Friday, March 5, 2010

Meals from Deals

We all know that a deal isn't a deal if we don't use the food before it goes bad. But sometimes, that's my hardest challenge. When meal planning, I usually start with what's on sale, what's fresh, or what in my freezer should be cooked and go from there. So here are a few ways I'm making the most of the recent deals I've written about.

Since I have 6 packs of Pillsbury Grands biscuits and some free shredded Kraft cheese, here' a great dinner recipe for both the kids will love. Since this is one of my freezer meals, you can double it and save one for dinner again in 2-3 weeks. I'll admit it's not a healthy meal, but who doesn't love these biscuits upon occasion?! I feel a little better, having served them with steamed carrots.

Meat Pies
1 lb ground beef browned
1/2 onion chopped
1 green onion chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
dash parsley
shredded cheese

Mix together and form into small patties; freeze what you won't cook tonight. Take 1 or 2 cans of biscuits and flatten them out. Tip: Using a mallet here is a great way to get out frustration if you've had a bad day! Place the meat onto one flattened biscuit, sprinkle with shredded cheese, top with another flattened biscuit and pinch the sides closed. Bake according to can directions.

Moving on, this week I picked up 5 packs of mahi mahi, which I throw directly into the freezer. The butcher at my Kroger said they should have it on sale for a few more weeks or until supply dwindles. Since asparagus was also on sale this week, I Googled a recipe that uses both and found this delicious one. It's a great option for meatless Fridays during Lent or if you just want a light, healthy meal. I served rice with it as well.

Some may shy away from chicken breasts with the bone, but I prefer it, especially since it's cheaper. Since Tyson breasts were on sale this week, I picked up 2 packs (6 breasts) which I'll use for 4 meals. I roasted all 6 like I would a whole chicken in my roasting pan. I used some basil pesto I made from the garden last summer but any spice will do. I threw in the bottom of the pan some sliced carrots, onions and organic potatoes that are pretty inexpensive. Dinner on Thursday was the first meal.

After dinner, I deboned the remaining breasts and made stock out of the bones (another reason to cook 6 at once). The leftover veggies and 1 1/2 breasts gave Bob and me lunch on Friday--meal two. Tonight I'm looking forward to making pizzas from the free dough and cheese I picked up at Earthfare. I'll also use some of the chicken diced (meal three), the roasted onions from last night, and some mushrooms I picked up on manager's special.

On Saturday and Sunday we'll take a rest from chicken but on Monday I'll chop up the remaining meat and mix it with cooked pasta, alfredo sauce, and a variety of veggies like broccoli for meal four. I think the variety of uses for the chicken takes away the feeling of, "Chicken, again?!"

Since Saturday is going to be a busy day for us, dinner will be simple. I'm serving the remaining spinach stuffed pork tenderloin I cooked on Wednesday, but I'll cook fresh risotto rice I picked up on sale at Earthfare. One cup of rice requires three cups of stock, exactly what I made on Thursday night. I'll steam some green beans for a quick veggie.

Since I try to do one special breakfast on weekends, I'm planning smoothies and cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning. The smoothies will use the free blueberries I got at Earthfare a few weeks back and the cinnamon rolls were one of the almost free Pillsbury deals.

Finally, I'm planning to eat another of my free Healthy Choice dinners I bought awhile back when Bob has a dinner meeting this week. I can't say frozen dinners are for me; the small portions are ridiculous, but I can't argue with free and easy upon occasion.

And I have decided this is a week I will forgo my regular trip for groceries and focus on what I can prepare from what's already in my pantry or freezer. I'm calling it "Shopping in my Garage." I already have the menu laid out; so I know it's doable. Check back soon for that post. Have a good weekend.

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