Budget Lexicon

Tips for living a fabulous life on a budget

Budget Dinner: Chicken Salad with Feta & Mint June 30, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 9:17 am
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On the weekends, I’ve started checking grocery store mailers for sales on meat to help me decide what to cook for my weekday dinners. Ralphs (groan) was having a sale on chicken this weekend (buy one, get one free). I bought 2 whole chickens and froze one for later (they freeze really well).

I used the Cooking Light search engine to find a healthy recipe and decided to make Chicken Salad with Feta and Mint. This recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but I decide to cut costs by roasting my own chicken (it’s super easy). The flavors in this chicken salad are awesome. Mint, oregano, and feta add a lot of depth to this simple dish. I stuffed the chicken salad into a whole wheat pita and added Trader Joe’s spicy humus. Sooooo good! My total cost came out to about $15.00 and I have enough to enjoy for about 5 days…yay!

My Mom’s “Pappas Chicken” Recipe (super easy and great by itself)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Take a whole chicken and remove the insides and place on glass baking dish. Cover the chicken with a generous portion of salt and Italian seasoning. Bake for an approximately an hour. To see if chicken is done cut between leg and breast – chicken is done when the liquid is clear.

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$10.00 Episode of Top Chef Season 4 June 19, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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Sadly, I do know that Top Chef Season 4 is over, but I wanted to share with you my fav elimination challenge – the $10 challenge of course!

The Stir Fry Whole Wheat Noodles recipe sounded so good to me. While this recipe did not win, it was in the top 2 recipes. I am planning to make it this weekend and eat the left-overs for dinner next week.

I’ll make sure to do an update post on how much the dinner actually cost and how it turned out. I’ll also include any suggestions.

 

TV Wine Review – Zarafe Sauvignon Blanc May 22, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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Zarafe Sauvignon Blanc – $4.99

I drink “TV wine” (under $6.00) after a long day at work, while watching episodes of Law & Order. My TV wine of choice is usually Two Buck Chuck. But now that I am 26, I’m trying to be more classy in my TV wine selection.

On a recent trip to Trader Joes, I picked up a bottle of this 2005 Zarafe Sauvignon Blanc. In all honesty, the main reason I choose this wine was because I thought the label was cute (giraffes are my favorite animal). I guess some times you can judge a wine by the label because I was pleasantly with its flavor and quality. This South African born wine is very light and fruity with undertones of grapefruit. It would pair well with summer salads, light fishes, mild cheeses, light pasta, and chicken.

 

Healthy Budget Breakfast Parfait May 15, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 10:11 am
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Parfait – Total spend $1.50 per parfait

Training for my marathon has made me really hungry every morning. My co-worker turned me on to the following version of a parfait that is low fat and high in protein and iron. I like it because it is very portable – you can throw the various ingredients in your purse and make this at work (sans the glass and pretty layering)

To vary it up a little, you can use different flavors of yogurt and assorted fruit. Stick with bananas if you are trying to be more budget conscious – they are about $.20/each at T-Joes which is a lot cheaper than the $4.00 you pay for blueberries.

Recipe:

1 individual serving fat free yogurt

1 packet of dry plain oatmeal (healthier than granola)

Assorted fruit (bananas, strawberries, or blueberries)


 

Save Money, Lose Weight – Brown Bag It April 21, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 9:23 am
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Brown Bag it – Save $50/week and $200/month

One of the easiest ways to save about $50/week and $200/month is to bring your lunch from home. Brown bagging it can also help you lose weight because a packed lunch is typically more healthy than a lunch out. A homemade lunch can also prevent a post lunch “food coma” because you are less likely to overeat.

When grocery shopping, I try to plan out my lunch schedule for the week. It helps me ensure I am not wasting food and money. For example, if I know that I have lunch plans or a catered meeting, I can buy less at the store or just make sure to buy things that will last 2 weeks. I use the same planning method for my weeknight dinners.

Sometimes it is hard for me to bring my lunch because I often suffer from “food envy” when I see the lunches around me. In order to stay on plan, it is important for me to bring I lunch I like.

This week I am eating Rachael Ray’s Lemony Tuna Salad. I leave out the lettuce and substitute chickpeas for the white beans. I keep the cucumber and tomatoes separate until mealtime; otherwise the tuna gets really watery on day 2. It is high in protein and complex carbohydrates, which is important to me because my marathon is only 6 weeks away.

 

“Dinner Wine” – Zinfandel April 18, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 6:14 pm
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Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfindel 2005 – $7.99

This is my staple dinner wine. I always have it in the house – for unexpected company or hostess gifts. I love this wine so much that I actually break my rule of no red wine on dates for this Zin – blue teeth and lips are totally worth it.

This Ravenswood is reasonably priced at $7.99 and is available everywhere, I even saw it at Savon. It is also available in many restaurants (marked up, of course). If you see it on the wine list, I definitely suggest you order it.

It pairs well with both winter and summer dishes. I especially like it with strong cheeses, pastas with cream sauce and chicken dishes. It is fruity with undertones of plums and strawberries.

 

“Dinner Wine” Review – Sauvignon Blanc April 10, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – $11.99



I love experimenting around with wine. I have some knowledge of wine but mostly I just like tasting various bottles and deciding what I like. For me, wine falls into three categories – “TV wine” (under $6.00), “dinner wine” ($6.00-15.00), and “special occasion wine” ($15.00 and up). I usually drink TV wine when I need to unwind after work, while watching the latest episode of SVU. I break into my stash of dinner wine when cooking for friends or attending an event where I need a hostess gift. I reserve special occasion wines for holidays and celebration dinners.

One of the many things I like about shopping at Trader Joe’s is that I can find some great TV and dinner wines for reasonable prices. Recently, I have been on a quest for a white dinner wine that I can pair with various summer dishes. I prefer new world white wines that are light and fruity.

Nobilo Marlborough 2007 Sauvignon Blanc is the prefect Sauvignon Blanc for the upcoming warm weather. This New Zealand native is light and fruity with elements of grapefruit, lemon and melon. It would pair well with fruit, pasta, chicken, and light cheeses. It is available at Trader Joe’s, Bev Mo, and Cost Plus World Market.