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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

recipe of the week: homemade poppyseed dressing

my absolute favorite lunch is a yummy salad. if you do it right you can do it cheap and healthy (stay tuned - next post will have more on this). one of the best ways to make it cheap and healthy is to make your own salad dressings. good store-bought salad dressings (like newman's) are expensive and REALLY high on the bad fat and calories scale. change the salad dressing-stigma in your brain and make your own - the healthy way!

here is one of my favorite homemade dressings. it is really yummy on a salad with chicken and your favorite fruit. mmm..... enjoy!

poppyseed dressing

1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free mayo
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon poppyseeds

mix well. refrigerate until ready to use and refrigerate leftovers.

coming next is one of my favorite meals - a lunch salad with a cafe rio-style flair!

above recipe is slightly modified version of "poppyseed dressing I" from thanks to the same for the photo.

Friday, August 22, 2008

new skinny bovine feature - the sale alert!!!

i'm adding a new feature to the blog - the sale alert!  since most skinny bovine readers are provo residents I'll be posting good sales that i find in the right side bar for all to see! 

if you have any sale tips in provo you would like to share please post a comment and i'll put them in the sale alert section.  

hopefully this will help us all be part of each other's support network and we'll all save more money! 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

a great veggie recipe: no-cream pasta primavera

since i've just attempted to convince you to eat more veggies (see below), i feel responsible to give you at least one veggie-filled recipe to try.

i love pasta, but the thought of whole cream makes my tummy turn circles (so high on the bad fat and calories scale), so i was psyched when i found this yummy recipe. it has a TON of veggies - so feel free to substitute some for what you already have or what is cheap, or just use a few less and add some grilled chicken if you're still converting to veggieism. the sauce is what makes this one so yummy, so adjust other ingredients to your liking.

no-cream pasta primavera

1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned (pricey! use green pepper or leave out! - or splurge)
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
5 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, divided (can use a little bit less)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1-1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil (originally called for fresh, but dried is cheap!)
1-1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley (same as above - use fresh if you want to splurge!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. add penne pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain.

3. in a bowl, toss squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, and asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. arrange vegetables on the baking sheet, and roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender.

4. heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet. stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender. mix in cooked pasta, lemon zest, basil, parsley, and balsamic vinegar. gently toss and cook until heated through. remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. toss with roasted vegetables and sprinkle with cheese to serve.

about 6 servings

modified by the skinny bovine from original recipe found at

veggies, veggies and more veggies

so we all know that fruits and veggies are healthy for you, but they are often a challenge for we healthy, budgeted eaters. the "5 a day" campaign has drilled into my mind getting 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, but veggies are the hard part of that for me. i just have never loved them, but a few adjustments in my eating and shopping and i've learned to like them. veggies can be a bit more expensive than other things you could buy at the grocery store, but the benefits are more than worth the sacrifices in soda, cookies and granola bars you'll make. make small adjustments in your budget and your tummy will thank you. here are some of the cheaper veggies that i love and sneaky ways to use them so you don't feel like an under-fed health nut! :)

a few cheap veggies to love and ways to use them

spinach - spinach is a "superfood" (read about superfoods here) so it's super good for you. it's the easiest vegetable to use and disguise so that the fact that you may not love spinach won't ruin your meal. toss it in with your regular lettuce in a salad, get gutsy and make a salad of just spinach, put it in your hot pasta sauce or your chicken noodle soup and watch it basically disappear. i've heard it's good disguised in smoothies too, though i've yet to venture that far...

squash - yellow squash and zucchini are my favorites - they're cheap and a single yellow squash or zucchini goes a long way in a recipe! squash can be yummy all by itself as a side dish or you can add it to other recipes to sneak in an extra veggie serving for the day. it is yummy sprinkled with your favorite seasonings and grilled or baked. my husband loves to sprinkle cheese on top too. try slicing it up and putting it in your favorite saucy dish like pasta, curry or soup (add near the end so it doesn't get too mushy - squash cooks fast this way). pan-cook it with meat and other veggies and serve over rice.

green beans - fresh, frozen or in a can, you can always find green beans for cheap. they are great to throw into soups and sauces as well or as a side dish. pan-cook some with a little bit of italian dressing and you've got a tasty, easy and cheap little side dish... and an extra serving of vegetables for the day.

tomatoes - I KNOW, I KNOW! tomatoes are a fruit, but i'm including them in the veggie post because they taste and cook like veggies. another superfood, i once bought 6 romas for 86 cents!! hooray for tomatoes. again, salads, pastas, mexican food - the sky is the limit! canned tomatoes (crushed are my favorite) are a good base for many soups and sauces too.

broccoli - yet another superfood, broccoli is another veggie you can sneak into meals. try putting it in your blender first and then adding it to a sauce if you don't love it. you'll hardly know it's there. my friend lindsay has 2 boys under 4 and she says this is a good way to get kids to eat it too. i love it as a side dish, especially with my mom's cream cheese sauce which is skinny bovine-worthy for taste only (not healthy or particularly cheap) but if you're interested leave a comment with your email address and i'll tell you what's in it.

adjust your budget, your shopping list and your eating habits and push harder to get your "5 a day". and give vegetables a chance. you might like them more than you think you do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

recipe of the week: sour cream chicken enchiladas

i LOVE this recipe! i made it tonight and despite the fact that i have a cold and my taste buds are broken, it still felt good even though i could barely taste it. and sorry no picture - we ate it too fast and forgot!

sour cream chicken enchiladas

3 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced/cubed (i pan fry it in a tiny bit of oil, enchilada sauce and sprinkled with garlic, pepper and cumin)
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup green enchilada sauce
1 can green chilis
1 cup grated cheese
8-10 whole wheat tortillas (depends on how packed you like your enchiladas)

1/2 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/4-1/2 cup enchilada sauce
milk (for thinning the sauce for the top)
more cheese!!

1. combine cooked chicken, sour cream, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, green chilis and 1 cup cheese in a large bowl. spoon mixture into tortillas and pack into 13"x9" pan.
2. make sauce for top by combining 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup, 1/4-1/2 cup enchilada sauce (add until it tastes right to you!) and milk if you'd like your sauce thinner.
3. spread sauce over the enchiladas and top with desired amount of cheese.
4. bake in oven at 350 F for 30-35 min.

with the exception of a few modifications, thanks to my bff, maggi, for the original recipe for sour cream chicken enchiladas

Saturday, August 9, 2008

waste not, want not

one of the biggest money-wasters in my kitchen has been wasting food, whether it be from food spoiling or not using food because you don't know what else you can use 1/2 a can of crushed tomatoes for. in order to combat this nasty, expensive vice, i try to implement a few, simple habits:
  • check your cabinets and refridgerator once a week. if you have foods that are almost expired, use those first. this almost always includes fresh fruits and veggies and can often include dairy products like cheese, milk and eggs.

  • plan a weekly menu. this can definitely be a struggle (especially for me!) as it is often easier to fly by the seat of your pants when preparing meals. but planning ahead can keep you from wasting food, making multiple trips to the grocery store or even letting some ingredients go unused. you'll be glad you did when you only have to make one trip to the grocery store instead of 3.

  • plan meals strategically. if you're going to use 1/2 a can of corn in a recipe on monday, find another recipe you can put corn in later in the week or have it as a side dish to something else. one of my favorite ways to do this is to use the "ingredient search" on ( if you're interested.)

  • don't waste even the smallest amount. if you have a tiny bit of cheese left, mix it into some sauce and put it over pasta. be creative. one of the yummiest dinners we've ever had was when i used just 1 piece of fresh deli turkey, skillet-grilled with onions, garlic and eggs, topped with cheese and then wrapped up in tortillas for breakfast burritos. just 1 slice of turkey make a delicious dinner and didn't go to waste.

  • use the bad, make it good. now, clearly you can't make something "good" out of spoiled milk, but some foods you can save right before they're bad (or right after they're "bad" - the expiration dates on food are often overly cautious) and turn them into something yummy. it's always fun to use brown bananas for something so here's a yummy recipe i like to use.

whole wheat banana bread

1/3 applesauce or non-fat plain yogurt
1/4 honey
1/4 cup brown sugar + a little extra
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
a dash of cinnamon (optional)

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. in a large bowl, beat applesauce/yogurt, honey and brown sugar together. add eggs, and mix well. stir in bananas and vanilla. stir in flour and salt. add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. blend in chopped nuts and cinnamon (optional). spread batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
3. bake for 45 to 60 minutes. check often - different ovens have different cook times! cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.

some of these tips may seem simple, but the pennies saved from implementing them in your kitchen count. so plan ahead, prepare and push your tiny budget farther than it has gone before.

thanks to for the picture

recipe adpated by yours truly from "whole wheat banana nut bread" on

Monday, August 4, 2008

recipe of the week: crockpot chicken and rice

warm, hearty and delicious this recipe is skinny bovine-worthy not only because it's cheap and healthy, but it's crock pot-easy and it makes great left overs.

crockpot chicken and rice

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (adjust according to how hungry your diners are)
1/2 cup water
1 package dry zesty italian dressing mix

cook 4 hours on high; cut chicken into bite-sized pieces or shred it

add one can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup (buy the Wal-Mart generic brand!), one 8 oz package 1/3 less fat or fat-free cream cheese

cook until hot; serve over rice

extra-healthy modifications: serve over brown rice instead of white and add fresh spinach when you add the last two ingredients. yum, yum!

recipe attribution: thanks, mom!
cook time: just minutes... yeah for crock pots! (and okay, the rice will take 20 minutes or so), makes lots!

"we'll take the cheaper chicken"

the title of this post and picture below are from a movie. does anyone know what movie?
thanks for asking about chicken, bekah! and you're right - chicken does qualify as healthy. it's low fat and a great source of lean protein, which definitely makes it skinny bovine-worthy. but how do you know if you're buying the cheapest chicken or if you're getting ripped off in your health crusade? here are a few helpful hints to make your chicken cheaper that i've gathered from experience and from friends/family:
  • skip the freezer section. it's almost always cheapest to buy fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast (or tenders) and freeze it yourself. sandwich baggies work great. i'd suggest freezing 1-2 breasts in each bag, depending on how much you normally use at a time.
  • watch for sales, then buy in bulk. last september i bought a 40 lb box of fresh, boneless skinless chicken breast... for only $1.19/lb!!!!! this is the type of food investment that is too cheap to pass up. i use chicken in probably half of my week's dinners and that box lasted me 7 months. (if you're thinking "my freezer will never fit 40 lbs of chicken!", it will. my tiny freezer fit 40 lbs of chicken and all of the other things i normally have in it.)
  • how cheap is cheap? if you're a utah local, you should never have to buy chicken for more than $2.00/lb. and if you watch sales close enough you should be able to get it for something more like $1.69-$1.89/lb (and cheaper on occasion). all of the normal chain stores like Smiths, Albertons, etc. should run sales on chicken and local non-chain stores (like Macey's in utah) may as well. if you're not in utah, start watching your local sales closely for the cheapest price. often different grocers will run sales close to the same time to compete with each other, so if you spot a sale at one store, check the ads in your newspaper or mail to see if another store is cheaper.
  • buy whole chickens instead of chicken breasts. it is often cheaper and you can bake or boil the whole chicken and then freeze what you don't use to be used in later recipes.
  • create a support network. talk with other local women (family, friends, neighbors who will become friends) who are dedicated to deal-finding and call each other when you become aware of a sale. this is also useful in the case of a 40 lb box of chicken for $1.19/lb as mentioned above. split it with a friend and you both get 20 lb. my network includes my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, but if you want to join my network i'd be happy to have you!
  • stretch your chicken to the limits. since meat is the pricey ingredient in many meals, rather than grilling a chicken breasts for everyone eating dinner, use recipes that use a little bit of chicken to feed a lot of people. some ideas are pasta with chicken in it, pieces of chicken cooked with veggies to serve over rice, chicken salads, chicken and veggies in some sort of sauce or broth (like a curry or a soup), etc. see this week's recipe of the week for a recipe that makes chicken go a long way. another idea to make a little bit of chicken go a long way is to cut it lengthwise, making 2 chicken breasts out of 1.
with a little bit of planning and ingenuity you, too, can enjoy chicken for cheaper. and you, too, may hear your husband say, "you bought what? where are we going to put it all?"

thanks to for the picture

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!