Mexican Flautas and Salad

Monday Meal (serve with a side salad); the spices and salsa make these sweet and citrusy. Estimated cost: one 31 oz. can of refried beans, tradiational style (2.), 15 oz. garlic and lime style salsa(2.), 72 corn tortillas (5" size) (2.), one pkt. dry enchilada sauce mix (1.), one cup shredded mexichese (1.) = $7.00

1. Mix together the canned beans, 15 oz. of the salsa (I use Walmart's brand of Garlic and Lime Tomato Salsa which costs under $2.00 for a large 20 oz jar), all of the dry enchilada sauce mix, cheese, and 2 tsp. McCormick Grill Mates Cinnamon Chipotle Rub.

2. As you assemble the flautas, heat the tortillas first in the microwave. If they start to crack and flake when you roll them, heat them more; they should be worked with hot. The alternative to this is to heat them by dipping them in hot oil for a few seconds, but it is eaiser to heat them in the microwave. Heat them ten at a time: place ten on a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, heat for 30 seconds. Then flip the stack of tortillas, cover again with the wet towel, and heat for 30 more seconds. Roll these while they are hot, than repeat with ten more.

3. To roll: place about 1 Tbsp. filling on the edge of the tortilla, and begin rolling like a cigar, encasing the filling, and rolling as tightly as you can without breaking the hot tortilla. Fasten with a toothpick.

4. At this point, the flautas can be keep in the fridge until just before frying and serving. To fry, heat an inch of oil to very hot, but not smoking, and fry 4 or 5 at a time for roughtly 45 seconds or until lightly browned and crispy. Drain on paper towel covered racks, and then keep hot in a 200 degree oven until all are fried. Serve with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and salad. Easily serves 10-12.

Swedish Meatballs over Rice/Noodles

Quick and super easy, using the crock pot (slow cooker). Estimated cost: 4 lbs of meatballs (fully cooked and frozen, or make your own, and freeze ahead) (6.), 32 oz canned beef gravy, 26 oz canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, 6.5 oz. canned mushrooms, and one small can pearl onions (7.), hot, prepared rice or noodles (1.), sour cream (1.) = $15.00

1. Mix the sauce, combining the canned gravy, condensed soup, drained mushroom pieces, and pearl onions (or cocktail onions). Add 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. dried or fresh minced rosemary, a dash of black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Add more paprika to taste.

2. Gently stir in the frozen meatballs, and heat on high for two hours until piping hot. Serve over rice or noodles with cold dollops of sour cream on the side.

Crock Pot Lasagna

Monday Meal (serve with a side salad); makes enough for two dinner meals. Try it, it really works! Estimated cost: 1 lb. of your favorite sausage, cooked and crumbled (3.), lasagna noodles (less than one box) (2.), 6 cups spaghetti sauce (3.), 2 c. ricotta and 4 c. mozarella cheeses (6.), 2-3 small zucchini (or mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc.) (2.), two nights worth of salad greens dressed with oil, vinegar, spices and herbs (4.) = $20.00 for two nights worth of dinners

For a cost friendly sauce, use my spaghetti sauce recipe. Pour 2 cups of the sauce in the bottom of a large crock pot (slow cooker). Add 1/3 of the zucchini, sliced into 1/4" rounds. Layer with 1/3 of the uncooked noodles, breaking to fit, overlapping is not a problem. Dot with 1/2 of the ricotta in large tablespoons, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. Add 1/3 of the cooked sausage. Pour 2 cups of the sauce over it all, and then another layer of noodles, breaking to fit as needed. Add another 1/3 of the vegetables the last 1/2 of the ricotta, another 1/3 of the mozarella and 1/3 of the sausage. Add the last layer of noodles, breaking them to puzzle piece together in the pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, sausage, mozzarella cheese and finally the last two cups of sauce. Add 1/4 cup water over it all, and cover. Cook on high for about three hours or until the noodles are tender.

See All Recipes Labeled: