Budget Meals: Day 5

Ingredients:
6 eggs $0.99
1 medium carrot $0.25
1 medium green zucchini $0.82
4 red onions $0.98
1 small yellow squash $0.40
Ginger $0.54
Total: $3.98
2 packages udon noodles
roasted peanut oil / sesame oil + vegetable oil
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
Thinly slice red onions, ginger. Slice thinly into sticks 1/2 carrot, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/4 zucchini. Saute onions and ginger and carrots in vegetable oil. Add the two squash, and cook, stirring.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook the udon for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Season with soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Add a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with cold water, to form a slurry. Set aside

Scramble two eggs with chopsticks in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some green scallions. Fry separately in a little oil in a pan. Add to the rest of the stir fry. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

Redoing my sister’s udon with tofu and bok choy, this is my budget version. I had a bag of frozen edamame lying around, so I tossed that in the stir fry. My kingdom for some crushed red pepper flakes!

~Jessica

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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 2

Ingredients
425 g GOYA white beans in sauce $1.50
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
1 red bell pepper $0.78
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $5.60

Directions
Chop finely 1 red potato, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the bell pepper. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger and all the head of garlic (it was going bad). Saute the onion, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Add the carrot, potato, and bell pepper in that order, cooking each a few minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the white beans (Blancas guisadas – preparadas con Aceite de Oliva, Cilantro, y Tomate). Rinse the can with water and add that too. I had some De Cecco elbow pasta lying around so I threw a handful of that in, along with a pinch of organic ground turmeric. Divide into bowls, top with sliced scallions. 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

Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Home Fries

IMG_2704Adapted from The Kitchn and Serious Eats

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
2 red potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 large red onion
3 garlic cloves
Seasonings: smoked paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, scallions (optional)

Directions:
Chop the potatoes. Cover them with cold water in a pot and a pinch of salt. Heat until water boils for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat. Drain, coat in a little oil, and set aside. Chop the rest of the vegetables. Fry the onions in some vegetable oil/butter over medium-high heat, then the garlic, until fragrant. Fry the bell pepper. Set aside. Fry the potatoes until they sear, without crowding, then add back the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste. Top with scallions or parsley (chives could do as well).

I do love garlic butter roasted mushrooms, so I was inspired to incorporate this form of protein in the morning brunch (also because we had run out of yogurt. Ack). So of course I needed to know the best method How to saute mushrooms. Cut thick, cook hot, don’t overcrowd. Done. Accompanied by some freshly grated Parmesan, a dash of salt and pepper and olive oil, and a wedge of smoked gouda. The omelette included scallions, salt, pepper, and just before I folded it in half, several strips of the same smoked gouda (melts wonderfully when reheating leftovers).IMG_2706

~Jessica

Chinese scallion pancakes, part II

IMG_2701.JPGAdapted from Sichuan Food, repeat of part I

Ingredients:
300g all-purpose flour
150g hot water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 bunch of scallions thinly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
sesame oil

Directions:
Melt the salt in the hot water. Make the dough with this water, set it aside for around 10-25 minutes. Roll out the dough into a large round cylinder. Brush some sesame oil on the surface of the circle. Sprinkle the chopped scallions evenly on the surface. Roll the dough round into a cylinder. Make sure that the chopped scallions are inside the cylinder! Wrap the cylinder around into the shape of a snail shell. Roll out and flatten the snail into another big circle. Brush some cooking oil on a pan and then fry the pancakes until each side is lightly browned.

Amber had brought back three bunches of green scallions from Flushing, on her weekly visit to her parents’. So time to use that up! Delicious fresh dough.

~Jessica