Tuesday, October 21, 2014

$70/Week Challenge - Day Six: Slow Cooker Chicken Burritos/Enchiladas

  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 large can tomato/chili blend (MILD!!!! I tried medium once, and the hour of cooking made it impossibly hot)
  • 1 large can Enchilada sauce
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2.5 C cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 6 Flour Tortillas, large/burrito style
  • 1/2 C salsa
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken breasts, chicken broth, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin in slow cooker, set on 'high.'
  2. Cook for at least four hours, or until chicken become fork tender and easily shreds.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add tomato/chili blend (do not drain) and 1/2 Enchilada sauce.
  4. Cook for an additional hour.
  5. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray, and cover bottom with 1/2 of the remaining Enchilada sauce.
  6. Lay each tortilla flat, and add in the middle of the tortilla about 3/4 C chicken filling with a slotted spoon to drain off excess liquid (this is a "sloppy dish," even when well drained).
  7. Carefully fold the tortilla over the chicken mix, and pull filling back to "tighten" the wrap.  
  8. Roll the tortilla until it comes to a uniform cylinder, and then place in glass baking dish.
  9. Repeat for the other five tortillas.
  10. Cover with the remaining Enchilada sauce and 2 C of the cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble. 
  12. Serve with black beans, topped with cheddar cheese and salsa garnishes, and top the Enchilada with a dollop of sour cream.  (you can also make these as burritos...follow the same steps, but put the extra sauce and cheese inside and roll by folding the top and bottom, folding and pulling the chicken mix and rolling until it is sealed).  
  13. Enjoy!!  For $9.00 (rounded up) for six servings, you AND your wallet will! :)  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

$70/Week Challenge - Day Five: Potato-Ricotta Gnocchi Bolognese

Please Note:  If you do not have a pasta press, these gnocchi, while light and delicious, are not the prettiest of pastas, thus the EXTREME CLOSE UP! :) 


  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 C potato flakes (instant potatoes)
  • 3/4 C flour (plus extra to roll)
  • 2/3 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bolognese Sauce
  • 6 C Tomato sauce Click here for recipe
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 80/20 for this recipe, be sure to drain off fat)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t red pepper flake (or to taste)
  • 2 T canola oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onion in canola oil until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes).  
  2. Add garlic and pepper flake and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until garlic turns golden brown. 
  3. Add ground beef and break up into small pieces and cook until browned.  Drain off fat and add salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Add tomato sauce and stir to combine.  Cover and reduce heat to low.
  5. Combine all gnocchi ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with hands until it forms a sturdy dough.
  6. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.
  7. Dust a clean, cool surface with flour.
  8. Using clean hands, roll out the 6 pieces to 1" strands.
  9. Cut the strands into 1" cubes.
  10. In a large sauce pot, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil over medium high heat. 
  11. Add 1/2 the gnocchi and gently stir.  
  12. When the gnocchi is done, they will float to the top.
  13. Remove with a hand held strainer.  
  14. Add the other 1/2 gnocchi and cook until they float to the top.  
  15. Top with sauce and serve with Parmesan cheese and basil garnish.  
  16. Pairs perfectly with a Lindemann's Bin 57 Shiraz, but that would be outside of budget. :D  This meal cost $9.50 for 6 servings!!   Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

$70/Week Challenge - Day Four: One-Pot-$5-Wednesday-Night-No-Hassle Chicken Fried Rice

It simply does not get easier than this recipe.  This may very well be the recipe I take from this challenge and add to my weekly repertoire.  One pot.  Simple prep. Six servings for under five bucks and  dinner on the table in about 20 minutes???  What more can one ask for through the week?  Did I mention the kids licked their plates?   Enjoy! 

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 double box of Rice and Macaroni product (available everywhere, even outside of San Francisco)
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 4 C water
  • 1 C Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1 8 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces, low sodium, drained
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Liberally salt and pepper chicken, and evenly coat with garlic powder.
  2. Saute chicken in 2 T canola oil over medium high heat until browned.
  3. Add butter, sesame oil and additional canola oil with rice/macaroni product.
  4. Stir frequently until the macaroni starts to brown.
  5. Following package directions, add flavor packet and four cups of water, along with mushrooms.
  6. Bring to a boil. 
  7. Cover and reduce heat to low. 
  8. Cook for 18 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  9. Add whisked egg and stir.
  10. Re-cover and cook for an additional two minutes.
  11. Form rice mixture in a 1 C measuring cup and top with Chow Mein Noodles.  Serve with a nice salad (a sesame-mandarin orange-ginger dressing pairs perfectly).    
  12. Enjoy! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

$70/Week Challenge - Day Three: Homemade Spinach Ham Pizza

  • 3 C bread flour
  • 1 C  warm water
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 oz package of active dry yeast
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C tomato sauce click here for recipe
  • 2 C mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 C fresh baby spinach
  • 2 slices of Parmesan Pesto Ham, cubed
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, water, olive oil, yeast, sugar and salt.  
  2. Using your very clean hands, stir the ingredients until they form a solid ball (this will take a few minutes, and you will have to scrape down your hands several times).  You can use a dough hook on a food processor, but I don't think it comes out the same.
  3. Place the dough on a clean smooth surface.  Gently kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes making sure to rotate the dough with each punch (the dough should be smooth and shiny, and have elasticity).  
  4. Return the dough to mixing bowl and cover with a warm, damp dish towel.  
  5. Allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. "Punch" the dough down and remove from bowl.  Kneed the dough for an additional minute, on a well floured surface (also dust your hands with flour as well).  
  8. This is the part, if you are fancy, where you toss and spin the dough.  If you can do this, form it into an 18" circle.  If  you are not fancy (I am not), take a floured rolling pin and roll it to form. 
  9. Top with sauce, spinach, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ham pieces. 
  10. Drizzle top with olive oil and sprinkle with dried basil. 
  11. Place on a pizza stone, or pizza pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling. 

The Cook At Home Dad's Go-To Tomato Sauce

I don't think I've ever made the same tomato sauce twice...until I came up with this go-to recipe!  I believe in pairing every fresh herb and spice with its dried counterpart to provide a wonderful depth of flavor.  I keep it simple by sticking to tomato basil, and then alter the flavor of the sauce depending on the dish I'm making (if it is a traditional spaghetti and meatballs, I flavor the meatballs with onion and oregano, and  cook it in the slow cooker---the sauce infuses the meatballs which in turn infuse the sauce!  YUM!).  Whether you are looking for a quick-pizza sauce (omit the wine), or a robust all day simmered depth, give this one a whirl!  

  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 C fresh basil leaves
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 1/2 t red pepper flake
  • 2 T capers or green olives (adds a subtle layer of tang to the sauce, without overpowering the flavor)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes in puree
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 C red wine (Shiraz works best--only add this if you are planning to simmer this for a long while)
  1. Brown garlic cloves (whole) in olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium high heat, stirring frequently (this will take several minutes, but the flavor of the garlic becomes deep, rich, and sweet in a way it would not if you were to mince or chop it).
  2. Add pepper flakes.  
  3. Carefully add in 2 cans of diced tomatoes and reduce heat to low.
  4. Add capers/olives, red wine, and basil leaves.
  5. Using a mixing wand, carefully blend the sauce until smooth (make sure there are no random whole capers).  If you do not have a mixing wand, you can transfer the sauce in batches into a blender.  Be extremely careful,  as a hot mixture will cause the lid of the blender to blow and splatter if you don't pulse it first
  6. Return heat to medium high and add crushed tomatoes. 
  7. Bring to a boil. 
  8. Reduce heat to low, and gently incorporate tomato paste.
  9. Stir until well combined.
  10. Add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. 
  11. Simmer on low for HOURS.  Literally cook the living daylights out of it.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes! 
  12. Mangia!