The Cheap Dish
Liz’s Weekend Brunch Special - $19.06

My roomie, Liz, is the breakfast queen. She makes perfect eggs, bacon and has even mastered chocolate chip pancakes. So, in honor of the 11:30AM World Cup matches, she made brunch this weekend.

The staple ingredients you will need:

  1. 4 Eggs
  2. Butter
  3. Bread

You will also need:

  1. Bacon (12oz.) - $3.99 

Cook bacon according to package directions (you can slice off 1/4 of the bacon package with a knife, making a few small slices of bacon that are more than enough for 2 people and easy to cook in a small frying pan). While this cooks, crack 4 eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk with a fork. Set aside.

Once your bacon is well done/crispy, take it out of the pan and set aside. Here comes the tricky part. You want to keep just a touch of your bacon grease and the tiny, leftover bacon bits in the pan. So, be careful when you are pouring the excess grease into the sink.

Pour your whisked eggs into the pan and scramble with a spatula, mixing in with the bacon bits. While your eggs are cooking, put your bread into the toaster and place your bacon, eggs and toast onto two plates. Feeds 2 people and makes about 4 brunches.

Optional: Have some strawberries (On Sale at Vons for $1.99) with sugar or add cheese to your eggs (Velveeta Cheese - $3.99 for 32oz.) by cutting of a slice and breaking it up into small pieces. Then stir into your eggs after they have been poured into the pan with leftover grease and bacon bits.

We also made Fresh Squeezed Mimosas. The last time I visited my parents, I talked my mother into buying me a hand juicer at Bed, Bath & Beyond (only $4.99 with a coupon!). I didn’t realize how much work goes into squeezing your own juice, so now it only gets used on special occasions. You can buy the oranges of your choice (I like navel oranges for $1.69 per lb.) with cheap champagne, Andre’s is only $4.99 a bottle. 2 oranges squeezed equals one glass of juice, then add the champagne to taste.

Happy eating!

Father’s Day Buffalo Wings & Beer - $19.18

In honor of my father, who lives in Western New York, I wanted to make Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings at home and wash it down with a cool Pabst Blue Ribbon, the working man’s beer. So, even though we live 3000 miles apart, this meal will make it seem like he’s just around the corner. You will need:

  1. Chicken Wings (Run between $4.50 - $6.00 a pack) - $4.71 
  2. Blue Cheese (I like Marie Calender’s Extra Chunky) - $2.99 
  3. Celery (Pre-cut is the hassle free way to go) - $3.99
  4. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer (12 pack) - $7.49

From the fridge grab:

  1. Anchor Bar Wing Sauce or wing sauce of your choice
  2. Butter
  3. PAM or cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grab a cookie sheet along with your package of wings. I like to buy mine on the day I make them, because they just taste better fresh to me. Wash your wings in cool water and place on the greased baking sheet. Put a “dollop” (my dad’s word) of butter on each wing and place in the center rack of the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes and take them out of the oven. Careful, they’re hot. Now, turn each wing with a pair of tongs. Slide them back into the oven and bake another 20 minutes. You’ll turn them one last time, and then put them in for another 15 minutes.

Next, you will need a mixing bowl, wing sauce, blue cheese and celery. Once the wings are golden brown, place them in the mixing bowl and douse the wing sauce as desired. Serve with blue cheese and celery, and chase down the fire with an ice cold Pabst beer.

Serves 2 people (7 wings a piece) and you can reuse the blue cheese and celery.

Happy eating, Dads!

Rotisserie Chicken Salad - Leftovers

Remember that Rotisserie Chicken you had in the fridge? Hungry for lunch? Grab some mayonnaise and head to the spice rack. You will need:

  1. Poultry Seasoning
  2. Paprika
  3. Dill
  4. Salt & Pepper
  5. Granulated Garlic
  6. Onion Powder

Before you start pulling off the meat of your chicken, wash your kitchen scissors and grab a small mixing bowl. Then go to work. I like white meat so I only pull apart the chicken breast and any other white meat I can uncover underneath the skin. Once this is done and you’ve washed your hands, begin cutting up the chicken pieces with your scissors. This is the most involved part.

Now measure out 2 tablespoons of mayo and throw in 1/4 teaspoon of the Poultry Seasoning, Granulated Garlic and Onion Powder. Then sprinkle Salt, Pepper, Dill and Paprika to taste. Stir together with a large serving fork and serve with the crackers of your choice.

Optional: Add in chopped celery for a nice crisp crunch. Feeds 1 person.

Penne Pasta with Ground Turkey & Tomato Sauce - $15.14

I don’t usually like to eat pasta sauce that comes in a jar. My mom taught me how to make my own, but it’s very time involved. So, when you’re hungry (ahem, at 8pm) and you want to eat something filling fast. Try this! You will need:

  1. Pasta Sauce (8oz.) - $1.88
  2. Penne Noodles (12oz.) - $1.59
  3. Mozzarella Cheese - $2.99
  4. Ground Turkey (1.25lb.) - $5.49

I used to eat a lot of red meat, but in my quest to eat better I found ground turkey to be a wonderful alternative. I also like to cut the 1.25 lb. of meat in half and use it for 2 recipes. This week I also made tacos which were, of course, super delicious.

I spiced the raw turkey meat with:

  1. Italian Seasoning
  2. Salt & Pepper
  3. Granulated Garlic
  4. Onion Powder

Other ingredients you will need.

  1. Olive Oil

Place your turkey in a pan and begin to simmer on med-low heat. If you don’t like to just throw your spices on (which I do), then measure out 1/2 teaspoon of each and sprinkle salt and pepper as desired. While that cooks, fill up your dutch oven about half way and begin to boil. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil (this just keeps your pasta from getting sticky) into the water along with a little more salt and pepper. I told you, I liked salt. While your meat and water heat up, pour a little more than half of the jar of pasta sauce (I used Classico Tomato and Basil) in a saucepan and let it sit. I like to use my time wisely, especially when I’m eating so late.

Break up the ground turkey and saute until it is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Hopefully, by the time your meat is done the water will be boiling. When it does, pour in about half of the package of penne and stir all along. When your meat is cooked, stir it into the pasta sauce and turn on your burner to a very low flame. You want your sauce to cook slowly so it doesn’t spatter everywhere or burn on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring the penne and sauce continuously.

I like to pair my pasta with freezer bought garlic bread ($3.19/each), or this would be a great time to use my Mozzarella Cheesy Bread recipe. Just sayin’.

So, taste your pasta all along until it’s the consistency you like and heat up your pasta sauce thoroughly. I also threw in a little extra mozzarella cheese at the very end to thicken up the sauce. And about 15 minutes before everything is ready, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the bread. A delicious and filling meal ready in 20 minutes. Feeds 2 people.

Happy eating!

Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans & Corn on the Cob - $9.42

I love buying a Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store. They are slow roasted, tender and juicy. Not to mention, you can eat on it all week. But what should you eat with it when you buy it fresh? Here’s my suggestion.

  1. Rotisserie Chicken - $5.49
  2. 1 Can of Green Beans - $.79
  3. 2 Ears of Corn - $1.38
  4. 2 Russet Potatoes - $1.76

You will also need to head to your spice rack and fridge for this meal. Grab:

  1. Granulated Garlic
  2. Salt & Pepper (Always)
  3. Milk
  4. Butter
  5. Sugar/Splenda

One of the biggest tricks of cooking is to time everything just right so you can eat everything at the same time. This has been one of the biggest challenges for me, and after three years I still have to plan everything in my head before I even begin cooking.

The best way is to get out all of your ingredients and then decide what takes the longest to cook. In this case it’s the potatoes. So I took them out of the cabinet (it’s best to keep potatoes in a cool, dark place so they don’t spud as quickly), washed them and peeled them. I think this is one of my least favorite things to do ever. I recently bought a hand peeler from the 99 Cent Store, and I guess you get what you pay for because the peeler only worked mildly better than a knife.

When your potatoes are clean, place them in a saucepan and fill the water until it covers the potatoes. Begin heating on medium-high heat and add in 1 tsp. of granulated garlic with salt and pepper to taste.

While that boils, begin work on the corn. This is my first time boiling corn on my own, so I texted my mother for any extra information she could provide. Being southern, she told me she liked to add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the boiling water - but now that she’s a bit of a health nut she told me to put in one packet of Splenda. It’s your choice, this just sweetens up the corn.

I then turned to undressing the corn. I hold mine far away from me in case any silk worms decide to jump out, but I was lucky and all was clear. Then, place the ears of corn in a dutch oven half filled with water and begin boiling on a medium-low flame with or without sugar - your choice.

Make sure you check your potatoes again. You can do this by sticking a fork in the middle of them. If I’m super hungry, I’ll cut the potatoes in half after they gotten soft enough in the center to do so. This just boils them faster. After you’ve checked your potatoes, pour your can of green beans into a shallow dish and heat over a very low flame. This is the time when everything starts to come together.

Check your corn. Grab a colander and drain the potatoes (when they’re soft enough) and put back them back in the sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup milk. This is open to interpretation. I usually just eye it instead of measuring the ingredients out.

Now comes the fun part. I’ve tried using a hand masher, but it just doesn’t do the job the way an electric mixer does. I’m not a fan of lumpy, mushy potatoes. I like them whipped and smooth. After this is done you can begin plating.

3 large scoops of potatoes, 2 scoops of green beans with a spoon strainer, 1 ear of corn on the cob and as much chicken as you can stand. Feeds 2 people.

Leftovers? I like to eat the chicken cold with A1 sauce. I also make a yummy chicken salad with mayo, spices and chopped celery.

Happy eating!

Grown-Up Soda - $2.25

95 Calories, 24 Carbs and no fat. So much better for you than real soda and it tastes great. My favorites include Grape Black Currant (which I’m currently enjoying), Pomegranate and Cola Nut. It’s “not too sweet” and is 100% all natural deliciousness. And let me tell you, it tastes a lot sweeter when the boss treats.

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls - $3.19

I barely ever give myself enough time in the morning to shower, dress and eat breakfast before work. So, I normally bring something to eat like pop tarts or instant grits. I’m not a fan of frozen egg, but, in honor of Jimmy Dean, I bought one of his breakfast bowls to try.

It surprised me with how good it was. There was enough cheese, the scrambled egg was light and fluffy, the sausage was perfect, and best of all - it filled me up. I would definitely buy this treat again, but not that often. I just don’t think my heart or my wallet could stand it.

Feeds 1 person.

Mozzarella Cheesy Bread & Tomato Soup - $8.47

Great for dipping in your favorite tomato soup. If you live near a Vons, I highly recommend the store brand, Tuscan Tomato and Basil Bisque ($3.99 for 24 oz.). But if you’re not that lucky and you need to cut down on costs, you can buy two cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup for only $.95 each.

To make the bread you will need:

  1. French Bread - $1.49
  2. 8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese - $2.99

You will also need my favorite addition to any recipe - butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and while the oven heats, slice half the loaf (6 pieces) in 1” thick pieces and place on a greased baking sheet. Generously butter both sides of the bread and place back onto sheet, then cover the slices in mozzarella cheese to your taste. I like mine cheesy.

Pour about half the soup container (or two cans of tomato soup as directed) into a saucepan and heat on medium-low heat. Soup burns easily so you want to stir continuously. This will also help it heat up the soup evenly.

Place bread in oven and check in about 5 minutes. You want the cheese to melt and the bottom of the bread to be golden brown. But don’t forget about your soup! Keep stirring and checking on the bread until all is done. Feeds 2 people.

Leftovers? I like to take the fresh bread to work the next morning with a few slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese and for lunch I heat up the soup and eat it with a slice of buttered toast.

Happy eating!

With happy hour specials all week, I quite often frequent Rusty’s Surf Ranch set right on the Santa Monica Pier. There is nothing like a $3.50 Blue Iguana Margarita and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.

With happy hour specials all week, I quite often frequent Rusty’s Surf Ranch set right on the Santa Monica Pier. There is nothing like a $3.50 Blue Iguana Margarita and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.