Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tightening my belt.....

I can't believe that 2 weeks from now, we'll be actually loosening our belts.....

Full of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  Pumpkin pie, green beans, ham, sweet potatoes, and cornbread. I could keep going....but I won't.  You know what you eat. 

Yikes, I'm starting to dread the treadmill just thinking about those calories.

But, despite my need to loosen my belt after eating too much, I'm also going to have to tighten it when its comes to money and my budget.

I don't talk much about money 'round these parts....its just not fun to discuss.  Money makes people crazy, whether you have it or you don't.

And I just don't.  Not right now anyway.

So, my meals are going to be simpler.  Fewer ingredients.  Probably Quicker.  Still Delicious.

I'm going to be relying on my handy calculator as I wind through the grocery aisles making sure I hit my target number each week (its $50).  But, while I'm scouring the internet for cheap meals/recipe ideas, I'm still going to bring you some great new products that have hit the market.

Enter Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.  They send me such neat stuff to try as a part of this program in exchange for a post.  I got a huge gift package from Newman's Own that contained 3 dressings, 2 sauces, and a coupon for a free pizza.  Oh yeah, and a Flip Camera!  I'll have more recipes for you later with this stuff. 

For now, I'm gonna try a variation of something I saw the other week on Jenna's blog....

Polenta with Chicken and Black Bean Ragu....using the Tomato and Basil pasta sauce.....

It was my first attempt to make polenta.  While it was a bit lumpy (I will totally admit that right here and right now), it was very delicious!  I used Giada's recipe, but probably should have totally listened to her instructions to "gradually whisk" in the cornmeal.  I just kinda dumped it all in.  Whoops....there is where the lumps came in to play.  Oh well, I will know next time ;)

There is that yellow.  In its lumpy glory.  Love the color though.  And how easy it was to come together.

Now, the ragu.

I used the marinara sauce, a can of black beans, a can of chicken, and a bag of steamed veggies.  Mixed them all together and warm until it was warmed through.  I used this to top the polenta.  Sprinkled with parmesan cheese of course.

 Shot #2:
It was such an easy and comforting dish.  Perfect for this week.  Very simple, quick, and wallet friendly.  And so delish!  Thanks to Newman's Own for the sample! 


I'm thankful for this article, found on Ellen Barrett's blog.  Now I totally know why my workouts I was doing in the summer time are NOT working....and that is okay.  Even if you aren't in the same boat I'm in, at least its something to think about. 

**Note:  These opinions are my own.  I received this sample as a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program in exchange for a post.***  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

See you Monday!

Chicken and Black Bean Ragu with Polenta
inspired by Giada and Jenna

Print this recipe!

1 jar marinara sauce (I used Newman's Own Tomato and Basil)
1 bag steamable veggies (broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (5 oz) canned chicken, drained and broken up
1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded (for serving)
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1.  Bring 6 cups water and the salt to a boil.  GENTLY whisk in cornmeal.  Reduce heat to low and keep whisking until mixture becomes thick.  Season with pepper if desired.  You've got to watch can get thick and lumpy.  Set aside.
1.  In a large skillet or sauce pan, add marinara sauce, black beans, and canned chicken to pan.  Cook over medium low heat until warmed through.
2.  Microwave veggies per directions on bag.  Dump veggies, once cooked, into marinara mix and stir well.
To serve:
1.  Spoon polenta into bowls.  Top with ragu and shredded cheese.
2.  Dig in!

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