Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sriracha Mac & Cheese with Vienna Sausages

This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever make and has very simple ingredients and is super frugal.

Store Brand Mac & Cheese
Milk (if needed for store brand recipe)
Small tin of Vienna Sausages - choose a flavor you like if it is an option
Sriracha as much as you like
Salt and Pepper to taste
Gold fish or similar crackers to garnish

Before I start on this 2 line recipe, I want to come clean and say this was a happy accident as opposed to a well thought out and planned recipe.

Being on a frugal kick, when I went to the grocery store, I wanted to spend no more than 5 bucks so I bought a loaf of white sandwich bread, 2 store brand mac and cheeses, 3 tins of vienna sausages (bbq flavored) and a brown paper bag (they charge you a nickel a bag at this place I go). I did have to go and buy milk separately for the mac and cheese but I think it cost me $2 for it.

OK so here is the recipe:

Make the store brand mac and cheese according to its recipe - after you drain off water, add the vienna sausages and a table spoon of sriracha sauce as well as salt and pepper to taste. Right before you serve crumble a handful of gold fish or similar crackers to add some texture

When I initially made this, I didn't include the sriracha or goldfish and it was just meh -- nothing to write home about.. Even adding the goldfish adds only a marginal benefit but the sriracha makes this amazing!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Medley of Mushrooms

Full disclosure - this isnt the cheapest dish I've made but it's an amazing side dish..

Medley of Mushrooms

I was in my local Asian market recently and saw tons of different kinds of mushrooms i wanted to try. I picked up some Beech Mushrooms, Inoki Mushrooms and dried Shiitake mushrooms.

Cup of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Handful of Beech Mushrooms (brown)
Handful of Inoke Mushrooms
Cup of soybean sprouts
Tablespoon of olive oil

Half a cup of dry sherry
Teaspoon of Soy sauce
Tablespoon of Sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

First thing you need to(a do is to rehydrate the shiitake's - place then in a dish with a cup of water for half an hour or till they become soft. I dont think the stems become soft and i discarded them. Take the shiitake's and give them a course chop to yield bite size piece.

Heat a pan to medium high with a table spoon of olive oil. Add the shiitake mushrooms and sautee for about 5 minutes (also add a pinch of salt). While sauteeing, chop the ends of the beech and inoke mushrooms off  (generally these parts have the dirt you want to remove. If they are still dirty, take a wet paper napkin and clean them.Separate the mushrooms into separate piles and if they are connected break into bite size pieces... By now the shiitakes are probably quite dry so add the dry sherry & soy  sauce (don't put too much)Then bring it to a simmer and add the beech mushrooms and a pinch of salt..  After 2 minutes add the inoke mushrooms and a pinch of salt.  Next add sriracha and mix well... Now take the miaxture off the heat, add the soybean sprouts, mix and add salt and pepper.. Do not over season this dish.. The whole point is to be able to taste the various kinds of mushrooms..

If you wanted to, you could add a teaspoon of fish sauce when you add the sherry - but I didnt want the fish sauce to overwhelm the mushroom taste.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Recipe: Fried Rice

Ingredients: 1 cup Rice, 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce, 1 Egg, 3 carrots (medium size), 1 red bell pepper diced(small or half of a medium), 1 parsnip (medium size), 1/2 red onion diced, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/4 stick butter, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, salt & pepper to taste. Cayenne powder or red pepper flakes (both optional).

Equipment: Rice Cooker, Large Pan with lid to cook rice in. Large flat cake pan to dry rice in.

Cook 1 cup rice in your rice cooker. Drop a pinch of salt in the rice cooker and a drop of oil. Your rice will have a nice glassy look if you put a drop of oil in it. This should yield 2-3 cups of rice. You should take the rice out before it gets mushy as fried rice should have a little bite. I like using basmati if possible.. Other rices are OK also. I would recommend against brown rice or wild rice though. Stick with a white rice.

Take the rice out once done and spread it out as much as possible on a rectangular cake pan. This is to dry the rice out. Fried rice shouldn't have any moisture in it or it will end up mushy and an unappealing texture (it will still taste good though). Alternatively, if you have time you can dry your rice in the fridge uncovered for 30-45 mins. Dont wash the large cake pan yet. You will use it later as well.

In the large pan, add half of your butter and the onions for 5 minutes in medium heat. Next add the chicken broth, carrots and parsnips and cover for 10 minutes. Next add the soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic salt and cook uncovered until the liquid reduces to a quarter of what was there.. Drop the red bell pepper in and cook for 2 more minutes. Crack an egg and beat it in the mean time with salt and pepper... Next add the contents of the pan to the rice mixture in the cake pan, add the egg right after and mix slowly.. Rice should be mixed with a fork and it should be fluffed... After everything is nicely mixed together, add the remaining butter and if you want it to be a bit spicy add cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes and mix one final time. After this, taste for salt and pepper and add to your taste.
 There are endless variations to this dish and you can add any veggies you like and even sausage or cooked meats as well. The beauty of this is that it is very cheap to make and you get something like 6 servings out of my recipe.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Asian Beef Stew

For anyone following this.. I really need to get a digital camera to take some pics of this stuff. I plan on doing so pretty soon

1.5 pounds of thinly sliced beef in small bite size pieces
Can of condensed Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 can of water
1 Red Onion
1 Yellow Onion
2 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeno finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger grated
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
3 drops of hot sauce
Half a cup of vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix the cumin, paprika, hot sauce, salt, pepper and vinegar in a mixing bowl. This is your marinade. Marinate the beef in this mixture overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day finely dice your onions, jalapenos, smash the garlic and grate a little ginger. Heat up a skillet to medium high and add the onions with a table spoon of oil. Once the onions become translucent, add garlic, jalapenos, ginger and the second tablespoon of oil. Let this cook for 2 minutes then add the can of condsensed soup and half a can of water. Mix this well and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Now add the beef and allow it to cook for 10 minutes and reduce the heat now to reduce the amount of liquid.

Makes 4-5 large servings.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baked Eggs with Bologna, Tomatoes & Jalapenos

Frugal version of Mark Bittman's Baked eggs

3 eggs
3 slices of deli meat (whatever you have is fine)
1 tomato sliced into thin slices or 3 tablespoons stewed tomatoes
2 green onions sliced thinly up to the root
1 jalapeno charred and then diced finely
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt, pepper spices

Take the deli meat (i used bologna since it was cheap and in my pantry) and coat in olive oil
Add to a medium high skillet one at a time and lightly brown both sides.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Chop the deli meat into half inch squares
Take a small caserole and add the deli meat, tomatoes, jalapenos and green onions in that order
Break 3 eggs on top so that the yolks don't break. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste
Add to the oven and cook for 8 minutes (adjust to more if you don't like your eggs runny)
Remove and serve warm with toast

This recipe can have numerous adjustments/variations based on your own tastes.

Be careful on the amount you salt, season the dish. Remember generally deli meat has alot of salt in it.

Thin Beef with Onions & Jalapenos

OK - so most of the recipes I post here are ultra cheap so I should caveat that this one is slightly more expensive.

I was at my local butcher shop and saw thinly sliced beef was selling for $2.99 a pound so I bought a couple of pounds..

This was really an experiment and turned out to have delightful results.

1 jalapeno
2 medium yellow onions
1 pound thinly sliced beef
Half a cup of vinegar
Salt, Pepper
teaspoon adobo
teaspoon cumin
One garlic clove finely diced (optional)
Half a cup of water (if needed)
One tablespoon olive oil

Dice both onions and split them in 2 equal parts.
Take the beef and marinate with one one part of the onions, vinegar, salt, pepper, cumin, adobo, garlic if you like. Add the water if it seems dry. Basically you want some liquid in the marinade once the beef is all coated. The beef should marinate for at least an hour.
Take the jalapeno and char it on an open flame or in a saucepan with no oil.
Once you have a good char (but not burnt fully), take the jalapeno off the flame and set aside to cool off.
Once you can handle the jalapeno, cut it in half and get rid of the seeds and rib and then dice the jalapeno finely and set aside.
Wash your hands well now so you don't burn yourself with the jalapeno juice.
Once the beef is marinated, put a skillet on medium high with a tablespoon of oil.
Add your finely diced onion that you had set aside in the beginning.
Once the onions turn translucent, add the jalapenos and let them cook for a minute more.
Now add the beef along with the juices from the marinade.
Cook on medium for about 8 minutes flipping the beef often so that it isn't overly well on any side.
The marinade should have reduced considerably and the beef should be medium well..

I serve this with toast and it yielded 4 servings for me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Curried Potatos, Chicken & Jalapenos

This recipe takes advantage of the cheap potatos to make a really inexpensive meal.

4 potatos (medium to large)
2 jalapenos
1 tablespoon paprika
1 yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup beer
1 can of condensed chicken soup
1 can water
Salt/Pepper to taste

Scrub the potatos
With the skins on, cut them into bite size wedges
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Add to a mixing bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and the paprika
Mix everything together so that the potatoes are well coated
Put your mixture in a flat greased dish (pyrex) in the oven for 20 minutes
Finely dice the onion and set aside
De-rib the jalapenos (take the seeds and central rib out and get rid of it)
Wash your hands after this because the capsaesin in the jalapenos can burn you (yes this happened to me) depending on how hot the jalapenos are on the Scoville Scale (HT: Alton Brown)
Finely dice the jalapenos
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and once the oil is shimmering add the onions and once they are translucent add the jalapenos.
By now your potatoes should be ready to take out of the oven.
They should done so you can taste one to make sure they are done or 90% done.
Add the potatos, beer, canned soup, salt, pepper and water to the mixture and let the liquid simmer down by 50% usually takes about 10 minutes.

Best enjoyed with toasted sourdough bread.

I generally toast the bread as follows:
Brush on olive oil on both sides..
Add coarse salt sprinkling and pepper.
Put on a baking sheet
Put in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes
The bread will have character and amazing flavor.