Five delicious sauces make this week's meals extra special! (Plum Syrup, Feta Bechamel, Lemon & Thyme, Adobo, and Chocolate Rosemary Wine Sauce)

RATING KEY:          Jenni, Picky-Eater Husband, Fickle Toddler
*** = great, ** = good, * = okay

Plum French Toast
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
    1 cup Sugar
    5 Plums, diced with pits removed
    2 Bay Leaves
    8 slices Challah Bread
    1 1/2 cups Fat-Free Milk
    3 Large Egg Yolks
    1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon Salt
    1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Directions: Place sugar and 1 cup of water in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Stir in plums, remove from heat, and let cool. Lightly toast challah. Preheat a non-stick electric griddle to 325 degrees and spray with cooking spray. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a large pie plate. Soak toasted bread in milk mixture 20 seconds per side. Using a firm slotted spatula, pick up bread slice and allow excess liquid to drip off. Transfer to griddle and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove bay leaves from plum sauce and serve with french toast.

Beet Greens Frittata
A.k.a. "More Tata!" -I challenge you to get your family THIS excited about beet greens. :)
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~35 minutes
    2 teaspoons Canola Oil
    1/4 cup Onion, chopped
    Beet Greens from 1 bunch of beets, washed and chopped
    1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
    1/2 cup Milk
    3 Large Egg Whites
    2 Large Whole Eggs
    1/4 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beet greens and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs and egg whites. Evenly distribute beet greens in the bottom of a pie plate. Pour egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until center of frittata is set.


Mediterranean Mac 'N' Cheese
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~45 minutes
(If following Week-in-a-Day, double the recipe and purchase a disposable 8 in. baking pan)
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
    1 can (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes, drained
    1/3 cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
    8 ounces Elbow Macaroni
    1 Garlic Clove, minced
    1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
    2 cups Fat-Free Milk
    8 oz. Reduced-Fat Feta, crumbled
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of water to boil and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, and oregano. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in 4 ounces feta. Stir in tomato mixture. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to combine. Pour pasta mixture into dish and top with 4 ounces feta. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes.

L.O.V.E. Wraps
Lettuce. Onion. Veggies. Egg Salad.
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
    8 Hard Boiled Eggs
    4 teaspoons Mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons Fresh Chives, finely chopped
    Salt and pepper
    8 pieces Whole-Wheat Wrap Bread (9 inches in diameter)
    1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
    1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup Romaine Lettuce, torn into pieces
Directions: Dice eggs and put into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and stir with a fork, mashing somewhat for desired consistency. Stir in chives and season with plenty of salt and some pepper. Place wrap bread on a plate and spread the egg salad in the middle. Top with the peppers, onion slices and the lettuce. Fold into a wrap sandwich.

Lemon & Thyme Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables
******Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~45 minutes

    3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
    5 Shallots, finely chopped
    1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
    16 oz. package Frozen Zucchini and Yellow Squash Mix
    1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, finely chopped
    1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves, divided
    Salt and Pepper
    4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets, about 1 lb. total
    1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
    2 tablespoons Marsala Cooking Wine
    1 Lemon, juice and zest
    1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
    1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add 2/3 of the shallots and cook until translucent and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes more. Add the frozen zucchini and yellow squash mix and cook another 3-4 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and keep warm. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Saute chicken breasts 3-4 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in same skillet. Add remaining shallots and cook until translucent and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, and lemon juice and let the sauce reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and remaining thyme. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over chicken and sprinkle with cranberries to serve. The sauce also makes a great salad dressing!


Chicken Adobo with Sugar Snap Peas
Since my dish was overdone, this recipe includes modifications to the cooking method that I will try next time. Let me know how it turns out if you eat it before I do!
Servings: 4   Prep Time: ~40 minutes
   1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
   1/2 cup Soy Sauce
   1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
   2 cloves Garlic, crushed
   1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
   1 dried Bay Leaves
   1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
   4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets, about 1 lb. total
   6 oz. Sugar Snap Peas
   Juice of 1 Lime
   Salt and Pepper
   1 tablespoon Olive Oil
   4 cups hot, cooked rice
   1 tablespoon chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
Directions: Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, red pepper, bay leaves, and chicken broth in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket and lid. Remove the steamer basket and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the chicken to the liquid in a single layer. Put the sugar snap peas in the steamer basket and attach to the pot, covering with the lid. Cook 10 minutes or until peas are tender, but still bright green. Remove the steamer basket and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook 10-15 minutes more to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and discard the bay leaf. Add lime juice to the sauce, bring it to a boil, and let it reduce until the sauce is thick enough to barely coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the chicken pieces, and very quickly brown on one side. Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish with cilantro, if using.

Crouton Salad
Servings: 8   Prep Time: ~20 minutes
   1/2 (8-ounces) loaf French Bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
   2 tablespoons Olive Oil
   Romaine lettuce, torn
   Crumbled Blue Cheese (or any cheese that you prefer)
   Your Choice of Salad Dressing (or try the Lemon & Thyme Sauce above)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake about 15 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool. Serve on top of lettuce with cheese and dressing.

Chocolate Rosemary Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus
Servings: 6   Prep Time: ~ 45 minutes
    6 teaspoons Olive Oil, divided
   1/2 cup chopped Shallots
   1 small Carrot, finely chopped
   1 stalk Celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
   1 clove Garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
   2 cups dry Red Wine
   2 cups Low-Sodium Beef Broth
   2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
   1 Bay Leaf
   1 sprig fresh Thyme
   1 (2-pound) Beef Tenderloin Roast, cut into 1 1/4 inch steaks
   Salt and Pepper 
   1 bunch of Asparagus, trimmed
   1 tablespoon unsweetened natural Cocoa Powder
   1 teaspoon chopped fresh Rosemary leaves
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile heat 2 more teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the skillet and sear until well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Meanwhile, arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss with remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the meat to a broiler pan or a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast asparagus until tender and steaks until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. Strain the reduced sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the tenderloin and asparagus.
Week-in-a-Day Strategies
Total Time: ~3 hours
  1. Thaw sauteed beet greens (from 2/3 Week-in-a-Day) in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the croutons for the CROUTON SALAD.
  3. While croutons toast, prepare BEET GREENS FRITTATA according to the recipe, increasing the oven temperature to 400 after removing the croutons. Reserve unused egg yolks.
  4. While frittata cooks, prepare a double batch of MEDITERRANEAN MAC 'N' CHEESE according to recipe. Chop an extra 1/4 cup olives and reserve. Before baking, freeze half of the mac 'n' cheese in a a disposable 8 in. baking pan. Wash sauce pan, store croutons, and wipe bread crumbs off of baking sheet with a paper towel.
  5. While mac 'n' cheese cooks, prepare CHOCOLATE ROSEMARY BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH ASPARAGUS, increasing the oven temperature to 425 after removing the mac 'n' cheese. Wash the skillet.
  6. Arrange 8 eggs in single layer in your macaroni pot and cover with water. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let sit about 13 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Transfer eggs to a bowl and store in the refrigerator.
  7. Dice and reserve 5 plums and reserve. Slice 2 red peppers into 1/4 inch strips and reserve. Finely chop and reserve 5 shallots. Thinly slice and reserve 1/4 of a red onion.
  8. Start preparing LEMON & THYME CHICKEN WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO VEGETABLES in skillet using reserved vegetables.
  9. While vegetables cook, start preparing CHICKEN ADOBO WITH SUGAR SNAP PEAS in the hard boiled egg pot. Wash tenderloin saucepan and use to cook rice according to package directions.
  10. Wash saucepan and prepare PLUM FRENCH TOAST according to the recipe using reserved plums and egg yolks.
  11. Prepare L.O.V.E. WRAPS using reserved vegetables.

Reheating Instructions: Heat FRENCH TOAST in the oven/toaster oven. The CROUTON SALAD and L.O.V.E. WRAPS are served cold. Everything else can be microwaved.

P.S. It might sound weird that I include dish washing instructions, but when you finish 3 hours of cooking, the last thing you want to do is wash more dirty dishes than is absolutely necessary. :)

Disclaimer: Saving money is not one of my strengths. Suggestions are encouraged!
*Spices excluded.

$   .14      Sugar, 1 cup ($2.59/4 lb.)
$ 2.49      Plums, 1 lb.
$ 2.15      Challah Bread, 8 slices ($4.29/loaf)
$ 1.25      Organic Fat Free Milk, 1 1/2 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$   .44      Large Eggs with Omega-3, 3 yolks ($ 3.49/dozen)

$ 6.47      ($1.62/serving)

Note: I count the beet greens as free since the cost of the entire bunch of beets was calculated into last week's total.
$   .03      Canola Oil, 2 teaspoons ($3.99/48 oz.)
$   .32      Yellow onions, 1/4 cup ($ 2.99/3 lb.)
$   .21      Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 1/2 cup ($1.88/30 oz)
$   .42      Organic Fat Free Milk, 1/2 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$ 1.02      Large Eggs with Omega-3, 2 + 3 yolks ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .31      Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar, 1/4 cup ($2.50/8 oz.)
$ 2.31      ($0.58/serving)

$   .38     Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 1/4 cup ($ 3.00/lb.)
$ 1.00     Diced Tomatoes, 14.5 oz.
$   .71     Pitted Kalamata Olives, 1/3 cup ($5.59/11.1 oz.)
$ 1.19     Barilla PLUS Pasta Elbows Multigrain, 7.25 oz. ($2.37/14.5 oz.)
$   .05     Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$   .04     All-Purpose Flour, 1/4 cup ($2.79/5 lb.)
$ 1.67     Organic Fat Free Milk, 2 cups ($ 6.69/gallon)
$ 4.38     Reduced-Fat Crumbled Feta, 8 oz. ($2.19/4 oz.)
$ 9.42     ($1.57/serving)
L.O.V.E. WRAPS, 4 servings
$ 2.33     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 8 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .07     Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons ($1.88/30 oz)
$ 2.50     Whole-Wheat Wrap Bread, 8 pieces
$ 2.50     Red Bell Pepper, 1 ($4.99/2)
$   .14     Red Onion, 1/4 ($0.57/1)
$ 7.54     ($1.89/serving)
$   .42     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3 tablespoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$   .93     Shallots, 5 ($1.67/9)
$ 2.50     Red Bell Pepper, 1 ($4.99/2)
$ 2.19     Frozen Zucchini and Yellow Squash Mix, 16 oz.
$   .58     Sun-Dried Tomatoes, 1/4 cup ($3.49/3 oz.)
$   .54     Pitted Kalamata Olives, 1/4 cup ($5.59/11.1 oz.)
$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$   .80     Swanson Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 1 cup ($ 3.19/32 oz.)
$   .22     Marsala Cooking Wine, 2 tablespoons ($3.59/16 oz.)
$   .75     Dried Cranberries, 1/4 cup ($2.99/5 oz.)
$   .
34     Lemons, 1 ($2.99/2 lb.)
$   .09     Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 1 tablespoon ($ 3.00/1 lb.)
$12.35    ($3.09/serving)

$ 1.60     White Wine Vinegar, 1/2 cup ($3.49/17 oz.)
$ 1.02     Kikkoman Soy Sauce Less Sodium, 1/2 cup ($ 2.50/10 oz.)

$   .04     Light Brown Sugar 1/4 cup ($1.99/32 oz.)
$   .10     Garlic, 2 cloves ($0.50/head)
$   .80     Swanson Low Sodium Chicken Broth, 1 cup ($ 3.19/32 oz.)  

$ 2.99     Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$ 2.99     Sugar Snap Peas, 6 oz.
$   .40     Lime, 1
$   .14     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon ($13.99/51 oz.)
$ 1.15     Success Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice, 4 cups ($2.29/14 oz.)
$11.23    ($2.81/serving)
CROUTON SALAD, 8 servings
$ 1.65     French Bread, 1/2 loaf ($3.29/loaf)
$   .28     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$ 4.99     Organic Romaine Lettuce
$ 1.64     Crumbled Gorgonzola, 3/4 cup ($ 2.19/4 oz.)
$ 8.56     ($1.07/serving)


$  .28     Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 6 teaspoons ($13.99/51 oz.)
$  .37     Shallots, 1/2 cup ($1.67/9)
$  .04     Baby Carrots, 1/4 cup ($1.99/2 lb.)
$  .50     Celery, 1 stalk (3.99/16 oz.)
$  .05     Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$ 3.52    Red Wine, 2 cups ($3.59/16 oz.)
$   .80    Low-Sodium Beef Broth, 2 cups
$   .14    Tomato Paste, 2 tablespoons ($0.69/6 oz.)
$21.98   Beef Tenderloin Roast, 2 lb. ($10.99/lb.)
$ 5.19    Asparagus, 1 bunch
$   .09    Cocoa Powder ($3.89/8 oz.)
$32.96  ($5.49/serving)


Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Soup"er Bowl Week

Two yummy soups plus a purple menu inspired by the Baltimore Ravens!

RATING KEY:          Jenni, Picky-Eater Husband, Fickle Toddler
*** = great, ** = good, * = okay

Whole-Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
This is Fickle Toddler's absolute favorite breaskfast!
Servings: 4     Prep Time: ~30 minutes
   3/4 cup all-purpose flour
   3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
   1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   2 large eggs
   1 cup non-fat buttermilk
   1/2 cup non-fat milk
   1 tablespoon honey
   1/4 teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup frozen blueberries
   4 tablespoons maple syrup or to taste
Directions: Preheat a non-stick electric griddle to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, milk, honey and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. The batter will be somewhat lumpy. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to ladle the batter onto the griddle.  Arrange 1/8 cup of blueberries on top of each pancake. Flip the pancake when the top is bubbling and the sides have begun to set, about 2 minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes until golden brown on both sides.  Top with maple syrup. 

Sausage Cheddar Scramble

Servings: 4     Prep Time: ~10 minutes
   2 teaspoons canola oil
   1 Italian sausage
   4 large egg whites
   6 large eggs
   Salt and pepper
   1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
   Frank's Red Hot Sauce (optional)
Directions:  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Remove and discard sausage casing and then brown the meat in the skillet using a wooden spoon to break up large chunks.  Meanwhile, beat eggs and whites together in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add eggs to skillet cooking and stirring until just set.  Top with shredded cheddar and a few drops of Frank's Red Hot Sauce, if desired.


Open-Faced Tuna Melts
Servings: 4     Prep Time: ~15 minutes
   4 cans (5 oz. each) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
   1/3 cup mayonnaise
   2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained
   1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
   1/2 teaspoon ground pepper  
   1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
   1/4 teaspoon onion powder
   1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled between your fingers
   4 multi-grain English muffins, split
   14.5 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
   8 slices provolone
Directions: In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano and stir until thoroughly combined. Divide tuna salad evenly among 8 English muffin halves, then top each with 1/8 of the tomatoes and 1 slice of cheese. Toast in toaster oven (or under broiler) until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Chicken 'n' Noodles
Don't let the homemade noodles intimidate you!  A food processor makes them super easy and they are soooo good. :)
Servings: 6     Prep Time: ~1 hour
Soup Ingredients:
   1 stick unsalted butter
   3/4 cup diced carrots
   3/4 cup diced celery
   1 cup diced onion
   1 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
   1 teaspoon salt
   1/2 teaspoon pepper
   1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
Noodle Ingredients:
   3 egg yolks
   1 whole egg
   1 teaspoon salt
   2 cups all-purpose flour 
Directions: In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and then add carrots, celery, and onion.  Allow veggies to soften (about 5 minutes) and then add bouillon, salt, pepper, and chicken breasts.  Cover with 9 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, put eggs, yolks, salt, flour, and 3 tablespoons cold water in food processor and pulse until all the ingredients are well combined and you can easily gather the dough together into a ball. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and glossy. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for about five minutes. Then, divide the ball of dough into four smaller balls and rolling one ball at a time, roll out each one until it is as thin as you can roll it, dusting your rolling surface with small amounts of flour if necessary. Repeat the rolling procedure with each of the other three balls. Let the rolled-out dough rest for a few minutes on the floured surface, then cut into 1/4 inch by 2 inch strips.  Remove chicken from soup and let cool slightly.  Add noodles to stock pot and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite size pieces and return to pot. 

Beanless Chili with Parmesan Biscuits
Even the Picky-Eater Husband approves of this one!
Servings: 8      Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
   2 pounds lean ground beef
   1 quart tomato juice
   1 (29 ounce) can tomato puree
   1 large onion, diced
   1/2 cup celery, diced
   1 green pepper, diced
   1/4 cup chili powder
   1 teaspoon cumin 
   1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
   1 teaspoon salt
   1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper, oregano, sugar
   1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
   Shredded cheddar, sour cream, and pickled jalapenos for serving (optional)
   Parmesan Biscuits (see Launch Week Recipes 2/2/13)
Directions: In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef; drain. Put the drained beef and the remaining ingredients back into the pot. Cover and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Chicken Burrito Bowls
Fickle Toddler prefers a deconstucted version of this dish.
Servings: 4     Prep Time: ~10 minutes
   4 cups hot cooked rice
   Handfull of fresh cilantro, chopped
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   Juice of 1 lime
   1 pound hot boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped
   14.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
   2 cups frozen corn, thawed
   1 cup fresh tomato salsa
   1 cup Mexican shredded cheese
   Tabasco Sauce (optional)
Directions:  Mix cilantro, salt, and lime juice into rice.  Divide rice among 4 bowls.  Top with remaining ingredients.  

Creamy Mushroom Dip
Servings: 8    Prep Time:~15 minutes
   2 teaspoons canola oil
   8 oz. mushrooms, diced  
   8 oz. Neufchatel
   1 egg yolk
   1 garlic clove, minced
   1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
   2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
   1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
   1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
   Zest of 1 large lemon
   2 Boxes Melba Toast, preferrably rye
Directions:  Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and add cook until their released water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Soften Neufchatel by microwaving in a large bowl for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms and remaining ingredients up to the Melba Toast and stir well.  Spread mixture into a pie plate and broil until brown and puffy, about 5 minutes.  Serve with Melba Toast. 

Sweet and Sour Pulled Pork with Oven
Roasted Beets and Sweet Potato Fries
Servings: 8     Prep Time: ~1 hour active, 10 hours for slow cooker
   1 boneless pork shoulder (about 7 pounds)
   Salt and pepper
   1 bunch of beets
   1 tablespoon canola oil
   3 cups shredded red cabbage
   4 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, divided
   2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
   1/2 cup orange juice
   1/2 cup soy sauce
   1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 teaspoon ground ginger
   2 teaspoons cornstarch
   2 packages frozen sweet potato fries, recommended: Alexia
   8 whole-wheat potato rolls
Directions: Using a sharp knife, score the pork fat (but not the meat) in a diamond pattern. Place the pork, fat side up, in a slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook on low about 10 hours until meat is very tender. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the tops and roots off of the beets and place them in a loaf pan.  Toss beets with canola oil and cover pan with foil. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours until beets are very tender and then let them cool. Meanwhile, toss the cabbage, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate. In another medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and ginger. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and whisk in the corn starch. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and cool slightly. Meanwhile, cook sweet potato fries according to package directions. Under running water, slip the skins off of the cooled beets. Slice beets and season with salt and pepper. Remove meat from slow cooker and when cool enough to handle, remove fat from top of roast. Using two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Serve the pork on rolls topped with sauce and slaw alongside the beets and sweet potato fries. 

Raspberry Nut Brownies
This is a slight modification of the recipe I followed. I think I would have prefered fudgier brownies with walnuts. Let me know how they turn out if you eat them before I do!
 ** **
Servings: 16     Prep Time: ~40 minutes
   2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
   1 box brownie mix
   2 eggs
   1/2 cup canola oil
   1/4 cup water
   3/4 chopped nuts (almonds pictured), recommended: walnuts
Directions:  Position a baking rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  In a medium saucepan, stir the jam constantly over low heat until pourable, about 1 minute. Set aside. In a large bowl, blend together the brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Using an electric hand mixer beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the jam over the top of the brownie batter. Using a small spatula, swirl jam into the brownie batter making sure it is evenly distruibuted all of the way to the edges of the pan. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted about 1-inch from the edge of the pan comes out clean. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. 

Week-in-a-Day Strategies
Total Time: ~ 3 hours, 30 minutes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Start PULLED PORK.
  3. Cook rice in saucepan for CHICKEN BURRITO BOWLS and store.
  4. Dice 2 large onions, 1 green pepper, 1 1/2 cups celery, and 3/4 cup carrots.
  5. Tear beet greens into bite sized pieces and wash and dry them in a salad spinner.  Prepare OVEN ROASTED BEETS according to recipe, increasing oven temperature to 400 degrees after removing brownies from the oven.  Let brownies cool. 
  6. Melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat in one soup pot. Start browning 2 lb ground beef in another soup pot.  Add 3/4 cup diced carrots, 3/4 cup diced celery, and 1 cup diced onion to the melted butter.  In the other soup pot, prepare BEANLESS CHILI according to the recipe, reserving 1/4 cup of diced onion.
  7. In the first soup pot, prepare CHICKEN 'N' NOODLES according to the recipe adding 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast to the pot.  Reserve egg whites.  Reserve and store 1 chopped cooked chicken breast for burrito bowls.  Store soup. 
  8. Remove cooked beets from the oven and fill loaf pan with cold water to help cool them.  Meanwhile, prepare the slaw and sauce for the PULLED PORK and store.  Slice, season, and store cooled beets.  Store finished chili.
  9. Prepare CREAMY MUSHROOM DIP, but don't broil.  Reserve egg white.  Cover pie plate with plastic wrap and store.
  10. In same skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil over medium and add reserved 1/4 cup of onion.  Cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare tuna salad portion of OPEN-FACED TUNA MELTS and store. Then add beet greens to onion in skillet and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Store in freezer for another meal.
  11. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and then prepare SAUSAGE CHEDDAR SCRAMBLE according to the recipe using reserved egg whites. 
  12. Prepare a double batch of WHOLE-WHEAT BLUEBERRY PANCAKES and freeze half.
  13. Shred and store finished pork according to recipe.  Freeze half for another meal. 
  14. Remove PARMESAN BISCUITS from the freezer (if you followed the Week-in-a-Day from 2/2/13).
Reheating Instructions: Remove and discard the fat layer that forms on top of the refrigerated CHICKEN 'N' NOODLES.  Stir reheated chili thoroughly after reheating.  Use a toaster oven for the PARMESAN BISCUITS and OPEN-FACED TUNA MELTS.  Microwave everything else. For the Super Bowl Party Menu, broil the CREAMY MUSHROOM DIP, warm the PULLED PORK in a slow cooker, warm the SWEET AND SOUR sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop, serve the OVEN ROASTED BEETS at room temperature, and prepare the SWEET POTATO FRIES according to package instructions just before guests arrive.

Disclaimer: Saving money is not one of my strengths. Suggestions are encouraged!
*Spices excluded.

$  .11     All-Purpose Flour, 3/4 cup ($2.79/5 lb.)
$  .11     Whole-Wheat Flour, 3/4 cup ($2.69/5 lb.)
$  .05     Baking Powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ($2.39/12 oz.)
$  .58     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 2 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .50    Nonfat Buttermilk, 1 cup ($ .99/16 oz.)
$  .42     Organic Fat Free Milk, 1/2 cup ($ 6.69/gallon)
$  .17     Aunt Sue's Raw Honey, 1 tablespoon ($7.49/32 oz.)
$ 3.66    Organic Blueberries Frozen, 1 cup ($ 5.49/12 oz.)
$ 1.00    Maple Syrup, 4 tablespoons ($ 5.99/12.7 oz)
$ 6.60    ($1.65/serving)

$ .03      Canola Oil, 2 teaspoons($3.99/48 oz.)
$  .67     Italian Sausage, 1 link ($3.99/6 ct.)
$ 2.33    Large Eggs with Omega-3, 8 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$  .31     Shredded Sharp Cheddar Reduced Fat, 1/4 cup ($ 2.50/8 oz.)
$ 3.34   ($0.84/serving)

$ 4.00    Starkist Chunk Tuna in Water, 20 oz ($1.00/5 oz.)
$  .16     Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, 1/3 cup ($1.88/30 oz)
$  .28     Capers, 2 teaspoons ($1.69/3 oz.)
$   .17    Lemons, 1/2 ($2.99/2 lb.)
$ 2.00    Thomas' Multi-Grain Light English Muffins, 4 ($3/6 ct.) 
$ 1.00    Dole No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes, 14.5 oz.
$ 2.47    Sliced provolone, 8 ($3.09/10 slice)
$10.08   ($2.52 serving)

CHICKEN 'N' NOODLES, 6 servings
$   .75    Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter, 1/2 cup ($ 3.00/1 lb.)
$  .14     Baby Carrots, 3/4 cup ($1.99/2 lb.)
$ 1.12    Organic Celery, 3/4 cup ($4.49/16 oz.)
$  .32     Yellow onions, 1/4 cup ($ 2.99/3 lb.)
$  .61     Low Sodium Chicken Bouillon, 1 1/2 tablespoons  ($3.49/3.3 oz.)
$ 2.99    Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$  .73     Large Eggs with Omega-3, 2.5 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$   .29    All-Purpose Flour, 2 cups ($2.79/5 lb.)
$ 6.95   ($1.16/serving)

$ 3.98     Lean Ground Beef, 2 lb. ($1.99/lb.)
$ 1.92     Tomato Juice, 1 quart ($3.69/64 oz.)
$ 1.79     Tomato Puree, 29 oz.
$   .32     Yellow onions, 1/4 cup ($ 2.99/3 lb.)
$  .75      Organic Celery, 1/2 cup ($4.49/16 oz.)
$ 2.00     Organic Green Pepper
$ 3.44     Parmesan Biscuits
$14.20    ($1.78/serving)

$ 1.15    Success Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice, 4 cups ($2.29/14 oz.)
$  .40     Lime, 1
$ 2.99    Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
$  .67     Canned Black Beans, 15.5 oz
$ 1.06    Frozen Corn, 2 cups ($1.50/16 oz)
$ 1.90    Fresh Tomato Salsa ($3.79/16 oz.)
$ 1.50    Mexican Shredded Cheese, 1 cup ($2.99/8 oz.)
$ 9.67    ($2.42/serving)

$  .03    Canola Oil, 2 teaspoons ($3.99/48 oz.)
$ 1.66   Mushrooms, 8 oz.  
$ 1.69   Neufchatel, 8 oz.
$  .15    Large Eggs with Omega-3, 1 yolk ($ 3.49/dozen)
$  .05    Garlic, 1 clove ($0.50/head)
$ .17     Lemons, 1/2 ($2.99/2 lb.)
$ 4.98   Rye Melba Toast, 2 boxes ($2.49/5.25 oz)
$8.73    ($1.09/serving)

$11.58   Pork Shoulder
$ 2.99    Beets, 1 bunch
$   .04    Canola Oil, 1 tablespoon ($3.99/48 oz.)
$ 1.99    Dole Shredded Red Cabbage, 10 oz.
$  .81     Seasoned Rice Vinegar, 4 1/2 tablespoons ($ 4.29/12 oz.)
$  .98     Sesame Oil, 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon ($ 6.99/8.45 oz.)
$  .13     Orange Juice, 1/2 cup ($1.88/59 oz.)
$ 1.02    Kikkoman Soy Sauce Less Sodium, 1/2 cup ($ 2.50/10 oz.)
$  .07     Light Brown Sugar 1/2 cup ($1.99/32 oz.)
$ .10      Garlic, 2 cloves ($  .50/head)
$  .02     Corn Starch, 2 teaspoons ($1.79/16 oz.)
$ 4.98    Alexia Frozen Sweet Potato Fries, 2 packages ($2.99/20 oz.)
$ 2.46    Whole-Wheat Potato Rolls, 8 ($3.69/12 ct.)
$27.17   ($3.40/serving)

$ 1.52    Seedless Raspberry Jam, 2/3 cup ($2.79/18 oz.)
$ 1.25    Pilsbury Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, 1 box 
$ .58      Large Eggs with Omega-3, 2 ($ 3.49/dozen)
$ .32      Canola Oil, 1/2 cup ($3.99/48 oz.)
$ 1.62    Diamond Chopped Walnuts, 3/4 cup ($4.69/8 oz)
$ 5.29    ($0.33/serving)