Thursday, February 16, 2012

{February Foodfest} Staples

Like I mentioned, in our first world crisis this month, we have food, but I just haven't planned any meals out ahead of time and we are now officially down to: 77.74 pounds left in our budget after replenishing our fruit supply and meeting my pregnancy craving for bruschetta.

I've gotten pretty good over the years about knowing what staples are needed in the Ince household, so I have those to work with but usually have a bigger budget to build my meals around them.

Here are our must haves:
whole milk
1% milk
cheddar cheese (I buy a huge block at Costco about every other month)
lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
stuff to make salsa
stuff to make spaghetti
stuff to make granola bars
romaine, croutons, and homemade dressing (a garlicky one and a sweet one) - we eat salad almost every night
frozen chicken
frozen salmon
frozen peas
taco seasoning
black, kidney, and cannelloni beans
canned chopped green chiles
cream of mushroom soup
cream of chicken soup
sour cream
green apples
brussel sprouts (I know, right?!  My weirdest pregnancy craving - I will devote a whole post to this soon.)

On any given day I could typically put together spaghetti, Italian stir fry, chicken enchiladas, some sort of meal with salmon as the main course, pasta e fagioli soup, taco salad, or if worse comes to worst grilled cheese.  Not that I have anything against grilled cheese - give me just about any carb paired with cheese and I'll be happy.  It just doesn't scream dinner to me and apparently I like loud food for dinner.  Or something like that.

What, you ask, is Italian stir fry?  Only the easiest dinner known to man.  Yes, I will gladly share the recipe.

Italian Stir Fry 
(This recipe was made up in college by my friend, Audrey, and perfected by my mom)

For this recipe to work for you, your own household food staples must include:

chicken breasts (for this recipe, you need 4 - I exclusively use boneless chicken breast for all of my recipes calling for chicken - it has to do with my weirdness when it comes to poultry and a severe dislike for dark meat)
diced tomatoes
dried or ground oregano (I prefer ground, but can't find it here)
garlic salt
Italian dressing (I make my own - recipe to follow)
rice or some type of pasta for four (I prefer rice - it is less maintenance than pasta.  Wow, I may have just reached a new level of laziness. My mom makes it with bow tie pasta which is great too, but more work - you know that really complicated extra step of having to transfer the cooked pasta to the strainer?  On a less ridiculous note, I also prefer rice because it soaks up the sauce better, but even though my mom and I use the same recipe and she uses pasta - hers tastes way better than mine)

Disclaimer:  I don't have precise measurements, so for this to be a helpful recipe, you have to be confident about using spices.

1. Start rice.

While rice is cooking:

1. Cube chicken, fretting about all of the raw chicken you are touching and how you're going to turn on the faucet to wash your hands without contaminating something else along the way.  No?  Just me?

2. In a large skillet, heat up Italian dressing (this will act as your olive oil) on med-hi heat.  Add chicken.  Stir every so often and season with garlic salt and oregano (use as much as you think your family would want - we love garlic in this house, so I use a lot.)

3. Once chicken is cooked through, dump in can of diced tomatoes.  Add garlic salt and oregano until it seems like the right amount.  Once it is seasoned to your liking and heated through, serve on top of rice, pair a vegetable with it and voila!  dinner is served.

Italian Dressing
(This recipe is adapted from Taylor's Paw Paw's Caesar salad dressing - I just omit the raw egg yolk because I'm pregnant, and let's be honest, I fear all things poultry related that are uncooked)

3 cloves garlic, minced - I use huge cloves
1/4 c olive oil (aka EVOO - I only use extra virgin, but not entirely sure why - apparently I take Ina Garten's every word as gospel and have adopted Rachael Ray's food slang)
1/4 c vinegar (I change it up every so often.  The original recipe uses apple cider, but I prefer white wine or balsamic)
5 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juiced (I use a heaping table spoon of lemon juice from the bottle)
egg yolk (I omit - apparently if you put the yolk in first, then pour the vinegar over it it "cooks" it.  Call me skeptical.)

Sorry for the lack of photos in the post.  I think I do have pictures on my camera of this meal, but my camera battery is dead and, "I can't believe I can't find the charger!"

P for the c!

What are some staples you have to have in your fridge or pantry?  Wish I knew how to do a linky so we could share that better!


Elizabeth Ann @ Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box said...

i love this! :-) AND I'll have to try this out soon! :-) WE HAVE to have milk! . . .everything else is second to MILK! :-)

Post a Comment

Anybody out there? Bueller...Bueller?