Food Prep Sunday

Food prep Sunday: easy peasy this week

Egg salad ( shortcut with package of 6 hardboiled eggs)
Roasted chicken ( prepared from Publix) -skin removed and breast meat sliced for sandwiches, the rest diced for burritos, salads and mixed with brown rice and veggies
Steamer bag of brown rice and veggies
Breakfast muffins with egg white patties
Cantaloupe strawberries and blueberries
Package of broccoli/stir fry veggies – this will be mixed with diced chicken, diced apples, walnuts and healthy dressing
Prepared tabouli and hummus for snacks with raw veggies


Sunday Meal Prep and Meal Plan for the Week

Poached chicken breast – shredded for salads or tacos
Hard boiled eggs
Corn, tomato and avocado salsa
Cilantro lime shrimp ( for tacos topped with corn salsa)
Turkey burgers
Sliced strawberries and canteloupe
Brown rice
DIY lunchables – nitrate free deli meat, cheese, grapes, crackers, berries
Greek yogurt with blueberries and sliced banana
Chop raw veggies for snacks
Roasted sweet potato
Lasagna with ground turkey, tomato sauce, penne and cottage cheese – heavy on protein, light on pasta
Peanut butter/choc/oatmeal balls
Egg white patty sandwiches
Scrambled egg beaters with cheese and spinach

The Meal Plan

Scrambled egg beaters with spinach and cheese.  Cantaloupe cubes
Egg white patty on whole grain English muffin with swiss cheese and thin sliced turkey, cantaloupe cubes
Scrambled egg beaters with spinach and cheese.  Cantaloupe cubes
Egg white patty on whole grain English muffin with swiss cheese and thin sliced turkey, cantaloupe cubes
Scrambled egg beaters with spinach and cheese.  Cantaloupe cubes
Celery and carrots with hummus
Cottage cheese with berries, banana and nuts
HB egg, celery and carrots with hummus
Cottage cheese with berries, banana and nuts
HB egg, raw veggies and hummus
Cilantro lime shrimp tacos with corn/avocado salsa
Turkey burger with lettuce, tomato and cheese and raw veggies
Penne lasagna with salad
Cilantro lime shrimp tacos with corn/avocado salsa
Turkey burger with lettuce, tomato and cheese and raw veggies
Celery and peanut butter
Apples slices with cheese and crackers
Veggies and hummus with slice of swiss
HB egg, celery and carrots with hummus
Apple slices with cheese and crackers
DIY lunchable – sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, grapes and crackers
Chicken with greens and veggies
DIY lunchable – sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, grapes and crackers
Penne lasagna with green salad
DIY lunchable – sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, grapes and crackers

This Week’s Shopping List and Menu

Just finished checking the weekly ad for Publix, checked out what I had on hand, and found a few recipes. I’ve scoped out what’s on sale and planned accordingly.  I put together my shopping list and also a list of meals for the week.  I’m limiting starchy carbs for a while as an experiment since I’ve been bloated a lot lately.  Upping the protein intake – per an article in Prevention, I should be eating 60-70 grams per day.  I haven’t been eating near enough.  With a little planning, it’s not difficult to eat healthy on a budget.

Here’s what I have on hand

Ground turkey
Chicken breast
Homemade chicken stock
Sliced turkey
Baby swiss slices
Cheddar slices
Crumbled gouda
Homemade honey Dijon dressing

Here are the meals and snacks I have planned:

Smoothies with protein powder and berries
Oatmeal with protein powder and berries
Scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese
Turkey meatball muffins
Chopped chicken salad with honey Dijon dressing
Green bean and tomato salad
Veggies with hummus
Apples with peanut butter
Sliced tomatoes with swiss
Chicken and veggie kabobs ( marinate in Italian dressing)
DIY lunchable with sliced turkey, cheese and assorted berries and veggies
Cottage cheese with blueberries and strawberries
Hard boiled eggs with Dijon hummus
Lettuce sandwiches with sliced turkey and veggies

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Now for the shopping list

Carton of egg beaters
Blueberries and strawberries ( on sale)
2 organic apples
Fresh green beans  ( 2 for 1)
Can of protein powder
Roma tomato
Grape tomatoes
Red onion
Romaine lettuce
Bag of baby carrots
Green pepper
Red wine vinegar
Italian dressing mix
Cottage cheese

The Prep – easy peasy

Make 4 turkey meatball muffins ( mix 1/2 lb ground turkey with egg, breadcrumbs, diced onion and celery, tad of Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Shape into 4 balls and bake at 425 until internal temp is 165 degrees – about 30-40 mins)
Poach chicken breast in broth for the salad and kabobs
Chop veggies for snacks and salads
Make 2-3 hard boiled eggs
Slice tomato and store in fridge
Cut up cantaloupe
Make green bean and tomato salad – toss beans, sliced grape tomatoes and sliced onion with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with fresh ground pepper

My $30 A Week Clean Eating Grocery Challenge

My last post was about eating clean on a budget.  I realized I didn’t do so well shopping this weekend – way overspent.  I already had quite a bit of food on hand. I probably have enough food in my fridge and freezer to last almost a month.  So I’ve decided that for the next few weeks I will buy only the perishables that I need and limit myself to $30 per week – less than half of what I usually spend.

I was surfing the net and found lots of posts on eating clean on a budget and was amazed that a family of three can eat well on the same amount that I spend for myself! Eye opener.

Here’s what I have in the freezer:

1 bag of beef and broccoli ( 2 meals)
Package of 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
2 14 oz. bags of turkey meatballs
12 turkey burger patties
4 large chicken breasts
Tuna fillet
2 boxes of whole grain waffles
12 packages of assorted frozen veggies
3 egg white patties
1/2 bag of sweet potato fries
bag of frozen mixed fruit
Package of cracked black pepper turkey deli meat ( Hormel – no nitrates or antibiotics)
Container of frozen sweet corn ( bought corn on the cob on sale, cooked and sliced from the cob)
Large baggie of homemade chicken stock
Package of pasta sauce
Loaf of whole grain bread
8 pack of French hamburger buns ( for the turkey burgers)
3 hoagie rolls – getting a little old – will use for seasoned bread crumbs

In the pantry:

5 boxes of assorted pasta
2 large jars of pasta sauce
Success brown rice
Green tea bags
can of diced tomatoes
2 packages crackers
Bag of split peas
Bran cereal
Wild rice
Can of enchilada sauce
Olive oil
Worcestershire sauce

In the fridge:

Chunk cheese
Egg Beaters
6 Hard cooked eggs
Romaine lettuce
Green pepper
Baby carrots
Cooked chicken
Loaf of whole grain bread
Cocktail pumpernickel bread
Corn tortillas
Various condiments
Chicken broth
Homemade black bean soup
Mozzarella balls

3 apples
1 orange
2 bananas
Natural peanut butter
Almond butter
Large sweet potato
Loaf of baguette bread

I’ve already planned my meals for the week, and will barely put a dent in all of this, except for the fruit and produce.  We’ll see what happens next week – I’ll post my shopping list, $$ spent and meal plan for the week.

Clean Eating on a Budget

That’s correct – clean eating does not have to be expensive.  You don’t need to shop at an expensive organic food store to eat clean.  Here are some of my cost saving tips:

Plan your menus and make a list.  I check my local Publix flyer to see what’s on sale.  I try to make it a point to buy as much as possible on sale and take advantage of the buy one get one free offers.  Once you get into a routine, you will know what your favorite staples are and how much you need to buy to carry you over to the next sale.  I take inventory of what I have on hand and the sale items, then I plan my menu for the week. I peruse the internet and my old magazines for healthy recipes.

Buy your produce and fruit in season.  For example, strawberries are in season now – 3 pints for $5.  When they’re not in season, it can cost $5 for one pint.  This doesn’t mean I won’t eat strawberries out of season – I’ll buy frozen instead.  Blueberries are another story – they are easy to freeze, so I stock on them when they’re on sale and freeze them. 

Avoid packaged foods – I’ll by fresh romaine, then wash and dry it at home.  I put it in a large zip lock back with moistened paper towels.  It will keep for well over a week!

Soak your fruits and veggies in the sink – add water to cover and 1/4 cup of vinegar.  You’ll be amazed at how much longer they will stay fresh!

Eat from your pantry once a month.  Once you have stocked up on your sale goodies, you will find that you can easily skip a weekly shopping trip – just use what you have.  You made need to buy a few perishables, but that’s about it. 

Make your own seasoning mixes and salad dressings. 

Buy a whole roasted chicken and carve it up.  Breast meat for sandwiches, shred or dice the rest for salads and main dishes.  Freeze the carcass to make homemade stock.

Leftover carrots and celery getting a little weak?  Pop in the freezer and use for your homemade stock or veggie soup.

Regrow garlic, green onions and celery.

Cut and prep your veggies and put in snack bags.  Easy to pop into your lunch bag or have a healthy snack on hand.  I found out the hard way that I waste a lot of food and $$ if I don’t do this.  I store them in plastic bins in the fridge so they are easy to grab.

Don’t buy deli meat – way too expensive and too many additives.  Instead, buy a turkey breast or whole chicken and cook and slice to use for your sandwiches.  I do sometimes cheat with the lunchmeat – I buy Hormel or Applegate farms nitrate free packages – about $4.50 for a 7 oz package.

Skip the sodas and packages drink mixes.  Fill some pitchers with flavored water using fresh fruit.  I also make green tea. Use a little honey if you want some sweetness.  If your a soda junkie, this may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it.

Shop at local farmers markets when you can – prices are more reasonable.  Just make sure the food is local and not trucked in.

Eggs are inexpensive and a great source of protein.  Frittatas are one of my favorite clean meals.  Endless variations using cheese, veggies, chicken, etc.  Great for breakfast.  Turn it into a dinner or lunch by adding a salad.  Hard boiled eggs are a great snack.  I like to dip them in hummus doctored with Dijon mustard – yum!

I’m OK with repeating meals.  This means I don’t have to shop for extra ingredients for that one recipe. Keep your pantry stocked with basics and spices and don’t buy ingredients that you wont use over and over again.  You’ll still have plenty of variety.  You’ll also be surprised that the awesome recipe with the one specialty ingredient that you don’t have on hand can still taste great without it 🙂

No processed snack foods.  Once you’re hooked on eating clean, you won’t want the chips or sweets. Tons of healthy snacks you can make at home.

Homemade soup is economical – lots of veggies and a protein like shredded chicken and homemade broth and you’ve got a filling meal.

Keep a snack drawer or box in your workplace for the days when you don’t have time to make a lunch.
Your Healthy Work Pantry

Eat breakfast every morning – this will keep you from overeating later in the day.

Grass fed beef and poultry are expensive – learn to use less portions – most of us eat too much at a sitting.  3 oz of protein is plenty.  Since there’s less fat, you’ll have less shrinkage.  Make a big pot of chili using 1/2 pound of ground meat or turkey instead of a pound.  The beans and added veggies will make it filling and nutritious.

Shop the dollar stores for spices and condiments – you’ll save tons.  Also, don’t forget about places like TJMaxx and Ross for specialty foods.  I only use the best maple syrup – not the processed stuff.  I got a large bottle at Ross for $4 – this would have cost $7 or more at my local grocery store.

Brown or wild rice doesn’t have to be boring – cook in in homemade broth instead of water.  Sautéed, diced baby portabella shrooms add a nice deep flavor.  Add some shredded chicken and chopped broccoli or other veggies and you have a nice meal.
I know you all know this, but I have lapsed myself.  Do not go shopping on an empty stomach. You will deviate from your list and buy more than what you need.  Wasted $$ and wasted food.

Next Week’s Clean Eating Meal Plan

This is a great meal plan for me.  I need to do more of these. Very little prep time and economical too.  3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
I love my DIY “Lunchables” – much healthier than the store bought processed versions.  I combine fruit, cheese, deli meat, veggies and crackers. You can come up with so many healthy variations!  I don’t have a Bento box – I use cupcake liners in my containers to separate the goodies.
I slice and shred the roast chicken for sandwiches and salads.  Plenty of it, so I’ll freeze some of it.  And of course freeze the carcass for homemade chicken stock:)

Here’s the shopping list ( you may already have a lot of these items in your pantry or fridge)

Eggs or Egg product
Chunk cheese
Crumbled gorgonzola
Mozzarella balls
Baby carrots
Grape tomatoes
Romaine lettuce
Bag of fresh spinach
Premade roasted chicken
Nut butter
Whole grain bread
Whole grain English muffins
Tabouli ( prepared from the deli section)
Crackers – whole grain – my favorite Crunchmaster Multi Seed Crackers or Triscuit
Packaged frozen beef and broccoli dinner – healthy version.  Less than $5 and enough for 2 meals
Nitrate free sliced turkey ( Applegate Farms is a good brand – not too expensive)
Turkey sausage

Scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage
Egg white and whole grain waffle sandwich with sliced turkey and cheese.  Cantaloupe cubes
Scrambled eggs with cheese,
Egg white and whole grain muffin sandwich and cheese.  Cantaloupe cubes
Egg beaters with spinach, shredded cheddar and halved grape tomatoes.  Slice toasted Ezekiel bread with almond butter, strawberries
Tabouli with crackers and cheese
 HB egg, cheese, strawberries, crackers
Sliced apple with moz balls and  whole grain crackers
Caprese salad – moz balls with sliced grape tomatoes, basil and a tad of balsamic vinaigrette
Sliced apple with slice of cheddar cheese and whole grain crackers
Beef with broccoli
Chicken dijon sandwich with veggies and hummus
Turkey sandwich with veggies/dip and fruit
Turkey sandwich, salad and apple
Beef with broccoli
Celery and peanut butter
Apples slices with cheese and crackers
Carrots with Greek veggie dip
Celery sticks with peanut butter
Apple slices with cheese and crackers
Grapes, strawberries, cheese, sliced turkey, crackers, carrots with hummus
Chicken Chef salad with crackers and hummus
Grapes, strawberries, cheese, sliced turkey, crackers, carrots with hummus
Salad in a bag – spinach, grapes, nuts, goronzola cheese, grape tomatoes, apple, chicken
Salad with hardboiled eggs

Your " Work" Pantry – Healthy Snacks

Keep these on hand in a drawer or box in your office and you won’t have to resort to fast food or expensive lunch delivery on a day you don’t have time to pack a lunch.

Natural peanut butter
Tuna, salmon or chicken in foil pouches
Low sodium soups
Healthy crackers
Dried fruit – (mix with nuts protein powder and oatmeal, assuming you have a microwave to cook the oatmeal)
Protein powder
Laughing Cow cheese
Applesauce cups
Rice cakes ( top with peanut butter or Laughing Cow cheese)
Apples – they will keep for a few days.  Slice and dip in peanut butter or top with Laughing Cow cheese.
Healthy protein bars – check the labels carefully for sugars
Canned olives ( dice them up and make a tapenade to spread on crackers)  You could also mix this with the cheese and tuna.
Pita Crisps ( top with PB and sliced apple)
Mini packs of mustard and mayo
English muffins ( toast and top with PB)
Canned white beans ( rinse and mix with tuna, salmon or chicken) for a quick salad,
Can of chick peas ( you can mash them, add some olives and use for a topping on whole grain crackers)

Mushroom Pie

Courtesy of Cathy Velte

Mushroom Pie

Mushroom Pie Recipe

1 basic pie dough recipe, rolled out and lining a 9 or 10-inch pie dish, or 8×8 baking dish, chilled (or one frozen pie crust)
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
A dash of ground cardamom or nutmeg (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 Preheat oven to 425°F. Line the inside of a pie shell with heavy aluminum foil, pressing it against the side. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil, poke the bottom of the pie crust with the tines of a fork to create air vents. Return crust to oven, bake for an additional 4 minutes, or until the crust just begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

2 In a large sauté pan melt butter on medium heat. Add mushrooms, stir to coat with the butter. Increase the heat to high, stirring constantly until the moisture the mushrooms has released and evaporated, a few minutes. Lower heat to medium, add minced garlic, stir with the mushrooms for 30 seconds then remove from heat.
3 Beat together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and cream. Add freshly ground pepper, a pinch of salt, and cardamom or nutmeg if using. Stir in the grated cheese and chopped parsley.

4 Spread the sautéed mushrooms along the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Pour the cheese and cream mixture over the top of the mushrooms. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned on top and a knife inserted in the the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 4-6.



Grocery Shopping and Cooking for One

As a single person who is a foodie, I often find I waste a lot of food – I get excited about recipes and food combinations and buy more than I can consume before the food goes bad.   Or I get in the mood for something ( like broccoli slaw) that I won’t eat every day.  A bag of broccoli slaw will feed at least 6! Guess how much of that gets thrown out  😦

Just today I threw out feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, carrots, celery, cooked and seasoned ground turkey, yogurt, lunchmeat, half a bag of fresh mized veggies that got browned and strawberries. A better plan would have been to do some freezing – feta can be frozen, then thawed and used as crumbles in a salad.  I could have frozen the ground turkey in small portions after cooking and used as needed.  Carrots and celery could have been used to make stock – I have lots of  chicken parts and stock keeps in the freezer for quite a while. Same thing with the veggies.  I should have taken the mozz to work with me and added it to my daily salad, or used for a snack with crackers or tomaotes. As for the yogurt, I need to eat some everyday or resort to buying individual cartons ( more expensive) vs the 16 oz tub

I vowed to do better, so here is what I purchased grocery wise and my meal plan for this week:

1 roasted chicken – on sale for 4.99

fresh Italian whole grain bread

Applegate organic ham slices

tub of greek yogurt

organic salad mix

egg beaters

shredded cheese mix

packaged sliced apples

sliced pineapple

cubed cantelope

pint of cherry tomatoes


I eat most of my meals at work, so I pack my goodies for the week on Sunday nite and take them to work on Monday, storing everything in the fridge in the breakroom.  ( If you don’t have a  fridge at work, you could use an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack and pack daily instead of for the entire week)


Chicken cut into quarters – 2 quarters in the freezer, the other 2 will be for meals this week.

Frozen green peas on hand – making a batch of soup – most will be frozen in plastic containers.   Recipe here

Breakfast every day ( I don’t get tired of it) is egg beaters and shredded cheese scrambled in the microwave at work. I add 2 slices of whole grain toast and berries or other fruit.

Snacks – apples and sliced cheddar cheese, yogurt with berries and walnuts, crackers and cheese or fresh peanut butter, or apples with fresh peanut butter.

Lunch – green salad with grape tomatoes, diced apple, sliced strawberries, chopped walnuts, shredded cheese and balsamic viniagrette.  Accompanied by a ham sandwich or chicken and Green Giant seasoned steamer vegetables.

I’m making green peas soup using on hand frozen peas – I’ll freeze individual portions.  I’ll have the soup with a sandwich or salad for dinner or lunch.


So that’s it.  I have chicken and soup in the  freezer for later meals.  I’ll also freeze some of the sliced lunchmeat as I won’t eat all of it during the week. I stock up on the Green Giant Steamer vegetables when they are on sale, as the fresh go bad to quickly.  Some left over celery will be diced for some stock.





Antipasti Salad

This is a great way to please a crowd – and no cooking involved 🙂  Easy and elegant and you don’t have to make yourself crazy.


Marinated artichoke hearts

Bread sticks wrapped in proscuitto

Small mozzarella balls

Thinly slice italian meats ( salami, copicola, etc)


Fresh grape tomatoes

Small chunks of parmesan reggiano

Thinly sliced provolone cheese

Marinated veggies


Romaine lettuce tossed with viniagrette

Crusty bread to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar


Cooking instructions:  None  lol