Jun 25, 2005

On A Quest...

As the day approaches when our 5 year old will start private school, we are on a quest to start tightening up our budget. Don't get me wrong, I am used to a pretty strict spending limit when it comes to grocery shopping. However, as the kids get older and eat more, the same $300 a month sure doesn't seem to stretch as far. AND this month, it'd going to be more like $250 or $200 so I'm going to have to get REAL creative :) We are a family of 5... Myself, my husband and 3 children, ages 5, 3 and 1. My two oldest are picky eaters and always looking for snacks. I'm on a cholesterol lowering diet and my husband loves his sweet snacks and "quickie" foods like Beef-a-Roni. I always have a challenge trying to prepare meals we all enjoy that are still healthy. The good thing is, I am always up for a challenge!

Tonight I'm going to make Campanelle with Sardinian Sauce (Campanelle con Salsa Sarda). A GREAT recipe I found at http://www.barilla.com/. Sounds great but my little picky eaters are already complaining about the tomatoes in it. I think they will change their minds when they find out there's sausage in it too! I'm also fixing Italian Zucchini, my own recipe.

Campanelle with Sardinian Sauce (Campanelle con Salsa Sarda) - from Barilla.com

3 tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
3/4 poundshot Italian sausage, crumbled
1 cupfinely chopped onion
2 clovesgarlic, minced
6 whole (3 cups) plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cupchicken broth
1/3 cupchopped parsley
1/4 cupchopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 pinchessaffron, divided
1 box (16 ounces) BARILLA Campanelle
1/3 cupchopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cupfreshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
ADD onion, garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet; continue cooking 3 minutes until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, broth, parsley, mint, salt, red pepper flakes and a pinch of saffron. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and sauce thickens.
COOK pasta according to package directions, adding a pinch of saffron to water. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot.
ADD sausage mixture, reserved pasta water, cheese and basil to hot pasta and toss. Transfer to serving platter.

Italian Zucchini

4 zucchini
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4. tsp pepper

Wash and dice zucchini. Combine in a sauce pan with 1/4 c. water. Add onion and garlic. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook until zucchini is tender. In a casserole dish, combine zucchini, tomatoes and corn. Add seasonings and stir until well distributed. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over zucchini mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until heated through and topping is browned.

After dinner I am going to start an inventory of what we have on hand and get menus together for next week. 4 more days until pay day so I want to get a head start before I make a trip to the supermarket. Be back tomorrow to update my progress...

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