Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Veggie Ragu & Grocery Savings

May 15, 2013

The kids finished our week off strong and both packed lunch today. My daughter packed the leftover orzo pilaf and strawberries. My son packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, string cheese, and strawberries. My hubby had leftover tacos. I used leftovers and made a repeat of yesterdays veggie sandwich lunch. Yum!

Today was grocery shopping day. My pre-challenge weekly average was $175. Today I spent $22.74 on toiletries and cleaners. I spent $8.56 on impulse items. My highest week of impulses in awhile but they were all good stuff: cottage cheese, fresh parsley, fresh rosemary, red potatoes, and pears. I spent $10.16 on gossip magazines. I couldn't pass them up! I spent $115.81 on food. I spent a bit more than usual. Oh well. You should have seen how much stuff I got. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $156.78 out of pocket. Yikes. This is a savings of only $18.22. Our pre-challenge restaurant weekly average was $80. This week we only ate out once at Panera Bread for $31.92 which is a savings of $48.08. The kids had a pretty good week of packing lunches and saved $16. Our savings for this week is $82.30. I wish I had hit the $100 mark (seems I keep missing it lately). However, I am looking forward to all the yummy stuff we will be able to make with all of these ingredients! Our grand total savings is $3,443.15 in 210 days!

Several months ago I stumbled upon an amazing beef ragu recipe at Verses from my Kitchen. I may not want beef right now but I would love to redo this recipe and make a vegetarian option for us. I replaced beef with mushrooms. I replaced beef stock with vegetable broth. I added in celery and great northern beans. Remember how I made a big batch of great northern beans and froze them? I had froze them in two cups increments but today I only wanted a cup. I grabbed a bag out of the freezer, gave it a whack against the counter, and voila. One cup came out. I asked the kids if I should put the beans in the food processor or add them whole. My son wanted them processed but my daughter did not. I saved her a handful of whole beans to add over her pasta.

I sauteed onion, two carrots, one celery stalk, and oh maybe a teaspoon of garlic in some olive oil. This is where I should have added my half a carton of baby bella mushrooms but I forgot until later on. Next I added about 1/4 cup local red wine. I let it reduce a little and then added in the following: the forgotten mushrooms, a bay leaf, 2 rosemary sprigs (they are called sprigs right?), about 1/3 of a quart of home canned tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, about a cup of vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon of sugar, salt, and pepper. I let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes while I cooked the angel hair pasta. I topped our veggie ragu with some freshly grated asiago cheese. It turned out great. My daughter had three helpings! There is just barely enough left for when my hubby gets home. If your kids don't like beans, this is a great recipe to hide them in. You didn't get a bean taste with it. The beans just made the dish a little creamier. I asked if I should make any adjustments for next time. Both kiddos said no. Score!

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