Friday, February 26, 2010


One big key in cooking weekly meals is plan, plan, plan. You have to sit down and plan your menu either by the week, or like I do the month. I saw years of my mother doing this and thought, "she puts WAY too much time into planning meals for BORING." Then as I grew up and stopped rolling my eyes I realized the importance of what she did and still does. It takes a couple of days of hard work and then the rest of the month is a breeze. Another tool that comes in extremely handy is have a checklist on the fridge and blanks spaces as well to simply check mark or write an item the minute you run out. They have these great lists already made for you that I found at Target by "REALSIMPLE"; it has magnets on the big notepad and you always have it there on your fridge. While planning look at the coupons and sales on the internet to guide you in your menu. The final tool that I use are staples and more staples. Keep your pantry or cabinets filled with staples like spices, oils, vinegars, flour, and canned goods like beans, tomatoes, any vegetables, tuna, etc. I also usually try to have lemons, apples, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, and cilantro on hand because those are staples for our family. Here's a recipe that is great to keep on hand for a healthy snack and is made with practically all staples.

Spicy Hummus


* 1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
* 2 rounded tablespoons Tahini sesame paste (found in diary, dry, or Greek aisle)
* A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
* 1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) ground coriander
* 1 clove garlic, crushed
* Coarse salt
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* Wheat pita bread warmed, tore in pieces and used for dipping


Combine beans, Tahini, oil, pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor bowl and grind into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small dip dish and surround spread with warm pita wedges. This recipe makes a great appetizer, or anytime snack.

Okay I don't know exactly what you have in your pantry and what you don't. So average pantry probably doesn't have Tahini Sesame Paste (what is that anyway?!?!). That's how my pantry was. Everything else is pretty much considered a staple and if you don't have garbanzo beans a.k.a. chickpeas, they cost like $0.52 a can. The Tahini paste doesn't even necessarily have to be added, but it gives a nice creamy and nutty consistency and binds the hummus together nicely. I made it without it once and it was still delicious, but better with the Tahini which costs around $3.00.
Hummus can cost anywhere from $4.00-$6.00. Once you have the Tahini on hand this hummus costs virtually $0.52. Try it it is SO good!

*Recipe with the help of and Rachael Ray.

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