Sunday, July 22, 2012

Italian dishes..on the cheap

Italian food and Tex Mex are foods that have always been kind to the Budget.
We all remember the spaghetti dinners for a croud. Church dinners or family ones. Italian has come into it's own with a lot more sophisticated dishes that are still budget pleasers. Often times,dishes that maybe a little pricy can be adapted to be within your guidelines for a budget meal and still not Change the flavor of the dish.

Pasta Carbonara

2.5 cups penne

4 bacon strips, diced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/2cup sour cream, 1/4 cup 2%milk
1/3 cup butter
Hot pepper sauce
Green onions

Cook pasta until done. in skillet, cook bacon remove from pan.Drain the pan, reserving some fat. Cook mushrooms and remove from pan. Add sour cream, milk, butter, parsley, garlic, hot pepper sauce and salt.
Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in bacon, mushrooms ,and cheese.
Toss pasta in sauce. Top with grated parm and parsley.

Note: you can use low fat sour cream and less butter. there are 13 grams per serving without the butter , using regular sour cream and bacon. You could use low fat sour cream, turkey bacon and omit the butter or use a substitute. It just wouldn't be as rich.

Balsamic chicken breasts

1/4 cup flour
Salt, pepper
4 chicken breast halves - 4 ounces EA ( chicken breasts sometimes are 1 a pound at Safeways. It's not hard to debone them. Run your sharp knife right next to the bone, pulling the meat away from the bone as you go. )

1T oil
1 small onion, sliced (rings)
1/4 cup water
2T balsamic vinegar (dollar store)

1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/8 tsp dried rosemary.

In large plastic bag, place flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken breast.
Place on rack to rest.

In large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken on both sides until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

in the pan, cook onion until soft. Add water and deglaze he pan.
Add vinegar, and spices. Simmer a couple of minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Pour over chicken.

Italian sausage and vegetables. ( good for garden season)

1 pound sausage. ( tubular like johnsville etc )
1can diced tomatoes, undrained.
6 medium red potatoes, cut in half
4 small zucchini, cut into one inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into wedges
Garlic powder
Crushed red pepper flakes
1T dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Place already cooked sausage In Slow cooker. Add veggies and seasonings. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or until veggies are done. Remove sausage and cut into 1 inch pieces. Return to slow cooker and add bread crumbs. Stir. Serve on bowls with grated cheese.

Note: sausage was 42 ounces for 5 bucks at Safeways bucks this week- Friday only special. Safeways always has five dollar specials on Fridays. Usually a bakery treat, and some kind of a dinner item.

Thanks for stopping by


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