Soy Milk Crêpes with Nutella, Strawberries and Bananas

You know, I never really got into Nutella while growing up. I was much more of a peanut butter girl and put that on everything imaginable. But, a Costa Rican friend of mine told me to try some Nutella in a batch of crêpes and watch the miracle happen. Before I did the research and actual testing on my own, I wondered how different the batters were between waffles, pancakes and crêpes. The basic difference is that waffle batter is the thickest and has the most oil or butter in order to allow the outside to crisp up in the waffle iron. Waffle batter should also have whipped egg whites folded into the batter just before putting into the iron, which helps with the lightness overall. Pancake batter is slightly thinner and doesn’t use the same amount of fat so the texture is fluffy and soft. Crepes are the thinnest of the three and usually use more milk and eggs than flour.

According to the Arcadie Company, crêpes come from the Brittany region of France originally made from buckwheat, since white flour was considered a delicacy that only the most wealthy could afford. Eventually, the price of white flour came down and farmers became wealthier, thus enjoying crêpes in the sweet form and perfecting them to the French crêpe that we now lust after.

Now that you have the history of crêpes I’ll bring you up to the present when we entertained some guests the other night and our friend whipped up some strawberry and banana crêpes with Nutella. They were simple to make and it was a great dessert rather than breakfast. We based the crêpe batter off of this recipe.

Here’s what we ended up with and below are the instructions:

Soy Milk Crêpes with Nutella, Strawberries and Bananas

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole banana, peeled and sliced
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp Nutella
  • Chocolate Syrup, to decorate

Directions

  1. Place soy milk, flour, egg whites and water into a bowl and wisk rapidly until well-combined. A mixer or blender will work here too.
  2. Heat a medium-sized, shallow skillet on medium heat. Melt 1/2 tsp of butter in the pan and pour 1/8 Cup of batter in the center of the skillet and lean/swirl the pan to spread out the batter as thin as possible
  3. When the edges begin to look dry, lift with a fork to check the color. Once the crêpe is golden brown on the bottom, using the fork on the edge, roll the crêpeinto a cylinder and place on a cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees.
  4. Continue this process with the butter, pan and then cookie sheet until all the batter is used.
  5. When plating, spread a thin layer of Nutella on the top of the crêpe, followed by several slices of banana and strawberry. Top with a little chocolate syrup and serve warm.

Soy Milk Waffles with Maple-Mango Topping

Hopefully you’ve seen the soy milk alfredo pasta recipe or perhaps the soy milk pancakes post, but make sure you check out the soy milk waffles recipe below. It’s a doozie. Lately I’ve been weaning myself off of dairy products…well, trying my best to do so. I have been experimenting with recipes where soy milk can be an easy substitute for regular milk, which can be difficult because the flavors and consistency vary so much. This time the end result was great and I believe now I’m an official soy milk pancake and waffle kind of girl. Make sure you use the vanilla variety and if you don’t have it, just add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to your plain soy milk.

Breakfast can go so many ways with waffles. Sweet or savory, round or square, syrup or cream sauce. There’s a restaurant here in Costa Rica that my husband and I frequent called The Waffle Place, which I’ve blogged about before. I could only possibly aspire to create what they serve daily to their customers. They’ve nailed the creamy cheese sauce (yes, full of dairy, but if you must, do it right!) over savory ingredients like fried eggs, bacon, ham or hash browns just to name a few, but also give a nod to your sweet tooth if that’s your preference. This is one of those breakfast places that you just know you’ll be satisfied when you walk out. I’ll be working on some cheap savory waffle recipes in the near future now that we’ve invested in a waffle iron/sandwich press.

I’ve learned too that using waffles as a starch when preparing dinner can be that intriguing twist that gives the perception of gourmet, while still being inexpensive. If you create a savory dough with fresh herbs and spices in the batter, it can easily replace it’s more boring counterpart–the dinner roll. It’s hard to imagine at first how delicious a waffle can be with dinner, but check out this recipe which uses couscous, mushrooms and herbs in the waffle batter or perhaps a pesto waffle topping.

Well, onto the sweet breakfast waffle, which is a staple cheap recipe to have handy.

Soy Milk Waffles with Maple-Mango Topping

Waffle Batter Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Vanilla Soy Milk
  • 1 Egg

Batter Directions

  1. Preheat waffle iron. In a medium-sized mixing bowl with a pour spout, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in soy milk and eggs until mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour waffle batter onto the hot waffle iron filling each section. Cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the mango topping.

Maple Mango Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Ripe Mango
  • 1/8 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Topping Directions

  1. Peel and pit mango and slice into small pieces.
  2. In a small sauce pan, place diced mango, maple syrup and cinnamon. Cook on medium heat until the mango is tender, but not mushy and the sauce has thickened. About 5 minutes.
  3. Serve over hot waffle.

Cinnamon Soy Milk Pancakes

Soy milk recipes seem to be in demand these days, as my other soy milk alfredo sauce recipe has been found a lot recently. I’m not sure I’ve really discovered the intricacies of using soy milk instead of regular milk, but so far it just seems to be a similar substitute with a little more reduction time needed and perhaps some flour or corn starch.

However, for recipes such as pancakes, fluffiness is really important especially if you’re swapping out ingredients like soy milk. You need to play with the consistency of the batter a little bit and thicken it up in order to get them fluffy. Just as crepes need more eggs and milk to make the batter thin and very runny, thick fluffy pancakes need more flour and baking powder. Here is the recipe I used with soy milk instead of milk from a cow and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

CINNAMON SOY MILK PANCAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups flour, sifted (or double sifted if you’re adventurous)
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1+ cup vanilla soy milk

CINNAMON SOY MILK PANCAKE DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large mixing bowl, preferably with a spout, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.Cinnamon-Soy-Milk-Pancakes-3
  2. Add the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla and milk and stir for 3-5 minutes until well mixed and not clumpy (but the batter shouldn’t be lumpy if you’re sifting the flour first).Cinnamon-Soy-Milk-Pancakes-2
  3. Heat a large pan or skillet on medium-high heat and put a small amount of butter in the pan.
  4. Pour in batter to any amount depending on how big you want your pancakes. Wait until you see small bubbles appear on the top of the pancake and then flip.Cinnamon-Soy-Milk-Pancakes-1
  5. After about 30 seconds, check the bottom of the pancake with a spatula to see if it’s golden brown.
  6. When it’s reached optimal color, remove from pan and repeat step for and 5 until the batter is gone.
  7. Top with 100% pure maple syrup, not that fake stuff in a shaped bottle.

Easy Soy Milk Alfredo Pasta

We were down to the end of our groceries and didn’t want to dip into the tomato sauce we made and ate too much of last week, so I explored an Alfredo sauce. But, since I’ve switched to soy milk and have reduced the intake of lactose products, I was curious what my options were for a ‘cream’ sauce using soy milk. So, I went to work and here is what I ended up with. A pleasant cheap food concoction.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Pound of spaghetti pasta
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 Cloves of garlic whole
2 C. plain soy milk (do NOT use vanilla soy milk)
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tsp powdered cayenne pepper
1 Tsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Bay leaf
2 Tbl flour (I used wheat)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Cook spaghetti al dente
2) Meanwhile, in a large fry pan with high sides, heat olive oil to medium-high heat and place in peeled garlic cloves. Roast until brown in color (approx 5 min) and smash with a fork. Cook for an additional minute. Remove garlic from pan, chop on a cutting board and set aside.

roasted garlic in olive oil

2) In the fry pan with seasoned olive oil, add soy milk, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and bay leaf and heat for 2 minutes until almost boiling. Let simmer for 10 minutes stirring/whisking constantly. Begin to add flour and allow to thicken (about 4 minutes) while continuing to stir.

simmering soy milk

3) Remove the bay leaf, add the pasta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and capers and cook for 2 minutes more.

spaghetti in alfredo sauce

4) Serve immediately.

soy-milk-alfredo-pasta

Recommended by:

Soymilk on FoodistaSoymilk

Cheap & Healthy Food under $100 per month

Shop Amazon Kitchen – Save Up to 40 Off Cuisinart Tools

Project Food Blog Week 1 – The $100 Challenge

VIDEO: Can you live on $100 per month for food?


What’s A Healthy Food Budget?

Now, a little background: the Cheap Food Here family follows the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover very closely and have worked hard to get to Baby Step 4. Our food budget for two people is currently $500, which includes $300 for groceries and $200 for eating out. This is our comfortable point now that we are no longer paying off debt, however, when we were doing the debt snowball and attacking our consumer debt and student loans with ‘gazelle intensity’, we we were spending around $250 per month in total food cost (groceries and eating out).

Down here in Costa Rica we have found that some families spend over $1,200 per month on food for a family of 3 adults and 2 children. This number may not seem too shocking, but know that they, on average, earn less than $2,000 per month in total household income. The percentage of their income spent on food is over 60% when it should be around 5-15% or roughly $300. However, most argue that this is impossible.

The key to reducing food costs each month is research and planning. Most people don’t think about needing to do research before hitting the farmer’s market or grocery store, but it’s imperative to keep from overspending. The food budget can be a large part of your spending each month, but it doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in the early stages of paying off debt.

So, the quest for a food budget under $100 begins. First we’re going to look at cheap and healthy recipes that are tried and true for our family and make a menu for each week. With this menu, we’ll focus mostly on fresh, local food that’s in season that we can buy at the farmer’s market. First, let’s take a look at what we’ll have to give up or change about our current eating habits, some of which were mentioned in the video.

Cost Cutting Necessities

  1. No Eating Out
  2. Meat Consumption reduced
  3. Limiting processed food consumption
  4. Sticking to a grocery list
  5. Homemade snacks
  6. Drink water with or without lemon instead of bottled juices, sodas or other sugary/sugar-free drinks.

Week 1 Menu

Below is the cheap food menu I’ve put together to get you started and prove you can eat healthy and fully on $50 per week for two people. Some of the recipes in the list below are from Cheapfoodhere.com and some are from our favorite foodies. Please refrain from using canned goods unless you have them already, but know that you are getting less than half of the nutritional value from canned goods that you would from fresh or frozen produce.

With a lot of the recipes, it’s good to reduce the amount of an ingredient that is expensive (example: cheese or meat) or substitute it for something less expensive and perhaps more healthy.

Breakfast

  1. Red Bell Pepper Frittata & fruit
  2. Pressed Egg sandwich & fruit shake
  3. Almond French Toast with maple syrup and a side of fruit
  4. Soy Milk Waffle (or regular milk is fine too) w/fresh fruit topping
  5. Oatmeal w/frozen blueberries and flax, fruit shake and side fresh fruit
  6. Jalapeño and Onion Frites w/fried eggs, bacon and a side of fruit

Lunch

  1. Grilled Veggie Wraps
  2. Tuna pasta salad
  3. Mini pizzas with apples, onion, garlic  and bell peppers
  4. Leftover Cobb Salad
  5. Leftover Chicken Stir Fry
  6. Leftover Eggplant Parmesan

Dinner

  1. Homemade Pizza
  2. Eggplant Parmesan w/spaghetti
  3. Chix Stir Fry (cut recipe in half)
  4. Cobb Salad (onion sub for shallot; blue cheese omitted)
  5. Fish Tacos w/cilantro slaw
  6. Seared Sesame Tuna w/tempura vegetables

Snacks

  1. Raw veggies with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  2. Fruit (banana, apple, or tangerine)
  3. Nuts, w/raisins
  4. Homemade Crackers w/Sage and Cayenne
  5. Yogurt with berries and a side of fresh fruit

 

Week 1 Grocery List: Download Here

Growing your own produce and herbs is a great way to save money and it can be done in planters too if you don’t have a back yard. If you’re not growing, try to support your local farmers first, but sometimes their prices are just too high. Some stuff you have to go to the grocery store for, but there is a great resource to check pricing before ever venturing out; www.mygrocerydeals.com keeps you in-the-know when it comes to checking cheap grocery prices in the United States.

Make sure when you go shopping, you stick to the list, and only to the list. It is your map, your guide, your blinders. However, if you see an item that could make a perfect substitute (example large tomatoes instead of Romas) but is cheaper, buy those instead. We’re looking for deals here, so keep your eyes peeled.

Some of the items on the list you’ll see don’t have prices, which indicates it’s something I already had. You can use this sheet to fill in prices on your own to help you better prepare for the upcoming week of meals. The sheet is organized by meal, however there is a lot of cross over, so if it was on the breakfast list, you won’t find it again under lunch, dinner or snacks. You can also organize the list by aisle if that’s easier. The basis of how I chose the meals for the week was looking first at what I had and could then in turn spend less on groceries. It’s best to use all of the items you already have to make sure they don’t go bad and end up getting thrown out anyway. You’ll notice that the Week 1 Shopping List goes well over the designated $50 per week budget for two people, however, a lot of items will be left over for future weeks. Stay tuned for follow up posts for the remaining 3 weeks of the month. Good luck and I’d love feedback from those who are accepting the challenge.

Should I Eat Meat?

I am still thoroughly struggling with if, how, where, why I should or shouldn’t eat meat and here are my thoughts so far. I love food, including meat, and it’s not that I’m missing it after only a week or so, but I’m not convinced I ‘shouldn’t’ eat meat (there are various arguments proposed in Skinny Bitch such as our bodily design, digestion enzymes, shape of our teeth, etc.) but there are valid arguments. However, in considering my potential success in life (blogging, writing articles, publishing cookbooks, etc) I should either go one way or another.

Well, I think I’m going to reconsider the anti-meat and animal products routine. I know there are substitutes, and I plan to use them when I can (soy milk, veggie burgers, etc), but in general I love being creative in the kitchen without hesitating to use certain ingredients because a book said not to. Now, I do plan on being as responsible as possible in choosing all natural ingredients (MSG and pesticides-ew!) and knowing where the animal meat came from. Being in Costa Rica, this is fairly easy, as most farms and markets are very accessible.

I just can’t let go of delicious foods like Parmesan and feta cheese, bacon bits, etc. And I shouldn’t have to. I will do what I can to avoid the mass-produced products (also easier to do in Costa Rica) and get organic products delivered to my house. That’s right, I am about to be a proud subscriber to NaturaStyle.com, who has all the natural products you could think of including meats such as fish, chicken and beef. There are a ton of home delivery options all over the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc you just have to look for them. I have created an organic food delivery directory that will help you find what you need. If you know of something out there that’s not on the list, please comment and I’ll add it.

It’s hard to get a handle on the animal cruelty that happens in slaughterhouses all over the world, and not knowing if the hamburger your eating came from a screaming cow before it got to your plate is something I’ll have to consider. But, I’m feeling better about just doing research and knowing the conditions in which my food is coming from. Don’t trust government agencies to protect you, they only have dollar signs on the brain. Where there’s money, there’s corruption, so don’t think for a second they care about what you are ingesting. You need to be responsible for yourself and protect your health by eating all natural foods and organic products.

Chicken Empanada Filling Recipes

Empanadas are little pockets full of heaven. They can be baked or fried and can be filled with about anything. Here you’ll find some of my very best chicken empanada filling recipes like my personal favorite, Thai Green Chicken Curry and other irresistibles. Impress your husband or your best friends with the perfect empanadas straight from South America.

Before getting started with your empanadas, check out the common empanada mistakes page to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I have.

Slow Cooked Chicken Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Legs w/thigh (skin on and bone in)
  • 1 Whole Yellow Onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 Can whole tomatoes with juice (leave whole)
  • 3 Tbl Yellow Curry Powder
  • 2 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl coarse sea salt
  • 1 Tbl Spanish Paprika
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth

Directions:

  1. Brown chicken legs in 2 Tbl oil (approx 5 min each side)
  2. Meanwhile, place tomatoes onion and spices on the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Place browned chicken pieces on top.
  4. Pour in chicken broth. Cook on Low for 7 hours.
  5. Remove chicken pieces and pull off all the meat. Place into a sifter with a bowl underneath to catch the runoff.
  6. Remove 3 whole tomatoes and 1/8 C onions from the slow cooker, coarsely chop and place into a fine mesh strainer or sifter to drain for 1-2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, with a fork gently break apart chicken, tomatoes and onion. Stir with a fork until the mixture resembles a chicken BBQ. Combine with drained tomatoes and onions and chill until ready to use.

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Thai Green Curry Chicken Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 Medium yellow onions minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp flour

Directions:

  1. Cut into 1 inch cubes then toss chicken first in 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, then in the flour, coating pieces evenly.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in the skillet, cook and stir chicken until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and stir in curry paste. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then stir in green onions, garlic, and ginger; cook an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to the skillet, stirring to coat with the curry mixture. Stir the coconut milk, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and sugar into the chicken curry mixture.
  5. Let simmer, add flour and let thicken for 5-8 minutes. Let cool or chill until needed.

Thai Green Curry Empanada Filling
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Pulled BBQ Chicken Empanada Filling

Chicken Preparation

  • 3 pounds chicken thigh and leg (skin on, bone in)
  • 1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • water
  1. Wash chicken and place into a slow cooker
  2. Pour in vinegar, mustard seed, bay leaves and salt
  3. Fill with water until just covered

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 Cups of pulled pork
  • 2 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbl powdered cayenne
  • 2 Tbl powdered garlic
  • 2 Tbl ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C. Barbecue sauce
  • 4 Whole fresh tomatoes (seeded, peeled and diced)
  • 1 Tbl salt

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, stir all ingredients until well-mixed and let cool to room temperature.

Also check out our beef empanada, seafood empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

Costa Rica Fish Tacos

Nothing says tropical like fish tacos. With cilantro sauce no doubt. And now my husband touts a great skill of homemade tortillas, so we combined efforts and out came Costa Rican fish tacos. The one thing that we definitely agree on is more more more cilantro. So, in the following recipe, you’ll see that there is no shying away from our favorite herb. You can also check out Frugal Antics, who is also on the cheap food mission with their interpretation of similar homemade corn tortillas.

(Serves 2, but easy to double or triple)

Cilantro Sauce:

1/4 C. Mayonnaise
1/8 C. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp powdered cayenne pepper
a liberal amount of fresh ground black pepper

Mix ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Citrus Slaw:

2 C. finely sliced green cabbage
2 Tbl coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbl honey
1 Tbl olive oil
juice from half a lime

Toss cabbage in a medium-sized bowl with cilantro, honey, olive oil and lime juice just before serving.

Fresh Tortillas:

2 C. Maseca (corn flour)
1 C. Warm water
1 Tsp salt (to taste)

1) Mix all ingredients adding more water or flour as needed until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Make a golf-ball sized dough ball and using a tortilla press, flatten into a 7″ corn tortilla and repeat until the dough is all used.

2) Place a dry skillet on medium-low heat and another dry skillet on medium-high heat. Start the tortilla in the medium-low skillet for 1-2 minutes and flip into the medium-high skillet for 1-2 more minutes and briefly flip one more time in the medium-high skillet until fully cooked but not crisp.

Fish:

1 large tilapia filet
1/4 C. soy oil
1/8 C. flour
1 egg
2 Tbl soymilk (or regular)
1/2 breadcrumbs

1) Slice the fresh (thawed) fish filet into 1″ pieces and coat with flour.
2) Break egg and wisk into a wide, shallow bowl. Dip fish pieces into egg and coat with bread crumbs.
3) Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and fry battered fish pieces for 2-3 minutes turning frequently or until cooked through.

Assembly:

1) Spread a spoonful of cilantro sauce onto a corn tortilla
2) Place 3-4 pieces of fish in the center of the tortilla
3) Cover with citrus slaw and enjoy!