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Friday, June 11, 2010

Lean times = pantry + condiments + veggies/fruits

A girl on a budget (like this kitchen wench) must bring inexpensive food options together at home. It is actually easy, it just requires some canned goods, pasta (pantry items), veggies/fruits and condiments.

As a rule I like to buy Trader Joe's whole wheat pastas but in a pinch if I am at Fresh & Easy I will buy their pasta since it is cheap (99 cents/lb). They have a couple of different shapes at this price. Add your veggies like grape tomatoes, bell peppers, some canned olives, pepperoncini (or in my case guindilla peppers) with a homemade vinaigrette and there you have it. A delicious pasta salad that keeps well for a couple of days.

Pinto beans are great for my version of "mock nachos" (no cheese) which I heat in the micro for 45 seconds and pour over corn chips and serve with jicama, salsa and grape tomatoes.

Canned peas can make a tasty dinner. Who knew? I like them with a little sauteed bacon and french bread on the side. And maybe with a glass of wine, if it's available.

Condiments will make those items you get from the larder more tasty: dijon mustard, TJ California Estate olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, black olives (chopped goes a long long way) and pepperoncini or guindilla peppers.

I'm buying a lot less meat these days, once in awhile there is a small salami in the refrig (good with On Auk Mor flatbread crackers from Trader Joe's). Or if I'm celebrating I will make a steak salad (or a few depending on how many steaks come in the package) using skirt steak.

Also I'm down to about one chamoyada per week, from Oasis Raspados. So, in between visits, I'm snacking on: yogurt, raw almonds, tamarind roll candy (Food City has these 4 for $1.00), asian peanuts (Food City also), bagels (Fresh & Easy), dried plums, dried cranberries, bananas, apples and any seasonal fruit. Some fruits pair really well with lime juice and chili powder. This is a refreshing snack, especially for our hot summer.

I'm interested in learning what you are making/eating using just simple items, stuff most of us have on hand all the time in the pantry and refrig.

Happy cooking.

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