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Sunday, November 2, 2008

spent your food budget a little too early? me too.

i have a confession to make - i somehow managed to spend all of my food budget by the 17th of the month in october. argh. after a brief stint of major self-disappointment, i decided to take the opportunity to really get creative and use what i have in my kitchen already.

luckily, i like to keep lots of food around and my friend kimberly taught me the coolest trick with bell peppers a while back, so i even had some "fresh" produce on hand. i bought a bunch of bell peppers when they were 3 for $1 and froze them for later use. here's kimberly's trick. it's amazing.

how to prep and freeze bell peppers
  1. buy lots of bell peppers when they are cheap, cheap, cheap!
  2. chop them into small pieces.
  3. spread them onto a cookie sheet and place (uncovered) in freezer for a few hours. a thinner layer is better - don't let them heap over the edge of the cookie sheet.
  4. when frozen, remove from cookie sheet and place into freezer bag.

i usually just throw them into things frozen, but they do defrost quickly in case you're putting them on/in something where the extra water would be bad (i.e. pizza).

here's a recipe to try after you freeze some yummy bell peppers. when i realized i was out of money in my food budget, i started brain storming and almost immediately started dreaming of these yummy enchiladas. enjoy!

shredded chicken enchiladas with homemade red sauce

12 enchiladas

2 chicken breasts, cut in half

¼ teaspoon onion salt

¼ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 bay leaf

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 can petit diced tomatoes, drained

½ cup green peppers, diced super tiny or put in small food processor or blender

more seasoning to taste (taco seasoning, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt – whatever you like! get creative!)

12 corn tortillas

shredded cheese

1 recipe "red enchilada sauce" (i'm obsessed with this enchilada sauce - it is so yummy! use 1 or 1 1/4 cups water instead of 1 1/2 cups and for the salsa part i make easy fresh salsa ala skinny bovine)

fat free sour cream

1. place all ingredients (except chicken and extra seasoning) into crockpot and stir.
2. add chicken. cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours).
3. make enchilada sauce.
4. when chicken is done, remove bay leaf and shred chicken with a fork - it should basically just fall apart.
5. add extra seasoning as desired to make your chicken extra yummy! you be the chef!
6. use a fork (so extra liquid drains off) to scoop chicken mixture into corn tortillas. fit into pan - 10 across and then 2 along the bottom. top with all of the enchilada sauce and cheese to your liking. serve with fat free sour cream.

my good camera broke, so my pictures look miserable. sorry! they are lots yummier than they look!


stacey said...

I flash freeze lots of things, peppers being a favorite. I'll try to remember some of the other things I've done. Some of the veggies in this list were blanched first.

blueberries (don't wash until you are ready to use them, i.e., freeze dirty! Otherwise they'll be mushy when thawed)
cookies (Jeff likes them frozen best, weird...haha)
various meats
green beans

I also did this with a lot of Jacob's baby food when my ice cube trays were full already.

Huge fan of flash freezing. Glad you like it!

BrittWilk said...

flash freezing! ahhh - it has a name! haha. i didn't know that. and thanks for the suggestions on other things to freeze this way. if only i could find raspberries and blueberries cheap enough i'd be soooo in! :) someday!

stacey said...

You can come visit me next summer and we can pick berries, freeze them here, and then you can come back again in the winter and enjoy them. :) Jacob and I love eating "fresh" raspberries on our oatmeal!

Amy Workman said...

We have totally been there on the "creative" dishes! Yea for college life!

Also (in response to your last post on my blog) we're not moving. We've seen the light and we're staying at least through next Aug. :) Yea! :)

BrittWilk said...

stacey - that is a brilliant idea! :) i forgot you guys picked a bunch of berries. mmm...

and amy, i'm glad you're not moving. i'd be sad!

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!