Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taco Salad

In the same vein of the Tex-Mex craving I had the other night for the chicken tostadas, tonight's was based on the simple fact that we just got internet in our new apartment and we were planning on playing World of Warcraft all night and wanted easy and cheap.

  • 4 chicken tenders
  • 1/3 head of Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 avocados
  • guacamole mix
  • taco chips
  • Cheddar/Jack cheese
  • Tillamook fat free sour cream
  • pepper
  • salt
  • garlic
  • cayenne pepper
  • sauce pan
  • cutting board
Place chicken in a pot of water with pepper, salt, and garlic. Let boil at high heat until it's thoroughly cooked. Add cayenne pepper and allow the water to boil down. Shred the chicken into smaller pieces.

Slice the lettuce however you prefer. I use thin strips. They tend to be easier to pick up with a fork since they can't really be... forked.

Cut up the avocados and mash until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and the guacamole mix. The guacamole mix is a new addition, something different to try. We normally just salt the avocado and call it good. While we liked the mix, we both agreed it's best used for a dip as opposed to a topping.

Taco chips, lettuce, chicken, cheese, guac, and sour cream. Tasty, filling, and moderately healthy.

The grand total for this meal for two which had a little chicken left over for a lunchtime nacho was $5.84.

  • avocados 2.32$
  • guacamole mix 79¢
  • 4 chicken tenders 1.16$
  • cheese 56¢
  • taco chips 36¢
  • sour cream 15¢
  • lettuce 50¢

Friday, November 13, 2009

Meat&Veggie Stew leftovers

Tonight's dinner was leftovers from the stew the night before. This time, we added salt, cayenne pepper, and more sausage, upping the price to $6.21 for two people for two nights. There is still one 4-cup container of stew left.

The rest of the loaf of bread was used -- butter and cheese in the oven at 350 for 7 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meat&Veggie Stew

We were going to have soup last night, but Daren came down with a weird stomach thing, making us forgo his tasty concoctions for a Costco just-add-lettuce Asian salad kit. Which, by the way, is amazing. $10.65 for two night’s meals. Can’t go wrong, really. But because we postponed Daren’s soup, we got to have it tonight. And it came out mighty tasty.

  • 4 celery stalks, 1 inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, ½ inch pieces
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, ½ inch chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 12oz Henry Weinhard dark lager
  • 3 beer bottles full of water (that’s 36oz)
  • 1 Tarantino brand Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 can Swanson’s chicken broth, 33% less sodium
  • 5 medium sized chicken breasts
  • 1 loaf Italian bread
  • garlic
  • smoked paprika
  • black pepper
  • sage
  • salt
  • soup pot

Basically, Daren just cut everything up into Daren-sized pieces (slightly bigger than necessary) and threw it all into the pot. He held off on the salt because he wasn’t sure if the Italian sausage would flavor it enough. In the end, it did need some salt, but be sure to use it sparingly. He also said he would add some basil and a dash of cayenne pepper for a nice kick.

The Italian loaf came to us as a cold, albeit soft piece of bread. I only used half of it, sliced it into dipping-size portions, buttered one side, and threw it in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes. They came out crunchy at the edges and moist and crispy in the middle.

Dinner tonight, which also provided two 4-cup Tupperware containers of leftovers, cost a grand total of $5.67.

  • celery 44¢
  • carrot 27¢
  • potato 71¢
  • onion 32¢
  • beer 92¢
  • ½ loaf bread 50¢
  • sausage 54¢
  • chicken broth 53¢
  • chicken breast 1.44$

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Tostadas

I crave Mexican food once in a blue moon. I crave Tex-Mex slightly more often. Tonight’s overzealous endeavor was chicken tostadas, mostly from scratch. Daren got to play video games while I slaved over a greasy stove; but had I left it up to him to do, we would have been eating hot dogs or bologna sandwiches instead. This meal has many-a part.
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup white rice
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, or kidney beans, with half the amount of juice
  • 4-5 medium chicken breast tenders
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar/Jack cheese
  • 1 ½ avocados
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil, or frying oil of choice
  • skillet
  • 2 sauce pans
  • sauce pan lid
  • tongs
Fill a skillet with 1-1
½ inches of oil. Heat oil on medium heat (our old stove did well at about 6, our new stove wants about a 4.) until nearly smoking. Carefully place a corn tortilla in the oil, making sure it stays flat (if it doesn't stay flat, it's harder to fry). Bubbles will begin to form on the tortilla's surface. Flip over with tongs after about 10 seconds. Continue to flip the tortilla back and forth until both sides are golden; any sooner and the middles will be chewy. Lightly salt each tortilla as they come out of the oil. Dry on paper towels to soak up excess oil. They won't be perfect on the first try, but that's the fun in cooking and knowing you made it yourself.

Put the water, chicken broth, and uncooked rice in a covered sauce pan. On medium-high heat (about 8), let boil for 10 minutes. Pull from heat and let it steam itself with the lid still on. Fluff with a fork. Be advised that cook times vary based on the type of rice used; consult bag/box first.

Throw chicken, salt, pepper, and garlic in a sauce pan of water on high heat. Bring to a full boil and make sure the chicken is completely cooked. Dump out some of the water, leaving about ½ inch covering the chicken. Cut chicken into smaller, workable pieces. Add cayenne pepper. Let most of the water boil out. Shred or dice the chicken, based on personal preference. I find shredding it works best.

Drain half of the juice from the can of beans. Add beans and their juice, rice, and cheese to the chicken. Warm on low, constantly stirring to thoroughly heat and keep from sticking to and burning on the bottom. Cut up the avocados, mash, and add salt and garlic to taste.

1 tostada + layer of avocado + chicken/beans/rice/cheese + additional cheese if desired.

El importe total es $5.66.
This particular recipe was made for two, however, can feed three.

  • corn tortillas 48¢
  • cup rice 23¢
  • chicken broth 35¢
  • beans 88¢
  • chicken breast 1.43$
  • cheese 56¢
  • avocados 1.73$

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sausage Penne

Dinner tonight was thrown together at the last minute with a couple stipulations: it couldn’t be too spicy and shouldn’t be super salty. My stomach was doing loops and those two things wouldn’t help the situation. So after some quick thinking, this was what Daren came up with.
  • 2 Tarantino brand Italian sausages, casing removed
  • 1 large carrot, ½ inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, ½ inch pieces
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, with juices
  • 1/3 can Swanson’s chicken broth, 33% less sodium
  • 1 ½ cup penne pasta
  • pepper
  • garlic powder (fresh garlic if you have it)
  • chipotle hot sauce (optional)
  • sauce pan
  • frying pan
  • frying pan lid
Fill pot with water. Add a pinch or two of salt. Let it come to a full boil. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally so as to break the stickier pieces apart. Let cook until desired state; we like ours slightly slippery and tender. Drain. Return to pot.

Sausage base
Throw the sausage, carrot, celery, beans and their juice, and chicken broth in a large skillet with pepper, garlic, and a small dab of chipotle sauce. Break up sausage to desired size; the smaller the chunks, the quicker they'll cook. Heat on medium-high, about 7. Let simmer long enough to allow the sausage to completely cook, stirring occasionally. Cover with lid and continue to simmer on low heat, about 4, for 10-15 minutes. Serve over pasta.

The grand total of this delicious meal for two was a whopping $3.06 with enough leftovers to fully fill a 36oz tupperware container.
  • sausage 1.08$
  • carrot 20¢
  • celery 10¢
  • beans 88¢
  • chicken broth 17¢
  • penne pasta 63¢