Thursday, September 30, 2010

Burger on Bread Heels

I hate bread heels. They're always cut too thin and are too, what's the word? Crusty? Yes, crusty. And tonight, because I'm down to the heels, it's a square burger on heels. But tonight it's a square patty topped with Mexican-blend cheese.

Yep, I'm considering bailing on this blog. This is pitiful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Square Burger Patty to Fit on Square Bread, Sort of Like Wendy's but not

Because I only have square bread, I decided to make a square burger patty. You know, like those that Wendy's makes, except mine is hand-pressed.

And topped it with a square slice of swiss cheese.

Man, this is some bullshit I've been posting lately. I'm beginning to wonder if keeping this blog is worth it anymore.

Lentil Stew with Bacon and Greens...Quesadilla

Sort of like a beef stew sandwich, but a lentil stew quesadilla.

Pretty self-explanatory: warm a tortilla by flipping it a few times over half a minute in a warm skillet. Top with a couple large spoonfuls of lentil stew followed by a small handful of Mexican-blend cheddar. Fold in half once cheese begins to melt. Serve.

A little weird, yes, but still quite tasty. Turns out, lentils go well with cheese and salsa.

I heart lentils.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grilled Shredded Mexican-Blend Cheese Sandwich, Burnt

Typically when making a grilled cheese sandwich, room temperature butter is smeared on one side of each of two bread slices, then American cheese (food) product is placed on a slice, topped with the other slice; and the sandwich is flipped to desired brown-ness.

I had cold, hard butter and Mexican-blend cheddar. I rolled with them both.

The butter was allowed to melt in a large skillet. The butter was spread over the skillet evenly and one bread slice was added; seeing the butter quantity was too little, another pat of butter was added to the skillet. Once the second butter pat was melted, a second slice of bread was placed in the skillet to brown.

Shredded Mexican-blend cheddar was piled onto each slice of bread. Once the cheese began to melt, the two slices were placed cheese-sides on top of each other, cheese-sides facing, yielding a blackened sandwich.

The blackened part wasn't great, but the cheese sure was.  And there was plenty of it.  Yum!  Next time, I'll hold off on browning both bread slices before adding the cheese. Or will just be quicker about making the sandwich in general. After all it's grilled cheese and should take 5 minutes tops.
Cost: SWAG of $1.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blackened Mahi Mahi Sandwich

Because it's hotter than hell here in Southern CA (aka SoCal), I opted for a dinner that would use minimal heat over a very short time, a mahi-mahi sandwich.

And it was spot on, though a little too filling. I couldn't finish the sandwich.

Again, it's hotter than hell here. Who can eat a big meal in these temperatures? (Remember, I post-date my posts -- today is 65F and when I made this mahi-mahi sandwich it was over 100F).

I essentially followed this blackened salmon recipe but used a fillet of mahi-mahi instead of salmon.

Thaw and paper-towel dry a fillet of mahi mahi.

Warm a tbsp of butter in a medium skillet. Meanwhile, dust the mahi mahi with blackening seasoning.

Place mahi mahi fillet seasoned side down in buttered skillet. Dust the exposed side of the mahi mahi with the seasoning. Flip the fish after a couple minutes. If you want browned/grilled bread, butter one side of each of two slices and brown them in a second skillet.

Once the mahi mahi is nearly cooked through, remove it from heat and let it stand on a plate.

Place fresh lettuce and tomato on a slice of bread, topped with mahi mahi and the second slice of bread.

I made my sandwich such that the browned sides of bread faced the mahi mahi to prevent buttery fingers. Dumb. Dumb, dumb. The softened bread became almost sticky, leaving my fingers damp anyhow. Might just as well be butter-flavored fingers.

Cost: a SWAG of $2.

Food Plan, 092610

What was I thinking before, making two lasagnas in one week? I have the equivalent of 1.5 lasagnas in my freezer. Couple that with the fact that I had Pasta Pizza Bake multiple times over the course of the week certainly causes me to avoid pasta and cheese. I'm really glad lentils came into my life recently. If it hadn't been for that stew, I'd have lost my mind by now.

This week I'm going to just keep it simple. I'm going to eat a couple burgers on SunFlour bread (if it's still good) with some fries, the remaining lentil stew (I didn't try freezing any because I didn't want the starchy potatoes in it to get weird) and

  • Aloo Phujia
  • Blackened Mahi Mahi with something on the side (TBD) or maybe in a sandwich
And since I have everything to make both dishes, I don't have to shop!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lentil Stew with Bacon and Spinach, Reheated

I wasn't sure if I'd like this lentil stew reheated. Turns out it's even better than when I'd first made it a few days ago! The parsley has mellowed out, allowing other flavors to shine. And it seems to have become slightly more stewy than soupy. Total winner, this stew. You should make some. Click here for the recipe.

Cost of Take-Out Lunch, Week Ending 092410

This week was a little bit extraordinary in that I was forced to eat out a lot. I use the word "forced" a little loosely.
  • Monday: Sushi Plantation, Rainbow Roll for me and something else for the boss with two sodas: $26.69+$6 toke: $32.69 (and totally worth it -- it was fantastic!) after hitting balls at the driving range
    • Normally I don't do any sort of review on the places where I have lunch, but I have to say, Sushi Plantation totally rocked. The link above will take you to their outdated website, but they don't need to update it. Folks were packed in there at 12:30; we were lucky to get seating. With a small sushi bar and limited table-seating -- the place is, well, cramped. And the women's bathroom had only one bulb of at least 8 in the track functional. However, the service was exceptional and quick, waitstaff realizing a lunch hour is short; the food delicious and fresh (two chefs behind the bar); and Coca-Cola is available via fountain poured over nice ice. In a word: perfection. Their rolls have neat names that cracked me up too.
  • Tuesday: Pizza Pasta Bake
  • Wednesday: Pizza Pasta Bake
  • Thursday: Siamese Express, #51 with pork, which includes thin wide noodles, peppers and pork, $10
  • Friday: Baby Shower at work, $45 for Costco pizza, which I hope to recoup a majority of the cost
Total: $87.69. That brings the grand total for lunches out to $702.02 for the year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lentil Stew with Ham and Greens

Having purchased a pound and a half of lentils and opting against quiche, I walked around on Wide World of the Web and looked at lentil recipes. I came upon this one, which was handy as I had most of the ingredients. I love, love, love when that happens.

Lentil Stew with Ham and Greens
from Cooking Light
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 c dried lentils
1/2 c chopped carrot
2 bay leaves
3 c chopped Swiss chard, collard greens, or spinach
1 1/2 c chopped baking potato
1 c chopped smoked ham Canadian bacon
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes.

Add broth, lentils, carrot, and bay leaves; bring to a boil.

Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Add spinach, potato, and ham; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper; simmer 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.

Pretty easy, I tell you.  Dump, stir, wait, stir, dump, stir, wait, dump, stir, wait and sprinkle. Easy! And very tasty and filling as well.  This was a delightful stew, loaded with vegetables and just enough pork. I'll definitely remember this one the next time I have some Canadian bacon.

  • onion: $0.30
  • garlic: $0.15
  • carrots: $0.20
  • lentils: $0.66
  • spinach: $1.99/6 oz
  • potato: $0.50
  • Canadian bacon: $2
  • diced tomatoes: $0.80
  • parsley: $0.33
TOTAL: $6.93 or $1.39 for each of 5 servings. 

Sadaf Brand Lentils

I bought these lentils thinking I'd make a quiche. Then I decided I didn't want to make an egg pie as I figured I'd wind up eating it over a few days. Let me know if I'm wrong in that quiche is not as appetizing warmed up 4 days later, especially if one were to eat it daily.

I've never purchased lentils nor have I ever prepared anything utilizing lentils. I like lentils though, so I'm excited.

And when looking up "lentil" to find out what the heck they actually are, I found they are a legume (grow in pods), which is not surprising as they look like small flattened peas. Get this though: after soybeans and hemp, lentils have the highest amount of protein in plants! Thank Wiki!

So excited about lentils, I'm going to include a "legume" label on this blog.

Sadaf lentils, available in a 1.5 lb zip-locking bag from the "ethnic" aisle of Ralph's for $3.29/1.5 lbs.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pizza Pasta Bake

Kids would love, love, love this. It's so much like eating pizza! However, for the adult pizza-lover, this is good only for times of pizza desperation.

I happened across this recipe while searching for Canadian bacon uses online. Turns out, I had about everything to make it, and since it make enough for me to eat all week long, I crossed my fingers and proceeded.

Pizza Pasta Bake
adapted from AllRecipes

1-12oz package uncooked rotini
1/2 c chopped onion
1 14-oz jar pizza sauce
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 c milk
1 3.25-oz package sliced pepperoni
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c sliced black olives
1/4 c chopped Canadian bacon
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the Italian sausage and onion until sausage is evenly brown and onion is tender. Drain grease.

In a bowl, mix the pizza sauce, tomato sauce, and milk.

Stir in the sausage and onion, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, and Canadian bacon.

Gently mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated.

Transfer to a lightly oiled 9x13" baking dish.

Cover, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Remove cover, top with cheese, and continue baking 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Easy to put together, most of the time was essentially hands-free. As for flavor, sure it tasted like pizza, but I quickly tired of it. Pasta is not the same as a nice crispy-chewy crust.  A small-ish serving is plenty for the palate, so plan on having a nice salad and crispy bread to accompany. Kids, I'm sure, could gorge on this meaty, cheesy, pasta dish.

Will I make it again?  I'm not opposed, but won't go out of my way to do it.

  • tri-color rotini: $0.99
  • onion: $0.30
  • pizza sauce: $1.59
  • tomato sauce: $0.39
  • milk: $0.19
  • pepperoni: $2
  • mushrooms: $1.12
  • Canadian bacon: $2
  • cheese: $1
TOTAL: $9.58 or $1.60 for each of 6 ginormous servings.