A Bit Of Millet

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Father’s Day yielded great family time and a few leftovers to be worked in to this week’s meals. I don’t know about you, but my dad taught me a thing or plenty about grilling and making it worth while. So in addition to the grilled buffalo steak and lobster, I have some grilled green onion sausage for sandwiches, grilled salmon for salad and an easy, one pot dish to stretch the rest. I’ve mentioned before that a little millet goes a long way. At less than $2 a pound at Whole Foods (self serve isle), 2 cups of cooked millet can make enough millet and vegetable salad for 8-10 servings. Millet is a wonderful whole grain that cooks like rice and is easy to replace in dishes such as pasta salad. With an abundance of summer vegetables in season such as bell peppers, cucumbers, tomato and corn (also technically a whole grain), it’s easy to make a millet salad both filling and full of flavor. This dish is also easy to add grilled or baked seafood (fish or shrimp) to for a complete meal. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup of dry millet
2 cups of water
2 husks of corn
1 large cucumber
1 large bell pepper
1 large tomato
2/3 cup diced yellow onion
1/8 cup lovage or parsley
1 medium juicing orange (1/8 cup)
2 small lime juiced (1/8 cup)
1/2 cup shredded carrot fresh (1 large carrot)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cayenne

Directions:
1. Rinse millet in a small pot and bring to a boil with water. Cook for 20 minutes.
2. While millet cooks, shuck corn and rinse well. Cut from the cob into a medium-sized bowl. Peel and dice onion and add to the bowl.
3. Peel cucumber and cut around the seeded center like a box. Cut each fourth into strips and then dice. Repeat with tomato and set aside.
4. Add hot millet over corn and onion, once cooked and stir to cool and cook mixture.
5. Peel carrot and using a potato peeler or shredder, shred or cut ribbons of carrot into the bowl.
6. Slice and dice bell pepper and add it and the cucumber and tomato to the salad.
7. Chop parsley or lovage and add to the bowl.
8. Juice orange and lime into the mixture. Add seasoning and mix well.
9. Eat as is or with protein of choice.
10. Enjoy!

A Bit Of Prep

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I have been diligently working on cost effective, tasty and filling meals to stretch my weekly food budget further. This week I decided on crockpot stewed chicken with a berbere rub from Red Stick Spice Company that I slow cooked with fire roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. It was packed with flavor and perfect with millet and string beans. This week it will also be served over corn maque choux and also as quesadillas with a corn and kohlrabi slaw. I picked up most of the fixings from the farmers market on Saturday and the heavy lifting had already been done on Sunday. Since I knew this week would be a combo of outside lunches and dinners for my other commitments, I only needed to make one dish this week versus two to rotate between. If you are making this for 2 or more people for the week, adjust the recipe with double meat and seasoning and half extra of the tomatoes and sauce. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Ingredients:
1 package of chicken thighs (5-6 pieces)
1 large yellow or white onion
1 14.5 oz can diced and fire roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 head of garlic (8-12 cloves)
1 1/2 tbsp. berbere seasoning
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
* 3/4 cup of millet (optional)
*1/2 cup water

Directions:
1. Rinse chicken and remove skin, then season it with 1/4 of the onion and garlic powder, pepper and the berbere seasoning.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. When hot, (2-3 minutes) add chicken and season other side with a 1/4 of the seasoning.
3. Sear each side for 3 minutes each in the olive oil.
4. Chop up garlic and onion between flips.
5. Put the chicken in the crock pot and top with garlic, onion, tomatoes and tomato sauce and half of the stock. (Use the rest for the whole grain (brown rice, or millet)).
6. Add the remaining seasoning, top and let it cook for 3-4 hours, depending on your crockpot.
7. *optional- cook millet with remaining stock and water with a pinch of salt for 20 minutes, like rice.
8. Add your favorite green veggie for a complete meal.
9. Enjoy!

A Bit Of Simple

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I mentioned in the last post that I was really going to apply my Sunday game plan over the few weeks to do meal planning for the week on a budget. For this week I decided to work with baked chicken and a variety of sides including the dish listed below. Chicken is an easy win because you can literally season it any way you’d like. If making twice or triple the amount, I would challenge you to put one half of the servings in a marinade and simply dress the other half in olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper for some variety. Since corn is technically a whole grain and not a vegetable, I figured it could count in both categories for an easy meal. It’s always great to pick one or two and grab extra veggies for an easy side salad. Check out the recipe below and certainly share your thoughts.
Oven baked chicken and tabouli corn relish

Chicken ingredients:
1 package of chicken legs (4-6)
1 tbsp. local marinade (olive oil, herbs, citrus)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Tabouli and corn relish
2 husks of corn (1 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of tabouli (mom’s garden)
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt

Directions:
1. Combine all of the chicken ingredients into a ziploc bag. Close it and shake it well and rub in ingredients to make sure it is well blended.
2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, and chicken in an even line. Add to a 350 degree oven and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on size of chicken legs.
3. Remove husk corn and rinse corn well.
4. Cut off the kernels into a small bowl with the flattest end down into the bowl for stability.
5. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
6. Serve and enjoy.

A Bit Of Pork

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Cooking on a budget is always a challenge but it is a rewarding one that pays off when you have a little extra spending or saving money. I have been training to become a Food Literacy Educator and one of my biggest take aways is writing my food plan down. I’m a planner by nature, literally going to bed knowing what I will have for breakfast, but writing it down is a completely different experience. It means I actually stick to it and don’t over spend by buying the extras that were displayed beautifully in the store and end up in the trash by the end of the week because it went bad. This is a great challenge to help eliminate waste. I started with some oven-cooked spare ribs that were a main dish on Sunday with potatoes and string beans, leftovers one day, a spare rib sandwich with creole mustard and pickles another day and spare with tacos with guacamole and picked vegetables on the last day. I worked in some boudin and roasted veggies for a couple of easy meals and celebrated with my treat of one meal out on Friday. While the menu will certainly change, having a game plan is key and something that can make your food week a breeze. Check out the recipe below for the oven spare ribs that started it all. Enjoy and share your thoughts!
Oven Spare Ribs

Ingredients:
1 package of pork spare ribs
1 large white onion diced
1 small red onion diced
1 head of garlic (10-12 cloves)
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. fresh ginger
1 juicing orange (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup bbq sauce
2 cups of water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 280 degrees.
2. Open meat and rinse well before adding to a roasting pan
3. Peel and dice white and red onion and add on top of ribs.
4. Smash cloves and remove skin before dicing and adding to pan.
5. Add seasonings atop the mixture and add water around the edges of the pan.
6. Grate in fresh ginger and squeeze in orange juice into a small bowl. Mix with a fork then add around the pan like the water.
7. Cover in foil and let it slow cook for 3 hours.
8. After 3 hours, add bbq sauce evenly and let cook for another 40 minutes to an hour.
9. Serve with preferred sides and enjoy!

A Bit Of Cinco

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With Cinco de Mayo drawing closer, if you haven’t decided whether to go out or celebrate at home, dine in and try out this quick and easy recipe. Though I found some tasty pinto bean chips for this dish, you can always turn this into tacos with a little sour cream and mixed lettuce instead of chips. At $3.48 a serving, this is an easy dish to say yes to! Keep in mind, if you already have ingredients like the olive oil, your cost per serving is even less. I also find it easier to buy certain things like shrimp in bulk and break it down into smaller packages and freeze it until needed for quick meals like this one. If you’re missing the adult beverage that often accompanies a Cinco de Mayo celebration, add the strawberry jalapeƱo cocktail from last week’s post to the mix for great flavors and an easy meal. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts! Happy early Cinco de Mayo!šŸŽ‰šŸŽŠšŸŽˆ

Shrimp Salad
Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 small avocado cubed
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup diced cucumber
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped lovage
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 of a small juicing orange
1 juiced lime
1 tsp. avocado or olive oil

Directions:
1. Peel and Devine shrimp. Keep in icy water until ready to use.
2. Add oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Cool shrimp on one side for two minutes, then flip and remove skillet from heat. It will continue to cook.
3. Cut a small red onion in half, peel it and cut strips about a 1/2 inch from one end and then chop thinly. Add it to a medium bowl.
4. Add shrimp to the cutting board and chop it into large pieces. Add to the bowl.
5. Peel a small cucumber, cut off ends and then cut it in half. Cut each half in half. Then cut each half into three to four long strips to make dicing easier. Dice and add to the bowl.
6. Cut the avocado in half along the longest edge and pull apart.
7. Remove pit. Score each half into four lines longwise then cube. Remove cubes with a spoon by working along the outside and scooping the cubes out into the bowl.
8. Cut mango in the center along he longest edge like with the avocado. Then peel the skin from one side, score the fruit and use a knife to slice off fruit into thin cubes in the bowl until it becomes more tough and fibrous. Repeat with other side.
9. Rinse and chop the parsley and lovage and add to bowl.
10. Squeeze fresh juice from orange and lime over the bowl add seasonings and mix well with the spoon.
11. Enjoy.

A Bit Of Seasonal Strawberries

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From my recent travels, I have certainly been inspired with different flavors and dishes that will inspire the next few posts. My current focus is the beloved strawberry. Strawberries are great as a snack, addition to breakfast and in desserts. When they are in season, I use them in as many ways as I can she I love the challenge of finding new ways to use them. I decided on a cocktail and a different take on a salad with strawberries and the beautiful onions that are now in season at the farmer’s market. In case you are worried about onion breath, onions are transformed through the picking process and becomes a completely different flavor. Below are the recipes of two new additions that are sure to be memorable and delicious. Share your thoughts and as always enjoy!

Strawberry JalapeƱo Cocktail

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
1 medium jalapeƱo
Juice of two limes
1 1/2 -2 oz of vodka
6 oz of club soda

Directions:
1. Cut the tops off a handful of strawberries and cut them into fourths.
2. Reserve two cut up strawberries for your glass. Add them to a martini shaker.
3. Rinse two limes and cut them in half. Juice them into the martini shaker and add the limes.
4. Cut one medium jalapeƱo in half and remove the seeds. Put half into the martini shaker.
5. Muddle the ingredients until broken down.
6. Add vodka, top and shake.
7. Muddle the remaining strawberries in your glass, add strained contents of the shaker, club soda and the remaining half of the jalapeƱo.
8. Enjoy!
Picked Onion and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup of chopped strawberries
1 cup of sliced onion (1 small)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. chopped lovage or parsley
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne

Directions:
1. Combine sugar and vinegar in a medium-sized bowl until sugar is dissolved.
2. Cut an onion in half then peel each half. Slice each half thinly and add to the vinegar mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Cut strawberries and add to the bowl.
4. Rinse and chop fresh herbs and add it and seasoning to the bowl and mix well.
5. Enjoy.

A Bit Of The Crockpot

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I knew at the beginning of the week that this week would be busy. So I pulled out the crockpot so that I could cook and run necessary errands. I know we all get busy and try to eat well while managing hectic schedules, so I thought this dish could make a great addition when you are on the go. I decided to load up the traditional meat sauce with extra veggies for those lunches and dinners where I won’t have time or energy to make an extra vegetable. This dish is great because of course it stretches further and I personally didn’t feel any guilt about a little extra sauce since I know it is loaded with great veggies and even better flavors. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 medium carrots chopped
3 cups chopped kale
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped parsley
1 14.5 oz can diced tomato no salt added
1 28 oz crushed tomato
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. coarse black pepper
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup of water

Directions:
1. Cut off the ends of a large onion. Peel it and cut in half before dicing each half.
2. Peel and dice 3 medium carrots.
3. Brown ground meat with onion and carrots in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes.
4. Once cooked, at the mixture to the crockpot.
5. Open all cans and add contents to the crockpot. Stir well.
6. Add in all seasoning and mix well.
7. Rinse and chopped parsley and add to the crockpot.
8. Rinse and chopped kale, which makes about 3 cups. Add kale and water, if needed and top the crockpot.
9. Set timer and cook on high for four hours.
10. Serve with pasta and enjoy.