Friday, December 31, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This was a pretty good week for me. I ate mostly a lot of leftovers, plus venison sausage. Thus, I wasted:

NOTHING!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tomato and Bulghur Soup

It was kind of chilly, and I wanted soup. Plus, I wanted to use some of the bulghur I have for something other than tabouleh or mujadarra. It's a pretty easy recipe, taking about an hour to make (and most of that is just letting it sit there while you wander off and get the laundry done). It's also got a clean, fresh taste with just a hint of spice. Hope you enjoy!

1 tablespoon each: butter (I used samneh here, but whatever), olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
splash rosemary vinegar (to make this, stick some rosemary sprigs in some vinegar and let it sit at room temperature a couple weeks)
1 teaspoon each: minced garlic, sumac, marjoram
1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes, cut up a bit in the can
dash cinnamon
1 14-ounce can chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you want this to be vegetarian)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 large handful bulghur (or 2 if you have baby hands like I do)
1 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in the oil over medium-low, then add the onions and half teaspoon salt. Let cook 10 minutes. Add the splash of vinegar, sumac, garlic and marjoram and cook another 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and simmer 30-45 minutes. Serves 2-4.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Storage

Here's what I used up for the week. Not a lot of stuff, but that's okay. This is probably more typical for what I'll use each week, given that some days I spend the night with friends, and other days I'm home.

1/4 pound white, long-grained rice
spelt
some bulghur
1/2 the golden raisins

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saturday Spending

I hope you all are having a happy Christmas.

I actually didn't do any shopping this week. There's nothing I needed, plus I knew I was going out of town (which is where I am now; out of town). This also helps compensate for the overage from last week.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This was a really bad week for me, in terms of waste.

I wasted:

4 clementines (I went to open the 5 pound box so I could turn it all into juice, and 4 were rotted)
1/8 watermelon (this fermented before I got to it, which has no excuse other than laziness on my part)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spelt Salad

I wanted to use up the last of the spelt today. Mostly because it tastes good, but secondarily because I'm trying to work through the stuff in the Cave. I wasn't really looking for a meal, so much as a filling snack, which meant that a salad was the way to go. By the way, is it helpful to you all when I put links that describe what might be considered exotic ingredients? Or do y'all not care one way or the other? You could use regular whole wheat in this in place of spelt, if you wanted to. I don't think there'd be a significant difference of any sort. Also, you could add some grilled chicken or tuna if you wanted some meat in it. Hope you enjoy!

1/4 pound spelt
1 teaspoon each: vinegar (I used tangerine-basil vinegar), orange blossom water
water

1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup diced quick pickles
1/4 cup shaved onion

juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons za'atar
1/2 teaspoon each: harissa, tomato paste
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

Combine the orange blossom water, vinegar, wheat and water and simmer until the wheat is soft but still has some bite. This takes about forty minutes or so. Let it cook completely, then drain. Add second batch of ingredients and stir to combine. Whisk together the third batch of ingredients and fold into the salad. Chill and serve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chicken Pesto

I think I might not be getting enough protein lately, so I decided to get into that bag of chicken to work on the problem. I also have some pesto left over from when Sarah and I made it at her house, and it seemed like a good idea to use the pesto as a sort of paste to marinate the chicken. I had this with rice, but I think it'd be equally good with pasta. Mainly I had it with rice so as to be able to use even more pesto. :) Once again, this is a pretty quick and easy meal. You could put the pesto on the chicken, then go to work and it'll be ready to cook when you come home. I just let it hang out in the fridge while I got some work done here at home. I had a lot of research to do in a pretty short period of time (because apparently I've turned into a massive procrastinator), so it was a good work day meal for me.

As an aside, I cannot figure out if my neighbour's kid is taking singing lessons, or if they just listen to really bad music. A lot. Like, the same three songs, over and over. Just sayin'.

Also, I wanted to mention something unrelated to chicken (well, kind of). Some of you might be really interested in fitness and weight loss and stuff, and so I wanted to point out that I've got an affiliate link up for bodyrecomposition (the link in this post is NOT an affiliate link) on the side-bar over there (-->). The first edition of his Rapid Fat Loss book contained recipes I'd written (that's my direct link to that specific book), though they were later removed for a variety of reasons. Perhaps I'll post some of them here at some point. Lyle McDonald, the owner of the site, does some really amazing and reliable work that's founded in science instead of the hocus-pocus, magic-pill nonsense that never actually helps anyone. I really believe in his work, so I definitely recommend his books. And not just because I get a kick-back if you buy one using my affiliate link. If you don't feel comfortable buying his stuff using my affiliate link, just go to his website and buy it from there so you can still get his great information without worrying about me getting a kick-back. Or check out his free forum to find out more information before you buy stuff. (the chicken is only kind of unrelated, because working out sorts of people tend to eat a lot of chicken; I'm a corned beef hash kind of girl, myself).

Anyway, back to the food. Simple, yum, not expensive. Hope you enjoy!

2 chicken tenders (or 1 breast)
1/2 cup pesto

Slather the pesto all over the chicken and toss it in the fridge. When you get done working, put it in a frying pan (with the pesto) and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is done. Cut the chicken up and serve it all over pasta or rice. Serves 1-2.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Potato Chili Bake

Here's another simple meal. I got home recently after a long night, and needed some nourishing, filling, excessively salty and somewhat fatty food. So here's what I had. Hope you enjoy!

1 russett potato, peeled or not, but cut into cubes
1/4 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil (mine was rosemary infused)
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (or any other sort you like)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon harissa (or other hot sauce)
10 ounces chili, homemade or canned (I used meat chili but vegetarian chili works too)
cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients but the chili (and cheese), and bake for 45 minutes. Add chili (and cheese) and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serves 2. Also, I ate this with chopped pickles on top.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Storage

This week was not really good in terms of using food storage for me. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had so much food outside the house that I didn't get the opportunity to cook a single thing (between eating up my leftovers so they wouldn't go to waste, and the actual eating out).

So I used up... Nothing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Spending

Oops. I went over this week. Only by about 3 dollars, which is fine since I'm usually under by more than that. But nonetheless, it still happened. Mostly because I decided I wanted some meat in the house, in the form of a large bag of chicken breasts. I like to keep those bags of chicken around because when I want meat, it's very convenient to just take a little out and go from there. Then the fruit section captured me. I had already mango and pumello so watermelon and blueberries seemed like the perfect way to round out the fruit salad I wanted to make. I used to always eat a bowl of fruit salad for breakfast, and I'd like to get back to doing that. But okay, I'm lying. The chicken isn't the reason I went over. The reason is that I had some potatoes and I wanted to bake them and put chili on them (and then I saw the least expensive can of palm hearts I've ever seen in my life). THAT is really how I went over. Regardless, here's the spending for the week. :)

Kroger:

$1.00 - 2 cans stewed tomatoes
$1.00 - 2 cans diced tomatoes
$1.00 - 2 cans crushed tomatoes
$1.50 - banana peppers
$6.99 - chicken tenders (3 pounds)
$2.39 - corned beef hash
$1.88 - blueberries
$2.69 - Frank's hot sauce
$1.49 - watermelon

Total: 19.94


99 Cent Store:

$2.00 - Chili
$1.00 - Palm hearts

Total: 3.00
Grant total: 22.94

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This week I wasted:

radishes

Not really sure what happened here. I started with best intentions to make that wakame salad, but then life got in the way. When I went to do it, the radishes had turned into this sad, shriveled little mass of red and green. :(

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Bean Cholent

Okay, I'm kind of a liar. This isn't really a cholent. I mean, I didn't add any rice or barley, and there's not much by way of meat. But whatever. It's close enough and was cooked the same way. I'm not really even sure why I was craving cholent, though I suspect it happened the moment I read "low 29F" on weather.com.

Did you guys know I used to hate beans? I mean, seriously; I hated them like Pythagoras hated them (okay, that's kind of a lie too since I never thought they were evil). I'm not entirely sure what happened to me to change my mind, since I suspect the beans haven't changed a bit. But as you know, I've been sitting somewhere near 30 pounds of beans, this seemed like a good way to use up a bunch. I didn't have any raw meat in the house, so I just cut up some jerky instead. Plus, I could eat it for days and not be sad.

1 cup dry adzuki beans (little red ones)
1 cup dry lima beans
1 cup dry black eyed peas
2 carrots, cut up
3/4 cup each: chopped, cooked sweet potato and chopped celery
1/2 onion, cut up
4 cups water and broth mixture (I used half chicken broth and the half water)
1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, including liquid
1/2 cup beef jerky, cut into 1/2" or so pieces
salt to taste
3 dried limes (omani)

Put the beans in bowls and soak overnight (or all day, as the case may be). Combine all the ingredients in a large casserole dish and cover with a lid. Bake at 275 overnight, then eat for lunch. Serves 8.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sweet Potato and Avocado Spring Rolls

My second half of avocado survived long enough for me to make spring rolls. Are you proud I didn't chow it down without doing anything with it? These are really easy to make, and are perfect for on the go eating. I would normally serve these with a peanut sauce, but strangely I have no peanut butter. You can make a peanut sauce if you like for them, though. Then I thought I'd just make a quick sauce with hoisin and sriracha, but I was too lazy so I just ate them all plain. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 package rice or tapioca vermicelli, broken in half
water
salt
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 sweet potato, roasted and sliced thinly
1/2 large avocado, sliced thinly and sprinkled with the lime juice
juice of 1/2 lime
10 spring roll wrappers
large bowl of very cold water

Boil water with salt, then add vermicelli and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and add sesame oil and vinegar to noodles and mix well. Soak one sheet of spring roll wrapper in the cold water, then put it on a plate. Put a slice of sweet potato and a slice of avocado on the wrapper, then add a bundle of the noodles. Wrap tightly and put on another plate, then cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat. Makes 10 rolls.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Storage

Dried guava
Dried papaya
Dried mango
1 package rice vermicelli
lima beans
1/2 pound small red beans

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Spending

It's a little weird when you realise you've got a house full of exotic ingredients but you're missing basics such as peanut butter. Does that happen to you guys ever? I'm glad I was made aware that I was missing this, though. Next time I make spring rolls I'll be able to make a proper sauce. This week's spending involved missing staples, stuff to make stew and a lot of junk food.

On to the spending.

HEB:

$1.19 - eggs
$2.99 - shelf stable milk (4 little ones, since I rarely need more than a cup at a time to make stuff)
$2.07 - kosher salt
$2.48 - triscuits (I was really craving triscuits with banana peppers again)
$2.50 - ding dongs
$0.69 - large mango (seriously? awesome deal)
$1.45 - creamy peanut butter
$0.69 - 1 can crushed tomatoes
$0.68 - crystal's hot sauce
$1.02 - salad mix
$0.50 - cucumber
$0.84 - potato

Total: $16.41

Friday, December 10, 2010

Squirrel Stew

Okay, so if you're anti-hunting, or sensitive about animals, this might not be the post for you. Just sayin'. Today is a special day, since you get two posts today ;)

Over the summer, my friend Daniel walked into our class and said, "Hey Allie. How do you cook squirrel?" And there it started. A friend of his was moving and didn't want to move all the meat in her freezer. In this batch of meat is what he thought was 2 squirrels but which we now know was actually 4 of them. We had some discussion on the various techniques for cooking squirrel meat (I did actually have to research this, since it's not a game meat I'd eaten before), and then I forgot all about it. Until a week or so ago. For the final project in one of our classes, we were also having a potluck. Squirrel stew was brought up, and we went for it.

Daniel came over and we made the stew. It made significantly more than either of us expected, actually filling the 6-quart crock pot. The broth we made is one of the better ones I've ever seen come out of my kitchen. And by the way, did you know squirrel tastes like turkey? Really, really good turkey? I didn't. Here's how we made the stew. I'm sure this recipe won't actually help anyone who reads this blog, but I hope you enjoy reading it!

Broth:

1/2 teaspoon each: dill seed, allspice, peppercorns, juniper berries
1 tablespoon each: salt, sage
2 each: cloves, bay leaves, carrots broken in half, celery broken in half
5 each: dried shallot slices, dried shitake mushrooms
1 each: dried galangal slice, star anise, onion cut into quarters, dried chile arbol
3 omani (dried limes)
4 squirrels
water

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven (I used the 7-quart Le Creuset dutch oven) and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 hours, or until the squirrel is falling off the bone, replenishing water as needed. Remove squirrels to a cutting board. Remove large pieces of everything else, then strain the broth into a large crock pot.

Stew:

2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup truffle vodka
1/8 cup rosemary vinegar
2 celery hearts, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
broth from above
squirrel meat from 4 squirrels

Debone the squirrel and put all the meat into the crockpot with the broth. Add all the other ingredients and cover. Cook in the crockpot overnight. Makes 6 quarts.

Food Waste Friday

This week, I wasted:

1 spring roll - Despite my best efforts, I just couldn't eat 10 of them. But now I know, and I won't make quite so many without planning to take them elsewhere for sharing.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pasta with Clams

You guys remember Presto Pasta Nights? It's one of my favourite challenges, because it's so non-restrictive. The best challenges for me are the ones that leave you free to be as creative as you like. So this here (I have no idea why I wanted to say "so this here," but I just really wanted to) is my submission for the week (I know; it's been a while since I last did it). PPN is being hosted this week by Rachel at The Crispy Cook. She's got some tasty-looking stuff over there, so y'all should go check her out.

So, you know those little pastas? The stars, and the ones that look like rice, and the mini-wheels? I really love those pastas. How I most love to make them, though, is like they're risotto. It's a lot faster and everything gets done in one frying pan. Which basically means a lot less dishes for me (especially when I just eat it while it's still in the pan). Anyway, I have a couple cans of clams, so I figured I'd use one for this since mostly the only other thing I use canned clams for is stuffed mushrooms. Plus, Aleister was able to eat/drink the broth for a nice kitty treat. It's an easy meal that easily can be made in a half hour. Hope you enjoy!

1 pound little pasta (I used stars)
1 can clams, drained (you can use the broth if you like, but I like to give it to the cat)
3 cups (ish) chicken broth
1/4 onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 preserved lemon, diced
1/2 teaspoon harissa or other hot sauce
salt and pepper as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the oil and harissa in a pan, then add the onion (season here). Set the heat to low and cook the onions until the house smells like hash browns. Add the garlic and pasta, and fry another minute or two (season here). Add in the tomatoes, lemon and clams, then start adding broth 1 cup at a time. Stir frequently and add more broth as needed until the pasta is done cooking (about 6 minutes). Serves 2-4.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Salami Avocado Salad

I just can't seem to eat enough avocados for my happiness right now. Mostly I love to just mix them up with tomatoes, as you know, or eat them with a spoon straight from the shell. But sometimes I like to poke around in my fridge and see what's in there that might be good with the avocado-of-the-day (speaking of which, if enough of the avocado makes it, you'll be seeing some in spring rolls soon; if enough doesn't make it, you won't be). Today I found some beautiful artisan salami tucked in a bin in the fridge, and of course I always have several kinds of pickled foods. So I made this. It's really nice with the creamy, sweetness of the avocado, the firm-but-yielding fattiness of the salami and the salty crunch of the pickles. All made better with a little lime. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 large avocado, cubed
1/3 cup diced salami
1 pickle, diced (I used Arabic pickles this time)
juice of 1/2 lime
salt if desired (I didn't use it since salami and pickles are both salty, but you could)

Mix together, then run away where no one can see you so you don't have to share. Eat. Serves 1.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunday Storage

This week, the following were used:

Dried figs
5 pounds pasta (don't get used to this; it'll never happen again since I don't typically have athletes in my house)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday Spending

Has anyone noticed that the new way of drafting posts on Blogger is a little spotty and weird? Or is it just me? I preferred the way it used to be set up.

I know. Off topic. Turns out there's a Save-a-Lot by my new apartment, so I went in there to check it out and pick up some stuff. I like that things are quite inexpensive there, but I'm not fond of the severely limited choices. So I'm not sure if I'll keep shopping there, since I feel like I can get comparable prices at other supermarkets (so long as I pay attention to what's on sale and stuff) without relinquishing my ability to have more than one option for each item.

Usually during my summer challenges (where the budget is far lower than it is now), I include eating out in my weekly money. Which basically means I don't really get to go out ever, unless someone is feeling generous enough to feed me in exchange for my company (which does happen, but not often enough for me to actually get to see my friends if eating out is part of my grocery budget). But it occurred to me that I'd kind of like to have a social life, so I'm trying to work out a monthly budget for eating out. More on that later once I've determined how I should do it.

Anyway, on to the spending. Aside from a bit of produce, I mostly got some staple items I like to keep in the house, and milk for the rice pudding.

Save-a-Lot:

$1.69 - dill pickle slices
$0.10 - one lime
$1.59 - massive avocado (seriously? That was pretty expensive but I decided to go for it anyway)
$0.33 - large onion
$0.53 - sweet potato (Francis is with me this weekend, so he'll be delighted to share this treat with me)
$0.89 - radishes (for wakame salad and the greens for something else)
$0.99 - ramen
$0.37 - tomato
$1.77 - 3 cans of tuna in water

Total: $8.26

Fiesta:

$0.99 - milk
$1.15 - buttermilk

Total: $2.14

Gas Station:

$0.99 - chips

Total: $0.99

Total spending: $11.39

Friday, December 03, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I just can't say this strongly enough. Having a cyclist in your house is the most amazing way to avoid food waste. They eat EVERYTHING. The more, the better.

Thus, this week I have wasted:

NOTHING!!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Saffron and Fig Rice Pudding

Okay, so j. requested a rice pudding, and I figure that since she's off her budget right now, it'd be the perfect time to throw a little saffron into the mix. Also, I had some dried figs laying about that I really did need to use up, so here they are (and look at that - me using stuff in storage!). Sorry for my lateness in posting this; I've had a couchsurfer staying with me and my need to be an almost decent hostess has gotten in the way of me posting. Hope you enjoy!


1 cup rice
1 3/4 cups water
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/8 teaspoon each: cardamom pods; pink peppercorns

1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 cup vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon rose water (don't use too much of this or it comes out tasting like flowers, and no one likes that sort of thing)
1/8 cup almonds, chopped
8 dried figs, cut into quarters

Boil the water and pour it onto the saffron. Let stand an hour or so. Then combine it with the remainder of the first group of ingredients, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand 15 minutes. Add second group of ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring periodically. Serves 2-4.