by Jaclyn Holtzman
Let’s face it: we are all on a budget. I recently moved to Los Angeles, which is one of the most expensive cities, and I am fresh out of college. Top that combination! Unfortunately, I am sure that many of you can. If you are one of the lucky few who is not on a budget I am going to ask you for money. Then, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you would not mind saving a few bucks on your groceries so that you can spend elsewhere. Below are two healthy recipes that will not require you to take out loans. In fact, I venture to say that they are cheap! They should help you get on the right track, and then it is your turn to start creating.
As a newfound, self-proclaimed, health-freak with limited funds, I have been experimenting with the less expensive health foods this world has to offer. When in doubt, stick to whole, natural foods: items that come from the Earth and are not manhandled. I have recently discovered a few super foods that are spectacular because of their health benefits, their price and their versatility. Included in this elite category are spaghetti squash, quinoa, kale, and sweet potatoes.
The recipes being divulged are for Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Pasta Sauce and Vegetables and an Asian-inspired Quinoa Stir-Fry dish; two wonderful dinners that are cheap, healthy, and plentiful enough to feed a family or to allow for days of leftovers. Sign me up!
You can either top it with store-bought pasta sauce (Target carries a cheap all natural version) or make your own! Add some fresh or frozen veggies to up the nutrients even further. The best thing about frozen vegetables is that none of the nutrients are lost in the freezing process!
Quinoa is an extremely old “grain” that has slowly been entering the kitchens of healthy-living Americans. Although it functions like rice or pasta, it actually is not a grain, but a cousin of spinach and beets. Quinoa is a complete protein and offers a myriad of other health benefits as well. Whenever you can substitute quinoa for pasta-go for it! In this recipe I pair quinoa with some Asian flavor. Quinoa is not as cheap as pasta, but a little does go a lot further than you would think. One cup of uncooked quinoa can feed a family of four. I bought a big bag at Costco for about $8. It is so versatile; there are recipes using quinoa for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
As you will see, there are a few key ingredients to healthy cooking: garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and vegetables! Make sure you have these in the house at all times!
Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Pasta Sauce and Veggies
1 spaghetti squash
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 28oz cans of Italian plum tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 10oz bag of frozen spinach, defrosted (can substitute fresh spinach or any other vegetable that is on sale)
salt to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
¼ cup low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tsp whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 10oz bag of frozen spinach, defrosted (can substitute fresh spinach)
frozen broccoli, defrosted (can substitute fresh broccoli)
A couple helpful tips for grocery shopping to keep yourself in check:
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