Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Food For Bad Times




Everyday we're hit with more and more bad news about the economy. It's enough to make you want to hide out until it all blows over.

But now's not the time to isolate yourself. You need family and friends around to keep your spirits up.

So gather the clan and still keep a hold on your wallet. Here's how:

1. Buy less prepared food.
Make party foods yourself and save a bundle. Cube you own cheese. Cut your own veggies. Serve home made dips. Prepare soup, salads and entrees from scratch.

2. Plan you menu around sale items.
Be flexible. Buy what's on sale - crackers, meat, cheese, veggies - even the wine or beer. No one will know you didn't pay full price.

3. Make your own dessert.
Purchased desserts are expensive. Think simple. Fresh fruit with orange liquor or a sweet white wine drizzled over the top. Home made cookies. Cobbler. Bread pudding. Baked apples.

4. Serve a meatless entrée.
Afraid your guests will feel deprived? Serve Italian. Nobody ever misses the meat in entrees like eggplant parmesan, baked ziti or ricotta stuffed shells.

Try this gourmet entree. Add a loaf of crusty bread, a bottle of wine and a gooey dessert. Couldn't be cheaper or easier!


Artichoke, Black Olive and Parmesan Whole Wheat Fettuccine
Very nice and very elegant which just goes to show that good taste doesn't have to cost much.

Serves 4

1 (12 -16 oz.) box whole wheat fettuccine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic (finely minced - or to taste, optional)
1 (12 to 14 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts (partially drained and coarsely chopped)
1 cup pitted black olives (halved lengthwise)
Pinch coarse grind or brandied pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves (shredded - no stems)
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (not grated or from green jar)

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain well. Don't wash pot.

Put oil, garlic, artichokes, their liquid and pepper into the empty pasta cooking pot. Gently heat to steaming. Add drained fettuccine, basil (or parsley) and pine nuts (or walnuts or sunflower seeds). Stir to coat (a rubber spatula works well). Pour onto serving platter. Pile cheese over top.

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