Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekly Menu for the week of August 23

Hey everyone! Welcome to my weekly menu!

This week’s menu has a definite Italian flair to it … Yes I was one of the many who went to see Eat, Pray, Love last week. As Julia Roberts eats her way through Italy I was literally licking my lips in the theater!!! And it just so happens that an old friend from home passed on a delicious recipe for Pasta Carbonara that he and his family enjoy! His wife is from Italy so you know it must be good! We will also finish up the week with Pizza Margherita – an easy, fresh way to use up all of those wonderful tomatoes sitting on your windowsill. I know it is August and the end of summer but I have included my Italian Wedding Soup this week. The chicken breasts are on special and there is zucchini in it so we again are using up fresh ingredients. This soup freezes really well and the kids LOVE it!!! Tiny meatballs and pasta is a wonderful combo in my house.

Speaking of fresh ingredients and specials at Giant Eagle, we are taking advantage of the special on catfish by creating a Cajun Catfish Sandwich you are sure to love. And for all of those peppers sitting around your kitchen … how about a Stuffed Pepper Casserole that has all of the wonderful flavors of stuffed peppers without all of the work!

This is our last week of summer. It is a very bittersweet time around here. The kids and I are ready to be back on a schedule but we have had one of the greatest summers ever!!! The kids are at such great ages and the weather has been amazing!!! My husband’s schedule has cooperated (for the most part) so we have enjoyed some incredible family time – our best ever! I hope that you and your family have enjoyed the summer to the fullest! Fall is my favorite time of year and I do look forward to cooler days ahead and the leaves crunching under my feet. But for now – we are going to enjoy this last week of summer as best we can! Enjoy every moment!!!

Don’t forget - you can now follow the menu on Facebook and Twitter!!! Go to Kristen Kill Reisinger’s Menus That Save on Facebook and click like!!! You will receive updates and pics throughout the week. Also follow the menu on Twitter - @menusthatsave.

ALWAYS check your coupons!!! Not only the ones we receive in our newspapers and mid-week mailers but also online! Check out

Follow the plan so you can save time, money, and a few calories! Remember – cooking our own food is healthier than ordering in and eating out any day!!! Your family, wallet and waistline will thank you!

I hope you all enjoy your week, the recipes and the savings!


Cajun Catfish Sandwiches
Cole Slaw

Cajun Catfish Sandwiches – adapted from Cooking Light

½ lb. bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces – the bacon will be used later in the week
1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal
2 t. of Cajun Seasoning
4 (6 oz.) catfish fillets
Sandwich buns

Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve about 1 T. bacon drippings in the skillet. Place the cooled bacon in a container for dinner later in the week.

Combine the cornmeal and the Cajun seasoning in a shallow dish. Be sure to pat the fillets dry and then dredge the fillets in the cornmeal mixture. Add fillets to the bacon drippings and cook 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily.

You may want to pop the sandwich buns in the oven to toast a bit. Feel free to pile the cole slaw on top of the fish sandwich.

Cole Slaw (adapted from Cooking Light – yes I know, again – it is our favorite!)

1 pkg. of slaw mix
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, black pepper, and red pepper in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add the mustard mixture to cabbage mixture, and toss well to coat. Cover and chill for 20 minutes. Stir before serving.


Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Tossed Salad

Stuffed Pepper Casserole – (our favorite and super easy way to eat stuffed peppers)

2-4 green peppers, chopped (number will depend if your kiddos like them)
1 lb. of ground beef
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 T. of Italian Seasoning
2 cups of cooked white or brown rice
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain and add Italian Seasoning and chopped peppers.

Layer cooked rice on the bottom of a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Place the beef mixture on top. Cover with the tomato sauce and stir gently until slightly combined. Cover the entire dish with cheddar cheese. Bake in a 375˚ oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the dish is heated through.

You can freeze leftovers for later!


Pasta Carbonara
Tossed Salad

Pasta Carbonara – adapted from

1 lb. of spaghetti
¼ cup of heavy cream
4 eggs
½ lb. bacon, diced (leftover from Monday’s dinner)
1 t. of olive oil
2 T. of fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste – I always use Kosher or Sea Salt
¾ cup of pecorino-romano cheese or parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to its directions. While the pasta combine the eggs, cream, cheese and olive oil in a bowl and beat with a whisk until completely mixed.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss with the egg and cream mixture. Add the chopped bacon (you will want to crisp this up a bit in a pan or the micro) and the chopped parsley. Serve right away with additional cheese if you want.


Wedding Soup
Sliced Olive Oil Bread

Kristen’s Wedding Soup

3 large chicken breasts, with skin and bone
16 cups of chicken stock or broth
salt, pepper and celery seed to taste

Bring chicken stock to a boil. Then add chicken and seasonings. Boil until chicken is fully cooked. Season as you go. Remove chicken when cooked, skin, debone and cut chicken into bite size pieces and set aside until later.

1 pound of ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 T. of bread crumbs (I use Italian style)
¼ cup of parmesan cheese
½ t. of minced garlic
1 t. dried basil
1 t. onion powder

In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients for the meatballs. Form small meatballs. Cook over medium heat in 2 T. of olive oil, until cooked or pop them in the oven at 350˚ until done. Remove and drain on paper towels and set aside until later.

10 oz. frozen or fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup ancini de pepe, pastina or orzo
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped carrots

Add pasta to the boiling pot of water after chicken has been removed. Let cook 5 minutes.
Add spinach and simmer 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile saute vegetables in olive oil for about 5 minutes or until tender.
Return cut chicken to broth, add meatballs and vegetables and simmer until ready to serve, at least 5 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.


Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita

Pizza shell – precooked – if you buy dough or have homemade just prebake it!
1 t. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
5 plum tomatoes or 2 large regular tomatoes, sliced thin
¼ cup of thinly sliced fresh basil
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese – if you have fresh mozzarella even better!!!

Combine the olive oil and garlic. Brush onto the pre-baked pizza crust. Layer sliced tomatoes over the pizza and top with the shredded cheese and sliced basil. If using fresh mozzarella, just slice and layer on top of the tomatoes.

Place in a 400° oven for about 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.

***Kid Tip*** if the sight of sliced tomatoes makes your kids turn their noses up, try chopping them up – the shape and texture may be more appealing to their little untrained palettes. 

And now for the shopping list. As always, double check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see if you already have any of the items listed below. This will reduce your spending and create less waste!


Slaw mix
Tossed salad – GE special
2-4 green peppers – depends if your kids like them – GE special or buy them up at local farmer’s markets!
Small zucchini
Carrots – GE special
5 plum tomatoes or 2-3 large tomatoes – GE special or farmers’ markets
Fresh basil
Grapes – GE special

Sandwich buns
Pecorino-Romano cheese or Parmesan - need at least 1 cup but probably more
Baked pizza shell or fresh dough

Yellow cornmeal
Cajun seasoning
Rice wine vinegar
Whole-grain mustard
Ground red pepper
Italian seasoning
Olive oil
Chicken stock or broth – need 16 cups
Celery seed
Onion powder

Canned Goods/Ethnic Foods/Dry Goods
Large can of tomato sauce
Rice – white or brown
1 lb. spaghetti
Ancini de pepe, pastina or orzo

Seafood/Meat Case/Butcher
Bacon – GE special on Farmland
4 (6 oz.) catfish fillets – GE special
Ground beef – GE special
Chicken breasts with the bone and skin – GE special

Frozen Foods
Box of spinach

Shredded cheddar cheese – GE special on Sargento
Heavy cream – only need ¼ cup so opt for the smallest container
Mozzarella – shredded or use fresh if you have it – GE special on Sargento

Italian seasoned breadcrumbs