Monday, September 6, 2010

Current sales and recipe thoughts


I got some deals at Winn Dixie and turned them into Sunday lunch. We had grilled chicken breasts marinated in pineapple juice and teriyaki. Create your own marinade, starting with an acidic ingredient such as pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, or buttermilk...and then build up from there using other components (buttermilk and  pepper sauce is a classic marinade for fried chicken). Plus, when you marinate meat (or brine meat), the cells take up liquid and make the finished product much juicier. Use care with a sweet marinade if you plan to grill because it burns more easily. When I get chicken on sale, sometimes I divide it into dinner-sized portions and place it in freezer bags, then add a different homemade marinade to each bag and label. That way it's marinating as it freezes and also as it thaws.

For Sunday lunch, we also made grilled eggplant tossed with feta; garlic bread; roasted sweet potatoes and white potatoes; deviled eggs; and broccoli sauteed in olive oil with garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange zest.

A couple days ago we had a big pot of vegetable soup, so yummy with grilled cheese sandwiches. Save up your last bits of vegetables in a carton in the freezer and add them to your soup. Making soup is a cinch and one of my favorite things to do. This one contains: onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes, corn, green beans, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, bay leaves and basil. I made vegetable stock and then pureed the aromatics I used for the stock (onions, carrots, celery) and stirred them back in.

Vegetable soup

For today's beach picnic, we had cantaloupe and strawberries, and a pasta salad everyone really seemed to enjoy. I call it "Southwestern Pasta Salad:" tri-color rotini and kernels of roasted corn, avocado chunks, tomato, red bell pepper, small cubes of pepper-jack cheese, and a dressing of sour cream and mayo mixed with part of a package of taco seasoning. You could also add some red onion and black olives but some of my crew has allergies and dislikes.

Tomorrow is the last day for this week's grocery sales. If a store doesn't have what you are looking for, get a rain check. A family pack of top round steak is $2.38 lb. at Via Foods. I'm going to put some in the freezer and then make a note of it for Swiss steak later this fall--such an easy meal. A 4-lb. bag of sugar is $1.79 with a $15 purchase. Chicken thighs are .88 lb. They are easy to marinate and grill. I'm going to debone some and marinate them for the Banh Mi sandwiches I'm still planning to make (and of course save the bones for stock). Via's zucchini is .79 lb. (I put zucchini is pasta sauces and soup or sauté as a side dish). Cukes are .33 each (cucumber salad, or tzatziki sauce for Greek pitas); and milk is $2.99 a gallon.

Summer vegetables are still on sale at Publix, and Winn Dixie has eggs for .99 a dozen (omelets or frittata for dinner) and lots more (see last Wednesday's post). Plan a week or two week's worth of menus using items on sale and in your pantry and freezer. I try not to run out of anything--buy on sale and stock up whenever you can. Make at least one meal a week vegetarian (like soup and grilled cheese sandwiches or black beans and rice). Shopping from your own pantry and freezer is often the most frugal option.

Happy shopping and cooking! Thanks for reading.

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