So you might be thinking that I should be a little more careful with my direction following after the cookie-mishap… but I disagree. I figured it would be best to discard the idea of a recipe all together! After all, you can’t mess up directions if you aren’t following any 😉
So for dinner last night, I totally flew by the seat of my pants and decided to whip up my own creation. I knew I had a crazy, over-grown basil plant that needed to be tended to, so I decided to pluck it’s leaves and put ’em to work! You guessed it… PESTO!
I was too lazy…AHEM… I mean, wanted to be creative, so I didn’t look up a recipe, I just got to work on my own, special version. Starting with harvesting the basil…
then, into the (mini) food processor went 4 cups of fresh basil leaves.
followed by 3 cloves of garlic,
1 c shredded Parmesan,
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil,
1/2 c pine nuts
and a couple dashes of salt & pepper.
It made a nice, thick pesto- the kind I like! I’m sure this isn’t a totally new pesto recipe, but I did make it up as I went along.
Meanwhile… I gathered my pasta, some onions, baby tomatoes & shrimp…
Meanwhile, I cooked my pasta, drained it, added it into a large mixing bowl with a few spoonfuls on pesto.
and in cooked shrimp, tomatoes & onions and toss again.
Toss (again) & SERVE!
I totally joined the clean plate club on this one. Although, I think some feta or goat cheese may be a welcome addition to this dish as well (for future reference).
This week, I did all my produce shopping at the farmer’s market and my other food shopping at Fresh Market (which is a little bit of a drive from my house, but I strongly dislike my local Bloom grocery store). My total food bill for the week is $85. This $85 includes all breakfasts & lunches, plus dinners… which includes this pesto shrimp pasta, chicken fajitas, steak and more. (I realize that this sounds meat heavy to a lot of you, but Hubbs likes his meat… and I do too :))
I promise there is a point I’m getting to…
I’ve been playing around with getting the most bang for my grocery buck, while creating healthy meals that are tasty & filling enough for Hubbs. That’s a lot to accomplish for $85/week. One way I can accomplish this dawned on me while I was at Fresh Market yesterday.
::Picture a spotlight shining down on me in the middle of the meat aisle and hearing the angels start singing::
Buy Less Meat.
Not the ground breaking realization you were expecting, was it? Sorry, but it was a novel idea for me! My Pesto Shrimp Pasta only included 12 shrimp, where as usually I would buy closer to 25. By adding tomatoes and onions I was able to bulk it up for cheaper (I even had leftovers!). I plan to do the same with chicken fajitas. I bought 1 (yes, one) chicken breast. But by the time I add in green peppers, onions, tomatoes, black beans, etc, 1 chicken breast will be plenty.
I was (and still am) very excited by this idea. We can still eat like kings and have wild shrimp, grass fed beef, and free range chicken while keeping the budget under control.
What tips or tricks do you utilize to eat healthy while keeping your budget in mind?
oh, and last night I might have indulged in this mouth-watering slice of key-lime pie my neighbor dropped off 😉
Lisa @ I'm an Okie says
pesto has my heart. seriously, it’s so good and yours looks great!
ive recently b een eating less meat and it is a big money saver!
Heather (Heather's Dish) says
there’s really nothing better than homemade pesto…my mouth is still watering from the great photos!
You honestly have no idea how impressed I am right now. You brave girl on the pesto. Pesto is my favorite, I need to finally make it. You’ve inspired me.
Katie @ Healthy Heddleston says
Your pesto looks SO good! I’d say you are getting more bang for your buck!
I also cut meat with rice, beans, veggies, etc. because my brother is a huge meat-eater and it makes me mad when I go to make a taco salad or chicken fajita the next day and the meat is gone! GMTA!!!
Corey @ The Runner's Cookie says
Your pesto looks amazing! Grocery budgeting is something I need to start thinking more about. One thing that works well for me is to plan my meals ahead of time and make enough for leftovers so that I don’t need to buy coldcuts or other separate things for lunch. Also, I get my “staples” (certain cereals, nuts butters, etc) once a month at the store where they are cheaper (Trader Joe’s).
Courtney (Pancakes and Postcards) says
Looks delish! I just made pesto for the first time in Africa with my neighbors the other day (we have a basil plant…) and while we had to improvise a bit (cashews instead of pine nuts) we also put some lemon and more s&p in it and it was really good! Try the lemon. Sure didn´t look as pretty as yours, though 🙂
Oh girl, I’m a vegetarian and my grocery bill is still WAYY more than that. I blame all the fresh, organic produce I need 🙂
And your dinner looks amazing. I might make that one of these days, yum!
I love no-recipe recipes. They’re the best!
p.s. try walnuts in you pesto sometime. yummy.
omg that dish looks SO GOOD!
Oh. My. Goodness.
I know what’s for dinner tonight. I have 2 HUGE basil plants on my balcony.
I’m a first time reader. And you have got me off on a good foot ;]
Oh dear yumminess. I want some NOW! Looks amazing!
And I like to buy less meat too and be sure I get the quality stuff instead. Things are more satisfying bulked up with veggies anyways. 🙂
Looks and sounds delicious! Now I just need some places to shop nearby!
Welcome to the clean plate club!! 🙂 You are so adorable with your dish!! 😉 That pesto looks fabulous and I need that pie in my belly NOW!! 🙂
Alycia [Fit n Fresh] says
I loveee pesto! And yours look really good – I haven’t had shrimp in a while! Time to remedy that I think. 🙂
And I’ve noticed since I stopped buying meat how much less I spend on groceries a week. It’s pretty crazy.
Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum says
I totally had the same revelation yesterday! “Hmmm… eat less meat… spend less money.” And I, too, bought produce at the Farmer’s Market and regular groceries at the regular store. Ok, not as cool of a store as yours… it was just Super Target. But still. 🙂
Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) says
I love homemade pesto, your pasta looks amazing!
I save money at the store by stocking up on staples whenever they are on sale. We also only make meals with meat once a week or so (if that), veggies and grains are definitely cheaper than meat!
great looking pasta dish Britt! you sure are doing great in the kitchen!
That pesto looks delicious! I might have to try it, but first I need to invest in a basil plant. Just curious, is it planted outside or is potted inside? I often forget to pay attention to prices, but I do look for meats and produce on sale and try to stay away from the packaged/pre-sliced foods. Though sometimes it is a time saver.
Holly @ couchpotatoathlete says
Your pesto looks great! I also had pasta with shrimp last night 🙂
I totally agree with cutting down on meat to save your grocery bill! I like to use beans in cooking too, it adds protein but is way cheaper than meat!