One of the things that money-saving food-blog people advocate is menu planning. And I just have to say, wow, that so doesn't work for me. Maybe because it's too much like... planning. I hate planning.
(A couple of friends have come over in the past couple of days, and they come in and say, wow, Emily, you are so organized. My response, What? Why in the world would you say that? "Because you have a huge calendar on your fridge." My response, ....)
Menu planning isn't working. So instead, this week I decided to pick 3 recipes and go buy the ingredients that I didn't have for them. Then I could make them whenever I felt like it.
Recipe #1: Heather's Salsa Pasta Chicken
See comments under August 17, "I would do the NY Times crossword every Sunday"
Recipe #2: Mediterranean Couscous
I have found a new favorite show on the Food Network. It's called "5 Ingredient Fix" and just like it sounds, the whole premise is that the host makes dishes with just 5 ingredients.
At first, I was skeptical. I have seen 5 ingredient cookbooks before, and they always have Campbell's Cream of ___ Soup as an ingredient. Yeah, I'd just as soon put rat poison in my food. (Because that stuff is full of flour, and basically it is poison to me).
But Claire (the host of 5 ingredient fix) actually uses real whole food as her 5 ingredients. So cool.
This week I tried the Mediterranean Couscous, except with some major modifications. Here is the recipe for Super Med Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa (keen-wah) - $3.99
2 cups vegetable stock
3 scallions (green onions), chopped - $.99
12 dried apricots, chopped - $1.99
1/2 can olives, chopped - $.99
salt and pepper to taste
Quinoa is a grain revered by the Incans. They called it the "Mother grain" because it's a superfood. It is tiny granules, much like couscous, but it contains essential amino acids, protein, and fiber. It's gaining popularity among foodies, and is great because you cook it just like rice, and can use it in much of the same type of dishes. Also, it's good hot or cold, so it's good for summer-time salads and anything else.
A word of caution, quinoa is full of fiber. So if you aren't used to eating a lot of fiber, don't try to eat this for four meals in a row. It would lead to some unpleasant side effects.
Ok, on to the cooking directions. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil, and dump in the quinoa. Stir gently and allow to return to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer until all the water is absorbed.
Chop the scallions, apricots and olives.
When the quinoa is finished, transfer to a bowl, and dump in the chopped "veggies."
Salt and pepper to taste.
Fluff with a fork to serve.
You can serve this warm or at room temperature. I actually thought it was good chilled too.
I got four meals out of this. Total cost = $ 7.96. And I could have had leftovers to do a second if I hadn't snacked on the remaining olives and apricots... But the next time I make it I won't have to buy the quinoa again.
3 days ago