April 12, 2013

Move Over Barefoot Contessa!

Remember how I said that I was going to start meal planning for the week? Last night was the first night to try out this new routine and it was moderately successful.

I decided to try a new recipe to make this inaugural dinner a little more exciting. So I went to AllRecipes and found a recipe that looked good... and then I totally changed it up and made it my own. In the end it barely resembled the original recipe but was, I'm sure, both tastier and healthier! {I may be biased lol}

Bean and Sausage Stew
1 Large Tomato
1 Can Tomato Paste
2 - 3 Carrots, sliced
1 Celery Stalk, sliced thin
Approx. 6 Italian Sausages (I used Turkey)
1 Can Red Kidney Beans
1 Can Black OR White Beans (the recipe asked for white, I used black but I think white would be good too)
1 medium white onion or 3 - 4 chopped onions, chef's choice! (recipe called for white, I only had green onions so that's what I used and it turned out great)
2 small cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp Olive oil
About 1/4 cup water
About 1/4 cup dry red wine
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (Optional - to taste. The recipe called for it but I never add salt unless necessary; ie: if I'd used pork sausages I would've probably added a dash of salt)

Cook sausage in a small frying pan until cooked throughout and browned on the outside. In a large pot, sautee the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until slightly softened. Add the garlic and sauteee for about another minute.

Mix the water with the tomato paste and add to pot. Cut up the sausage and tomato into small chunks, and add to the pot of sautéing vegetables. Stir in the beans and red wine and season with pepper/salt. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve and enjoy :)

I made a small pot of rice with mine to mix in because something about this stew just called for rice. But I did have a tiny bit of the stew on it's own, and it's worth eating either way. Lunch today is leftovers and I can't wait to eat them! So why, you might be asking, did I say that this was 'moderately successful'? Because of the prep time for this meal. Granted, I was making a salad and cleaning the kitchen at the same time, but what should've taken me about 10 minutes tops ended up being about triple that. In future I'll probably prep at least the veggies the prior day or else prepare the whole thing for the crockpot the following day.

Tonight's meal: Sour Cream Pork Chops. Yet another recipe that I found online and plan to re-vamp. More on that to come!

Now, a quick question for the internets:
What do you do about a significant other who clearly has spending issues? Mr. Right is in pretty rough financial shape right now, and I'm seeing a side of him that I wasn't expecting; he doesn't think ahead in terms of money and it seems like he has very little self-control when it comes to spending. Last night he spent his last $10 on a pack of smokes and a pop, while he's going to be short of his expenses for the pay-period to the tune of several hundred dollars and is having to beg-borrow-and-steal to meet his financial obligations. I was severely disappointed in him and also very frustrated because... well, what am I supposed to think right now?? I've made arrangements in my budget to cover the expenses that he can no longer afford (like groceries!) until next month when he's expected to recover, and he's going out and spending money he DOESN'T have on something that isn't a necessity!! Do you think I'm being to harsh feeling this way? Or am I right to be feeling serious concerns about this? Thoughts and opinions are welcome!!!

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