tag archives: cooking on a budget

Got Tomatoes?

Reducing our grocery budget continues to go pretty well and I sure have enjoyed the abundance of tomatoes, peppers and fresh basil from my garden.  Here’s another super-yummy, super-healthy, super-fresh recipe to wet your appetite.  Please note that I am not very specific on my measurements.  I want to encourage you to experiment and have fun discovering your creativity in the kitchen!  
Red Pepper Basil Spaghetti Sauce
15 (or so) roma tomatoes (or any tomatoes you like)
1 can of tomato sauce
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 T olive oil
1 red pepper
1 T (or so) red wine vinegar
1/2 large onion chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves
dash of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
pasta of your choice (we use gluten-free)

Prepare your ingredients – chop onions, red pepper, basil, chop and seed tomatoes, and mince the garlic.  Heat olive oil on medium heat.  Saute the garlic and onions first, then add the red pepper.  

After three to four minutes add the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  After two to three minutes add the red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chopped basil leaves.

Let the sauce cook down for two or more hours until it’s the consistency you like.  If you aren’t eating it right away, prepare an ice bath for the sauce before refrigerating.

Serve with your favorite pasta and top with grated parmesan cheese.  YUM.
Your Personal Reflection:  Are you having fun being creative in the kitchen?

Yummy, Healthy, Easy & Cheap

Like I promised, here is one of my budget friendly recipes using some of the bulk items I bought this week.  I’m trying to find creative ways to use the same ingredients – to simplify my cooking and to extend our weekly groceries.
This meal is very easy to make, healthy, high in protein, inexpensive and so delicious!  (This is my version of a meal I like to eat at Chipolte’s.)
Black Beans & Rice 
1 T olive oil
1 cup organic brown rice  (makes 4 servings)
2 cans low sodium black beans
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 onion
1/2 lime
1-2 T fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Guacamole
2 avocados
1/2 lime
1 T fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the guacamole ingredients together, adding more lime, cilantro and salt/pepper until you are happy with the taste.  Set aside.
Cook the rice according to your directions.  This rice called for 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, adding 1 T of butter (optional).
Bring to a boil, stir once, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
While rice is cooking, heat the oil over medium in a large skillet.  Once warm, add minced garlic cloves and onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes.  You could add a little hot sauce or jalapeno if you like a little kick.  Drain and rinse your black beans (rinsing gets the excess salt off the beans) and pour into skillet.
Once your rice is almost cooked, add your cilantro, lime, salt and pepper to taste.  Fluff rice with a fork and let sit for 5 minutes, then mix it with your beans.
Top your rice and beans with the fresh guacamole and chopped tomatoes.
This kid is a good eater but I was shocked at how he shoveled this meal into his mouth.  He asked for seconds – which is always a sign that the meal is good!  Enjoy.
Your Personal Reflection:  Are you feeling the need to simplify and save money, like I am?  What are some ways you can save money while eating healthy, fresh foods and simplify your time in the kitchen?