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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ALDI Gourmet: 5-day Supper Challenge (DAY 2)

So as you know, this week I have challenged myself to cook dinners made only of foods that can be purchased at Aldi.  Welcome to Day 2 of the challenge!  Aldi is a discount grocery store chain, and I know we have saved money on groceries since we started shopping there.  Now, that said, if you're looking for a thorough breakdown of savings, comparisons, and prices per meal, you won't find that here.  I am not a number girl!  Ask any one of my past math teachers or my Dad, who, bless his heart is probably the reason I made it through the required math courses throughout the school years.  He helped me with my math homework every night!  Sorry Dad!  Haha!

I even make my daily smoothie from all Aldi ingredients!

Aldi Smoothie

Handful of frozen blueberries
As many spinach leaves as will fit in the blender carafe
1/2 cup of Kefir
1/2 cup of milk

Day 2-Tuesday

Meet my friends Madoline and Mandy.  They are my taste-testers tonight!
Madoline works in PR and journalism, is an excellent writer, and has a food blog of her own...find the link here:
Mandy is a personal trainer and a real inspiration for your personal fitness journey.  She knows a lot about the Whole 30 diet...which I may have posts about to come.

Beef and Feta Patties with Beet and Arugula Salad 
and Roasted Parmesan Oregano Potatoes

Beef and Feta Patties

Everything you'll need from Aldi:
The List:
Ground Beef
Red Onion
Feta Cheese
Bread Crumbs
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Lemon
Olive Oil
Dried Oregano

Beef and Feta Patties Recipe:
*I have a next-door neighbor who is from Australia.  I will refer to him as the Awesome Aussie, and I'll tell you why later.  He and his wife are dear friends of our's.  Donna Hay is the Australian version of Martha Stewart.  They loaned me some of her magazines to look for recipe inspiration.  Well, it didn't take long to find it!  This is my Aldi version of her recipe for Beef and Feta Patties.
1 cup Breadcrumbs
 1/4 cup Milk
1 heaping tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
1 or 2 minced cloves of garlic
the zest of 1 lemon
1 Teaspoon dry Oregano
1 container Feta Cheese
Mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl and then add about 1.5 lb.s ground beef.  Work all the ingredients into the meat (this happens best when I just use my hand to mix).  Form the meat mixture into patties (don't make them too big or too thick).  Heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil in a flat pan over Medium heat.  Cook the patties until cooked through (5-8 minutes on each side, at least). Turn the heat down some if your's start to get too brown like mine did.  After you flip them, you might want to cover for about 5 minutes or so to encourage even heat, and center doneness (is that a word?).  When you think they may be done, cut into the largest one and make sure there is no pink!  Some things, like tuna steaks, are delicious rare or raw...but not ground beef!!  When they are ready, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and put in a warm place while you prepare the Beet Salad. 

Roasted Parmesan and Oregano Potatoes

Everything you'll need from Aldi:
The List:
Golden Potatoes
Parmesan Cheese
Dried Oregano
 Olive Oil
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Lemon

The Recipe:
4-5 Potatoes, cut into 1/4 wedges
2 tablespoons butter, melted
The juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 or 2 minced Garlic Cloves
handful of Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cut the potatoes in half, then half of that, than half of you have 1/4 wedges.  Place in a large mixing bowl and pour over Olive Oil, Butter, Oregano, Lemon Juice, and Salt and Pepper.  Spread out on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, so that the largest side of white part is down on the pan (so that the soft part can get softer and soak up the juices).  Bake for about 45-60 minutes (ovens may vary).  About halfway through cooking, cover with Parmesan cheese.

Beet Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

Everything you'll need from Aldi:
The List:
Fresh Arugula
Goat Cheese Crumbles
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Canned Beets
Chopped Walnuts

The Recipe: 
A small handful of Arugula for each plate
5-6 Beets per plate
A sprinkling of Goat Cheese on each plate
A sprinkling of Walnuts on (you guessed it) each plate
A Drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette (exact recipe below)
On each plate, arrange the handful of Arugula, handful of beets, goat cheese, and walnuts.  Mix together in a measuring cup, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar.  Drizzle over the top of the salad.

I'm ready to serve dinner to my friends!

*The reason I call my neighbor the Awesome Aussie, is because he is a very inspiring person.  He invented and patented the Ninety-Net, a tool for soccer practice that improves goal targeting.  I'm probably not explaining that exactly right, so read more about it here:  Some time soon, I will be doing Australia-Inspired dishes with this sweet family.  So stay tuned for that.

I was pleased with how the Day 2 recipes turned out.  The beef patties tasted substantial, like you could eat them after a day of chopping wood or working in the fields, but with a burst of gourmet freshness from the lemon zest.  Beets are always tasty paired with goat cheese and arugula, and parmesan potatoes can never be too bad, right?  I think Madoline and Mandy were pleased by the flavors too.  This meal was actually not too time-consuming to prepare.  So you could realistically make it on a weeknight.  The potatoes do take a little while to soften and cook appropriately.  But you just put them in the oven and walk away.  I hope I've provided you with a doable weeknight meal idea today.