Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{Video} Harris Teeter Super Doubles March 2014- Spent $3.77, Saved $99.60

It's another Super Doubles Week at Harris Teeter... and I braved the crowds and saved a ton.  

Seriously, my best trip yet- getting products that I really wanted for just $3.77, including tax.  And saving just under $100.  Yes, you read that right.  A huge savings (watch more about it below).  And to get all the matchups for this week and more info on couponing, click to go to my YouTube channel.  All of the details are under the "about" section.  And please leave a comment, if you'd like, letting me know what types of videos you'd enjoy seeing in the future!

So, the best part of today's trip?

I was able to find lots of healthy food..  Really... couponing is not just about junk food.  I found Rice Dream, which I love to pour over my oatmeal.  Albacore Tuna, packed in water, for lunches on the go.  Better-for-you soda... and tofu.  Yes, I will finally be trying tofu, folks (wish me luck!!)

Another day... another dollar saved.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roasted Carrot, Smoked Sausage and Spinach Tortellini with a Gruyere Cream Sauce #WRALSmartShopper

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One of my favorite things about time spent in the kitchen is experimenting with common ingredients in different ways… especially taking an ordinary dish and turning it into something extraordinary.

Take the carrot.  An often overlooked vegetable, typically found as filler on a relish tray.  But there are so many other ways to use the cost-effective carrot.  Shred your peeled carrots on a cheese grater...

To read more, and for the full recipe, head on over to , where I'll be contributing weekly recipes that are fun, flavorful, and frugal.  And at just $2.10/serving, you're going to want to check this out.

For the full recipe click .

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fifteen Fabulous Quiche Recipes and Spring Resolutions


Unlike the rest of the world, who at the start of the year, resolve to eat healthier, exercise or sleep more, and work less, and then some... I hold out until Spring.

The first day of Spring, that is.

It only makes sense.  You can actually feel... and see the changes.  And it's that time of year when I feel most moved.  And happy.  The moment when you open the sliding glass door and the newly warmed air surrounds you and then lures you out to soak in the sunshine.  And what could be more warming to the heart, then seeing bright pink and white buds sprouting from tree branches, and momma birds gathering food for their newly hatched babies.

Spring is when all the magic happens, and along with the magic comes even more motivation for growth.

So what are your Spring Resolutions?  This year, mine have more to do with turning back the clock, and revisiting some of the passions of my youth.  Like my love of movies, and how, when I was in college, I'd go to afternoon movies once a week- even if it was just me in the theater.  Or how much I enjoy fashion and makeup... especially tearing out an expensive look from a magazine, and finding that look for less at the mall.  Or playing the piano, and my attempt at singing (which is a poor one, at that).  Two of my all time favorite passions that I haven't made a part of my life in far too long (and no, I won't be auditioning for any musicals, any time soon).

And what's your favorite Spring dish?  Mine's quiche (and I must be up to at least 3,130 by now!)  And today I've asked some of the best of the best food bloggers to share their favorite quiche recipes in honor of Spring, new beginnings and Spring Resolutions.

These ladies are amazing, and so are their quiches.  Just look at them.  Each unique and stunning in their own right.  Traditional, crustless, mini, a paleo version, and even one called a pie, because Cathy at Noble Pig says, "It seems more manly that way," (love it!)  All using delicious, fresh ingredients to help make the start of the new season even more special.

  by The Kitchen is my Playground

by Rachel Cooks

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tostadas with Corn Salsa and my go-to marinade #WRALSmartShopper


If I had to pick just one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, what would it be?  

Mexican food.  

Maybe because it ranges from the not-so-healthy fried, cheesy and greasy… to the very healthy, using the freshest fruits, vegetables, chile peppers and herbs.  But it’s not just the flavors of Mexico that have stuck with me all these years, but also the memories.

It was 1980-something, and my best friend and I signed up for our first Missions trip, partly, because we wanted to make a difference.  And partly because we had crushes on two of the boys that had also signed up… and there’d be a shopping trip to Tijuana on the way back...

To read more, and for the full recipe, head on over to , where I'll be contributing weekly recipes that are fun, flavorful, and frugal.  And at just $1.48/serving, you're going to want to check this out.

For the recipe click .

Monday, March 10, 2014

Boston Bibb, Cabbage and Yellow Squash Casserole #WRALSmartShopper


With sunnier days, there comes more substantial sides... with main dishes like soups, stews and pot roasts no longer taking center stage.

And each year when one of the first of its bounty, my beloved summer squash, comes down in price, and goes up in quality… I know that Spring is just around the corner.

So, this week I decided to create a new take on an old classic, with a little more flavor and a lot more pizazz...

To read more, and for the full recipe, head on over to , where I'll be contributing weekly recipes that are fun, flavorful, and frugal.  And at just 66 cents/serving, you're going to want to check this out.

For the full recipe click .

Friday, March 7, 2014

Maple Acorn Squash with Thyme Roasted Sausage and Apples #healthyluxemeals

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Some days (OK, most days) I wish I had the metabolism of my teenage self.

Days when I could choose a fried chicken sandwich over a grilled chicken salad for lunch in between my Santa Barbara City College classes (yes, I'm surprised I was able to eat at all, seeing as I smelled like formaldehyde three days a week... darn you Anatomy class!)  A meatball sub from Rusty's Pizza over a veggie and hummus wrap.  That we'd take to the beach and eat up on the lifeguard stand, watching the waves crash under the moon.  And did I tell you that in the 7th grade, I practically lived on Hostess Cherry Pies?  Mom would let me get 50 cents out of her purse each morning for a snack... little did she know.

Now don't get me wrong.  I spent most of my life eating healthy, homemade food, thanks to a Mother who not only enjoyed cooking.  But also made the time each and every day for what I still think is one of the most important things in life.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mustang Sally Steak Sandwich with Mango Balsamic Bacon Jam #WRALSmartShopper


Oh, to be like Sally… is almost like saying, oh, to be young… and free, again.  

And in my mind, when I think of Sally in her mustang, I imagine windows rolled down, and long red curly hair blowing in the wind.  Making her way down the winding highway in search of new adventures, without a care in the world.

It was 1965 and this R&B song topped the charts. When I was young I used to think the mustang in the song was a wild horse. Well, almost… it was a car with a whole lot of horse power. And this song, like the “horse” represented speed and strength, and is now listed as one of the greatest songs of all time. Even the chorus became famous again in 1983, as we all sang “ride, Sally, ride,” for Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
But, what does this have to do with a sandwich?
As I was looking down the list of sale items this week, I noticed all the makings a perfect sandwich… French rolls, steak, spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. And then I was reminded of our conversation on the blog a few weeks ago about bacon jam. And I couldn't wait to try it… and make my own version using mangoes. And seriously… this bacon jam made the sandwich.

So, just like any other famously delicious sandwich, I chose to name it after someone famous... and I immediately thought Mustang Sally. This fictitious character made a big impact in our music, our society, and our taste in cars. And I can imagine her stopping off at a diner along the highway to grab a steak sandwich that looked something like this.
Frugal, fun, and a great way to stretch your steak to make it more affordable… without scrimping on a bit of flavor.
And Happy Birthday to the Ford Mustang, which turns 50 next month.

Mustang Sally Steak Sandwich with Mango Balsamic Bacon Jam
1 sirloin or strip steak
1 package sliced mushrooms
Spinach leaves, to taste
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 French rolls
5 slices bacon
½ red onion, sliced in thin half moons
1 mango, cut in small cubes
¼ c. brown sugar
1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
1/8 c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. water
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoning for steak (I like Mural of Flavor from Penzeys or 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joes)
Olive oil
For the steak and mushrooms:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Add in steak and mushrooms. Season all with salt, pepper and any additional seasoning you might like. Cook until steak is desired doneness and the mushrooms are caramelized. Set aside. Once cool, slice thin.
For the jam:
Cut the bacon into 1 inch strips and sauté in a large skillet until fat is rendered off and the bacon is browned. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease, and set aside for later use if desired. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and set aside on paper towel lined plate to drain.
Back into the skillet, add the red onion slices and cook until caramelized, for about 10 minutes over low heat, salting, to taste, towards the end. Once done, add back in the bacon to the skillet, plus the mango, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water, another sprinkling of salt and pepper, and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until almost all the liquid is gone.
Once the jam is done, set aside and prepare for assembly. *At this point you can leave as is (I prefer the larger chunks), or you can put in the blender or food processor to combine further, and make more of a jam-like consistency.
To assemble the sandwich:
Cut the French rolls in half and top with mayonnaise, spinach leaves, sliced steak, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. Then add on the bacon jam and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is warmed through. Serve.
Serves 4
Cost per serving: $2.21
*Note: all costs are approximate due to regional sale prices, amounts needed just for this specific recipe, and ingredients on hand. This recipe was created to utilize sale ingredients listed for the current week in Raleigh, NC stores.
This recipe is also posted over at  . Head on over for great money-saving tips, coupon matchups, and a fun group of people!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Winning Recipe for Paula Deen's Contest- Not Too Spicy Chicken Lasagna Petals with White Beans and Spinach


Imagine my surprise, as I saw this photo come across my Facebook feed early this week... from Paula Deen.

Excited.  Proud.  Honored... are just a few of the things I felt.  I won week 3- Amazing Chicken Appetizers.  And omgoodness, did I tell you it's signed by Paula Deen?!  I'm such a fan.

So, a few weeks ago, I noticed on Paula Deen's Facebook page that she was teaming up with  (which by the way, I'm so impressed with how they raise their chickens... plus they're located in our Blue Ridge Mountains) for a four week contest.  Each week was based on a different theme using chicken.  And the next week was appetizers... I couldn't wait to come up with a (hopefully) winning dish, and got to work quick... cooking and photographing.

I wanted to create something that was simple enough that just about anyone could cook it, but special enough that you could serve it for any occasion.

These Not Too Spicy Chicken Lasagna Petals with White Beans and Spinach use many of the ingredients found in your pantry, plus chicken.  Quick to prepare, these delicious appetizers, these use won ton wrappers instead of lasagna noodles, a huge time-saver in my book... plus far less dishes.  Then, mix in a freshness from the spinach and tomatoes, a touch of heat from the creole seasonings, and a unique blend of textures with the addition of chicken and white beans...and yes, I believe this dish is a hit.

I hope you enjoy them as much as did in my home.

Not Too Spicy Chicken Lasagna Petals with White Beans and Spinach
½ onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 (15-oz.) can drained white beans
2 (15-oz.) cans petite cut tomatoes, drained
¼ c. chicken broth
2 cups fresh spinach
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
¼ teaspoon creole seasoning
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
24 wonton wrappers
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
In a large sauté pan, add olive oil and chopped onions and sauté until translucent and slightly caramelized.  Add in the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and spices.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat.  Remove bay leaves and add in spinach.  Simmer for about 10 minutes to wilt spinach.  Remove from heat.
Next preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.  Take a small drinking glass and place on a stack of 6 wonton wrappers.  Cut around the glass to create circles.  Continue with the rest of the wonton wrappers until all are cut into circles.
Press one wrapper in each hole of the muffin pan.  Top all 12 with half of the chicken mixture (make sure to use a slotted spoon to not allow too much liquid in), and then half of the cheese.  Then repeat the layers with the rest of the 12 wonton wrappers, chicken mixture and the rest of the cheese.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until browned on top.  Serves 4.

And head on over (to Paula's site) to see what she thought of this recipe, plus other winning recipes!