Monday, November 29, 2010

Clean Out the Fridge and Pantry Week

First off, sorry there's no food photo. I forgot to take a photo of today's recipe until it was already on our plates and it didn't photograph very well then. Instead, this is a funny picture of our dog because everybody likes funny animal photos, right?

Last week we decided to only buy produce and a few staples (milk, eggs, cheese) at the grocery store and use up what we have in the pantry, fridge and freezer for our weeknight meals. We normally spend spend about $120 on average a week on groceries (there's only 2 of us!), last week we spent $50 and we've still eaten well. I think we will do this again this week I still have lots of beans, rice, etc in the cupboard. Only I do want to buy some ricotta cheese because I have a craving for it. Here's what we ate this week on our budget menu:

Monday: Mushroom and Butternut Squash Risotto
*Arborio rice from the pantry, then I sauteed mushrooms and squash in a pan until cooked, made risotto (I don't follow a recipe anymore, but I started out making risotto according to Jamie Oliver's recipe) and stirred in the squash and mushrooms before serving

Tuesday: Whole Wheat Fettuccine and Italian Meatballs
*Pasta and sauce out of the pantry, PC meatballs we had in the freezer

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie
*Chicken breasts from the freezer, and the rest is produce and fridge staples (recipe tomorrow)

Thursday: Chorizo, Cheddar, Squash and Leek Bread Pudding
*I found some sausage in the freezer, and I've been keeping the stale ends of bread in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for a couple of weeks for a time when I wanted to make bread pudding. Recipe below.

Friday: Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Pizza
*We already had all the ingredients in the fridge except for the mozzarella, but was on sale at the store

One Year Ago: Easy Drop Biscuits

Serves 2 but recipe is easily doubled, tripled, etc
If you love Thanksgiving stuffing as much as I do (really, who doesn't love stuffing?) then you'll love this- it's like making a meal of stuffing. Almost any meat and veg can be used in this dish- use whatever you have on hand.
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • 2 cups day old bread, cut into bite sized pieces- Italian or French loaf rather than sandwich bread is best
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 uncooked Chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and chopped into half moons
  • 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a casserole dish. Toss squash with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, roast until squash is cooked through and browned, about 20 minutes. Scrape into prepared dish. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add bread, stirring to coat. Leave to let bread absorb the egg mixture 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a saute pan over med-high head, cook sausage until no longer pink and it is a bit crisped, breaking sausage into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks. Scrape into casserole dish, leaving any liquid in the pan. In same pan over medium heat, saute leeks until they are softened but not browned. Add to sausage. Pour bread mixture and 1/2 cup of cheese into casserole dish and stir everything together. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

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