Trucking along, and I didn’t waste any food this week — but I am getting a little tired of figuring out how to manage with all the weirdness that’s been going on lately. I traveled, then I came home and caught a bad cold that had me eating strangely and off-plan for most of a week (I either didn’t want to eat at all, or I was reduced to only extra-spicy hot and sour soup to clear my sinuses out, or I had cravings, like the one that had me making cookies for the first time in over a month), and now I’m getting ready to travel again; I’ll be leaving Thursday afternoon (tomorrow) and won’t be returning home for ten days. After which I’ll be here for 2.5 days, then away again for 1.5 days! Sigh.
I guess my tip this week is just: whatever your goal is, whether it’s not wasting food or something else, there are going to be times when you just have to suck it up and get it done, even when you don’t have much enthusiasm. I got through last week with the cold: I ate everything perishable that I had, and used some leftover pocket money to buy the soup and two extra boxes of tissues. This “week,” since I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon and therefore only had a few days to cover, I decided to be as simple as possible. I made a soothing, comforting pasta dish using some ingredients I already had on hand, and some oatmeal for breakfast, and bought apples to cover snacks, with eggs and cheese and bread already on hand to cover any gaps. This meant that my shopping was really cheap this week, yay.
Grocery Shopping Report
I was actually pretty heavy on the household goods this week, since we were low on hand soap (we buy Mrs. Meier’s, which is expensive but worth it). Also, at the grocery store I go to, they announced over the loudspeaker that their credit/debit card system was down! Cash and checks only! Good thing I’m on the all-cash grocery shopping plan 🙂 I felt very prepared.
1 lb mushrooms, $2.00 (awesome sale)
liquid hand soap, $7.99 (refill for two normal-sized bottles)
apples (on sale),
blackberry-oatmeal scone (ADDICTED; I got the very last one and I was so psyched)
Grand Total: $28.84
Mushroom Marsala Pasta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I had the marsala open in the fridge from a related dish I made earlier this winter, and seeing as how it’s by far the most expensive ingredient here, along with parmegiano reggiano cheese and artichoke hearts (both of which I also had in the pantry) I was all set to make this with just a few cheap ingredients. And bacon 🙂
1/3-1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 lb mushrooms, chopped however you like (I prefer small)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or a little more to taste)
1 cup Marsala
1 lb pasta (something chunky)
1 jar grilled artichoke hearts in oil, drained and chopped (don’t use frozen artichoke hearts or artichoke hearts packed in water; you need more flavor than those will give you. I like the grilled ones, but if you can’t find those you could use any kind of seasoned oil-packed artichoke hearts.)
3/4 cup grated parmegiano reggiano
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or some other kind of dairy, like cream, half-and-half, or even whole milk; if you can’t have dairy, you could sub in some broth here)
1 bunch chopped flat-leaf parsley (original called for 1/2 cup; I both dislike food waste, and like Italian parsley, so I just chopped the whole bundle up and threw in whatever was there)
1 tsp ground black pepper
Fry the bacon in a big dutch oven, and when it’s crisp and all the fat is rendered, scoop it out and set aside. At this point, if you haven’t done so already, get a pot of salted water going for the pasta. Then fry the onion in the fat for about a minute, and add the mushrooms and salt. Stir every now and then, and when the mushrooms have given up their liquid and it’s evaporated, turn up the heat some and add the Marsala. Around now, you can start to cook the pasta in the other pot. When the Marsala is mostly evaporated (maybe five minutes?) turn off the heat. Drain the pasta, then add it to the pot with the mushroom mixture and turn the heat back on. Stir in artichoke hearts, cheese, and yogurt (or other) and cook until everything is heated through and some of the pasta is starting to brown. Stir in the parsley and pepper, and serve with the reserved bacon sprinkled on top.