I already made a healthy, hearty quesadilla last week (recipe), so it was only natural to keep going with the stack of uncooked flour tortillas in my fridge.
Ditching the fold for the roll, we opted for chicken burritos with more of the leftover tostada chicken breast (recipe). I had the foresight to leave some of the breasts whole instead of shredding all the meat. I chopped one breast into large chunks and it was enough for four mini-burritos.
The trick to healthy burritos is to reverse the quantities of all the worst stuff with the best stuff. That means more meat and beans, less rice and cheese. Here’s what each burrito looked like:
My burritos had about 2T each of beans and Mexican rice, 1/2 oz. of Oaxaca cheese and 1/4 of a chicken breast. If you’re looking to make Mexican rice at home, here’s a recipe.
I like wrapping the burritos and finishing them on the cook top to make sure they have a bit of a crust. Top each one with 1t each of low-fat sour cream and guacamole (mashed avocado, flavored with a little salt and lime).
It won’t be the hulking beast from the taqueria or Chipotle, but this smaller-sized burrito hits all the right flavor notes and doesn’t leave you feeling carb heavy and bloated.
A bunch of my ingredients for Week 29: Salads that don’t suck went bad prematurely, and because I’m on a budget like most everyone else, I chose to postpone the blogging and use my remaining food dollars on meals that I could stretch over a few days.
One of my favorite cheap meals is homemade marinara sauce or meat sauce over parmesan polenta. If you buy grits or polenta once, you pretty much have grits or polenta in the pantry for a while. Marinara sauce can be made with a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, tomato paste and tomato sauce.
You can add meat, or pretty it up with fresh parsley or a couple of extra ingredients, but if you need to be cheap about it, you can get outta dodge with a handful of meals-worth of flavorful sauce for about $3, maybe less.
Keep reading to see how easy it is. Continue reading Cheap ‘n’ easy: Marinara (or meat) sauce and parmesan polenta
I was running low on grocery money this week so I chose to skip Week 29: Salads that don’t suck and instead bought meals I could stretch into many portions like pasta and polenta.
This was the most expensive dish I made all week, but I got five portions out of it, and I split the provided recipe in half.
A little background, since tri-tip chili with bacon fat in it isn’t really what we do around here (though it should be, every week, lol): I recently needed a big bowl of chili for a work lunch and turned to Chef Brian for a killer recipe.
All I told him was that it had to have tri-tip in it, and you work your magic from there.
The chili didn’t take a lot of effort to make and turned out absolutely delicious. So delicious that I decided to make it again, and this time, I wrote about it.
Keep reading for the recipe and instructions. Continue reading Chef Brian’s tri-tip chili
Few words can describe the beauty of homemade spaghetti and meatballs as well as “simple” and “perfect.”
Though Chef Brian’s light and fruity pomodoro sauce has a handful of ingredients, the time-tested combination of carrot, onion, celery, rosemary and thyme is aromatic enough to make your head spin.
His turkey meatballs follow suit, pairing the same herbs with a couple of cheeses, egg and a whole lotta lean turkey.
Rounding out our week of making romantic meals by cooking with aphrodisiacs, here’s one inspired by “Lady and the Tramp.” It’s Week 14, Meal 3: Whole wheat spaghetti Pomodoro with turkey meatballs and shaved Parmesan. Continue reading Week 14, Meal 3: Simple and perfect spaghetti and meatballs
While Week 11 was all about pasta, really, this meal could do without.
Just ask Wifey Nadia and our guests Jamil and Justine, who, after having a bowl of Week 11, Meal 3: Orecchiette with lamb ragu and ricotta cheese, all grabbed seconds to spoon-gorge on the clove-and-mint spiked, lamb-packed sauce. Continue reading Week 11, Meal 3: Orecchiette with lamb ragu and ricotta cheese
The last time I had short ribs in a restaurant I paid $23 for the plate.
They were great, but I’d argue the ribs I made at home were much better, for much cheaper.
I struggled last week with The Fat Dude Diet, but one bite of Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree erased the exhaustion and laziness that prevented me from cooking to my full potential last week.
Let’s get down to business, y’all. Continue reading Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree
I’m digging the idea of using the slow cooker this week for my meals, but it’s a little bit of give and take.
On one hand, the meal is ready when I get home — not to mention the house smells great when I arrive — but it’s not easy prepping for a Crock Pot meal when you’re on a time crunch.
I was able to get through Week 9, Meal 1: Ground turkey and black bean chili and I enjoyed a well-spiced chili that was great on another cold winter night. Continue reading Week 9, Meal 1: Ground turkey and black bean chili
Chef Brian told me I could use tilapia or halibut for his first fish dish, roasted Chilean sea bass with basil pesto in tomato broth with squash and cherry tomato, but I decided to splurge and go for the expensive stuff.
Nearly $20 later, I was the proud new owner of 10 oz. of Chilean sea bass from Santa Monica Seafood.
I questioned the steep purchase, which sucked up nearly 1/5 of my weekly grocery budget, all the way until I tasted the oily, decadent fish, bright broth and crisp veggies.
This, friends, is a winner — made better by the fact that I cooked this incredible meal at at home.
Go me. Well, Wifey Nadia helped a lot, so, go us. Continue reading Week 3, Meal 1: Roasted Chilean sea bass with basil pesto in tomato broth with squash and cherry tomato