I have another exciting Wednesday planned for everyone! Another friend is joining us in the kitchen and that always makes for a fun day. Today, Tabitha from Meet Penny is here with us.
Tabitha knows a thing or two about frugal living and she is also one heckuva cook! Her tips on frugal-living and cutting back costs are realistic and she also shares amazing deals that she finds around the internet as well as neat little tips and tricks to help out with everyday costs. I am definitely not an extreme couponer but I love that Tabitha gives you easy and small ways to save money and cut costs. And she also shares budget-friendly meal ideas. Now who doesn't love that?
Thank you, Brandie, for allowing me to visit with your readers today. I hope they are in the mood to save some money! As our economy seems to spit and sputter and leave us feeling doomed by rising grocery prices, you can find some economic relief by serving a meatless meal once a week.
Meat can take a huge chunk out of your grocery budget. You can save money by keeping a price book of the cuts you buy most frequently and stocking up when you see a rock-bottom price, but you can also save by limiting the amount of meat you serve. Substituting beans or eggplant are great, frugal options. If your family prefers meat and potato recipes, start slowly by reducing the amount of meat and using the beans or eggplant to stretch the dish. Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that I often find marked down for quick sale. Having a porous texture, eggplant absorbs the flavors with whatever it is cooked making it an excellent filler.
Italian Eggplant and Spinach Pasta is a great beginner recipe. If you fear that your family will freak out at a dish of eggplant, you can easily subsititute ground beef or beans... cannellini beans would be my first choice. Now, let's get started.
1 box (16 ounces) pasta, any shape
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 can (15 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
4 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
1) Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta, following package directions to cook.
2) Peel and cube the eggplant. Dice your onion.
3) Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add your olive oil and when it shimmers, add your onion. 4) When the onion begins to soften, clear a spot in the middle and press your garlic into the center. Stir the garlic into the onion. (Notice the green in my garlic? That's not a good thing. Garlic that has begun to sprout will make your food bitter. Remove it and try again.)
5) Add the eggplant to the skillet with 1 teaspoon of salt. Trust me... you want to salt your eggplant. Then, add the tomatoes, oregano and black pepper to the skillet. Stir.
6) Coarsely chop your spinach while the eggplant mixture simmers. When the eggplant begins to soften, add the spinach. Cover until the spinach wilts slightly. Stir.
7) Taste the eggplant and add remaining salt, if needed. 8) If you need more sauce, ladle a cup of water from your pasta pot. Drain the pasta and fold it into the eggplant mixture. 9) Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!