We sat down and decided that in our best interest, and Mari's too, that we sit down at the table to eat our meals and spend time together preparing them. I pulled out the ol' Everyday Foods magazine from last year around this time and started thumbing through the pages for recipes. Before I knew it, I had a week and a half worth of dinners (where we wouldn't have to repeat a meal) and if I was creative, I could stretch it out to 2 weeks! I took our grocery list pad off of the fridge and feverishly checked off each ingredient and adding others. After an hours work total, I put it aside and started looking up coupons, while Don caught up on his DVDs in the background. It worked really well!
We headed to the store and bought our stuff. At $150 later, I wasn't pleased that we didn't save as much (by percentage) like we normally do, but most times, you don't get coupons for fresh produce, let alone organic. The coupons I did use, were doubled, so that was a bonus that I hadn't expected! And, we qualified for the 10 cents off for our gas purchases too. I guess all was not lost. (By the way, I LOVE THE GROCERY STORE! It's my happy place, random, huh?)
We get home and unload everything. That night because it was so late when we went shopping, we ate one of the rotisserie chickens they had on sale with some steamed spinach.
Last night, though, I get home and Don already has the food prepped! Our homemade Marinara sauce is simmering on the stove and he's getting ready to bread the chicken. He was waiting for me to pick the type of pasta and was about to saute the mushrooms.
Light Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Pasta and Broccoli Rabe and homemade Marinara with Mushrooms
Chicken breasts breaded on one side and baked, lightly topped with parmesan.
Rotini pasta tossed in olive oil with blanched broccoli Rabe (thanks Simon, it
turned out perfectly!). Diced tomatoes simmering, with a touch of tomato paste,
a pinch of red pepper, and sauteed mushrooms.
We chatted while prepping our meal, catching up on the day's events. Mari napped. I went ahead and chopped veggies for Thursday night's meal. We sipped on vino. The food was ready, so I prepped the pasta while Don plated the chicken and marinara. We sat down at the table to eat and OMG, it was delicious. I can see us making this meal in the future, but possibly adding jalapenos to the top when we add the cheese, b/c the jalapenos Don grows are AMAZING! It reminded me of when we were first living together and later married. We saved a whole heck of a lot of money by cooking so much and I don't remember our fridge ever being empty. I loved that we controlled the ingredients (organic and free range!). I knew the calorie count (thank you Everyday Food!). We had some incredible quality time spent together. It was a lovely evening and has me ecstatic about the future. We calculated our meal to cost about $10 total (not including the wine, but that was actually a gift from My Michael and it was delicious, by the way. We heart South American vino!), and we had leftovers, enough for another full meal! High five!
Here's to hoping we can keep it up. Then again, I think we will. I fondly remember helping my mom out in the kitchen to prepare dinner and I want to share that with Mari as well. She already enjoys hanging out in the kitchen while we're there and she understands that the oven is "dangerous" when it is on. She's not frightened by the noises of the chopper, food processor, blender, or mixer.
Next time, I'll keep the tripod in the kitchen so you can see the prep and finished product.