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Meals on a Budget: Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce

September 28, 2010

As it gets close to the end of the month, we find ourselves trying to stretch our last few dollars of the grocery budget.  That usually means getting pretty creative with what’s for dinner and trying to use up a lot of what we have on hand.  I also do a large portion of our shopping at the farmer’s market so I am able to cook with fresh food and don’t have to sacrifice taste and flavor to save money.  This week I am going to share some of my favorite farmer’s market dishes that will help you stretch your budget!

On tap for today:

Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce
Yields: 8 servings

1 1/2 tablespoon Olive oil
1 Garlic clove (minced)
1 1/2 cups Red potatoes (diced)
1/2 cup Celery (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 pounds Green beans (trimmed)
1/4 cup Water
1/3 cup Fresh cilantro (chopped)
3/4 pound Plum tomatoes (peeled and coarsely chopped)
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon Ground red pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
2. Add potato, celery, salt, and beans; sauté 1 minute.
3. Add 1/4 cup water; cover and cook 5 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.
4. Add cilantro and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 4 minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in ground peppers.

I was able to find all of the vegetables and cilantro at the market and the dish comes together really quickly.  It is a nice twist on plain potatoes or green beans, but still low-calorie AND cost-effective.  I don’t think it gets much better than that!

I would definitely recommend peeling the tomatoes per the recipe directions.  To do so, first prepare a small bowl of ice water and bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil.  Then cut a shallow X on the bottom of the tomato and drop it into the boiling water.  After 45 seconds, remove the tomato using a slotted spoon and place in the ice water for at least 5 minutes.  Once the tomato has chilled, remove it from the ice water and you should be able to peel the skin off with your hands.  You may need to use a small paring knife for any stubborn skins.

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