Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

beef stew, balsamic, soup, dinner

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

You can tell it’s the winter season when the majority of my recipes are soups, stews or chili. Here’s more proof that it’s cold outside! Although not today… it’s a freaky 65 degrees, which Maxwell and I enjoyed with a long walk outside. But that’s beside the point; I still made some damn soup.

This one was thrown together when I went home during a lunch hour to check on our sick little poochie. I peeled/cut everything, threw it in the crockpot and came home to fantastical smells permeating from our apartment. If you follow these simple steps, you too shall experience such fantastical smells permeating from YOUR home. Ridiculously awesome, right?

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup
Servings: 4 (2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 8 (or 4 PP per 1 cup)

Ingredients

  • 9.5 oz lean and trimmed steak, 12 PP
  • 5 oz frozen green beans
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium red potatoes, diced, 12 PP
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1 PP
  • 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base, 1 PP
  • 5 tsbp balsamic vinegar, 2 PP
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions
1. Chop up all those veggies and the meat and throw in into the crockpot. Then mix the tomato paste and bouillon base into the water and pour over the veggies. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and the rest of the spices. Cook on low for six hours and enjoy!

Yep, that’s the beauty of a crockpot.  No worries, just dinner!

Curried Yellow Squash Soup

On my FB page, I got a request for a good recipe to use with Yellow Squash. Well, I found something that’s different than just a saute or a casserole or covered in cheese. Curried Yellow Squash Soup! This recipe is one that you can all enjoy, no matter if you are vegetarian, dairy-free or just in the mood for something a bit different.

Fiesta Salsa

Beautiful photo by Jess!

Because it’s a party in the bowl AND a party in your mouth!

In case you didn’t know, Jess has a green thumb. She’s been able to keep our three outside plants alive with LOTS of dedicated watering throughout this ridiculous heat and lack of rain. Well, during our weekly trip to the Farmers Market on Saturday, we stopped by a vendor that had tomatillos and got the scoop on how to know when they’re ready to be harvested. Apparently they should still be pretty firm and the husk will get pretty dry. Then they’ll be ready! So, Jess went outside and picked off the three that we’ve been patiently waiting to harvest from our own tomatillo plant.

What does a person do with only three tomatillos? I looked through my cookbooks (sadly, not many tomatillo recipes) and found a couple for salsa that looked good. But still, I only had three. Then, I looked up at the beautiful heirloom tomato in our hanging fruit basket. It only had about 3 days left until it would get soggy and I decided it needed to be used as well.

Now I had enough tomato/tomatillo to make a salsa! Those, plus some jalapenos and even a habanero that’s been in my freezer for months came together with the other essential salsa ingredients and the result was spectacular. This salsa is a farmers market delight. As long as you have jalapenos, onion a little lime juice and a lot of cilantro, you can literally make any salsa your heart desires. Mine was sweet from the heirlooms and the tiny bit of cane sugar and spicy from the habanero. And the garlic (german garlic, which is ginormous), was a spectacular find from last week and it lent its flavor splendidly. No need to waste those heirlooms anymore. If it can go in tomato sauce, it can go in salsa!

Beautiful photo by Jess! Don’t you just want to dig in?

Fiesta Salsa
Servings: 1 (about 1.5 cups worth)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1

Ingredients

  • 3 small tomatillos, finely diced
  • 1 cup skinned and finely diced red heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium white or red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 small jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 habanero, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar (or regular sugar), 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions
1. Take your garlic, onion, jalapenos, sugar and tomatillo and simmer for a few minutes over medium heat in a nonstick pan. This tempers the bitterness of the tomatillo.

2. Put your heirloom tomato and habanero into a bowl. Pour in the simmered tomatillo mixture. Put in the lime juice, cilantro and sea salt. Mix well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavor can deepen.

3. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce

This weekend, Jess had a taste of what it might feel like to be pregnant… backwards. Confusing? Well, let me explain.

Jess took this lovely photo of me cheesing it up right before we biked back home with all our farmers market purchases!

For some God-forsaken reason, my body woke up at 5:26 am on Saturday morning. Then Max got up and then Jess woke up because everyone left her. What do you do that early on a Saturday? You bike to the local cafe for a cup of iced coffee and then you bike over to the Farmers Market and get your pick of the beautiful produce, that’s what!!

We picked up 1.5 pounds of green beans, 1 lb of yellow squash, 1 ginormous zucchini, 1 bouquet of flowers, 1 lb of lettuce, 1 quart each of yellow peaches and fingerling potatoes and one 7 lb watermelon. It didn’t matter that we only had bikes to get back home; we wanted that watermelon. So, Jess put it in her backpack and strapped it on. The first thing she said was, “I feel like I’m pregnant, but backwards.” Hah! True true. And then we biked home. She could feel it in her back and her knees, but she got it home! I faithfully rode behind her to make sure she was okay (although it could be because she’s just faster than me in general) and luckily we arrived home without incident, but definitely with a little extra sweat!

Today she enjoyed a huge bowl of it all to herself, which she thoroughly earned! Thank you, my love, for a great effort and tasty reward :)

And now I give you a new recipe that I made up for the weekly CSA newsletter I contribute to! This highlights the swiss chard, garlic and herbs that they’ll be receiving in their baskets. Jess and I have made numerous versions of pasta sauces and this combines the best of the veggies with just the right kind of creamy cheesiness. If you don’t have swiss chard, you can substitute spinach and it’ll taste just as good!

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Chard Pasta Sauce
Servings: 8
PointsPlus Per Serving: 3

I think her bike likes my bike. Good thing too because the feeling is mutual :)

Ingredients

  • 1 jar roasted garlic pasta sauce, any brand (preferably Meijer Organic), 8 PP
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided, 4 PP
  • 3-4 handfuls fresh swiss chard
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini/squash finely diced
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 3 PP
  • 2 tbsp light butter (optional), 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice

Directions
1. Warm up 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add minced garlic, onion, basil, parsley and red chili flakes and cook until fragrant (around 2 minutes). Then, add swiss chard and cook down for about 4-6 minutes. Once it’s cooked down and onions are translucent, transfer to a food processor and chop it all up until almost pureed, but not quite to a smoothie texture. You still want some texture!

2. Now, get out a big sauce pot and warm up the last tsp of olive oil and the butter (if you’re using it) and put the finely diced zucchini in. Add the dried oregano and a pinch of the salt and pepper you’re using just to flavor it up a little. Cook for about 3 minutes and then pour in both the jar and can of tomato sauces. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice and stir until well blended.

3. Once it’s warm (around 5-8 minutes or so), add the chard/onion puree and stir well. Cook for about 8 minutes on medium low heat, test it and then add salt/pepper according to taste, and then lower heat and let simmer for around 10-20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the better the flavor!

4. Serving size is around 1/2 cup. Pour over your favorite noodle, use in a lasagna or on a meatball sub, put on steamed veggies or even straight over lettuce or sprouts! It might be good enough that you’ll want to eat it with a spoon :)

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas and a New Bike!

Click here for this Shrimp Enchiladas Verde recipe by “Eat, Live, Run”!

I GOT A BIKE!!  Jess and I were finally able to drive up to the REI where it was shipped to and picked it up on Saturday.  Then we drove back the same day… which made it a 6 hour drive round-trip.  But it was totally worth it.  She’s a beauty!  Pictures will come later.  We went for our first bike ride together the next morning instead of going to church and it felt just as good as a spiritual refresher.  We did almost seven miles, which isn’t much on a recumbent bike in a gym, but certainly is with slight hills and lots of cracks in the pavement!  We’re both getting squishy seats soon because, well, you know why.  The feeling of a numb coochie is slightly unnerving. (TMI?)

After the biking, we went swimming!  The water was perfect.  The pool had just opened and no one else was in there, so Jess and I dove right in to cool, cool water.  With the crazy heat we had the last couple weeks, every time we got in the water it felt like we were getting into warm bath water.  Gross.  This was the first time it truly felt like a pool.  Awesome.

Click here for this Zucchini Beef Enchiladas recipe from “Recipe Girl”!

Since I knew we’d both be biking in to work the next day, I wanted to make lunches ahead of time so I could leave the house before the heat index rose too much.  I also wanted to use up some of the veggies I’d had in the fridge for a couple weeks from our local CSA, The Wingfield Farm.  I didn’t have the typical mexican blend cheese in the fridge, so I improvised!  In fact, these enchiladas are full of so much delicious flavor that the tiny bit of feta cheese I put in was really more of an afterthought.  So, these enchiladas can definitely be dairy/lactose-free for those of us who fall into that category.  YAY!  And if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian, take out the pork, use another veggie like corn, potato or kale (just make sure to add a bit of the spices to the veggies that I list for seasoning the pork) and this can be a vegan dish as well!  I love it went that happens :)

This is also my recipe of the week for my cousin’s CSA newsletter.  It’ll be highlighting the tomatoes, garlic, onion and summer squash that everyone will be getting in their baskets.  Score!

Pork and Veggie Enchiladas
Servings: 4 (3 enchiladas per serving, plus fall-out filling!)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10 (or 7 PP for 2 enchiladas each)

Click here for this Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “The Novice Chef”!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed, 10 PP
  • 12 extra thin La Mission corn tortillas, 12 PP
  • 3 cups diced zucchini/yellow squash
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed, 7 PP
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 3 jalapenos (or less if you don’t want it spicy), diced
  • 3 tsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • spices to season pork (I used ground coriander, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, sea salt and a little adobo powder)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese, 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 packages Frontera Verde Enchilada sauce, 6 PP (or 2 cups of another green enchilada sauce of your choice)

Directions
1. Get out a cast iron skillet and turn to medium heat. Season your pork on both sides and cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes or until done.

2. While it’s cooking, get out a medium sized mixing bowl. Rinse the black beans and pour in. Dice up your tomatoes, chop your cilantro and dice your jalapenos and put those in the bowl as well.

3. Now, dice up your zucchini and onion and set aside in a separate bowl. Heat up a medium-sized non-stick pan to medium low heat and pour in 1 tsp of the olive oil and garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant for about 15 seconds and then put in the zucchini and onion. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then put in the bowl with the other veggies and beans.

Click here for this Thai Chicken Enchiladas recipe by “How Sweet It Is”!

4. Take your cooked pork and let it sit on a chopping block for a few minutes to cool. Then, slice into thin strips (against the grain, preferably) and dice each of those strips. Combined the diced pork with the other filling.

5. Now you can turn your oven on to 375. Take the same non-stick pan you used for the zucchini and onion pour in the enchilada sauce and the last 2 tsp of olive oil and stir up (if you have non-fat greek yogurt, I sometimes stir in a spoonful of it as well to make the sauce creamier). Turn heat to low so that it just gets a bit warm.

6. Take out a 9×13 glass pan and spray with Pam. Organize your counters so you have 12 tortillas on your left, pan of sauce to the right of that, glass dish next to that and the bowl of filling on your right (and a small bowl with the feta if you’re using it next to that). This setup seems to work the best for me. Now, take one tortilla and dip into sauce so that both sides have been covered. Put in the glass dish, sprinkle in a little feta and spoon in a generous scoop of the filling. Roll tortilla, keeping the folded ends on the bottom and shove it into the corner of the pan. Repeat for the next 11 tortillas. You should end up with two rows of six enchiladas, a bunch of leftover filling and about 1 cup of leftover sauce. Scoop the leftover filling into the middle of the dish between the rows of the enchiladas and pour the leftover sauce all over the enchiladas.

7. Rinse your hands and then put into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Take out, top with a little greek yogurt or guacamole or salsa and enjoy!

What To Do With Your CSA Veggies

My best fried rice dish

Remember back when I told you all that I’m contributing a recipe each week to the newsletter of the CSA that my cousins are running? Well, it’s been going great! With all the traveling that I’ve been doing in the past month, I’ve been unable to really create new recipes with fresh ingredients they’re handing out, but I have been going through my recipe index to share past ones that use exactly the produce that they’re putting in those baskets.  They’re all tasty and delicious, so I have to share them with you again! They’ve made frequent appearances in my kitchen and will continue to do so.

Drying my herbs in the utility closet so they don’t go to waste!

The first recipe I submitted actually WAS a new, original recipe to highlight spinach. The Italian Spinach and Tomato Egg White Frittata. It got rave reviews too! I’m a huge frittata fan and have made many other variations in the past year.

The next week I submitted a recipe to highlight garlic scapes that I found on another site (since I was traveling again). It was this recipe for Garlic Scape Hummus and it looked wonderful! It’s from The Spiced Plate. I’m a big fan of garlic scapes.

Week three led me to share my Warm Curried Beef Salad recipe to highlight their carrot crops. No other vegetable compliments the flavors of this salad better than a fresh carrot!

For week four I chose to highlight cabbage and shared this Food Republic recipe for Sweet and Sour Chinese Cabbage.  In my life, I’ve only ever really had cabbage in random salads, soups or paired with corned beef.  This recipe inspired me to buy a cabbage at the market a couple weeks later so that I could do something else to highlight it rather than just making it an afterthought again!

Southwestern Black Bean Salad highlighted green onions in week five.  It’s not a huge part of the salad, but it’s definitely an important ingredient.  This salad also highlights corn and tomatoes, both of which are in season right now (at least in my town!)

Last week I shared Spanish-Style Shrimp and Garlic to highlight both their garlic and zucchini crops.  I LOVE this recipe!  It’s especially wonderful when you use raw shrimp rather than pre-cooked shrimp.  It turns out so succulent and bursting with flavor.  I even bought some shrimp on Sunday with this recipe in mind.

Last night’s CSA-inspired meat sauce over pasta wheels

This week I shared my recipe for Fried Rice with Prawns and Ham to highlight the carrots and onions.  This is by far my favorite fried rice recipe.  It’s full of flavor without being full of oil and the wild rice give it just a bit of nuttiness that blends perfectly.  I also describe the best way to prepare it so that all the vegetables lend their flavors to the rice in the best way possible, so make sure to read it if you haven’t yet.

Now that the month of weekend travel is over, I hope to be able to come up with new and fun recipes with the vegetables that I’m getting from my own CSA – The Wingfield Farm.  I’m splitting a half basket with my friend, Cass, and the amount is still plentiful.  And I’m enjoying the selection much more than the CSA I belonged to last year!  Yesterday we received our first basket and I got zucchini, onion, red potatoes, oregano, mint, basil, asian greens and a variation of chinese cabbage.  That was just what I took.  They also had yellow squash, dragon tongue beans, leaf lettuce and arugula.  AMAZING!  Last night I cooked up a semi-homemade meat sauce with the oregano, basil, onion and zucchini.  Basically, you take this recipe for Mighty Meaty Spaghetti Sauce, use half the amount of meat it calls for and replace the other half with finely diced zucchini and a whole medium diced onion.  Cook up the veggies for a couple minutes before you add in the meat and then right before you put in the sauce, put a dash of nutmeg in there.  It’s incredible.

Okay, well, that’s all for now and don’t forget to enter to win the RWWF Love and Gratitude Box!  The winner will be announced on July 10th!

Goetta Breakfast Salad (uhh.. salad for breakfast?)

Oh boy was this tasty.

No, no. Breakfast food in a salad and eaten for lunch! Although, I’m sure it would be delicious and filling as a breakfast dish, but I just can’t get myself to eat salad for breakfast. Weird.

How did this fusion of German breakfast food and salad come to be, you ask? This is just what happens when two people start making two different things for lunch and decide that they both want a bit of what the other is having! Hee hee. No, literally. I’m sitting here giggling because I find it kind of funny. I wandered in the kitchen with a desire to cook up some of the goetta we brought back from OH last weekend and she was already in there washing some salad and putting it into bowls for us. I asked her if she wanted some goetta too and she said yes. I asked if she wanted an egg too and she said yes. I said, “what if we make it into a salad?” She said sure! BAM! Idea was born.

You can’t just put an egg and goetta on some lettuce and call it a new and interesting recipe, though. So, I mixed it up with some sauteed mini sweet peppers (because their flavors blend so well with egg and goetta) and threw in some zucchini as well because, let’s face it, you can pretty much add it to anything savory and it’ll taste good and fill you up.

Cheese and croutons were added in there too because we are a house that looooves cheese and croutons. In fact, during our latest visit to OH, we bought a bag of croutons to have with salad one night for dinner and the next night my dad decided to bring home FOUR MORE BAGS because… he figured we needed to eat them like french fries? I don’t know, lol, but they certainly didn’t last long.

They were good in this salad, but they didn’t add too much to the salad other than some more texture and a bit of cheesey/carby goodness, so if you want to save yourself some points you can go ahead and leave them out. I was just excited that I made up a new recipe using goetta that’s different than just slicing and pan-frying them up or inserting them into a breakfast sandwich. And it was definitely satisfying to both my palate and my stomach! Yum :)

Goetta Breakfast Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 11 (or 8 without cheese or croutons since they’re more of an afterthought)

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 handfuls of salad greens
  • 2 oz goetta, 5 PP
  • 1 egg, 2 PP
  • 3 mini sweet peppers
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp low-fat french dressing, 1 PP
  • 1/2 oz dill havarti cheese (or another cheese of your choice), 2 PP (optional)
  • 2 tbsp croutons, 1 PP (optional)

Directions
1. Get out goetta and slice off two 1-oz rounds. Heat up a non-stick skillet to medium heat and cook goetta on both sides until nicely browned.

2. While the goetta is cooking, wash lettuce, drain and put in a bowl or on a plate. Wash zucchini and peppers. Slice peppers in half long-ways and slice zucchini into rounds.

3. Once the goetta is done cooking, cut each slice into quarters and put on lettuce. Cook up peppers and zucchini with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until slightly tender. Once done, slice the peppers into strips and put those and the zucchini rounds onto the salad.

4. Cook up your egg over-easy (so that the yolk will mix with the french dressing and be generally amazing.) While it’s cooking, cut up or shred your havarti cheese and put on salad.

5. Once egg is done, put it on top of the salad, add your croutons (if you’re using them) and drizzle the french dressing over top. Cut up with a knife and fork, mix it all up together and enjoy the delicious flavors!

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables

The best grilled veggies I’ve had in years.

Jess and I spent the last few days with my parents in Ohio making great food and having fun. On Thursday, I made some Saucy Italian Chicken and we had salad on the side. Friday we had Agave-Lime Salmon and some amazing grilled summer vegetables. Saturday we lit the fire pit and cooked our hotdogs over the flames before bringing them inside to cover them in all sorts of our favorite toppings.

We also had Graeter’s Ice Cream, which is the most fantabulous ice cream on the planet, and some s’mores on another night… but that’s not the point of this post! I’m here to talk about those grilled veggies.

The veggies that we had with the salmon were AMAZING. Dad and I got some asparagus, summer squash and mushrooms washed and sliced and then grilled them in a veggie grill pan on the grill. I told him to drizzle a bit of olive oil over top (once it was on the grill and not just sitting on the table since there are holes on the bottom, duh.) and sprinkle in some sea salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes. Dad decided to use some homemade basil-infused olive oil and threw in some fresh basil and a couple of hungarian wax peppers from the garden as well!

Jess took this BEAUTIFUL photo of the Agave-Lime Salmon we had with the vegetables!

When we sat down to eat everything, it was like sitting down to a feast. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were still tender-crisp. He did a perfect job grilling them! And since it was a super easy veggie dish that most people wouldn’t just throw together, I decided to share with you. It is super low in points. I even threw all my veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, tossed in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkled it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzled it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar. WOW. Amazing.

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1 (WWOnline says 2 PP, but they stay tendercrisp and they’re veggies so I ignored it and just counted the olive oil!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb washed and trimmed asparagus, sliced in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hungarian wax peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil of your choice, 5 PP
  • 6-10 leaves of fresh basil
  • cracked pepper and sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1. Make sure all your veggies are washed and sliced. Put them in a saute/grill pan specifically for cooking veggies over a grill (except basil and hungarian peppers).

2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies once the pan is on the grill. You can either roast your peppers on the grill right next to the pan or you can put them directly in the veggie mix; your choice. Sprinkle in pepper, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes. Then put in basil leaves.

3. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Serve immediately and enjoy!

And I would HIGHLY recommend doing what I did with the salad. It only adds an extra 2 PP and it really brings out the delicious flavors of the grilled veggies! (In case you forgot what it was: put veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, toss in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkle it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzle it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar.)

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Warm Curried Beef Salad

For this week’s Our Harvest Coop Newsletter, I’ve decided to share a delicious salad recipe.  I made this one up when I was searching for something different to do with a bottom round steak I had in the fridge.  I wanted the right combination of savory and sweet flavors without going crazy and I definitely found it.

These days, it seems like we’re waiting for a good deal to buy meat. When I was younger, my parents refused to buy meat until it was under $2.00 a lb. Times have changed and some days we’re just hoping it will get under $4.00 a lb! But the price you pay depends most on which cut of meat you get. For us, the most affordable cuts are tri-tip steaks and bottom round steaks. Tri-tip is succulent and easy to chew and usually just a tad more expensive than the round, but it’s definitely cheaper than flank steak! Bottom round is a bit tougher to chew, but going at it with a meat mallet always does the trick.

Warm Curried Beef Salad
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 oz raw beef bottom/top round, lean and trimmed, 7 PP
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 handfuls leaf lettuce mix (you can throw some spinach in there too)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 2 oz reduced fat feta cheese, 4 PP
  • 2-3 tbsp low-fat garlic-based vinaigrette (like the House dressing from Aldi), 1 PP

Directions
1. Warm up a cast iron grill pan with just a spray of Pam over medium-low heat. Mix together your spices and rub it on both sides of the beef. Then, cook the beef. It should take around 3-6 minutes per side depending on it’s thickness.

2. While it’s cooking, wash your lettuce, slice up your carrot (diagonal cuts make this aesthetically appealing!) and put into a big bowl.

3. Once the beef is done cooking, slice up diagonally into 1-1.5 inch long pieces and throw into salad bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese over top and pour in the vinaigrette. Mix up with salad tongs. You can serve immediately or put it into a tupperware container for lunch later!

I’ve been able to find the bottom round beef steaks for around $3.50-$3.86 per pound. Since we’re using only 6 oz here, that’s less than $1.75. We’ll round that to $1.50. Depending on where you get your salad from, you can pay anywhere from $2-4.00 for a half pound of leaf lettuce. Since we’re using 3 handfuls, let’s call that $2.00 for quality lettuce in this dish. Feta cheese? Maybe 75 cents for 2 oz and 15 cents for a carrot. 3 tbsp of low-fat vinaigrette? I’d say around a quarter (since I get mine from Aldi!)

COST:
$1.50 – Beef
$2.00 – Leaf Lettuce mix
$1.15 – Cheese, carrot and vinaigrette

$4.65 – TOTAL COST
$2.32 – COST PER PORTION

I’d call that a deal. You would definitely find yourself paying close to $7 or $8 if you were purchasing this salad at a restaurant. Now you’ll be saving over $5 PER PORTION! That’s $10 you’ve saved for the whole meal. $10 you can put towards that vacation you’ve been wanting to go on, right?

Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza Quinoa

Quick casserole gets a twist, bitches!

Oh my. That was rude. You’re not bitches. But this dish IS bitchin. And I made it up this morning. SCORE. And then I eated it and it was yummy.

Now I share.

Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza Quinoa
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 9

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, 5 PP (or couscous, rice, etc)
  • 1 wedge light creamy swiss Laughing Cow cheese, 1 PP
  • 1/2 oz shredded RF colby jack cheese, 1 PP
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2-3 tbsp low-sodium marinara sauce, 1 PP
  • 1/4 cup diced mini sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1/4 medium zucchini, sliced and diced
  • 9 slices turkey pepperoni, quartered, 1 PP

Directions
1. If you haven’t done this yet, cook up your quinoa. Mine has a nice reddish-orange color because i put a packet of Goya Achiote spice in the water before I cooked it. You can do the same with other spices or even cook it in chicken/veggie stock to add more flavor!

2. Add your cheese, spices and marinara sauce to your cup of quinoa. Then add the pepperoni and veggies. Nuke for one minute; stir. Nuke for another minute. DONE! Perfection.

You can certainly switch up the cheeses, meat or veggies.  This is just a good balance between carb, protein and veggie.  I did the same thing with couscous last week only i used mozzarella and swiss cheeses and put in a little minced garlic instead of putting in the powder.  It was scrumptious.  And I bet your kids would love it too!