Posts Tagged ‘cheap meals’
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Or in my case, I get creative and cook! Here’s what you’ll need to make this special “Italian” dish:
- ½ to 1 (16oz.) can of garbanzo beans or chick peas
- 1 (14.5oz.) can of diced tomatoes
- ½ box of penne dry pasta
- At least 1 cup of mixed frozen vegetables. Some sort of vegetable mixture whether it’s fresh, frozen, or canned to make it Primavera!
- Olive Oil
- Chopped or minced jarred garlic
- Salted butter
- Spices: Salt and pepper, crushed oregano or some sort of italian spice, crushed red pepper, ground cayenne pepper.
- Some sort of grated cheese. Depending on your budget, you can use good old Parmesan from Kraft or real Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- A little meat. Could be chicken, pork, or fish. A can of solid white tuna can also be used in this dish if you’re meatless in the house. I used a leftover grilled chicken breast from the night before to make this dish.
Let’s cook. You’ll need a pot to boil the penne pasta and a large frying pan for the rest. Fully cook your penne pasta and drain water. Drizzle olive oil and salt over the cooked penne and stir it around a bit. While the pasta is cooking, nuke the frozen vegetables (if frozen).
Turning your attention to your frying pan, warm it up and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add a generous amount of chopped or minced garlic and some salted butter. As the garlic butter is cooking, add your dry spices listed above. Add the garbanzo beans (chick peas) and diced tomatoes. Cut up whatever meat you have and add it in (If it was raw and not a leftover you have to cook it first!). Now you can slowly mix in the vegetables. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese to the mixture. Finally, start to mix in the cooked penne. And voila - dinner is done.
Plate it up and sprinkle with more grated cheese. If you really want to make this dish extra ”fancy”, pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, or Italian Pinot Grigio. If you prefer a red wine here’s one for you – Negroamaro. It’s an Italian red grape from southern Italy, grown in Puglia and Salento. Add candlelight and that’s amore!
Salute fellow Poor Chefs!
As the “Poor Man’s Chef” of our household, there are a few dinner saving ingredients that I like to have around to offer me inspiration in the most bleak of evenings.
1.) Make sure you have more than just salt and pepper in your spice cabinet. This will allow you to discover how great spices, like coriander and fennel, can pair with a wide variety of foods from luncheon meats to grilled salmon and tuna. With a decent spice cabinet, you can turn anything into a gourmet masterpiece. Trust me.
2.) Canned chick peas (i.e., garbanzo beans). I’ve made countless poor recipes with this lifesaver bean. Garbanzo beans are very cheap and versatile.
3.) Canned tomatoes. Like the garbanzo bean, a can of diced tomatoes offers up a lot of interesting possibilities for just pennies.
4.) Brown or white Rice. Rice is cheap and it can be used in a variety of different meals.
5.) A bag of frozen mixed vegetables, frozen peppers, or frozen spinach. If you’ve got more than just salt and pepper in your spice cabinet, then you have a good chance of making something terrific with a little bit of these frozen vegetables.
6.) Jar of chopped garlic. I don’t have the time or the money for whole garlic cloves. So I always keep a jar of chopped garlic in the fridge.
7.) Some sort of meat or fish is always helpful, but not essential. It doesn’t matter if its lunchmeat, breakfast sausage, or frozen fish sticks. If you’ve got some sort of protein in the house, then consider yourself a lucky Poor Man’s Chef, my friend.
8.) Salted Butter. Why? Because sweet salted butter can make anything taste good.
9.) Olive Oil. Unlike butter, a little bit of olive oil goes a long way in adding and enhancing flavor.
10.) A bottle of wine. Why you ask? Because a bottle of wine can make any imaginative meal seem more special than it actually is.
There you have it! 10 Dinner Saving Ingredients to help you to become the most creative Poor Man’s Chef that you can be! Best of luck!