Tag Archives: cheap eats

breakfast

Pantry Cooking Project, Day 6

Just a quicky today.

Breakfast was my basic buttermilk pancakes (recipe below) and a ham-and-green-onion frittata.

breakfast

Lunch was the leftover rice from the day before and some of our farmer’s market bounty: strawberries and donut peaches.

lunch

Dinner was a fancy restaurant with a friend, so basically, I’m not doing all that well in my resolve not to spend much in restaurants this month. Oh, well.

Money spent on groceries: $16.25 (project total $55.86)
Money spent in restaurants: $55 (project total $92.76)
Food gifts received today: $0 (project total $17)
Things we’ve run out of: Mayonnaise, ice cream, hamburger patties, pork chops

Simple buttermilk pancakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1-3 Tbsp sugar
Wet ingredients
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I use the thick Bulgarian kind; it makes a difference)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for the pan
Instructions
  1. Combine the dry ingredients with a fork in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.
  3. Stir in the melted butter.
  4. Fry the pancakes in melted butter. If you’re unsure how to cook pancakes, leave me a comment, and I’ll be more specific.

 

Ah, bliss. (Pantry Cooking Project, Day 5)

It’s my first weekend as a college graduate, and it’s off to a wonderful start. Slept in a little bit (until 8am! yay!) and then delighted in a gorgeous breakfast James made us: morel omelettes, potatoes, V-8, and tea. Later, scarfed an entire pint of raspberries all by myself. Life is good.

Today’s food:

The aforementioned breakfast.

breakfast

Lunch was veggie burgers with homemade mayo (you may recall we ran out of store-bought pretty early) and oven fries. James made lunch, as well. He’s a really useful guy to have around.

lunch

(I made the mayo from this recipe from the Frugal Farm Wife, Elise New.)

mayo

For dinner, I thought I’d try my hand at making flour tortillas using my friend Koko’s instructions, but I ended up feeling less ambitious than that, so I just made “Spanish rice” instead, and served it with refried beans and a tomato-and-avocado salad.

dinner

(I haven’t been mentioning snacks. Today’s snacks were the aforementioned raspberries, some milk and cookies, and a couple of white peaches. Ah, summer!)

Money spent on groceries today: $0 (project total $39.61)
Money spent in restaurants today: $0 (project total $37.76)
Food gifts received today: $0 (project total $17)
Things we’ve run out of: Mayonnaise, ice cream, hamburger patties, pork chops

Easy Spanish rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Pseudo-Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small bell pepper (any color), finely diced
  • 1½ cups medium- or long-grained white rice
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2½ cups stock or water (I used a knorr beef tub in hot water)
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes with the liquid)
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, until softened. Add pepper and rice and cook and stir 5-8 minutes, until rice starts to turn light brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  2. Add in broth and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

 

Pantry Cooking Project, Day 3

Growing up, our beverage choice at dinner was usually water or water. We drank a lot of water in our house. Sometimes there was juice or milk at breakfast or lunch, and in the summer, Country Time lemonade or instant Nestea iced tea (you do know to boycott Nestlé, right?), but usually, it was water, and it’s still my favorite beverage. Preferably cold with no ice, but I’m pretty flexible. Am I the only one who sees people using a garden hose and wants to go over and get a quick drink? Yeah, probably the only one over the age of seven.

Anyway.

These days, I still mostly drink water, but I’ve gotten in the habit at The Best Job Ever of buying a drink in the afternoon: usually sweet, usually caffeinated, usually cold. Today, it’s jasmine and honey iced tea with lychee jelly. Delicious. But I want to see about moving to homemade drinks for my afternoon treat. One of the main reasons I don’t do that is that I don’t want to deal with washing out a container, but maybe I can find one that’s wide enough that I can just wash it the way I would a drinking glass. I’ll be on the lookout.

Possible afternoon bring-along drinks:

ice water (feels like more of a treat than just water from the tap)
sekanjabin
sweet iced tea
chia lemonade or other chia drink
V-8, tomato juice, Clamato (all faves, but in hot weather, they don’t tend to satisfy thirst as well for me)
[your suggestion here]

Food today:

Breakfast was delicious. Frozen O’Brien potatoes fried in oil; eggs over easy; a little sriracha; a cup of V-8; some yellow pepper strips.

breakfast

Lunch was an embarrassment of food in packets. I had taken some ham out of the freezer to make sandwiches with, but it wasn’t thawed yet when I went to make my lunch in the morning, so I just grabbed some stuff to take.

lunch

Dinner was some really amazing cheeseburgers, with those awesome homemade buns. Mom often thinks we’re not eating enough meat, so she sends us boxes of meat from Omaha Steaks. These are their burgers, topped with melted Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. Usually, I eat half my burger and give James the other half, because I’m just not all that into big chunks of meat, but this time, I ate the whooooooole thing, and it was just. so. good.

dinner

Money spent on groceries today: $0
Money spent in restaurants today: $2.99 (project total $11.52)
Food gifts received today: $0 (project total $17)
Things we’ve run out of: Mayonnaise, ice cream, milk, hamburger patties

The Pantry Project starts tomorrow

I’ve planned our meals until Saturday (see below). I’ve found my camera cable. I’ve made my last trip to the grocery store (for snacks for our Torchwood marathon this evening). And, oh yeah:

I’ve graduated!

Anywho, tomorrow, we’re going to start a project to see how long we can go without buying groceries, with these exceptions:

Coffee (because seriously)
Fresh produce
Eggs/dairy

James is up for it; when he realized we were out of mayo, he said, “but you can make it from what we have, right?” So I’ll make some mayo tomorrow and take pics. I’m curious to see what kinds of things we run out of first. I’ll tell you one thing: it won’t be beans. We have so. Many. Beans!

Here’s the menu for the rest of the week, and then Saturday I’ll sit down and figure out next week’s based on my master menu and what we have in the house. Have I shared my master menu yet? It’s a way for me to do meal planning without thinking too much:

Mondays: pasta
Tuesdays: Mexican food
Wednesdays: Udon or yaki soba or ramen — basically, Asian noodle night
Thursdays: Sandwiches or burgers
Fridays: Stir-fry
Saturdays: Something with chickpea gravy (my favorite vegan food in the world)
Sundays: Whatever I feel like making

So the rest of the week looks like this:

Tuesday: Beans and Mexican rice with roasted corn and baby carrots
Wednesday: Miso broth with veggies, tofu, and noodles
Thursday: Grilled cheese and soup
Friday: Seitan stir-fry and rice or noodles
Saturday: Marble potatoes and chickpea gravy; big salad

Making my way back

This is my last week of school. I am so looking forward to having my life back, but even more, I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you are up to. Aso, I am in a clearing-the-deck kind of mood. I’m going to clean my house, sell some of my book overflow, and basically reclaim the space I have been treating like a hotel for the past two years.

First project? To see how long I can go cooking with only what’s stored up in my cupboards, with the addition of fresh produce, eggs/milk, and coffee. Should be interesting, at least to me, and it’ll be a good way to get back in the habit of daily posts. This’ll kind of be an extreme version of my Pantry Cooking Month jags.

My mom is an incredibly good pantry cook. These days, she has enough money to have overflowing pantries (seriously — it’s a problem), but when I was in my teens, we had very little money, and mom remembers the days when she fed my brothers pancakes for dinner, because that’s about all there was.

This experiment is in her honor. Love you, mom!