Tag Archives: enchiladas

Weekly Eating – 4/2/18

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Easter weekend was filled with relaxing and outdoor adventures! Friday was a day off, which was awesome, and I got to take a 5 mile hike, resulting in a new high score for daily steps this year. Then on Saturday we were all about gardening. I got broccoli, spinach, and romaine sprouts in the ground, as well as some beans and peas.

We also are trying berries this year, with 4 blueberry and 4 blackberry bushes. The back yard is super shady (thanks to a million trees) but we are planning on taking several down this summer, and hopefully there will be enough light that the bushes can at least survive and establish themselves. It would be amazing to have pounds of free organic berries every year!

And on Easter Sunday, I decided we should at least do a little something to celebrate. We have no kids and no family nearby, so your typical church or egg hunt or Easter baskets or brunch were not happening. Instead, I made some French toast, and cut a piece in half to make bunny ears! Then I used colored white chocolate and sprinkles to make a cute face. It was tasty, and we hadn’t had French toast in a long time so we both enjoyed it.

bunny rabbit french toast

Oh, and back to Lowes we headed, because the boy wanted to complete a project we had talked about several times: building a stone fire pit! We had a small plain metal fire pit that sister in law gave us for our housewarming gift, but we wanted to spruce it up and make it look more permanent. So we got a big pile of stones (thank goodness they were on sale, why are literal rocks so expensive?!) and he built up a lovely fire pit ring.

And while the boy was playing with rocks and building that, I was playing with tortillas and building some enchiladas. I consider that a fair trade. For Sunday dinner we had turkey or black bean enchiladas with Spanish rice and  watermelon mojitos I’d found in the freezer from last summer. Then we hung out outside during sunset & into the night to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to many bonfire nights.

Monday:

Breakfast – Coffee with protein powder, & an energy bar

Lunch – Frozen lamb stew, & a salad. Over the weekend I also did a quick freezer inventory, which happens a few times a year. This way we find ‘lost’ food and hopefully waste less. I pulled out a few things to thaw and eat up this week.

Snack – I had a meeting after work, and was planning to go to dinner afterwards. But I was also pretty hungry by 5:30pm, so I stopped real quick at a Walmart, and they had a snack box on sale 1/2 price. So I grabbed it, and enjoyed the apples and grapes and cheese. I ate about half, and gave the rest to the boy at home later.

Dinner – Chicken fajitas! It’s always so fun when they bring out that sizzling plate, and I feel like an artist crafting my tacos. I also always end up with leftovers, which is like a 2-for-1 meal deal.

chicken fajitas

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Blender crepes with Lemon yogurt filling! I followed the recipe almost exactly (I know, gasp) but also added in a spoonful of cottage cheese to the filling, because I honestly forgot I had it and needed to use it up. I also microwaved a cup of blueberries to put on top. SO GOOD.

blender crepes with lemon filling and blueberry topping

Lunch – Leftover black bean enchilada and Spanish rice

Snack – If you are my friend on Twitter you know I succumbed to the sugar demon… someone at work is having a baby, so there were tiny cute cupcakes in the office! I ended up having 2, 2 days in a row…

Dinner – Lemon garlic asparagus pasta, a recipe Kroger sent me in the mail with my ‘super shopper’ coupons. For the boy I cooked some chicken quarters too.

Wednesday:

Breakfast – Skinny vanilla latte and pumpkin bread. I have a Starbucks gold card (I don’t know how that happened either, but it has my name on it so it’s not a mistake…) and today was super double star day! That means I get 4 stars per $1 I spend. Starbucks is a rare treat for me, and I hoard giftcards just for these days.

Lunch – Chickpea salad sandwich with some carrots. Y’all. This has seriously changed my life. I added a sheet of nori seaweed in the morning when I made the sandwich, so the bread wasn’t soggy and the seaweed was soft by lunch time. This is mindblowing, it is seriously better than tuna salad. I’m in love.

chickpea salad sandwich

Snack – a cherry yogurt

Dinner – Chana Saag and brown basmati rice

I’m so excited its spring, because Farmers market Wednesday is back! I didn’t know and as I walked by the tables I was drooling over all the gorgeous in season greens. I dug through my pockets and came up with 3 dollar bills, and don’tcha know, that was the price for a big bundle of collard greens!! My lucky day.

Thursday:

Breakfast – More crepes with lemon yogurt and blueberries

Lunch – Chickpea salad sandwich with carrots and clementine. I ate the CLIF cherry-chia-apple bar as a snack around 4pm. It was really tasty, and I’m so sad I didn’t buy every single clearance box.

Dinner – I needed to do something creative with the gorgeous leafy Swiss chard I bought yesterday, so I made some spring rolls!

Swiss chard spring rolls

I used this recipe (mostly because I have a childish sense of humor and liked the site name) and even remembered to cut the veins out, but totally forgot to steam them… oops! The leaves were tender enough though, and they were really good. And actually really filling.

Swiss chard spring rolls with peanut sauce

Even the boy said they didn’t suck. He said the peanut butter sauce made him nervous, but it was surprisingly good.

Friday:

Breakfast – Crepes filled with peanut butter and banana and drizzled with honey

Lunch – Leftover Chana Saag

Dinner – I finished off the Swiss rolls. And then went out for some drinks with friends, which was so fun! But, also, led to Taco Bell on the way home… What can I say, sometimes a rice and bean burrito and cinnamon twists just has to happen.

 

The Weekend

There’s a slight chance I’ll hit the stores again Saturday, because Kroger is running some really good sales. But I told myself I’m not allowed to go unless I take the boy with me, so he can keep me from browsing and over spending!

I’m actually really happy it’s raining this weekend, it should help the berry bushes and garden plants we planted last weekend get more established (and let’s be real, I can be lazy and not water!). But it does put a damper on my hopes of hiking a lot… probably will be a very chill weekend.

I definitely need to do some laundry, I think it has been almost a month! I re-wear heavier things that don’t get dirty, like blazers and jeans, and the only things that automatically go into the wash pile are undies, socks, and workout clothes when I actually sweat in them… so… since I’m nearly out of all of them I guess it’s time!

 

Food Total: $26.93 + $3 cash

Woo hoo for low grocery totals!

I meal planned a bunch of things that were already in the pantry, and cleaned/inventoried the freezer. So the majority of our meals this week were ‘free’, or pre-paid basically. Then I made a quick stop to a WalMart while in the area, because we were nearly out of yogurt and that makes the boy sad.

Dairy $6.48 Staples $4.46 Fruit/Veg $7.17 Extras $8.82
4-pk Greek yogurts 2 4.48 Ravioli frz 3lb 2.58 Bananas 8 (0.52/lb) 1.42 Bistro snack box 1.9
4pk reg yogurts 2 2 Cucumber 0.54 Softsoap refil 64oz 3.84
A H DEO 1.88 Sweet potato 3 (.88/lb) 2.21 Mascara 2
CLIF fruit bars 4 3 Tax 1.08

And this total includes mascara and soap, which aren’t even food! So really it’s more like $20 total, plus $3 cash for Swiss chard.

Lessons Learned

I definitely need to keep up with eating from the freezer and pantry. I come from a family that is borderline Hoarders, never wanting to throw things out and always maximizing sales. I definitely think if you have the initial cash that stocking up will save money over time… but only if you then use the items!

At this point my pantry is full to bursting and it’s getting ridiculous. I need to work pantry items into the meal plan each week, not only to use things up before they expire but also to keep our future grocery totals low. So the focus will be on using up staples with interspersed seasonal produce, until my pantry is as sleek and gorgeous as Dr. McFrugals! #goals

 

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Weekly Eating – 2/19/18

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Over the weekend we got to explore Raleigh a little, even though it was rainy and gloomy, and we LOVED the Raleigh Beer Garden. Yet one more reason I need spring/summer to hurry up already, so I can sit up on the top deck and leisurely sip a stout in the afternoon sun.

Raleigh Beer Garden rooftop deck

I didn’t get a whole lot of meal prepping done, though I did make a meal plan. Who knows, we often change our minds anyhow! I did attempt a rice pudding with some leftover rice from stir Friday. It was just ‘okay’ unfortunately… I will not be adding shredded coconut anymore, I just hate its texture so much.

coconut rice pudding

Oh, and I also finally got around to a post I’ve been wanting to create for a long time. Spoilers: it involves lots of fruits and colors!

lots of fruits!

Monday:

Breakfast – Cracklin’ Oat Bran with Almond Milk.

cracklin oat bran

This is a cereal hubs actually grew up on (I’m eternally grateful to mom in law for making healthy eating seem normal his whole life!) and I’d never tried it. So I finally hunted it down in Kroger, and decided now is the time. Turns out, it really is pretty great. It doesn’t taste like cardboard at all, more like really solid cinnamon cookies. If only I could figure out a way to easily make it at home…

Lunch – leftover Best Black Bean Soup and a big salad

black bean soup and salad

Dinner – Shepherd’s Pie with leftover mashed potatoes from pierogi making. Technically it was a Cottage Pie, because it was ground beef and not ground lamb.

baked cottage pie

Snack – raw veggies with hummus, and a coco loco. Yes it says expires Feb 11 and I ate it on the 20th, but guess what? Yogurt is literally full of bacteria. I’m not concerned, nor did I get sick.

hummus and veggiesalmond coco loco

Tuesday:

Breakfast – mixed berry smoothie. This had some blueberries and blackberries plus a handful of spinach, and came out quite tasty

mixed berry smoothie

Lunch – veggies + hummus + pretzels. I had this as a snack late in the morning, and it actually filled me up pretty well.

hummus with veggies and pretzels

Snack – Peanut butter bar and Pumpkin Latte. I got the “RXBar” for free as a sample, and the Starbucks Via as a gift for my birthday, so this was free. And delicious. The PSL was just okay, but what do you expect from instant? And the RXBAR was… weird. Very… thick and chewy. But they say that there are only 4 ingredients, so who knows.

pumpkin spice latte and peanut butter date bar

Dinner –Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup. I used up the last little bit of leftover mashed potatoes, which thickened the soup considerably. I usually add chopped up potato, so it worked well. Some diced carrot, celery, and onion, a can of tomatoes, leftover slow cooker pinto beans, frozen green beans, and some broth. Set to cook on high for 6 hours, and a fresh hot meal awaits you! God bless slow cookers.

slow cooker minestrone soup

Wednesday:

Breakfast – green smoothie, with a new recipe that I am really loving! Coming soon…

green smoothie in the car

Lunch – leftover pea soup, cranberry green beans, and salad

leftovers lunch

Snack – I brought an Almond Coco Loco and blueberries

almond coco loco and blueberries snack

But then a coworker brought Cherry Pie for someone else’s birthday… so you know what I had instead!

cherry pie

Dinner – Enchiladas with roasted asparagus & Brussels sprouts.

green sauce enchiladas

Ground beef & cheese for the boy, black bean for me.

enchiladas and roasted veggies

Thursday:

Breakfast – Cracklin Oat Bran with cashew milk

cracklin oat bran with cashew milk

Snack – Peaches & Cream Smoothie; recipe coming soon!

peaches and cream smoothie

Lunch – Leftover black bean enchilada, rice, roasted veggies

leftover enchilada and roasted veggies

Dinner – BBQ pulled pork sandwiches from the freezer for the boy, leftover minestrone soup for me

slow cooker minestrone soup

Friday:

Breakfast –Cracklin Oat Bran, with coconut milk. There was a 2/$5 sale on plant milks last week, can you tell? 🙂 I like the cashew the best so far, it just has the richest flavor. Maybe bc it’s “vanilla”…

cracklin oat bran with coconut milk

Lunch –leftover Minestrone soup, a big salad, and turmeric mango smoothie. I bragged about this one on Twitter.

soup, salad, and smoothie

Snack –hummus & veggies

hummus and carrots and celery

Dinner –I had a ridiculously stressful day, so cooking is not a thing I wanted to do when I got home… luckily my very sweet boy handed me a glass of wine and told me to sit down while he took over. 🙂 We had a simple dinner of salad and pasta, but sometimes a big bowl of carbs and a supportive spouse is all you need to feel better.

bowl full o carbs

The Weekend

Pretty sure the only thing that stands out on this weekend’s calendar is the One Year Anniversary party at Starpoint Brewery in Durham! From 10am – midnight, $4 pints all day of all of their signature brews?? Count us in!

Food Total: $106.28

Just over $100 this week, dang it. I will still count this as a win though, especially as I restocked on ground beef and turkey since our freezer supply was depleted, and lots of yogurts (we go through about 10 a week at least).

I took mercy on him and the boy got some special meat-based meals this week, like a huge 3-cheese ham and turkey sub w buffalo sauce, shepherd’s pie, and beef and cheese enchiladas.

Oh, and $75 of that $100 was produce! $46 of it was just spent on bags of frozen fruit. More spoilers about that upcoming post series… So without taking that into account, we really spent more like $60 this week.

 

Lessons Learned

One amusing thing I noticed is that even though he requested the Cracklin Oat Bran, I’m the one eating it! I’m glad he introduced me to it though, it really is good. And it’s one of the healthiest cereals I’ve seen. When my creative mojo is not quite awake, but I’m not feeling a smoothie, it’s my new go-to breakfast.

Another thing that stood out, it’s a lesson I learn over and over again, is that leftovers are SO good! Having containers just ready to grab and go is soooo convenient. If I have to put too much effort into food prep in the morning, I’m more likely to say forget it and spend the $7-$15 on lunch somewhere at work. No bueno.

But, the catch is that it is always a balancing act. I don’t want TOO MANY leftovers either, or we can’t eat them fast enough. Even with a six-plus-foot-male appetite in the house. And especially if it is a thing he isn’t super crazy about, and I’m left to my own devices to finish off two types of soup, a stir fry, and a couple enchiladas? That’s a recipe for disaster. So more meals that we know we both love and can and will eat over and over, along with the constant experiments.

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Beefy Cheesy Enchiladas

 

You know how some days you just don’t want to cook?  Well, I’ve had more than my usual share of those lately.  I usually have a whole list of simple “throw it together” meals just for this reason.  You know, like pasta.  Or cereal.

But the other day, even those seemed like far too much work.  I just… couldn’t.  So I figure, we can order something to go and pick it up, no problem.  Well, did I ever find a keeper.  My fiancee says, no worries, I will cook tonight!  I’m immediately intrigued.  I figure there’s now a 98% chance I’ll be eating burritos.  (Trust me, that’s maybe an under estimation).

What are you going to make?  I ask, as he starts poking around in the refrigerator.  Oh, you’ll see… is the only answer I get.  He’s a man of many mysteries.

With a glass of wine, I settled in to watch the meal unfold.  I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he pulled out one ingredient after another.  Ground beef… frozen peppers… shredded cheddar cheese… Do we have corn tortillas?

I’m 100% sure it’s burritos now, and ask him as much.  No… not exactly. And your one guess is gone now.  Hmmm…

Ingredients:

  • 20 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • Jar of jalapenos
  • 2-4 tbsp butter
  • Chili powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp flour
  • Optional: refried beans & rice

Corn tortilla for enchilada in pan

Step 1: First he browned the beef in the pan, adding in some chili powder.  After removing that and setting it aside, he diced the peppers finely, and added it to the pan with the butter and a healthy splash of juice from the jarred jalapenos (which I made last spring).

Enchiladas being prepared

Step 2: One by one, over medium-low heat, each tortilla was placed in the pan until softened (to add flavor, he said) and then moved to an aluminum pan.

Putting cheese in the enchiladas

Step 3: Each soft tortilla had a healthy handful of beef added, and a big pinch of cheese.  AHA!  You’re making enchiladas!  He smiled, you got it!  Awesome! … but I was basically right, because enchiladas are just baked burritos.

IMG_3334

(Sneak peek of the gorgeous finished product!)

You can use other fillings here too, I didn’t even have to ask but he made a few veggie burritos for me, with black beans, spinach, and mushrooms!  Try more peppers, onions, or different types of beans.

Enchiladas in pan ready for oven

Step 4: For the sauce, he simply added a few tbsp flour to the juices still left in the pan to thicken it up.  With the pepper chunks in it, he poured that over everything, and sprinkled on more cheese (of course).

IMG_3322

Step 5: Put into an oven preheated to 350 degrees, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly.

IMG_3324

This is the lovely finished product!

IMG_3327

Top as you like.  We had some cilantro left from a previous Mexican night, as well as salsa, sour cream, and of course more jalapenos!

IMG_3328

Throughout the process, rice had been cooking in the rice cooker, and it went off just as the enchiladas were about done.  With a can of refried beans, the meal was complete.

IMG_3332

A fiancee-approved meal!

IMG_3330

I also had some lime wedges, which I think are just about required with Mexican food.  The tartness helps cut the spice a little.  Plus it looks nice.  🙂

I’ll need to not want to cook more often…

Chicken & Cheese Enchiliadas

.
It’s no secret that I love all Mexican foods. I’ve written about how I made the perfect refried beans, many variations on tacos, and the simple pizza-like toastadas. I’ve been meaning to tackle a particularly intimidating recipe for a while: enchiladas.
.
You may not think enchiladas are intimidating, but for whatever reason I kept thinking it would be hard to make these. Then the s.o. requested it, I had a big stack of tortillas in the fridge, and so I was like, ok it’s time.
Turns out, they weren’t so scary after all. And damn delicious.
.
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
7 tortillas
2 tbsp taco seasoning
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese mix
1 can tomato sauce
1-2 tbsp sriracha
I used large flour tortillas here, I know corn is the norm. But trust me, no one was upset about these. Give it a try, or go ahead and use corn if that’s what you have.
Step 1: Cook the chicken either in the oven, frying pan, or poach in boiling water. Use two forks to shred it finely. Cook in a pan with a little butter and taco seasoning.
Step 2: In each tortilla, spread a few tbsp beans, a handful of shredded chicken, and sprinkle on some cheese. Roll up, and place with the seam-side down in a sprayed oven-safe pan.
Step 4: Once the pan is full, sprinkle more cheese over top, then pour the tomato sauce over everything. Use as much as you need to cover the tops, but not to soak them. (Sidenote, I hate the taste of regular enchilada sauce at restaurants, that’s why I went the homemade tomato sauce version. If you like it or have a jar of enchilada sauce at home, feel free to use that.)
Step 5: Squirt on a thin layer of sriracha and/or hot sauce, and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
We ended up having two each, and the leftovers didn’t last more than a day. These could be made in the crock pot as well, simply assemble and leave on low all day. Make sure to add extra sauce so they don’t burn if you go that route.
Serve with a little sour cream on top to cut the spice if that’s your thing.
.
You could make the vegetarian by adding extra grilled veggies or tofu instead of chicken, and just feel free to add in some onions and peppers regardless of what else is in there.
.
What’s your favorite Mexican food?

Slow cooker enchiladas

Since I have no oven in my current apartment, I have been looking for new and creative recipes to try in the slow cooker. I found one for enchiladas on Allrecipes.com and decided to use that as the basis for dinner tonight. Of course, I am terrible about measurements, so maybe you’ll want to look up their recipe if you want exact amounts.
Ingredients:
~1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
1 can cream of chicken
1 cup salsa
handful of fresh cilantro (because it was on sale 0.74 a bunch!)
Corn tortillas
Shredded cheese
Step 1: Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain off as much of the grease as you can. Add the taco seasoning and water, and cook the seasoning into the beef until most is absorbed. This is the second layer over the tortillas.
Step 2: Mix the chicken soup, salsa and diced cilantro in a bowl. This will be your third layer.


Step 3: Spray the inside of the crock pot so hopefully there will be no burnt-on mess later. Put down a layer or 2 of tortillas. Then a layer of meat. Then the cheese mixture. Over the topmost layer of beef, I added some slices of pepper jack to give it an extra little kick.

Keep layering until you use all the beef and soup mixture. Put a top layer of tortillas on and sprinkle with more cheese. 
Put on High for 45 minutes to 1 hour. We will see in an hour how well I did!