Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recession Dates: Inexpensive But Not Cheap

After you’ve been dating for a while, even if your new beau has been picking up the bill for all the early dates, at some point good manners will dictate that you need to reciprocate.

Once you know you really like and trust him, invite him to dinner. You can make each of the following main courses for under $10. Add a simple salad, pick up a bottle of your local wine store’s bargain vintage of the week,and some berries for dessert, and wow him for under $25. Plus you’ll save more money--bring the leftovers to work with you for lunch.

Super Easy Meat Loaf for When You’re in a Time Pinch
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour, 20 mins.
1 can condensed tomato soup- low sodium
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1/c cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup water

Mix half the can of tomato soup with the beef and the onion soup mix. Add bread crumbs and egg. Place mixture in 8"x4”loaf baking pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 mins. or until done.
Remove drippings from pan. Mix with the remaining tomato soup and ¼ cup water. Heat and serve with meat loaf.

(This one takes a while to prep but it is both healthy and impressive)
Low Fat, Low Sodium Baked Stuffed Cabbage
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 large savoy cabbage
1 tbsp canoloa oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
4 tbsps. fresh squeezed lemon juice (plus a dash extra)
1 pound lean ground turkey
3 tbsps. chopped dill
1 ½ cups low sodium tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp honey
Cook rice per package directions until water is absorbed- approximately 30 minutes.
While rice is cooking bring a Dutch oven full of water to boil. Take the 12 largest outer cabbage leaves,rinse them and and place them in the boiling water for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Chop some of the remaining (uncooked) cabbage to make 2 cups. Set aside.
Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and chopped cabbage. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook ½ minute. Add 4 tbsps.lemon juice and cook until liquid has almost evaporated. Cool.
Mix turkey, dill, salt, pepper, and cooled onion-cabbage mixture and cooled rice in large bowl. Coat 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray. Lay one cabbage leaf on cutting board. Cut out thick stem. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup turkey mixture in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides in, then roll closed. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat until all 12 cabbage leaves are filled and rolled.
Whisk tomato sauce, broth, honey, and the leftover dash of lemon juice in a bowl. Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover pan with foil. Preheat oven to 375. Bake for one hour. Uncover and bake additional 20 minutes.

Be prepared to be asked on another date immediately!

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