Recently I began to subscribing to Onceamonthmom.com and have fell in love! Though you might have to have to use a wee-bit of intuition with some of their recipes, all in all, it's a fabulous time saver and incredibly budget friendly site. I spent a little over $150 on average food. By average, I mean a mix of conventional and organic, and of course we opted for the vegetarian menu but there are 6 - that's right SIX to choose from! I prepared all but one of their selections over the course of 3 days. I know this sounds like a ton of work and I'm not going to lie...it was!
This was before the cooking marathon began. I was feeling so confident that it would stay this way.
But having had a late start and my 7 mth old around all day, I think I did ok. However, with this 3 days, I have saved myself not only time during the weeknights but also cut down on stress and the grocery bill. To any mamas out there that are struggling with finding inspiration for dinner or just can't seem to find the time to make dinner on a daily basis, I would HIGHLY suggest you check out this amazing site and the wonderful ladies that have put it together.
So where you ask is all of this going? Well I'm here to review the Lemon Zucchini Pesto Sauce that I made a couple weeks ago. We had it fresh that night and again this evening in honor or Meatless Monday - a nationwide movement to encourage people to incorporate a meatless meal into their regular diets and I'm the first to support that. Not only is it good for you to cut back on the meat intake but it's also great for the wallet. This particular meal is probably about $10 to feed a family of four if not less. It's so easy to double and bag to freeze for later. It thaws beautifully though I might add a bit more garlic next time around as that is one flavor that tends to decrease when frozen.
Lemon Zucchini Pesto Sauce
2 medium zucchinis - cut in half moons
2 jars prepared pesto* - if you look in the Italian section you will find a vegan variation. There are at least a couple variations on the shelves that are vegan without being labeled that way.
1 lemon - zested and juiced
2-3 garlic cloves - finely minced or pressed
Heat pan. Toss in zucchini and a tbsp of water (or vegetable stock). Cover and let steam till crisp-tender. Add garlic and heat till fragrant about 30 seconds. Scoop out desired amount of pesto, sprinkle in zest and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Heat another 1-2 minutes. At this point you have two choices - toss in pasta and 1/2 c. cooking liquid from pasta and serve OR whip out your immersion blender. Don't have one? Get one. They are priceless! Stick blender into pan and puree to desired consistency. I'm not a huge fan of the texture of zucchini once frozen and thawed so I left a couple chunks in mine but not much. Let cool and bag in ziplocs. Label and freeze.
To serve at a later date - thaw bag in the fridge the morning of (or even a few hours before you plan to eat.) Boil your pasta - drain but reserve 1/2 c. cooking liquid. Place drained pasta back into pan. Snip corner of ziploc and squeeze out sauce onto hot pasta. Toss. Add in any extra liquid you desire to reach right consistency. Serve! You may garnish with a slice of lemon for a little extra zing.
Sorry no pictures yet but check out http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2011/09/recipe-for-easy-penne-pasta-with.html and http://onceamonthmom.com/vegetarian-march-2012-menu/ for inspiration.
Let me know if you try it and what your thoughts were! Of course the only note I would have right off the bat is had it been the middle of summer, make your own pesto. Save money and get a far superior flavor but it's March and I opted for store bought. : )