Tomato Sauce- on a budget

We found this recipe on our favorite blog and it was so intriguing we had to try: 3 ingredients! Hello budget friendly, so how perfect to follow up with last weeks posts. This recipe is so easy, so affordable and so good we can’t wait to share it and hopefully you will give it a try! You will not believe how these ingredients transform until you taste it—

Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

2- 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan- 3-quart, over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste  and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with whole wheat angel hair spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan or fresh mozzarella and basil…




Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette



First, this is another way to save: cook vegetarian meals!  We cook 80% vegetarian, and not on purpose, we just love our veggies and pastas and grains and bread and cheese and don’t miss meat every single night of the week.  We love our steak, don’t get us wrong, but at 9.99-15.99/ lb, it’s hard to buy often.  So if you are looking to save, save on meats, but mushrooms to substitute ground meat in chili ( you won’t miss it!!) and make recipes that are so so so amazing you won’t even notice it is meatless- like the gorgeous Galette.  What’s upsetting is that we’ve never made one of these before- we love making pizzas and tarts and this is BETTER then both of them.  It holds all this amazing filling on a flaky crust of perfection, mouth-watering just remembering it!  True to savings from, we use fall favorites in here- Butternut Squash at 1.19/ lb with caramelized onions, cheese and sage… please try this, you will want to keep making it for your family every week…



Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup Fontinella ( or Fontina) cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves, or 3/4 tsp Ground Sage

1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Trick! Chop it Up


It Halloween and I know these carrots aren’t the treats you are looking for- BUT they are another example of great ways to save on your groceries each and every week.  This one seems so obvious but not as many people as you’d expect chop their own snack veggies. Maybe you buy a veggie tray in a rush or just grab a bag of baby carrots or pre cut apple slices at the store. A bag of actual whole vegetables and fruit is always the better deal- and it tastes so much better! So grab a bag of carrots and peel away the savings, enjoy the healthy snacks and have a fun and safe Halloween out there!


Food for thought… and Autumn Vegetable Curry


This morning was one of those amazing fall days in Chicago, the kind we all reflect back to when the snow and slush and icy winds start to bring us down.  After an admittedly challenging couple of weeks, there is so much change in the air, not only the seasons.  In times like these it’s important to remember that our lives are only as good as the choices we make, whether they are good choices, hard choices, wrong choices; they all shape who we are, who we will become and the life we will have.

Inspired by two friends today, I took a long break to get outside and bike+ run, not just to work out but to slow down, think, walk, and soak in the great day.  Everyone I passed was smiling, the sun was shining, the lake rippled in the wind and colorful leaves rustled along my path, the skyline gleamed in the contrast of the blue skies, it was as if everywhere I looked, a gorgeous photo presented itself.  It got me thinking about how charmed our lives are, if we can just take a moment to step back and enjoy it.  If the choices we make define who we are, we should make each one count; they should enrich our life, they should inspire us, they should make us happy- it’s our choice, right?  In lou of all the changes a new season brings, our family is faced with all kinds of challenges and choices, our near future of where we will end up is hovering within reach and it’s overwhelming.  It’s helpful to reflect, jot stuff down and just take a moment to put things in perspective.  This is life, it is glorious, we have the ability to make choices and that is pretty great.

Now, to the food!  After all that thought, I bet you are ready to make a choice on what’s for dinner this fine fall evening.  We’ve been loving all the in season produce- fennel, pears, squash and sweet potatoes.  This recipe is another Ellie Krieger gem; we can’t go on enough about how much we love her.  It’s warm and hearty and full of big flavors and so many veggies, you would never guess it’s simplicity could be so good.  This recipe makes a big batch so you can enjoy leftovers over and over!  Enjoy,


1 large onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1½ -inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

1 ½ tablespoons curry powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

¾ teaspoon salt plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ head of cauliflower, broken into 11/2 inch wide florets (about 3 cups)

1 pound sweet potatoes (garnet yams), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds

2 tomatoes, cored and chopped

Zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed

5 cups baby spinach leaves (5 ounces)

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Put the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne pepper into the bowl of a food and process until combined. Add the oil and process until a smooth puree. Cook the curry puree in a large pot over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to darken, about 5 minutes more.

Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, sweet potato, carrot, tomatoes, salt and pepper and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir in the lime zest and juice, the garbanzo beans and the spinach and cook for 5 minutes more, until the spinach is wilted. Season with additional salt to taste.

Serve garnished with cilantro, over rice if desired.


Makes about 10 cups Serves 4


Per Serving: Calories 420; Total Fat 12 g; (Sat Fat 3.5 g, Mono Fat 4.6 g, Poly Fat 2.3 g) ; Protein 13 g; Carb TK g; Fiber 16 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 780 mg


Excellent source of: Copper, Fiber, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K Good source of: Calcium, Niacin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamin, Zinc


Copyright 2011 Ellie Krieger. All Rights Reserved.


Asparagus Salad


After a long hot workout, a power packed salad is the way to recharge, refuel and fill up.  Searching through the fridge for some extras to toss with mixed greens, we found asparagus spears and homemade pita crisps ( a few left from a separate Bobby Flay recipe we tried out last week), hard-boiled eggs ( great to keep on hand if you buy extra eggs), and cherry tomatoes.  This is how to make it magical:

Serves 1

2 cups mixed greens, loose packed

7 cherry tomatoes

6 asparagus spears, trimmed

1- 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

Fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated fresh if you have it

salt and pepper

1/2 pita, cut in to bite size pieces

1 hard-boiled egg



Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On a rimmed baking pan, toss asparagus spears in a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  On a separate baking sheet, toss pita pieces with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove the asparagus from the oven, give the pita chips a toss but continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until slightly browned.  Let pitas cool ( and turn your oven off- this heat! whew)  Meanwhile, squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle nutmeg over your cooked asparagus, toss together, then transfer to a cutting board and chip in to 1″ or bite sized pieces.  Then in your favorite salad bowl, I recommend one with some sides, add your mixed greens, then add the tomatoes, chopped hard-boiled egg, asparagus pieces, and pita pieces, drizzle with more olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.


Corn Cakes

With the holidays upon us, so quickly as usual, easy and fast meals are the ticket!  Here you can use easy ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry and fridge to whip up these cakes.  This whole meal is surprising decadent, and filling.  Serve with a small mixed greens salad with fresh cilantro and lime vinaigrette to really round it all out.
Serves 4
adapted from Eating Well
1 cup instant brown rice
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 cup tomato salsa, mild, medium or hot


1.Cook rice with the amount of water called for in the package directions, adding scallions, garlic and thyme to the water. Remove from heat and stir in corn, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Let stand for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.

2.Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the rice mixture and mash with a potato masher until the mixture holds together (it will be fairly soft), about 1 minute. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.

3.Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully transfer 4 patties to the pan with a spatula and cook until browned and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; cover to keep warm. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and repeat with the remaining 4 patties.

4.Meanwhile, combine beans and salsa in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot, about 5 minutes. To serve, divide the beans among 4 plates and top with 2 patties each.


Orange-Pistachio Wild Rice Salad

As hinted before in our last quinoa post we made a favorite recipe of ours with our large amount of excess oranges we had on hand… for some reason?   Anyhow, this combination of nutty delicious wild rice and crunchy pistachios, with fresh basil and oranges, is truly unique and so so satisfying it is hard to call it a salad, yet here it is.  This is so easy to make for a busy work week, just cook the rice while you are watching a movie on the weekend, or while you enjoy dinner tonight in anticipation of a ‘salad’ tomorrow.  If you do cook it after work, it will take 1 hour for the rice to cook and 1 hour ( minimum) for it to cool.  If you want to, you can serve it warm ( heck we have!), I found that the oil in the dressing doesn’t work as well in that application however- so drizzle a bit on top before eating and then add some in the next day when it all as cooled off.  This keeps very well for 5-6 days, and is super portable for lunches ( no micro action needed!), and it is filling enough to be called dinner- you can’t lose with this salad!!  What is your go-to salad dish?  Do you make your own salad dressings?  Let us know!
Orange-Pistachio Wild Rice Salad

adapted from Ellie Kreiger So Easy
6 servings

2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup wild rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 oranges, peel and pith removed, segmented and sliced (about 2/3 cup)
10 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

For the dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine brown rice, wild rice and chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all water is evaporated and rice is fully cooked, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, or overnight.

When rice is cool, add orange slices, basil, red onion, pistachios and orange zest; mix to incorporate.

For the dressing:

Combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, orange juice, mustard, honey and salt in a metal bowl and whisk to incorporate.

Pour over rice mixture and toss to incorporate.