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Healthy Meals on a Budget – Week 3

Posted May 06 2009 1:33pm

This is week 3 of our healthy and cheap cooking marathon. I must say that the further I am into this project the more difficult it gets to come up with interesting supper ideas that would use only 13 initial ingredients. But I always finish what I start so if you are new here please feel free to check out the following articles:

Cheap and healthy grocery list for a bad economy
Healthy meals on a budget - Week 1
Healthy meals on a budget - Week 2
Healthy Meals on a Budget - Week 4

Extra Ingredient for the week:
Mushrooms are very rich foods from the point of nutritional value. These little guys contain one of the most unique combinations of nutrients that can be found in the vegetable world (though mushrooms are not vegetables from the scientific point of view; they are a type of fungus). Mushrooms contain important ingredients like selenium, copper and many useful vitamins. Selenium is used in our bodies for the proper function of the antioxidant system that fights free radicals; copper helps to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and strengthens blood vessels. Vitamins in the B group play an important role in the body’s energy production and at the same time reduce cholesterol levels and prevent osteoarthritis. If it wouldn’t have been enough, mushrooms are also abundant in phytonutrients that have been objects of anti-cancer research in the past few years. The research found that these phytonutrients can prevent breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Another extra ingredient for the week is Parmesan cheese. Shredded or grated cheese will be good enough.

Mexican style spaghetti
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti, broken
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn or 1 can whole kernel corn
2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 Jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional) or a few dashes hot sauce
2 tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
¼ cup shredded cheese (optional)
1 tbs Mexican style seasoning

Cook spaghetti al dente according to the directions on the box.
Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add corn, tomato sauce, Mexican seasoning, jalapeno pepper or hot sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. Combine mushroom-tomato sauce with spaghetti and sprinkle with cheese.

Curried chicken with rice
12 oz chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbs cooking oil
1 to 2 tsp curry powder
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large coarsely chopped apple (optional)
1 tbs cornstarch
Ground black pepper to taste
1 cup brown rice

Cook rice according to the directions on the box.
In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add curry powder and cook stirring for 30 seconds. Add chicken or cook until chicken is browned. Slowly add broth or water, onion, and pepper (add salt if you are using water). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add apples and cook for additional 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water; add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, after that cook for 2 more minutes. Serve over warm rice.

Rice and Black Bean pilaf
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you can substitute it with water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dries parsley
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes (or powder)
1 (15.5 oz) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook rice in chicken broth or in water for 30-35 minutes. If you are using water, then add a pinch of salt to the rice.
In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent. Add carrots, mushrooms, dried parsley and oregano, cumin, chili and cook stirring occasionally until carrots are tender (about 6 minutes). Drain and rinse beans and add them to the skillet. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes.
Combine rice with vegetables and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Tip: To create a complete dinner, steam cook broccoli and sprinkle them with shredded cheese and black pepper.

Pasta Pizza
2 cups dried whole wheat rotini (you can use any other pasta that you have at home)
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup milk
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce (you can use Pizza sauce or Italian style diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon dries Italian seasoning
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tomato, sliced
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup shredded cheese

Cook pasta al dente according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large mixing bowl combine egg, milk, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in cooked pasta. Spread this mixture evenly in a greased 12-inch pizza pen. Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes.
In a large skillet cook turkey meat, onion and garlic until meat is brown. Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning and red pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
Spread meat mixture over baked crust. Put mushroom and tomato slices on top of it and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Mushrooms and peas pasta
8 ounces whole-wheat pasta, such as fusilli or rotini
3 cups frozen green peas
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces sliced ham, diced (you can use smoked or oven roasted turkey instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups quartered cremini or white button mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (or water)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese
Black pepper to taste

In a large pot cook pasta and peas for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet, add ham or turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes. After that sprinkle flour over mushrooms, stir in wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add broth or water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in milk and cheese, sprinkle with cheese and cook until all cheese has melted.
Drain peas and pasta and combine with mushroom sauce.

Pasta Fagioli
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, quartered then halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
5 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans
1 (15 oz) can navy beans (you can use any other beans that you have at home)
1 cup frozen green beans
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz whole wheat shells or elbow macaroni

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in diced tomatoes, water, beans (all three types), oregano, parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
Cook macaroni in salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes); drain. Stir in tomato and bean soup.

Chicken stuffed with carrots and garlic with mashed potatoes
2 chicken breast halves
1 carrot, cut into thin 1 inch strips
8 big garlic cloves cut into strips
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1-1 1/2 cups water

Cook mashed potatoes with the skin.
Cut each chicken beast half into 2 or 3 thick pieces. Make small cuts in chicken and insert pieces of garlic and carrots into them (each piece of chicken must have at least 8 cuts). Rub meat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side (till chicken is slightly brown). Add water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Bonus Meal
Spanish style rock fish
1-1 1/2 lbs rock fish (you can substitute it with cod or halibut fillets)
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tbs olive oil

Cut fish fillets in 2-inch-wide pieces. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook fish over medium heat for 4 minutes on each side.
Preheat oven to 420 degrees F. Place fish fillets in a baking dish, put onions and mushrooms on top of them and pour tomato sauce over it. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.

Keep it balanced!

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© Anastasiya for Balance In Me, 2009. | Permalink | No comment | Add to
Post tags: Balanced Nutrition, nutrition

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