Category Archives: budget

Cornmeal Apple Pancakes

One of my favorite things my boyfriend and I do on (lazy) Saturday mornings is make pancakes.  I think he gets frustrated with me because I never have pancake mix, but, who needs mix when you have an addiction to the bulk section at the co-op?

One (not so) recent Saturday morning, I made Dave pancakes in the cast iron skillet (my new favorite kitchen gadget).

To be honest, I’m not that good at making pancakes.  I never have been.  I either horribly undercook them, or burn them terribly.  These were pretty tasty (albeit slightly undercooked) 🙂

ingredients, + mango green tea (Saturday morning essential)

Cornmeal Apple Pancakes
adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

-mix 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat), 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt
-in a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cups milk (I used expired 2%), 1 large egg, 2 sliced apples, and 1 tablespoon olive oil
-Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined (my mom takes this step very seriously)

-Make pancakes the way you normally would (I’m certainly not one to give advice on this, frankly I was amazed that my pancakes came out flufly).

I think these pancakes are delicious.  I’m definitely someone who likes a little bit of texture to my pancakes, so I thought the cornmeal went really well with the cooked apples.  I’m not a butter or syrup kind of girl, so I thought they were great plain.  Almond butter definitely didn’t hurt, either 🙂

I made a half recipe because I didn’t think Dave and I would eat 12 pancakes, but I would definitely suggest making the full recipe if you’re cooking for more than just yourself.

Total Price: $2.04

1/2 cup organic cornmeal: $0.15
1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour: $0.06
1 tablespoon organic turbinado sugar: $0.05
baking powder/baking soda/salt/olive oil: no idea, let’s say $0.20
3/4 cups organic milk: $0.31
1 egg: $0.17
2 organic gala apples: $1.10

So, this equates to $1.02 per person for breakfast.  Had we made the full recipe, it would have been $2.04.  This didn’t take much time to put together, and will definitely be made again.

 

Squash Dumplings

I’m still alive! (sort of).  I’m actually home sick today so I figured I could FINALLY update my blog.  Since the semester has started back up I have been busy teaching, taking a class, and doing research.  This usually accounts for 10-16 hour workdays.  By the time I get home I make something quick and easy (omelette, 10 bowls of cereal, oatmeal…) but occasionally I have a particularly bad day and need to cook.  I think I have 4 or 5 recipes that I will be posting today, so stay tuned!

When my CSA decided to call it quits, they cleared out their farm and gave each of us 2 boxes – about 40 pounds – of produce.  In the end, I probably received as much as I would have over the following weeks.  Among my bounty was 17 squash, an enormous bag filled with garlic (I would estimate 30-40 bulbs), bags of potatoes, and lots and  lots of greens.  Also, my CSA gave us this link http://www.localgrowers.org/csa-programs/ to help us find a new farm to support.  I joined a winter CSA and am very excited about it.

So, I have a lot of squash.  Becca and I took a cute date to Nashville, Indiana, and I bought a down home, kitschy squash cookbook.  I’ve been getting ideas from it, but mostly for breads.  When I have a lot of squash, I typically roast 2 or 3 at a time and just keep the roasted sqash in the fridge to put on oatmeal, bake into a casserole, or make breads.  I wanted pasta the other day so I had the idea to adapt my gnocchi recipe for squash.  I got lazy so instead of making “pillows” I just rolled the dough into balls.

Squash Dumplings

-In a mixing bowl combine 1 egg and 1.5 cups roasted squash
-Continue mixing in 2 cups flour (I use wheat) and 1/4 teaspoon salt
-Once dough reaches dough-like consistency, roll into balls and boil until no longer chewy

Mizuna Pesto
-combine (with a mortar and pestle, blender, imersion blender, or however you want) chopped mizuna, 1-2 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper

It’s really tough to quantify how much any of this costs because of how I got 4 week’s worth of vegetables at once.  These are my best estimates:

Total Cost: $3.29

organic squash: $0.75
organic garlic clove: $0.10
2 cups organic flour: $0.52
1 organic egg: $0.17
Mizuna: $0.75
1/4 cup paremean cheese: $1.00

Roasted Tandoori-Chipotle Chili Powder Chicken with CSA Veggies

I have to say, chicken has never been a favorite meal of mine.

My biggest issue with chicken is that my mom (as amazing of a cook as she is) has always overcooked chicken to the point of it being as crumbly as the fantastic baking powder biscuits she usually made to go with them.  I never really realized chicken was supposed to be…juicy.

As a result, my diet had largely consisted of red meat throughout my cooking-on-my-own years.

Fast forward to now and me not really eating red meat anymore, and I’m finding more and more chicken in my diet (when it’s on sale, of course).

I’ve been making this meal lately, partly because picky-boyfriend-Dave likes it a lot and partly because it’s really freaking easy.

Picky-boyfriend-Dave also lives in Indy now, so we’ve been making it out to Trader Joes every week or two.  This past time I went I picked up a bag of all natural chicken breasts for $7.00.

I don’t know about everyone else in the CSA world, but I am completley overrun with potatoes and garlic.  Especially garlic.  I literally have 15 bulbs sitting in my pie cabinet right now.  Fortunately, potatoes and garlic go perfectly with roasted chicken. 🙂

One thing I have been doing with my roasted chicken is seasoning it to the point I feel as though I may be over seasoning it  I have determined, however, that this is not possible, and the more seasoning the better (especially if you have chicken from a butcher that has good skin on it).

Something I did at the end was put parmesan on top.  I totally don’t recommend this.  I don’t know..I just don’t think it goes well with roasted potatoes (but tastes good with the chicken).  I also don’t think I like parmesan cheese that much, so maybe my opinion on this isn’t the best.

Roasted Tandoor-Chipotle Chili Powder Chicken with CSA Veggies

-chop potatoes, greens, garlic, and cucumber and toss them in olive oil in a roasting pan

-liberally rub two chicken breasts with tandoori, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and salt; place on top of veggies

-chop quarter tomatoes and place on top of chicken

-roast at 400 degrees for ~30 minutes; cut the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it is completley done

Total Price: $8.08

2 all natural chicken breasts: $2.20
5 organic potatoes: $2.00
1 organic cucumber: $0.88
4 cloves organic garlic: $0.40
4 stalks organic collard greens: $1.30
3 organic tomatoes: $1.30

$8.08 isn’t bad since this fed 2 and there is still 25% of the chicken leftover, plus a lunch worth’s amount of veggies.

CSA Garlic Potato Salad

Today we had our welcome back chemistry picnic and I was in charge of bringing a side.

I REALLY needed to use up, oh, the 8 bulbs of garlic, the garlic scapes, and a million bags of potatoes I have accumulated in the past couple weeks.

While flipping through a cookbook my sister got me (Simply in Season) I found a recipe for garlic potato salad (which I slightly adapted).

PERFECT.

Garlic Potato Salad

-add 6 cups of diced potatoes to boiling water and let cook for 5 minutes; drain


-finely chop 4 garlic scapes and 1 clove of garlic, toss garlic in with potatoes


-finely chop 1 cup red onion; toss with potatoes

-add 1/4 cup olive oil
-add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
-add salt and pepper to taste

So, this was actually surprisingly good, albeit crazy garlicky.  I had about half leftover, so I assume this will find many uses over the next few days.  Tonight?  I added it to tomato soup, which was pretty good.

Honestly, I have no clue what the total cost of this was because I used so many random leftovers…I would say probably $3 worth of potatoes, $0.20 worth of garlic, $2.50 worth of onions.

So, I guess this ended up being ~$5.70.

From what I’ve learned, it seems as though organic side dishes aren’t the most economical.  BUT, only about $2.60’s worth was eaten..and I’ll be eating this for the whole week so it worked out?

 

 

Poor Girl Pizza

I really think summer ’12 is going to go down as one of the craziest of my life.  What’s my excuse now for not posting in a while?  Oh, you know, I got invited very last minute to attend my sister’s elopement (word?) in Nashville.  No big deal.  Then my niece ended up coming to Bloomington so I’ve been taking her out to eat instead of cooking.

I did,  however, make these pizzas for her after an especially exhausting day.

The great thing about using tortillas is that they can make the tortillas nice and crisp by preheating them in the oven while you prepare the other ingredients.  Oh, and a 12 pack of corn tortillas costs $0.59.  No joke (El Millagro from Chicago).

The other great thing about these pizzas is that any leftover ingredient in the fridge tastes great.  Got left over pasta sauce? great! Leftover salsa?  That works out perfectly, too.  You can literally do anything- alfredo, salad dressing, olive oil…at some point they become flat breads and not pizzas though 🙂  My other favorite thing about these is that sometimes I just don’t want leftovers.  I can make as many as I want and not worry about storing the rest in the fridge.

So, anyway, now that I’ve told you all the reasons I’m in love with these pizzas, I suppose I’ll tell you what I did.

Poor Girl Pizza

-preheat the oven to 400 degrees
-place as many tortillas as desired on a pizza pan and let the tortillas heat while the oven preheats
-chop whatever vegetables you would like (aka leftover CSA veggies) (I used zucchini, onion, garlic, and tomato)
-take the tortillas out of the oven, spread pasta sauce on tortillas
-top with slices of mozzarella cheese (or goat, or parmesan, or whatever strikes your fancy 🙂 )
-add your veggies
-season with salt, crushed red pepper, and fennel
-bake in oven for 5-10 minutes

Total Cost: $4.13 (or $0.59/pizza)
7 tortillas: $0.34
-1/2 organic zucchini: $0.50
-2 small organic onions: $1.00
-2 cloves of organic garlic: $0.30
-1/6 jar of pasta sauce: $0.33
-1/3 lb mozzarella: $1.67

7 were enough for 2, so I’d say you can’t beat that.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi with steamed CSA veggies

Yikes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!

I’m writing from the comfort of my porch, borrowing (stealing) my neighbors comfortable patio furniture, and relaxing from what has been a whirlwind July.  This past weekend I ran Great Lakes Relay- a 300 mile relay race across northern Michigan.   Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much cooking, and when I have it’s been the same old things I’ve already blogged about.

view from my porch

Well, not last night.  Last night I made one of my favorite meals in the world- gnocchi.  I’ve been getting these great potatoes lately from the CSA, but I’ve been boiling them almost immediately and never saving myself enough for pasta.  I vowed last night to take the time to make my favorite meal.

Along with the potatoes, I’ve also been getting a good number of cucumber, zucchini, onion, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.  I decided to steam the veggies and toss them over the pasta.  I typically make pesto, but I didn’t have any basil, so I threw in walnuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and dried basil in hopes of a pesto deconstruction.  It didn’t really work, fyi.  In the end, I tossed in some mediterranean sea salt (thanks Becca!) and that made my meal much better.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi

-chop and boil enough potatoes to make 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I prefer to mash potatoes with milk only and omit the butter for this recipe)

chieftan potatoes!

-Once you have 1-1/2 cups of mashed potatoes, stir together with 1 egg and 1/4 tsp salt (I use tea smoked sea salt)
-Stir in 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  Sometimes I need to add more flour, up to ~1/2 cup more, if the dough is too sticky.
-roll the dough into long thin logs

it doesn’t matter if this looks perfect if you’re going for the “rustic” look 🙂

-using a pizza cutter, cut the pasta into “pillows”


-place the pasta into boiling water and let boil until they rise to the top of the water.

-While you are making the pasta, steam your veggies.  This can be done in the microwave, a steamer, or a rice cooker (thanks, Jill!)
-chop 1 zucchini, a handful of baby tomatoes, and an onion


-Once the pasta and the veggies are finished, toss together with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, basil, crushed walnuts, salt, and any other seasonings you desire.

Bon Appetit! (only to be said in a Julia Child -esque way)

Total Cost: $6.91
-7 organic chieftan potatoes: $2.00
-1-1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour: $0.39
-1 egg: $0.17
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-handful of organic baby tomatoes: $0.50
-2 organic baby onions: $1.00
-1 clove organic garlic: $0.10
-grated all natural parmesan cheese: $1.00
-handful organic walnuts: $0.75

This meal comfortably fed 2, plus there were leftovers!

Zucchini Pasta

This freaking heat has really been getting to me lately.

As a result, I have no appetite for anything heavy.

I picked up my CSA yesterday and had 4 zucchini, 5 cucumbers, a bag of chieftan potatoes, and basil.  With the extreme drought and high temps (2+ weeks straight of 100+ degree weather) the CSAs haven’t been quite as bountiful.

With the basil, I absolutely wanted to make pesto, but definitely didn’t want heavy pasta.  Instead, I opted to make zucchini pasta.  I had done this before with eggplant and figured it would work with zucchini, too.

The pesto was fantastic, plus I got to use my mortar and pestle!!  Overall, the “pasta” turned out pretty well.  The only downside is that this takes some time, because you’re supposed to let it drain.  I personally don’t know if this really makes a different or not.

Zucchini Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Zucchini Pasta
-using a potato peeler (or a mandolin, or whatever you want), thinly slice the zucchini
-place zucchini slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes

-after 30 minutes, rinse and cook in boiling water
-cut red potatoes into quarters, and boil with the zucchini

Pesto

-using the mortar and pestle, smash a clove of garlic
-add fresh basil leaves and continue to smash the leaves and garlic, add olive oil as needed
-add walnuts until you reach the desired consistency
-add salt, to taste

Normally pesto has parmesan, but I didn’t have any.  I really don’t think it made a difference.

To go with this, I also added some goat cheese and chicken I had cooked and previously frozen.

Total Price: $8.60

-4 organic zucchini: $4.00
-1/2 package organic basil: $2.00
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-handful organic walnuts: $0.25
-4 organic chieftan potatoes: $1.00
-organic goat cheese: $0.25
-1/2-ish pound organic chicken: $1.00

I had no idea this ended up being so expensive.  I suppose what I have found is that grains are certainly cheaper than fresh vegetables.  Obviously  I think this has a lot to do with the recent weather, as the shares haven’t been as large lately.  oh well.