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Frugal Gourmet - recipes requested
Old 12-17-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
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Frugal Gourmet - recipes requested

I am not talking about the guy who got sued for sexual harassment.

I am looking for tasty, semi-gourmet (usually involving spices and such) recipes that can be prepared fairly cheaply. I am not particularly interested in simple recipes like spaghetti and salsa (I actually found this in one frugal cooking book... can't believe they bothered to publish a recipe like that.) or top ramen with a boiled egg. I don't mind spending time in the kitchen.

Thank you!

tmm
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:30 PM   #2
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Not sure about the frugality aspects, but a good source of on-line recipes is here:

Epicurious.com: Recipes, Menus, Cooking Articles & Food Guides

We often use the site to find something for dinner. Reading the feedback on each recipe is particularly helpful.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:58 PM   #3
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Gourmet food doesn't really have to be any more expensive than standard food.

The key is to make sauces and keep all your spices handy so you can keep tasting it and altering the flavor. You just need to get familiar with your spices and know how each one alters the flavor. A fried frozen chicken breast will taste better than anything you can buy if you dribble a nice garlic sauce on it. Just be sure not to overcook anything, slightly undercooked is better than slightly overcooked.

A few months ago I got invited to a soup party that had a few sous chefs and tavern cooks, they didn't think I could cook so said I could just buy a loaf of bread if I wanted. I made a big pot of potato soup that maybe cost $4 and at the end my soup was voted as the best.

Just keep adding spices and tasting everything, avoid salt and pepper as much as possible.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing! Recently I've developed an interest in cooking, partly because I am trying to eat out less. It's actually a lot of fun and gives me a good excuse to invite friends over.

At the risk of offending some people, I think in general what Americans eat on a daily basis is very very simple, so even a little bit of unusual ingredients/ spices or special techniques will make the dish distinctly different. Since I am getting better at the different properties of the ingredients, I have been able to substitute ingredients in recipes just to make it fun.
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:37 AM   #5
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I have recently experimented with Thai cooking. I don't really know what "gourmet" means to you, but I made several dishes that were very yummy and definitely on the frugal gourmet side IMO.

1) Chicken soup with coconut milk
2) Red thai curry with beef and bamboo shoots served over jasmine rice
3) Green thai curry with filets of tilapia served over jasmine rice.

The ingredients are all pretty cheap if you buy them at the Asian market. And the curry dishes are very quick to prepare. Let me know if that's the kind of recipes you are looking for and I'll forward them to you.
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Old 12-18-2008, 04:09 AM   #6
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Having hundreds of cookbooks i now use just one= Google
Just type in what you have to cook and it will give you recipe overload.
As an example looking in the fridge i see some pork chops and some leeks.
pork chops and leeks - Google Search

Supper tonight=http://www.grouprecipes.com/sr/39565...ginger/recipe/
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
I have recently experimented with Thai cooking. I don't really know what "gourmet" means to you, but I made several dishes that were very yummy and definitely on the frugal gourmet side IMO.

1) Chicken soup with coconut milk
2) Red thai curry with beef and bamboo shoots served over jasmine rice
3) Green thai curry with filets of tilapia served over jasmine rice.

The ingredients are all pretty cheap if you buy them at the Asian market. And the curry dishes are very quick to prepare. Let me know if that's the kind of recipes you are looking for and I'll forward them to you.
I love to cook Thai meals. In the summer, we grow our own Thai basil, so we can make fresh curry dishes pretty much any time (no, I don't make my own curry, but the curry dishes usually require lots of fresh thai basil). We don't have an asian market locally, so I load up on non-perishable staples every time we go to Birmingham. My favorite dish by far is green curry, but the chicken soup with coconut milk ranks up there pretty high, too.

Here's a pic of my green curry chicken with eggplant dish...making me hungry for thai as we speak!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg thaigreencurry.jpg (687.9 KB, 2 views)
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:07 AM   #8
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I seem to recall mentioning before (in a post a loong time ago) that the most nutritious and "cheapest" meals are those one-pot meals favored by "peasants" around the world

Arroz con Pollo, Paella, Goulash, Red Beans and Rice to name but a few. Authentic Chinese (or a better description; Asian) meals are amongst the least expensive to prepare... and, again, extremely nutritious.

Properly prepared, any of these dishes are as delicious as any "gourmet" recipe.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:30 AM   #9
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FIREdreamer,
Quote:
1) Chicken soup with coconut milk
2) Red thai curry with beef and bamboo shoots served over jasmine rice
3) Green thai curry with filets of tilapia served over jasmine rice.
YES, YES, YES! Those are the kind of recipes I am lookng for. Would you like to share your recipes?

tmm
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:32 AM   #10
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RonBoyd,
Quote:
I seem to recall mentioning before (in a post a loong time ago) that the most nutritious and "cheapest" meals are those one-pot meals favored by "peasants" around the world.
Arroz con Pollo, Paella, Goulash, Red Beans and Rice to name but a few. Authentic Chinese (or a better description; Asian) meals are amongst the least expensive to prepare... and, again, extremely nutritious.
That makes sense.

Would you like to share your Red Beans and Rice recipe(s)?

tmm
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:42 AM   #11
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I now go to foodnetwork.com more than any other places for recipes (I trust their reviews than say, allrecipes.com and they tend to have recipes with less processed stuff.), but some of the recipes end up costing a lot of money to make.

When I said Gourmet, I only meant to just exclude easy processed dishes like mac and cheese with hot dogs, recipes that involved campbell soups, etc. I don't really know what "gourmet" means really...

tmm
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmm99 View Post
Would you like to share your Red Beans and Rice recipe(s)?
Actually, these dishes have as many "recipes" as there are cooks who make them. That's why they are so cost effective. Minnestrone Soup is another one that just came to mind... Black Beans and Rice, also.

Anyway, here is some to get you started:

Google Search
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Old 12-18-2008, 03:08 PM   #13
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tmm,

here are the recipes. I never measure anything though, so I can only give you a general guideline. Those recipes are probably not "authentic", but the result is pretty close to what you would get at a good Thai restaurant.


1) Red thai curry with beef and bamboo shoots over jasmine rice.

Cook jasmine rice according to instructions on package. Tenderize the beef (I use a mallet) and cut into thin strips. In a hot wok, add 1 tbsp of oil (I use canola, but you can use any flavor-neutral oil with a high smoking point). Stir fry the beef until it starts browning. Add red curry paste, mix well to coat the beef with it and stir fry for 2-3 more minutes (you can find the curry paste at your local grocery store in the "ethnic food" section, or Asian market. Use as much paste as you want but be careful this thing is SPICY!!! So I would start with 1 tbsp). Add cononut milk (it should have enough liquid so that it looks like Simple Girl's picture above). Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add bamboo shoots and shredded carrots. Add 2-3 Kaffir Lime leaves (it is sometimes hard to find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves, even at Asian markets. They really give a more authentic taste to the dish but if you can't find them, you can substitute with the juice + zest of 1 lime). Simmer until veggies are tender, then season with Thai fish sauce to taste. Remove Kaffir lime leaves and spoon the curry over the cooked jasmine rice.


2) Green thai curry with filets of tilapia served over jasmine rice

Cook jasmine rice according to instructions on package. Cut the tilapia filets into thick strips. In a hot wok, add 1 tbsp of oil. Stir the green curry paste for 2-3 more minutes (again, use as much paste as you want but be careful this thing is SPICY!!! So I would start with 1 tbsp). Add cononut milk (it should have enough liquid so that it looks like Simple Girl's picture above). Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add the tilapia strips. Add 2-3 Kaffir Lime leaves. Simmer until the tilapia is cooked through but don't overcook otherwise the fish will break down into crumbs, then season with Thai fish sauce and chopped cilantro to taste. Remove Kaffir lime leaves and spoon the curry over the cooked jasmine rice.


3) Chicken soup with coconut milk

To a pot, add 6 cups of chicken stock, 1 tbsp of fresh ground ginger, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 finely minced clove of garlic, shredded carrots and tabasco to taste. When the liquid starts boiling, reduce heat and add either your raw chicken breasts or chicken tenders to the pot. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot and shred using a couple of forks. Return shredded chicken to the pot and continue simmering. Soften some rice noodles in hot water. When they are soft, cut them into 1" pieces and add to the pot. Add the coconut milk (at least 1/2 a can or to taste), kaffir lime leaves, scallions and mushroom. Cook another 10 minutes, then season with thai fish sauce and as much chopped cilantro as you'd like. Serve hot.

You can find plenty of alternative recipes on the internet (and they will have ingredient amounts). I'll let you experiment for yourself.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:25 PM   #14
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tmm,

Add 2-3 Kaffir Lime leaves (it is sometimes hard to find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves, even at Asian markets. They really give a more authentic taste to the dish but if you can't find them, you can substitute with the juice + zest of 1 lime).
FIREdreamer, try asking the owner of the shop if they have lime leaves in the freezer. They freeze well and last forever. I buy a bunch when I get my hands on them and throw'm in the freezer.

Here's my version for my green curry (has measurements - I'm not a good cook without them, LOL):



Green Curry with Chicken(or beef/shrimp)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 of a 4 oz. can of green curry paste (we like it HOT...adjust for your palate. Or use red curry for less heat.)
  • 12 oz of boneless chicken, thinly sliced (we put it in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes, then run it through the slicer attachment on our food processor for really thin slices)
  • 1/2 cup chopped eggplant
  • 1/4 cup pea eggplants (if you can't find pea eggplants, just use extra chopped eggplant. BTW, the pea eggplants have a very interesting almost bitter taste...really good - but I usually can't find them)
  • 2 tbsps palm sugar (if you can't find palm sugar, use raw sugar or brown sugar)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, stemmed
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (or more...to taste) loosely packed thai basil leaves
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
Let the coconut milk stand and thick coconut milk will rise to the top; spoon thick coconut milk into small bowl. (or, if you know your canned milk has sat still for a while, just pour off the thick part off the top.)

In a wok or large frying pan, heat thick coconut milk over medium-high heat 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until it starts to separate. (if it doesn't separate, you can add a little oil) Add the green curry paste and fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add chicken and cook until meat is opaque on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Add remaining thin coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the eggplants and red pepper and simmer for 4 minutes, until slightly soft. Add palm sugar to taste. Tear kaffir lime leaves (I roll them up and cut with kitchen shears into tiny slivers) and basil leaves into pieces and add. Stir in fish sauce.
Serve with jasmine rice.

(Note: if you make with shrimp, add them after the eggplants to the boiling coconut milk since they don't take long to cook)
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:21 PM   #15
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One of my favorites, plus a bonus for being easy, is Farfalle alla contadina (farfalle peasant-style) -- basically, pasta in a tomato cream sauce. One of the chefs at a local Italian place demonstrated the recipe to me, so it's not really a recipe -- just an outline.

Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
Raw chicken (I use boneless, skinless breasts), cut into 1-inch chunks
Brown or white button mushrooms, washed, stemmed and quartered.
Olive oil
parsley (fresh is best)
basil (again, fresh is best)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 4-oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and stir, one minute or so, until oil is fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt and cook until chicken is cooked through, another 5 minutes or so. Don't overcook chicken.

Once chicken is cooked, remove chicken, garlic and mushrooms from pan. Keep warm on a covered plate. Add tomato paste and white wine to pan and whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle in cream, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. If it's too thick, add more cream. If it's too thin, simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens. Add fresh parsley and basil (I usually use about 1/2 each, fresh, chopped, per 4 servings) Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta separately until done. Add chicken/mushroom/garlic mix to pasta and toss with sauce. Serve
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:37 PM   #16
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WOW! Thank you sooo much for the Thai curry recipes. They don't sound very hard to make (except for finding the lime leaves! Are they different from citrus leaves? Can I put in lemon leaves?) I will definitely try these.

Urchina,

Your recipe looks easy to make! I don't do heavy cream much, but I think I can a little.

Frugality of Apathy,

Do you have your $4 potato soup handy?

tmm
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:41 AM   #17
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WOW! Thank you sooo much for the Thai curry recipes. They don't sound very hard to make (except for finding the lime leaves! Are they different from citrus leaves? Can I put in lemon leaves?) I will definitely try these.
Assuming the lemon leaves taste like lemon, I wouldn't substitute them for lime leaves. Actually, I've had more trouble finding thai basil (it is NOT the same as regular basil - it actually has a distinct licorice-like taste - hard to describe). The thai basil, IMO, is critical for an authentic taste.
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:12 AM   #18
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I can find Thai Basil here, but I've never seen lime leaves, but then, I've never looked for lime leaves in asian stores, so I will see if I can find the lime leaves (instead of using the lemon leaves.)

Thank you!

tmm
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:55 PM   #19
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Great recipes but I remember Mom telling me that half the battle with cooking on a budget is not wasting the food. A lot of perfectly good food ends up in the trash and along with it your hard earned money. Freeze what you can't use right away or learn to use it in another dish. I have also been learning to use stuff I would have ordinarily disguarded. For example orange and lemon peels. Now I dry them and keep them to brew in tea. Beats buying flavored tea.
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