Friday, February 22, 2008

Use what you have

I have noticed on a few other ladies blogs that February is "clean out the pantry" month. Since it is now almost the end of February, I missed the boat. Since our budget will be decreased for the month of March, I think I am going to make March my pantry and freezer month. The point of this is to use what you have, and cut your grocery bill in the meantime. I have been watching my perishable items more closely and using them before I lost them. Peyton LOVES blueberries- the first couple of days after I get them, then she doesn't like them anymore. (If you knew my daughter you would know that she "LOVES" everything. Mama, I LOVE Barney. Mama, I LOVE chocolate milk. Mama, I LOVE this. Mama, I LOVE that.) I got a super deal on blueberries and mushrooms a couple of weeks ago at Aldi. I will include a couple of recipes I found on

To Die For Blueberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

These are easy and delicious! I made mine with the crumb topping but to be honest I thought it was too sweet. I think next time I will make them without the topping.

Chicken Lo Mein
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
5 teaspoons white sugar, divided
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (I used 1 tbsp regular vinegar and 2 tbsp white cooking wine)
1/2 cup soy sauce, divided
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (12 ounce) package uncooked linguine pasta
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root (After reading the reviews, I omitted this ingredient)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (Regular musrooms, sliced for us)
6 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces (I sliced up a white onion instead)
In a medium, non-reactive bowl, combine the chicken with 2 1/2 teaspoons of white sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/4 cup soy sauce. Mix this together and coat the chicken well. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
In another medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, water, sesame oil and ground black pepper with the remaining sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with some of this mixture and slowly add to the bulk of the mixture, stirring well. Set aside.
Cook the linguine according to package directions, drain and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Transfer this and all juices to a warm plate.
Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the wok or pan over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms and green onions, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the reserved sauce mixture and then the chicken. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved noodles and toss gently, coating everything well with the sauce.

I made some changes according to what I had on hand. I also did not put chicken in mine as I made chicken fried rice to go with it. Next time I will go ahead and make it with the chicken. Even the kids like this! I also made egg drop soup to go with the lo mein and chicken fried rice. Maddy and Peyton each had 2 bowls! Of course, I let them drink it out of their bowls with crazy straws so that may have something to do with it!! Making this meal saved us about $25 that I would have spent on take out, and it was JUST as good!

I plan on doing inventory on my freezers and pantry tomorrow, after cleaning house and doing laundry. I live such an exciting life. I would love to be able to only buy meat and dairy this month! Until tomorrow..........

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