Tuesday, April 26, 2016

$5 Recipes, My Ass

     It happens to the best of us. We run out funds towards the end of the month. The grocery budget takes a hit to take care of an unusually high electric bill or car payments. To make your dollar stretch, you look up a recipe that's ingredients only cost a few dollars. FIVE DOLLARS? FOR A WHOLE MEAL? What a find! The recipe looks delicious, has a high rating, and the food to dollar ratio is mouth-watering. You get your grocery list compiled and head to the store.
     But when you get there, you find that you can't simply buy ONE carrot, or THREE eggs, or 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg! I mean, where is the customer service? Not really.
     Of course, I don't speak for every $5 recipe or the like. But a lot of these recipes depend on the cook already having an available supply if they don't have a farmers market to waltz into. If ONLY I had a farmers market to waltz in whilst I pick produce.
     For people like me, who get so completely broke they have no idea how it happened, aka irresponsible, or other people who are just on a tight income, these recipes are completely deceptive. I'm no extreme couponer or spread sheet wizard, but how do these cooks go through their pantry and quantify every drop of soy sauce into a dollar amount? How can you tell me this recipe with seventeen ingredients costs under $5?
     I'm not saying it's impossible, in fact, it's very commendable. If you can sit down and plan out an entire months worth of recipes, correlating ingredients, calculating the cost of each recipe into the amount of each ingredient, God speed and good luck! I wish I were more like you.
     However, food staples aren't exactly bountiful at the end of the month so you're kind of tapping an empty keg. A lot of these recipes assume you have a lot of ingredients on hand. So if you don't have an crushed red pepper in the first place, good luck trying to convince the Stop N' Shop manager to sell you $0.34 worth.

     I must say that this recipe in particular is priceless, Pasta Carbonara with Leeks & Sun-Dried Tomatoes. It's looks scrumptious, of course. The author of this recipe must live on a pig farm because they can find 3/4 lbs. of THICK CUT BACON, not just the shitty breakfast kind, THICK CUT BACON for less than $5. Nevermind the rest of the ingredients in this mini-Martha Stewart meal that combined with bacon should only cost $5, where in America are you going to find THICK CUT BACON for under $5? This is real question that needs to be answered if it can indeed be confirmed.
     Here's another classic, Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash! I'd LOVE to know what gutter they dredged out an entire pound of shrimp for under $5. It can't be done! Even if you found a magic coupon, you'd still have a spaghetti squash to buy as well as parsley and at least two lemons. Once again, Kroger is not going to let you buy two sprigs of parsley out of a bunch. This isn't some antiquated, cheery outlook on cooking from before the recession. These recipes were posted last year! In the same economic climate that you and I live in. So what's the secret?
     Is Allen Greenspan writing these recipes?
     Is there a special market I'm not privy to?
     Does Dollar General sell meat now?
     How can they, in good conscious, tell people that a recipe costs $5 to make when they clearly haven't stepped into a grocery store since the 1980s?
     In conclusion, my fair people, I call bullshit on most $5 recipes. But of course, the rule of three compels me to give you YET another example of why most $5 recipes are unrealistic. This Pretzel Tuna Melt seems doable until you get down to the $0.15 you'll be spending on mayonnaise. So once again, you'd have to already have this items. Mayo might not be as rare as some other ingredients. Perhaps as an alternative, they should suggest you grab a mayo packet from the deli. Regardless, they're not going to let you buy one stalk of celery. However, you could save the side portions of celery from your next hot wings venture. I will say that the slice of tomato was absolutely NOT mentioned in the ingredients list and only serves to aggravate me. I also choose this recipe because tuna melts gross me out.
    Some of these recipes look tasty, but I can't get past the ridiculous gimmick. I feel violated and bamboozled. The majority of these recipes cost much more to make than advertised. Frankly, I don't have energy to waste on LIARS! LIARS! All of them are LIARS and CHARLATANS!! Ahem.



Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dave's Kielbasa & Beans

My boyfriend likes to relax whilst cooking.
     The way to my heart, HUGE SURPRISE, is through my stomach. For the first time in my life, I have a real man of a man and he can FEED ME. This is one of my favorite go-to quick weeknight meals when I need yummies pronto. A tasty bonus is that the cost of this meal is low but the flavor content is high, high, HIGH! Four basic ingredients and roughly 45 minutes of your time is all it takes to make Dave's Kielbasa & Beans!

     You will need:

     Heat up a skillet and put in the pad of butter. Once the butter is almost sizzling, dump in the diced onion. Stir that onion around in the pan so the butter is everywhere. You want the onions to cook long enough so that they're clear and leaving an almost dry trail through the butter. The baked beans come next and you can just pour those right in and stir until the onions are thoroughly mixed in. If it seems like your beans are getting dry, add a half cup of water. The extra water will just burn off anyway.

     Stir those beans up every so often until they come to a nice simmer. Now you can add in your kielbasa and mix it in so it gets nice and coated in the beans and sauce. The kielbasa is already cooked, so all your really doing is heating it up in delicious bean juice so it takes on some of the flavors.

     In 15-20 minutes, you'll have a hot plate of Dave's Kielbasa & Beans! This recipe is great whether you want to serve it on a bun with mustard or straight up in a bowl so I can shovel it into my face as gracefully as I can.

Steamy, sensational, succulence!
      Here in Rhode Island we have Central Falls Provision kielbasa made RIGHT HERE!! It's literally made in the same state that we're eating it in. Very nice, very nice. Support your local businesses people! Not only that, the closer to home your food is made, the fresher you get it! Don't be jealous, be a smart shopper.

     Now you get a small taste of what I've been getting these last three years back home in Little Rhody (nobody calls it that). Just wait til you see what we make next!

This time, love,

Liz & Dave

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My Mama's Garlic Bread

Crispy, buttery, garlic PERFECTION.

I noticed a lot of garlic bread recipes call for an ass-load of butter mixed with garlic and herbs - but that's not Mama's way. The amount of butter some people use is, well, grotesque. Remember people, this is a SIDE. It's not supposed to contain enough calories to solidify the cholesterol in your arteries. It's supposed to be yummy!

Super simple, here we go.

You will need:
  • SO MUCH GARLIC, 4-5 nice-sized cloves, diced up super tiny
  • Nice, sliced, crusty bread, preferably
  • 2-4 TBSP olive oil
  • 2-3 TBSP butter
Preheat the oven to 450 OR use your toaster oven!

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Give it a moment to let the pan heat up then add the butter. Coat the pan with the butter while it's melting. Sop up the butter with the bread slices on both sides, then set them aside. Now add the olive oil to the skillet and let it get hot.

Test the oil to see if it's hot by dropping one piece of garlic into the skillet. If it sizzles, stir in the rest of the garlic. Gently stir the garlic around until it's aromatic, or the smell of garlic permeates your kitchen. Take your pre-buttered bread and smoosh it onto the hot garlic oil. Press a few times until the bread slice has picked up a good amount of garlic bits.

Depending on how crispy you like your garlic bread, put the slices on a pan for less crispy and straight on the oven rack if you like it extra crunchy! About 5-6 minutes should do it. Wait for it to cool, though, or risk burning your dainty little fingers. Have it with your pasta, lasagna, lamb chops, or, MY FAVORITE, broccoli cheddar soup!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chocolate Blackberry Cobbler for 2!

I left my big container of Swiss Miss at my boyfriend's house, so this weekend I have no constant source of chocolate. OH, WAIT! There's something up my sleeve . . .


What does that mean? COBBLER.

You will need:
  • 6 oz. blackberries, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a small baking dish, around 6x6.

Combine flour and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Next pour the melted butter over the mixture. Next add the milk and whisk until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the greased baking dish. Place the blackberries evenly over the batter followed by the chocolate chips.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you can poke it with a tooth pick and no batter comes off on it.

A sweet and tart treat that is tasty enough to trick me into eating fruit - WONDERFUL! This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people OR 1 chocolate obsessed person with a sweet tooth that don't give a DAMN.