Sunday, February 15, 2009

Its the economy stupid!

We are all dietetic sinners; only a small percent of what we eat nourishes us; the balance goes to waste and loss of energy. ~ William Osler

With food prices spiraling out of control, it is more important than ever to shop smart. Many of us are being squeezed by the economy these days, but cooking tasty, frugal meals is still possible. How? Watch for those sales specials (usually around the 1st of the month). I especially watch for the pasta sales (yes I know I need to learn to make my own) my family-owned grocer will sell boxes of pasta 10 for $10, since I cook 1/2 pound at a time for our family of three, this provides the base for 20 meals. A little olive oil, some fresh herbs and vegetables and you have a dinner for four. Lots of whole wheat pastas are available now, I am still working on converting my guys over to the "healthy side".

Another way to shop smart is to buy "in season". Buying in bulk from the farmers markets and preserving your fruits/vegetables will stretch those pennies. Freeze, dehydrate or home-canning provides your family with food during the cold months. Returning to a sustainable way of life is good for us and the environment.

The great thing about mushrooms is they are available year round, that is what I chose for dinner paired with, of course, pasta.

Roasted Marsala Mushroom Pasta

1 pound portabella mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Minced Garlic
1/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 cup broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh Parsley
1/2 pound Penne pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil (about 2 Tbsp.) over mushrooms, add salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a deep oven-proof skillet and roast for 15 minutes. Transfer pan to top of stove, add wine and garlic and simmer till liquid is almost evaporated. Add broth (I used my homemade veggie broth, but you can use chicken etc) and tomato paste, simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with pasta and parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Tip: Most recipes call for 1 Tbsp. of tomato paste leaving you with leftover paste. Do not toss it, place the remaining paste in a freezer bag, press flat to get all the air out. Place in the freezer door. When you need some for a recipe, just break off the amount you need.


Lori Lynn said...

Ooh looks really good! Marsala is one of my favorites with mushrooms (and chicken). Definitely adds another dimension.

Like your new blog look!

Thanks for you comment on rescue dogs, Homer was such a sweet little guy.

******* said...

I'm still working on liking whole wheat pasta. I know it's good and healthy for me, but I just can't get past the taste and texture.
Good and timely post :)

Lucy said...

Looking good!!! Whole wheat pasta is something my family can't seem to get past it yet.

Judy said...

Love this recipe! My hubby won't eat whole wheat pasta. He says pasta is supposed to be white. Go figure.

OhioMom said...

Lori .. the family loved this dish, and the marsala definitely gave it that extra oomph! All my cats were rescue, and were the bestest pets.

LOL Maryann .. that is the problem for my guys, I have 2 boxes left and I am cooking a little at a time for my lunches .. sigh, they are just not liking whole wheat.

Lucy, see above :) Maybe I could disguise it in a cream sauce, but that kind of negates the "healthy" benefits :)

Judy .. yeah that is what my food critic says too :)

Grace said...

your tips for saving money on groceries are spot-on and much appreciated. it's getting pretty ridiculous, but if we can still eat things like this, we'll all be okay. :)

Theresa said...

We converted over whole wheat pasta, except my lovely daughter who's not converted yet. But, I'll still keep trying! Your dish looks good!

Elenka said...

That looks very good ! Our stores never have that kind of sale on pasta!

Proud Italian Cook said...

You got me with the marsala! Love that stuff! I don't mind Barilla WW pasta, I've incorporated it about 50, 50, I can't give up my white stuff!

giz said...

Once I really "got" how to cook pastas other than the regular white, I discovered a whole new world of flavour. I love the combination with mushrooms and marsala.

OhioMom said...

Grace .. we eat lots of pastas and fresh veggie soups, meat is only eaten occassionally.

WTG Theresa! My guys aren't persuaded by my arguments :)

Elenka, they don't have them every month so when they do I stock up.

LOL Marie, I will be eating the WW with a little butter and herbs for lunch .. the 'white stuff' is the pasta of choice here too.

Giz .. I can eat mushrooms everyday, my daughter tasted some and said she loved how the mushrooms were not soggy.

perennialgardener said...

Oh yummy, my favorite combination...mushrooms & pasta!

Paula said...

Hey, we had pasta tonight, too! Although we eat the rice pasta because my littlest noodle can't have wheat. Your sustainability message is a GREAT one. We are definitely feeling the squeeze, and are trying to tame not only what you suggest, but also just wasting food. I have much, much, much to learn about freezing veggies, and have no idea how to can. I like the idea of freezing because I can control portion control better. For now, I'm really interested in spring arriving so I can get the garden going again. :-)

Balisha said...

That looks delicious. My vegetarian daughter and son would like this.

OhioMom said...

Thanks Racquel :)

Paula .. I hear ya, I am making plans to expand my little container garden, especially tomatoes.

Balisha .. thanks :)

shambo said...

Count me in with the mushroom lovers. The Marsala makes it even better. This is the kind of meal I love -- a pile of pasta with just a little added adornment.

Usha said...

Nice post...the pasta looks inviting and I love mushrooms in my pasta :-)

OhioMom said...

Me too Sue .. I could eat them every day :)

Thanks Usha :)

Kevin said...

Nice way to enjoy some mushrooms. I have been enjoying preserving seasonal vegetables and fruits. I will have to do it more this year.

Lynn said...

Today was a Pumpkin Sticky Bun day!!! You really have to stop cooking and putting recipes on your blog!!! LOL They are WONDERFUL... Some went to my mother-in-lay and others to my parents. My parents just called and said WOW...
I think I just gained a pant size, thanks for the recipe!

OhioMom said...

Kevin .. there is nothing better than local, seasonal produce :)

Lynn .. I am so happy your family enjoyed the buns, your welcome :)

Claudia said...

I love every ingredient in this dish. Almost a chicken or veal marsala minus meat! And I buy my tomato paste in tubes - very easy. Wish they thought of that ten years ago.