Eat This Week: Eating Cheap and Healthy

January 6, 2017

There has been a rumour going around that it’s too expensive to eat healthfully. Sure, junk food is cheap, and fast food seems like a good deal, but cooking from scratch is the best way to feed yourself (and your family) well AND save money.

Brussels Sprout Pasta web2

In early January - especially when it’s -20 - we rarely venture out beyond going to the dog park or for coffee. It’s time for hibernation mode, and getting into all those games Santa brought. This means there’s a little more time than usual for cooking, even though I’m not as into it after such a busy December. We’ll cook some quick pasta, with leftovers for lunches - and use up some of the Brussels sprouts in the fridge at the same time. If you haven’t had pasta with Brussels sprouts and bacon, I suggest you try it as soon as possible - you cook up some bacon and finely shredded Brussels sprouts in a skillet while the spaghetti cooks, then toss it with tongs in the pan, adding a handful of crumbled salty feta. Bliss.

cranberry orange muffins web2

On another night we’ll roast inexpensive chicken drumsticks and thighs on a sheet pan with whatever veggies are on hand - cauliflower or sweet potato fries or winter squash. (I love only having one pan to clean up afterward.) And because we’re often eating dinner while playing a game at the dinner table these days, food you can eat with your fingers is a very good thing - beef satay on bamboo skewers, with peanut sauce for dipping. (Bonus: leftover spaghetti + leftover peanut sauce + whatever veggies are in the fridge = amazing dinner or desk lunch another day.)

Beef Satay web

I love picking up cuts of beef (sirloin works great) on sale, cutting it up when I get it home, and freezing it in a quick marinade. The marinade protects the meat from freezer burn, and the small pieces thaw quickly, so I can pull it out of the freezer when I need it, and speed up the thaw in a bowl of warm water if need be. Peanut sauce also keeps well, so I like to mix it up in a jar and keep it in the fridge to dip into all week. While we’re puttering around the house, I’ll have some dried beans soaking and simmering to freeze (in smaller containers in their cooled cooking liquid) and make batches of baked beans and chili to fill the freezer as our schedules start to come back to speed.

sheet pan chicken web

And because we’re still going through chocolate withdrawal and love having something sweet to nibble with coffee in the morning, I’ll be baking more cranberry-orange muffins to use up the glut of cranberries in the freezer - and to save money by not picking something up at the coffee shop. They're perfect for lunchboxes, too.

Have a great week, everyone!

Shopping list:
top sirloin oven roast
chicken drumsticks and thighs
Brussels sprouts
dry beans

Pasta With Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta
Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs With Sweet Potato Fries & Cauliflower
Beef Satay
Cranberry Orange Muffins



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