We often hear that eating healthy, fresh foods is too expensive and that it’s much cheaper and easier to pick up fast food on the way home then to make a meal at home.
One of my goals is to dispel this myth. Eating healthy doesn’t mean slaving away at the stove or breaking the bank. What it does take is some planning ahead, a little creativity and a love for great food.
The next time I make a stir-fry I’ll be reviewing a wok set sent to me by CSN Stores. CSN Stores has everything from dishes to dining room tables. Look for the review and a new stir-fry recipe coming soon!
Here is a meal that is well-balanced, comes together quickly, tastes great and costs $10.20 for four servings! ($2.55/person)
Even better? The pasta and vegetables were organic and the beef passes the Whole Foods Meat Quality Standards.
Money-Saving Tip: Add frozen veggies to your grocery list! They won’t go bad, they are often cheaper and have just as many nutrients as fresh ones!
Beef & Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry – 4 servings
- 4 oz whole-grain spaghetti
- 16 oz bag of frozen Chinese Stir Fry Vegetables
- 8 oz skirt steak
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha (if desired)
Prepare the pasta as directed.
Heat large pan over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add steak to pan and season with salt & pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha.
Add the frozen vegetables to pan and saute for about 6 minutes, until cooked through.
Turn off heat and add pasta and sauce to pan. Toss to combine. Slice steak into thin slices and serve over pasta.
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My Mother is the Queen of pasta salads. Literally. She has enough pasta salads in her arsenal to get through the whole summer without repeats. Many of them are worth repeating however, so she’ll find a way to squeeze them in.
As a child, I remember being fond of some, like chicken curry pasta salad, and not so fond of others, presumably this one as I hated both blue cheese and olives at that young stage of life. Now I’ll take the blue cheese & olive combo anyway – fried, in a salad, a martini or preferably all three at the same time. 🙂
I’m finally starting to understand the great meal that is the pasta salad. Easy to throw together, tastes even better the next day and no oven required. Just thinking about pasta salads reminds me of summer dinners as a kid, eating on the porch. While I rarely eat on my balcony these days, I may just serve up a bowl of this and head out to the sun for a summer lunch worth dreaming about.
Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad – 6-8 servings
- 2 cups farfalle pasta (I used Barilla PLUS)
- 6 oz can of black olives, halved
- 2 cups green grapes, halved
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 4 oz blue cheese crumbled
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- juice of one lemon
- salt & pepper
Cook pasta as directed. Set aside in large bowl and let cool.
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper until smooth in small bowl. When pasta is cool, add other ingredients and dressing to bowl. Toss to combine.
Refrigerate overnight if possible. Serve cool or at room temperature.
For some reason I’ve had a hankering for chicken salad lately – I’m not sure if it was inspired by the cherry chicken pasta salad that I recently made or the desire to find something new and exciting for lunch, but this is the perfect light lunch for a sunny, summer day. This lunch proved to be quite filling over a bed of arugula and I love the juicy sweetness that the grapes added. An added bonus? Two lunches completed on Sunday, which significantly cuts down on my normally ridiculous lunch prep. 🙂
Chicken Salad – 2 servings
- 1 organic chicken breast
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
- 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise (I used a vegan canola oil mayo)
- 2 Tbsp Simply Boulder Culinary Honey Dijon Sauce
- salt & pepper
Poach or cook chicken breast. Let cool and cut into pieces. Combine all ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over greens or on bread.
I’m generally not a huge fan of potato salads, or potatoes – with the exception of sweet potatoes – for that matter, but this is definitely an exception. Perhaps if you throw in green beans, feta, and kalamata olives I can be convinced to eat anything, but this? I’m still longing for the leftovers. And that never happens in my world.
Maybe I like it so much because it is essentially the opposite of your typical potato salad, found in every deli counter, but I’d rather think it’s because it doesn’t contain a week’s worth of mayo per serving. Not to mention that it just tastes perfect.
Go ahead, make this for your next picnic or summer BBQ – I can assure you that it will go over well with any crowd. And if you have any leftovers? I’ll happily accept them. 🙂
Thanks to Georgene for sharing this delicious recipe!
Greek Potato Salad – 6-8 servings
- 1 lb red potatoes (I used a beautiful fingerling and purple potato blend)
- 3/4 cup Newman’s Own Caesar Salad Dressing
- 6 oz green beans
- 2 oz feta cheese
- 4 oz kalamata olives
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain water from pan. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over hot potatoes and mix so all potatoes are coated with dressing. Set aside and let cool.
Steam green beans until tender-crisp. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Let cool.
Pour remaining dressing (1/4 cup) over remaining ingredients and toss together.
Peel & Eat shrimp always takes me somewhere warm and somewhere along the beach. I spend those long Minnesota winters imagining myself eating fresh shrimp in between sips of a salty corona and white sand beneath my toes. Winter is long gone, but I have yet to see the ocean so I can only think of the next best thing.
I’ve had some amazing salt & pepper shrimp before so that is where I wanted to go with this. So flavorful that cocktail sauce isn’t even given a thought. The marinade is simply olive oil, salt & pepper and then the shrimp were grilled, making them so good and so reminiscent of the beach that I could almost feel the sand beneath my toes.
Peel & Eat Shrimp – 2 servings
- 1 lb peel-on jumbo shrimp
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
Toss shrimp with olive oil and salt & pepper. Heat grill to medium-high. Place shrimp on grill and grill for about 3 minutes per side until shrimp is cooked through. Grind a little more pepper on if desired.
It was about the time that the taster and I started getting serious that I really started getting into cooking. Of course I cooked up to that point, but I had a lot of grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can many a nights while I was in college. One particular summer stands out in my mind. I started getting a little more creative and made things like blueberry martini’s and sushi, but our standard summer meal was grilled fish and green beans almondine.
Once it started to feel like summer around here, I knew just what I wanted and a throwback meal was in order. Sure the grilled swordfish was great, but green beans almondine has to be one of my favorite ways to have green beans. Crisp beans, crunchy almonds and flavorful garlic all in one dish.
Green Beans Almondine – 2 servings
- 8 oz green beans, trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Heat large pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add green beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes until tender crisp. Add garlic, butter and almonds to pan and keep on heat for about one more minute.