Cheap Dinner – Red Bell Pepper Frittata

Last night we had cheap food in the form of breakfast for dinner with a simple red bell pepper frittata. I’m not a huge fan of meals with eggs, but with this recipe it has a mixture of eggs and couscous, so it really lighted up the base. I would recommend using a cast iron skillet, but here in Costa Rica they use a heavy aluminum blend, which works just as nice especially if you let it get seasoned up nicely.

Please feel free to use and tweak the red bell pepper frittata recipe below. It serves four people.


  • 2/3  cup  water
  • 1/3  cup  dried quinoa
  • 1  tablespoon  water
  • 3/4  teaspoon  garlic salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  large egg whites
  • 3  large eggs
  • Cooking spray (optional)
  • 2  cups  red bell pepper strips
  • 1  cup  thinly vertically sliced onion
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) shredded gouda with herbs (choose your favorite cheese)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan; stir in quinoa. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Combine 1 tablespoon water, salt, black pepper, egg whites, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray (or well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in couscous and egg mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until almost set. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Costa Rican Pizza – Homemade

So, I have been the biggest blogging slacker in the past, gosh, 6 months since the last entry. And I have already had a pizza-related post, but I have moved to San José, Costa Rica and am picking things back up to show where to find cheap food here.

You may imagine that there would be a lot of cheap food in Costa Rica, but my husband and I are having a tough time finding it. Food here is expensive! As well as a lot of other things. But, we are trying to follow the lead of the locals, but unfortunately that means a lot of beans and rice. I mean, I do like gallo pinto on occasion, but I need variety.

We have put ourselves back on a budget since getting married and moving down here, but we are having a tough time with groceries and eating out. We both love cheese and it costs a mint down here. So, this weekend we decided to tackle some new recipes for cheap homemade dinners and, with my husband’s Italian background, decided to try our hands at making pizza from scratch. So, I helped with the sauce while Jonathan worked on the dough. There is a lot of waiting with pizza dough, but after kneading it, letting it rise, kneading, and letting it rise, it was ready for the oven.

With our past experiences with Trader Joe’s pizza dough, we decided to pre-cook the dough a little before saucing and topping the little beast. Well, the pizza turned out great, minus the hard crust from over-cooking it. But, we’ll know for next time. Only pre-cook for 3ish minutes. This is definitely going to be a regular meal for us, so we can perfect the dough. Overall, each pizza (we divided the dough into two individual pizzas) cost about a buck each (or 500 colones). Buen Provecho!

Homegrown Spinach Dip

I have commented before that the summer rocks for finding cheap food items in your garden, especially in Charlotte since the growing season is so long. This spring, I spent less than $20 buying heirloom tomato plants, perpetual spinach plants, and a few other stir fry leafy things and an organic insecticidal soap. I dried out the seeds from a few bell peppers along with the mini sweet peppers that are popular now, and planted them as well as a pack of cilantro seeds and the garden is thriving!

So, when i needed a quick snack to bring over to a friends house for a cookout, i decided on taking a shot at spinach dip. And, as much as I hate sour cream, i am going to admit, it wasn’t nearly as awesome without some sour cream in the mix. I tried it without and it just didn’t taste right. It was the magic ingredient. How could that be? (I hate sour cream…)

Here is the recipe:


• 15 Large Leaves of fresh spinach (cooked and chopped, yields about 1.5 cups)

• 8oz cup of Onion flavored Philadelphia cream cheese

• 8oz of sour cream

• 2 teaspoons of minced garlic

• 1 tablespoon of ground pepper

• 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used Mexican 4 Cheese)


Mix all ingredients together, and serve with delicious crackers (Everything crackers from Trader Joe’s are the bomb!)