Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Dinners For This Week

On the last day of January, we have great winter deals, like organic yams at Sunflower for 99 cents a pound, while spring creeps in with asparagus at Sprouts at $1.49/lb. On the spring side, it's time for asparagus and leek risotto with prosciutto, one of my favorites. Keep in mind that the deli at the Pearl Street Whole Foods usually has small chunks of prosciutto for dicing that run about half the price of the freshly sliced product. You can also substitute something like Black Forest ham, but if you care about nitrates/nitrites, look closely at what you're buying (I know at least Whole Foods is good).

Always out for midweek convenience, the chipotle beef stew from last night makes an easy reheat dinner, with a salad on the side. For more midweek convenience (so nice to not have to face a recipe in the middle of the week), it might be time for linguine with clam sauce, made with a nice canned sauce like Cento, maybe with a can of clams tossed in for an extra boost. I know true Italians would cringe at the thought, but I like freshly grated parmesan on my linguine with clam sauce (horrors!).

Finally, with those organic yams at 99 cents a pound at Sunflower and chicken breasts $1.97/lb at Sprouts, it's time for crystallized ginger chicken. The crystallized ginger might seem like an odd ingredient, but it will keep a long time in the fridge, and you're likely to want to make this again. The dish hardly needs anything else, maybe just some edamame out of your freezer stock on the side.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Price Comparison Smackdown

Here's a little comparison of a few common items (staples in my mind) across my favorite stores. Stores were visited on 1/28 or 1/29, in the current sales cycle, and Whole Foods is the Pearl Street store.

Organic tomatoes
At Sprouts, $2.99 for 1 pint of Divine grape tomatoes.
At Sunflower, 99 cents/lb for romas.
At Whole Foods, $1.99/lb for romas.

Half gallon organic 1% milk
At Sprouts, $3.49, Horizon Organic
At Sunflower, $2.89, Horizon Organic
At Whole Foods, $2.79, 365 brand

Bulk organic fair trade coffee
At Sprouts, $8.99/lb
At Sunflower, $6.99/lb (no decaf)
At Whole Foods, $10.99/lb

Bulk organic non-fair trade coffee
At Sprouts, $8.99/lb
At Sunflower, $6.99/lb
At Whole Foods, $9.99/lb

Conventional avocados
At Sprouts, 77 cents
At Sunflower, 77 cents
At Whole Foods, $1.50

Best white meat chicken deal
At Sprouts, boneless, skinless breasts, $1.97/lb (value pack)
At Sunflower, boneless, skinless breasts, $2.99/lb (family pack)
At Whole Foods, bone-in breasts, $2.49/lb (value pack)

In-Store Events Tomorrow

Both Sunflower and the Pearl Street Whole Foods will be hosting free events tomorrow, the 30th. The Pearl Street store will be offering a "Whole Foods for my Whole Life Health Fair" from 11 to 2. Meanwhile, Sunflower will hold a "Big Game Tasting," also from 11 to 2. Time to start thinking about upcoming Super Bowl fare.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some Dinner Ideas

This week's specials at my favorite natural food stores aren't as inspiring as the ones they offered last week, but I'm getting some ideas together. I'm in the mood for more fish, but just had salmon (it's still on sale at Whole Foods), so maybe it's time for tilapia. An article in Bon Appetit awhile ago said that tilapia is a rare, eco-friendly farmed fish. At Whole Foods today, I saw some nice tilapia that I think was $9.99/lb. If you're in the neighborhood of King Soopers, they have it this week for $5.99/lb. I like it quickly sauteed, and finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar when it's done. Sides would be some nice veggie (maybe asparagus, $1.49/lb at Sprouts), and either herbed rice or the Tandoori naan that's nearly half price at Whole Foods right now. It heats beautifully in a grill pan, creating nice char marks.

With stew beef $3.99/lb at Sunflower, it's time for chipotle beef stew from Gourmet magazine. The stew beef eliminates the time cutting up the roast that's listed. Along with salad, you could do the tortilla accompaniment the recipe suggests, or naan hot from the grill pan that's mentioned above. The Pearl Street Whole Foods is still offering a selection of beautiful whole wheat breads at just $2.50 each, even though they told me the sale would end better than a week ago, so I might grab another while I can.

With boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale at both Sprouts ($1.97/lb) and Sunflower ($2.99/lb), I'm also thinking about chicken paprikash over noodles. There are a zillion recipes for this; I like one that was originally published in Cooking Light. Light sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt substitutes nicely for the 1/4 cup of whipping cream, and caraway seeds are usually sold in the bulk herbs section (at least I've done so at Whole Foods), so you can just buy the teaspoon you need. Update on 1/31 - neither the Pearl Street nor the Superior Whole Foods store has caraway seeds in bulk right now. I put in a suggestion at both stores. Am not going to spend 6 bucks for a bottle, just to use one teaspoon. Think I'll substitute fennel seed, which isn't terribly far off.

More thinking yet to be done...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One-Day Cheese Sale

If you can use a 2 pound block of Tillamook's nice medium cheddar, our local Whole Foods stores have it for $4.99, nearly half off, today only. Maybe tuck it in the fridge in preparation for Super Bowl munchies for a crowd (nachos, anyone?).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eating Well for Less in NYC

Here's a geographic diversion from my usual focus on Boulder, but it sticks with the theme of eating really good food without breaking the bank. And there's a very tenuous Boulder connection I can make, if you'll keep reading. Friends of ours recently returned from a short New York City visit and reported that in these recessionary times, they were able to enjoy well known restaurants and food from top chefs at relatively cheap prices. "Relative" is the operative word here, since Manhattan's finer dining prices are famously stratospheric. But our friends reported great dining without resorting to their backup plan of hitting the sidewalk food cart vendors (some of whom of course have fantastic ethnic offerings at dirt cheap prices). For the famous chef experience, they recommended Daniel Boulud's new foray into downtown, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, where they said the sausages were out of this world. Great times to be eating, when top chefs get into sausages. Another favorite was Sfoglia on the upper East Side (with another on Nantucket), where they feasted on a cardoon gratin and pasta, with an extraordinarily reasonable tab. Another success was Back Forty, the more casual and less expensive newer sister of the well-reviewed Savoy in Soho. My friend reports the $19 grilled Catskill trout was a steal. Finally, to sneak in the tenuous Boulder connection, they enjoyed lunch at 24 Prince, where chef Nikki Cascone was a participant in season 4 of Top Chef. With Boulder's fine representation in season 5, culminating with Hosea Rosenberg of Jax Fish House winning it, I'm drawing a faint Boulder relationship here. They reported that, although 24 Prince had a wonderfully extensive lunch menu, everyone in the whole place seemed to be ordering the mac and cheese. No wonder, since the mac and cheese was made with smoked gouda and topped with crispy pancetta bits. How could anyone resist?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Dinners For This Week

Back to thinking about what to do with this week's good deals, here's how things are shaping up. With asparagus at $1.77/lb and organic romas 99 cents at Sunflower (and they have whole wheat pastas perpetually on sale for $1.39), I'm thinking it's time to break out of the midwinter hard squash doldrums with penne with asparagus and basil, originally published in Bon Appetit. This works fine substituting dried basil for fresh (particularly in January), and I might toss in a little fresh spinach to wilt into the sauce, too.

With this week's pork sales and a chance to use more romas, it will then be time for garlic pork with tomato and basil over brown rice, published in Cooking Light. With pork tenderloin at $3.99/lb at both Sprouts and Sunflower, you could make it as written, or save yourself slicing time and some money by using pork stew meat, $2.99/lb at Sunflower, instead. And again, substituting a small amount of dried basil works fine.

I've mentioned the salmon sales wars in my weekly deals sidebar, so a simple, quick dinner of sauteed or grilled salmon, baked (read microwaved) potato, and a side of kale ($1.50 a bunch at Whole Foods) sauteed with a little garlic and crushed red pepper sounds good.

Finally, with bulk organic whole quinoa on sale for $1.99/lb at Whole Foods, and my friends raving about the stuff, think I'll try the vegetarian recipe I already mentioned to them, quinoa risotto with mushrooms and thyme, recently published in Bon Appetit. Quinoa is evidently quite stellar on the protein front.

And that will do it for the week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Few Dinner Thoughts

Am behind getting my planning together for dinners for the week, but here are a few thoughts.

With mahi mahi on sale at Sprouts, I'm thinking it's time for fish tacos. My favorite recipe is a well-worn one from Gourmet that adds heat with chipotle, their crispy snapper tacos. I adjust it liberally, totally skipping frying the taco shells (yuck), using my fish of preference, and usually a bottled or prepared fresh salsa. With organic romas on sale at Sunflower for 99 cents a pound, a side salad with lots of them and avocado would be nice.

Pork is a pretty good deal this week, so I've also been thinking in that direction. Sprouts has country style ribs for only $1 a pound, which reminded me of a variant of a recipe from Cooking Light, slow-cooked Tuscan pork with white beans. It could be made with the country style ribs for a super budget meal. A leaner, but also cheap alternative might be to use pork tenderloin, on sale at both Sunflower and Sprouts for $3.99/lb.

At some point soon, I'm also going to use my previously mentioned Modmarket coupon (look in the "dining" group) to get flatbread pizzas as buy one, get one free. Two people can share a large salad and have $2 glasses of wine, what a deal.

More thoughts soon on capitalizing further on the 99 cent romas and $1.77/lb asparagus at Sunflower. Also working on more pork, salmon, and quinoa ideas.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Celebrate National Pie Day

Thanks again to the Daily Camera for pointing out that this Saturday, the 23rd, is National Pie Day. The Walnut Cafe and its South Side Walnut Cafe sibling will celebrate with pie at $2.50 a slice all day Saturday (and their pies are so incredibly good). The Camera notes that pie calendars will also be available. I wonder if the calendar might be the one John Lehndorff recently published and mentioned here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Natural Food Choices Head East

I wonder if any other county has as many natural foods grocery stores per capita as Boulder County. And it's getting even better, with today's Daily Camera reporting that Sunflower Farmers Market will open a store in Lafayette this year, where an Albertsons used to be located.

A Harbinger of Spring

On a gray day like today, Sunflower's asparagus sale at $1.77/lb that starts today is welcome news. I picked up some, and it's from California, so spring must be on the way. Think I'll improvise and add it to tonight's pasta with marinated artichoke hearts. Menu ideas for next week and comments on the new sales on their way shortly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Last Call for Brownies

Today's the last day to pick up a tub of Two Bite brownies for $2.99, $2 off, at any of our local Whole Foods stores. Also, the Pearl Street store has a gluten-free taste fair scheduled for tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Waxing Philosophical, with an Appreciation

Yesterday's New York Times had a fun article on the increase of "green disputes" among couples where one person might be more earth-sensitive than the other. The issue of food figures prominently, and one woman is pictured in her garden and with her chickens. Yes, raising her own chickens. We've seen quite a bit of this locally recently, with several towns taking up debate about the legality of raising chickens in our own backyards. Which further begs the question of where the American public is headed in its relationship with food; will our meals in another decade or so consist entirely of takeout or come from the backyard coop? This further brought to mind a great article by Michael Pollan that was published last year in the Times, Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch, in which he chronicles America's fascination with culinary prowess, while actually cooking less and less from scratch at home. On page three of the article, he gets to the chicken issue, quoting these comments from a food-marketing researcher:

“Here’s an analogy,” Balzer said. “A hundred years ago, chicken for dinner meant going out and catching, killing, plucking and gutting a chicken. Do you know anybody who still does that? It would be considered crazy! Well, that’s exactly how cooking will seem to your grandchildren: something people used to do when they had no other choice. Get over it.”

A depressing observation regarding the future of cooking, but I wonder how this resurgence of backyard chicken coops fits into the picture. Perhaps they are for eggs only, and Clucky gets a proper burial in a shoebox after a long and happy life. Which brings me to the appreciation part, as these articles reminded me of my dear, departed friend, Aldea Dimmitt, who lived her 88 years simply, in a house no larger than a small garage. Aldea raised her own chickens, and yes, she knew how to dispatch them and turn them into Sunday dinner. Not a skill I'd ever want to acquire, but here's a toast to her memory.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gift Card Deal at Sprouts

Sprouts is doing a gift card promotion, selling their $100 cards for $89.99 through Wednesday. Everybody I saw checking out was snapping them up and using them immediately. So you can go and get all your gluten-free products at 25% off, then use a gift card to effectively take another 10% off your purchase. I bought enough Lundberg rice to last me into 2011.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gorgeous Whole Grain Breads on Sale

Whole Foods has some beautiful whole grain loaves on sale for $2.50 each, including seeded whole grain, multigrain rustic, whole wheat hearth, sunny sesame whole wheat, and my favorite, ancient grains, through the 19th. That's $1.49 off per loaf, excellent deal, and the remainder freezes well if you can't finish it off in a day or two.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Free Flatbread Pizza!

Hope that got your attention. I rarely talk about Boulder restaurants, but this deal is right up my alley. Modmarket is a cool, fairly new eatery in the 29th Street mall with fresh and relatively inexpensive food. The Camera's dining critic liked it, and you can read Rachel Odell Walker's review here. Even better, they have a Money Mailer coupon (you'll need to scan through the group) for a free flatbread pizza with an equal or greater purchase, or 25% off for a group of four, through 2/15. Two people can share a large salad, have BOGO pizzas, $2 glasses of wine, and feast for practically nothing. It's almost not fair.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Week's Worth of Dinner Ideas

I'm a little more organized this week, and the whole week of ideas fell together at once.

To start, I'm thinking it's time to improvise a nice pizza at home. I particularly like the fresh multigrain dough sold at Whole Foods (white is available as well, and I know Sunflower carries fresh dough too, haven't looked yet at Sprouts). The dough from Whole Foods makes a pretty big pizza. You can either use the whole ball to fill an entire cookie sheet (I know, technically a jelly roll pan, but everybody I know calls the big, flat thing with a lip around the edge a cookie sheet), or you can freeze half the ball to make two smaller pizzas. Poultry is looking good at this week's sales, with turkey tenderloin still on sale at Whole Foods at $2.99/lb, while both Sprouts and Sunflower are offering chicken sausages also at $2.99/lb. The turkey is such a good deal, I'm going to go with that again, although the sausages would also be great (I have an idea for them later). Other toppings after sauteing the turkey will probably include onion and garlic, tomatoes or pasta sauce, thinly sliced fresh fennel, and fresh mozzeralla (on sale at both Sunflower, $3.99 or Sprouts, 2 for $7, and Whole Foods has its own brand always at a good price) or parmesan (Sprouts' ad says bulk cut Reggianito is on sale for $5.99, surely must be domestic or the Argentinian one, both good).

Next will be a nice, warm cod chowder with saffron and fingerling potatoes, originally published in Bon Appetit. This is an easy, quick recipe that I make even easier and cheaper through some modifications like skipping the pricey saffron (although I'd love to try it with), and substituting cheaper chicken broth for two of the three bottles of clam juice. It's also even delicious with the cream omitted. The cod won't be a problem, as Sprouts is advertising previously frozen Alaskan cod at $4.99/lb.

Next in the warm and comfy mode will be a baked polenta with fontina recipe that was originally published in Bon Appetit, but isn't on their site. My adaptation is super easy. Make polenta using a cup of polenta (available for cheap in bulk at Whole Foods) and 3 cups of broth/milk/water, whisking until it is thick. The quick cooking polenta, sometimes also labelled as grits, is so easy and cheap, I don't understand why people pay bucks for the precooked product. Use olive oil or Earth Balance to grease an 8x8 pan, then layer some bottled pasta sauce, half the polenta, a cup of grated fontina or mozzarella, more sauce, the rest of the polenta, another cup of cheese, and finally more sauce. Bake at 350 for around 25 minutes. The original recipe called for letting the prepared casserole stand for two hours before baking, but I've never had time for that. Also on the menu will be sauteed chicken sausages on sale at both Sunflower and Sprouts, with something like chard on the side.

Since I need to use the last big potatoes from a sale bag of russets, next will be baked potatoes with spiced beef chili, also from Bon Appetit. This is another good fit, since I still have a bunch of burger in the freezer from the 99 cents Whole Foods sale. If you're looking for burger, Sprouts is advertising "extra lean" at $2.99/lb.

Then simplicity itself, a reheat of the remaining cod chowder with a salad for another night's dinner.

Pasta hasn't appeared yet in the week, and neither has a vegetarian dinner, so it's time for a vegetarian pasta. I'm thinking pasta with marinated artichoke hearts, which I haven't made in awhile. I think this was originally published in one of the Moosewood cookbooks, but if you google it, you'll find it has been picked up in a lot of places, including here. I like to double the 1/2 cup recommendations for cottage cheese and sour cream, and use nonfat plain yogurt instead of the sour cream. I always have a big container of Straus European Style nonfat yogurt in the fridge (amazing how they can get a nonfat product to taste so creamy), and this week, Sprouts has it on sale for $2.99, a very good price for that big 32 ounce container.

Finally, it's time for something with rice and maybe an Asian spin, so how about stir-fried beef, broccoli, and yams, yet again from Bon Appetit, served over brown rice with maybe some edamame from the freezer cooked on the side. Instead of flank steak, I'd use convenient stew beef, which is on sale at Sprouts this week for $3.99/lb.

Pretty wordy, but there's the week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gluten-Free Extravaganza

From January 13th through the 20th, Sprouts is doing a "Gluten Free Jubilee," with 25% off "all tagged gluten-free grocery and frozen grocery products..." They say that includes more than 2,000 items. Sounds like stock up time for our gluten-intolerant friends, and the rest of us as well. I've tried some gluten-free desserts where I swear they made up for the flour by adding extra chocolate, yum.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Top Sirloin One Day Sale

Tomorrow, the 13th only, Whole Foods will have beef top sirloin steak for $5.99/lb, $4 off the regular price. Outside of grilling season, my favorite recipe for it is sirloin steak with tomato and cilantro sauce, originally published in Bon Appetit. The juicy chile and cilantro flavors are great wrapped up in a tortilla, then all you need is a salad on the side. Hint: this sale makes it worth springing for the top sirloin, but I've also found that this recipe works perfectly well with far less expensive stew beef.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Events This Week

This Wednesday, the 13th, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will have a one day sale on top sirloin, no price announced yet, but the one day sales are usually pretty good. From 4 to 6 that day, they'll also host a "good stuff for less healthy eating happy hour." I've already mentioned the Shop Healthy on a Budget tour scheduled for Thursday at 5:30. Meanwhile, the Superior Whole Foods will host a free health lecture Thursday from 7 to 8:30 pm on Eating Fat to Lose Fat: The Importance of Eating the Right Fats. Thursday's a busy day, as Sunflower will host Cooking with Lean Proteins from 11 to 1.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rounding Out the Dinner Menus

I've already mentioned the turkey and butternut casserole, shrimp and halibut stew, and pasta with arugula, shrooms, and tomatoes on deck for this week. A reheat of the stew will be an easy weekday dinner. Another quick one will be Boursin-stuffed turkey burgers from Gourmet magazine (R.I.P.), capitalizing on ground turkey breast at Whole Foods for $2.99/lb and substituting a light Rondele, 2 for $7 at Sprouts now, although I got mine for $2.99 at Sunflower last week. A nice side for the burgers would be Alexia fries and avocados, both on sale at Sprouts, plus more of the organic romas from Sunflower at $1/lb. Another easy weeknight dinner will be an improvised frittata, using still more arugula on sale at 2 bunches for $3 at Whole Foods and even more organic romas from Sunflower. I do this more often with summer produce, but the arugula and romas are calling for it. I like Mark Bittman's flexible approach in his more-vegetable-than-egg frittata recipe, published in the New York Times. Throw in lots of veggies, bind with a little egg, and you're done.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Shop Healthy" Tour

Next Thursday, the 14th, the Pearl Street Whole Foods store will be offering a "shop healthy on a budget tour" at 5:30. I'd so love to get to that, but it unfortunately coincides with one of my favorite workout classes. Anyone going, please send notes!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sharpen Those Knives

Many thanks to a friend for passing along news of a knife-sharpening event on Wednesday, January 13th, at the kitchen and cooking store What's Cooking (no relation to my writing) in Lafayette, at 2770 Arapahoe Road. Per the announcement she received, you can bring in knives before the 13th, or between 10 and noon on the 13th, and they'll be ready for pickup after 4. Price per knife is $5 or $6, depending on blade size, and they'll take scissors, too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thoughts for Upcoming Dinners

Wow, so much to choose from this week. I'm thinking I'll start with the turkey tenderloin that's $2.99/lb at Whole Foods. Since I don't usually cook that, I checked a few websites and found a recipe from Whole Foods itself to be the most appealing, and also seasonal: this baked turkey tenderloin with winter squash. I also want to use Sprouts' $3.99/lb shrimp, which brings to mind a favorite recipe from Bon Appetit, smoky shrimp and halibut stew. Besides the inexpensive shrimp, to make it even cheaper, instead of pricey halibut I'll substitute the frozen cod I bought last week for nearly half price at Whole Foods. I'll also lighten it up by using only a couple of pieces of bacon for flavor (okay, maybe three or four, but not half a pound). This recipe makes plenty to serve as an easy second dinner later in the week. I also want to do something vegetarian, incorporating the $1/lb organic romas at Sunflower and the organic arugula at the Pearl Street Whole Foods, so we'll probably try orecchiette with mushrooms, arugula, and tomatoes, published in Bon Appetit but new to me. The recipe calls for brie, but I'll probably substitute from my refrigerator, since I have ricotta and parmesan already waiting to be used. Interesting looking at the comments on that recipe; people either love it or hate it.

Sad Boulder Restaurant Closings

Very sad news making the front page of today's Daily Camera, that Dolan's has closed after 15 years due to taxes. Sadder still is the laundry list a few paragraphs down of other Boulder restaurants that have closed within the past few weeks.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One-Day Shrimp Sale Tomorrow

Tomorrow, 1/6 only, Whole Foods across the region will have Gulf white shrimp on sale for $8.99/lb. These are from the US, regularly $14.99/lb, and are 16 to 20 count per pound, so they must be pretty big shrimp. Maybe it's time to make butternut squash risotto with shrimp from Bon Appetit again.

For My Vegetarian Friends and Quinoa Fans

Was just in a food conversation with two friends, one a vegetarian and the other a great fan of quinoa. Then I opened my new issue of Bon Appetit, and lo, a recipe for both of them, quinoa risotto with mushrooms and thyme. Looks good, although I haven't tried it yet. Think I'd probably prefer to use veggie or mushroom broth to cook the quinoa, rather than water. Also for my vegetarian friends, a reminder that a bunch of my recipe links are vegetarian, as we like meatless meals frequently ourselves.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cheap Yogurt and Tomatoes, Unknown Peppers

Was at Sunflower today, and they have a Manager's Special on Silk Soy yogurts for 79 cents each, usually 99 cents. Can't say how long the special will go on, but most container expiration dates were end of January into February, so it's not that the product is expiring. Also, organic romas are $1.99/lb there right now, a good price locally. Meanwhile, the Pearl Street Whole Foods has signage for organic green peppers at $1.99/lb - very attractive price, and bell peppers are one of the vegetables I really try to avoid in conventional form, so I bought two from the stock at the sign. Problem is, there are no stickers on the peppers, the cashier rang them as conventional, and I have no way of knowing whether I'll be eating conventional or organic. Ah, the hassles of keeping it all straight.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Sliders!

Finally, I have a chance to try Brussels sprouts sliders, which conjure up such a cute image of roasted sprouts with ham and mustard tucked in the middle. Mark Bittman listed these as number 42 in one of his brilliant "101 things" articles in the New York Times, this one on 101 Head Starts on the Day, initially published for Thanksgiving. It fits perfectly, as I have leftover Brussels sprouts to use up (from Christmas, not Thanksgiving!), and the oven will be going anyway with the turkey breast roast (today's the last day to get it at Whole Foods for $3.99/lb!). I like cooking that is quick and easy but really, really good, so Bittman, who styles himself as The Minimalist, is totally my hero. He's done other "101" lists that have created a feeding frenzy, so to speak, when they've come out, and I'll get a list of them together when I have more time. I also like a guy who can spell correctly, or at least has a good editor. Never occurred to me that it's Brussels sprouts, not Brussel sprouts, but duh, of course it is.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Easy Dinner Plans

With the holidays behind us, it's time to take a break from extravagant cooking and go easy on ourselves. We did stick to plan with the pasta with crab for New Year's Eve and black-eyed pea soup for New Year's Day. I doubled the soup recipe so it can be an easy reprise later in the week (with leftover cornbread). Tonight we'll ease up by going vegetarian, having linguine with spicy leek and tomato sauce, which was originally published in Bon Appetit. The fennel seeds and touch of vinegar make the sauce memorable. Dipping briefly back into rich eating tomorrow, we'll capitalize on Whole Food's Three Day Sale (tomorrow's your last chance!) and have a boneless turkey breast roast (can't resist it at $3.99/lb) with baked potatoes, roasted squash, etc. Then it really gets easy. Since I bought so much burger when it was 99 cents a pound at the Superior Whole Foods, we'll start pulling some out of the freezer for burgers on Monday. Tuesday will be the easy reheating of the New Year's soup, and Wednesday I'll defrost the cod that's $4.99 a package in the Three Day Sale, roasting some sweet potato spears (organic yams are 88 cents a pound at Sunflower right now) on the side. Thursday will involve rice, haven't decided what yet. Fun cooking on weekends, quick and easy for weekdays.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cheap Restaurant Eats

Could it be that we are lucky enough to have John Lehndorff back? He was the Daily Camera's food editor eons ago, before moving to the Rocky Mountain News. He has a timely article in today's Camera called Reduced Fare: The Dollar-Pinchers' Guide to Boulder's Great Cheap Eats. If you missed the print version, you can read it here.

Happy New Year!!!

Let's hope 2010 is an improvement over 2009. Do you have resolutions like eating better, maybe losing some weight, and especially, saving some money? What better way than to cook at home more, with an eye towards healthier foods, and capitalizing on the best deals at Boulder's wonderful natural foods stores? That means keep checking back here for the latest grocery sales news and ideas for what to cook!