New & Improved (and still cheap).

I feel like I never write a post on Wednesdays.  If you know me by now, then you know that I cook huge meals that last for days on end, which is probably why I have nothing to show for myself on this midweek day.  My meal plan was a bit different this week, as I put three recipes on the list; I usually do two and then free for all fridays/saturdays which means spending $$, and spending money is back to being NO MORE in this household.  Hint- it is because we have saved up our whole lives to buy a house and are slowing kissing every dollar goodbye as we see it being squandered for inspections, appraisals, re-inspections, pest inspections, legal fees, everything you can think of.  The joys of life.

Please tell me what is making you happy this Wednesday. I am happy about discovering this new Black Bean/Rice recipe came on my radar last week. It is definitely a more complex version of a simple black beans and rice and has those polarizing ingredients that people either love or HATE WITH A PASSION (cilantro, avocado). I had gone back and forth with trying this, as being poor in college and in real life, I could have turned into a bowl of black beans and rice at one point I was consuming it so much. But I gave this one a chance and am never looking back..

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I never need to get takeout again.

Real talk.

Every recipe introduction and blog post that I have read which made WILD CLAIMS such as this I immediately dismissed. That is until I went on my Asian streak in the past 3 weeks and found this fantastic stroke of luck of discovering 3 “take out” recipes in a row that were so delicious and satisfying, not to mention cheaper and healthier too.

I am having a great week.

I figured out how to make crunchy chicken without deep frying, I got a new wireless mouse in the mail (my other one was the first wireless mouse ever manufactured), and a small minor detail I have seemed to left out until now: we bought a house.

It was a fairy tale story of us losing a perfect home, then in the least expected moment getting that call that our backup offer was accepted because the first offer fell through.  But enough about that- my husband is already packing and we aren’t even 30 days out from closing yet and financing this thing is giving me agita up the you know what, as expected.

BUT THIS BLOG ENTRY ISN’T ABOUT THAT.  IT’S ABOUT GLORIOUS CHINESE FOOD.

I used to yell at my dad for being so cocky and bragging and raving about food he cooked, and here I am, some 10 years later being overly impressed with my efforts.  Except I didn’t  create this recipe and my dad created all of the recipes he’s ever fawned over.

Okay okay, here is the recipe.  My computer’s graphic card just turned my screen a lovely shade of sky blue so if the photo is wonky (I can’t really edit it or even see it), you will know why.  Not that my photos are ever appetizing.

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Cheap Enchiladas

Do you ever look at the amount you’ve spent on groceries at the end of the month and wonder WHERE THE HECK it all went to?  This happens to me all the time.  I have laxed my previous $70/week budget and not sticking to ANYTHING can really do a damper when you are evaluating monthly expenditures.  Anyway, this month was a big one with both eating out AND groceries- I don’t know how that happened.

My first thought for this week was to go vegetarian of course.  Easiest way to be cheap in my mind.

I needed something tasty but filling AND a dish that would leave us with lots of leftovers.  I did this and managed to get away with only making two meals this whole week.

Just call me superwife.

As much disdain as I have for the other Rachael that spells her name normally, I am NOT MAD at her magazine and especially can’t hate it when it contains money conscious recipes.  I am all about cheap, all of the time.  The magazine claims that each serving cost $2.63, which is pretty accurate in my experience.  Rachael Ray’s recipes are usually restaurant level fattening, so I tend to have to do a little work on them.

Example: Frying the corn tortillas before rolling the enchiladas.  You will live if you just spray the pan – in fact, you will live longer if you do that instead.  I also used the below tortillas instead of corn to add extra fiber and some protein. Staying full is my number one mission in life.

 I swapped black beans for pintos, I just like them better.  I changed a lot of things in this recipe, so my version is below (with absolutely no taste compromise).  If you want the full fat, full calorie version, you can find it here.  My new recipe is as follows, and no picture because it looks disgusting but tastes OH SO GOOD.  Sorry, I break good blogger rules everyday, but trust me on this one.

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Beer-Braised Sriracha Chicken

Let’s talk recipe sharing – I don’t do that enough anymore.  I realized I love to pick recipes from internet/cookbooks and dissect everything as I am going about cooking it.  I rarely ever am satisfied with a recipe the exact way it is supposed to be made, and that is when we can have the most fun while cooking 🙂

Background: When I make meals during the week it’s usually something I’m not very excited about.  I try new recipes that are safe and healthy and I generally just eat it because I already have most of the ingredients and don’t have to spend too much money on groceries.

New project (because buying a house just isn’t enough)- I am building my pantry and purging my recipe binder of recipes that are just “meh” to my husband and I.  We eat at home every single night of the week most of the time, so it’s easy to get bored and I’m done with NOT ENJOYING my dinners because I was so focused on something easy and familiar. 

This week the new recipe I decided to try was another Asian dish after basking in the success of the Thai food I made last week.  It required beer that we happened to have on hand and chicken thighs or drumsticks (I used boneless/skinless thighs).  I am so sick of chicken breast that I am willing to have a little extra fat in my meal than more repulsive chewy tasteless-ness.  You could easily use chicken breast if you’d like, but you know my disdain for it- I have been cooking it for years and still haven’t found the magic touch to make it appetizing to me.

I had to buy the hoisin sauce and sesame oil- neither were over $5.00.  I have also never tried Sriracha, even though we’ve had it in the house for as long as I’ve been married.  My tastebuds are pleased with it.

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Surviving especially awful Mondays.

Thank God for coconut milk and THANK GOD for this recipe.  It saved my life today after the horrible news that an alternative offer (ie NOT OURS) for our most favorite house was accepted today.  Sadness and frustration abound.  Duck Dynasty is cheering my husband up (okay it is kind of hilarious), while comfort in food is more my speed.

Thai food has been making me really happy in the past year or so – I had quite a few bad experiences at a certain Thai restaurant in college that I never wanted to go near it again, until a co-worker forced me to try a new place and a specific dish and I was in love (first pad bamee, then peanut sauce).

There is not much to say about this besides a. thank you Jessica for making this exotic goodness accessible from home and b. I did not use a bowl for this, I ate half the pot, directly from the pot, over the course of 3 hours.  The bowl below is what I gave mr. mans & he went back three times to re-fill.

The messiest things are always the tastiest, no?

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