$10 buck dinners!

Well balanced meals for a family of 4. $10 or less!

Nov-4-2014

Linguine alla Carbonara

Posted by Renae

linguine alla Carbonara

I once saw Tyler Florence make Carbonara on Food911. It looked so delicious and rather easy for such a beautiful dish, I just had to try it.

Now, I know pancetta is probably more traditional for this meal, but I’m watching costs here. So, I made some modifications and substituted Pancetta with Bacon ends. Besides. Who doesn’t love bacon? OK, my daughter doesn’t like bacon as much and me and her daddy, but she still enjoyed this dish. I just promised to make it with Pancetta next time. Just to compare. As for me and my hubby, this was PERFECT! Bacon good!!!

Linguine alla Carbonara:

1 lb dry Linguine – $1.59
2 Tbsps olive oil – pantry
4 ounces bacon ends or thick sliced (finely cube or slice into very small strips) – $1.50
1-2 Tbsps garlic, finely minced or crushed ( – pantry
2 large eggs – $.66
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (fresh is best) – $1.75
1 tsp pepper – pantry
handful or so of fresh chopped parsley – $.25

COST: $5.75

Begin preparing your carbonara sauce while the linguine is cooking. You must time this dish so that your pasta is hot and done cooking when the sauce is ready to be finished. It’s the heat of the pasta that actually cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

When boiling your pasta, cook it “al dente.” Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. You’ll need it!

Meanwhile, cook bacon until it’s crisp and the fat is fully rendered. Add in olive oil and garlic and saute for about a minute to soften.

Drain your hot linguine and add to the bacon mixture. Toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the fat. Beat your eggs and Parmesan together in a bowl. Remove the pasta and bacon from heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta and whisk quickly until the eggs thicken. You’ll need to add about 1/4 cup of your reserved pasta water as you whisk. This will help your sauce remain smooth and not too thick. Careful not to scramble (this is why this process is done off the heat).

You may need to thin out the sauce a bit more. Use your reserved pasta water. Season the carbonara with ground black pepper and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and some additional Parmesan.

We had steamed broccoli ($2.00) as our side dish, but you could do just about any veggie or salad. Just remember, this dish is best served immediately. Nice and hot and wonderfully creamy.

GRAND TOTAL: $7.75



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Jul-15-2014

Baked Chicken, Bean and Cheese Empanadas

Posted by Renae

Chicken, Bean and Green Chile Empanadas

Do you love Mexican food, but hate the fact that all the good stuff is fried? Well, try these baked Empanadas!  I’m not saying they don’t pack some calories, but they’re definitely better than eating fast food or restaurant Mex. And obviously better on your budget.

For less than $7 bucks, you’re whole family can enjoy a feast!  Roberto’s don’t stand a chance!

Empanada Dough:

3 cups flour – $.75
1 1/2 teaspoons salt – pantry
1 tsp baking powder – pantry
1/4 cup lard or shortening – $1.00
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water
1 egg yolk (use the white to brush the empanada before baking) – $.33

COST: $2.08

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Using your hands, cut in shortening (or lard) until well blended. Add egg yolk and 1/2 cup warm water and begin mixing with fingers.  Add more warm water as necessary, but do it a little at a time until dough comes together smoothly, not sticky. Dough should be soft and smooth, and not elastic!

Now! You’re ready to roll. If you need to flour your surface, go ahead. You shouldn’t need to, but this takes practice, so don’t be afraid. In the end, it’s all good. I promise!

Baked Chicken, Bean & Cheese Empanadas:

* Empanada dough (see recipe above)
1 to 1 1/2 lb chicken breast or thighs (~2 cups shredded cooked chicken) – $2.20
1 cup shredded cheese (I like colby jack) – $1.00
1 can refried beans – $.70
1 bay leaf – pantry
1 large onion, chopped – $.35
2 Tbsp chicken bouillon – pantry
1 Tbsp canola oil – pantry
1/2 tsp cumin – pantry
1 tsp red chili powder – pantry
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper – pantry
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional) – $.25

COST: $4.50

Place the chicken breasts in a pot with bouillon and bay leaf. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Let cool and shred chicken into small pieces while keeping meat moistened with 2-3 tablespoons of the broth and set aside.

Heat oil in a saute pan and add chopped onions, cumin, chile powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add your shredded chicken. Continue cooking mixture for 2-3 more minutes and add refried beans. Mix well and set aside.

Separate empanada dough into golf ball size pieces and roll into a circle. Think small tortilla! About 8 inches in diameter.

Oops! Don’t forget to preheat oven to 425 degrees.

While oven is heating, continue preparing empanadas.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough circle and then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold the top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal. Pinch edges shut, like you would for an apple pie.

Beat egg white and brush each empanada nicely. Place empanadas on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Serve with salsa, guacamole or sour cream. You can’t go wrong!

GRAND TOTAL: $6.58



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