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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Quick and Easy Dinners: Pizza

 Pizza is delicious dinner that can be as easy or as complicated as you like. I personally love a NY style pepperoni pizza, but there are many others that I enjoy.

I don’t have a recipe for pizza, as I don’t make it from scratch (pizza kit at Wal-Mart: $5). I did find this recipe at Food Network and thought I’d share it. For the first two installments of Quick and Easy Dinners, check out my ‘Best of’ Page.

pizza.jpg

Photo Credit: Sashertootie

Roman Pizza 

Recipe from: Giada De Laurentiis

2 (8-ounce) pieces of purchased or homemade pizza dough, recipe follows
1/3 cup homemade or purchased marinara sauce
1/3 cup (lightly packed) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
1 cup (lightly packed) shredded Fontina cheese
2 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ounces pancetta, chopped

Position 1 oven rack in the center and the second rack on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
Roll out each piece of pizza dough into a 13 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch rectangle. Transfer to separate large baking sheets.
Spoon the marinara sauce over the pizzas, dividing equally and leaving a 1-inch border around each pizza. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Fontina cheeses over the pizzas, dividing equally. Sprinkle the mushrooms and pancetta over the cheese. Bake the pizzas until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 15 minutes. Cut the pizzas crosswise into rectangular slices and serve immediately.

Pizza Dough:
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
 
Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl to blend. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor to blend. Blend in the oil. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture and blend just until the dough forms. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour. Punch the down dough and form into ball. The dough can be used immediately or stored airtight in the refrigerator for 1 day.

Yield: 1 (16-ounce) ball of pizza dough
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive PrepTime: 1 hour

Check out Giada’s show on FoodNetwork.

Does anyone make their pizza from scratch? Please let me know.

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Nachos are a fantastically easy meal to make and the recipe is flexible based on your taste and budget. Almost every meat goes well with this recipe. For this example I put in ground beef since you can usually get it cheaper than other kinds. The recipe here that I modified said the meal could feed 6, but it’s really good for 4 people (or 2 meals for 2 people).chef.jpg

Photo Credit: maebmij

Ingredients:

  • ¾ lb of ground beef (vary according to how meaty you want your nachos)
  • 1 pkg. of taco seasoning
  • A bag of tortilla chips (white is my favorite)
  • Can of sweet cut corn
  • Can of green chilies and tomatoes
  • 1 cups of shredded cheese
  • Sour cream (I tend to use a lot so add according to preference) or you can mix 1 cup of ranch dressing w/ ½ package of cream cheese

Once you have everything selected:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cook meat with taco seasoning on frying pan until brown. Remove from heat.
  • Put tortilla chips on bottom of oven safe cookware.
  • Add meat, sweet corn, green chilies & chunky tomatoes, and shredded cheese onto the chips.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes. Make sure cheese doesn’t burn.
  • Let the dish cool and then serve.

nachos1.jpg

Photo Credit: lucianvenutian

nachos1.jpgLike I said, it’s an easy dish to make. How much does it cost to make it? Using local Wal-Mart prices, to get all the supplies it’s $13.95 + tax. Taken into account that we didn’t use everything that we bought on this recipe, it drops down to $8.35 for a meal that feeds 4 people. Not bad.Here are a few other nacho recipes I found that looked delicious:

If you have a nacho recipe, please share it. If you like to keep up to date with this site then subcribe to the feed.

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I can’t believe that October is 2 days away already! A lot of this week’s posts were interesting and I continue to like the variety that these bloggers offer.Free Money Finance has an article on how to save money while traveling. We’re going on vacation in November, so we’ll use some of the advice.Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks already posted her October goals.Lazy Man and Money and The Simple Dollar were examining the benefits and cost of McDonald’s double cheeseburger and homemade cheeseburgers. The Simple Dollar’s examination and Lazy Man’s reviews are here. Get Rich Slowly had a link to RetailMeNot.com which has coupons for tons of stores.We’re In Debt reorganized their site and it’s better than before. Now you can see the posts in order. I like the design.lasso.jpg

Photo Credit: Williac

That’s it for this week’s weekly round-up. Yee-haw!!!

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Sunset Picnic

Ah, what a nice and romantic idea. I want to thank Leo for the suggestions on how to be romantic while not spending too much money.

 The headache is that it takes effort, right? No, it doesn’t take a huge amount of work to set up and execute. It does take some time, but if you’re griping over ½ hour of work, then my friend, you’re not a romantic.  Relationships take some effort. The key is to be balanced.

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Photo Credit: daveyll  

Here’s an easy menu for a sunset picnic.

It’s really a sweet gesture and it’ll definitely make your day end on a high note and your evenings start on the right foot. The great thing is that you give your spouse what matters most (your time and attention) and you don’t stress out with the mundane things (how much you’ve spent).

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Consumerist asks about the validity of Center for Science in the Public Interest’s claims that Fuze is engaging in false advertising.fuze.jpgPhoto Credit: foTommEnThe question here is whether Coca Cola(owner of Fuze) is stating that the drinks themselves prevent the health problems listed or is Fuze saying that the vitamins inside the drink could prevent some health problems. I’ve had some bottles of Fuze’s Orange Mango drink. I’ll grab it if I need a drink quick from 7-11, but it’s not my favorite.The label is not the sleekest in advertising, but most consumers could take away from it two things:1. The drink has vitamins.2. These vitamins have been known to help with resistence to some conditions.I wouldn’t put Fuze on a pedastal and say it was doing a great job with marketting, but it’s not false advertising. What do you think?read more | digg story

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Sometimes the best way to save money is to do it yourself. The problem is many of us are crunch on time and believe that it would take an enormous amount of effort to do something well. That’s not true many times and cooking can fall in that category.

Photo Credit: Billingham

Stir-fry is something easy, quick, and usually healthy. If you’re pressed for time, this allows you to have an easy meal usually within 20 minutes and the minimum of effort. Here’s how I do it:

  • Put the meat you picked into a heated wok. My husband doesn’t care for chicken, so we usually have beef with this. Cook it until it’s almost done. Put it on a plate for later. (This minimizing how many dishes have to be clean later.)
  • Boil some water and add the rice in a bag. Keep an eye on it while you move on to the wok.
  • Grab a bag of frozen mixed vegetables from the freezer. Wal-Mart usually has them for 99cents and it’s pre-mixed. My personal favorite is the asparagus stir-fry.
  • Put some olive oil in the wok and and add the vegetables in. Wait until the vegetables are starting to get tender to add the meat. I usually put some soy sauce with the meat and veggies and mix. You want the veggies soft to eat, but not overcooked.
  • Take the rice out of the bag and serve the meat and vegetables over the rice. There you have it; a quick and easy meal!

It comes out to less than $5 for a meal that can feed six people. (I tried it for a small party with friends this weekend.)

Some suggestions on this basic recipe are:

  • Change the seasoning and sauce.
  • Replace the meat with shrimp.
  • Fry some fish and have the veggies as a side.
  • Put some pasta with the vegetables

What quick and easy dinner to you know how to make?

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Photo Credit: Jeff Keen

 

 

 

After last week’s post, I decided to look into ways that my husband and I save money on our grocery bills.

  • Sit down and make a shopping list. This seems really elementary, but it is the most important step. Can’t figure how to make a good food list? Try working backwards. Think of the meals you like to have this month. Do you like spaghetti, chicken wings, or tacos? Break the meals down until you have a list of items.
  • Buy for the month (or longer). Our goal is to go a big grocery shop once a month. We’re not crazy about grocery shopping, so we try to make this as less painful as possible. Wal-Mart typically has the cheapest prices on our core items.
  • The shopping list is king. A shopping list can be tedious at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll save money. You’ll buy what you need to and are less tempted to pick up extras along the way.
  • Buy meat in bulk and freeze. We try to get a huge chunk of ground beef on sale. That tip drops the cost per pound down. When we get home, I immediately portion the meat into several meal sizes.  Bags and freeze it.  I have broken it down for meatloaf, spaghetti, tacos, hamburger helper, etc.
  • Take advantage of sales that you’d actually buy without the sale. Sometimes I want to buy something because it’s on sale. It’s not something that we use a lot or even at all. When you do that you’re not really saving money, you’re spending more. It’s not bad if you do this once a shopping trip if you want to expand your menu, but since you’re on a budget, save it for after graduation when you have more income to work with.
  • Making it yourself can save you money. We do grab a few prepackaged meals for when we’re time crunch, but otherwise we just cook it ourselves.
  • Cut the junk food snacks down. Sometimes grabbing 5 cans of Pringles is a bit too much. Don’t completely stop getting them, just cut down. Your waist and wallet will be grateful.
  • Eat leftovers. Some of the best food I ate was leftovers; pastas taste better the next day. Be reasonable, though, and don’t keep things in the fridge until they grow stuff. Be safe and eat it within the next 2 days. If not, dump it.

As always, please leave your thoughts.

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