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Quarantine Cooking: Recipes & Techniques to Stretch Your Food Budget (1 Viewer)

General Malaise

Poop Lord
I know, there's plenty of threads on here discussing cooking and recipes, but right now, it might be tough to A)  Find the ingredients you need and B)  It might be important to some of us with giant families and a limited budget to buy only what's necessary currently.  

So, I'll start with a cheap and easy suggestion and encourage anybody else with some basic food chops to do the same.  Let's help each other out!
 

  • Bought a 6lb whole chicken, like this.  While other types of chicken were in short supply, the whole fryers were a'plenty.  $5.78
  • Carefully removed the bird, washed it off in cold water, removed all the giblets inside the cavity (you can save these for the stock if you want) and patted dry.
  • From here, you can season this bird a dozen different ways.  My girl Laura Vitale uses a softened herb butter, salt & pepper, I opted for olive oil and a ready made dry rub.  Can't go wrong with the basics: salt/pepper/onion and garlic powder/paprika etc.  
  • I stuffed half a lime and half an onion into the cavity of the bird and tied the legs up.  You can roast this sucker in the oven (again, Laura V. can show you the way) but I opted for the fresh outdoors and my gas grill following this recipe.  Grilling it over indirect heat for 80ish minutes at 400 (with a drip pan underneath) and then letting it rest covered for 20 minutes yielded a juicy, savory chicken that served as the main course for our family of 7 last night.  BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • There was a LOT of chicken meat left that I didn't carve off.  Pick that sucker clean and pile all that meat up for the next step.  Get your hands dirty, work that bird like it owes you money.
  • What remains is the base of your next step.  The carcass, bones, skin, cartlidge, curious looking meat with the pinkish hue ALL of that goes into a giant soup pot.  If you have one that has a strainer, even better.  Don't let your teenager throw away the drumstick bones - those go into the pot too.  If you saved the giblets, they can go in there as well (maybe not the liver).  
  • Add to the carcass a couple of rough cut carrots, celery, onions (you can leave the skin on), garlic cloves, bay leaf or two and if you have an herb garden, toss in some fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley...whatever you got, man.  I add in a handful of peppercorns and a good shake of Tonys then fill up the pot with cold water until everything is just submerged.  *NOTE:  I didn't include extra salt (other than the Tony's) but you can always salt to taste anytime during this process.
  • Bring this all to a boil, stir occasionally and then bring it down to a slow simmer for hours.  The longer it simmers, the more the bones will break down releasing that delicious goodness and nutrients into the stock.  Stir here and there.  When you've had enough fun, you can shut this off and let it cool down completely.  I just cover it and walk away so it can cool slowly.  Alton Brown suggests an immediate ice bath.  
  • Strain this when it's cool and WA LA, you've got homemade chicken stock that you can now use for soups, jambalayas, gumbo, casseroles, etc.  Put it in the fridge for use in the next few days or freeze it for later use.  
  • Today, I'll be using some of this stock to make Chicken Noodle Soup for the fam with all the picked over chicken I plucked last night - about two cups, shredded or diced up.  Here's a nice recipe for this classic soup.
  • Tonight, after the little kids go to bed, I'll use more of my stock to make Chicken Fajita Soup for my lunches.  I like a little more spice than the kids do and this is a great recipe that's super easy to make.  
So the point of all of this is that for very little money I'm able to feed a large family with easy to find ingredients and very little skills.  As most of you know, I'm just a big dumb animal, but even I can follow simple directions and really, if you're going to be in quarantine, there's worse ways to kill the time than cooking.  A little music, maybe some wine....dare I say that this is even cathartic?  

This has been General Malaise for YouTube budget cooking.....now, show me yours!

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
From my  ***Official*** Rice and Beans thread, which was accidentally posted in the PSF, and there it stayed.

General purpose bean recipe (adjust generously to suit your tastes):

  • 1 pound bag o' beans (red, black or pintos, and many other types I'm sure - again, this is just a GP recipe)
  • Bacon - 1 thick slice of Wright's bacon, typically.
  • Garlic, minced - 1 or 2 cloves (let sit for 15 minutes after mincing)
  • Onions, medium chop - about 200 g.  White or purple
  • Tomato - one or two small tomatoes, chopped (Campari cocktail tomatoes from Sam's Club are my choice here)
  • Crushed Dried Peppers - 2 serranos, 2 sweet chiles, as a for instance (more to say about this below)
  • 1 tsp Deep Undertones spice blend (see below)
  • 1 tsp salt
Rinse and soak beans.  6 hours is probably fine, but I typically soak them overnight.  After soaking, rinse again and return to water (cover with water, plus 2").  Bring to roiling boil and let go for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, then heat way down (about 4/10)

Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and simmer for a couple of hours.  Cook until the bean texture is correct, and simmer with lid off if you want to reduce the liquid content.

Deep Undertones Spice Blend

This is not earth-shattering stuff here, but it's a great blend that works with many dishes.  Consider halving the cumin if it suits your tastes 

Deep Undertones (mix all in a spice mill)

  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 2 t course salt
  • 1.75 t instant coffee 
  • 1.5 t dried basil (prefereably Thai basil)
  • 1.25 t dry mustard
  • 1 t whole black peppercorns
  • 0.75 t dried sage
  • 0.5 t paprika
  • 0.25 t coriander seeds




Red Hot Dried Chile Peppers (greatest thing ever)

Actually this works with sweet peppers too.  Simply put the fresh chiles on a rack and toss into an oven on very low heat - about 190 degrees F - and let go overnight, for about 9 hours.  Once they are thoroghly dried, remove from oven and let cool.  Toss them into a ziploc and refrigerate (not sure if this is necessary, but it's what I do).  Next time you cook something - anything - just crush a dried chile or two over the dish - while it's cooking.

Wrap up thoughts:

  • Invest $20 in a spice mill, aka a coffee bean grinder
  • Patronize your local Asian grocery stores and Mexican bodegas when it comes to buying spices.  They're better, and vastly cheaper, than your typical grocery store fare
  • Intead of rice, grab some corn tortillas from the refrigerated section at that Mexican bodega.  Bake them at 350 for about 10-ish minutes, and top with guacamole.  I can pull up a solid guac recipe if you want.
  • I've got a super basic basmati go-to as well, if anyone wants it.
 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
I've made the above recipe without bacon, it's full-on vegan, and it tastes pretty darn good (have only tried with pinto beans recently; needs more testing with red and black beans).  Have to add a bit more salt to compensate for the lack of bacon.

 

General Malaise

Poop Lord
From my  ***Official*** Rice and Beans thread, which was accidentally posted in the PSF, and there it stayed.

General purpose bean recipe (adjust generously to suit your tastes):

  • 1 pound bag o' beans (red, black or pintos, and many other types I'm sure - again, this is just a GP recipe)
  • Bacon - 1 thick slice of Wright's bacon, typically.
  • Garlic, minced - 1 or 2 cloves (let sit for 15 minutes after mincing)
  • Onions, medium chop - about 200 g.  White or purple
  • Tomato - one or two small tomatoes, chopped (Campari cocktail tomatoes from Sam's Club are my choice here)
  • Crushed Dried Peppers - 2 serranos, 2 sweet chiles, as a for instance (more to say about this below)
  • 1 tsp Deep Undertones spice blend (see below)
  • 1 tsp salt
Rinse and soak beans.  6 hours is probably fine, but I typically soak them overnight.  After soaking, rinse again and return to water (cover with water, plus 2").  Bring to roiling boil and let go for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally, then heat way down (about 4/10)

Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and simmer for a couple of hours.  Cook until the bean texture is correct, and simmer with lid off if you want to reduce the liquid content.

Deep Undertones Spice Blend

This is not earth-shattering stuff here, but it's a great blend that works with many dishes.  Consider halving the cumin if it suits your tastes 

Red Hot Dried Chile Peppers (greatest thing ever)

Actually this works with sweet peppers too.  Simply put the fresh chiles on a rack and toss into an oven on very low heat - about 190 degrees F - and let go overnight, for about 9 hours.  Once they are thoroghly dried, remove from oven and let cool.  Toss them into a ziploc and refrigerate (not sure if this is necessary, but it's what I do).  Next time you cook something - anything - just crush a dried chile or two over the dish - while it's cooking.

Wrap up thoughts:

  • Invest $20 in a spice mill, aka a coffee bean grinder
  • Patronize your local Asian grocery stores and Mexican bodegas when it comes to buying spices.  They're better, and vastly cheaper, than your typical grocery store fare
  • Intead of rice, grab some corn tortillas from the refrigerated section at that Mexican bodega.  Bake them at 350 for about 10-ish minutes, and top with guacamole.  I can pull up a solid guac recipe if you want.
  • I've got a super basic basmati go-to as well, if anyone wants it.
You da man!  And YES to the bolded.

I'm heading over to our Asian grocery store now, where I continue to find some essentials that other stores are out of (well, not TP but I can live without that - can't eat TP).

Be curious how your guac stacks up to the one we make, learned from our good family friend from Zihuatanejo.

 

General Malaise

Poop Lord
I've made the above recipe without bacon, it's full-on vegan, and it tastes pretty darn good (have only tried with pinto beans recently; needs more testing with red and black beans).  Have to add a bit more salt to compensate for the lack of bacon.
Have done vegetarian Red Beans and Rice before, but not with your spice mixtures.  Those are money.  I'd like to go back in time and tell younger me to ONLY buy spices in the bulk spice section.  Buying the little containers/jars of a spice is not only expensive, but wasteful.  I just re-use the old containers and buy the spices in bulk and refill them.  Every penny saved counts!

 

Ron Swanson

Footballguy
For spices, I typically buy big bags on Amazon and break them down into smaller vacuum sealed bags.  I don't ever buy pre-made spice mixes and pretty much home cook everything so this works great for me.  Even though I have a lifetime supply of certain spices, that supply in most cases cost me less than a tiny old jar at the grocery store.  

A bean tip - once they are cooked pull out about 1/2 cup and mash them up real good. Add them back to the bean mixture.  This will add a nice creamy texture, almost a sauce.

Chili Powder - Buy a few different bags of dried chilis - guajillo, arbol, ancho, etc. and dry them on the oven for a few hours on low to get all the moisture out like Mister CIA said and then throw them in a blender or food processor and crush them into a fine powder. Waaay better flavor than store bought. But a word of caution, you may need to adjust recipes because the "chili powder" they sell in the stores isn't just chili powder as the name might imply...it is a spice blend called "chili powder" and includes garlic, onion, salt, etc.  I prefer to add those items on their own.

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
I'm not doing a good job of making my food go far, but i have made:

  • chicken, potato, cheddar, veggie, rice soup
  • 2.5 chuck roast made into barbacoa taco meat
  • grilled 2 lbs of chicken thighs - been using them for sandwiches and salads  
 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
Basmati Rice - this is nothing special.  It's just plain rice, which works great with well-seasoned beans.

Original Recipe:

  • 150g (5.3 oz) Basmati Rice
  • 350ml (12.3 oz) Water
  • 3/4 t Salt
Rinse rinse in a sieve with cold water for one minute.

Add all ingredients to a nonstick (2-quart pot, I think) and bring to a rapid boil.  Heat down to 6/10.  Cook for 5 minutes

Place lid on, heat down to five and let cook for 5 more minutes.

Heat off; let sit for 20 minutes

VWALA!

Real life, I'm a little less meticulous with my measuremements.  I usually go with 2 cups of water and a half cup of rice.  Lately I've been using Jasmine instead of Basmati, and I add a couple of more minutes to both the lid-on and lid-off segments (recently I've been adding 5 minutes to both, as I like it with a little baked crust on the bottom.  I'll add chopped serranos and mushrooms too (it's perfect when you have a few mushrooms you have to use or lose).  And, I've been meaning to test with reducing the water amount and replacing with tomato sauce.  Also,  in case I oversalt the beans,  I scale back on the salt in the rice to help balance things out.

I'm a big fan of a pat of butter on the rice when I plate it.

 

Chemical X

Chat MVP
so, i used chorizo today, since rednecks have no idea what it is and don’t buy it;

in a pot, sauté a shallot in evoo.  add some garlic, powder or minced.  add large dashes of oregano and chili powder.  throw in chorizo.  if raw, cook and crumble.  in pot.  if cooked, slice into discs and add. to pot add 2tbsps of tomato paste and 2 cups chicken stock.  thicken for a couple of minutes. add 28 oz of canned and drained black beans.  in separate pot, cook 1lb cavatappi and add to pot.  wa la, lots of meals.

 

bostonfred

Footballguy
The secret to making crispy homemade French fries in the oven is to cut potatoes into fries (don't cut them too small because they'll reduce during cooking) then soak them in a big bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes.  Soaking the starch out makes them less dense to start.  Use the bottom rack of the oven on 425 or higher heat and use a high temperature oil like avocado or grapeseed if you can.  Don't crowd your cookie sheet because the contact with metal is what gets them crispy.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes and flip them then cook a little longer, probably 10-15 minutes.  One potato per person is plenty and probably overkill.  Yukon gold seem to be the best.  

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
My daughter bought us an air fryer for Christmas and I just started using it last couple of weeks since I have had more time.

Not quite as good as deep fried but close.    Air fried sweet potatoes, raw beets, regular potatoes.  Just toss in olive oil and season how you like and they were really good.    Wings turned our great with all the fat from deep frying.

Made a great seafood chowder with Bear Creek potato soup as the base.  Can of clams with juice, 1/2 lb shrimp and mussels . 

A market by my home had 5 buck cluck every Wed for a whole rotisserie chicken.  I buy 2 every week.   Eat one for a dinner.  Then make chicken stock with the other for a variety of soups.  Insta pots are the best for soups.   My wife buys me every cooking gadget on the market.  Now I have time to use them.    

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
I'll post the guac recipe later.  I found it in a 1970's cookbook, and I don't quite have it memorized.
I go to this Tex Mex place where they make it table side.   Very simple, they mash the avocado, add diced red onion, a little garlic, salt and pepper, squeeze in a fresh lime and toss.

 

Cowboysfan8

Footballguy
My daughter bought us an air fryer for Christmas and I just started using it last couple of weeks since I have had more time.

Not quite as good as deep fried but close.    Air fried sweet potatoes, raw beets, regular potatoes.  Just toss in olive oil and season how you like and they were really good.    Wings turned our great with all the fat from deep frying.

Made a great seafood chowder with Bear Creek potato soup as the base.  Can of clams with juice, 1/2 lb shrimp and mussels . 

A market by my home had 5 buck cluck every Wed for a whole rotisserie chicken.  I buy 2 every week.   Eat one for a dinner.  Then make chicken stock with the other for a variety of soups.  Insta pots are the best for soups.   My wife buys me every cooking gadget on the market.  Now I have time to use them.    
Relatively thick boneless pork chops, egg then panko if you like crunch

10 mins tops in the air fryer at 400

crunchy n juicy 

eta: I only take pork to 145 anymore

 Good thread idea btw

 
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Mister CIA

Footballguy
Guacamole Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 2 Small Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 Small Green onions, minced
  • 2 Serrano Peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 T of Chopped Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
Stir it all together and refridgerate for about an hour.  That's it.

Deviations committed by me:

  • I never seed my peppers
  • I'll add dried crushed chiles
  • I'm not sure what the definition of a green onion is - the whole thing; just the bulb, or just fresh green part?  I use both ends,  and I probably use 2 or less.
 

bostonfred

Footballguy
Guacamole Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 2 Small Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 Small Green onions, minced
  • 2 Serrano Peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 T of Chopped Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
Stir it all together and refridgerate for about an hour.  That's it.

Deviations committed by me:

  • I never seed my peppers
  • I'll add dried crushed chiles
  • I'm not sure what the definition of a green onion is - the whole thing; just the bulb, or just fresh green part?  I use both ends,  and I probably use 2 or less.
That's a lot of fresh produce - how often are you going to the grocery store/ getting delivery these days? 

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
Other frugal tips:

I don't like my local Kroger, but I watch for their sales like a hawk, and when something I like goes on sales, I buy in bulk. Occaisionally I'll get the following:

  • Wright thick-sliced bacon, 1.5 lb for $4.99
  • 12 oz Community Brand coffee - $3.99
  • 2 lb blocks of cheddar and mozzarella fro $5.99
  • Fresh asparagus, $0.99/lb
  • Birds-Eye frozen broccoli and cauliflower, $0.99/bag (10.8 oz)
  • Aidell's Chicken Sausages (REALLY GOOD STUFF), $3.99 per 12 oz (4 links)
  • Paul Newman frozen pizzas, $3.99 ea
For everything else, it's Sam's Club, WalMart, and Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is not cheap, but it's about the only place I'll buy beef and chicken.  About once a month, whole chickens go on sale for $1.99/lb.  Throw in a 5% reward for using my Amazon Rewards cards, and it's a great deal.  And when skirt steak goes on sale, I know exactly what I'm having for Sunday dinner.

 

2Young2BBald

Footbaldguy
I've been treating each evenings dinner like I am on an episode of Chopped, trying to use what we have to get as creative as possible.  Rather to be lucky than good, I stocked up on a handful of Penzy's spice mixes about a month ago to get free shipping on what I really wanted.  My son is beyond bummed that he is missing the final months of his College Senior year.  One of my favorite things after he has a tough week in to Venmo him some $ to get BW3s and their Parmesan Garlic Sauce is his favorite.  After some Googling I found the sauce recipe below.  We had close to everything except the chili.  I added some Penzys spicy sea salt instead, went way heavier on the Parmesan and used the grill to roast the garlic in the olive oil.  The out come an spot on the D-dub's Sauce; amazing with air fried wings.  

Copycat Buffalo Wild Wings Garlic Parmesan Sauce

Roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, and herbs team up to make this fabulous dipping sauce inspired by the one that everyone loves at Buffalo Wild Wings. The tangy, spicy mixture of mayonnaise with Italian seasonings and garlic is kicked up with a generous amount of spicy crushed red pepper and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Roasting the garlic cloves is the key to the fantastic flavor of the sauce. A small hot red chili pepper gives the sauce a pop of color along with extra heat, but feel free to use a tablespoon or two of sweet red bell pepper and cut back on the crushed red pepper flakes for a milder sauce. This dip is effortless to alter to suit your tastes and tolerance for heat. The sauce is ideal for dipping chicken wings or tenders, but it's also excellent with fried fish or shrimp, and deep-fried vegetables. It's easy to turn this tasty dip into a delicious creamy salad dressing, too. Just whisk in a few tablespoons of olive oil or thin it with a bit of water or cream. Drizzle the dressing over a wedge of lettuce or spring greens.  Total: 40 mins Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30 mins Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients 6 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup full-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sugar (or a sugar replacement)

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Peel the garlic cloves and put them in a small baking dish or ramekin. Pour the olive oil over the garlic and cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake the garlic for 25 minutes. Let the garlic cool slightly and mash until it is smooth. Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Transfer the dipping sauce to a jar and refrigerate it for at least a few hours or overnight. Serve the sauce with chicken wings, fried tenders or chicken strips, fried fish, or crudités.

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

Optional: 1 red Fresno chili pepper (1 to 2 teaspoons, minced)

Tips ■ For the best flavor, make the sauce early in the day or a day in advance so the ingredients can meld. Roasted garlic adds flavor to many dishes, such as mashed potatoes, pasta sauces, dressings, and marinades. When you roast garlic for a recipe, double or triple the amount and freeze the extra roasted garlic cloves. ■ ■ Refrigerate homemade dips or dressings and use within 1 week.

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
That's a lot of fresh produce - how often are you going to the grocery store/ getting delivery these days? 
Good point, not very often recently.  Was actually at the store yesterday, but only picked up staples in the produce section - Onions, chiles, tomatoes, lettuce, and the aformentioned asparagus on sale. 

I really did not want to be there, but I had to get some Flonase.

 

SFBayDuck

Footballguy
Much like the chicken turned into stock that started the thread, I'm trying to turn one meal into multiple even more so than usual.  

Friday's Traeger-roasted chicken turned into stock that was used in Saturday's (leftover) chicken risotto and Sunday's chicken tortilla soup.  I often freeze leftover chicken broth in 2 cup portions in ziploc bags, and use that later to make more flavorful rice (instead of just water).  I even pick the chicken off the carcass after making the stock, and that goes to the dog (be sure there are no onions included).

Last night I roasted a boneless leg of lamb and made mashed potatoes, tonight will be shepherd's pie with the leftovers.

Almost any chicken or steak leftovers I will turn into tacos the next day - chop up the leftovers, sprinkle on some taco seasoning, and simmer in a pan with a little salsa.  Add some rice and beans and make burritos to stretch it out even further.  I'll do the same with leftover fish, although I'll typically just sprinkle some seasoning on that and heat it up in the microwave, then flake onto corn tortillas and add salsa, cabbage/lettuce, etc.

Of course all of this relies on having leftovers.  If you have like 9 kids this probably doesn't help. 😉

 
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Mister CIA

Footballguy
Much like the chicken turned into stock that started the thread, I'm trying to turn one meal into multiple even more so than usual.  

Friday's Traeger-roasted chicken turned into stock that was used in Saturday's (leftover) chicken risotto and Sunday's chicken tortilla soup.  I often freeze leftover chicken broth in 2 cup portions in ziploc bags, and use that later to make more flavorful rice (instead of just water).  I even pick the chicken off the carcass after making the stock, and that goes to the dog (be sure there are no onions included).

Last night I roasted a boneless leg of lamb and made mashed potatoes, tonight will be shepherd's pie with the leftovers.

Almost any chicken or steak leftovers I will turn into tacos the next day - chop up the leftovers, sprinkle on some taco seasoning, and simmer in a pan with a little salsa.  Add some rice and beans and make burritos to stretch it out even further.  I'll do the same with leftover fish, although I'll typically just sprinkle some seasoning on that and heat it up in the microwave, then flake onto corn tortillas and add salsa, cabbage/lettuce, etc.

Of course all of this relies on having leftovers.  If you have like 9 kids this probably doesn't help. 😉
Steak leftovers    :confused:

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
My wife just had a bowl of Campbells chicken noodle soup with crackers for the first time in years and said..dam that was good!

Back to the basics and simple life.

 
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urbanhack

Fight The Power!
That's a lot of fresh produce - how often are you going to the grocery store/ getting delivery these days? 
This is my biggest issue.  Now that I have the time and I start putting recipes together from scratch I'm always short fresh produce. I'm trying not to go to the store, but dammit I want to make some ####### tasty food.

 

SFBayDuck

Footballguy
This is my biggest issue.  Now that I have the time and I start putting recipes together from scratch I'm always short fresh produce. I'm trying not to go to the store, but dammit I want to make some ####### tasty food.
We signed up for Imperfect Produce a couple of years ago, and so far are still getting shipments every two weeks.  They've expanded a lot in terms of what they offer and you can customize each box so we even included meats, cheese, and some dried goods with our last one.

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
We signed up for Imperfect Produce a couple of years ago, and so far are still getting shipments every two weeks.  They've expanded a lot in terms of what they offer and you can customize each box so we even included meats, cheese, and some dried goods with our last one.
My other issue is I’m solo and I used to be on that but I couldn’t go through it fastest enough and was throwing stuff out.

 

Nigel

Footballguy
Great thread.

One of the great benefits of this quarantine is our family is wasting nothing. The kids and wife have done a good job of eating leftovers and re-purposing stuff into the next days lunch or dinner.
Same here. Food waste in my household has been at the top of my list of grievances for years. It’s mostly due to over-shopping, then stuff going stale or rotting before we use it. We also cook way too much, have leftovers and never eat them. And our three freezers were, until last week when I threw it out, all jammed with crap we’ll never eat. I’ve taken over over all shopping and cooking the past two weeks and have made zero waste an obsession.

 

The General

Footballguy
Been cooking every night with the wife since this started. In the past would have cooked maybe 2-3 nights a week. Unfortunately I don't really enjoy cooking that much.

This recipe for risotto was by far the biggest bang for buck in terms of awesomeness to easy to make ratio. Really, really good and really, really easy:

https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/easy-parmesan-risotto

We didn't have the peas, can't see how they would have made it any better.

We will make this recipe many more times.

 

huthut

Footballguy
Cream cheese is the cheapest cheese per serving, so in college I ate a ton of cream cheese and turkey sandwiches. I actually prefer the taste in a sandwich over most other cheeses now, it has a strong enough taste to notice it. Not something that will significantly impact a budget, but sliced cheese is a total rip off!

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
Been cooking every night with the wife since this started. In the past would have cooked maybe 2-3 nights a week. Unfortunately I don't really enjoy cooking that much.

This recipe for risotto was by far the biggest bang for buck in terms of awesomeness to easy to make ratio. Really, really good and really, really easy:

https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/easy-parmesan-risotto

We didn't have the peas, can't see how they would have made it any better.

We will make this recipe many more times.
That's on my list now. I love a nice cheesy risotto with peas and mushrooms.

 

urbanhack

Fight The Power!
Cream cheese is the cheapest cheese per serving, so in college I ate a ton of cream cheese and turkey sandwiches. I actually prefer the taste in a sandwich over most other cheeses now, it has a strong enough taste to notice it. Not something that will significantly impact a budget, but sliced cheese is a total rip off!
I buy these.  Normally for $10 to $12.

https://www.supermarketitaly.com/tillamook-cheese-sharp-cheddar-baby-loaf-2-lbs/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIt8qOmLK06AIVjxitBh1-uA1VEAQYAyABEgKeXPD_BwE

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
For spices, I typically buy big bags on Amazon and break them down into smaller vacuum sealed bags.  I don't ever buy pre-made spice mixes and pretty much home cook everything so this works great for me.  Even though I have a lifetime supply of certain spices, that supply in most cases cost me less than a tiny old jar at the grocery store.  

A bean tip - once they are cooked pull out about 1/2 cup and mash them up real good. Add them back to the bean mixture.  This will add a nice creamy texture, almost a sauce.

Chili Powder - Buy a few different bags of dried chilis - guajillo, arbol, ancho, etc. and dry them on the oven for a few hours on low to get all the moisture out like Mister CIA said and then throw them in a blender or food processor and crush them into a fine powder. Waaay better flavor than store bought. But a word of caution, you may need to adjust recipes because the "chili powder" they sell in the stores isn't just chili powder as the name might imply...it is a spice blend called "chili powder" and includes garlic, onion, salt, etc.  I prefer to add those items on their own.
Similarly, when making refied beans, I scoop out a  cup of bean broth and add a tsp or so of chile powder to it, stir, and set aside. After all the beans have been smashed and refried in saved bacon dripping, I stir the extra-seasoned bean broth at the same time heavy cream gets added.

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
Cold Brewed Coffee (requires an investment in 32 oz and 16 oz Mason Jars), two 2-gallon containers, and dirt-cheap linen clothes at Wal-Mart (I wash and bleach cloths, and run them through an extra rinse cycle).

As previously mentioned, I bulk up on Community brand coffee when it goes on sale for $3.99 for a 12-oz bag.  I love Community Coffee.

  • Fill a two gallon jar with 12-oz bag of ground coffee and water.  Let steep for 24 hours, shaking occasionally.
  • Pour steeped coffee through regular metal sieve, pressing with a spoon (spatula, whatever) to squeze as much liquid out as possible into a 2nd 2 gallon jug.
  • Discard grounds.
  • Thouroghly rinse the now empty original 2-gallon jar, and pour back the sieve-filtered coffee therough the sieve one again, only this time line the sieve with linen cloth (I fold linen cloth twice so that four layers of linen are used to filter).  Press/mash/squeeze as much liquid through the cloth as possible.
  • Equally distribute the filtered coffee into 4 x 32-oz Mason Jars.  Top each jar with water, yielding 128 oz of finished product. Seal and refrigerate.  Will be good for many, many months.
Serving time:

  • Pour 2 oz of heavy cream into 16 oz Mason Jar.
  • Shake 32 oz jar of cold brew and add 10 oz to heavy cream (fill jar to the 12 oz mark)
  • Add ice cubes to fill up the rest of the 16 oz jar.
  • Seal and shake well
You can drink immediately, or toss into the fridge at the office and drink later.  This brew is extra stout and will wake you the bleep up. If you're sensitive to the effects of caffiene, find an alternative. 

It's great in the morning and it's also great to consume about an hour before working out.

PRO TIP: This makes for a great gift on the cheap. A little labor of love goes a long way.

 
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Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
Mister CIA said:
Cold Brewed Coffee (requires an investment in 32 oz and 16 oz Mason Jars), two 2-gallon containers, and dirt-cheap linen clothes at Wal-Mart (I wash and bleach cloths, and run them through an extra rinse cycle).
We like using the Coffee Sock - it's a lot less trouble.  

Any jug will do (sun tea jar, etc.).  We already had a gallon pitcher that a mixer in it - it's nice to be able to hold the coffee bag down in the water. 

Your right though - it's good stuff, we usually go through a couple gallons a week.  Great cold bullet coffee.  

 

Eephus

Footballguy
I found a whole pork loin way in the back of a shelf of the emptied out meat section the day before shutdown.  I've been slicing off one inch chops and using them for grilling, frying and stir-fry.  The leftovers have gone into hash and fried rice.

I expanded meatless Thursdays to multiple days using the dried beans and pulses I've accumulated.  The nearby Wednesday farmer's market is still in operation so I've been going there to support the small farmers.

We've also been eating a lot of pasta:  red sauce, carbonara, garlic & oil, pesto, tuna casserole, mac & cheese.

 

huthut

Footballguy
Another cheap college era food - plain oatmeal. It does not require any ingredients other than tap water to make it edible (not like cereal for those rich people who also have milk). You can make it more grit like by adding sausage, eggs, salt or whatever to make it savory (I prefer Louisiana hot links since add a lot of flavorful grease), or you can add brown sugar or fruit stuff to make it sweet as well. 

 

General Malaise

Poop Lord
SFBayDuck said:
Much like the chicken turned into stock that started the thread, I'm trying to turn one meal into multiple even more so than usual.  

Friday's Traeger-roasted chicken turned into stock that was used in Saturday's (leftover) chicken risotto and Sunday's chicken tortilla soup.  I often freeze leftover chicken broth in 2 cup portions in ziploc bags, and use that later to make more flavorful rice (instead of just water).  I even pick the chicken off the carcass after making the stock, and that goes to the dog (be sure there are no onions included).

Last night I roasted a boneless leg of lamb and made mashed potatoes, tonight will be shepherd's pie with the leftovers.

Almost any chicken or steak leftovers I will turn into tacos the next day - chop up the leftovers, sprinkle on some taco seasoning, and simmer in a pan with a little salsa.  Add some rice and beans and make burritos to stretch it out even further.  I'll do the same with leftover fish, although I'll typically just sprinkle some seasoning on that and heat it up in the microwave, then flake onto corn tortillas and add salsa, cabbage/lettuce, etc.

Of course all of this relies on having leftovers.  If you have like 9 kids this probably doesn't help. 😉
Brilliant!  I think we share a brain when it comes to cooking and repurposing the Alpha meals into several Beta meals that follow.  We are huge fans of using the leftovers for burritos/tacos the following night.  I've been known to collect ham bones, turkey carcasses, prime rib bones etc after holiday meals from my friends who were just going to throw them away.  Those are gold mines of nutrients and taste!  They stopped laughing at me when I'd return the favor with homemade soups, gumbos or jambalaya from the broths/stocks I made using their leftovers.  

Repurpose is what you have to do with a giant family even in the best of times. 

 

Snorkelson

Footballguy
SFBayDuck said:
Much like the chicken turned into stock that started the thread, I'm trying to turn one meal into multiple even more so than usual.  

Friday's Traeger-roasted chicken turned into stock that was used in Saturday's (leftover) chicken risotto and Sunday's chicken tortilla soup.  I often freeze leftover chicken broth in 2 cup portions in ziploc bags, and use that later to make more flavorful rice (instead of just water).  I even pick the chicken off the carcass after making the stock, and that goes to the dog (be sure there are no onions included).

Last night I roasted a boneless leg of lamb and made mashed potatoes, tonight will be shepherd's pie with the leftovers.

Almost any chicken or steak leftovers I will turn into tacos the next day - chop up the leftovers, sprinkle on some taco seasoning, and simmer in a pan with a little salsa.  Add some rice and beans and make burritos to stretch it out even further.  I'll do the same with leftover fish, although I'll typically just sprinkle some seasoning on that and heat it up in the microwave, then flake onto corn tortillas and add salsa, cabbage/lettuce, etc.

Of course all of this relies on having leftovers.  If you have like 9 kids this probably doesn't help. 😉
I freeze chicken stock into ice cubes, dump the tray in a ziploc bag, repeat. Single serve cubes for all your flavor needs.

 

SFBayDuck

Footballguy
I freeze chicken stock into ice cubes, dump the tray in a ziploc bag, repeat. Single serve cubes for all your flavor needs.
We have two lime trees and we do that since we harvest a couple of hundred limes at once that would otherwise mostly go into the green bin.  Drop a lime cube in a rum and coke, year-round margaritas, or thaw a few to add to a marinade (my favorite is a flank steak marinated with lime juice, a can of coconut milk, garlic, sriracha, and cilantro).

 
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E-Z Glider

Footballguy
In the spirit of the thread, I have combined my 2 favorite minimalist meals into one timeline. To make this meal, you will only need 6 things... 

  1. A dutch oven
  2. one whole chicken
  3. flour 
  4. yeast
  5. salt
  6. oil
This is a 24-hour project. You can start it tonight and eat it tomorrow for dinner. It's such a simple meal, but when you dunk a piece of bread and chicken into a bowl of this schmaltz, I promise your eyes will roll back into your head.

Today

6:00pm - In a large bowl, combine 3C flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 and 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 and 5/8 C water. Mix well until shaggy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

8:00pm - In a large pan or bucket, mix a brine of 2 quarts of water with 1/3 C of salt and submerge chicken.

Tomorrow

1:00pm - Sprinkle flour generously on surface and place dough on it. Sprinkle flour generously on top of dough. Fold it over itself twice. Loosely cover with plastic.

1:30pm - Generously coat a cotton towel with flour. Gently and quickly gather the dough into a ball. Place the dough seam-side down. Generously coat the top of dough with flour and cover with another towel.

3:30pm - Place dutch w/ lid oven into the oven and heat to 450.

3:50pm - Remove dutch oven, slide one hand under towel and turn dough over into dutch oven, seam-side up. Put lid on top and back into oven.

4:00pm - Remove chicken from brine and dry with towels.

4:20pm - Remove lid from bread but leave it in oven.

4:35pm - Remove bread from oven and place on cooling rack. Turn oven up to 550 and put dutch oven back into oven.

4:50pm - Rub chicken with oil.

5:00pm - Put chicken in dutch oven with lid on.

5:15pm - Remove lid, baste chicken. Leave lid off.

5:30pm - Remove dutch oven from oven and place on stove top with lid back on.

5:40pm - Remove lid.

5:50pm - Stick a wooden spoon in the chicken cavity and tilt it to drain all juices (schmaltz) into the dutch oven.

6:00pm - Place the whole chicken on cutting board. Pour schmaltz into 2 bowls. Tear a hunk of bread and piece of chicken and dip into schmaltz.

 

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