Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

12 for $40: Keeping those food resolutions

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From page A5 | January 16, 2013 |

It’s mid-January, and the shiny has worn off the New Year’s resolutions. Now that we’ve settled into it, how are you going to keep that resolution to cook more/eat better and save money/waste less food?

Planning is the key to keeping all of those resolutions. If you have a plan, you can get a healthy dinner on the table quickly, avoiding the temptation, expense and questionable nutrition of another takeout dinner. Planning, however, takes time and energy that we don’t always have.

One tool is The Davis Food Co-op’s Twelve for $40 menus, which offer recipes and a shopping list to make dinner planning a snap. Unlike major supermarkets, the Co-op allows you to buy many items in just the amount you need, such as an individual egg or a stick of butter.

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 cook book.
Below the menus are tips for cooking, or for cooking ahead. If you see “In the fridge for future meals” then save those items from this meal for later in the week. That’s been included in the shopping list.
*(Everybody needs to go out, or share potluck with friends, or otherwise enjoy life once a week!)

Saturday
* Simple Spicy Beans
* Cornbread
* Green Salad

In the fridge for future meals:
beans, lettuce, sour cream, salsa
Tip: Powdered milk is fine in baking if you don’t keep milk around.

Sunday
* Stuffed squash
* Rice
In the fridge for future meals:
leftover rice
Tip: Vegetarian option: substitute tofu crumbled with a bit of soy sauce.

Monday
* Tamale Casserole
* Green Salad
In the fridge for future meals:
frozen corn
Tip: You can, of course, substitute almost anything but the masa in this dish – skip the cheese or add twice as much, throw in zucchini from the garden, etc.

Tuesday
* Potato Soup
* Toasted English Muffins
In the fridge for future meals:
English Muffins, frozen peas

Wednesday
* Tofu Cubes
* Vegetable fried rice
Tip: Kids generally like this version of tofu very well. Adults might like a spicier dipping sauce.

Thursday
* English Muffin pizzas
* Carrot Salad
Tip: Fry a little onion & add oregano, red pepper flakes & tomato sauce. Spread on muffin & top with grated cheese & pizza fixings – we like sliced olives and onion.

Shopping & Recipes
Our shopping & 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 Jan. 13. We chose organic wherever affordable (marked “OG” on our list), and picked what we’d use at home — 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: $39.84

In the pantry:
oil
soy sauce
hot pepper sauce
vinegar
garlic
baking powder
salt
sugar
red pepper flakes
ground cumin
oregano

Produce:
lettuce
carrots, 5
lime, 1
bean sprouts, 1 cup
russet potato, 2 large
onion, 4
bell pepper, 8 ounces
winter squash, 1
mushrooms, 12
English muffins
sliced olives

Dairy & cheese:
milk, 2 cups
butter, 1 stick
sour cream, 2 cups
eggs, 2
cheese, 2 cups grated
salsa

Grocery:
tofu, 10 oz extra-firm
frozen corn. OG
frozen peas OG
tomato sauce, 8 ounces

Meat:
8 ounces ground beef

Bulk:
dried beans, 1 pound
rice flour, 1/2 cup
masa, 2/3 cup (3 ounces)
cornmeal, OG 1 cup (5 ounces)
whole wheat flour, OG 1 cup (5 ounces)
brown sugar, 1/4 cup (2 ounces)
vegetable broth powder
rice, OG 2 cups (14 ounces)
golden raisins, 1/3 cup

The recipes
Simple Spicy Beans
The ingredients:
1 pound dried beans
1 teaspoon oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried ground cumin
2 teaspoon dried oregano
(dash of hot pepper sauce)

Putting it together:
Pick over the beans and soak in water overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Cook onion in oil 5 minutes. Add garlic & spices and cook 1 minute. Add beans and cover with water. Simmer 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Add hot pepper sauce at end if desired

Improved Corn Bread
The ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Putting it together:
Grease an 8×8 pan. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a cup, mix together sour cream, milk, eggs and oil. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined. Bake 20 minutes.

Squash Bake
The ingredients:
Winter squash, 2 pounds
8 ounces ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
12 mushrooms, minced
salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon oregano

Putting it together:
Cut squash in half and remove sides. Oil cut side and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cook beef until just done. Remove from pan and reserve. Sauté minced veg in same pan until tender. Add garlic, oregano & salt. Remove squash from oven and turn cut side up. Fill hollows with stuffing mixture. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Tamale Casserole
The ingredients:
2 cups beans
1/2 cup onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup salsa
2/3 cup masa*
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup vegetable broth

Putting it together:
Cream masa with the butter. Add 1/4 cup broth and beat. Beat in more broth until you have a thick but pourable batter. Layer ingredients in greased baking dish in the order given, ending with salsa. Pour batter over top of casserole. Bake, covered, 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes until browned.

*masa is corn that has been treated with lime (the mineral, not the citrus!) and then very finely ground. Cornmeal isn’t a good substitute, since the texture is very different.

Mom’s Comforting Potato Soup
The ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut as for mashed potatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Putting it together:
Cover potato and onion with water and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. (If using peas, add to the pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.) Drain carefully, so the onions don’t go down the drain. Add milk and butter and heat gently until milk is warm. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Golden Fried Tofu
The ingredients:
12 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice flour

Putting it together:
Cut tofu into 16 cubes. Heat oil in a large pan. Dip tofu strips in teriyaki sauce. Dip in rice flour to coat. Drop carefully in hot pan. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Serve at once with additional soy sauce for dipping.

Simple Fried Rice & Vegetables
The ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, quartered
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup bean sprouts
2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Putting it together:
Cook onions & carrots in 1 tablespoon oil. Add mushrooms. Throw in frozen vegetables and sprouts and cover pan. Let steam 4 minutes. Pour remaining oil in center of pan and add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is hot through, about 2 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients together and drizzle over rice. Stir and serve.

Carrot Raisin Salad
The ingredients:
4 large carrots
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Putting it together:
Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over raisins and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash, scrape and grate carrots. Stir together lime juice, oil and salt. Drain raisins and add carrots and raisins to dressing.

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