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Menu Plan Monday: January 25th

Well, it's the last week of January~and the last week of the *eat from the pantry* challenge. It has been an interesting month of meals. The first couple of weeks went great as far as hardly any spending. This last week I spent quite a bit on fresh produce after my hubby decided he wanted to go on a *fruits & veggies only* fast. I told him to wait until summer the next time he wanted to do that:) There will be a better veggie selection and hopefully we'll have a little garden again! But all-in-all it has been a good month. The total so far for the month is $115. It's possible that we'll need to pick a thing or two up this week, but I'm going to do my darndest not to! That total is amazing to me, since just two years ago I was spending around $125 a week on groceries~now it's usually around $70. I have definitely learned a lot in the past couple of year about being frugal and spending wisely.

We definitely had some interesting moments at dinnertime this past week. Some veggie dishes were hits and some were definitely NOT hits.

included: veggie-stuffed baked potatoes (stuffed with olive oil-based butter, minced garlic and steamed, chopped broccoli), sauteed zucchini, blended cauliflower (steamed and then blended w/a hand mixer with olive oil-based butter, salt & white pepper) and gazpacho.

included: Greek caponata (would've been a side dish with a grilled steak!), and acorn squash wedges (it's the first time I didn't like a recipe from P-Dub...sorry). I didn't get around to the butternut squash puree...but since I still have that butternut squash in the fridge, I'm sure we'll be trying it somehow.

I'm sharing the gazpacho recipe with you today. I've tried gazpacho maybe once before and I remembered liking it. And even though it's traditionally a summertime dish, it's chock full of veggies so I decided to try it. The kids wouldn't even taste it, but Vince and I loved it!! It's a good thing, too, because it made a whopping two quarts+! The recipe I used came from Susan Branch's Girlfriends Forever book. I made just a few changes to it to fit the veggies I had on hand, and I added fresh cilantro. Because everything is better with fresh cilantro in my book!

In your blender:
10 oz. cold tomato juice
1 med. tomato, cut up*
1/2 med. cucumber, cut up
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls. olive oil
To blended ingredients, add:
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 med. tomato, chopped
1/2 med. cucumber, chopped
1 sm. red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 sm. squash, chopped**
1 sm. carrot, finely chopped**
about 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Make sure that the veggies you are chopping to add to the blended ingredients are chopped small enough so that they will fit nicely on the spoon together. Chill well.
*I was out of fresh tomatoes so I used a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes in the blender, then I just didn't add any more in the second round.
** You can add fresh diced zucchini and green pepper instead, if you'd like. In fact you can be pretty flexible on the veggies you put in, picking and choosing ones you like versus ones you don't.

Ok, now for this week. We are still planning to eat lots of veggies, of course, but not just veggies this time around. The kiddos will be so happy:)

Monday: Beef~Vegetable Soup with Cornbread
Tuesday: Chuck E. Cheese celebration for the kiddos
Wednesday: Hamburgers Diane, Steamed Broccoli, Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash
Thursday: My Grandma's Goulash
Friday: TBA~Possible Date Night:)
Saturday: Tuna Noodle Skillet Meal

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.


This sounds yummy. And I agree, everything is better with fresh cilantro.

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