Lately I've been inspired by cooking shows on The Food Network. In the past I used to watch the shows and if a recipe called for an expensive ingredient I would pretty much write off ever making it. But these days, since we're on a tight budget, I've been looking at the recipes in a new light.
Take, for example, two shows I watched yesterday - Everyday Italian and 30 Minute Meals. Giada made a frittata using, among other things, prosciutto, an ingredient I never buy. I remembered that I had some broccoli, a small nub of cheddar cheese and potatoes, so for dinner tonight I made a frittata using those ingredients. We also had some tater tots in the freezer from the last time SP had breakfast club at work and we always have bacon on hand. Dinner = done.
As for Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals - she was making mini meatloaf muffins, smashed potatoes and green beans with bacon. My plan for dinner tomorrow is to make my own recipe for meatloaf, but cook it in my muffin tins like she did. I'm going to make garlic mashed potatoes like I made a few nights ago and depending on how the green beans look in the store, I'll either make green beans with bacon or Emeril's recipe for smothered green peas, modified a bit to make it more flavorful.
Tomorrow is Sunday, my day of cooking. I'm looking forward to the mini meatloaves, making tomato sauce for dinner later in the week and prepping for the rest of our meals.
UPDATE: Here's the frittata recipe I used last night. Remember, this is just a method. Frittatas are incredibly versatile - you can use whatever ingredients you have on hand. It's a good way to clean out the fridge.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
a few pieces of broccoli cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cheddar cheese cut into cubes
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy 12-inch-diameter oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the potato, onion, broccoli and garlic. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper. Saute over medium-low heat until the potato is golden and crisp on the outside, tender inside, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the broiler (I don't have a broiler that will fit a skillet so I just preheated the oven to 350 degrees). Whisk the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture in the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set but the top is still loose, about 3 minutes.
Place the skillet under the broiler (or in the oven). Broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 4 minutes (I had to cook the frittata for about 15-20 minutes in the oven). Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.