2 Cheap Chicks & $20: Operation Wegmans

We’re back. Rindy of Kitchen Klique and I have teamed up for another Cheap Chick adventure. This time our rendezvous in Wegmans not only allowed us a splendid lunch before our quest but offered many options for our meal. Rindy came equipped with her giant purse of recipes and coupons even! I had a Jackson an a vague idea of my meal. I had perused a few food blogs before leaving the house but I failed to print out any recipes so my list was, shall we say, a bit defunct.


I don’t know if you remember the rules from last time but the gist of it is to create a nice meal that is good enough for company, it should serve at least four, all items purchased from stated grocery store, some pantry/staple items allowed, all for under 20 smackers. So here we go…

THE SHOPPING


Wegmans is a beautiful grocery store with a fresh Market Place consisting of a butcher, fishmonger, freshly made entrée case, sushi bar, pizza and subs, bakery, etc., etc. It is a dream store that even has a nursery for the little ones which was a bonus back in my baby days. We started our journey in the produce department and I decided I would forgo the truffles as even a sniff of the things would blow my budget.


After a few whirls around the store, Rindy and I stopped to tally our items. Mine came to $25 so items for dessert had to go. Sad. But maybe not.


Here is my cart full of the items I needed to make my meal. I chose to purchase the eggs and flour since these were the main ingredients to some of the items I would be making. Since I did not have enough money to purchase items for my dessert I told Rindy that I would have to get clever and use the flour and eggs to make up something. Do you know what Rindy said? “Your family is going to eat 5 pounds of flour in one meal!” Oh, she may be right on that one.

And did I make it? Was my bill below $20?


You bettcha! $19.73. Did Rindy stay below $20? Look!

THE MEAL


Spinach Gnudi
Homemade Papperadelle
Sautéed Prosciutto Wrapped Endive in White Wine Reduction
Ile Flottante

SPINACH GNUDI


I had been food blog hopping prior to our challenge and came across the kitchn’s post on Gnudi. I was instantly intrigued. A type of meatless meatball, an inside out ravioli without the pasta, this I had to try as I love spinach. Their post links you to who else?


Giada. She is always good for a delicious recipe. I made the Gnudi according to her recipe except I added one minced clove of garlic and another 2 tablespoons of flour to the gnudi mixture. These came out lighter than a dumpling and so very good. I boiled them for 4 minutes in a large pot and removed them using a slotted spoon letting the water continue to boil for my pasta noodles. These were very flavorful and quite filling. The recipe makes 12 Gnudi or serves 6.

PAPPERADELLE


After forming my Gnudi, I made some homemade Papperadelle noodles. Though you may think pasta making is a daunting task, the whole process took about 15 minutes plus about another 5 minutes to boil the noodles to a perfect al dente. I used my KitchenAid mixer with dough hook attachment to make the dough. I kneaded it a little on a floured countertop, covered with plastic wrap to rest, then cut off handball sized chucks to roll and cut. I will give you the recipe and procedure later in the week. I served the Papperadelle topped with Organic Tomato and Basil Sauce by Muir Glen and the Spinach Gnudi.

SAUTÉED PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED ENDIVE


Now for the Prosciutto Wrapped Endive. This dish was inspired by Sara of Sara’s Kitchen. Sara had made a delicious looking Braised Endive With Prosciutto that I had seen just prior to going to Wegmans but I did not write down exactly what I needed so I had to make mine a little differently than she did. I did not buy enough endive nor the chicken broth. So here is how I did mine.

Sautéed Prosciutto Wrapped Endive in White Wine Reduction
2 heads of endive root end cut off and each head quartered
8 thin slices prosciutto, about 6 ounces
1 T. olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup white wine

Season each endive quarter with pepper. Wrap each quarter of endive in a slice of prosciutto. In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil until hot and sauté the endive until each side is browned and crispy. Remove to a small casserole dish. Pour wine in skillet and scrape up brown bits. Let simmer a few minutes until reduced to half. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Pour over endive and place in warm oven until ready to serve. Serves 4.


This dish is absolutey devine. Just the right amount of meat and such spectacular flavor and texture; mine were tender-crisp. The presentation is very impressive. Thank you Sara for the inspiration, next time I will make it your way although my botch job turned out great.

DESSERT: ILE FLOTTANTE


Or Floating Island to be exact. What is a girl to do? I had no money for fruit or chocolate so my dessert depended on what I had left plus a few allowed staples. I had four eggs left and knew I could make a Crème Anglaise (crehm ahn-glays’) but what would I do with the egg whites? So after a little detective work I found Ile Flottante (Eel Flow-tawnt’) a beautiful French dessert consisting of a cloud of poached meringue afloat a rich puddle of Crème Anglaise. A masterpiece using what I had left, my eggs, plus sugar, milk, and extracts from my pantry. This dessert is probably one of the most heavenly. The extracts I used were so good that this final dish rounded out the entire meal perfectly. I think you would like it so much that I will share the recipe with you…

Tomorrow. Mean? I know.


Thoughts?
Another success! With $20, from scratch cooking, a little ingenuity, great recipes, and a well stocked pantry, anyone can make a lovely gourmet meal for four for 20 buckeroos. Just have you guest bring the wine. Wink.

Tomorrow in BRK- You guessed it. Ile Flottante, the most decadent of all decadents. See you then.

Related Posts
Rindy’s Wegmans Adventure!
Ile Flottante: Floating Island Dessert


Email Recipe | Print Page

28 Comments

  1. avatar Rindy R
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    I am completely impressed! That dessert came out of nowhere! Next time we do “2 Cheap Chic” – I’m coming to your house to eat! Mission Accomplished!
    Thanks for the fun day! I look forward to our next “Operation”!

  2. avatar Half Baked
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Wow $20.00?!? That’s a beautiful meal at an amazing price! Nice job!!!

  3. avatar Sara
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Everything looks amazing! I saw Giada make those gnudi on her show a while back. Glad you liked the endive. I have an ile flottante recipe from Ina Garten – I make the creme anglais as a sauce, but haven’t actually paired it with the meringues yet :)

  4. avatar Joan Nova
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    That’s amazing! And, more importantly, that’s a terrific dinner at any price!

    Thanks for your comment about Poland. I’d love you to join me at one of the destinations — but, gal, I know you’ve got more pots on the burner than most anyone!

  5. avatar Linda
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    VERY impressive! And I love Wegmens. The closest one to me is about 40 miles away. It is definitely my idea of a heavenly grocery store. Once in awhile we go out there and pick up a few different items…althought the truffles would be out of our price range too! Who buys those? :-)

  6. avatar Joie de vivre
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    Not only did you have a cheap meal, but a very impressive and tasty looking one as well.

  7. avatar Linda
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    I left you an award!
    http://www.imaweekendcook.blogspot.com
    ~Linda

  8. avatar Lisa
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Cool! I love when you post about 2 cheap chicks. Now i’ll have to go check out Rindy’s post.

  9. avatar Rachael
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Love both your post and Rindy’s!!

    Is Wegmans heaven on earth or what? Have you tried their “cream brulee” in the bakery? So yummy….

    Of course, all of their gourmet items are not cheap!!!

  10. avatar noble pig
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    So creative! Especially the dessert! Wow, I am very impressed and with the homemade pasta…wowzer, you rock.

  11. avatar Dawn
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    wow is right! That is amazing. I wonder if one could do this with say Whole Foods?
    I love these segments that you two created. I will learn a lot too.

  12. avatar Grace
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    once again, i’m impressed by your shopping savvy. i went into wegman’s for the first time recently and now i really resent the fact that there aren’t any around here.
    nicely done, robin sue!

  13. avatar Karen
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Very creative and sounds like a lot of fun! The spinach balls look yummy and I *am* going to make the floating island! :)

  14. avatar Sheila
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    I love Wegman’s; it is a special treat to take the children there. I didn ‘t know about the “daycare” though.

    Wow, Giada is incredible. I will have to try these spinach meatballs; a healthier version of the meat packed ones.

    Great post!

  15. avatar Theresa
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    WOW. What a dish on a budget. You go girls!

  16. avatar biz319
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Your eats are amazing – definitely have to put the prucioutto (I can never spell that!) wrapped endive on my list of things to make.

    Happy Monday – I may be trying out your chicken fried steak tonight – fingers crossed it works out!

  17. avatar Tanya
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    You are an inspiration! What a beautiful dinner you created for just under $20. Everything looks so delicious.

    My jaw dropped though when I saw those truffles and their price. Holy cow! Who can afford even an ounce?

  18. avatar Clumbsy Cookie
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Ahahaha what a great fun idea! And a great imaginative meal as well!

  19. avatar Sabrina
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    wow…. who knew you could do such a gourmet meal for so little. That is amazing. And you made you own pasta. You are so awesome.

  20. avatar EAT!
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    way to go!! we usually eat dinner around 6:30, but you can come anytime of day to make dinner. I’ll even give you $30 so you can go wild.

  21. avatar Melissa
    Posted 01/19/2009 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    Since I love your blog… I’ve left this award for you. Pick it up here…

    http://www.ofsoupandlove.com/2009/01/of-soup-and-love-and-swelling-head.html

    … and thanks.

  22. avatar That Girl
    Posted 01/20/2009 at 12:37 AM | Permalink

    These are my favorite entries. Always.

  23. avatar Laura
    Posted 01/20/2009 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

    Wow that is seriously elegant for $20. I’m impressed. And jealous of your Wegmans–when I had one in PA it sure did not have a nursery for my kids!

  24. avatar Peter M
    Posted 01/20/2009 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    What a fun outing, a good savings exercise and the reward? A fine meal on a budget without sacrificing taste or style.

  25. avatar maggie
    Posted 01/20/2009 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Wow, impressive. I love gnudi!

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