Save Your Money- Buy Our Groceries: Vol. 3

For the scoop on this series of posts, click here!

THIS WEEK’S MENU

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with Nuts, Dried Fruit and Brown Sugar
  • Fake (but tasty) Iced Soy Latte

Lunch

  • BLTA
  • Apple

Dinner

  • Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

Snack

  • Reduced Guilt Brownie

THE GROCERY LIST  (for 2 people)

note: we shopped at Trader Joe’s this week, and the snack is specific to this particular store.  If you don’t have this store, I’m sorry…for so many reasons. :-)  You can always change the snack to something available at your local grocery.

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 bags of baby spinach
  • lettuce
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 avocados
  • 10 apples
  • 3 packs of polenta (preformed into tubes)
  • parmesan cheese
  • 2 cans whole plum tomatoes – 28 oz. each
  • 2 packs of bacon, turkey bacon, or reduced fat bacon
  • sandwich bread
  • quick cook oatmeal
  • favorite trail mix
  • soy milk
  • trader joe’s reduced guilt brownie mix
  • 1 nonfat vanilla yogurt cup

WHAT WE ALREADY HAD AT HOME

  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar
  • oregano
  • dried basil
  • fennel seed
  • garlic
  • instant espresso
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise

PREP ON SUNDAY

Homemade Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans whole plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking.  Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute 1 or 2 more minutes.  Don’t burn the garlic or it will get bitter.  Add tomatoes, breaking them up a bit with a spoon.  Add sugar, all the spices and 1 tsp. of salt.  Stir and cover, reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and continue to break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks.  Cook about 15 to 20 minutes longer over low heat, stirring occasionally until it reduces a little and starts to taste like really good sauce!  Add more salt if it needs it.  You want this sauce to still taste fresh and clean, so don’t go overboard.  Refrigerate.

Brownies

  • 1 box of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix
  • 1 nonfat vanilla yogurt cup
  • Sprinkle of trail mix (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray an 8 inch circle cake pan with cooking spray.   In a bowl, stir brownie mix with yogurt until completely combined and shiny.  Add a sprinkle of trail mix and stir once to combine.  Pour into cake pan, bake about 22 minutes or until it no longer jiggles in the center when wiggled.   I never cook brownies until a toothpick comes out clean from the center, because I like a fudgey consistency!  You can do that if you are unsure, but the wiggle test is just as good.  Let it cool in the pan.  Gently run a knife around the edge of the brownies and invert to remove from the pan.  If it doesn’t work, just leave it in there and cut into 10 wedges and pull out a serving each day.

Baked Peppered Bacon

  • bacon
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 400.   Use a roasting pan with a rack insert, or a baking rack nestled in a sheet pan.  Line the roasting pan or sheet pan with foil.  Place the bacon slices on the rack insert or baking rack and nestle over the foil lined pan.  Sprinkle with pepper.  You might have to do this batches if your bacon doesn’t all fit.  Bake for about 18 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and brown (not burned!).   Place bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Let it fully cool to room temperature, pat each piece to remove any extra fat and store in a container in the fridge.

RECIPES

BREAKFAST- 10 minutes

Oatmeal with Nuts, Dried Fruit and Brown Sugar

  • 3/4 cup quick cook oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • trail mix
  • brown sugar

In a small saucepan, bring the water to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium high and add the oatmeal.  Stir constantly until cooked, about 3 minutes.  Don’t let it get gloopy, just thick :-).  Divide between two bowls, add brown sugar and trail mix.   If it is too thick, add a little soy milk or milk to loosen it up.

Fake (but tasty) Iced Soy Latte

Put two heaping teaspoons of instant espresso in a tall glass.  Add 1/2 cup of cold water and stir until dissolved.  Add 1 cup of soy milk and stir.  Top off with ice.

LUNCH- 10 minutes

BLTA with An Apple

Toast 4 slices of bread.  Wrap enough bacon for 2 sandwiches in a paper towel.  Microwave for about 30 seconds or until warm.  Spread each slice of toast with a little mayo.  Pile on lettuce, tomato, avocado slices and bacon.  Top with the other slice.  Serve with an apple!  Yum.

SNACK-  NO minutes

Reduced Guilt Brownie

Cut one wedge of brownie per person (1/10th each) and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!

DINNER-  30 minutes

Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

  • Homemade Tomato Sauce
  • 4 slices of polenta, 1/2 inch each
  • 4 slices of eggplant, 1/2 inch each
  • heaping handful of baby spinach
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.  Drizzle eggplant slices with a little olive oil on each side and sprinkle with salt.  Set aside.   Heat about 1 cup of sauce in a bowl in the microwave and set aside.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet until very hot, but not smoking (You want enough oil that it coats the pan, but no so much that the polenta gets mushy or greasy).   Put the eggplant under the broiler.  Put the polenta slices in the pan with the oil.  Sprinkle polenta with salt.  Flip over ONLY when they are lightly browned on one side, about 4-5 minutes.  Flip the eggplant when it is browned or even a little charred on one side.  Repeat cooking on the other side of the eggplant and polenta.  Remove from pan and from oven and set aside.  Quickly add the spinach to the pan and salt lightly.  Cook until wilted, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Pour half of the sauce onto the bottom of each plate.  Stack components on top of the sauce.  Start with polenta, then eggplant, then a little spinach.  Repeat.  Sprinkle with cheese.

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