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Midwest Living: Seared Salmon and Roasted Veggies for $5 or Less

I USED to think that it was too expensive to eat healthy, clean meals.  While it can be pricey to eat clean food at times, so can running through the drive-thru and getting a sandwich, a medium fries, and a drink. Often, fast food can be MORE expensive!

AOL Finance (2013) shares this amazing thought, “In general, a meal costs $5 to $7 at a fast food restaurant, but the cost of cooking at home averages out to $1.50 to $3 per person. That’s a 40-79 percent savings for healthier, homemade food.” See more info here…

I wish I would have discovered the truth about clean eating back in 2013. Instead, I came to the realization through trial and error on my own part, and thankfully it was confirmed by others. In celebration of dispelling the myth that clean foods are more expensive, I am going to begin sharing ideas and recipes for clean meals for $5 or less (per serving) on a regular basis.

Here is one of my many favorites so far…

Seared Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Red Potatoes

Prep time: approximately 35 minutes


I grew up with a strong dislike for fish in general, but the older I get, the more I like some fish selections. Salmon is a type of fish that I can’t seem to get enough of! Imagine my shock and delight that I can get a back of four salmon fillets at #Aldi’s for approximately $3.69! Even better,  I can’t tell the difference between these frozen fillets from Aldi’s and fresh fillets in the meat department at a regular grocery store.  The week I made this, asparagus was a vegetable of the week at Aldi’s for $.99, and I was able to get a 5 lb. bag of red potatoes for $2.99 at Aldi’s as well. The grand total for these items was $7.67. Now, because there are four salmon fillets in a bag, I am going to say $7.67 divided by four servings (although there are tons more servings in that 5 lb. bag of red potatoes) which comes to a grand total of $1.92 PER SERVING!!!! I don’t know about you, but that excites me! Please note: Not averaged into the cost are items such as olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper which are already in my pantry.

You are welcome! 🙂 See preparation directions below…

Meal Preparation Directions:

Sides Preparation:

  1. Turn oven to “broil” setting.
  2. Wash and slice red potatoes. Place in large bowl. Wash asparagus and place in same bowl as potatoes. Toss in olive oil and garlic salt until well covered. Place asparagus and potatoes on a baking sheet in a this layer, so they cook evenly.
  3. Place potatoes and asparagus in oven for 30 minutes on broil setting (you will want to turn the vegetables every 10 to 15 minutes in order to cook them evenly). Note: if you like your asparagus more on the raw side, you can add asparagus stalks to potatoes in the oven halfway through broil session for a total of 15 minutes cook time instead of 30 minutes of cook time.

Salmon Preparation: (Prepare during the last ten minutes of the vegetables roasting in oven)

  1. Take number of salmon fillets needed for the meal, and follow thaw directions on package.
  2. Spray nonstick olive oil spray and pour approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet; place on burner on high setting. Allow the skillet to get hot for a few seconds.
  3. Rinse the salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Place fillets in skillet and sear several minutes on each side. Personally, I like all my meat and fish to be done, however, some people like salmon to be more on the raw side. In other words, sear salmon to preference. I sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on the salmon fillets as they are searing.
  4. Last, take vegetables from the oven and serve with salmon.


To add variety to this meal, you can also slice Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes and follow the same roasting directions as above. I documented this photo as an experiment. The salmon fillet shown above was purchased fresh from the grocery store. Again, I could NOT tell the difference between the fresh selection and the frozen salmon fillet that I get from Aldi’s. #winning!

Price Summary for the sides shown above:

Brussels sprouts: $1.89

Red potatoes $2.99

Sweet potatoes $1.89

Frozen Salmon (shown in first picture) $3.69

Total: $10.46 ($10.46 divided by four = $2.62 PER SERVING!!!!! Wow!!!:)


Enjoy! Please let me know how you like this meal!

Stay tuned as I publish more clean meal recipes that are $5 or less!


Meal Planning, Recipes

Summer Fruit & Nut Salad

This salad!!!!!!!!! Drop on the floor, YUM!

I didn’t plan ahead well for taking food to Mother’s Day Celebration because of being out of town for a graduation, but woke up that day craving a fruity salad! I ran to the store and just started grabbing stuff!

  • 4 heads of Romaine hearts
  • 1 package of sliced almonds
  • 2 containers of sliced strawberries
  • 2 large cans of Mandarin oranges
  • 1 package of dried cranberries

Dressing recommendations:

Dressings that would pair well with this salad are Italian dressing, Balsamic vinaigrette, or Rasberry Vinigiarette.



Here is some of the leftover salad. It was SO good that I just stuck my fingers in it (so ladylike, I know) and ate it without dressing!!!!! I never do that!! Such a great summer salad!!!! The fruit floated to the bottom of course, but, it was delicious dressing-free!!! I guess the fruit made it sweet.. I let my puppy try some of the lettuce and he was begging for more… So funny!!🐶. People, this salad was hands-down delicious!!!

Meal Planning, Recipes

Emergency Clean Grocery List

What type of meal planner are you?
I am one that goes to the store for one to two weeks of groceries at a time, but prep food as I go… This could also mean making one meal with several days of leftovers for easy grabbing from the fridge or freezer… Weekends can be SO busy. During those crazy weekends it can be difficult to stock up plus meal prep in order to be set for an entire week!

When those busy weekends occur, here is my emergency food list that is always a good base for the week, or nearly a week, to get me going…

*3-4 types of proteins
*Approximately 3 different types of green veggies
*Potatoes (sweet and red) for healthy carbs
*2-3 kinds of multiple servings of fruit

That translates to my quick grab at Aldi’s the other day:
• 6 chicken breasts (See Garlic Infused Chicken recipe
• 2 dozen of eggs (by myself, I usually consume a dozen
and a half per week)
• 1 jar of natural peanut butter
• 1 bag of sweet potatoes
• 1 bag of red potatoes
• 1 bag of kale (I usually buy two, but there was only one
bag left)
• 4 green peppers
• 1 bag of apples
• 1 Little Salad Bar individual portions of Spicy Guacamole
(so yum!)
All this for less than $30!!!

Here are some staples I had already in my pantry and freezer:
• Shakeology!!!!!
• 1lb. of frozen ground turkey
• 1 bag of frozen Tilapia (from Aldi’s)
• Rice noodles
• 1 bag of red potatoes
• 2 large zuchini’s
• 2 bags of green beans
• California dates from Aldi’s and little oranges

This food supply usually lasts 5-7 days of eating the clean with five meals/snacks a day! I basically roast everything I can in the oven by setting the oven on broil and tossing the veggies in some olive oil and garlic salt.

Now for the chicken recipe… I had a couple of girls over for dinner last night and made Garlic Infused Chicken… I went ahead and made the rest of the chicken breast to throw in the freezer for easy grabbing later in the week.

Here is my recipe:

Garlic Infused Chicken

• 3 Chicken breasts
• 2-3 Garlic cloves, diced (my theory is you can never have
too much garlic)
• Olive oil and or nonstick olive oil cooking spray
• Garlic salt
• Pepper

Brown/sear the chicken with fresh garlic, garlic salt, and pepper on the stove on both sides until you do not see any more pink. After the chicken is browned on both sides, put the chicken in a pan with half an inch to an inch of water in the oven on 350® for 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces). Save some of the diced garlic for baking with the chicken in the oven for ultimate flavor. Also fork the chicken multiple times to allow the garlic to infuse into the meat as it finishes baking. It’s pretty delish and easy!!