As I mentioned in my last blog, it’s been extremely frustrating as a foodie to be unable to experiment with new recipes or go out to eat given my job status. However, over the last few months I’ve become very good at couponing and going through the supermarket circulars (gotta love those “buy 1, get 1 free deals!) to plan my shopping trips. In doing so, I’ve saved roughly $250 per month off my regular shopping bill! I also made a commitment spend very little on groceries this month and use what’s already in my kitchen from previous shopping trips. With a very small kitchen and minimal cabinet space, it was time to go through them and even the refrigerator and get cooking!
My first step was to stock my freezer as I needed to get rid of some chicken stock and an onion. So I made soup and homemade tomato sauce. It might seem weird, especially given the hot/humid weather we are experiencing in DC at the moment, but both last for a couple of months and will come in handy when I don’t feel like cooking and would rather re-heat. The soup wasn’t from scratch per se, but rather a Harry & David Hearty Vegetable soup packet where it requires a few ingredients that you should have in your pantry. With that done, I made my favorite tomato sauce I came across at CookingLight.com. Their “Ultimate Quick-and-Easy Pasta Sauce” definitely lives up to its name as it takes all of 20 minutes (from prep to cooking) to make. I’ve only made this sauce with the balsamic vinegar vs. the wine, so I don’t know how it with taste with it. However, if you do use the wine, Sutter Home sells these great mini-bottles that come in a 4-pack that you can use. No point opening up a nice bottle of wine for this sauce unless of course you plan on serving wine with dinner that same night. I use this for the 5-cheese tortellini that I pick-up at Costco and serve with a simple salad.
With those done, I decided to make another Cooking Light recipe Artichoke and Pasta Salad. This has to be by far my favorite pasta salad to eat all year round, but especially in the summer as its very light and refreshing. Taking advantage of the box of pasta I picked-up as a “Buy 1, Get 1 free” deal, I used some bowtie pasta. I normally get Rotini pasta for this dish as the dressing sticks better and gets into the coils of the pasta, so if you decide to make this recipe I recommend not using bowtie. Also for this recipe, I tend to use more artichoke hearts in both the dressing and the salad itself, and I use the ones that are marinated so you can use the oil they are packed for the dressing. Being lazy at times, I used canned diced tomatoes and use a fresh tomato. With tomatoes in season now, it might be worth to use them and more than the recipe calls for. I enjoy this dish with some homemade hummus and a whole wheat pita. This dish is also Weight Watchers friendly. All told, the total point value is 9. Might seem kind of high, but it’s very filling and therefore you can eat a light dinner like a salad that would be zero points!