Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken and Lentil Soup

This is, for sure, a lazy soup. I'm sick, so I just wanted something warm, nutritious and requiring little effort from me. Normally I would've fried up the veggies first but today, it all gets boiled together. You should, of course, make it as you see fit. Hope you enjoy!

3 chicken tenders
1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 dried lime (optional)
6 whole cloves garlic
1 slice dried galanga or ginger (or fresh slice)
1 cup each: zucchini, cut into planks; celery, cut into 1-2" chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup lentils
water as needed
1 cup shredded cabbage

Put everything but the cabbage in a pot, cover with the lid and bring to a boil. Boil 20 minutes. Then add the cabbage (and water if you need to), replace the lid and cook another 20 minutes. Check that the lentils are done, and if they're not cook a little longer. Serves 1 sick person or 2-4 regular ones.

No picture today, since I don't know where my camera is.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Storage

I used up some stuff this week. Mostly by baking lots of cookies. Woo!

golden raisins
many oats
most of the all-purpose flour
most of the nopales
most of the butter

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Spending

This week I actually went to the store. Are you guys proud of me? :)

I set this new rule for myself that I'm supposed to have breakfast from now on, since my metabolism is just zipping along at record speeds and it makes me nauseated a little. So in the interest of doing this in the 15 minute window that exists between waking up and leaving for class, I'm going to be doing one of the following each morning: protein shakes, labneh and/or shanklish sandwiches or yogurt with honey.

I've been flying through olive oil lately, primarily because I've been eating so much pita dipped in oil dipped in za'atar recently. And when I say "so much," I really mean that there are some days where I eat nothing but that all day. Since I was nearly out of oil, I decided to go to Phoenicia to get a big tin of oil. Especially since I didn't do any shopping last week at all, I figured it would fit into the budget (here's a good instance where rolling over the money is a good idea, though I'm only rolling last week's $20 and not the monies I haven't spent in previous weeks mainly because I'm too lazy to look through old posts to figure out how much that actually is) and if I could keep myself from getting carried away at the store, I might get out of there relatively close to on budget. Well, I was close. I would've been way under budget if I hadn't bought all my breakfasts stuff, but that's okay. I bought it all in big enough quantities that the only breakfast-y type stuff I'll need again in the next couple weeks is frozen fruit.

On to the spending.

Fiesta:

$2.49 - 1 pint blueberries for snacking
$1.58 - 2 packages (totaling 20 ounces) chopped, frozen spinach (I'm craving borek in a pretty serious way right now)
$2.29 - 1 package tropical fruit; frozen

total: $6.36

Phoenicia:

$18.99 - 3 litre tin of olive oil
$2.99 - 2 pounds yogurt
$5.89 - large jar of labneh
$1.99 - can of Israeli olives
$2.88 - bulk olives
$0.70 - zucchini
$0.74 - green cabbage
$0.56 - eggplant (2 Japanese type ones)
$1.25 - 9 loaves pita

total: $36.01
minus last week: -$20.00
total: $16.06

grand total: $22.42
amount over budget: $2.42

Friday, January 28, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week, I wasted:

Nothing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wild Rice Stir Fry

And, we're on to the last of the inordinate amounts of wild rice I made. Just in case you're keeping count, that makes for 3 meals and 1 bread made with the same item. 3 of those, of course, being ways to use up leftover foods you've prepared. This time it was a quick stir fry. Well, mostly fry - there was a bit of poach happening too. Anyway, it was good. Once I'm allowed to buy rice again, I will probably make more frequent use of wild rice in my kitchen. I'm not entirely sure why I forgot how much I love it. If you wanted to meat it up (which I was too lazy today to do), tossing some chicken or beef in, or even just a couple eggs into the mix would also be quite good. Hope you enjoy!

1 tablespoon each: sesame oil, olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon each: sriracha, hoisin sauce
salt and pepper as needed
1/4 cup white wine (I had some leftover, so....)
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 stalks chopped celery
1 small zucchini, cut into planks
1 small eggplant (I used the long skinny type), cut into planks
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 cups wild rice
1/2 avocado, cut into cubes (optional)
soy sauce as needed

Heat oils over medium-high heat with sriracha (or other hot sauce). Add celery and onion (plus seasonings), then cook for about 7 minutes. Add zucchini, eggplant (plus seasonings) and hoisin, and cook another 3 minutes. Add wine and cook down for 5 minutes. Then add cabbage and rice (and some soy if you want it), and cook another 5 minutes or until the rice is as crispy as you prefer. Top with avocado, if using (in fairness, this probably doesn't really go with it. But in my mind, everything goes with avocado so there we have it). Serves 2-4.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Egg White and Wild Rice Scramble

I had quite a bit of wild rice leftover after the chicken dinner, as you might have expected. One cup of it I set aside to make one of Peter Reinhart's breads (onion and wild rice), and the rest I'm eating by itself, or putting into stuff here and there. This is one of those here and theres. I also had those egg whites left over from the cranberry curd, and of course I didn't want those to go bad either. I always lie to myself and say I'll make meringues, but I don't think I've actually cooked those since I was a teenager. It's possible I'm wrong but I doubt it. AND I had some leftover tomato from sandwich eating.

Thus, this is a leftovers gone wild meal. I think sometimes for me at least, when I'm looking at preventing food waste I think of it more in terms of just eating leftovers, rather than in terms of making leftovers into new creations. I want to get away from that a little bit, since people always talk about using leftovers creatively but no one ever talks about how to do it. Now we have one extra way to do it then before. This is not a pretty meal though, so please don't be sad when you see the picture. Hope you enjoy!

1 tiny onion (maybe 1/2 cup's worth once sliced), sliced into half moons (or whatever. I just like half moons)
4 egg whites (or 4 eggs, if you don't have just whites laying about)
1/2 cup cooked wild rice (or other rice)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 chopped avocado
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon za'atar

Cut up the onion and melt the butter over low heat in a pan. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and let them hang out until they're nice and browned with that amazing smell onions get. Whisk some salt, pepper and the za'atar into your eggs/egg whites and add, along with the rice, to the pan of onions. Scramble (for me that mostly means stir a bit until it's cooked, but I've seen people take scrambling much more seriously. You do it your way). Add in the tomato and avocado and keep on the heat just until warm. Serves 1-2.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week wasn't great in terms of usage, mostly because I ate piles of sandwiches. Okay, and some Taco Bell.

But here's what I used anyway:

2 chicken breasts
all the wild rice
jasmine and green ring teas

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Spending

Not much to tell you guys this time. I pretty much was too lazy to go to the grocery store, despite the fact that I need a bit more fruit in the house than avocados.

Thus, this week I spent:

Nothing!

Should I get roll-over when I don't spend my $20? Or should it evaporate like the money did during the summer?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Salt and Sumac Chicken

Is that a weird name? I think it must be. But that's what this is. It's salty and it's citrusy from the sumac. And it's chicken. Basically how this happened is that in one of my classes, we have to do an "inquiry" which is basically an experiment. I decided to use chicken, mostly because I thought I'd like to eat chicken with wild rice and I wanted to use the wild rice up (see? That's me, right here, using up some food storage!). So basically, the rules for the experiment were that we had to use common household goods, do it on a high school kind of level, and do it at home, not in the lab. My experiment was to cook one chicken breast from a cold pan, and one from a hot pan to see if searing really "keeps in the juices." Of course, we all know the answer to that, but we're not doing original research or experimentation here. Just small stuff.

Anyway, I worked my homework into a recipe for y'all. And that should make you happy since it means I did something this week other than tell you about my food waste and shopping. So there we have it. If you think this will be too salty for you (and it will be, unless you really love salt), feel free to reduce the amount. It's a pretty strongly flavoured recipe, since I've got allergies right now that're eliminating my ability to taste much that isn't really intensely flavoured. So again, make any adjustments as you see fit, as per usual. Hope you enjoy!

1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts (or tenders, if you're just one person)

Mix together the salt, sumac and oil to make a paste. Rub the paste all over your chicken, then stick it in the fridge to chill out while you're at work or school. Come home, and preheat a pan on the stove at medium high heat. Cook about 3-5 minutes per side, or until done. Serve with sauce (see below) and wild rice (or whatever rice you have on hand, though I boiled mine with a dried lime, a bay leaf and some salt) and maybe a makdous or two on the side. Serves 1-2.

Sauce:

1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon each: harissa, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Deglaze pan with wine. Whisk in the other ingredients and boil down until thick. Pour over chicken and rice.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cranberry Curd Bars

I saw these bars on thekitchn, and they looked and sounded delicious. I also thought they'd be great to off-set the baklava for my gaming group, so I made them for that. They were, in fact, delicious, despite me absent-mindedly forgetting a rather important ingredient. I forgot to add in the butter that goes in the curd. Like, totally, completely, forgot. I saw the stick of butter sitting on the counter, right next to the stove, and I was like, "Oh. Oops. Hope they don't suck." They didn't - you can make them as per the recipe's directions, or leave the butter out. I think you should make them. I'll be making them again and again. Oh, I forgot to take a picture, so y'all will have to rely on the picture from the original recipe (where the link is in the first sentence of this post). Hope you enjoy!

As per usual, my changes are in italics. The stuff in the body of the post that's in bold was in italics on the original recipe. But I made it bold instead, since I always use italics and I don't want to confuse anyone (including myself).

"Cranberry Curd Bars with Walnut Shortbread Crust
Makes roughly 24 squares
For the Crust:
1 cup (4.5 ounces) walnut pieces
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) confectioner sugar, tamped lightly down and leveled off (I eyeballed this)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I eyeballed this too)
1/2 teaspoon salt (this also got eyeballed)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon pieces
For the Cranberry Curd:
12 ounces (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries (see note below)
1/2 cup water
1 cup (8 ounces) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon pieces (despite this sitting right next to the stove, I kind of forgot all about adding this)
Powdered sugar for dusting (I left this out too)
Candied citrus zest (optional - see here for a tutorial, and spiral the pieces around toothpicks as they dry to get them to curl) (and this)
Prepare the crust:
Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment, as described in this tutorial.
Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and coarsely grind, about 15 one-second pulses. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse until finely ground, about 10 additional one-second pulses. Sprinkle the chunks of butter over the top of the flour-nut mix and pulse until the mixture holds together when compressed in your palm, another 20-25 one-second pulses. (See below for preparing the crust without a food processor.)
Press the crust mix into the baking dish, making it as even as possible. Use wet hands for this, and it's a lot less painful to make it work. Trust me on this one. Freeze for 30-60 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Remove the crust from the freezer and bake for 20-25 minutes, until beginning to color around the edges.
While the crust is baking, prepare the cranberry curd:
Place the cranberries and water in a medium-sized sauce pot over medium-high heat and stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until all the cranberries have popped and become mushy, about 5 minutes. (Note: if you're going outside while this is on the stove, set a timer. Otherwise it might not be pretty). Pour them into a fine-meshed strainer set over a medium-sized mixing bowl and press the cranberry puree through using a spatula. Allow the puree to cool to room temperature. Discard the cranberry skins and clean the strainer for use in the next step.
To the bowl with the cranberry puree, add the sugar, eggs and yolks, lemon juice and salt (reserving the butter for now). Stir thoroughly until the mixture is even.
Return the cranberry mixture to the saucepan and set the burner to medium. Stir the curd continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Cook until the curd starts to thicken, coats the back of a spoon, and registers about 150° on an instant-read thermometer (there’s some wiggle-room, so don’t fret about being exact). This should take 10-12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter all at once. Stir until the butter has completely melted, then pour the curd through the strainer into a clean bowl. (Oops)
Pour the warm cranberry curd onto the walnut crust. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has set but still jiggles slightly in the center. Cool completely and refrigerate before cutting. (Okay, I didn't even bother cutting them, preferring to let everyone in my group cut out as much as they want)
To cut the squares, lift them from the pan using the parchment paper as handles. Trim off the sides to make even edges if desired. Dust the tops of the bars with powdered sugar just before serving and use a sharp knife to cut them into squares. The powdered sugar will melt into the cranberry curd, making sweet glaze. (I did none of this paragraph. None. I was excited to leave the house).
Keep refrigerated.
Notes:
Substitute for Fresh Cranberries - Substitute 3/4 cup cranberry juice and 1/4 cup lemon juice for cranberry puree if fresh cranberries can’t be found. Watch the bars carefully while baking, and extend the baking time as needed until the bars are set around the edges but still jiggly in the center.
To Prepare Crust Without a Food Processor - Chop the nuts as finely as possible with a chef’s knife. Combine with the dry ingredients and the cut or rub in the butter, as you would for a pie crust, until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Press into the pan and bake as directed.
To Make the Cranberry Curd Less Sweet - As it is, this curd is definitely on the sweet side of tart, but still tastes distinctly "cranberry." If you really love the super tart taste of cranberries and would prefer the curd to be less sweet, try reducing the sugar in the curd recipe to as little as 1/2 cup.
To Make Cranberry Curd By Itself - To make the cranberry curd into a spread for toast, continue cooking it in the saucepan until it reaches an internal temperature of about 170°. Mix in the butter, strain and cool. Store curd in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week I used up a lot of stuff. So proud!

4 ounces jasmine tea (I gave this to a friend; I didn't actually drink it all myself)
1/2 ounce tea, green ring and jasmine (this I actually did drink)
1 pound walnuts
1/2 pound pistachio nuts
1/2 pound almonds (all these nuts went to baklava for my gaming night and some cranberry bars)
some flour
some powdered sugar (I'm not sure if somehow I lost the open bag or if I used it, but I had to open the reserve bag)
1 bag cranberries

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Spending

Well, I just want to say a couple things. Going to Kroger in the evening freaks me out a little. Perhaps I watched too much Hitchcock as a kid, but the thousand+ birds in the parking lot make me a little nervous. There're usually a couple dozen on each car and hundreds more chilling out on the asphalt. Not only do I find it unnerving, but additionally I don't particularly appreciate the roof of my car being covered in fecal matter when I get done shopping. If I remember to bring my camera next time (I'll try!), I'll take a picture of the parking lot (not the fecal matter) so you can see just how many birds we're really talking about here.

The other thing I want to say? It's about bread. Normally I bake my own bread, which costs maybe fifty cents if I'm being generous with what it costs. This week I've just been so busy (as evidenced by sandwich city the last few days), that I needed bread but lacked the time to make it. Holy COW they are charging a small fortune for bread these days! 4+ dollars just to get a loaf that isn't one of the cheapy ones (and those cost 2+)? Who came up with THAT idea? Can I get in on that scam? So I just want to say this: don't be lazy. Make your dough ahead of time and store it in the freezer so you can pop a loaf in the oven as needed. Then you won't be appalled to know you are spending more on a loaf of bread than you did on diet coke. And that's all I have to say about that.

Here's what I spent!

Kroger:

$3.99 - bread (seriously, that's just ridiculous)
$3.50 - diet coke (see?)
$1.98 - goldfish (I just couldn't cope w/o the junk food anymore)
$2.49 - kalamata olives
$0.40 - tomato
$1.99 - sharp cheddar cheese
$5.29 - salami (it always weirds me out to pay this much for mass-produced salami, but their hard salami is surprisingly good so I suck it up and buy it sometimes anyway)

Total: $19.64

Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week, I wasted:

a little of the chocolate pasta salad. Just couldn't get through all of it before it was too late.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grilled Avocado, Tomato and Cheese Sandwich

As promised, another sandwich. This one is veggie friendly.

2 slices bread
olive oil or whatever you like on the outside
1 slice cheese
2-4 slices tomato (I sliced mine very thinly)
1/2 avocado, sliced
mustard (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Coat the outsides of both sides of bread with oil of choice, ad the insides with mustard if you're using it. Layer cheese, then tomato, then seasonings, the avocado, then seasonings, then last piece of bread. Grill in whatever manner you like to use. Serves 1.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grilled Cheese and Salami Sandwich

I'm going to be doing lots of hot sandwiches this week. It occurred to me that I have such an incredibly stupid amount of stuff to do right now that I can barely find time to do the dishes, let alone cook really creative stuff. I'm basically doing chocolate pasta salad for breakfast (because really, who can be sad about eating chocolate and fruit every morning?) and sandwiches when I get hungry throughout the day. I have been craving extraordinary amounts of fat the last couple days, daydreaming about In'N'Out (c'mon, guys. Build one in Houston. I promise I'll make it worth your while), Whataburger, Wingstop, pizza, and Popeyes. Clearly the last few days I've gone without potato chips is having a dramatic effect on how I need to rethink my other meals. More fat, more fat, more fat.

Anyway, here's a sandwich. Tomorrow there'll be another one. Probably Thursday too. Hope you enjoy!

2 slices bread
olive oil (or non-stick spray, or butter, or mayonnaise, or whatever you like to coat the outside with)
1 slice cheese (I used sharp cheddar here, since that's what I own)
2-3 slices salami (I used the overly-pricey but still wonderful Oscar Meyer hard salami)
mustard (I used dijon)
banana peppers or pickled or whatever (I don't need to tell you what I used, do I?)
sprinkle of za'atar or olive oil dipping seasonings (your choice)

Coat the back of each slice of bread with whatever oil you're using, and the inside of each piece with mustard. Layer on cheese, banana peppers, za'atar, then salami. Grill using whatever method you prefer. Serves 1.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate Pasta Salad

This is a kind of a weird recipe. I got this chocolate pasta some years ago and haven't known what I wanted to do with it. I finally decided. I just wanted to make a dessert pasta salad from it. Use up some fruit that was going to go to waste otherwise, use something from the pasta bin, and see how this chocolate pasta really is. That way, once Amazon decides they want to sell it (and I've used up enough pasta to be allowed to buy more), I can get some more and experiment with it. It's fairly expensive, but the taste and smell totally make it worth it.

So, here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

1 granny smith apple, unpeeled but cored and cut into 1" pieces
1 navel orange, supremed with the supremes cut in half and juice reserved
1 mango, cut into 1" pieces
1 bag of chocolate pasta, cooked according to package directions

Dressing:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons orange juice reserved from cutting the orange
2 tablespoons of blueberry preserves (thanks, Mom!)
pinch salt
pinch of cinnamon and/or cayenne (I didn't use this, but it'd be good with either or both of them)

Combine the fruit and the pasta. Fold them together well. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing, then fold into the salad. Serves 8.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday Storage

Okay, here's what I used this week:

some cornmeal
some flour
the last of one tub of baking powder
the bag of chocolate pasta (recipe tomorrow)
still working through the chinese green ring tea, but it's slow going. I just can't keep up that pace I used to have a few weeks back.
1 box tortellini
pesto

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Saturday Spending

I didn't really buy much this week. Which makes sense, since I didn't actually cook anything other than ramen and corn gems (I used Lon's recipe this time, since I didn't want to melt a single tablespoon of butter on the stove; the recipe was quite good). I'd planned to go get olives too, but I forgot so they'll just be part of next week's budget instead (olives may be all I buy next week).

I'm not sure why I really haven't been cooking. It seems like I cook once a week and just eat that all week. And lately I've been cooking stuff you guys already know (hence the lack of recipes). What I need to do is start really working on making smaller portions so I have to cook more than one time a week. Anyway, I'll work on it.

And, on to the spending. I was well, well within my budget this week. Additionally, I bought ZERO junk food. Are you proud? I keep plowing through the junk food at record rates. Aside from liking it, it's also helping to keep me from losing more weight. Which is true, but is the main way I'm able to justify it. Loads of extra calories for very little work. :)

Fiesta:

$1.98 - 2 cans coconut juice
$3.25 - simply orange
$0.99 - parsley, dried
$1.78 - 2 cans of sardines
$0.62 - yellow onions
$1.99 - eggs

total: $10.77 (including 16 cents tax that I'm assuming was for the coconut juice)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Food Waste Friday

Well, this week wasn't perfect, but it wasn't too bad. My goal is to actually bring you guys a recipe or two next week, so let's all try to look forward to that.

This week I wasted:

1 carrot

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday Storage

This post also got eaten, so once again I'm relying on my poor memory. :) Not a whole lot got used up this week, since I focused a lot on leftovers.

I used:

1 pound pasta
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tin anchovies
the last of the kalamatas :(
can of beans (turns out I really do not like canned beans)

And I think that's it, though I may be mistaken.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Saturday Spending

Okay, this is kind of weird. I'd written up my Saturday post, and then I threw the receipt away. But Blogger appears to have eaten the post, so I don't really know what to say about all of that. As a result, this post is going to be really incomplete, but I'll do the best that my absent-minded brain can.

Kroger:

total spending: $18.36, comprised of (that I can remember):

1 large apple
1 large navel orange
1 multi-pack chips (22 of the little bags. I know, I know)
2 cans coconut juice
triscuits (after all, a whole jar of banana peppers was lying about, so....)
3 packages of ramen
3 cans tomato sauce
head of garlic

some other stuff I've now forgotten.