Told you I was gonna do something different next time I cooked up the Gordon's Salmon we got on B1G1 sale from Publix.  Enjoyed the fish but didn't enjoy waiting so long for the fish to bake in the oven, so I multi-tasked thawed the fish in boiling water - and flavored the pasta water too.  This meal was so good I wanted to slap myself!
(Serves 4 with leftovers)

  • 1 box Barilla Plus bowtie pasta, pasta water reserved
  • 2 packages Gorden's grilled salmon
  • 1 package baby portabello mushrooms, wiped clean with a paper towel and rough chopped
  • 1 large zucchini or yellow squash, washed and rough chopped
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • 1 tsp chicken base (better than bouillion)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup each dry nonfat dry milk and dry potato flakes (to add creaminess and thicken sauce)
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder (or minced garlic)
  • Pepper to taste
After thawing salmon in boiling water.  Remove salmon to a clean plate.  Pour pasta in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes and turn the water off.  Why turn the water off now when the package recommends 10 minutes of cooking time?  Many times when were making pasta meal with many parts the pasta gets overcooked. Folks, pasta will continue to cook in the hot water without getting mushy, so that's one less thing to worry about in your quest for a good meal.

Next, you'll add more salmon flavor to the dish by searing the salmon portions in another pan coated with oil or cooking spray on medium high heat for about 2 minutes on each side.  Add about a 1/4 of the pasta water to the pan, cover and steam another few minutes.  Remove fish again.  This time add your remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to the pan.  Stir in your mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and your seasonings and cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove veggies and deglaze (boil the burnt goodness into a sauce) with 2 cups of the pasta water.  In a small bowl, mix the dry milk and potato water with a few tbsp of pasta water to form a smooth paste. Forgot this step and you'll have to do like I did and stir like crazy to get the lumps out of the sauce.  Add about a half of the cooked pasta to the pan and stir in the veggies.  Once warmed, add in your mozzarella cheese.

Counting the spatula, the 3 plates, pot, pan and 2 spoons and 3 forks, this recipe used 11 more dishes than I like to wash, so make it well enough and somebody will step up to the taste of busting suds. WORKED LIKE A CHARM IN OUR HOUSE.

G, what about the rest of the pasta? 
Save it and some of that pasta water gold and be creative with a meal for next week.  With the two 50 cent canned salmon I scored a few weeks ago, hubby might be enjoying some homemade salmon patties with lunch next week.   Bon appetit!
Gotta keep it quick here, but wanted to post a few new pics of meals we had a la coupon!  Hope you enjoy them!
Foreman Grilled Cheese Sandwich

That grill's come in handy this summer!  You can use the Kraft American slices, but I used another type of cheese.

  • 5 thin slices of Helava Good PepperJack cheese
  • 1 slice garden tomato
  • 1 slice Roasted Pepper
  • 1 Whole Wheat Deli Flat

I layered tomato and roasted pepper between the cheese and deli flat and grilled for 2 minutes. Yum!

BBQ flavored Grilled Chicken Tenders

My daughter got hooked on the PBS America's Test Kitchen show.  When I ordered one of their books with the accompanying DVD, she gravitated to this recipe.  It's meant for skinned pieces of chicken but I used the dry rub on chicken tenders and grilled them on the Foreman Grill.

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp garlic and onion powders
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Pat the chicken dry.  Marinade in the rub for at least one hour.  Cook on the heated Foreman Grill for about 5-8 minutes or until done.

On the Go Parfait

I did my first ever nutrition/coupon tutorial with the Metanoia Freedom School parents during the annual parent's night educational series.  I wanted to spend as much time as possible talking about saving money with coupons, so I showed the families a couple of recipes that kids could make on their own without turning on the kitchen stove.  Why is it in a cup?  To show the parents that if kids are running late to school they can still have a decent breakfast in the car on the way to school. This parfait was the first recipe.

1 Yoplait Blueberry yogurt
1 Nature Valley granola bar, broken into bitesize pieces

I simply layered the cup yogurt, 1/2 granola bar pieces, yogurt, the rest of the granola.  Breakfast or snack is served.  *For a less sugar version, I used a Dannon Greek plain fat free yogurt with about 2 Tbsp mandarin oranges.

Kashi Supreme Thin Crust Pizza

The empty nest is not so empty anymore and our fashionista wanted to try the Kashi Pizza.  I asked her to dress it up with the following:

  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 handful Lindsay olives, rinsed and halved
  • 2 Tbsp President's Fat Free Feta
  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers, dried and sliced
  • Italian Seasoning to taste

Easy Pasta Salad

G, how easy is it you ask?  So easy, my husband made it from my instructions while I redid a lot of my food coupon pictures.  It's a variation of the Tortellini and Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad recipe on this site. 

  • Barilla Plus bowtie pasta
  • a handful of the Lindsay olives, rinsed and halved
  • 1/4 cup fat free feta
  • a cucumber from our garden
  • Kraft balsamic vinegar dressing.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Remember that Pork Rib Italiano from the last post?  Just as I'd mentioned, it was awesome as a quick lunch!  I just shredded one country rib with about 2 teaspoons of barbecue sauce.  Nuked it for about 40 seconds and then filled 2 Sara Lee whole wheat hotdog buns and lunch was great that day!  Sorry the photographer got hungry in the middle of the shoot.

Buying healthier ingredients on my new food coupon 'diet' is still a bit of a challenge, but I'm definitely having fun playing around in the kitchen again.  With that said, I have two recipes to offer .  The first is a quick and easy flank steak meal.  The second is an Italian-ish style treatment of pork country ribs.  Hope you enjoy them both!

rare & well done: easy flank steak menu at work
10 Minute Flank Steak Meal (12 Minutes If Your Husband Likes His Steak Well Done)

It literally took 10 minutes to throw this simple, healthy and delicious meal together from the time I turned on the kitchen light to the time I served dinner.  There's only 4 key ingredients, all of them were on sale.

  • Leftover Rice A Roni, Wild Rice Pilaf Flavor
  • Flank steak (with Light Kraft Olive Oil and Balsalmic Salad Dressing)
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 lime

The steak was marinated in a Ziploc overnight.  To get the most intense flavor, I squeezed all the air out by rolling it like a sleeping bag before zipping it closed.  I turned on my Foreman Grill, coating the top and bottom with a little vegetable oil (cooking spray works too).  I cooked the steak for 5-6 minutes.  While the meat rested, I heated the rice and sliced the cucumbers.  I added the steak slices to my plate and threw my husband's on the grill for another 1-2 minutes to get it closer to the shoe leather texture he prefers.  I squeezed the lime over the steak and cucumbers.  Simple and delish!

country ribs - the other Italian secret ingredient
Country Pork Ribs Italiano

The idea for this recipe came as I scrambled to do something with the country ribs we didn't grill on the 4th.  Suddenly I remembered from forever ago focused on an Italian American restaurant owner with a famous Cleveland rib eatery.  When his family prepared their 'gravy' for pasta, they used slabs of ribs to season the sauce.  Once the sauce was done, they'd pull out the ribs, grill them and the rest is history.  We didn't have a slab of ribs but it was worth a try.

Season the pork: Garlic and onion powders, poultry and Cajun seasonings with pepper to taste.  I seared the pork in vegetable oil until browned on both sides.  Then I removed the meat and cooked the same assortment of veggies we'd used for the Very Veggie Spaghetti Sauce (along with the rest of an eggplant, celery and onions, I rinsed two handfuls of Lindsay Large Pitted Olives that I simply sliced in half).  I added more garlic powder, Italian seasoning and celery seed to the pot.  Boy, I wish I had some red wine to deglaze this pan, in its place I used a little chicken base and water.  I added a couple large cans of $1 store brand spaghetti sauce and simmered the ribs in the sauce for two hours on low heat.  Before serving, I browned the ribs on our Foreman Grill and retrieved not only the ribs, but also the browned sauce too.  I served the ribs with Rice A Roni - I cooked 2 boxes using only 1 flavor packet and added seasonings, the same in fact that I used to season the raw pork.  The ribs were super tender and my husband was a very happy man at lunch today.

After our taste testing last night and my husband's lunch today, what will we do with last 3 pieces of pork and all that sauce?  A couple ideas come to mind.  This sauce would be a great in lasagna.  The rest of the pork served shredded and used on a bun or to top a baked (or microwaved potato) served with or without the sauce.  I'm considering making a fresh batch of burger buns tomorrow. Come back to see what I end up making.  Gotta go exercise, this cooking frenzy is adding to a girl's figure.

In order for me to use 40 coupons at a pop, it takes me way longer than 30 minutes.  So I sat in on a class that Jenny graciously offered at the Dream Center.  Along with clearing up some of the mistakes I was making in my shopping rituals, she shared how she makes a game of seeing how long she can stretch a $5 CVS gift card.  I just thought of a challenge for myself.  I'm going to see how many grocery and personal care items I can get for free, so I can buy more vegetables and still cut my grocery bill by 50%.
red velvet cake and brownie and s'more cupcakes
Something decadent for a change!  With plenty of Betty Crocker Brownie mix and Devil's Food Cake mixes in stock, we played around with some things and have a page full of dessert recipes including recipes for the (Not So) Red Velvet Brownie and Cake and S'more Brownie Cupcakes!

You know me, I added ground flax seed to the s'more brownie mix to add some kind of fiber to the recipe.  Shared a cupcake with my husband, it was pretty good. I liked the distinctive chewy texture from the marshmallows. I just shared with Patricia, that you have to indulge wisely with chocolate and any other  intense snackage.  Make it for a potluck on the condition that you get the first piece. Portion control issue solved!

The vegetable bounty from my last couponing trip is tremendous!  Squash and onion, is a popular Southern or Soul Food dish that's usually made with just yellow squash and onions.  Its often cooked in a little oil on top of the stove with chopped onions, salt and pepper until the mix is quite mushy, believe it or not its very good prepared this way.  I didn't feel like standing over the stove, so I drizzled a little vegetable oil,  garlic powder, salt and pepper over yellow squash and zucchini, onions and a leftover piece of red pepper.  It baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  You could achieve the normal level of mushiness by covering the pan in foil and cooking it a little longer.   This was part of my breakfast on Thursday morning with a muffin.

My husband and I then paired it with Gorden's Grilled Classic Salmon Filets, that were on sale and paired with a coupon to get it at $2 a box.  I added a box of cooked spinach to the leftover pasta sauce from earlier this week and our first meal together in a temporarily empty nest is history.  I never had the salmon fillets before, next time I think I'll going to use it as part of a fish taco or similar type recipe.
This meal also came from the Harris Teeter shopping trip.  The pork wasn't listed on the SouthernSavers website, but like other meat I've purchased, it was nearing the expiration date, so it was $2 off the regular price.  I paired it with the Taco Bell Dinner Kit.  I over thought this meal a little and seared the pork before cooking it in the salsa.  It was a little dry but still good eating.  Next time, I'll just let it simmer on low heat in the salsa.

  • 2 Tbsp oil or cooking spray
  • Pork chops, meat cubed, seasoned with cumin, chili and garlic powder
  • Green onions from our garden
  • 1 handful cilantro chopped
  • Taco bell salsa
  • Fat free sour cream, shredded lettuce and cheese, chopped tomatoes
Heat oil in pan.  Cook pork pieces for 2 or 3 minutes then add onions and salsa.  Saute for about 10-15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through, stir in cilantro.  Fill flour tortillas or corn tortillas with lettuce, flavored rice and cheese. We then topped our tortilla with a few pork pieces and the sauce.  Add sour cream and tomatoes.  This 30 minute meal was served with Rice A Roni and a side salad.

Seasoned Crock Pot Black Beans:  We didn't let the pork bones go to waste.  They still had some meat on them so I browned them in the oven and let them cool before refrigerating.  Soak the dried black beans in hot water for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Rinse the beans to remove any dirt and place them in a crock pot with the pork bones, 2 or 3 garlic cloves and just enough cold water to cover.  I set the crock pot to cook on low overnight. The next day when the beans had softened, we added more garlic powder, sauteed onions, and stewed tomatoes. Very good eating!
As I'd mentioned in recent Twitter comments, I'm starting to get a feel for seeking out the healthier food choices e in my couponing adventures.  Way back when I changed the kinds of food my family ate, this recipe was one of my personal favorites.  At home, I added a little red wine to the recipe, my kids called this grown up food. It wasn't until I made the wine-free version for their peers at the Kids Cafe that my two finally came around.  I upped the number of veggies in the sauce to 10 for a community health fair.  I challenged kids in the audience to guess all 10 veggies.  We had one contest winner, but most of the kids came back for seconds,  and even thirds.

Yeah, this recipe makes a lot of sauce, but everyone knows that spaghetti tastes better on the second day.  For our family of four, this pot's enough for to provide leftovers for at least another day, my husband's lunch and and extra for freezing, if desired.

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey - both were close to the expiration date, so Harris Teeter reduced the prices. I got the beef for $1.34.  The ground turkey was .99 cents
  • 3 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp celery seed
  • 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Lots of diced veggies - onions, squash, zucchini, stewed tomatoes, olives (I usually use the chopped olives), eggplant, spinach, cooked carrots, bell peppers, and celery
  • 1/4 cup red wine, optional
  • 3 cans large cans spaghetti sauce
  • 2 pounds whole wheat or whole grain pasta, cooked al dente and drained - I shelled out a few extra pennies for Mueller's whole wheat pasta that wasn't on sale, but it was cheaper than what I used to buy at Walmart.  It does have a distinctive texture that takes some getting used to, so try Barilla Plus or Ronzoni whole grain varieties for a more traditional pasta texture.
Brown ground beef and drain fat.  Stir in seasoning and then add chopped veggies and wine, if using.  Cook until veggies are softened. Add spaghetti sauce and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes. Serve over pasta.  I topped the sauce with a little shredded cheese, also on sale.

Super Duper Vegetarian Version: This recipe's easy to modify for vegans and vegetarians.  Just skip the meat and saute the veggies in 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil.  Proceed with the remaining recipe but skip the cheese.  Try something new and replace pasta with spaghetti squash!

Minimize Waste: The veggie scraps ended up in our compost pile and I'm saving seeds from the red pepper for gardening.  Once they dry completely, I'll transfer them to a ziploc plastic bag for safe keeping.

Easy Recipes for Cheap Living
Last Updated November 26, 2010
Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (
Easy Recipes for Living Well on a Budget