Then, pan-fried it and served it alongside white rice flavored with turmeric, saffron, and chicken broth, and some quick-sauteed bok choy. Normally I’d season the bok choy with soy sauce, but no soy for me on the Feel Good Cleanse, so instead I used my trusty coconut aminos.
Well hello there! Yes, it’s been awhile, I know. I sort of slipped into a funk there about what this blog is about, and I’ll tell you why: Living by myself, keeping up with what I was buying, cooking, and eating was super simple. I did all my own grocery shopping, cooked nearly every meal for myself, and always knew what was in my cupboards, freezer, and fridge. And, sticking to my $6 a day budget really was a challenge. There were some months there where I had $6 left in the last week of the month and had to invest it in greens, making brown-rice-black-bean-collard bowls for the rest of the month. (Which, honestly, is not a bad way to go. It’s actually one of my favorite weeknight meals! Especially if you have some good hot sauce on hand.)
But, moving in with Jesse has been a whole different ballgame. I still do almost all of the grocery shopping, kitchen organizing, and cooking, which I certainly can’t complain about. If that’s the way our division of labor shakes out and I get to sit back and knit while he fixes an emergency leak in the upstairs shower, or cleans the gutters on Saturday morning, I’m a lucky girl. But, it does complicate things for the purpose of this blog. For instance:
- Jesse is a fantabulous cook, but he goes about it waaaaay differently than I do. He simply wakes up in the morning, decides he wants to eat beef stroganoff for dinner, and then goes to Fred Meyer on his way home and buys every single ingredient, including most of the spices and pantry items we already have. I’m grateful to have a delicious meal waiting for me when I come home from work, so this is not the battle I pick, but while that’s still part of our shared grocery expenses, it’s certainly not the way I roll!
- I can scrupulously save receipts from every purchase and catalog them at the end of the week, but asking that of Jesse is a losing battle, so my weekly tally of grocery spending never felt totally accurate, and that bugged me so much!
- Jesse eats at home way less than I do. Whether it’s picking up a sandwich from Subway for his work lunch, or Mexican takeout after a late night of bowling, or just the fact that he doesn’t eat breakfast OR leftovers, the fact of the matter is, our household consumption is pretty skewed. I eat 3 different meals at home (or bring them with me wherever I’m going) most days out of the week, and while they’re inexpensive and made using simple ingredients, the fact of the matter is I’m consuming about 70 percent of our groceries these days, which makes it really hard to really figure out the math of whether we’re truly supporting two grown adults (one of whom can put down three burritos in one sitting…and it’s not me!) on six dollars a day.
So, while I certainly haven’t stopped cooking, shopping frugally, or getting creative with my leftovers, I did stop blogging about it for about eight months! But, recent requests from certain friends and customers have convinced me to get back into it, realizing that maybe this blog will just have to revamp its purpose.
So, I probably won’t be taking snapshots of all my receipts, keeping a running total, or showing you the breakdown of what each ingredient costs. But, I will keep taking pictures of meals that I’m proud of, and telling you how I made them! And you’ll just have to trust that I’m still scouting out the best deals at the grocery store, buying for the future, and getting creative with what’s already taking up space in our freezer/pantry/fridge/cupboards.
This one was a wonderfully collaborative meal, totally by surprise, and was actually precipitated by an argument about Point #3 above. Every once in awhile, when it comes time to reconcile the monthly bills (which includes all the groceries we put on our shared credit card), Jesse gets all grumpy-pants about it, huffing that he pays for half the groceries, even though he barely eats any of them. Which, I believe, is really not my problem. Whether or not you choose to partake, you have a healthy, home-cooked meal waiting for you every night, plenty of leftovers for us both to take to work, and I even make most of our dinners with you in mind (i.e. usually featuring meat and/or cheese, Wisco-style!)
Being able to to share fridge space, grocery costs, cooking, and mealtimes is supremely important to me — and a requirement for me even with a regular old roommate, let alone a life partner. Even in college, I entered every roommate situation making it clear that I did not want to have the kind of fridge where we each have our own shelf, shop independently, and label our own milk with our names in Sharpie. Being able to share in each other’s nourishment is one of the most loving things we can do together, and I have been adamant since day one that if we are going to split the mortgage, water bills, and 50-lb. bags of food for our pup, then we should be splitting groceries too, because they are (and should be) part of our life together.
For me, part of sharing groceries also welcomes open conversations about what we’re eating, what we’re spending, what we want to cook together — whether it’s a savory midweek crockpot meal or a gigantic smoked brisket for a party. It means that if our grocery bill is too high one month, let’s talk about it and figure out why and decide ways together to pare it down. It means that even though you may not ever eat any of the cottage cheese that I make my morning Israeli salads with, you also get that entire package of Oreos to yourself, or if you want to eat a frozen pizza for dinner one night, go for it! I’ll split that with you too even if I’m not having any.
I came home from work that day armed with all these arguments in mind, ready to make my case, only to find Jesse had already worked all this out in his own head over the course of the day, and was agreeing with all my points before they even finished coming out of my mouth — the best kind of frustrating.
And, on that note, I dug some random veggies out of the drawer that I thought would complement each other — zucchini, onion, and sweet potato — and a package of chicken sausage out of the freezer where I like to keep random protein on hand just for occasions like this, pointed to the pile and said, “Okay, why don’t you make a hash out of that.”
This is one thing I love about cooking with Jesse: he is refreshingly compliant and capable. Sometimes I’ll have a vision for dinner, and instead of trying to handle all the components I’ll pull up a recipe for one of my ideas, set up his tablet on the kitchen counter, and tell him to “make that.” He’s really good at following directions. The other side of this is that I can trust him to chop up whatever I put before him, add it to a skillet, and season it well by improvisation. I honestly can’t even tell you what he put in this hash, but I do know he cooked the diced sweet potatoes first since he knew they’d take the longest, then added the onion and sausage, and cooked the sliced zucchini separately so it wouldn’t get too mushy. Swoon.
In the meantime, I trimmed the ends off of a big bag of green beans I bought last week, heated up some peanut oil in the smaller skillet over medium heat, and tossed them in. After they’d sauteed for about two minutes, I added some store-bought stir fry sauce — nothing fancy, just some Vietnamese-style bottle of something-or-other that’s been in our fridge for awhile. While I probably could have whipped up a homemade version of this blend, I get antsy when there isn’t regular condiment turnover, and I’m sure I bought this at Grocery Outlet some time back because it was on crazy-super-sale, so I went for it. This added some liquid to the skillet as well, which sped along the cooking process by adding the element of steam. I ground up some peanuts (yes! I have nut grinder! It’s one of my favorite appliances, probably because I love cooking Asian food and about 60% of my meals involve chopped peanuts), and added them to the pan, causing them to get nice and toasty and also caramelize in the sauce.
I almost always have a batch of cooked brown rice already on hand in the fridge, so we just nuked some of that, spooned Jesse’s hash over top, and ate the green beans on the side.
So, a few months back, I was at my favorite Asian superstore, Fubonn, and decided to purchase a gigantic bag of sticky rice. I’m not really sure why, I just sort of wanted to experiment with it.
Turns out, it really fails in most contexts, except for mango sticky rice (dessert AND breakfast!), and sushi.
Now, I’m not going to get terribly fancy with my sushi. If I want some edible-grade raw fish and fancy garnishes and tempura involved, I’ll happily trek over to our favorite restaurant and lay down $15 for a wonderfully satisfying meal.
This is more about utility and function. I’m on the gluten-free train these days, and have been pretty content lately making myself lunches comprised of corn tortillas and yummy cheeses, which I heat up at work, some deli turkey, and greens or a lightly dressed salad to tuck inside. That to me is a perfect lunch taco.
But, I do get bored eating the same thing every day, so this seemed like a good way to switch it up. We always have nori on hand — I buy it in massive bulk at Fubonn and honestly can just rip pieces of the sheet off and eat them I love it so much, particularly during certain times of the month when my body is craving iron. It just seems like the right thing to do.
So I consulted the Internet about what sticky rice is actually supposed to be used for — rather than failed side projects to my various stir-frys — and realized that it’s super easy to make sushi rice. Cooked on the stovetop just like any other regular white rice, you just add some rice vinegar, salt, and sugar, and call it a day. Well actually, the methods I spotted involved cooking the dressing separately, stirring it in after the rice was cooked, blah blah blah. But I am a lazy cook, and my way worked just fine.
And the filling? I wanted this to be a fridge excavation project, so the only ingredient I bought to sushify things up was some imitation crab meat from Safeway, and other than that just filled the rolls with sliced up cucumber and avocado that we already had on hand.
And voila! I did have a little dish of soy for dipping, but honestly, as untraditional as it sound, Fire on the Mountain‘s spicy peanut sauce really does the trick, too.
This Week’s Groceries
I’ve made this dish twice this week now. The first time was last weekend, when my family came down to Portland and Jesse and I got to host our first Thanksgiving in the new house.
And the second was yesterday, one of the three true days off that I take off from work each year, when I got to wake up with my favorite person in the world, and spend a beautiful, crisp Thursday morning each cooking our own respective contributions to our gigantic Thanksgiving feast. And I mean gigantic. Seriously, look at this roster:
Dee: Veggie Pizza
Brush: Pickle chips
Caleb: Cheese Board
Erika: Stuff Mushroom
The Culinary Explosion
Teran: Turkey, traditional stuffing, brown butter mashed potatoes
Tyler and Jesse: Ham
Dee: Field Roast
Crystal Valley: Squash ravioli
Lindsey: Thai pork sausage stuffing
Kate: Squash rice pilaf
Zack: Fresh Baked Bread Rolls
Andrew: Green Chili Cheese Corn Bake
Jesse Wilson: Green Chili Cheese Mashed Potatoes who aspires to be reincarnated as a turkey
Erika: Mac and Cheese
Carolyn: Roasted Root Veggie
Josh: Cranberry Sauce Salad
Biff: Brussel Sprouts in Cream Sauce
Claire: Sweet Potato Casserole
Kelly: Baked Leeks in Cream Sauce
Andrea: Green Bean Casserole
Yo, Sweetness is my weakness
Kate: Pumpkin Pie
Elizabeth Haus: Holiday Cheesecake
Andrea: Pecan Pie
Cloud: Sweet Potato Pie
So yes, we were both pretty serious about cooking. Jesse hopped out of bed at 8:00 a.m. to fire up the smoker, where he smoked a pineapple-clove-orange-whiskey glazed ham.
And I went to work on my Thai Pork Sausage Stuffing, round two.
This recipe was adapted from a recent issue of Sunset magazine, and it’s a nice, spicy spin on the regular traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. It was disappointingly bland the first go-round, so here I’ve kicked it up a notch by tweaking a lot of the spices and adding stronger flavors.
It uses starchy, sticky rice in place of half the bread, and mixes flavors of ginger, cilantro, and lemongrass for a tangy kick. The very first step is to soak 1 cup of this sticky rice in hot water for about an hour; get this going at the beginning, and it can soak while you prep everything else.
Meanwhile, into the food processor goes:
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (inner stems only)
- stems from 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 3 serrano chilis
Puree these ingredients together, then add 1 lb. pork sausage (I used some apple pork sausage from New Seasons), and 1 tsp salt.
Now you’ll want to chop up:
- 1 tbsp ginger
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 1 medium onion
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a skillet, and sautee the above three ingredients until the onions are translucent. Then add in the pork mixture from the food processor, and cook until it has a nice, sausage-y texture.
At the same time, cook the rice by steaming it over a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. A smallish strainer like this one is perfect for the job: drain the soaking rice by pouring it into this strainer, then heat up a few inches of water in the pot that the rice had been soaking in, letting it come to a full boil. Rest the strainer full of rice on top of the pot, and place a bowl over top to keep the steam in.
Then, take a very large bowl and mix together the following:
- Everything you were just cooking in the skillet
- 3 cups chicken broth (I used Better Than Bullion, which has a very rich flavor)
- 1 large sourdough baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (if you can, try to remember to cut this up the night before so they’re a little stale)
- 2 eggs, beaten together
- leaves from 1/2 bunch cilantro
- a few tablespoons of chopped basil
- 4 green onions
Once everything has been thoroughly mixed, transfer it all to a 9×13 baking dish, and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, covered with foil. After 30 minutes, uncover and bake for a final 30 minutes with the foil off.
This Week’s Groceries
- Can of green chilis: $1.49
- Beef broth: $0.99
- Tomato paste: $0.59
- Tomato sauce: $1.39
- Chili beans: $1.39 — Can you guess what Jesse was making for dinner?
- Chicken broth: $2.60
- Frozen pizza: $4.99
- Yellow onions: $0.28
- Jalapeno pepper: $0.12
- Pork sausage: $3.29
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $147.39
New Seasons 11/16
- Coconut oil: $6.99
- Table salt: $0.99
- Sushi rice: $2.72
- Dozen eggs: $2.99
- Half and half: $2.99
- Cream cheese: $1.99
- Lemongrass: $0.69
- Fresh herbs: $1.52
- Jalapeno: $0.95
- Ground chicken: $3.97 — The first go-round of this dish, for my family, I used chicken instead of pork
- Sourdough baguette: $3.99
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $117.60
Portland Fruit Company 11/16
- Yellow Onion
- Gallon milk
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $90.30
Grocery Outlet 11/20
- Pineapple rings: $1.29
- Frozen peas: $0.99
- Half and half: $2.39
- Ginger root: $1.49
- Butter: $2.59
- White vinegar: $1.49
- Yellow onions: $1.49
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $78.57
New Seasons 11/20
- Sushi rice: $1.44
- Anaheim pepper: $0.42
- Serrano pepper: $0.18
- Lemongrass: $0.72
- Apple pork sausage: $6.17
- Sourdough baguette: $2.99
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $66.65
Fred Meyer 11/21
- Brown sugar: $1.79
- Pickling salt: $2.09
- Lawry seasoned salt: $2.37
- Meat tenderizer: $3.69
- Cloves: $0.35
- Ginger root: $0.45
- Shallots: $0.57
- Turkey breasts: $19.08
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $36.26 — Not too shabby, after two full Thanksgivings!
Can I tell you how much I love the Portland Fruit Company? Sooooo much. It has become a permanent part of my Tuesday afternoons, swinging by after whatever other errands or appointments I’ve lined up on my “day off.” It’s not even that it’s got sucha gigantic selection, or that all the produce is super organic (but I think it’s mostly all local?), but they have just the right amount of everything, enough new stuff each week to give me a suggestive nod at a new dish, and are crazy, crazy cheap. Like I walk away with a bag full of fruits and veggies that would cost me probably $28 at New Seasons, for only $16.93. And there’s always something yummy near the register like fresh peaches or plums that I can grab one or two of, for the bike ride home, for like $0.38.
This week, I was wooed by the mushrooms. I usually go for crimini, because they’re the cheapest, but this time I was like, you know, it’s the beginning of the month, I have a little wiggle room now that Jesse’s grocery budget is combined with mine, and seriously, the oysters are not that expensive.
So that’s how this meal started. Wednesday night, I had the house to myself while Jesse went out on a bike ride with his friend. It was also a chicken-roasting night, prepping some meat and stock to have on hand for the rest of the night, so I decided to whip up some stuffing for roasted peppers while that sat in the oven.
First: a few stalks of celery, some jalapeno, and half a yellow onion.
Then, I added in the cubed yam, and let that sautee and soften up, adding a bit of chicken stock when the pan got too dry, and added about half a pound of chopped oyster and shitake mushrooms.
Meanwhile, I had started 1 cup of red rice cooking, with just a bit of salt and nothing else. Red rice takes a little longer than white rice — but not quite as long as brown rice — to cook, so it was done right as this skillet was done cooking.
In it goes…
And finally, some shredded cheddar cheese to get it all sticking together. And tasting delicious. I bought an amazing cheese grater from Ikea that lets you grate the cheese directly into a seal-able Tupperware, so I’ve started doing this to a 1-lb brick of Tillamook every few weeks and just keeping it in our cheese drawer. This is genius. Way to go, Ikea.
I had bought two beautiful orange bell peppers, just for this occasion.
These got stuffed, and placed directly into the roasting pan with my chicken for its last 20 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.
Oh, and of course, there are TONS of leftovers of the stuffing, so I’ve been eating that for lunches this week with a few slices of the chicken breast and red cabbage slaw. Also, I just have to say, I still have not gotten over the novelty of having a kitchen sink. Guys, it is SO MUCH EASIER to clean up while you cook and always have an uncluttered, everything-in-its-place kitchen with sparkling countertops when you can do dishes as you go and wipe everything down with a sponge!! Seriously, I hope this never gets old.
This Week’s (and last week’s) Groceries
Grocery Outlet 9/22
- Spring mix: $4.99
- Coffee beans: $6.49
- Granola: $0.99
- Cucumber: $0.79
- Cherry tomatoes: $0.99
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $0.37 — Yesssss!
Portland Fruit Company 10/2
- Shitake mushrooms: $3.01
- Cucumbers: $0.80
- Kale: $1.29
- Carrots: $1.11
- Sweet onion: $0.61
- Red onion: $0.47
- Ginger: $0.28
- Sweet potatoes: $0.68
- Cantaloupe: $1.95
- Celery: $0.99
- Asian pear: $0.72
- Bartlett pear: $0.23
- Roma tomatoes: $0.83
- Random produce (not specified on receipt): $3.96
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $283.07
New Seasons 10/2
- Sea salt: $2.34
- Himalayan salt: $2.99
- Dozen eggs: $2.99
- Dave’s Killer Seed Bread: $4.99 — I think this is the first time I’ve bought a loaf of bread in 5 years! I’ve been off the breadbaking wagon lately, but do crave some dank toast in the morning sometimes with a fried egg or some cottage cheese and roma tomatoes. This loaf stays in the freezer for those occasions.
- Cottage cheese: $4.49
- Milk: $3.39
- Whole roasting chicken: $10.71
- Olives: $3.80
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $247.79 — So far this seems like $300 a month for the two of us will be a piece of cake. Granted, Jesse hasn’t been around as much for dinners this week and definitely doesn’t make all his breakfasts and lunches like I do, so we’ll see if his contributing an equal share is really realistic for the time being…
I love when I can make a delicious dinner entirely out of what’s already in my kitchen, and all that is required is stopping on my bike ride home to pick up some fish and a head of collard greens.
I can’t even believe how busy this week is, and relish in the fact that with all that’s going on, I still take the time to cook myself a delicious meal on a Wednesday night. Really, at a time like this, I should be eating take-out or leftover pizza from UCU last weekend. I mean, seriously. After driving back down to Portland on Sunday night, I spent all day Monday unpacking from the show and reorganizing the shop, prepping for the coming work week, especially because my wonderful employee is on vacation and I’m flying solo for the next 2 weeks. Awesome timing.
Then on Tuesday morning, I signed about 1,000 pieces of paper, and agreed to a bill whose final payment is due in 2042. Yep, I bought a house. NBD.
Then, I’m working all week, getting the keys to the house, spending the evening with my best friend who just got back from 3 weeks in Hawaii, hosting old high school friends from out of town Saturday night, and then quickly washing the sheets so I can host my business partner for a 24 hour debrief of last weekend’s show. And we’ll treat ourselves to a fancy dinner in there somewhere.
Oh, and then Monday I had to buy a fridge. And a bed.
And then Tuesday I move. Into my new house.
And then Wednesday I will go to work and spend the whole rest of the evening prepping 4 days worth of food to bring with us to String Cheese at Horning’s, the festival we’ll be at the whole following weekend.
And yet, last night I came home and still felt compelled to cook this.
As soon as I walked in the door and poured myself some iced tea, I got a pot of red and brown rice started on the stove.
A lot of times when I make a teriyaki-esque type of sauce, it involves stir frying veggies or noodles or meat first, then incorporating an Asian sauce concoction into it. But for some reason this time, I just wanted a nice thick, bubbly sauce, so I started with that. Pus, I have about 9 half-used bottles of red wine that I’d really love to not transport with me to my next residence, so this seemed like a good way to tap into that.
First, some minced ginger.
This went into the big skillet on medium-high heat with some honey, soy sauce, chopped garlic, and a hefty amount of red wine. It smelled disgusting at first, but once the sauce bubbled together and reduced and the alcohol cooked off, it became deliciously sweet and dark and syrupy.
I put the salmon directly into the skillet, still frozen, and let it thaw and start to cook from the steam as the sauce continued to reduce and the water evaporated off the fish.
When it was about half cooked, I was able to remove the fish and peel off the skin with my fingers, removed the sauce from the heat and let it all sit there while I worked on the greens.
Have you ever had to deal with collard greens before? There are few veggies out there that I won’t use in their entirety, but collard and chard stems are one of them. I mean, if I’m making a soup the next day then sure, I’ll toss them in, but really other than that, I don’t force it. I compost now so it’s all good.
What I like to do here is take each leaf, and quickly slice out the stem, making diagonal cuts right along each side of the rib and plucking the stem from the middle.
After doing this to each leaf, I stack them all on top of each other, roll them up like I’m chiffonading basil, make a slice lengthwise down the middle, and then again perpendicularly into strips — this makes perfect little rectangles for sauteeing.
Sliced up half an onion…
Then, in a separate pan, I heated up some coconut oil, and let the onion caramelize with some salt for a few minutes.
In went all the greens, and as they cooked down to the size of the pan, I added some jerk seasoning, a splash of cider vinegar, and some black pepper.
I wanted to add just a bit of chicken broth, but I’ll let you in on a secret. You know those recipes that tell you to add like half a cup of chicken broth? It’s like, who has that? Any commercial liquid broth that’s open in the fridge will go back long before I get a chance to use half a cup of it, and any bullion requires a separate pot to make the broth in…for half a cup? Here’s what I do: I make my own chicken stock each time I roast a chicken — about once a month — and keep the stock in serving-size containers in the freezer, usually cottage cheese-sized.
Then I use these the same way you’d use a stick of butter to grease a cooking pan: take out the fist-sized ice cube, and place it in the pan of whatever needs a little extra richness.
Not for too long — maybe 3 minutes, until just a few layers (or about half a cup!) melt off. Then, put the broth cube back in the cottage cheese container and replace in the freezer. No harm done, no broth wasted, no extra pot to clean.
Did I mention that I don’t have a sink in my kitchen?
Yep, 4 years and approximately 3,800 meals cooked…without a kitchen sink. Just one of the many things I’m really, really excited about in my new house.
So anyway, I took the greens off the heat and let them absorb the rest of that broth while they cooled, and returned the salmon-and-sauce pan back to medium-high heat for another five minutes or so until the salmon had finished cooking and was wonderfully warm and caramelized.
This Week’s Groceries
Trader Joe’s 7/9
- Sockeye salmon fillets: $6.69
- Cod fillets: $4.39
- Roasted plantain chips: $1.69 — for the bike ride home.
- 2 cans tuna: $3.38
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $72.70
- Roma tomatoes: $1.00
- Green pepper: $0.94
- Half & half: $2.29
- Cottage cheese: $2.99
- Red onion: $0.55
- Cucumber: $1.79
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $63.14
New Seasons 7/11
- Collard Greens: $2.49
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $60.65
This week warranted a big quick-and-easy meal for dinner, because not only did I need a few days’ worth of hearty lunches and dinners to bring with me to work (Knit Night on Thursday, and an after-work meeting on Wednesday), but I was simultaneously prepping two lasagnas to freeze for a few days and bring with us down to Bend this weekend, where we’re renting out a house with about 15 of our friends, and going to see Yonder Mountain String Band.
Between these, Jesse’s famous curry for dinner on Friday night, his French-toast-croque-monsieurs in the morning, and Kate’s truffle salted caramel dark chocolate brownies (truffle as in truffle truffles, not chocolate truffles), and whatever the rest of the crew arrives with, we’re gonna be set.
So for actual dinner on Tuesday, after assembling these beauties of white creamy garlicky goodness, and before curling up in bed to watch The Wonder Years on Netflix, I whipped up a go-to that I’ve been making since high school, back when I thought all meals had titles. What makes this dish Moroccan I’m not entirely sure, except that I usually use those wrinkly black Moroccan olives instead of the ones I used here today, but that’s what my mom always called it, so that’s what it was.
In the past when I’ve made this I’ve bought whole chicken breasts and cubed them, but since it was my day off and I had a few hours of homey stuff to do like laundry and dishes and packing for this weekend, I bought a whole chicken and roasted it, saving portions to be frozen for later in the month, and shredding a good deal of it for tonight.
I started by sauteeing this in some olive oil, with a few cloves of minced garlic, before adding some fresh ground cumin, berbere (which I always use instead of paprika, but the latter would be fine to sub in here), a whole cinnamon stick, and half a bag of frozen pearl onions. This is one of the only times I ever buy frozen vegetables, but these little pearl onions are totally perfect for this dish. I took 2 cups’ worth of my homemade chicken stock out of the freezer, and let them simmer in with all of this until they were completely melted.
I sliced up some big meaty green and black olives, added those in, and let this all stew together for about 45 minutes. At that point, I tossed in a handful of slivered almonds, and sliced up a lemon and laid the slices on top of all this with the lid on, releasing just enough juice to make the dish a little tangy.
In the meantime, I made a big pot of fragrant rice: 1.5 cups basmati rice to 3 cups of water, all simmered together with: 1.5 tsp salt, 1 carrot cut up into slivers, a handful of raisins, and this super yummy Tandoori seasoning (saffron is the key component in here — you could also just add a pinch of that and be good to go).
Paired the stew and the rice with a delicious green salad, topped with olive oil and my new favorite fig balsamic vinegar. A delicious dinner, and lunches for the rest of the week!
Trader Joe’s 4/12
- orange peach mango juice: $2.99
- organic dark truffle bar: $1.99
- chocolate bar w/almonds: $1.99
- sparkling water: $2.08
- half and half: $0.99 — already thinking ahead to coffee after my cleanse was over!
- jumbo scallops: $12.99 — Hollis, Kate, and I made some delicious Tom Kha coconut soup last week with these
REMAINING FOR MONTH: $59.41
New Seasons 4/18
- lasagna noodles: $2.99
- garlic powder: $0.72
- organic milk: $3.39
- strawberry yogurt: $3.69
- dozen eggs: $2.89
- crimini mushrooms: $11.23
- fresh spinach: $5.45
- bananas: $1.21
- fresh herbs: $0.95
- lemon: $0.52
- blood orange: $1.00
- free range chicken: $14.34
- shredded Parmesan: $4.05
- olives: $2.80
REMAINING FOR MONTH: $4.23
How did the rest of my Project: Food Budget-ers do?
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- handful of raisins