Today I am so tired that if I became any more horizontal than absolutely upright, I will fall asleep. Not a good thing, as I’ve had a lot to do today. Fortunately I found some energy this morning and managed to take care of 90% of my chores.
Also, last night I made the most incredible dinner. It was really very, very delicious, and the best thing?? It was easy and cheap to make!
I give you:
Doesn’t that look delicious? And ti came together so quickly and easily. It’s a Rachael Ray recipe; click on the photo, and it will take you to my Flickr page, which has a link to the specific recipe. The sauce begins with a ton of garlic and some hot pepper flakes sauteed quickly in some olive oil. Add two cans of well-drained tuna (Rachael recommends imported oil-packed tuna, but all I had on hand was the regular stuff packed in water), stir around a bit, and add some white wine or vermouth. Once that’s bubbled for a moment or two, throw in two cans of diced tomatoes with sauce, along with chopped Kalamata olives and a bunch of capers. Let that simmer a few minutes, then add some of the water you boiled the pasta in. Near the end, chuck in chopped fresh parsley and some lemon zest. Toss with freshly-cooked penne, and voila! Dinner.
And it was really very, very delicious. This won’t taste delicious to you if you don’t like strongly-flavored olives. Personally I don’t know why canned olives exist. They have no flavor whatsoever. I never use them.
What’s more, you can substitute whatever protein you’d like in this recipe. If you’re a vegetarian, I’m sure you could chuck in some black beans or white beans or even tofu. If you don’t like tuna, you could add shrimp. If you don’t like seafood at all, try some leftover chicken or turkey. Get a little freaky with it and saute up some sliced Italian sausage (try the turkey Italian sausage for a healthier variation) and use that. The possibilities are endless.
I loooooooooooove recipes like this. And you know, there is enough left over to have as dinner tonight. Two meals made from pantry staples. Inexpensive pantry staples to boot. What could be better?
Fortunately, I shop at the commissary, where things are generally much cheaper than they are in civilian grocery stores. I needed milk desperately yesterday, but the commissary was closed, as they are every Monday. I paid $3.99 a gallon for 1% milk at the civilian grocery store. Actually all the varieties of milk cost the same, which was odd to me. I’m used to whole milk being cheaper than skim by about 20¢. Anyhow, I can buy a gallon of 1% milk at the commissary for something like $2.59. I’m not sure of the exact price, since I know it’s cheaper there than anywhere else, and I just shove two gallons in my cart every time I go to the commissary.
But it really helps that we can shop at the commissary. We get paid so little, what with living in housing, that food prices are starting to concern me. I’ve started looking at recipes that call for cheaper ingredients, trying to see how I can feed my family for less. If I want red meat, we typically get a flank steak instead of a rib-eye steak for each person. If I find a recipe that calls for bone-in chicken, I’ll buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself, as I can save at least 10¢ a pound that way. Plus I get the giblets, which become a treat for my dog. I’ve also found some delicious recipes featuring tofu, since that’s just $1.25 for a pound at the commissary.
And veggies. We eat lots of veggies. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of salad, but we can get a pound of pre-made salad at BJ’s for just $4.50. That will last us at least a week. We splurge a little bit and get two pound of cherry tomatoes as well for $5, but that’s because we love them so, so much. I’ve even started buying Crystal Light in the tubs, instead of the single-serving sizes, because it comes out to be so much cheaper.
Have I mentioned I also clip coupons?? Unfortunately, I strike out rather frequently since the coupons are for pricey items I don’t buy anyhow. And what’s up with the Proctor & Gamble coupons being for such measly amount of money? Instead of a 50¢ off coupon, you’ll get one for 20¢. Really, how far is 20¢ going to get me? I know 50¢ isn’t going to buy much either, but it’s more than twice as much as 20¢.
I get so excited when I use almost all $1 off coupons. I’ve saved as much as $20 on a grocery bill of $100 because I use coupons. Some people swear they’re not worth it, but they are to me. Plus I have always liked to go through the coupon flyers to see the new products being promoted. I used to read them when I was in high school and had no reason to be grocery shopping.
And now I am thinking I might just have to give in to the nap. My eyelids are getting heavier and heavier and heavier and….. zzzzzzzzzz…..