Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A twist on stuffed shells; grocery savings

September 4, 2013

Ahhhh. Here we are. The first day of school. I had a busy day. I woke up at 4:40 (too much excitement) but got up at 6:00. I started the day by making the kids each their favorite breakfast. I made apple cinnamon pancakes for my daughter. I followed that up by making lemon chip zucchini muffins for my son. After they got on their busses (separate schools this year), I headed out to the commissary.

My pre-challenge weekly average was $175. Today I spent $24.68 on cleaners/toiletries. I spent $4.84 on impulse items. I saw some snacks/breakfast items that I wanted to have on hand for the kids. I also wanted to try a new organic macaroni and cheese. I spent $10.89 on gossip magazines. I spent $119.32 on food. Yikes. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $166.86. This is a savings of only $8.14. Our pre-challenge weekly restaurant spendings was $80. This week we ordered pizza from our friends' restaurant and went out to lunch. We spent $65.33 which is a savings of $14.67. Our total savings this week is $22.81. This brings our grand total savings to $4,416.93 in 322 days.

I wanted to try something new for dinner tonight. I was hoping that it would play out as well on my plate as it did in my mind. I browsed a recipe this past week that gave me the idea and then I just played the rest by ear. I cooked large shell pasta. I put extra firm tofu in my food processor. It came out creamy. Almost like a cross between ricotta and cream cheese. I seasoned the tofu with salt, oregano, italian, and garlic & wine seasoning. I sauteed onion, fresh garlic, and spinach. I added local white wine and seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic & wine seasoning, and adobo. I added the spinach mix to the tofu. I stuffed the shells and set them in a cake pan with a thin layer of homemade spaghetti sauce on the bottom. I topped the shells with more sauce, mozzarella cheese, and freshly grated romano cheese. I baked them at 350 for about half an hour. For our side, I wanted to do one of our favorite veggie dishes that we copied from Bonefish Grill. I sauteed onion, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and the rest of the bag of spinach. I added white wine and seasoned it with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, italian, and garlic & wine seasoning. When the veggies were almost tender, I added a little bit of home canned tomatoes (I had some left in the fridge).

How did dinner go? My hubby cleaned his plate and said it was delicious. He just thought it should have more sauce. I agree. Either more sauce or slightly less bake time. My son said "mmmmmhmmmm". My daughter said she loved it but would like meatballs with it too. Nobody guessed it was tofu. I'd say that's a win!

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