I am convinced that getting your food budget under control is the key to financial well-being. Everyone has to eat. I pointed out to Miss Em's friend that he $1500 plane ticket to Serbia (soooo expensive for someone in med school) can be "paid for" by spending $30/week less on food than his classmates. To that end, I email him the good deals from Publix every week.
Another way to save money on food is to stretch it: turn something into something else. This is not a dreary endeavor, based in necessity. It's actually fun and saves a ton of time.
To wit: I had a rotisserie chicken that I ate with the couscous recipe I posted a few days ago. There was a ton of chicken left. So I made Ina Garten's chicken chili.
Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa Parties!, 2001, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:1 hr 45 min
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream
Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.
Well, of course, mine was easier. Not only did I have the chicken all set, but I threw in chunks of those frozen caramelized onions and bell peppers I'm always haranguing you about. So all I had to do was open canned tomatoes, throw in frozen chunks, add a few spices (omitted basil), and throw in some meat. 10 minutes?
I forgot that this chili was meatless, so I cooked a pound of kidney beans. Oops! Well, there was my side dish.
We've had this twice and there's a fair amount left over. What would you do with it?
P.S. I can't believe how cheap this book is if you buy it used.