Potatoes Anna With Sausage

Our latest cheap dinner recipe comes on a Friday night with the bare bones left from the last grocery shop. We had andouille sausage, a bag of potatoes and a yellow onion. I contemplated mashed potatoes, which is always a solid go-to side dish. We use a potato ricer to mash and it makes some of the smoothest mashed taters I’ve known. But, this post isn’t about mashed potatoes.

My mom hand-made a recipe book for me a few years ago with all of her greatest recipes and family recipes passed down. She’d be proud to know that I go to it every now and again. I remembered a recipe for potatoes Anna, which is basically a layering of sliced potatoes, onion, butter, cheese, salt and pepper. All of the ingredients were available. Sweet!

Since our grill is out of propane as of late, we’ve been frying our sausages which just isn’t anywhere near the same when it comes to flavor. So, for this recipe, instead of cooking the sausage separately, I decided to thinly slice it and layer it in with the potatoes and onion. Sausage in recipes is usually a good idea and this was no exception. Since it was already cooked, I had a feeling it would work well and add a perfect flavor to a simple dish like this.
Here is the quick, cheap and easy recipe:
cheap dinner potatoes anna
 

Potatoes Anna with Sausage Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend)
  • 4 TBSP Salted or Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 pre-cooked andouille sausages, thinly sliced
  • Salt, Pepper and granulated garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a glass pie pan, spread a thin layer of potatoes, onions, cheese, sausage, salt, pepper and garlic. Repeat the layers until the pan is filled.
  3. Pour melted butter evenly over the top.
  4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice into wedges and serve hot.

Cheap Chicken Marinade – Balsamic Habañero

The Marinade Backstory

One of our latest outings to the St Pete Saturday Morning Market resulted in a purchase of habañero jelly, something I never thought I would like, let alone, love. We were plucked from the passers-by after being enticed by free samples (duh, who doesn’t love free samples of food!) and tried almost all the gourmet jellies this guy had to offer. We jumped from pineapple to berry to jalapeño before finally landing on the habañero flavor. The salesmen called the sample we had an adult PBJ since it was on a pretzel square with peanut butter and the spicy habañero jelly to top it off. We loved it. There was a great kick to my favorite classic peanut butter pretzel and did taste like a PBJ. We were sold.

Once we came home with the prized jelly, I was anxious to make a true adult peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, I broke out four slices of bread, spread peanut butter (creamy is the only way!) on two and the habañero jelly on the other two. My husband and I took a couple of bites of the sandwich before really feeling the effects of our mistake. The heat of the peppers was not absorbed or toned down by the peanut butter or bread or sweetness. It was crazy-hot. We suffered through it, but vowed not to make that mistake again. There was definitely too much of a good thing here. Thus, the habañero jelly sat in the cubbard for several weeks before making it’s second, more pleasant debut.

I placed the chicken in a shallow dish, added olive oil and some aged rich balsamic vinegar when the habañero jelly jar caught my eye. So, what the heck, I scooped out a tablespoon and mixed it in the marinade on the chicken. Before I get too far into this without specific instructions, here’s the recipe.

Habanero Jelly

The Balsamic Habañero Marinade Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Filets
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Habañero Jelly

Directions:

  1. Preheat the grill to 400-500 degrees.
  2. In the bottom of a shallow dish (I used a pie dish), pour in and spread around the olive oil.
  3. Place in washed chicken filets.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the chicken and swish around the pieces to blend the oil and vinegar.
  5. Spread the habañero jelly over the four filets and move them around the dish to blend and coat the chicken breasts.
  6. Balsamic habanero marinade

  7. Using tongs, place the chicken on the grill and turn after 5-7 minutes cooking for 5 more minutes. Check for pink with a knife and the filets are done if there is just clear juices. Do not overcook.
  8. Serve with a vegetable, such as grilled zucchini.

Balsamic Habanero Chicken Marinade

Cheap Homemade Pumpkin Puree Recipe

Homemade pumpkin puree from a leftover pumpkin

We are just a few days after Halloween and haven’t gotten around to carving our pumpkin. It’s tough in Florida because once you carve the pumpkin, you might have two or three days of a jack-o-lantern before it turns black and rots. So, waiting until the last few days before Halloween is crucial. This year, we let the holiday pass us by without carving the thing so I made sure to have a back up plan for it.

It just so happens that I was invited to a girls night at a friends house with an all-pumpkin theme. At the ladies-only shindig there was pumpkin turkey chili, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spiced sangria, and we made pumpkin biscuits to go with the chili and roasted pumpkin seeds as a snack. We needed 1 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for the biscuits, so onward with the home made kind! We ended up with 10 cups of pumpkin puree using a medium-large pumpkin. There are smaller pumpkins that might work better, but this is what we had already.

Homemade pumpkin puree a great alternative to canned pumpkin and without all the preservatives or steep price tags. You can spice it up or leave it plain until you’re ready to cook all of your pumpkin creations this holiday season.

The process for cheap pumpkin puree is very simple really.

Pumpkin Puree Instructions

  1. Slice off the top of the pumpkin with a butcher knife, just like you do when carving a Jack-o-Lantern
  2. Scoop out the seeds and funk and set aside for cleaning and roasting later
  3. Slice the remaining pumpkin in half and then in half again so you have four pieces that fit on an extra large baking sheet or roasting pan
  4. Cover the cookie sheet with foil and cover the pumpkin pieces in foil as well
  5. Then, bake on 350 degrees for 1.5 hours or until completely tender
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes
  7. pumpkin slices after they are baked

  8. Gently remove the skin with your fingers, using a small paring knife to help if needed
  9. In batches, place pumpkin meat into a food processor with the regular blade attachment and pulse a few times to break up the pieces
  10. Puree in the processor on high until just smooth and there are no lumps
  11. pumpkin puree in the processor

  12. Measure out 2 cups and place into zipper bags or containers for the freezer
  13. Write the contents and date with a permanent marker and place in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months
  14. pumpkin puree in 2 cup batches

Asian Beef and Mango Salad

Cheap Weeknight Dinner with Asian Flair

We’re a regular taco night family. It’s an easy meal that we often turn into taco salad night which just means our taco ingredients go over top of crunched up tortilla chips. This time we decided to give taco night an Asian flair.

Take away the tortilla chips and swap out a few ingredients to change up the flavor profile and you’ve got yourself a brand new salad that requires the same amount of prep and cooking time. This meal takes a total of 20 minutes from heating up the first pan to putting the fork in your mouth. Easy peasy.

I’ve never really cooked with hoisin sauce and I had some leftover from another Asian-style meal. It has great flavor with a combination of soy sauce, ginger and chili pepper to kick things up. It seemed like a natural fit here too. Mango goes so well with savory dressings and they are in season right now so organic mangos are readily available.

My husband and I were happy the way dinner turned out tonight and clean-up with a cinch. When I make it again, I’m going to add a cup of jasmine rice to each serving. It’s something you might consider doing if you’re not afraid of some extra carbs. If you are on a low-carb diet, this is a perfect meal as long as you look at the sugar content in the hoisin sauce. You may want to add the ginger, soy and chili yourself to eliminate the sugars.

Asian Beef and Mango Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha hot chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, torn
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into thin moons
  • 1 mango, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. About 5 to 7 minutes. Add minced garlic just before it’s finished.
  2. Stir in the hoisin, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and the Sriracha. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, the remaining teaspoon of soy sauce, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the lettuce, carrots, celery, mango, cooked beef, cilantro, and peanuts among bowls. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

$100 Cheap Food Project – Week 2

The $100 Cheap Food Challenge Week 2

This post is long over due. We’re talking ridiculously long. The week 1 post was almost ancient history, but thanks to my readers who have pushed me to get the rest of this series out, I kept going. Cheap Food Here is showing our readers that it is possible to spend just $100 per person per month on food. Our week 1 post was created when we were living in Costa Rica so certain foods were cheaper (most produce and fruit) but certain other foods were more expensive (specialty items, imported foods, cheese, meat, seafood, etc) so it has surprisingly balanced out now that we’ve completed week 2 since moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.

Remember that eating out isn’t going to be possible on this tight of a budget. There’s almost no way to stick to just spending $100 per person per month for food if you even eat out once. Prepared foods are much more expensive than homemade and can ruin your whole food budget if you let it. It’s also much easier to spend less than $100 per person if you’re doubling the recipes listed and feeding more than just two people.

There are two great posts from last month for 5 ways to save money on food and 5 more ways to save money on food. These are perfect for those of you doing the $100 cheap food challenge.

Here is the video again for those of you who missed the week 1 post:

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


Reduce snacking and eating between meals.

One of the most critical ways to save money is to reduce snacking, especially processed food snacks. This experiment was much easier when we cut out all chips, granola bars, boxed crackers, bottled drinks and junk food and replaced it with nutritious snacks like fruit, homemade crackers, nuts and other cheap, but healthy snacks. This may sound impossible because you get hungry half way between breakfast and lunch and then twice again between lunch and dinner, but knowing what to eat to reduce hunger is critical.

A high protein breakfast is the easiest way to sustain you through the morning. This means eating eggs, beans, meats, whole grains and vegetables early in the morning and in decent quantities. This is a tough transition if you’re not a big eater in the morning but once you ease into it and have go-to meals to prepare in the mornings, you’ll notice that you don’t get hungry until it’s time for lunch. Stay away from just eating cereals, breads, bagels, pancakes, biscuits and other high-carb, sugary foods because your body digests these foods faster and we all know that high-carb diets are a cause for concern with weight and diabetes.

If you do need a snack during the day, which is bound to happen, stay away from carbs and try to eat vegetables or home made snacks that are inexpensive and provide nutrition. Something that is not just a temporary escape from hunger.

Week 2 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. Try not to use 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 quantity of expensive ingredients (example: cheese or meat) or use a substitute for something less expensive and perhaps more healthy.

Breakfast

  1. Fried Eggs with Spinach and curried garbanzo beans
  2. All Natural Granola Cereal with Bananas and Craisins
  3. French Toast with peanut butter, banana and granola
  4. Fried Eggs with Spinach and curried garbanzo beans
  5. Oatmeal w/Craisins and flax and an almond milk berry shake
  6. Feta and chive biscuits (follow recipe but sub feta for cheddar) with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon.

Lunch

  1. Homemade mini pizza with turkey bacon, feta and jalapeño (follow recipe but change out toppings)
  2. Citrus Lentil Salad with homemade hummus and carrot sticks
  3. Falafel with cucumbers
  4. Leftover Slow cooker chicken tikka masala
  5. Leftover Cornish Hen and Dumplings
  6. Leftover Homemade Gnocchi with Lemon Sage Butter

Dinner

  1. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice
  2. Spicy Black Bean Burgers served on Pita (makes 6 large patties, so freeze 3-4 for upcoming week)
  3. Cornish Hen and Dumplings (we didn’t make the cornbread muffins)
  4. Homemade Gnocchi with Lemon Sage Butter
  5. Leftover Cornish Hen and Dumplings
  6. Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala

Snacks

  1. Red Curry Roasted Garbanzo Beans (follow recipe but sub curry paste for creole seasoning)
  2. Homemade Crackers with Sea Salt
  3. Trail Mix of almonds, Craisins and cashews.
  4. Garbanzo Bean Flour Homemade Flatbread
  5. Cucumber Boats with Carrot Dip
  6. Leftover babaganoush and pita

 

Week 2 Grocery List: Download Here

Since this is week 2, there are several items from the week 1 shopping list that will be leftover to include in this week’s meals without buying new. These items as well as those that I already had on hand as a staple item are indicated with an ‘x’ next to them and the price column has been left blank.

As you know we are advocates of growing as much of your own produce as possible and supporting your local farmers as well. Buying in-season produce greatly reduces the cost and often times buying frozen produce is cheaper since they were picked during peak season. Keep all of this in mind when choosing items to buy for the receipes.

Do some research in advance. There are Web sites like www.mygrocerydeals.com that is a free resource for you to find the best deal on items in your area before even getting into your car. Most likely your favorite grocery has their pricing and specials online for you to organize your trip to get the best deals without having to drive all over town.

As we said with week 1, make sure when you go shopping, you stick to the list, and only to the list. Don’t make impulse buys but feel free to choose a cheaper type of item to substitute based on what’s on sale. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing with the challenge.

Carrot Pesto Cucumber Boats

Cheap, Healthy Snack Recipe for Your Next Party

Dishes are just a bit fancier when they have an edible vessel. Take stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, quinoa salad in an acorn squash, taco salads in a tortilla shell bowl, etc. This recipe is no exception and up to this point I hadn’t ever used a cucumber as a vessel for a recipe, but it works great.

One of the ways that you can significantly reduce your food budget is to make your own snacks. We’ve featured a few recipes already (Homemade Crackers with Sage and Cayenne, Olive Oil and Sea Salt crackers, Flatbread with Garbanzo Flour) that keep you out of the cookie/cracker/chip aisle at the grocery store where we know a TON of money is spent and you stray the most from your grocery list. It’s a whole lot of cravings and eye candy there, so best to stay away.

We decided to find a healthy snack that would work for a family or to bring to a dinner party/tailgate that was more creative than chips and dip, wings or sandwiches. So, we tweaked a pesto and hummus recipe to include carrots instead of the beans and unsalted mixed nuts instead of pine nuts, since we’re trying to cut down the cost. Here’s the recipe:

Carrot Pesto Cucumber Boats

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Cucumbers
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Small Garlic cloves
  • 10 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/8 Cup of EVOO
  • 1/2 Cup of Unsalted Mixed Nuts
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, place carrots, garlic, basil, olive oil and mixed nuts.
  2. Cucumber boat recipe

  3. Blend until smooth, stopping to push mix down with a spatula.
  4. cheap snack recipe cucumber boats

  5. Peel strips off of the cucumber skin and cut off the ends.
  6. peeled cucumber

  7. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
  8. cucumbers in half without seeds

  9. Scoop filling into the cucumber boats and slice into 1.5″ pieces.
  10. carrot dip in cucumber boats

  11. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Guest Post – Fresh From the Farm to Your Table

Costa Rica Family Farmed Organic Food…Comida Organica Express Delivers Puerto Viejo To Limon

It has been a life changing journey driven by the desire for a better, sustainable lifestyle. It has been an adventure of seven years leading my wife and I to life on a jungle farm on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast and inspiring us to gather and organize organic family farmers from various regions of the country. The result has been a beautiful organization which can deliver (within reasonable time) exceptional organic quality goodies at family prices anywhere from Talamanca to Limon with delivery coming soon to the San Jose Metro area.

My wife’s name is Mileidy and mine Carlos. She was born here in Costa Rica, I was born in New Jersey. Since we met, our dream has been to live on a farm harvesting food free of chemicals and transgenic mutations. After achieving this step we expanded our vision to include helping others through education, example and networking on how to create a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves and their families.

We grow and sell organic food because we LOVE IT, it is good for others and it allows us to keep growing in our vision. We do it with the idea of infecting YOU with a ferocious appetite for a healthier way of life! By working with our facilitators and service providers to keep costs down and quality high our clients receive the crème-de-la-crème when it comes to real natural selections and price. Our menu offers true family farmed organic fruits, vegetables, spices and hand-made vegan pasta to those who seek to express their consciousness in their food choices.

We currently work with several farms and artisans but most of our goods come from five different family run farms. Each is located in different regions of the country, one of them is located over 2,175 meters above sea level. One family farm is less than two acres in size and produces several thousand pounds of food per year! On our farm Milly started her own cross-strain of tomatoes to get a natural, delicious tomato growing in the Caribbean. While one of neighbors was the first to produce organic lettuce in the Caribbean with little to no bitter aftertaste.

Our menu is updated week to week to reflect the changes in what is available and what has come into season. We offer everything from organic Strawberries, to Bok Choy, Fennel, Kale, Onions, Lettuce, Eggplant, Peruvian Potatoes, Blackberries, Arugula, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, a variety of Tomatoes and so much much more… You can see more about our farm at http://www.facebook.com/Comida.Organica.Express

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and letting us share a little bit about ourselves with you. If you have any questions about organic farming or sustainable living please feel free to email us at organicdeliverycr [at] gmail dot com. And remember you can start a garden or plant some veggies in almost any space, go out there and reclaim your table! Thanks again!

All the Best,
~Carlos&Milly
ComidaOrganicaExpress

Acorn Squash with Pear and Quinoa Salad

Acorn Squash, Pear & Quinoa make a perfect fall recipe

Let me just start out by saying this is a breakthrough recipe. It stands far and away from most recipes I’ve discovered or created. Bravo to Sprouted Kitchen and thanks for sharing this with the world initially.

Hard squash isn’t something I’ve cooked with on a regular basis or explored really at all. Outside of yellow squash, zucchini and the occasional pumpkin, I’m kind of a squash virgin. This recipe actually called for a Kabocha squash but without really knowing what that was, I reached for the most similar looking one, an acorn squash. It turns out they are very closely related, but the Kabocha is from Japan originally.

I can’t argue with anyone that fall is the time to explore cooking with squash since you can’t walk down an aisle at the farmer’s market or in the produce department without seeing a literal cornucopia of them on display. The acorn squash is especially hard, making it almost impossible to cut into and imagining eating one. But, baked in the oven for a good 30-45 minutes and they soften right up. The seeds are just like those from it’s close cousin the pumpkin, which you can bake too. That is my absolute favorite part about Halloween, so, of course, after cutting the acorn squash in half I scooped out the seeds, cleaned them off, threw them on a cookie sheet with some Old Bay Seasoning and baked them to a crisp. Just a little bonus to recipes with acorn squash.

The way this recipe is put together with contrasting and complimentary flavors is brilliant. There is a tang in the lemon juice and sweetness of the pear that jumps right out with the squash, shallot and cardamom. In my case I used Garam Masala seasoning which is heavy on the cardamom, but also has some other Indian spices in there to bounce off the other flavors. I won’t keep you from the recipe any longer (if you haven’t already skipped down to it). Here it is, with a slight variation from the original:

Acorn Squash with Pear and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

Squash-Quinoa recipe Ingredients

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 3 tbsp. Fall Seasonal Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala seasoning
  • 1 Shallot, Minced
  • 1 Hard Pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/3 Cup Basil, Chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Cup Baby Spinach
  • Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
    2. Slice Acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds and brush with a mixture of 2 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Bake for 20 minutes, flesh side down. Flip and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden and soft.
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the salad. In a small mixing bowl combine the cooked but cool Quinoa, spinach, shallots and diced pear. Toss with basil, Garam Masala, lemon juice, remaining olive oil and honey. Mix well.
    5. Once the squash is done baking, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
    6. Place squash halves on plates and fill with Quinoa salad mix.
    7. Serve immediately.

Flatbread with Garbanzo and Fava Flour

Low Carb Snacks Using Garbanzo Flour

You may have noticed with some of our low carb recipe posts that we were on the 4 Hour Body diet for about two months playing around with recipes and trying to get more fit. We love the idea of low carb and cutting out wheat/gluten specifically so we started experimenting with bean flours. At the onset of our curiosity we were still living in Costa Rica where you couldn’t find bean flouers at all and I suspect if they did have them they would be cost-prohibitive (think $10 per bag of flour), but I was told you could grind your own dried garbanzo beans into a flour if you had a strong food processor or coffee grinder. I looked up a few how-tos on the Internet and just decided to go for it. Dried garbanzos are cheap in Costa Rica, so if I screwed it up it would be no big deal.

Here’s how the process went for grinding chick peas into flour:

Dried Garbanzo beans

dried garbanzo beans in the food processor

finely ground garbanzo beans

finely ground dried garbanzo beans

The decibel level of sound coming from my food processor was something I’d never heard before. I know dried chick peas are hard, but these little suckers hit the side of the food processor off the blade at a blazing speed and it took a good 5 minutes to pulverize them into a flour. I had to do them in 30 to 45 second bursts because I could feel how hot the plastic and the machine were getting during the process. Overall, if you could choose between making your own garbanzo flour and buying a bag already made, I would suggest skipping the hassle and buying the pre-ground beans. I haven’t ground the beans myself since this initial try. It was just too loud and too much work for me and my food processor.

The first recipe I used the homemade garbanzo flour for was a thick flatbread, which was more like a pancake batter than a cracker. I roughly followed this recipe from Dining and Wine section of the NYTimes. Here’s how my cheap food here version of skillet garbanzo flatbread recipe went:

Skillet Flatbread with Garbanzo Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Garbanzo flour
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 extra Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp mix dried herbs and spices (rosemary, basil, oregano, cayenne, etc)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into the pan and coat the bottom. Place into the oven while pre-heating.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, pour garbanzo flour, baking powder, spices and salt. With a whisk, mix well.
  4. Add the additional 1 TBSP of olive oil to the dry mixture and blend in.
  5. Pour in the water and whisk until well-blended. Allow batter to sit for up to 12 hours or use immediately, whisking just before pouring into the hot skillet.
  6. Garbanzo Flatbread Batter

  7. Pour into preheated skillet and bake for 30-40 minutes until the edges are browned and pulling away from the sides of the skillet.
  8. Skillet Flatbread

  9. Cool for 10 minutes, cut and serve with butter or seasoned olive oil.
  10. Garbanzo Skillet Flatbread

A More Sophisticated Garbanzo Flatbread

After the first attempt at the flatbread we were hooked. It was a copy-cat of the delicious bready carbs we were missing, but without the carbs. Genius! So, once we moved back to the US and landed ourselves in St. Petersburg, FL and could find all kinds of bean flours, I began my next adventure. We settled on the Garbanzo and Fava bean flour made by Bob’s Red Mill in the Gluten-Free section of the grocery store. We are still learning how to properly use these bean flours and haven’t used any gums yet to help bind the flour at this point so bear with us here. The next garbanzo flatbread recipe to come out went like this (adapted from our foodie friend at Smitten Kitchen):

Garbanzo and Fava Flatbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups garbanzo and fava bean flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • Approx 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 Cup shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Approx 1 Tbsp Coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven with pizza stone to 450 for 30 minutes
  2. Pour the garbanzo and fava flour into a medium-sized bowl and mix with the baking powder and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil and water.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon until it is well-integrated and then knead onto a clean work surface 4 or 5 times. The dough should feel oily, but to keep it from sticking to the work surface, sprinkle extra garbanzo flour on the rolling pin, dough and work surface.
  5. Divide the dough into four pieces.
  6. Roll the dough out into long, irregular shapes onto parchment papaer. There’s no need to be precise here just flatten out the dough to about 1/8″ thick.
  7. Baste with extra olive oil and gently press the thyme into the dough so it sticks into it. Stab several times with a fork and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and Asiago cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until it’s golden brown.
  8. Drizzle lightly with honey and cut into pieces.
  9. Devour.

This round of flatbread was to die for! I’m super happy with the way they came out and did devour all but the 4th batch of flatbreads we made that night, and they only lasted until the morning the following day. But don’t worry, we’ll be making more. I hope you try this recipe out and don’t be afraid of the bean flour, everything turns out okay in the end. Plus, this is an extremely low carb snack if you leave off the honey.

World’s Best Black Bean Veggie Burger

The Search for the Best Black Bean Burger Concludes

Cheap Food Here has been on the hunt for the perfect black bean burger recipe ever since eating at the Original Penguin restaurant in Charlotte, NC (I say ‘Original’ because there was an issue with the original owners of the brand who were leasing it to the ones running the restaurant and to make a long story short, management changed, the charm and delicious food was downgraded to less than mediocre and thus, I wouldn’t guarantee the new Penguin black bean burger is the same as it was. See newer reviews here.) who could tout the most fabulous bean burger on the planet. Having eaten it a few times and trying to dissect it before inhaling it, I decided it probably had black beans (duh!), mushrooms, beets (this was an educated guess because of the color) and some kind of chili pepper in it because they packed some heat. Plus, I have a suspicion that the patties were deep fried because they were crispy on the outside and no matter what I’ve tried in the past, they just never get crispy in the pan, on the grill or in the broiler.

I’ve tried plenty of recipes, some with eggs, some with bread crumbs some with Portobello mushrooms; the list goes on and on. They’ve all been edible, but nothing was even coming close to the coveted Penguin black bean burger. The black bean burgers that I was making were mostly mushy and couldn’t be flipped without them falling completely apart, which I tried to remedy in every way I knew how. Nothing seemed to work and now I’m convinced it was two things: the lack of a filler like rice and leaving the black beans course rather than completely mashed. This speculation was confirmed after finding BrownEyedBaker’s black bean veggie burger recipe.

I do believe the best part about a meal is having leftovers that taste as good, if not better, than the original meal and these black bean burgers have that exact promise (hello freezer meal!). After I pattied them all out, we only cooked two for each of us so that left us with four more leftover (this recipe makes a total of 8 black bean burgers). With the extra patties, before cooking them, I placed them on a plate with parchment paper and froze them. Once they were frozen (2-3 hours) I transferred them to a freezer storage bag and we just thawed them out and cooked them the next time we were ready for them (only a few days later because we just absolutely loved them).

These hearty, full, nutritious black bean veggie burgers are one-of-a-kind and this recipe has me thinking about a ton of other bean burgers we can create off of this base. I’m thinking lentil patties and garbanzo burgers just off the top of my head. I think it’s time for a bean burger series. Okay, so here is our rendition of the famed recipe:

Black Bean Burger Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil (or other saute oil)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup coarsely grated carrots
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 C. cooked black beans, rinse and drained (we used dried bean to cut down on cost, but canned works also)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1½ cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (adjust to desired heat level)
  • 1 Tbsp additional grapeseed oil

Black Bean Burger Recipe Directions

  1. In a large skillet heated to medium-high heat, add the grapeseed oil and allow to heat up for 1-2 minutes.
  2. sauteed onions and garlic for black bean burgers

  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent, but not brown. Turn the burner off.
  4. carrots and onions for black bean burgers

  5. Add the grated carrots, chili powder and cumin and cook for 5 minutes on risidual heat, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool.
  6. combine beans, mustard, parsley for black bean burgers

  7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the black beans, mustard, soy sauce, ketchup and parsley.
  8. Mash together with a potato masher or your hands, making sure not to over work the mixture. Lumpy is good.
  9. Stir in the cooled onion and carrot mixture. Add the cooked brown rice and chopped mushrooms, stirring to combine. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
  10. Form 8 patties and make sure to press the edges to make a clean edge so the form holds during cooking.
  11. Heat the remaining grapeseed oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook for 5 to 8 minutes per side turning only once, very carefully (reshaping them after the flip if needed).
  12. Remove from heat and enjoy on a bun or simply by itself with a fork!
  13. final black bean veggie burger photo