Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The perfect summer meal

A couple of weeks ago, we had a cookout with some friends of ours. I made this chicken that I had made in the past, but I also found a recipe for a black bean salad to accompany it. I thought the result was a great summer meal that was super tasty and fairly budget friendly. I made this meal for around $2/serving. If you bought factory farmed chicken (I used organic) and used the chicken as a garnish on top of a green salad, then you could significantly reduce the price per serving. Here are the recipes I used:

Cajun Chicken Sandwiches
  • 6 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 kaiser rolls, split and toasted
  • 12 slices tomato
  • 6 lettuce leaves


  1. Flatten chicken to 1/2-in. thickness. Brush both sides with oil. Combine the seasonings; rub over both sides of chicken. Arrange in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear. Serve on rolls with tomato and lettuce.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained


  1. In a small bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together black beans and corn. Toss with vinegar and oil dressing, and garnish with cilantro. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

This dinner would take a little planning because the chicken has to be marinated and the salad should sit overnight for its fullest flavor. It's worth it if you can plan the day before to have this delicious, summery meal. Surprisingly enough, I didn't alter the recipes hardly at all. I used Sucanat in place of the sugar in the black bean salad, but I would venture to say you don't even need that. I used olive oil in place of the vegetable oil and I omitted the cilantro since I didn't have any. It was yummy just the same! Happy cooking! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I have to apologize for my absence the last couple of weeks. We are still trying to get my daughter's tummy under control and blogging has been at the bottom of my list. It looks like we may be making some progress in her healing, so hopefully my posts will become more regular from now on. I have greens coming out my ears from our CSA share, so there are lots of greens on our menu plan this week. :) Here it is:

Monday - Lentil sloppy joes on homemade rolls
Tuesday - Sweet pepper and kale over pasta
Wednesday - Black bean and chard burritos (adapted from this recipe)
Thursday - Chicken stir fry with greens
Friday - Calzones (with greens) and homemade sauce
Saturday - Out
Sunday - Out

For more menu ideas, head to Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Menu plan Monday

Things have been so incredibly crazy around here, but we have been able to stick with our menu plan for the most part. I am pretty proud of that. It seems when life gets super hectic, that's when we eat out more because we're tired, stressed, and just plain fed up. Anyway, here's the plan for the week:

Monday - Potluck with good friends. They are bringing Mexican-type food and we have Cajun chicken with homemade rolls to offer, as well as black bean salad. Good times with good friends...yay!
Tuesday - Leftovers from Monday.
Wednesday - Black beans with cornbread. I have been meaning to make this for awhile and just haven't gotten to it. My cornbread will be slightly different.
Thursday - Cajun lentils and rice. This is a carryover from last week.
Friday - Homemade pizza.
Saturday - Sweet pepper with kale over whole wheat pasta. More kale to use from the CSA = more sweet pepper and kale with pasta. Yum!
Sunday - Taco potatoes. This is a new recipe for me to try. It looks delicious...I'll let you know how it comes out.

Breakfasts will be dehydrated buckwheat groats, cereal, bagels, and muffins.
Lunches: Leftovers, smoothies, PB&J, and raw pizza.

To look at what others are planning to eat, check out Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Food Waste Friday has escaped me the past couple of weeks. We have been doing pretty well and have wasted little more that Miss J's table scraps. This week we weren't so lucky. I have three-quarters of a package of cream cheese from I don't know when. I don't even remember why I bought it, but needless to say, I didn't use it.

I also have a half container of ricotta cheese. That stuff is my nemesis. I can't seem to buy a container and use it all before it goes bad. I need to start buying local ricotta anyway. The price of that will motivate me to use it up quickly. ;) That's all though...not too bad considering we have had a TON of stuff going on the last few weeks (sick family and a toddler whose tummy issues have gotten worse).

To see how others did, visit Frugal Girl's website.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Raw Pizza

Yep, you read that right...raw pizza. What the heck is that? I had no idea either until my friend let me borrow a few cookbooks that were geared toward making raw food. What is raw food? Simply put, raw food is food that has not been heated above a certain temperature - usually 105 degrees. Why cook this way? All food have enzymes. Enzymes help make the digestion process easier, but when we heat the food above 105 degrees or so, the enzymes start to be killed. The cooking process can kill up to 100% of the enzymes in our food.

I am not going to adopt this lifestyle fully, but raw food presents a nice alternative, especially in the warmer weather. Not to mention that I am able to dehydrate fruits and veggies for a quick snack that my daughter seems to love.

So, the raw pizza crust is made from onion "bread". This recipe comes from the book RAWvolution by Matt Amsden.

3 large yellow onions
3/4 cup flax seed, ground in a high speed blender
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor
1/2 cup Nama Shoyu or Bragg's Amino Acids1/3 cup olive oil
1. Peel and halve the onions. In a food processor, cut the onions with the slicing disc. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.2. Spread 2 cups of the mixture evenly on a dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex sheet. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
3. Dehydrate at 100 degrees for 24 hours. Flip the tray over onto a work surface, and gently peel the Teflex sheet off the bread. Return to the dehydrator for another 12 hours. Once dehydrated, cut into 9 equal pieces.

This is what the bread looked like when it was done (not horribly attractive, but yummy I assure you):

Since I am new to making raw food, I did not deviate from this recipe at all. I did thinly slice the onions by hand instead of using a food processor as the recipe suggests. We used a sauce made with sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, olives and scallions for toppings. The scallions in addition to the onion bread was a little much. Both my friend and I opted to take them off of our pizza. This was the finished product:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu plan Monday

I should apologize for my absence the last week and a half. There has been a lot going on and blogging, well, it just wasn't one of my top priorities. We have managed to stick with our menu plans for the most part, in spite of the craziness. Here's our plan for this week:

Monday - Beef roast in the crockpot, baked potato wedges, roasted asparagus
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Chicken stir fry with greens over brown basmati rice
Thursday - Sweet pepper and kale over whole wheat pasta
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Cookout! We will be heading to a friend's house this evening and will be grilling with another friend in the afternoon. Let's hope it's a good day for it!
Sunday - Cajun lentils and rice

Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, smoothies, and raw pizza. This is my first attempt at making raw pizza. I have onion bread in the dehydrator as we speak. This lunch is planned for Wednesday. I hope it comes out yummy!
Breakfasts will be bagels, waffles, muffins, eggs and cereal.

To see more menu plans, visit Orgjunkie and Mindful Menus.