Sunday, August 3, 2008

Root canal recipes:

Gory title - but oh so true. Don’t worry we are not going to the dentist.
Here is the situation: You have just come home and you have - and now insert whichever applies to you -

* been working all day and you can barely stand up
* been sick all day and all you want to do is sleep
* had oral surgery and A - you cannot eat -therefore nobody eats or
B - you are seeing stars because the Novocain is wearing off.

Anyway you get the idea. This is a potential problem for your budget. You could hope that your significant other will follow your mumbled directions and discover his inner chef, but let’s face it - the word on your husband's and your children’s lips will be: “TAKE OUT!”
So, how can we avoid this: by having two or three emergency recipes, that you can make even if you are half dead or very out of time. So, they have to be easy, always on hand - therefore based on ingredients that do not spoil, and let’s not forget CHEAP!

Everyone will have their own favorites - tastes are so different anyway and one person’s nightmare recipe is another ones zinch! Think about yours, here are my root canal recipes.

Pasta with Sauce a la Maison
Ingredients: for about 4 servings

1 package pasta - anywhere from 20 cents to 3$
1 can crushed tomatoes - around 50 cents if you go with organic store brand
1 onion 30 cents
1 bunch green leafy vegetable - anything will do spinach, kale, chard etc could be frozen or fresh and does not have to be in prime condition - so this works as a recipe for using up wilted produce cost anywhere from 50 cents to 3$
2 tablespoons oil of your choice, 75 cents
additionally anything else that lurks in your fridge and would go well in a pasta sauce: for example - olives, artichoke hearts, leftover phony meats, cheeses, herbs, salsa, leftover veggie burger…...

1. Bring water to a boil in a big pot. Add pasta.

2. In a sauté pan, heat up oil, add your onions to brown, add green leafy vegetable, which you may chop coarsely or leave whole. Reduce heat and saute until the leafy vegetable wilts. Note: at the beginning your greens may look like they would be too much, but they will reduce to a quarter of their volume once they wilt.

3. Last, add the can of crushed tomatoes and whatever else you found in your fridge. Cook for another five minutes - in the meantime check on your pasta - it should be done. Drain and serve with your simple pasta sauce, either mixed in or on the side. Mixed in is always more economical - but on the side means, you are serving more veggies, so it is your call. Enjoy - or let your family eat and faint into bed.

Cost: 4 servings from $2.25 to $4.55 - depending on type of pasta and type of green, leafy vegetable

Red Lentil Dal -
Another staple for me - although a lot of people believe that a whole lot of work went into this, when they taste it.

Ingredients: for about 4 servings
1 ½ cups brown rice, around $1.10
1 ½ cups red lentils, about $1.20
1 onion, 30 cents
1 head of garlic, $1.00
1 tablespoon curry powder - 10 cents
1 tablespoon garam masala - 10 cents
1 teaspoon cloves - 10 cents
1 small can crushed tomatoes 50 cents
⅓ cup oil of your choice - I prefer coconut 75 cents
a pinch of cinnamon or cardamon

1.In a pot wash the rice thoroughly - then use about 4 cups of water with your 1 ½ cups rice - and bring to a gentle boil. Once it has boiled for a minute - reduce heat to a simmer and add half of the cloves.

2.In a pan - heat your oil - reserve some - add the roughly chopped onion - brown gently and add the garlic. Make sure it does not stick. When the onion is translucent and the garlic lightly toasted add the rest of the cloves and both spice mixes.

3.Wash your lentils and add the drained but wet lentils to the pan. Move things around a bit and add about 1 cup of water. When you see the cup of water disappearing (about five minutes over medium heat) add the crushed tomatoes.

4.Check on the rice - add more water if necessary.
Both the rice and the lentils will be done at the same time - roughly another 10 minutes. Drain the rice - add the rest of the oil and some cinnamon or cardamon and serve with the dal.

Cost: 4 large servings about $5.00

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