Is Healthy Food Really Expensive?

My niece, whom I adore, wrote on Facebook, “Why is healthy food so expensive?”  She just lost about 100 lbs by eating healthy and exercising.  Wahoo!!!!  She looks and feels fabulous!  She noticed that when she shopped for junk food, she spent far less than when she shops for healthy food.  I saw her comment on Facebook and wondered, is it really that expensive?  I really don’t think so.  I know I am very thrifty and I can find deals.  While going through the supermarket, I can see how it seems that healthy food is expensive.  With  a few strategies, you can find that healthy food at a reasonable price.

Buy Seasonal Produce

I am sure you hear this a lot.  Buy seasonal.  What does that mean?  Each food has a growing and harvesting season.  You should buy your produce when it is in season for the best price and optimal quality.  For example, zucchini is in season right now.  You will find loads of local zucchini at great prices.  When it’s winter, you’re not going to find it locally and at that great price.  Starting about now, peaches are in season until about late September in the Northeast.  You will find the best prices and quality right now and through the summer.

Check Loss Leaders at the Markets

These are the super low priced items on the front and back pages of your sales circulars.  These are made to have you go into the store and spend more money on other items.  A week ago our local store had Corn on the Cob 12 for $1.97.  Great price.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are filled with great products from local farms.  It’s a great way to support your community and buy the freshest produce.  Also, because transportation costs are low, the prices are really great.

Outlet Stores

There are restaurant supply stores that sell to the general public extra produce the restaurants do not purchase.  There are great deals to be had at these outlets.  The store  I frequent, has amazing deals!  I will outline them below.

Auctions and Flea Markets

This is one that we don’t think about much.  There are auctions around the country that auction produce, meats, canned goods, etc.  Also, many flea markets have produce stands.  If you go at the end of the day, many venders do not want to take their produce home and are more likely to give you a deal.

My Haul

 

friendly fruit

Today I went to my favorite produce store and hit the jackpot.  The delivery truck was just coming in and I picked up great deals.  What did I spend for this.  See below:

  • 2 lb bag chopped romaine lettuce $1
  • 3 stocks of leeks $1
  • 2.04 lbs yellow squash $1.02
  • 3 lbs. (?) bag of broccoli florets $2
  • 1 pineapple $1
  • 1 seedless watermelon $3
  • 1 lbs baby grapes $ 1 (Yum)
  • 2 containers of raspberries $1
  • 1 cantalope $1
  • .34 lbs sliced mushrooms $.60

My total was $12.98.  Not bad for my 20 minutes at the store.  I have items that we will eat this week and some that I will chop and put into the freezer for later.

How about you?  How do you get the best price on produce?

 

Pretzel Wrapped Hot Dogs–What Could Be Better?

Pretzel dogs done

My daughter and I were walking in the mall.  I hate malls.  I hate shopping…except food shopping.  But, my daughter was called out of work due to the weather & wanted me to go to the mall with her.  Much to my dismay, I ended up at the mall. (I thought she had a driver’s license and a car just so I wouldn’t have to do this!) But,  I’m getting off track.  Back to the story.

Off to the mall we went.  While there, we spied a pretzel place selling pretzels wrapped around a hotdog.  Pretzel + Hot Dog = YUM!!!  Being frugal and knowing I can cook just about anything (except Turducken but that’s another story), I passed on buying the Pretzel Wrapped Hot Dogs.

I thought about those hot dogs for a few days.  I checked out my refrigerator and confirmed that I did indeed have hot dogs.  Tonight, was the night!  I gathered all my materials…flour, yeast, sugar, butter, baking soda and those hot dogs.  And to make it easy, my bread machine.  Off I went on my culinary adventure (hot dogs = culinary…ha, ha, ha).

I came up with a really great recipe that got 2 (count them) TWO thumbs up from my kids.  Success!!!  Enjoy…

Pretzel Wrapped Dogs

  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (I used regular but you can use Kosher)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp of butter cut into 4 equal pieces

Put into your bread machine and put on the dough cycle.

  • about 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup baking soda

Once bread machine beeps and finishes its cycle, take dough out of the machine and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Bring a big pan of water (about 10 cups or so)  and baking soda to a boil.

Meanwhile, take each section of dough and roll each into a rope about 10 – 12 inches long.  Wrap each dough rope around each hot dog and seal the ends.

Place pretzels 2 at a time in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.  (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi…or use a timer or guess)

Remove them with a slotted spoon and put on a greased baking sheet (I used a stone)

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  •  1 egg yolk beaten with a little water (I saved the white for an egg sandwich for tomorrow’s breakfast)
  • Kosher salt

Brush each pretzel dog with egg and top with a sprinkle of salt.  (or add some grated cheddar cheese = extra yummy)

Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Done and delicious!!!

What to do with Cream of Wheat?

Farina CookiesWhat can I do with Cream of Wheat?  I have had this box for a few years and yes, it’s time to throw it out.  But remember, I’m thrifty.  I don’t like to throw away food.  How can I use this up when I really don’t like Cream of Wheat for breakfast?  Cookies may be the answer!!!

When I need to find out how to use something up…I Google it!  I found a few recipes for Farina Cookies.  But, I wanted to make them a little more healthy and without so much flour.  So I looked in my pantry and found oatmeal and flax meal.  Score!!!  I just knew I could make a good cookie with those two ingredients along with the farina.

But, can I make the cookies without flour.  I started with a universal cookie type recipe. and substituted ground oatmeal for the flour.  While I was mixing, I just knew it needed a little flour in the mix to make it work.  So I added a little flour to the mix.

The verdict?  They came out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  Not overly sweet and a little grainy in texture due to the farina and ground oatmeal but a nice change of pace cookie.

So try them out and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

Farina Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tst salt
  • 1/2 cup farina
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar-for rolling cookies

Directions

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg.

Add ground oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, farina (or cream of wheat) and flax meal.

Scoop with 1 tbs cookie scoop to form little balls.

Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Dip in powdered sugar when still warm.

Yum!!!

 

Leftover Chicken–What now?

bbq chicken sandwichI love chicken!!!  I love the price.  I love chicken’s versatility as an ingredient.  I love the leftovers I can have with a whole roasted chicken.  There are so many different meals I can make from one little (or big) roasted chicken.

This week I purchased a whole chicken for about $.89/lb.  It was reduced, so I needed to either cook it that day or throw it in the freezer.  I decided to cook right away.  Cooking quickly without heating up the kitchen was a must.  Butterflied grilled chicken was the answer.  It was fabulous and we ended up with leftover chicken breast.  My family prefers roasted dark meat chicken.  Needless to say, we had leftover chicken breast.

What to do with leftover chicken breast that is quick, easy and again, does not heat up the kitchen.   BBQ Chicken Sandwiches!!!!  Here’s what I did:

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken meat
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 small sliced green pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns or buns of your choice

Directions

Sauté the peppers and onions.  Add the chicken and barbeque sauce and combine.  Once heated through divide the mixture among the buns.

What do you make with leftover chicken?  Please comment.  I would love to hear your ideas!

Mom, Why not make Beef Stroganoff?

beef stroganoff3Have you ever had a plan for dinner and then someone in you house, asks for something else?  That is exactly what happened to us today.

I took out some ground beef with the idea of making a Beef and Ramen Noodle dish.  This was a new dish I was going to try.  Not one of my more adventurous eaters, my daughter asked for Spaghetti.  Not feeling like spaghetti and tomato sauce, I suggested Beef Stroganoff.  She immediately agreed to that…it’s one of her favorites.

But there was a problem.  I have no sour cream in the house.  Do I run out and buy some sour cream?  Not make the stroganoff?  Not really options I liked.  I came up with an adaption to the recipe and made a very respectable, if not delicious version of Beef Stroganoff.

Instead of using sour cream, I made a Béchamel Sauce and just added more milk to get that “creamy” type consistency.  It was delicious!!!  So, the next time you are missing an ingredient, instead of running out to buy said ingredient, try to adapt the recipe.  You just may find a lighter version and a better version.  How about you?  Have you adapted any recipes because of missing ingredients?  And how did they come out?

Beef Stroganoff Linda Style

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

beef stroganoff2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauté ground beef with onion, mushrooms and seasonings until beef in no longer pink

Add:

1 1/2 tbs flour

Stir to coat beef and veggies.  Cook for 1 minute

Add:

about 3/4 cup of milk

Cook until thickened and bubble

Serve with 1/2 lb of spaghetti or egg noodles.  I like to also serve with green beans.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

Why did I start this???

Linda cartoon for FacebookWelcome to my new blog “What’s Linda Cooking”!  I am so happy that I finally took the plunge and started writing this blog. I have been thinking about it for a few years but didn’t think I had enough to share.  Anyone who knows me, will be laughing at that! From my cooking show, What’s Linda Cooking on ORCTV, book clubs, direct sales business, volunteer gigs…anyone who knows me, knows I have plenty to say and I am rarely at a loss for words.

I come from a family of 5 kids…all with a lot to say.  I have 2 kids…both with a lot to say.  We have always had lively conversation around the dinner table.  In fact, our dinners growing up were marathon events.  We would sit at the table for hours just discussing what happened during our day or any topic we wanted.  Everyone talked over everyone else because we wanted to be heard.  To this day, I still have trouble keeping my mouth shut while others talk.  I am working on sitting on my hands while others are speaking, so I don’t interrupt.  It’s very hard for me!

I envision this blog being mostly about food.  How I get dinner on the table quickly, deliciously and economically.  That’s what I do!  I want to help YOU cook more, laugh a lot and enjoy the process of cooking for yourself and your family…whether you have 15 minutes or 2 hours to cook.

I will give you shopping, prepping, cooking and general tips to get the shop done fast and in a thrifty way…whether you have $200, $100, $60 or even $40 to spend on groceries.  It can be done and it can be done fabulously!

A little final information about me.  I have a family, a Direct Sales business, and volunteer duties that all keep me very busy.  I also have some time consuming hobbies.

I hope you come along with me on this blogging adventure.  Please drop a comment about you!  I would love to hear from you.