The Casserole

It’s come to my attention that I spend a lot of money.  I’m not talking about Anthropologie binges…or Nordstrom, Gap, or Athleta ones either.  (Shopaholic Mama!)  I’m talking about the money I spend at Publix (my local grocery store chain) and/or Whole Foods and/or Target…almost every day of the week.

I also waste a lot of the food I buy (with a little help from my boys), which is essentially, throwing money away.  How many stale, half-eaten snack bags are scattered on the floor of the back seat of my car?  How many boxes of macaroni and cheese do I cook only have one of the kids say, “I don’t like it”?  But you liked it yesterday!

Kids are money pits and expert food wasters, but I can’t blame it all on them (just some of it).  I can do better.  I can waste less.  I can be more efficient.  I can be more cost conscious.  I can use more – gulp – coupons.  YES I CAN!

I’ve decided to keep a log of my spending this week.  I’ve also decided to forego the $14.99/pound salmon fillets and $4.99 turkey and shrimp burgers I often buy from Whole Foods and instead make a healthy, affordable, and leftover-producing casserole.  Yes, my solution to overspending is The Casserole.  (Enlightenment takes time, folks.)

Okay, so here was my Sunday afternoon total at Publix (I used two –yes two – coupons!):

Not bad, considering this included all of my casserole ingredients.  And I wouldn’t have to go back to the store for several days, except of course I had to go back the next day.  Riley needed Kefir (who am I if not the Mama who indulges her son’s expensive probiotic cultured milk smoothie addiction?).  Plus, I needed to buy a bunch of camp supplies (see abovementioned reference to kids being money pits).  Here’s the total:

Unfortunately, I have a shopping list brewing for Target, too. It’s possible that my carpel tunnel syndrome is a result of the repetitive action of taking my credit card in and out of my wallet.   But, I need more suntan lotion, Father’s Day cards, and I’ll think of a dozen more things I need want once I get there.  At least I have my casserole.

Speaking of which, I do a lot of cooking, but I’ve never made a casserole.  I had no recipe, but fear not, I did a little bit of research before coming up with mine.  Casseroles are actually quite simple to construct.  You need a protein (unless your doing a vegetarian casserole), starch, vegetable, liquid, and cheese.  If only putting Dylan and Riley to bed without a Kindle Fire, LeapPad, or portable DVD player were as uncomplicated!  After much careful consideration, I decided to make ground turkey casserole with onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, diced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Here were my ingredients:

Here’s how I put it all together.  I started with the ground turkey, which I sautéed with minced garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, and bit of extra virgin olive oil.  Everything else was raw and layered on top (onions, sweet potatoes, spinach, and diced tomatoes with juice).  Voila:

Here she is after cooking covered with foil at 350 for about an hour.  It took longer than I thought for the sweet potatoes to soften.  Thankfully, it’s hard to overcook a casserole:

And then there was cheese.  Back in the oven uncovered under the broiler for a few minutes:

Almost over-broiled!  Note to readers:  Don’t get distracted with Words With Friends when using the broiler!

The final product accompanied with steamed broccoli:

It was okay.  It needed more pizzazz, like some herbs and spices or sundried tomatoes, and it definitely needed more salt.  Still, it was a good first attempt, and even though I woke up this morning craving a cilantro-lime shrimp burger from Whole Foods, I’m staying focused.  I will not waste leftovers.  I will not waste leftovers.  I will not waste leftovers.

I’m going to log my spending for the rest of the week to see if it’s as bad as I think it is.  I’m also going to work on the herculean task of wasting less food once I buy it.  Finally, I’m going to refine my casserole-making skills.  The next one will for sure include my most favorite vegetable, kale.  I’m thinking shrimp, brown rice, and tomato sauce with kale and feta cheese.

Do you know where your money goes?  Do you have any good casserole recipes? 


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Filed under food, recipe, Shopaholic Mama, shopping, Uncategorized

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