Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peach Custard Pie

My friend Elissa got me hooked on this sweet treat. A great combination of sweet and salt, crisp and creamy. Yum. You'll want yours to be a bit more browned than the one pictured. Mine ended up slightly undercooked. Elissa's was great though.

1 1/2 c Flour
1 t Salt
1/2 c Canola Oil
2 T Water

6-7 Peaches
2 Eggs
2 T Butter, melted
1 c Sugar
3 T Flour
  1. In your pie plate mix all crust ingredients together and press crust firm with the back of a spoon or measuring cup.
  2. Peel and slice peaches and place into pie shell. Beat together all other filling ingredients together and SLOWLY pour over peaches.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until set (the filling should not wiggle or appear loose).
  4. Allow to cool completely and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Peaches $3.50 (farm stand)
Eggs $.20 (Aldi's)
Butter $.15 (Aldi's)
Sugar $.40 (Aldi's)
Rest from Pantry Stock

IF you prefer a less salty crust, reduce to 1/2 t

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Martha's Vineyard Salad

So it must be a salad week. This is my take on a salad that I got at Charley's Crab - one of my favorite restaurants (the one we only go to with a gift card). The pinenuts make the salad. Make this a around the time that I make pesto and have pinenuts around the house. They are addictive to me, so I try not to keep a supply around too often.

6 c Baby romaine mix
1/4 c Blue cheese
Red onion slices (I omit)
3 T toasted pinenuts
1/4 c Dried cranberries
Raspberry Vinagrette

Add dressing just prior to serving because baby greens wilt fast

Lettuce $2.00 (Meijer sale)
Cheese $.75 (Aldi's)
Red Onion $.50 (Meiejr)
Cranberries $.25 (Aldi's)
Pinenuts $1.00 (D&W)
Vinagrette $.50 (Meijer)

Could use dried cherries or dried blueberries
Gorganzola cheese

Monday, September 28, 2009

Apple, Pear, & Cashew Salad

My sister-in-law Stacey made this for Thanksgiving last year. Turkey, potatoes, and stuffing is one of my FAVORITE meals and this salad is what I went back for seconds on (and thirds if I remember right). I get rave reviews for it every time I make it. The cashews provide a great crunch and the pairing of the provolone and fruit is amazing.

2 Bosch Pears, diced
2 Golden Delicious apples, diced
1/4" slice Provolone cheese, diced
3 Romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 - 1 c Cashew pieces
Poppyseed dressing

Pears $1.00 (Meijer)
Apples $.50 (Aldi's)
Provolone $2.00 (Meijer - deli counter)
Romaine $2.00 (Meijer)
Cashews $1.00 (Aldi's)
Dressing $.25 (Meijer)

If you like tart apples - go for a granny smith
Toasted Almonds

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chop Salad

I fell in love with this salad at Portillo's in Chicago. I'm a texture eater and this is a dream for me. Every possible texture put in one bite. Crisp bacon, creamy cheese, soft pasta, crunch carrots, soft tomatos, crunch lettuce... you get the idea.

It takes awhile to chop all the veggies small, but it is key to making a great chop salad. Like all salads, the proportions and components are completely up to personal taste. You don't want to leave out the pasta or bacon... the heart and soul of this salad. You might be saying pasta and lettuce? Trust me, it's a great combination. It's an entire meal in a bowl. This is how I make it.

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz Ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
4-6 c romaine/iceberg lettuce mix, chopped small
1/2 c tomatoes, chopped small
1/2 c carrots, chopped small
1/2 c cucumber, chopped small (I use seedless)
1/4 c celery, chopped small
1/4 c feta cheese
Italian dressing

Bacon $1.00 (Aldi's)
Pasta $.25 (Meijer)
Lettuce $2.00 (Meijer)
Tomato $.30 (Meijer)
Carrots $.20 (Aldi's)
Cucumber $.30 (Aldi's)
Celery $.10 (Aldi's)
Feta $.40 (Costco)
Dressing $.25 (Meijer)

Red cabbage, sunflower seeds, turkey bacon, etc
Dressing - whatever you like - greek, ranch, vinagrette, etc.
Add protein like chicken, turkey,

I chop extra veggies while I'm at it for making soup.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chop Suey

This was what I asked my mom to make for my birthday meal growing up. This is definitely an "americanized" version of chop suey, but I love it non-the-less. Total comfort food for a cool fall day.

2 lb Pork roast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 T Oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
1/3 c Molasses
2 T Soy Sauce
1 lg Cans (28 oz) Chinese vegetables

Sauté onions in oil in a large Dutch oven. Add pork and brown meat. Cover meat with water and bring to a boil. Add molasses and soy sauce.

Put in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Bring back to the stove top, add Chinese vegetables and heat over medium heat until heated through. Thicken with cornstarch to desired consistency. Serve over rice or chow mein noodles. Can easily double the batch to feed a big crowd.

Pork $4.00 (Meijer - sale)
Onion $.20 (Aldi's)
Vegetables $2.00 (Meijer - sale)
Molasses $.75 (Meijer)

I have non. I love it the way it is. Adapt til your heart's content

Friday, September 25, 2009

Basil Cream Chicken

This is not a difficult meal to make. In fact, my husband made this for dinner the other night. I was more than impressed. Typically I double the sauce to have enough for the pasta I serve with it. Rarely use the pimentos as I never to seem to have them on hand, while the rest is usually in my cupboards and fridge.

1/2 c Milk

1/2 c Italian bread crumbs

1 t Oregano

1 t Parsley

1 lb Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders

3-5 T Butter

1/2 c Chicken broth

1 c Heavy whipping cream (can use Half & Half)

1 (4oz) Jar sliced pimento peppers, drained (optional)

1/2 c Grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c Chopped fresh basil

1/4 t Ground black pepper

Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in the milk, then coat with bread crumbs. In a skillet over medium heat, fry chicken in butter on both sides until the juices run clear. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

Add the broth to the skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir to loosen browned bits from pan. Stir in the cream and pimentos; boil and stir for one minute. Reduce heat; add the Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper. Simmer and stir until heated through. If too thin, cook down to thicken or use a bit of corn starch. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken.

TOTAL COSTS: $3.50 - $5.50

Chicken $2.00 (Meijer)

Cream $.75 (Aldi's)

Bread Crumbs $.10 (Aldi's)

Butter $.35 (Aldi's)

Basil Free from garden or $2.00 (Meijer)

Broth $.30 (Aldi's)


Use cilantro & lime instead of basil

Add lemon juice to the basil cream sauce

Leave out the basil add extra pepper & lemon

Grill the chicken instead of pan frying

Monday, September 21, 2009

Turkey Stuffing Bake

This recipe is one of my family's traditions following the holidays. Can easily use chicken in this recipe. Not a fan of condensed cream soups? Try substituting sour cream, cream cheese, and/or cream with a bit of celery seeds.

2 boxes Stove Top Stuffing

1 ½ lb Turkey or chicken, cooked and cubed

1 can Cream of celery soup

1 can Cream of chicken soup

1 c Evaporated milk

Make stuffing according to box recipe. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan. Spread ½ the stuffing on the bottom of the pan. In a large bowl, mix meat, soups and milk together. Spread chicken mixture over stuffing. Top with remaining stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes.

Total Cost: $5.60

Stuffing $2.00 (Aldi's) - less as leftovers

Cream Soups $1.00 (Aldi's)

Evap Milk $.60 (Aldi's)

Chicken/Turkey $2.00 (Meijer) - less as leftovers

This freezes pretty well. Make and don't bake, put in freezer. Simply thaw before cooking. Can freeze leftovers and repeat. Might want to bake/broil at the end to recrisp stuffing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mini Pesto Pizzas

Using that pesto I just made & froze I made these little pizzas for opening Monday Night Football. It's our month to host the weekly party with friends. This was a really quick appetizer that is definitely on my make it again list.

1 can GRANDS type FLAKY biscuits
3/4 c Pesto
1 1/2 c Chicken, cooked and shredded
1 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 T Pine nuts, toasted

1. Toast pine nuts by heating in a medium heated skillet, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Set aside.
2. While oven preheats (350 degrees), line sheet pans with parchment paper (prevents burning, easy clean up). Take each biscuit and pull apart layers into thirds. The flaky style makes this very easy to just pull. If they are regular biscuits, you can use a serrated knife to carefully cut into thirds.
3. On top of each biscuit round place about 1-2 t of pesto and spread around the top. Top pesto with shredded turkey, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
4. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 2 dozen.

Pesto $1 (homemade)
Chicken $1 (Meijer) or your leftovers
Pine nuts $1 (D & W)
Parm cheese $.50 (Aldi's)
Biscuits $1.20 (Aldi's)

Substitute turkey for chicken
Remove meat for a vegetarian pizza or side dish
Add mozzarella cheese for a gooey/cheesy pizza
Cresent rolls could be used to roll them up

Friday, September 11, 2009


Love the fresh taste of pesto over cavatappi pasta with shredded chicken. Yum. Throw a few pine nuts on top and I'm a happy woman. Here's my pesto recipe. More recipes about what to do with the pesto coming soon.

1 - 2 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (can use grated)
1/3 cup + 1 T olive oil
4 T pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 t garlic, minced

If raw pine nuts are purchased, toast them by placing in a skillet over medium-low heat - stirring or tossing frequently until lightly browned.
Be careful, they will burn. Set aside to cool.

In the same skillet heat up 1 T of olive oil until hot. Add garlic and remove from heat, set aside to cool.

After all ingredients have cooled, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender; cover and process until finely chopped.

NOTE: If you chop the basil on it's own it has a tendency to brown or blacken. Make sure to process with the olive oil.

Use sparingly. A little goes a long way.

A little goes a long way. I make a double batch and freeze it in individual portions. Makes a great homemade gift at the holidays as well.
Place in a freezer container (1/2 - 1 cup) and top with a bit of olive oil to prevent browning/oxidation. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.

COSTS: $2.75
Basil - from the garden = almost free
Pinenuts $2.00 (D&W - hear it's cheaper at Costco)
Cheese $.75 (Aldi's)
Rest from pantry stock

Can use other nuts: walnuts or sunflower seeds (never tried either)
Serve over pasta, with chicken or turkey
Top biscuits or crossiants with pesto & Parmesan cheese
Can use as a condiment on sandwiches
Make mini pizzas with pesto and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese