Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week of March 1, 2009

The crock pot chili I made last week ended up being spectacular. I altered the recipe a little bit, and added extra spices because we love our chili burning hot! It was the perfect cold (ok, freezing) night meal and I baked a loaf of whole grain bread to go with it (in my bread machine - I am not yet brave enough to tackle baking real bread).

I'd forgotten how much we all liked Dara's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. I found one last serving of frozen pumpkin puree in the freezer, so I whipped up a batch of these muffins a couple days ago and the kids have been devouring them.

Spending less on groceries is going okay. We are a big family and we like to eat. With all of us home we are all eating three meals a day at home, seven days a week. I am also watching another little boy right now, who boasts a pretty healthy appetite. I'm shocked at how quickly we go through milk, bread, fruit, etc. But we have definitely cut out extras, and I'm sure in the big picture that is saving us money. Our big saver has been drinks - I stopped buying orange juice and only buy apple juice for the kids and dilute it. I don't miss the orange juice too much, it is full of sugar and not good for us anyway. We don't drink Perrier anymore (which I do miss but am living without) or club soda, or other pop or fruit drinks. We also cut out beer and wine - and while THAT certainly hurts, it has to be saving us money.

My money saving venture for this week is to make Thing 1's birthday cake. I am not much of a cake decorator so I chose a recipe that looks manageable. He REALLY wants an Indiana Jones cake and the one at the bakery around the corner is basically $50. For a kid's cake!!!??? So we are having a small birthday party at our home, with Indiana Jones-themed games and ordering pizza. I hope it goes well.

I'm very excited to be trying Beth's Drunken Garlic Pot Roast tonight. I'm a big fan of her blog and her recipes, and Paul has yet to dislike something of hers that I've made. It looks like a delicious cold Sunday night meal!!

Here's a look at our menu for the coming week:

Sunday: Drunken Garlic Pot Roast
Monday: Leftovers (do something with extra meat from last night)
Tuesday: Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta
Wednesday: Sour Cream Noodle Bake
Thursday: Leftovers/Freezer Meal
Friday: Pan Seared Salmon with Avocado Remoulade
Saturday: Indiana Jones birthday cake for Thing 1's birthday party

With sick kids for the past few weeks, I've done a lot of sitting around flipping through old recipe books. I've rekindled my love for The Best of The Best of Bridge book. It's full of simple, flavourful and not-too-difficult recipes. The recipe below is adapted from here.

Fresh Pear and Curry Pasta

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 T oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T medium curry paste
1 tsp tomato paste
2 T honey
2 cups chicken broth
1 unpeeled ripe pear, sliced in thin wedges
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T cream or milk
3 T chopped cilantro
Rotini, bow tie or shells pasta

In a frying pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and curry paste and stir 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and honey and stir another 2 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to medium high and boil gently, reducing liquid to less than 1 cup. (This takes about 15 minutes - now is a good time to start cooking the pasta).

Add pear slices and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and cream and stir another 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Pour over pasta and toss gently.

If you insist on meat - serve with grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin!

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