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Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas with Chickpea Salad

A few things in life have changed my meal planning. One is my sister in law’s amazing garden and her willingness to share her goodies. The other is our CSA box. I’ll be doing a separate post on CSA’s, but for now, just know that we are in LOVE with our fresh weekly veggies, thanks to the Stone Brewery and Bistro’s local farm. We also like our growler fill up when we pick up. But that’s another story.

OK, so back to this meal. This dinner started because SIL gave me a pile of fresh tomatillo. And boy were they pretty. Along with the free tomatillo, I also found chicken quarters for $.67 a lb. Amazing! Almost free themselves. But, I didn’t have canned cream soup, so my “other” chicken enchilada recipe wouldn’t work.

Instead of giving up on enchiladas, I decided to try something new and let me just say, I will never….and I mean NEVER, use canned soup in my chicken enchiladas again. This recipe was so much better. So much lighter and just outstanding. Not saying the other recipe isn’t good, just different and personally, these are more to my liking. Let me know what you think?

Tomatillo Salsa:

10-12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed – Free (thanks to my SIL’s awesome garden), but if you have to pay, expect about $1.00 (they run $1.50 to $2 a lb)
2-3 serrano or jalapeno peppers (stems removed) – $.20
1/2 medium white onion, quartered – $.15
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cumin (to your taste) – pantry
1 handful/bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (maybe 3 Tbps) – $.25
1 lime, juiced – $.15
1/2 lemon, juiced – $.30
1 tsp crushed or minced garlic – pantry
Salt to taste

COST: $1.05

Place tomatillos, serrano peppers and quartered onion in a saucepan with water, just covering veggies. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until tomatillos are soft (about 10 to 15 minutes). Next, drain liquid and place poached contents in blender or food processor. Add garlic, cumin, some salt and puree. Be careful if it’s hot as heat expands and could blow off your lid. Best to let cool for a few minutes. Anyway, once pureed, add cilantro, lime and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Set aside.

Chicken Enchiladas (filling and process):

8-10 flour tortillas (you can substitute with corn) – $1.39
3 lbs chicken quarters – (On sale, $.67/lb!) $1.97
1/2 diced onion – $.15
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese – $1.50
2 Tbsps sour cream – $.45
5-6 roasted Anaheim green chiles, peeled and diced (use big Jim for more heat) – $.75
1/2 tsp pepper – pantry
1 bay leaf – pantry
1 tsp cumin – pantry
2 Tbsps powdered chicken broth – pantry
1 tsp garlic powder – pantry
1 Tbsp oil or lard – pantry
2 Tbsps flour – pantry
Water to cover chicken by at least 1 inch (reserve liquid when done)

COST: $6.21

Now for the enchiladas. First, start by roasting your chile. I do mine on the grill outside, but you can also use the oven and broil as well. Follow the same instructions. Simply put a little oil or lard in your hands and rub all the chiles with it, coating lightly. Get BBQ’er or oven really hot (500 degrees) and place peppers directly over the flame or on top rack of oven. Let each side of chile cook and char, turning with tongs until the whole chile is soft and slightly blackened. Once chiles are cooked, place them in a deep bowel and use a wet towel to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes or so, as this will steam the chile and make the skin very easy to remove. Seed, core and dice the chiles and set aside.

You can do chicken ahead of time and make this easy. Simply simmer quarters in water with 2 Tbsps powdered chicken bouillon, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1 bay leaf. After about 1 hour of simmer, you can remove chicken from water, cool and shred easily. Make sure and keep your broth. You will use it later.

Now for the enchilada sauce and prep. Heat oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until softened and caramelized. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in other 1/2 tsp of cumin, then sprinkle the flour and form a roux. Cook roux for a few minutes, then gradually pour in stock you reserved from your simmered chicken, about 3 cups. Stir constantly and cook for a 3-4 minutes, or until slightly thick. Last, add in cooked, shredded chicken and roasted chile. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and fold in sour cream. Now you’re ready to assemble.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get a large glass baking dish. Lay a flour tortilla onto the sauce, just enough to slightly wet it, not soak it. Lay tortilla in dish, put a big scoop of the chicken sauce mixture in the center of tortilla, sprinkle a small handful of cheese and roll. Place seam down and repeat till tortillas are gone.

When all enchiladas are made, pour the tomatillo salsa over the top of enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake covered for 20 mins, then remove cover and continue baking for 5 more minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with sour cream and remaining tomatillo salsa and chips. For extra fun, we had leftover Chickpea salad. No waste here. They go perfect together!

Chickpea Salad (aka Garbanzo Bean Salad):

1/2 lb uncooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – $.70
1/2 red onion, diced – $.15
2 garden fresh tomato, diced (free, if you have a garden) – $.85
1 to 2 tsps garlic, minced (to your taste) – pantry
1 tsp Olive Oil – pantry
1 lime, juiced – $.15
1/2 lemon, juiced – $.30
Cilantro (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

COST: $2.15

Cook chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in salted boiling water for 4 hours, or until soft. Once cooked, rinse and store in fridge till ready to use. For chickpea salad, combine chilled beans, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon & lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Next, carefully mix in diced tomato and cilantro. Season again, if needed, chill for 2 hours before serving. Overnight is even better.


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Ahi & Shrimp Tacos with Mango and Avocado Salsa!

Sometimes, adult meals are just that, for adults. We found mango on sale for $.77 each. And not only that, they were beautiful. Plus, shrimp and Ahi were both $4.99 a pound. Immediately, I thought, fish and shrimp tacos and salsa! But, here’s the thing. Hubby and I wanted the salsa spicy. Real spicy. Kids? They wanted to just eat the mango. So we split it. And they ate their Ahi seared with shoyu and rice and we got this yummy meal! So yeah, it only feeds two, but sometimes, you do what you gotta do!

Mango and Avocado Salsa

Mango and Avocado Salsa:

1 Avocado, cubed – $.88 (also on sale today. I bought 4. Yummy)
1 Ripe, but firm Mango, peeled, pitted and cubed – $.77
1 large Roma Tomato, diced – $.35
2 Tbsp sliced/chopped green onion – $.25
2 Serrano peppers, finely diced – $.35
1/2 Lemon, fresh squeezed – $.15
1 Fresh Lime, squeezed – $.20
1/2 tsp salt (to your taste) – pantry
Optional – Cilantro (I would have added some, but didn’t have any on hand.)

COST: $2.95

Place the cubed avocado in a serving bowl and juice lime directly onto avo. Toss and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix mango, green onion, serrano pepper, tomato, lemon juice and salt (cilantro if you have it). Toss well and set aside while you cook the ahi and shrimp. When you start to heat tortillas, add avocado and toss gently. Salsa is now ready to serve!

Ahi and Shrimp!

Ahi & Shrimp Tacos:

1/2 lb Shrimp (41-50 count) – $2.49 (on sale this week for $4.99/lb)
1/2 lb Ahi (1 steak – feeds two people) – $2.43 (on sale this week for $4.85/lb)
1/2 Lemon, fresh squeezed – $.15
1 tsp red chili powder – pantry
1 tsp salt – pantry
1/2 tsp garlic powder. – pantry
1 Tbsp Canola oil – pantry
6 corn tortillas – $.40

COST: $5.47

Cut fish into 1 inch squares and place in bowl with shrimp, shell on. Sprinkle both with oil, then squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon onto the fish and toss with salt, garlic and chili powder. Once mixed, separate shrimp out and set both aside to marinade while you have a Dos Equis or two. About 30 mins or so.

Time to heat your comal or tortilla pan.

Next, on a medium to high temp, heat a non stick pan and cook shrimp till pink. About 2-3 mins per side. Not more. Remove and set aside to cool. While cooling, toss ahi in pan and cook a few mins on each side. Do not over cook.

When shrimp are cool enough to work with, remove shells and set aside. You are now ready to cook tortillas and prepare tacos.


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