Posts Tagged ‘budget friendly’

6th January
2010
written by Steph

Guaranteed to cure what ails ya!

Guaranteed to cure what ails ya!

It’s cold/flu season, so I know I’m not alone when I tell you that part of my holiday this year involved lying in bed sick as a dog (though to be honest, our dogs never seem to get as sick as I do…).  It was a bummer being all snotty-yet-stuffy nosed and achey and fevered, even if my mom was there to take care of me… but then we returned to Nashville and things got worse because now my mom wasn’t even there to take care of me!  However, I’m not my mother’s daughter for nothing and I swiftly decided Tony and I needed to cook up a big pot of my mom’s chicken noodle soup, because if there’s one thing I want to eat when I’m sick, it’s that (well that and pho, but chicken noodle soup is way easier to make from home).  So today’s recipe is brought to you courtesy of my mom, because while I’m sure tons of people out there have their own CNS recipes, my mom’s is the BEST at curing what ails ya.  Trust me.  It’s got secret ingredients and everything. (more…)

15th March
2009
written by Steph
Hot Pockets!

Hot Pockets!

Anyone out there a Jim Gaffigan fan?  Well, if you are, then you know that the only way you can say the words “hot pockets” is in a high falsetto sing-song voice.  Additionally, you’ll know that the Gaff (as I have decided to fondly refer to him) is no fan of this “white trash” food.  Ah, what the hell, let’s just got to the clip because it’s hella funny, and what better intro to a post could I use than this: YouTube Preview Image OK, so I don’t think I’ve ever had a Hot Pocket in my life – not a real one anyway.  I vaguely remember some kind of breakfast pastry during my teen years that involved egg and ham, and was microwaved in its own little sleeve, but it was definitely not an Official Hot Pocket.  Maybe Tony has had one, but if so, he isn’t sharing.  That being said, one night when I was lying in bed trying to think up a way to use up three left-over spring roll wrappers (which had been chiefly purchased for a somewhat successful samosa-making venture of mine (successful in taste, not so successful in the folding execution)), I was struck with the wonderful insight that I should clearly create crispy golden parcels oozing with cheese and thinly sliced turkey.  Would it be successful?  There was only one way to find out!  [Spoiler alert: it was hugely successful… otherwise, I wouldn’t be posting about it here.] Below is a guide to the honey-smoked turkey and smoked gouda pockets I made one night for dinner one night after coming in from the gym.  There’s a lot of flexibility with these suckers, so you can easily use your favorite kind of meat and cheese and make it all your own! Ingredients
  • spring roll wrappers (found in your local supermarket’s refrigerated section, normally over by the produce)
  • cheese of your choice, thinly sliced (choose something that will melt well – we went with smoked gouda because we LOVE it and it melts really easily, but you could easily do havarti, cheddar, provolone, munster, or something fancy like brie if you wanted)
  • turkey meat (from the deli, thinly sliced… or use ham, or chicken, or whatever kind of meat you want!)
  • country-style Dijon mustard (get the kind that has visible grains in it!  Or don’t!  We prefer the grainy kind, prepared with white wine, as it has a milder, slightly sweet flavor, but pick whatever floats your boat!)
  • grape-seed oil (or other oil with high smoke point)
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of flour
(more…)
21st February
2009
written by Steph

Chili con Carne

Chili con Carne

At the end of my last recipe post, I tantalizingly teased you with the promise of a chili recipe.  This is that recipe.  So far on this site I have focused for the most part on meals that you can fling together in a jiffy during the week.  After all, isn’t that how most of us are cooking most of the time?  However, one of my secret weapons for quick meals is perhaps the counter-intuitively named slow cooker.  I love this thing because it allows to me toss a bunch of things in a pot, forget about them, and then come back to a meal that is cooked and full of flavor.  It’s kind of like magic, or at the very least, having a little house elf to help you out in the kitchen.  I trot my slow cooker out about once a week, and its now my go-to appliance for making chili.  The thing about chili, in the end, is that the longer it cooks, the more complex and richer the flavors get, and that’s what makes a good chili.  Sure, you can get away with just simmering it on the stove for an hour or two, but how does that beat low & slow cooking for 8 hours?  Look at the numbers! OK, so the recipe I’m posting today was made with the aid of my slow cooker.  BUT I know that not all of you have one, so I will also tell you what to do if you’re going to go the traditional “pot on stove” method.  The slow cooker method is ostensibly easier since you just put everything together, making it a one step dish in the morning, but it’s not as though the other way is hard either.  Seriously though, look into getting a slow cooker, ok?  They aren’t just for making your grandmother’s casseroles or something bland and gluey, and I promise that they won’t burn your house down if you leave them unattended. Credit where credit is due, my chili recipe is inspired by Elise’s chili con carne recipe, though I must admit that I’ve never made it the way she does as my chili always has ground beef in it, and shockingly, never any bacon. (more…)
15th February
2009
written by Steph
Braised Balsamic Chicken

Braised Balsamic Chicken (served with brown rice & oven-roasted asparagus)

Holy moley, is this ever delicious, and the pictures don't do it justice.  Seriously, I think the simplicity of the individual ingredients involved belie just how frikkin’ good the final product is, because man oh man is this one ever good.  And quick to put together, too (no joke, this took all of 20 minutes to cook, if that)!  And appropriate for people on a tighter budget, because nothing all that fancy is needed, and in fact, not all that many ingredients are needed.  Oh, and it’s also healthy… And just so we’re clear: YUMMY.  I need to stop talking about it and just tell you how to go ahead and make it because it is so good and you don’t want to spend any more of your life without having tasted this chicken.  Let’s get to it! Ingredients (we’ll say for two, but you could probably add way more chicken, because we had a fair share of left-over veggies) •    2 skinless and deboned chicken breasts (we buy these mutant gargantuan (but organic!) chicken breasts at Sam’s club, so I just used one of these whoppers and cut it into 2 portions after the fact) •    ½ white onion, thinly sliced (not diced!) •    ½ red pepper, thinly sliced •    2 tbsp olive oil (or thereabouts, I never measure oil…) •    salt and pepper •    garlic salt* (this is for seasoning the chicken breast; feel free to use whatever you like to use → I actually used some garlic and herb seasoning I have) •    ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar •    1 can of diced tomatoes (I used a fire-roasted variety that I love because it gives them some extra flavor) •    1 tsp dried basil •    1 tsp dried oregano •    1 tsp dried rosemary •    ½ tsp dried thyme •    2 tbsp brown sugar •    fresh mozzarella cheese, or any other cheese you want for garnish (option) (more…)
9th February
2009
written by Steph
Shrimp with Snow Peas

Shrimp with Snow Peas

The title of this post is not technically  a misnomer, but it might be a bit misleading, as there is more to it than just shrimp and snow peas.  I often view the stirfry as a great means for cleaning out my crisper and using up veggies.  I figured, why use just snow peas when I also had some green pepper and mushrooms as well?  This meal is fantastic to prepare during the week, as the element of the dish requiring the most time was definitely the rice.  The rest of it came together in about 5 minutes!  And if you have a rice cooker that has a timer, as I do, then the cooking of the rice is not only a no brainer, but is also a non-issue.  For this dish, I essentially followed Rasa Malaysia’s recipe for Shrimp with Snow Peas (including her tips on getting crunchy shrimp!), but tweaked it a little bit.   Apart from adding in extra veg, I also doubled the sauce, while also adding a bit of hoisin sauce to it for extra flavor. Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound shrimp [I have no idea if I used this much; I used about 12 large shrimp]
  • 3 oz snow peas [Again, I just added in about 3 large handfuls and called it a day]
  • some canned straw/button mushrooms [I used fresh button mushrooms (about 6), chopped into quarters]
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil [I used olive oil]
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into medium-sized chunks
  • ½ white onion chopped into chunks
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic [I use the stuff out of a jar because I am lazy]
Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 8 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing or rice wine)
  • 2 dashes white pepper powder [I used black pepper]
  • 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
(more…)