It has been a while since I have posted—–the Flood of 2010 here in Nashville, going to Ohio for a weekend, holding cheerleading tryouts, etc. has prohibited my blogging. I tried to still be diligent with couponing while being busy, and I did save almost 50% over the course of the past 2 weeks.

I also managed to find the time to make 3 trays of stuffed shells. I would like to point out that it requires an assembly line to put those together, and it probably wasn’t one of my better ideas on a busy week (although it is nice to have a quick meal ready to reheat in the fridge). Here is just part of the process:

I can barely think about planning meals because I’m so excited for the company we have coming in town this weekend and the Jimmy Buffett concert! 🙂

Here is what I am thinking…
Sunday: Burgers, cucumber slaw, fries, corn
Monday: Lasagna, salad with CSA veggies
Tuesday: Sausage & Potatoes, broccoli
Wednesday: Steak, crab, sauteed swiss chard (we never ended up having this last week)
Thursday: Grilled chicken salads if I’m ambitious…… or, Trivia night! Three Stones Pub
The Weekend: Out to eat with amazing people 🙂

Tonight I tried out a new recipe for cucumber slaw. This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, and actually was something my husband’s grandma used to make.

Cucumber Slaw

3 cucumbers sliced (I use a potato slicer because I like them pretty thin.)
1/3 c. mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s Light)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Sliced onion (As much as you like)

Allow to set up in refrigerator after preparing.

And the finished product with dinner:

I’ve been inspired to make my own fries lately by Kelly at Faithful Provisions. Her recipe for steak fries is here and for sweet potatoes here.

Check out our sweet potato fries earlier this week with our chicken sandwiches:

This week our farmers gave me some good tips on how to use my veggies. First, here is what was in the box:
csa 4-22
Carrots – more carrots! We have more carrots than I know what to do with…but I will say their carrots taste better than anything I’ve ever bought in a store
Lettuce Mix
Spinach
Swiss Chard– sautee with a little oil and the garlic greens
Beets (I removed the greens to try cooking with the swiss chard)… I am supposed to boil these for a few minutes and then remove the outer skin and slice. Haven’t tried it yet.
Baby Kale– they said to try it in my salad
Claytonia– these are good in salad–we’ve had these before in previous weeks
Mache – put in salad
Garlic Greens– These look like green onion, but actually are supposed to have more of a garlic flavor. Mrs. Dysinger recommended chopping up the bulb part and using like I would an onion for sauteing my swiss chard/beet greens
Endive– chop finely and put a small amount in salads for extra flavor boost

I didn’t make any really big shopping trips this week, but I did manage to make it to the store at least half a dozen times to pick up little things I had forgotten.
groceries
On this trip I actually had a plan. I paid $9.88 and saved $22.34.
Kashi cereal, FREE
Cascadian Farms granola bars ($0.32 each)
Scotties facial tissues ($0.33 each)
Oreo cookies ($1.60 each)
Milk ($2.59)
Ragu spaghetti sauce ($0.01/penny item)

Throughout the weekend we picked up random things and ended up spending about $20 and saving $4 on pizza crust, eggs, loaf of bread, dishwasher detergent, corn on the cob, pepperoni, and plastic forks. People who blog and brag about how they spent $1 on their groceries for the week really annoy me because I know that they have got to be spending money on the basic things you run out of or forget about. So this is me just being honest and saying that I can save money using coupons, but sometimes you just feel like making pizza and want more pizza crust, and your husband secretly snacked on the pepperonis all week so you had to buy more. 🙂

**ADDED- I’d also like to point out that I am not going to eat both boxes of Oreos. I did take in one to share with my students to celebrate the end of TCAPs. 😉

I don’t have much experience cooking shrimp, so for this meal I went to allrecipes.com to search for a good marinade I could make from items I have on hand. I really liked this recipe that called for olive oil, fresh parsley (which I had from the CSA), hot sauce, garlic, and lemon.

marinade

I stopped up at Kroger and spent about $2 to grab an onion and pepper to add with the cherry tomatoes I already had. We love grilled veggies.
veggies

We grilled this up, served it over rice and it was delicious! I will definitely make this again.
grill

chicken with sun dried tomatoes

Lately this has been Tony’s top request, so I made this Saturday night. I wasn’t planning on posting about it, so all I have is this picture which was a second-thought.

I found the recipe on a jar of Bella San Lucci sun dried tomatoes I picked up at Costco once. I never cook with sun dried tomatoes, so it was random that I even bought them. We have made a few changes to the recipe.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil
Garlic cloves (I used 8 last night)
1/4 C. sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Hot red pepper flakes (1/4 tsp. + some for seasoning chicken breast)
1/4 c. dry white wine
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. skim evaporated milk (I usually need a little more to get the consistency right—this is a lot healthier for you than the cream in original recipe!)
thinly sliced basil

We have found that we like this better when we grill the chicken instead of cook it in the pan with the sauce. Tony seasons the chicken with garlic salt/powder and the red pepper flakes. I put on a pot of water to boil and make whole wheat penne pasta (which I usually pick up for about 20 cents!) While he does that, I heat a pan with a little olive oil (I don’t like measuring things) and saute the garlic, tomatoes, and pepper flakes. We like this heavy on the garlic and pepper, so I don’t really measure that either. Once that is sauteed, add wine and boil until it is reduced to about half, then add broth and bring to a boil. I let that simmer for a little before adding the milk and half the basil. Let this simmer, but stir so the milk doesn’t burn. (Before serving you can put in blender to make it smoother, but I don’t feel like it is worth getting more dishes dirty. I might try it again if I had a food processor.)

By this time, the chicken is off the grill. We slice the chicken, put it on a bowl or plate of penne, and top with the sauce. Then we add parmesan cheese and sprinkle fresh basil on top.

Since I’ve gotten into couponing, I’ve come to learn that things I used to think were a good deal at Costco aren’t quite as good as free or almost free! Things like cereal, paper towel, toilet paper, and laundry detergent I know I can get for <$1 elsewhere, but we love the meat at Costco so that is something to definitely stock up on.

We did manage to spend about $60 yesterday at Costco, although I lost my receipt so I can't give exact numbers. We bought:
4 New York Strips ($25)
5 lbs. ground beef ($13)
1 case Diet Coke (this was about $3.60 per 12 cans. I can't believe I paid this again. I need to make a bigger stockpile when it goes on sale for $2 or less at the drugstores)
1 pineapple (2.87—good price!)
6 lb bag Kirkland chicken breasts ($12)

I was a little disappointed in myself this week. I am never going to reign in my food shopping if I don’t set a budget and stick to it. However, I will say that saving $91.35 is still pretty good. That savings came from $14.30 in Publix store/competitor coupons, $30.59 in manufacturer coupons, and $46.46 on sale priced items.

Publix 4-17

Publix milk (2.59)
5 boxes Mueller’s pastas (0.20-0.42 per box depending on coupon used)
2 Fage Greek yogurts (0.25/ea)
1 Reach floss (FREE)
1 Grape tomatoes (2.50)
White grapes (2.67)
2 Scotchbrite dishwands (0.50/ea)
Potted basil (2.00)
Iceburg lettuce (1.59)
Bananas (0.96)
1 lb white shrimp (5.93)
Slicer tomatoes (4.19)
2 packages Orville Redenbacher Popcorn (FREE)
2 packages 16 oz. Kraft shredded cheese (1.74/ea)
Betty Crocker Blueberry muffin mix (1.69)
Hormel Canned Chicken (1.20/ea)
4 cans Lindsay olives (1.17/ea)
Morton popcorn salt (1.19)
Healthy Life hamburger buns (1.69)
8 jars Peter Pan Peanut Butter (0.80/ea)
2 cartons Tropicana50 orange juice (1.89/ea with B1G1 coupon from Tropicana Juicy Rewards
1 cucumber (0.79)
2 Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Rice-90 second cook time (0.97/ea)
5 lb. bag potatoes (2.50)
Fresh broccoli (1.99)
Kashi frozen meal (1.50)
Publix Diet Ginger Ale (0.79)
2 Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats (1.10/ea)
2 Oscar Meyer Deli Creations (0.50/ea)
Cantaloupe half (1.43)
2 Tombstone thin crust pizzas (0.90/ea)
2 Shout stain remover (FREE)
2 Publix purified water (1.58)

I did a little meal prep work this morning. Besides cutting up the fruit I bought yesterday and baking some muffins for my students (they have TCAPs this week), I formed some burgers and Tony helped me brown some of the meat we bought at Costco yesterday. It is nice to have meat in the freezer so that I have lots of options if I decide to change my mind during the week.

Sunday: The Local Taco

Monday: Grilled shrimp over rice, broccoli

Tuesday: Ham on the grill with pineapple spears & baked potato

Wednesday: Grilled chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries

Thursday: Trivia night @ Three Stones Pub or burgers with pasta salad

Friday:Steak & Crab Legs

Saturday: Burgers (if we eat out Thursday)/homemade pizza

Other meals that I have ingredients on hand for in case I change my mind…
Sausage and potatoes
Lasagna
Spaghetti/goulash
Pancakes, eggs, bacon
BLTs
Taco salad