Tuesday, September 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Homemade pasta and more: This week brings a wide variety of meals

By
September 15, 2010 |

Special to The Enterprise

While basic cooking requires only a knife and a pan or two, most of us have a lot more equipment than that in the house. Do we need it all? Probably not.

When buying equipment for the kitchen, one factor to consider is how much money you can save by using that equipment. If it will be used only once in a while, or makes food thatÕs more expensive than store-bought, then it may not be a good choice: Our electric ice cream maker is a case in point.

If, on the other hand, new equipment will let you make something you eat regularly for less, then it may be a good deal.

If you eat a lot of pasta, a manual pasta machine is a great deal. Fresh pasta is very expensive to buy, but costs literally pennies to make Ñ a whole 82 cents for the recipe below. Even without a pasta maker, fresh pasta is achievable with a rolling pin. Just make sure you have plenty of space to work! Consult a good cookbook for tips on making your own pasta. ÒThe Joy of CookingÓ is always a good start.

Planning is everything in sticking to a food budget, and we aim to help you with six days worth of menus, which should feed two adults dinner six nights a week for around $40.

These menus assume you already have some cooking skills, and own a basic reference cookbook.

Below the menus are tips for cooking, or for cooking ahead. If you see ÒIn the fridge for future meals,Ó then save those items from this meal for later in the week. ThatÕs been included in the shopping list.

Our shopping and recipes are scaled for two adults. Increase or decrease as needed to allow for your household.

We shopped this list at the Co-op on Sept. 10. We chose organic wherever affordable (marked ÒOGÓ on our list), and picked what weÕd use at home Ñ the best value rather than the absolute cheapest. We also assumed you had a few things in the pantry, which were not included in the shopping total. Our total: $40.74.

Menu

Saturday

Lasagna

salad

In the fridge for future meals:

lettuce

cheese

ricotta

Sunday

Cheese Steak Sandwiches

salad

In the fridge for future meals:

bread

Tip: Save a little bread to go with tomorrowÕs soup, and the insides of the bread for the stuffed zucchini.

Monday

Super Veggie Split Pea Soup

Bread

Tip: This recipe doubles well if youÕd like to have soup for weekday lunches.

Tuesday

Stuffed Zucchini

Tip: You can stuff the zucchini ahead of time and refrigerate until needed Ñ just increase the cooking time by about 15 minutes.

Wednesday

Super-Quick Stir Fry

rice

In the fridge for future meals:

leftover rice

Thursday

Frittata

fruit

Tip: Frittata is a great end-of-the-week dish to use up leftovers.

Shopping list

In the pantry:

soy sauce

oil

garlic

baking powder

salt

bay leaf

oregano

thyme

cumin

salad dressing

Produce:

1 cup bean sprouts,

2 baby bok choy, OG

4 onions, OG

1 pound roma tomatoes, OG

1 bell pepper, OG

1 carrot, OG

1 small sweet potato, OG

6 white mushrooms,

7 small zucchini, OG

2 ears corn, OG

fruit, OG

lettuce, OG

Dairy and cheese:

5 eggs

1 pound ricotta cheese

5 ounces parmesan cheese

4 ounces mozzarella cheese

Grocery:

1 loaf French bread

Meat:

8 ounce beef tri-tip steaks

Bulk:

1 cup (8 ounces) split peas

vegetable broth powder

1 cup flour

1.5 cups (12 ounces) rice,

1Ú4 cup (1 ounce) walnuts

Lasagna

Ingredients:

3/4 pound roma tomatoes

olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

salt to taste

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon water

12 ounces ricotta cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated mozzarella

Putting it together:

Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Place in a baking dish, cut side up, and drizzle with oil. Add herbs and salt.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Add onions and garlic and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let cool, then remove skins and puree in blender.

Mix egg, flour, salt and water together. Knead dough until smooth, then cover and let rest 15 minutes. Roll in pasta maker or with rolling pin to make lasagna noodles.

Mix cheeses together. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Find a bread pan or other deep, narrow dish.

Cut 4 layers of noodles to fit your pan. Cook 1 layer of noodles at a time in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Drain and layer in baking dish with 1Ú4 of sauce and 1Ú3 of cheese. Repeat, ending with a layer of noodles topped with sauce. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1Ú2 pound beef tri-tip steaks

oil

1 onion, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

salt

pepper

1Ú2 cup grated mozzarella

French bread

Putting it together:

Cut steak into thin ribbons. Cook briefly in oil until barely done and set aside. Cook onions and peppers in same pan until crisp tender.

Mix with steak and season to taste. Split bread, leaving a hinge, and hollow out the middle (reserve crumbs for another use).

Fill rolls with steak and add cheese. Wrap in foil and bake in oven until cheese melts and bread softens, about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Super Veggie Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

1Ú2 an onion

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup (8 ounces) dried split peas

1 carrot, diced

1 small sweet potato, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth

Putting it together:

Sort peas and discard debris. Rinse and drain. Cook onion in oil until limp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. Cook until peas are tender to the bite, 45-60 minutes. If you like a creamy soup, puree all or part of the mixture with a stick blender.

Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

4 small zucchini

1Ú4 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1Ú4 teaspoon ground cumin

1Ú2 teaspoon salt

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1Ú2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1Ú2 cup ricotta

Putting it together:

Blanch squash in boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Drain and let cool. Cook onions in oil until tender. Add garlic and cook briefly. Remove from heat.

Trim ends of cooled zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out insides, leaving a thin shell. Chop the insides.

Mix together all ingredients except zucchini shells. Mound filling generously into shells. Place in a lightly oiled baking pan and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Super-Quick Stir Fry

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1Ú2 an onion, sliced

6 white mushrooms

2 zucchini, sliced

1Ú4 cup walnuts

1 cup bean sprouts

2 baby bok choy

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

Putting it together:

Wash mushrooms and quarter. Wash and slice zucchini. Rinse bean sprouts and let drain in colander. Wash baby bok choy and chop. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil.

Toss in onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini and nuts and cook 1 minute more. Add bok choy and bean sprouts. Cover immediately and cook until wilted, 2 or 3 minutes.

Spoon out any liquid that has accumulated in pan. Stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Serve over rice.

Frittata

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1Ú4 cup onion, finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ears corn

1 cup cooked rice

1 tablespoon dry thyme

4 eggs

4 ounces parmesan

salt and pepper to taste

Putting it together:

Cut corn from cob. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Add the onions and cook gently 1 minute. Add garlic, corn and rice. Beat eggs and seasonings together. Stir in cheese.

Spread skillet mixture evenly and pour egg and cheese mixture over top. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until bottom is golden but top is still Òwet,Ó about 6 minutes. Slide frittata out onto a baking sheet and place under broiler. Broil until top is golden, about 2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and serve, or refrigerate until needed.

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