Follow our family's weekly vegetarian menu, access recipes, and download weekly grocery lists, during my quest to get our weekly grocery bill down to $70 per week, while supporting local agriculture and eating healthy organic foods!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Menu for December 14-18th

This weeks menu is shorter, due to the holidays. Veggie on the Cheap will be taking a Holiday break and will resume with a full menu for the week of  January 4-10th. I apologize for leaving you with no holiday menu, or lists. Luckily, I have never had to prepare a holiday meal! Perhaps, next year! (but hopefully not!)

Monday: Fettucini Alfredo with Steamed Broccoli and Tuscan White Beans with garlic and Sage
           - Recipe for Tuscan White Beans from Vegan Planet, pg. 289.

Tuesday: Split-pea and Parsnip Soup pg 42. slow cooker
           -Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 42.

Wednesday: African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew on a bed of Couscous
           -Recipe from Vegan Planet pg. 302

Thursday: Savory Stuffed Wheat-Meat Roast with Quick Mushroom Gravy and Ginger-Pineapple Chutney with Cranberries.
            - Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 166 & 196

Friday: Kimbap
             4-5 sheets of sushi nori (sea weed paper)
             8-10  strips of fresh pineapple cut lengthwise 1/4"
             1 avocado sliced
             1 cup fresh baby spinach
             1 package extra firm tofu sliced lengthwise
             2 carrots shredded
             1/2 cup short grain (sticky rice)
             1/2 cup short grain brown rice
             1 TBL sesame oil
              Bragg's or soy sauce to cover tofu while cooking.
1. Mix uncooked brown and white rice together, cook according to directions using rice cooker. Let cool slightly.
2. Heat sesame oil on a large skillet. Place sliced tofu and cover with Bragg's. Allow to cook until Bragg's is thoroughly cooked into tofu. Set aside.
3. Once rice has cooled slightly, assemble Kimbap on top of a bamboo roller. Spread rice onto sushi nori, leaving 1-1 1/2 inch boarder. layer spinach over the rice and then lay the avocado, tofu, pineapple and carrots in narrow lines on top of the spinach.
4.) Dampen edges of the sushi-nori and carefully roll onto itself until the dampened top seals with the outer part of the sushi nori. Then use bamboo roller to tighten wrap. Cut and serve with wasabi  if desired.

~This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. My dad was station in Korea in his early adult life. He brought back a love of there cuisine. We ate kimbap frequently when I was a kid. I loved it! Well, I loved everything except the daikon radish.  I always left a pile of them on my plate from picking them out of each roll. Even though I hate them, they do add a necessary sweetness to the rolls. When I initially tried recreating this dish on my own, I omitted the daikon radish and found the rolls lacking. The pineapple is the perfect solution! The pieces are slender enough that they do not over power the rolls, but they give the rolls the needed sweetness to contrast with the salty flavor of the tofu.  My first inclination is to apologize to any of my Korean friends for making such insane changes to this dish, but  it is so delicious, I know they would be delightfully surprised if they tried it! 

Breakfast: Good Morning Millet Melange
              - Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 241.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Money Saving Tip #2

Cut down on meat analogue use. Don't get me wrong, I love a good veggie burger! I also love using meat substitutes in many dishes, but they are not cost effective. I think their existence is the one reason people believe vegetarian cooking is expensive. Veggie burgers and meat replacement products cost anywhere from $2.50-$5 per meal. In stark contrast, beans cost approximately $.50 per meal. Aside from the soy debate, or the processed food debate, the price difference is reason enough to consume  more beans and less meat substitutes.

Menu for December 7-13th

Click here for Dec 7-13 shopping list. This list includes everything needed for dinners, and a couple items to be able to make a couple different kinds of oatmeal. Of course you can add whatever you would like to the list, for breakfast and such.

Monday: Leftover Root Vegetable Soup

~We had plenty left over from last week. So we will be finishing it off this week.

Tuesday: Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza
        Pizza Crust*
        1/2 cup pesto
        1 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
        1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
        1/2 cup pine nuts
        4 oz chevre goat cheese
        3/4 - 1 cup mozzarella cheese

        1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped (optional)

 Preheat over to 400 degrees. Pat out dough out on a greased pizza pan and spread pesto over dough leaving 1/4 inch crust. Sprinkle toppings evenly over pizza, putting cheeses on last. Bake for 20 mins. 

*I make my pizza crust with a bread maker using this recipe. I also divide the dough in half to make two thin crust pizzas. I vacuum seal one and freeze if for future use.

~This is one of our favorite pizzas from a local pizza place, Austin's Pizza. I started making it at home to save money. It is a fraction of the price when made at home. My husband really loves kalamata olives, but I really dislike them. So I put olives on his portion of the pizza.

Wednesday:Chipotle- kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili w/ Corn Bread

           - recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 68
           - corn bread recipe from Romancing the Bean pg. 101

Thursday:Curried Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and Chickpeas and Kasha

           -recipe from  The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet pg. 194

~I actually was not able to find the kasha anywhere, so I made cumin seasoned millet instead. It was my first try with millet. It was nice and soft and had a polenta feel about it. The recipe over all was lack-luster. To be fair, I had tried a very similar recipe from Joann Saltzman's, Romancing the Bean, several weeks ago. It was to die for! This dish shared so many of the same ingredients, I could not help but compare it the entire time I was eating. This dish was so far behind in flavor and texture. I think I will stick with Joann's recipe if I want to make curried chickpeas. 

Friday: Chow Mein  - recipe from Vegan Cooking for One pg. 141

~I add tofu to this recipe to ensure a protein source. We love this recipe. It is just a very standard chow mien recipe. It is nice to have something low key every now and then. 

Saturday: Red bean Cakes with Creamy Coconut Sauce
           -recipe from Vegan Planet pg. 288

~This was quite the treat!  It was flavorful and the coconut sauce added a great contrast!  The coconut sauce reminded me a great deal of Alfredo sauce. I might adapt this recipe for next week and make Alfredo. Mira  loved this dish! She is a finicky eater most meals. She usually eats a few bites, or eat about half of what I give her. Within minutes she had finished her helping and began asking for more. We will definitely try this one again! Tip: don't over process the beans and rice. My red bean cakes were too much like refried beans. 

Sunday: Mac and Cheese Florentine 
           - recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 138

Breakfast: Overnight oats with pumpkin, raisins and walnuts
          - click here to get the recipe

~This was a great morning treat. It was also VERY easy to make. I used rolled oat instead of steal cut, and just cooked the oats the morning we ate them. I was able to make this recipe while decorating a cake. It turned out so well. We will have this many more times throughout the winter. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Money Saving Tip #1

Waste not, want not!

 I wish I had always used a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. Whenever we have left overs that will not be eaten within two days, I seal them up and stick them in the freezer. I do the same thing with leftover ingredients, so I can use them in future recipes. If freezing fresh veggies, just blanch them, drain,  vacuum seal  and freeze them. This saves a ton on your grocery bill! There have been times where I have an entire weeks worth of meals in the freezer. I just take a break from cooking that week and use what's in the freezer.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Menu for Nov. 30 - Dec. 7

Click here for 11/30 Shopping list. I spent a total of $105 on groceries this week. I bought quite a few non-essentials..Like, chocolate chips to make cookies, organic apple juice, and pop corn. However, I already had many of the ingredients needed for this week's menu. I am sure if you buy everything needed for this week's menu it will cost about $120-130. I also made some concessions, and did not buy the umeboshi vinegar, mainly b/c I could not find it. I was going to buy Marin instead, but I did not feel like spending $7.99 on the  bottle. So in the hummus, I will probably use a sweet cooking wine I already have.

Monday: Black Bean Enchiladas
                1/2 lb of cooked black beans
                1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies
                 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
                1 14 oz can of chipotle diced tomatoes
                2-4 oz chipotle peppers (reserve and freeze adobo sauce for future recipes)
                5 tortillas*
                2/3 cup of cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine beans, mixed veggies and cilantro leaves. Mix well. Fill tortillas with cheese and bean mix. Fold and place in baking dish. Combine tomatoes and chipotle pepper in a separate bowl and spoon over enchiladas. Bake for 20 mins.

~ This is one of our favorites, and we eat it quite frequently. It is cheap and easy.

Tuesday: Red Beans in Chili Sauce with Corn Bread
                Red Beans-Recipe from Romancing the Bean pg 61.
                Corn bread-Recipe from Romancing the Bean pg 101

~The corn Bread was so moist and delicious! The red beans set my tongue on fire!! They were really tasty, but I had to have a glass of water and apple juice close by! We just realized that I bought really authentic chili powder.I got it at Fiesta Mart... It is significantly spicier than any chili powder I have ever had. I will need use it sparingly from now on! The fresh sweet corn in it threw me for a loop, at first. It was still very crunchy, almost as if it was not cooked at all, but the more I ate, the more I liked the contrast with the rest of the dish. This ingredient is optional. I might skip it next time. I have never had tomatillos. They also surprised me, with a sweet flavor, that is really nice in the chili sauce. The recipe calls for the tomatillos to be quartered, but I think this leaves them too big, to meld well in the chili sauce. I think they would give the sauce a better infusion if they were diced. 

Wednesday:  Kamut with Root Vegetables and Cranberries
          -Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 114  

~ I added Chickpeas to the recipe to ensure there was a protein source in the meal. I also added rutabaga. These additions really sucked the liquid out of the stew. I had to add another 2 1/2 cups of water the last couple hours of slow cooking. This recipe was a first for me all around. The only ingredient I have ever eaten was the carrot. It was extremely easy to make, and came out wonderfully. It had a very mild sweetness to it. The cranberries really make this dish. It was the perfect meal for a cold November evening. Very comforting and filling!

Thursday: Fajitas
                 1 red pepper, sliced
                 1 package Lightlife Chkn' style strips (any chicken alternative works, but this brand tastes best!)
                 1 green pepper, sliced
                 1 lg. red onion, sliced
                 1 lime juiced
                 1 TBLS chili powder
                 1 TBLS cheyenne pepper
                 1 avocado, sliced
                 1 roma tomato, diced
                 6-10 tortillas*
                 2/3 cups cheese (optional)

Combine peppers, onions, and chik'n style strips in a frying pan or wok. Squeeze lime over mixture and saute over medium to low heat. Add cheyenne pepper and chili powder to taste. I honestly don't ever measure it, and I really prefer the spicier end. If you do not like the spices start with 1/2 tsp and work up. Taste as you go. Once mixture is soft and well cooked, add all other ingredients to tortillas.

~A lot of these ingredients are optional. The tomatoes, avocado, and cheese can be left out for dietary reasons, seasonal restrictions, or budget constraints. The avocado really contrast well with the fajitas, so if you can get it, I recommend it! This is really one of our absolute favorites! I made this up many years ago, before I was vegetarian, and then just replaced the meat with meat substitutes. My husband actually prefers the meat alternative to actual chicken. (He is not vegetarian.) This is a very quick recipe, but that does not diminish the flavor at all!

Friday: Pesto-infused white bean and sun-dried tomato stew
      -Recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker pg. 71

~This was absolutely amazing! It was a good  hearty stew full of flavor. I think I will put double the sun-dried tomatoes next time. I also added orzo a couple hours before it was done slow cooking. I like to have a protein, vegetable, and whole grain for each of our meals. It complimented the recipe quite well. Mira (our 16 month old) loved this one as well.

Saturday: Hot pepper hummus on pita bread with marinated beets
       Hot Pepper Hummus- recipe from Romancing the Bean pg. 120
       Marinated Beets-  get the recipe here

~The hot pepper hummus was a bit too salty for my taste. I eat very little salt though. My husband (who loves salt) thought the hummus was really good. I would like to try it again sometime using the umeboshi vinegar. The recipe called for salt in place of the umeboshi vinegar.. which is definitely why it was so salty.

Sunday: Kimchi Soup- get the recipe here

~I have only ever had my sister's kimchi soup and prepackaged kimchi soup. While I still think I like my sister's soup the best, this recipe was very good. We really enjoyed it and it was very straight forward. We will definitely be having this again!

Splurging:  Libby's pumpkin cranberry bread-  get the recipe here

~I really lucked out when i found this recipe. As a first crack at making pumpkin bread, I could not have asked for a simpler or more satisfying recipe. It has the perfect amount of pumpkin pie spice, and the cranberries and orange juice give it a mild and delicious tang. This is not one of those bland, leave you wanting pumpkin bread recipes. It is excellent! Strangely, the 30 oz can of name brand pumpkin pie filling was 30 cents cheaper than the store brand 15 oz can.  Which is great! I was able to freeze enough for another loaf, and an oatmeal recipe I intend to try next week.

Breakfast: Apple cinnamon oatmeal - get the recipe here

~We ate this several times this week. I love it! It is the perfect cold morning breakfast. I grew up eating  prepackaged sweetened oatmeal. This recipe is not sweet at all. I adjust the recipe to be 2 parts liquid and 1 part oats. I then make the liquid equal parts water and apple juice. This gives the recipe more sweetness, but not too sweet. 

* Whole Wheat Flax Tortillas
Servings: 10
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 TBL ground flax (You can use 2 TBL of butter  or shortening instead of flax seed. If you do decrease water by 1/2 cup.)
2/3 +1/2 cups warm water

1.)Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then gradually
add the water while mixing. Mix into a dough, cover and let rise for
20 mins.
2.) Roll into a rope and divide into 10 equal pieces.
3.) On a lightly floured surface knead each piece into a flat circle
and use rolling pin to make tortilla.
4.) Cook on stove top on medium to low heat. Tortilla will bubble and
then flip.