Saturday, March 31, 2012

Week 6 - Menu time

A minor change last week left chicken oregano for this week's menu:

Chicken oregano with sweet peppers over brown rice (8 points)

Makeover taco salad (8 points)

Beef orzo soup (8 points)

Roast turkey breast with garlic and herbs, dilled potatoes, vegetables (8 points)

Dijon pork culets/Salad/Veggies (5 points)

Asian beef salad (7 points)

French chicken and potato salad (6 points)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Greek Pasta

Adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, mostly because I thought we had penne in the pantry, but we had already used it up! So I mixed 6 oz bow ties and 6 oz of Barilla Plus elbows. Still around 6 points per serving (and it makes a LOT of servings):

With the change in pasta, it works out to 7 points per serving for 8 servings. This looks more like 10 servings, though!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Healthy movie night

Movie night included a little crab, some shrimp, these:

Asparagus and beef rolls. The paper-thin beef has been thinly covered with a horseradish sauce.

And these:

Cauliflower Poppers and Easy Zucchini Parmesan. The remaining asparagus was left-over from the rolls.

We have lots left over. I think the zucchini and cauliflower may become a side for something this week or next!

Week 5 – Menu Time

Starting off with a splurge!

Movie night with snacks – 11 points total
  • Easy zucchini parmesan - 1 point
  • Cauliflower poppers – 0 points
  • Beef and asparagus rolls – 6 points
  • Hummus and veggies – 4 points

Slow-cooked beef stew – 8 points

Home-baked pizza and salad – 6 points

Chicken oregano with sweet peppers over brown rice – 8 points

Asian shrimp and vegetable salad – 6 points

Greek penne – 6 points

Skillet cassoulet – 9 points

Friday, March 23, 2012

On losing weight and keeping on budget

My life was very different when I first started this blog. I was married, there was a good income coming in and we were able to go and do and splurge.

Things change. I’m now divorced and living on a scarily tight budget as I work at getting things back on track while both my daughter and I go to school. Penny pinching? I have started to learn that art!

Unfortunately for my waistline, however, my interest in food – good food – has never waned. This can be costly both in dollars and in calories.

Years ago, I lost quite a bit of weight, but it was easier then. I was a stay-at-home mom doing volunteer work, so I made my own hours. I had the extra income to purchase items that were healthier without having to look to see if buying something meant less gas in the car.

Of course, gas prices were a far cry then from what they are now, too!

Less healthy foods can be cheaper. The center aisles of the supermarket are full of things that are on sale, but are really not conducive to a healthier eating style.

Yet, I am finding eating healthier on a budget IS doable. It means a lot more work and a larger investment in time than I had originally expected, but you know what? It’s worth every minute spent pouring over recipes and supermarket prices because the outcome in the end will be a much healthier, happier me.

And that’s all I ask for.

8 points

The week mostly went as planned, with some minor adjusting due to some things looking very much like other things when frozen!

Tonight we had Parmesan Tilapia. With Brussels sprouts and dilled potatoes, dinner came to 8 points. It looks like there are more potatoes than there really are, but they are mounded up on top of the fish. The angle isn't optimal, either, but I am learning!

The cost was good, too. I need to work out the total, since I've forgotten how much the bag of tilapia fillets cost. Sprouts: $.25 serving, potatoes: $.50. I want to say the bag of tilapia was $ 9.99 for 10 servings, working out to just under $ 1.00 per serving. So, roughly $ 1.75 per person.

I made 4 servings of fish and Brussels sprouts for lunches next week. Potatoes never freeze well, so I figured, why bother?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Week 4 - Menu time

Week 3 went okay-ish. We never resorted to take-out, but things had to get shifted around a lot. My car decided Monday was a good day to die and that really threw things well out of whack since I had planned on stopping at Giant that night to pick up things for the week’s dinners.

Thanks to the unexpected expenses incurred between the car and Greyhound’s ridiculousness, this week will be based on whatever we have on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I love my freezer. Have I said how much I love my freezer?

Grilled chicken over angel hair pasta and tomatoes (9 points)

Pepper steak over baked potatoes (9 points)

French ham and bean soup (6 points)

Turkey sausage with vegetables (7 points)

Parmesan tilapia, brown rice, vegetables (7 points)

Black bean and salsa chicken (6 points)

Breakfast on St. Patrick's Day

The rest of the day is going to be points-heavy, so this is a nice way to start off. Plus, there's green involved!

3 point omelet

3 - 4 c. loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, washed.
1/2 c. Egg Beaters
1 Tbl. Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop spinach. Wilt the spinach - I leave the leaves damp from washing and toss it into the microwave for 60 - 70 seconds. Anything over 90 seconds is overkill.

Beat together Egg Beaters, cheese, salt and pepper.

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Pour eggs into pan and cook until firm enough to flip (I don't do the 'don't flip' method - leaves the eggs too wet for me, but if you like it, go for it).

Arrange spinach on one side of the eggs and roll.

I topped it with salsa for a little color and added flavor. The grapes were a nice, light finish.

Now - dare I figure out points for a green beer today?

Shimp and Chicken Jambalaya

A Weight Watchers recipe that worked really well here. We ended up halving the portion sizes, because the 2 cup serving size was too big for any of us to finish, including my daughter and her boyfriend!

Shrimp, chicken, peppers and tomatoes - can't go wrong!

After it was done and ready to be served:

Finished it off with some green Tobasco, which really added a nice little bit of flavor.

All this made either 4 huge 2 cup servings at $ 3.25 each or 8 regular (and filling!) 1 cup servings at $ 1.63 each. Well within budget for dinner and lunches!

My old pot is enamel clad cast iron. It looks pretty beat up now, but I did receive it as a shower gift back in January 1990. It's taken a beating and then some.

It has made thousands of meals, been stuck directly on hot coals at camp sites, had coals piled on top of it, etc. This is cookware that is well worth the investment!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly grocery budget

Something I am noticing as we work on this whole eating healthy thing - we are spending less in the grocery store and on food in general.

Buying lunch, either fast food or in the cafeteria, is out for the most part. Leftovers are in.

Dinners are healthy and there are no pre-packaged meals. That means less sodium and less waste overall.

Meals are just healthier. Midalah and I did go out the other night for dinner, using the WW app to make sure we stayed within points. Out of curiosity, though, I started looking through other options on the menu.


40-plus points for a single entree? My entire daily intake is 26 points! No wonder I packed the pounds on, with fast food lunches as a way to get out of the office for 30 minutes, and at least bi-weekly dinners out, complete with appetizers and, sometimes, dessert.

We spend less on the weekly food shopping than we would have on a single meal out. That's a big difference.

Between the financial and caloric savings, I am hoping to be in a much better place - physically and fiscally - at this time next year!

Week 3 - Menu Time

Week 2 was a little difficult, but we didn't stray too far from the plan. Things went a bit haywire with my daughter's trip home from school for Spring Break (I'm looking at you, Greyhound!).

Still, we didn't do too badly. We ended up not having the chili on Tuesday because of work schedules, but stayed within the budget, both points and dollar-wise.

So, here is week 3. The weekend is a little uncertain at the moment, a lot of things going on, so Friday and Saturday are tentative menus:

French bean soup (6 pts)

Broiled chicken with vegetables (3 points)
Something else will be added to this to boost the points a bit!

Broiled tilapia parmesan with spaghetti squash primavera (10 pts)

15 minute vegetarian chili (8 pts)

Turkey sausage with vegetables (7 pts)

Shrimp and chicken jambalaya (11 pts)

Slow-cooked beef stew (8 pts)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"Asian" beef salad

Another Weight Watchers recipe:

This one turned out very well. It's reminiscent of a salad I'd get from Salad Works, only with beef instead of chicken, and missing the craisins. Seriously - we will do this again.

Even my daughter and her boyfriend approved, though they had theirs minus the chow mein noodles. I, um, showed them how Anubis did not like the sound of the noodles being shaken in the can. After the second shake, we had noodles all over the kitchen floor. Shake! Shake! SPILL!

Orion and Anubis are very happy dogs right now, with bellies full of noodles!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Curried Scallops

A slightly modified version of a recipe from Weight Watchers. The original calls for sea scallops, but at $15 per pound, those just do not fit into the budget.

Bay scallops worked just as well and I think this came out decently. One to make again, but with more curry powder next time!

Oh, and including extra milk, some soda and a big gallon of OJ (my daughter is home from college), this week's grocery bill was still under $ 60!

Oh - and the cost for this dinner plus 2 lunches (4 servings total):

Scallops: $ 6.00
Broth: $.25 (I use bouillon)
Pasta: $ 2.19 (it was Barilla, extra fiber, etc)
Scallions: $.15
Half and half: $ .50

$ 9.09 total, or just over $ 2.27 per meal. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Weekly menu planning - week 2

Last week was the first serious get-healthy menu planning that Midalah and I did.

We followed what we had listed, knew what we were doing for dinner each night, and didn't resort to take out after a long day, because we knew just what we had. None of those "ugh, I am tired, it's been a long day and I don't want to be bothered trying to figure out dinner, do you?" conversations were had this past week.

All in all, I think it worked out. So we're continuing and just finished our menu planning for this week, complete with the Points values. With the exception of Friday, every night is under 10 points.

I have to admit - I'm looking forward to Friday. The recipe looks worth every one of the points!

Curried scallops (4 pts)
Angel hair pasta (5 pts)

Hamburger steak with mushroom gravy (8 pts) - no canned soups in sight for this, yay!
Vegetable (0 pts)

15 minute vegetarian chili (8 pts)

Asian beef salad (7 pts)

Salmon (6 pts)
Couscous (2 pts)
Vegetable (0 pts)

Unchained Tuscan Chicken Milano (13 pts)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mexican Bean and Tortilla Pie

Tonight's recipe comes from Weight Watchers. 5 corn tortillas, a can of black beans, mashed up, some herbs and spices, tomato sauce and salsa. And, oh yes, cheese.

I did add a little more cheese to the top than the tablespoon it should have been, but not by much. I'm very much under for my points today, so not feeling any guilt over the extra 1/2 point it might add!

Here it is, ready to go into the convection oven:

Recipes need to be on the small size right now - the regular oven is on the fritz, so until we can get someone in to look at it, we've become really good at adapting things!