Monday, July 25, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Frugality and Flexibility

So, you may have noticed that I’m posting last week’s Frugal Fridays on Monday.  What can I tell you?  It was a busy weekend.

This is actually a continuation of the last post.  As I mentioned, my college roommate was in town, and I prepared dinner for her.  During the course of our catching up, I found out that she was neither a fan of shrimp or olives - both of which I had intended to use for dinner.  But no matter, I left the olives out of the primavera and made a chicken bisque instead of the planned shrimp bisque.

So, obviously, that left me with two items that needed to be used in addition to a few odds and ends left over from the previous dinner, mainly:

Heirloom and grape tomatoes
Parmesan cheese
The remainder of the parmesan biscotti

So, I decided to round up a quick meal using what I had on hand and ended up with this:

One of the things I really love to do with Kalamata olives is to roast them, which is what I did here.  Roasting them concentrates their brininess, and you get the added bonus of the occasional crunchy bit, which happens to be MY personal favorite.

Anyway, here’s what I did:

Shrimp and Rotini Salad with Roasted Kalamata Olives

¼ lb rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
½ cup balsamic vinaigrette (mine happened to be store-bought), divided
½ cup Kalamata olives, or a mixture of various
1 medium heirloom tomato, cut into large chunks
½ cup grape tomatoes
¼ cup roasted garlic (whole cloves)
Olive oil
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil**
½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt & pepper to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Red-leaf lettuce (or whatever kind suits your fancy)

Heat oven to 400º.  Combine olives, tomatoes and roasted garlic on a small baking pan. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil (just enough to coat).  Sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and freshly grated black pepper.  Place in oven and cook about 10 - 15 minutes, or just until fragrant.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Combine shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes and ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  When pan in hot, add the shrimp mixture.  Allow to cook about 3 minutes, then stir and continue to cook another couple of minutes just until the shrimp is cooked through (don’t overcook).  Set aside and allow to cool.

Combine the cooked pasta, the roasted tomato mixture, and the shrimp mixture in a medium mixing bowl along with the remaining ¼ cup of vinaigrette.  Stir to combine.  Serve over lettuce with shaved Parmesan.

**  My sun-dried tomatoes were actually a ‘tapenade’ and had spices.  If you’re using plain sun-dried tomatoes, consider adding some basil to this for extra flavor.

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I don't really have a breakdown of the cost here because I was just using up what was left from another meal.  To me, frugality is not just about saving money, but making the most of what is on hand.

I can tell you that the shrimp was $3 a pound, so I used about $1.50 worth.  Using a fourth of a box of pasta amounts to about 15 or 16 cents, since I usually buy it when it's no more than 50 cents a box.  The olive and roasted garlic mix was the biggest 'splurge' at about $2 for the amount I got.  Just as a rough guesstimate, I imagine I spent a grand total of around $5 on this meal, feeding two of us.

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