Friday, June 30, 2006

Cheap & Healthy Fiesta Dinner!

Tonight we had a "Cheap & Healthy Fiesta" Dinner! I found a package of 10 flour tortillas for a buck at the dollar store! Also at Albertson's (next door) I found a large can of spicy "Rosarita" refried beans for $1.50 and an 8oz package of Tillamook cheddar cheese on sale for $2.50. I zapped the beans in the microwave and warmed the tortillas in foil in the oven @ 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. I grated the cheese and opened/drained a can of .50 cent corn (dollar store). I bought an 8oz container of sour cream and a small bottle of Tapatio hot sauce for .99 cents each. I chopped up some fresh onions, tomatoes and purple cabbage from the farmer's market (cheap). We put together some awesome little gourmet taco/burrito's. I made a box of spanish rice-a-roni ($1.00 on sale) and we had that too. I bought a bag of tortilla chips on sale for $1.99 and made some homemade salsa (recipe below). This was an awesome little feast and there was plenty of food to feed my son's band mates after their rehearsal. This is a great meal for hungry teen's and it's vegetarian which always wins points!

Salsa Recipe:

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (Italian style is best)
1-2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (adds fresh texture)
1/2 cup chopped onion (white, green, purple, whatever)
2 fresh jalepeno peppers, seeded & chopped (or an 8oz can chopped)
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
A few shots of Tapatio (or other hot sauce)
A couple of splashes of vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Cumin
Salt and pepper

Hand mix in a "salsa blender" or pulse in a food processor or blender. Or, finely chop all ingredients by hand.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Chicken Soup for the Anxiety Ridden Soul

Okay, this may seem kinda weird, being that it's summer and all, but yesterday I had a craving for homemade chicken soup. I'm trying to figure out why because it's summer with temps in the 90's outside. The only thing I can think of is that I'm really craving some comfort and stability right now. Of coarse this probably relates to finances, or lack there of. My husband's business has run out of "moola" and the other "investment capital" hasn't come through yet, so there's NO paycheck coming in. Yikes, are we gonna be homeless or what? Fear, Fear! We do own our van now (we finally paid that sucker off) so maybe we could live in that...NOT! I might consider it if dear hubby didn't hold the world's record for the LOUDEST snorring in the universe! Ok, I don't want to even go there or even think about the possibility of being homeless. Oh help me Lord! Anyway enough about my financial problems and on to the very awesome soup that I made yesterday and that I'm still eating today, yum!

I purchased these fairly cheap, thinly sliced chicken breasts thingy's. "Chicken Tenders" I believe they're called. It amounted to about one pound of chicken. I cut these up into small bits and sauteed (fried) them in a dutch oven "the big pan" with a little oil. Then I added 1/2 onion chopped and about 4 cloves of minced garlic. Then 6 cans of chicken broth (cheap store brand) and 2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning (dollar store). I sliced up 3-4 carrots and 3 spears of celery and added them. I brought all this to a boil and added 1/2 cup of rice (Dollar Store) and a 14oz can of chopped tomatoes (Dollar Store). I let this simmer about 20 minutes till the rice was tender and then I added a 14 oz can of white beans (rinsed and drained). You can add whatever beans you happen to have. Then I added 1 cup of fresh chopped zucchini (Free). A friend gave me a large one from his garden. You could substitute a cup of peas, frozen or canned and drained. You can add a little hot sauce sauce or other spices of your choice. Oh, I almost forgot. I squeezed the juice of one fresh lemon (from a friend's tree) into the pot and added 1/4 cup of the my favorite cheap (Gallo Twin Valley) Chardonnay (optional). I let the soup simmer about another 10 more minutes and garnished (topped) it with chopped green onions and fresh cilanto. Gourmet all the way! I think just going through the motions of making this soup relieved some anxiety. That and the glass of the cheap wine I drank while making it, lol! I ate little bowls of this soup all day for lunch, dinner, snack, midnight snack, 3:00am snack (when I couldn't sleep due to anxiety) and I ate some for breakfast this morning too. Yes, I did save some for my son and hubby to try, ha! This recipe makes a lot.

So go make a big pot of chicken soup when you're feeling anxious. It's cheap, it's easy, it's fast and it's good for you! Oh and don't forget the vino while you're making it!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I "Heart" the Dollar Tree!

Without the dollar store, I literally would not have survived that past couple of years! Or I would have just had bad breath, rotten teeth, stinky pits, dirty (limp) hair, dirty laundry, various hygiene issues and a lot less food to eat. What, with a husband getting laid off and gasoline prices going through the "sun" roof, etc.. The dollar store has carried us through many times of crisis. And yes, I used to be one of those (yuppie) Mom's that had no problem paying over $3.00 for a tube of toothpaste and the list goes on, but that was pre- 9/11, pre- layoff, pre- over $3.00 a gallon gasoline. I've been forced to discovered the almighty "Dollar Store". I now live that dollar store reality/mentality. Hey, how do you know when you're really, really broke? It's when you can't even afford something at the dollar store and let me tell ya, I've been there, as I'm sure many of you have. I think even if I do gain access to more money in the future. such as a bigger paycheck or just "a" paycheck, I swear, as God is my witness, I will continue to shop at the dollar store. It just makes good sense! Who knows, I may also make a dress out of curtains (ie: Scarlett O'Hara). So anyway, check out the nearest and dearest Dollar Tree/99cent store (whatever), near you and cross off some of those items on your grocery list and save LOTS AND LOTS OF MOOLA too!

Happy shopping ya'll,