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Monday, July 27, 2015

ALDI Gourmet: 5-day Supper Challenge (DAY 1)

If you have a multiple-person family, then you know how expensive grocery shopping can be.  As well as how hard it gets to come up with ideas for weeknight meals when you're just burnt out on all those same old recipe staples.

I've recently discovered the joy and the savings of shopping at Aldi!  This past week, I challenged myself to cook dinners that consisted only of ingredients available at Aldi.  You might have seen this little, hopefully eye-catching image on social media (the reason for the red lettering).

Did you wonder what it was all about?  I'm going to share my Aldi meal ideas with you, that's what!!



Day 1-Monday



Black Bean Salsa
A long time ago, my mom and I found this recipe in a Southern Living magazine.  We've made variations of it so much, that I've memorized it and then tweaked it to suit my tastebuds.  It's great to make at the beginning of the week to have with chips...
(this week we're doing these great pumpkin seed chips from Aldi)

 ...or as a topping or side for other dishes.

...everything you'll need from Aldi:
The List:
Green onions
Red Wine Vinegar
Ro-tel tomatoes
Bell Pepper
Fresh Garlic
Lime
Black Beans
Olive Oil

The Recipe:
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (chopped)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes (drained)
Lime Garlic Vinaigrette (Recipe below)
Chop everything that needs to be chopped and drain and rinse everything that needs to be drained and rinsed.  Then throw it all in a decorative bowl.  Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over the top.  Stir it up, cover and store in the fridge.  It's good to stir it every so often so the flavors can really blend together.

Lime Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe:

1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinager
1 or 2 minced garlic cloves (depending on how much you like garlic)
The juice of 1 lime...go ahead and add the zest too...just gives it a little something extra!
Salt and Pepper to taste



Gyro Stuffed Chicken with Quinoa and 
Roma-Cucumber Salad
I know it doesn't look that beautiful...not food magazine worthy by any means. But it did taste great!
One of my favorite foods is Gyros and one of my favorite chefs is Giada de Laurentiis....So, this was our main course...and I made up the recipes with a little help from Giada and my inspiration from Greek food.  The particular Giada recipe that inspired me is here:
...and I'm sure I will do a blog post about it in the Fall.  We've done it many times and it is divine!

Everything you'll need from Aldi for my stuffed Chicken recipe:

...plus a couple things I forgot to put in that last pic.  The red onion is only by choice.  I'm a big fan of red onion and always want it on my gyro, so you know I'm going to include it!  Do what you want though!
The List
Fresh Spinach Leaves
Oregano
Roma Tomatoes
Feta Cheese
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
2 Chicken Breasts (Didn't include that bc Who wants to see a pic of raw chicken, right? Ugh!)
Fresh Garlic Cloves
Fresh Lemon
Fresh Cucumber
Honey
Cream Cheese
Chicken Broth
Kalamata Olives
Quinoa
Red Onion
Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard (see note below)

Chicken recipe: 
Grab two chicken breasts and put them in a ziploc bag.  Beat them to death, er more death with a meat cleaver...
Then let them marinate inside the Ziploc bag for a least 30 minutes.  More time is great too, depending on your schedule.
Marinade for the Chicken:
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
A few shakes of Salt, Pepper and Oregano

Stuffing for the Chicken:
2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
Half a container of Feta Cheese, or more if you want
1 or 2 minced cloves of fresh garlic
Huge handful of Spinach
1 Tablespoon of chopped Red Onion
1 teaspoon Oregano
5 or 6 Kalamata Olives (chopped finely)
1.   Heat 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, red onion and Oregano.  Cook until fragrant and somewhat tender.  Add a huge handful of Spinach (if you don't know yet, I have a Spinach Habit, more to come on that in future posts).  In a mixing bowl, combine Cream Cheese, Feta Cheese, chopped olives and Spinach combination.

2.   Cut each flattened chicken breast in half, so that you have 4 flat pieces of chicken.  Spoon the filling into each piece and fold over...(I really hope this makes sense).  Heat another Tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium heat.  Once, warm, add the stuffed chicken.  Cook covered for 6-8 minutes.  Uncover and flip, cook for 6-8 minutes more, until done.  Note that time may vary depending on differences in stove ranges.  The way to tell when they are done is to pick up the biggest one and cut in half and look for pinkness.  You don't want pinkness!!! Please prevent Salmonella poisoning!!  When it's ready, transfer to a plate and set aside in a warm place (i put it in the microwave).

3.  Here is where Giada's recipe really comes in.  For a light sauce, in a small mixing bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, and 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon Mustard.  Full disclosure-I actually totally forgot that Giada's recipe calls for Course Ground Dijon Mustard.  So I didn't even look for it at Aldi.  They may have it, i don't know.  We keep it on hand so I did add it.  It puts the sauce over the top and creates a beautiful aroma in your kitchen while it's cooking.  Pour this mixture into the pan you cooked the chicken in.  Use a spatula to stir and scrape up the bits of meat left behind.  Let it simmer over medium-low heat until the amount is reduced by about half.  Spoon this yumminess over the Chicken and Quinoa when you are ready to serve.

Zesting.
I'm all about zesting some lemons and limes!  One time, my family went on a camping trip.  We tried hard to pack everything we needed.  We got most things...but there were a few essentials that got left behind.  However, I remembered the zester!  The running joke for the whole trip was, "At least we have the lemon zester!".


4.  Prepare the Quinoa, going by the package instructions.  If you struggle to eat Quinoa, here's a tip for you: Boil it in some type of broth (I did chicken broth tonight).  It makes it more moist and more tasty.  Also, I topped it with more feta cheese, which never hurts, right?

5.  For the Roma Cucumber Salad side, I simply sliced 1 cucumber and 3 roma tomatoes and topped them with this simple mix of ingredients: 1/4 cup Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar.



I will say, this recipe does have a lot of steps.  It takes a little while to prepare.  You might want to pop in a movie for your littles.  My kids watched The Incredibles while I cooked it.  We are not big TV people, but we do love Disney movies.  They were dying to watch this one.  But if you don't have time, save it for a special occasion, date night in without the kids, or come to my house and I'll make it for you! Haha!


Dessert!


Incredibles Villain

In honor of the fact that Aldi is a supermarket chain that is based in Germany, I wanted to do at least one German recipe.  I thought dessert might be a good one, so I searched German desserts on Pinterest.  I decided on German Apple Cake, even though it's not Fall yet...but you know the intensely negative feelings I have for hot weather.  I mean, I feel personally offended by extreme heat.  Haha!  Really though, I'm already looking forward to the cooler months...so apples and cinnamon it is.

German Apple Cake
I have died and gone to a heaven made of cream cheese clouds!  This recipe is legit!  It's even better 1 or 2 days after you make it.  The recipe I used is here:
http://passionatepastry.blogspot.com/2010/04/german-apple-cake.html

...what you'll need from Aldi:

*After that recipe, I feel like it's necessary to include a tiny public health disclaimer. haha! I mean seriously?...Icing that calls for Cream Cheese and Butter?  Wha???
 It is never my goal on this blog, to promote indulgent eating independent of a healthy lifestyle.  According to the American Heart Association, we should all be getting "at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day."-American Heart Association.  Please read more about that here:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp


So far, I'm feeling like this Aldi Challenge is doable.  But it's only Day 1.  Stay tuned to see how the rest of the week goes.  Until then, I love you people.  Hope I've inspired you to cook something at a discount.