Sopa de fideo

Recipe courtesy of my co-worker, Ms. Carchichabla and the blog Isabel Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1 packet Goya Sazón Seasoning with Azafrán
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • rosemary, thyme
  • vegetables (e.g. celery, carrots, cauliflower, potato, bell pepper)
  • 8 oz. fideo pasta
  • olive oil
  • black beans, cooked (we used canned)
  • garnish: lime and cilantro, Mexican Queso Fresco and diced avocado. (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut up two plum tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, little bit of onion and sautée until soup-like. We also added diced jalapeño pepper (I recommend removing the seeds as much as possible), but you can also add red pepper flakes.
  2. Add a packet of Goya Sazón con Azafrán.
  3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water (or broth) to boil.
  4. Then, put in the veggies — we used celery, carrots, potato, and turnip.
  5. To make the fideo, which is the (bow tie) pasta, you’re going to toast it in a pan in olive oil. Don’t toast it too much or it will burn, just toast it till gets to a tannish-yellow color.
  6. After putting the fideo in the soup along with the veggies, add the beans. (The beans should already have been cooked before!) Add some salt, rosemary, a pinch of thyme.
  7. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes or whenever you feel it’s ready. Taste. Add some salt if necessary. Garnish with cilantro, etc.

It’s a perfect meal for the fall/winter weather. Additional soup ingredients can include vegetables such as bell pepper, onion and garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken, chili peppers, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. I quite liked my second attempt too, with canned tomatoes!

~Jessica

Purée of spring vegetable soup

Adapted from Lisa KleypasDevil’s Daughter

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 2 carrots (I had not)
  • 1 red / yellow bell pepper (green was cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (chicken) broth
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • pinch (tsp.) of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (or half and half)

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables into ½ inch pieces, to cook evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in large pot, on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, then vegetables. Sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend with a hand immersion blender (I have not, so I did it in batches).
  5. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with buttered croutons, or a grilled cheese.

I had not carrots, but not a big enough pot anyhow. I had 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, so I used that instead of the tomato paste. I ran out of thyme! One of my favorite herbs! I think this is my favorite in the Ravenels series, but this recipe was extra sumptuous, and I had just collected the ingredients for ratatouille, thinking to make a pan satué version (baking is so hot in my apartment, and I haven’t a real baking dish in fact). I loved the description in the book where this dish was served. Can you imagine a 12 course meal? Now if I only had the makings for a grilled cheese…

~Jessie

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 3

Ingredients:
GOYA Pink Beans in sauce $1.50
4 small red potatoes $1.34
1 head of garlic $0.39
1 red bell pepper $1.32
Ginger $0.54
3 red onions $0.67
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
5-6 Brussels sprouts $0.98
Total: $7.41

Directions
Chop finely the small red onion, 1/3 the red bell pepper, two of the potatoes. Mince two cloves of garlic, and a thumb of ginger. Cut off the Brussels sprout stems and slice each in half. Saute the onion, ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Cook until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, then the potatoes. Season with salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme. Add the the Brussels sprouts last (mine were slightly overcooked in the stew/soup). Add the can of pink beans (Rosadas guisadas — preparados con aceite de oliva, cilantro, y cebolla). Again, I threw in a handful of pasta for extra carbs. Top with some sliced scallions, and serve. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 1

Ingredients
737 g Iodized salt $1.59
425 g black bean soup $1.59
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
2 plum tomatoes $0.46
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $6.96

Directions
Chop finely 2 potatoes, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the tomatoes. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger, 1 clove of garlic. Saute onions, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Saute carrot, then potatoes for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and can of GOYA black bean soup (Frijoles negros – preparados con aceite de oliva, pimiento, y cebolla). Stir frequently, cook a little longer and serve. Top with sliced scallions. Serves 3 (on a diet).

I recently moved off my friend Amber’s couch and got my own place. Rent is $1100/month, including all utilities. My training stipend of a “modest” $2500 is to cover four months of NYC living. The GRE exam costs $205.00, the Educating All Students (EAS) exam is $92.00, the Content Speciality Test costs $134.00 (I’m taking the Biology CST, of course), Fingerprinting is $99.00. This means budgeting. A lot.

At least the GOYA black bean soup is the bomb-diggity! (Even though it has MSG and added sugar.)

~Jessica

Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Slow cooker chili con carne

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My sister just had a new baby, so we’ve been trying to create protein-rich, one pot meals that aren’t too complicated. Photo above includes the leftovers paired with a mushroom spinach cheese omelette and smoked gouda on English muffin.

Adapted from smitten kitchen

lean ground turkey (we had beef in the freezer)
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
chili powder, ground cumin, kosher salt, paprika, oregano, Dried red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1-2 jalapenos or other fresh hot pepper, minced (we can’t tolerate too spicy though!)
1 bell pepper
vegetable/olive oil
1/2 bottle fresh tomato sauce or tomato puree
3 tablespoons cider vinegar (we forgot, next time!)
1 bottle beer (next time!!)

Heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in your slow cooker. Serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

~Jessica

White bean soup with kale and rosemary

Adapted from Ina Garten and Damn Delicious, although inspired by smitten kitchen

1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, diced
olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large branch of fresh rosemary (I only had dried)
chicken stock
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried thyme
1/2 bunch of fresh basil
2 bay leaves
2 cups kale (I only had baby spinach)
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Saute the onions in olive oil on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the beans, rosemary, stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove herbs and stir in greens (e.g. spinach) and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste, topped with fresh basil. Serve with toasted bread, drizzled with good olive oil and rubbed with cut garlic.

~Jessica

P.S. A similar attempt by myself. I also threw in some diced carrot and celery to use them up.