Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tomato and basil and mozz, oh my!

There are just so many things you can do with these 3 ingredients. Maybe it's just me but they never get boring. Let's start with the obvious.


Margharita pizza is the best. It seems fancy (make it for a date, he/she will be impressed that you made pizza at home), it tastes great, it's easy and oh, did I mention it's cheap? Yeah, that's a pretty great bonus.

Magherita Pizza

Baby mozzarella
Basil leaves (half as whole leaves, half cut in chiffonade)
Roma tomatoes (sliced into rounds and pat dry with a towel)
Chopped garlic
Pizza dough
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

  1. Preheat oven to 400* F and sprinkle corn meal on a cookie sheet or your pizza stone (this helps to add crunch and keep it from sticking).
  2. If you buy a ball of pizza from the supermarket, I suggest you cut it into thirds and then put two of the thirds each into their own ziplock bag to save in the fridgefor another time. Coat your dough ball with the EVOO and then start to stretch to your desired size. I normally stretch it a little bit using gravity before placing it on my cookie sheet and continuing to stretch.
  3. Once stretched to preferred size, drizzle with EVOO and spread it across the crust as you would marinara sauce.
  4. Lay down your toppings in this order, the whole basil leaves, tomato, chopped garlic, and mozzarella. When placing the mozzarella on the pizza, I've found it easier to tear it into pieces rather than cut it into chunks. 
  5. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and remaining basil and return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melty and crust is golden brown.
  6. Let cool slightly, cut up and enjoy!

Another great use for these awesome ingredients is pasta sauce/toppings! No recipe here as it's fairly intuitive. 

Option 1: Place two whole tomatoes in a blender/food processor with two garlic cloves, a few basil leaves and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Cook on stove until sauce goes from pink to brick red, salt to taste. Pour over cooked pasta along with some mozzarella that you've torn and tossed in.

Option 2: Dice one tomato and a clove of garlic, chiffonade a small bunch of basil. Toss in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta when it's finished cooking. In the bowl with the tomato, basil and garlic add about a tablespoon of EVOO and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, toss to coat. When pasta is done cooking drain and add to the bowl and toss to distribute the toppings. At this point you can add in some torn mozzarella or, if it were me, in this case I'd forego the mozzarella and top with shredded parmigiano-reggiano

So, as I said on twitter, if you're broke as a joke, margherita pizza is your friend. Plus the leftover ingredients can be used to make two more awesome meals. Sure, it'll be a week of italian food, but truly, who could complain about that? :)

More recipes soon! I promise I won't be absent as long this time! :D


Friday, March 21, 2014

Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Breasts

Oh, My, GOD!

I just had to share this with you guys. I'm actually still eating it but I need you guys to have this recipe!

Bone-In Skin-On Roasted Chicken Breasts!

Pre-heat oven to 425*
Heat large saucepan over high heat with a little olive oil.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with seasoning salt. Pull the skin up to make a pocket, put seasoning in there too.
Turn heat down to medium, throw the breasts in the saucepan, skin side down, for 3 minutes, flip, let cook for 3 MORE minutes and then flip one more time to just crispen up the skin a bit more. Cook for around 3 minutes.
Put chicken breasts in a casserole dish, skin side up. Bake in oven at 425* for 20 minutes.
When you pull them out check with a thermometer to make sure they've reached 160* inside. Let rest for 3 minutes, EAT!



(Sorry for the super rushed recipe, I wanna eat, but this was so easy I had to share!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Southwest Crockpot Meals!

As many of you know, I went a whole week (plus a little) without a stove, which SUCKED. But it forced me to get creative with cooking dinner because there's no way I could afford going out to dinner every night AND all those moving expenses. So...

Meal #1 Southwest Chicken Stew:

This was delicious and super easy. You literally just stick everything in the crockpot and turn it on low for 8 hours or high for about 4. When it's done, use two forks to shred the chicken (I found it easier if you just pull the chicken out and shred it on a plate). You'll know the chicken's done when it shreds super easy. Then stir it back in and it's ready to go. Serve with cheese, lime wedge, sour cream or whatever other delicious toppings you want! (I really wanna try this with some avocado and tortilla strips).

Chop up all your peppers and onions and dump it all in the crock pot.
Add your massive chicken breasts.

Dump everything else on top. Stir it, id it, turn it on and you're done.

Southwest Chicken Stew

2 large chicken breasts
1 bell pepper - chopped
1 jalapeno - chopped (leave the seeds for extra heat)
1 yellow onion
1 16oz can of corn
1 16oz can of black beans
1 16oz can of tomatoes  
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp fajita seasoning
1/2 c. Absolut Cilantro (optional)

  1. Dump everything in the crockpot and cover.
  2. Turn the crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4. 
  3. Remove chicken breasts and shred. Return chicken to cooker and stir.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Meal #2

Slow Cooker Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion - chopped
6 tortillas
2 cans of enchilada sauce
Shredded cheese

  1. Add ground beef and chopped onion into the slow cooker, turn on high.
  2. Break up beef and onion mix every so often.
  3. When cooked, remove from slow cooker and drain. 
  4. Turn off slow cooker and add a thin layer of enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pot.
  5. In tortillas roll beef and cheese. 
  6. Place rolled enchiladas into slowcooker adding more enchilada sauce between layers.
  7. Dump second can of enchilada sauce over enchiladas.
  8. Turn on low and cook until warmed through.
  9. Enjoy!
I hope these recipes help if any of you find yourself in a oven/stove free situation and want some Tex-Mex!


Friday, January 24, 2014


The mansion was an amazing time and I had this whole plan about doing a post about easy to eat items when you're away from home and... I may or may not have forgotten to eat when I was at the mansion. I mean, I DID eat, but not as often as I should have. So, pro tip, when you're on vacation EAT. Also, chobani flips are a great easy breakfast and avocados, and those ramen noodles in a cup are super easy to prepare and very cheap. But, again, my eating habits while in Vegas aren't my proudest.

Here are some awesome things I DID eat while was there though!


This place was to die for. I got the Chu-Cumber to drink. It was amazing; it was refreshing, sweet enough to cut the heat from those "too much wasabi" moments, and the little pieces of cucumber made it PERFECT. And, I got my hands on the recipe! I'm not 100% sure about the accuracy because I remember that it had gin in it, but I'm sure this is pretty close in taste.

Cu-CumberEnjoy our refreshing cocktail at home!
Ingredients:.2 oz shochu
.5 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz sour mix
2 slices cucumber
2 bar spoons full sugar
Method: In a glass shaker, gently muddle cucumbers with sugar. Add shochu, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and sour mix. Shake with ice and strain. Serve in a martini glass and garnish with cucumber slice. Cheers!

Then I got the Green Bean Tempura and Tuna Sashimi Tiradito (tuna topped with granny smith apple, serrano chili pepper, and a lime sauce). The Green Bean Tempura was really good, except I forgot how heavy/greasy tempura can be so I barely ate any. The black truffle aioli to dip them in was really good though. Then I got the Kimono Maki (I got the 5 piece so it came with tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp and one white fish I can't remember, all as hand rolls) and Scott got Dry Aged NY Strip Churrasco. I really suggest that if you're not a sushi fan but you're with someone who really wants to go. It was amazing; it came with 3 sauces, collared greens (delicious), black beans, steamed rice, farofa and fingerling potatoes. All delicious. I'm so sad we went on the last day because we had no opportunity to eat our leftovers. What was great is that, while it's more expensive than dinner at Applebees you can still make it out without spending a fortune. With tip it came to around $130.

I also went to Bacchanal Buffet. In all honesty, it wasn't worth what we spent, but the food was decent. The desserts were especially amazing and there were oysters. Had I had more time (and more room) I'd say it was worth the money in quantity but what I tried wasn't worth it in quality. Still, I'd probably go again, but during lunch instead of dinner.

Another place to go in Vegas is American Coney Island. It's located on the main floor of The D on Fremont and is open 24/7. They have chili dogs that come heaped with onions. You have to add cheese but they don't really need it if you wanna save the 75 cents. The hot dogs have that pop when you bite into them, almost like a bratwust. And, they have gyros! The gyros are amazing as well. They have the meat on a spit in the back and they give you nice, thick slices. Honestly, I'm tempted to stay on Fremont again just for the convenience of having American Coney Island in my hotel!

I'll leave you guys with all this awesome food imagery, I'm going to try to figure out what to do with my green hair.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sick Foods!

I'm not sure if any of the stuff I was told as a kid is actually accurate when it comes to preventing sickness but, I still try to stick with it. And one of the things my mother taught me is that garlic will keep you from getting sick. Probably wrong, don't care, I'm eating garlic!

So, tonight, I decided to just throw some stuff together and go with it and I made noodles with a homemade pasta sauce, with lots of garlic. Really, you can add whatever you want to this, there's really so many different flavors you could involve.

Homemade "Sick Day" Pasta Sauce

1/4 cup EVOO
Chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Italian seasoning
Crushed red peppers
Can of diced tomatoes

  1. In a saucepan heat olive oil and add red onion and cook till tender. Once onion is tender add crushed garlic (this is because garlic will cook and burn faster and you want to avoid scorching it). Heat till aromatic.  
  2. Add crushed red peppers and Italian seasoning.
  3. Add can of tomatoes with liquid into the olive oil. Heat until sauce starts bubbling. 
  4. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta with garlic salt.
This sauce could be blended with an immersion blender if you prefer a different texture for your sauce or you could use the blended sauce for pizza.

I'm still sickish so I'm going to collapse on the couch now... Enjoy!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting Sick...

Which is probably the result of not eating as well as I should. I've been drinking too much soda and not eating real meals because I've been too.


So, to cheer myself up about being sick (and so close to the CamGirl Mansion too), I'm going to tell you about the delicious dinner I made today! I made an amazing beef stroganoff and I didn't even use a recipe. I skimmed a few online but otherwise made it entirely on my own with what I had on hand. (Because I had some round steaks that really needed to get cooked before they freezer burned. And... round steak, in my opinion isn't that great unless it's cooked in a sauce or a stew.)

Like many staple dinners there are basic building blocks and then it's up to you. Basically all you need to make beef stroganoff is beef, flour, butter, beef broth, and sour cream (and mushrooms, but I know a lot of people don't like them). So I made it how I wanted it to, trying to recreate how I imagine beef stroganoff should taste. Also, keep in mind this is my "let's try to make this work" kind of recipe, so you can of course swap out ingredients for better quality ones.

Beef Stroganoff

3-4 servings

1 1/2 lbs round steak
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
Garlic powder
Red pepper flakes
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups water
2 cups sour cream
Red wine (this is a great way to use some of the wine you forgot in the fridge)
Cooked egg noodles

  1. Slice round steak into thin chunks (think a little bigger than bite size, like 1x1/2 in pieces)
  2. On a plate mix together flour, paprika, pepper and salt. You be the judge on amounts, but no need to go crazy.
  3. Toss sliced round steak in flour mixture to coat lightly. You can do this in a ziploc baggie but I don't like wasting bags...
  4. In a large pan melt butter. Add meat and lightly brown.
  5. Remove steak onto a plate and set aside.
  6. Add onion to the pan (if you're using real garlic add it now) and cook until tender. Sprinkle in garlic powder and red pepper flakes and allow them to become aromatic.
  7. Add bouillon cubes, water and beef back to the pan. Stir. Cover and allow to simmer for an hour. 
  8. When the sauce has cooked down, at the end of the hour, add sour cream and a good helping of the red wine. 
  9. Heat over low heat (the sour cream will cool it down alot) and serve over noodles!
This is definitely a repeat menu item. My super picky roommate actually licked the plate and that's really saying something! Again, I'll try to remember to update this with prices later.


Thursday, January 2, 2014


     The title of this posts means two things.

1) I'm sorry I've slacked and not posted lately. I got CRAZY busy with the holiday's and cam stuff and... haven't really cooked much... But I have cooked a little. :)

2) I feel like living on the budget also goes hand in hand with some other things. One of those other things is... being a college student/recent grad/minimum wage employee/someone else who doesn't often have the time or forethought to plan meals in advance. Like, we might plan a week of dinners but then every day we don't eat a thing until that dinner we planed. We often slack on taking care of ourselves and making sure we eat normal meals.

     Hey, it happens. We're all busy, and snacks just seem like an extra expense. But if we have an arsenal of simple snacks to make up, at the very least we might eat at least a mini-lunch. :)

Cheapish Snack Options:

  • Peanut butter and apple slices
  • Soft boiled egg and toast
  • Cottage cheese with salsa (or tomatoes with EVOO and balsamic)
  • Celery and peanut butter
  • A handful of white chocolate covered pretzels
  • Toast with avocado, EVOO and salt
  • A muffin (banana nut muffins from last week are a great (and cheap) or for something different substitute pumpkin for the banana and your favorite pumpkin spices for the vanilla)
  • Cucumber boat with turkey and cream cheese
  • Radishes
  • Cucumber, onion and tomato salad with a vinegar and sugar dressing
  • Numi Organics Savory Tea (I do not work for them, nor am I getting any kickbacks, but this is a fairly satisfying drink)
  • Crispbread crackers with many of these as a topping
  • Any of these awesome ideas from BuzzFeed
The key with snacking on a budget is moderation. You don't want to stuff yourself, just have something small to tide yourself over until dinner. Otherwise, it will get expensive and if you're too full to eat all the dinner you've made it could potentially make that more expensive as well (you throw out half of dinner because you were too full from lunch to eat it, your dinner just doubled in price-per-serving). I COULD eat an entire bag of potato chips for lunch, but then my lunch cost me $4.50. Or, I could have a handful of chips with a glass of water and toast with peanut butter and apple slices and my lunch will only cost me about $0.75! It's all about portioning and using cheap items to make a good meal. 

Since I haven't provided you with much of a recipe I guess I'll tell you what I made the other day...

Chicken Fried Rice

3 tablespoons sesame oil (or canola, whatever you have)
1 small white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 cup frozen peas and carrots blend (thawed)
3 cups cooked white rice (day old works best but you can make it a few hours in advance and toss it in the fridge)
2 eggs
1 chicked breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce

  1. In a large frying pan heat oil over medium low heat. Cook chicken, try to get it lightly browned in spots. Remove from pan onto a plate.
  2. Add onions, garlic, peas and carrots and heat until tender. Push everything to one side of the pan.
  3. On the empty side of the pan, scramble the eggs.
  4. Add in the cooked white rice and soy sauce, mix until everything is well combined. Add in chicken.
  5. Enjoy!
I'll try to update this with prices later, but, it's pretty cheap!