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crazy, but happy :-)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ribeye Meal for under $6

For health and budget reasons, I don't think you should eat steak every night, but sometimes it just sounds delicious! As I've droned on about before, Americans eat WAY too much meat. Health recommendations are usually around 3 ounces per meal (and some groups say only 2-4 ounces per day.) Here is what I recommend instead of going out to a restaurant.

On the menu:

8 ounce Ribeye
Garlic smashed potatoes
California blend vegetables
Crusty French bread

To eat this at:
Fancy steakhouse, at least $30
Mid range steakhouse about $20
Low price/quality restaurant minimum of $15
(Plus you would need to add any beverages and gratuity)

HOME ---- $5.46 !!!

Here's the proof:

I bought two ribeyes for $18.50 which totaled 1.97 pounds. This is just about average from any grocery store. You can get a nice cut of meat for around $9/pound pretty regularly. (We actually got about 6 servings, but for the restaurant comparison, I went with 4.)

A 10 pound bag of russet potatoes is $3.99 which is roughly 30 potatoes

12-16 ounce bags of frozen California blend vegetables are always about $1.

A package of green onions has about 12 stalks for $.89, I used one for the potatoes.

The loaf of bread was $1.29 and I used a little more than half (I am a big bread eater!)

I also used Janes Krazy Salt, 4 cloves of garlic, about 4 ounces of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. which is a total of about $1.15

Per serving cost:
Meat: 4.63
Potatoes: .13
Vegetables: .25
Bread: .16
Oil and seasonings: .29
TOTAL: $5.46

Making the meal is pretty easy, just dice and boil 4 potatoes until they are pretty soft, but not mushy. Drain and add 3-4 cloves of garlic, 3-4 ounces of olive oil, and seasonings to taste.

Preheat oven to 400* Generously salt both sides of the steak and let them come to room temperature. Lightly oil both sides. In a very hot cast iron skillet sear the steaks on each side for about 3 minutes then put whole skillet in oven until it is your desired level of doneness (about 8 minutes depending on thickness.)

You could make a sauce for the steak, but I don't think it is at all necessary. You could do anything from a simple deglazing of the pan with a flavorful liquid to a bleu cheese sauce to a sauteed mushroom and onion topping and it wouldn't add more than $1 per serving.

The vegetables were steamed in the bag and tossed with a bit of olive oil and Janes Krazy Salt (my all time favorite seasoning!)

The bread was thrown in the oven along with the steaks to crisp the outside and warm it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

White Bean Chicken Chili

2 lb dried beans, rinsed
1-2 cups cooked chicken, shred or small dice
½ - 1 T poultry seasoning
½-1 T Janes Krazy Salt
2 t red pepper flakes, optional
2 bay leaves
6 C water and/or chicken stock
4-6 bouillon cubes, optional
2 C milk (or water), optional

Option 1: Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

Option 2: Put the beans covered with water or chicken stock by 2 inches in the crock pot on low or covered pot on the stove set to low for 2-3 hours (add a couple of bay leaves if desired) before starting the rest of the recipe.

Put the seasonings, beans, and liquid in a crock pot on high until you reach a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.

Mash about 1/2 of the beans against the side of pot with back of a heavy spoon, stick blender, or blender. (Skip this step or only slightly mash if you want more of a soup consistency.)

Add chicken.

Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, about 2 hours (or as long as you want, I sometimes cook up to 4 hours on low and then leave on warm overnight.)

Add milk or water if a thinner consistency is desired.


*I use homemade chicken stock that is flavorful but doesn’t have a lot of salt, so I use more of the Krazy salt than if you used store bought stock, which is typically saltier and less of the poultry seasoning because it is already in my stock. If you are using water, then adding bouillon cubes when you add the rest of the seasonings will give a more chicken-y flavor.

*You can make this with any other type of beans and also with drained and rinsed cans

*This can also be done on a stove top or Instant Pot with modifications.

*As long as you are cooking the chili for at least 2 hours on low or 1 hour on high you can add uncooked chicken cut into very small pieces.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Brownies with Cherries

Gooey version in front, pretty one in back

One recipe - two techniques! 

One is presentable the other a bit ugly, but they both are oh, so good! The brownie is a pretty basic cocoa-based brownie recipe and it is dense and moist, but still fluffy enough and with a very slightly chewy crispy top. 

Basic (perfect) brownie

Most recipes use all regular sugar and add vanilla in the wet ingredients.  I am trying to make a recipe that is as easy as possible to make from a dry mix and having to add three ingredients seems like too many. To counter the loss of the vanilla, I used half brown sugar which adds a lovely molasses flavor and also makes it moister. If you use all brown sugar, the top layer won't get that slightly different texture that I really want from a brownie (if all you have is one or the other, you will still end up with a delicious treat!) I'm also toying with the idea of using shortening in the mix so that egg is the only wet ingredient, but wonder about how that will affect the shelf-stability, so for now am sticking with this. 

One batch (8x8 or 9x9 pan)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat, but any will do)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

1 cup cherry pie filling, optional

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients. Bake in 350*oven for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs.

Top with cherry topping. 

That was the pretty version - for an ooey, gooey, doesn't come out of the pan easily treat just switch up the recipe a little! Put the pie filling in the bottom of the pan, use one egg instead of two and add 2 tablespoons of water then pour the batter on top of the cherries. 

Make ahead mix:

This is also super to keep in the pantry for a quick dessert. Below is for 4 batches, but you can do as many as you would like! When you're ready to bake, just measure 2 cups of dry mix to make one batch or adjust to whatever size you feel like eating! Ex: 1 cup mix, 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil for a few muffins or 3 cups mix, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup oil for a 9x13 pan

2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cup granulated sugar
2 cup flour (I used whole wheat, but any will do)
2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Parsley, Cauliflower, and Quinoa Salad

I've been on a bit of a quinoa kick lately and this is today's offering.

Lucille and the neighbor kids picked a large amount of parsley from the yard and so, of course, I thought about tabbouleh but didn't feel like digging in the deep freeze to find the bulghur and all of my mint died :-( so my tabbouleh-inspired salad was born.

2 small tomatoes
1 avocado
1/2 cup green onions
juice of 1/2 lemon
hearty amount of salt and pepper

about 3 cups of chopped parsley
1-2T  capers

3 cups cooked quinoa (made from1 cup of dry)

about 1 cup chopped raw cauliflower

Finished Salad!

Parsley, Cauliflower, and Quinoa Salad

2 small tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced/crushed
1/2 cup green onions, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
hearty amount of salt and pepper
about 3 cups of parsley, rough chop
1-2T  capers
3 cups cooked quinoa (made from1 cup of dry)
about 1 cup raw cauliflower, chopped

Mix and serve!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Not Texan, But Still Good CHILI (and a vegetarian version)

½ – 1 lb sausage
½ - 1 lb cubed or ground beef
½ cup onion
2T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
½ t crushed red pepper
1 t cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T season salt
14 oz can chili style beans
14 oz can kidney beans (drained)
10 oz can Rotel
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
½ t brown sugar

Chili follows the same rules as spaghetti sauce, anything goes, really.

Fry the onions and meat until the meat is cooked through and the onions are a little translucent then add the garlic and seasonings, fry for just another minute (garlic burns quickly, be careful). Then add all the beans and tomatoes.

I use whole cumin that I grind in a mortar and pestle. It tastes fresher, but can easily be substituted for ground if that's what you have. Cumin is what makes chili taste like chili, I think.

You will have to play with the seasonings to get it just how you like it, I know we like it spicier than a lot of families. The amounts listed are just basic starting points. You can use just unseasoned canned or dried beans and skip the ones in the chili flavorings but it just gives you a little head start.

Easy Vegetarian Chili
1 medium onion, diced
2T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
2 cans chili beans
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilis (Rotel)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1/2T ground cumin
1/2T chili powder
1/2T cayenne
1T seasoned salt or Jane’s Krazy Salt
Sauté onion in oil over medium-high heat until translucent, add garlic and spices, sauté another minute. Add all other ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer as long as you like.

Monday, October 3, 2016


8 eggs
2T milk
2T olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/8C  bell peppers, diced
1/8C onions, diced
1/8C spinach, chopped
Krazy Jane’s
optional: parmesan or feta
Sauté vegetables in oil over medium heat. Mix eggs and milk, pour over sautéing vegetables, cover. Cook until almost done, about 5 minutes (will continue to cook a bit after removing from heat).

If you are using an oven safe skillet, then you can start it on the stove, then put it under the broiler to finish even more quickly and get a nice golden brown top.

Lentil Loaf

2C  lentils
4 C broth (vegetable or chicken or water with bouillon)
2T olive oil
1/2C onion, diced
1/4C bell pepper
1/4C carrot
1/4C celery
2 eggs
1C bread crumbs
1C oats
1T Worcestershire
1 ½t Italian herb mix
2 garlic cloves or 1/2t garlic granules
3/4t pepper
1/2t salt
Bring broth to a boil, add lentils, reduce to simmer, cook 30 minutes (most of the liquid should be absorbed). Smash about half of the lentils with a potato masher or heavy spoon (or food processor.)    In a separate pan, sauté vegetables in oil until almost soft. Mix all ingredients together. Press into greased loaf pan (or any other pan). Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Let sit for about 15 minutes before slicing.

This is great as is, but I like to top it with a ketchup glaze (ketchup and brown sugar whisked together and microwaved until smooth) about 5 minutes before it is done cooking.

I have also formed these into “meatballs” and pan fried or baked them. If you do this it helps to smash most of the lentils and refrigerate the balls for a bit before frying.