Here is week 2 of our budget cooking. If you do not know what these cooking articles are all about then feel free to check out my Healthy Meals on a Budget – Week 1 for some answers and also don’t forget to look at the 13 healthy and cheap ingredients that I use in all my recipes. Extra Ingredient for the week: Bell Peppers can turn any boring-looking dish into a masterpiece of color and taste. Bell peppers come in a wide variety of colors like green, red, yellow and orange that makes them a must-have for any bright and happy supper. Besides their really cool reggae style color schemes bell peppers also boast some of the best nutritional values in the vegetable world. These veggies are rich in vitamin A, C and B6 that makes them true fighters when it comes to brawling with free radicals. They are also one of the few products that are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that has been linked to lower risks of different types of cancer. Some studies also prove that bell peppers can also decrease the risks of rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts and lung diseases (the latter is especially true for smokers and second-hand smokers). Fresh or frozen these happy-looking vegetables will make your life and your stomach much happier too.
Monday Mexican stew Ingredients 2 bell peppers – red and yellow, cut into cubes (4 cups of frozen bell peppers) 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-2 inch cubes 2 cans of different beans (kidney, white or pinto beans) 2 cups of frozen corn 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 large carrot, shredded 4 cloves of garlic 1 tbs olive oil Black pepper, oregano, basil, cumin, chili powder, salt to taste
Directions Heat olive oil in a big skillet or a pot with a thick bottom over medium heat, add onions and minced garlic, sauté till garlic is translucent, and then add carrots and sauté for another 2-3 min. Add chicken and cook till it’s lightly browned. Add bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes till bell peppers soften a little bit. Stir in tomatoes, beans and corn, add spices, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for another 20-30 minutes. This dish goes really good with heated whole-wheat bread-rolls; you can also add a few dashes of hot sauce to spice it up. Makes 6 servings.
Tuesday Beans and rice casserole Ingredients 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced 1 cup cubed bell peppers (fresh or frozen) 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn 1 cup vegetable broth or water 1 cup brown rice ½ cup chopped onion 3 garlic cloves, minced ½ cup shredded cheese Salt and pepper to taste 1 tbs canola oil (or olive oil)
Directions Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add garlic and onions. Sauté till onions are translucent, then add carrots and bell peppers and cook for 5 more minutes. In a casserole dish combine cooked vegetables, corn, beans, brown rice, and broth or water, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F about an hour or until rice is tender, stirring once halfway through baking time. Sprinkle with cheese, cover and let stand for 5 minutes until cheese melts.
Wednesday Vegetable stir-fry with rice Ingredients 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 medium onion, sliced 2 large carrots, sliced 2 cups broccoli florets 2 cups bell peppers cut into strips 4 teaspoons olive or canola oil, divided 1 cup frozen sweet peas 1 ½ cups brown rice
Directions Cook brown according to the directions on the box. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with ginger and black pepper. Stir in orange juice, soy sauce and garlic until blended; set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a big skillet and stir-fry onions, carrots and broccoli for 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil, bell peppers and sweet peas and stir-fry for 3 more minutes. Add orange mixture to the pan, bring to a boil, cook and stir until thickened. Serve vegetables over rice.
Thursday Spaghetti with ground turkey and tomato sauce Ingredients 1 lb ground turkey 2 tbs olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce) 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste 1 1/2 cups water 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1/2 tsp dried basil 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1/2 tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 (12 oz) box spaghetti
Directions Cook spaghetti al-dente according to the directions on the box. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and sauté till onion is translucent. Add turkey and cook until all the pink is gone. Add the rest of the ingredients – diced tomatoes or tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and seasoning and cook about 30 minutes or more if desired stirring occasionally. Serve sauce over spaghetti and you can sprinkle it with cheese if desired.
Friday Vegetable and bean chili Ingredients 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 1 big carrot, cubed 2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or 2 cups of frozen bell peppers) 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 teaspoons ground cumin Kosher salt 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (optional)
Directions Sauté onions, bell pepper, garlic, and carrots in oil in a heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Add beans and stir for another 5 minutes.
Saturday Loaded twice-baked potatoes Ingredients 4 medium potatoes 8 ounces ground turkey 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped 1 medium tomato, cubed 1 cup water 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided 1 tbs reduced fat Mayonnaise 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make little holes in the potatoes all over using fork, sprinkle them with olive oil and salt, put on the cooking sheet and cook in the oven for 60 minutes. Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the pan, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat. Add Mayonnaise and tomatoes to the bowl, sprinkle with black pepper. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and fluff baked flash with a fork. Place turkey, broccoli and tomato mixture on the potato halves, sprinkle with cheese and put into the oven for 5 minutes.
Tip: baked potatoes can be a good way to use any leftovers that you have. Instead of ground turkey I often use leftover chicken or lunch meat, it’s also a good idea to add some cooked mushrooms or even black beans. Another variation is to use tuna instead of meat, basically imagination is your only boundary with this dish.
Sunday Chicken jambalaya Ingredients ½ cup chopped onion ¼ cup chopped bell pepper 2 tbs olive oil or canola oil 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 1 ½ cups chicken broth 2/3 cup long grain rice 1 tsp dried basil or thyme ¼ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp black pepper ¼ to ½ tsp bottled hot pepper sauce (you can use chili powder instead) 1 bay leaf 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey
Directions In a large skillet cook onion and sweet pepper in oil until vegetables are tender but not brown. Stir in tomatoes with juice, chicken broth, uncooked rice, basil or thyme, garlic powder, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in chicken or turkey and heat through. Discard bay leaf.
Bonus Meal Halibut with lemon and caper sauce This recipe is courtesy of EatingWell magazine. If using fish steaks, chill them in the freezer for 1/2 to 1 hour so they will be easy to slice. Fillets of sole, orange roughy, ocean perch or catfish are delicious cooked this way but do not need to be sliced before cooking.
Ingredients 1/2 lemon or more to taste 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 pound halibut fillet (about 1 1/2 inches thick), cut into 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1/3 cup fish stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth 1 tablespoon capers (optional) 2 teaspoons butter 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Directions 1. With a sharp knife, remove skin and white pith from lemon and discard. Cut the segments of the fruit away from their surrounding membranes into a bowl (discard seeds). Strain and reserve juice. Chop fruit coarsely. 2. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge fish lightly in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fish until the outside is golden brown and the interior is opaque, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates or a platter and keep warm. 3. Add garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for several seconds. Add fish stock or broth and bring to a boil, stirring. Add lemon and juice, capers (if using) and butter, swirling the pan until the butter has melted. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle with parsley and grind more pepper over top.
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