Breakfast Burrito with frites, tomato and egg

This breakfast burrito post is to compliment the previous post about jalapeño and onion frites, which is actually just a fancy name for home fries. I wanted to make a breakfast burrito with frites inside, and after trying out this new creation, it will stay on the menu at our house. This will be a quick post but I wanted to give each part of the breakfast it’s own, well-deserved, glory.

Start by making the frites:

jalapeno onion frites

To complete each breakfast burrito:


4 ripe cherry tomatoes (from the garden are the best)
2 eggs (free-range of course)
1 medium flour tortilla
1 tsp Tapatio (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/2 C fresh frites


1. Slice the cherry tomatoes into 4 thin slices
2. Heat a fry pan to medium high heat and cook the tortilla until slightly browned on both sides

breakfast burrito prep

3. While the tortilla is cooking, fry two eggs in a tsp of oil to temperature (over-medium, over-hard, etc)
4. Assemble burrito on a place by placing the tortilla on the bottom, next the eggs, followed by the frites and then topped with tomatoes and Tapatio.
5. Make as many breakfast burritos as you need and serve immediately.

breakfast burrito final

Jalapeño and Onion Frites

This morning I woke up with an unusual clarity about what to make for breakfast; frites with jalapeños and onions. Some call them hashbrowns or homefries, but the French call them frites. I’m going to stick with that so they sound fancier. My husband and I have tried to make breakfast potatoes a number of times and can never quite get them right. We had no problem grilling potatoes with jalapeño and onion in foil, but for some reason the frying angle is a bit tougher.

After many a trial and error, we’ve figured out that it’s very important to dry out the pieces of potato before trying to fry them. So, this morning, it was like I already knew what to do. All I could think of was how to get the frites to turn out like our very favorite ones at Lulu in Charlotte, NC. I couldn’t post about their delicious French food, because it’s outside the realm of ‘cheap food‘ but they have the absolute best breakfast frites known to man, I’m sure of it. So, with Lulu on my mind, I set out for a nice knock-off. Here’s how to do it:



3 small/medium white potatoes (about 1 per person)

1 small yellow onion – coarsely chopped

1 fresh jalapeño – diced

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp seasoned salt (Old Bay or blackening season will work)

2 Tbsp of flour (I used whole wheat flour)

2 C. peanut oil


1. Place a cookie sheet in the oven at 375, or tray in the toaster oven. Preheat oven with sheet inside.

2. Dice the potatoes with the skin on and place on paper towels. Pat dry.


3. Move the potatoes to the cookie sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until dry to the touch. You may want to move them around every few minutes so they don’t stick to the tray, but don’t use oil or cooking spray, as this defeats the purpose of this step by trapping in the moisture.

frites in the toaster oven

4. While the potatoes are in the oven, preheat the oil in a small pot on medium-high heat.

5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and place into a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle with flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder and toss to coat.

potatoes tossed with flour and spices

6. Test the oil with one small piece of potato. When it’s bubbling steadily, it is ready, however if the oil is smoking, it’s too hot and you should let it cool slightly.

7. Add the potatoes and let fry for 4-6 minutes until there is a slight color/texture change, but not fully cooked.

frying the potatoes

8. Then add the diced jalapeño and onion. Fry for an additional 4-6 minutes until golden brown.

add jalapeno and onion to the pot

9. Remove everything from the oil with a slotted spoon or similar, and place on a new bed of paper towels. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and serve your jalapeño and onion frites immediately.

jalapeno onion frites final

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.


  • 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


  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.

Wasabi Cold Pasta Salad

As I’ve mentioned in a few other cheap pasta salad blog posts, like roasted walnut and broccoli pasta salad, tuna pasta salad, and southwest chicken stew, I’ve got an affinity for finding anything I can in the cupboard and  refrigerator and tossing it in some pasta. It’s a great way to make a salad heartier than if you just use lettuce as the base. This time I was inspired by the star-shaped pasta that I found recently and the wasabi paste that’s been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks (okay, months…). So, before heading out for the day with the dogs to a waterfall park about an hour out of San Jose, I put together the following pasta salad.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Feel free to tweak this pasta salad recipe for more or less kick.


• 1/2 of a 500 gram bag of small pasta (spirals, stars, orzo, etc)
• 1 Cup of blanched fresh broccoli
• 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and diced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1 Cup of frozen peas
• 1 Tbl fresh cilantro
• 1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove of minced garlic)
• 1 Tbl wasabi paste
• 1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 Tbl Sesame oil


1. Bring a medium sauce pan filled half way with water to a boil
2. Stir in pasta and cook to al dente, drain and rinse with cold water
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well-coated and properly combined
4. Chill combined Wasabi Cold Pasta Salad for an hour and serve.

Cheap Pasta with Roasted Broccoli, Walnuts and Parmesan

So, i was looking to jazz up our lunch options last Sunday and had just visited the organic food market in Escazú (as you read in the last post). I have seen recipes call for roasted garlic before, but never tried it. So, I decided now was the time. I looked for other ingredients to make a good pasta salad to last for a few extra days this week, and came up with some walnuts and Parmesan cheese. A perfect mix. The salad turned out great, and roasted broccoli has a more hearty flavor than steamed, which was nice for this recipe. Enjoy!

broccoli mixture roasting in the oven

broccoli mixture roasting in the oven


12 oz Small Shell Pasta
1 Bunch of Fresh Broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 C. Walnuts coarsely chopped
1/4 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, pan seared and smashed
2 Tbl Unsalted Butter
1/4 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Cook pasta according to package and reserve 1/2 C. of water when draining.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, toss broccoli, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper until coated.
4. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, turning once.
5. Toss broccoli mixture with pasta, butter and reserved pasta water until well-coated and add the Parmesan cheese.

Broccoli on FoodistaBroccoli

Cheap Southwest Chicken Stew

The rainy season finally showed up here in Costa Rica, which is the only chance of simulating any type of winter. And with winter, comes soups, stews and chili. This is when I started thinking about cheap food that I could make last a couple of days, and out came the southwest chicken stew. I’ve had some chipotle sauce in the fridge I’ve been eyeing the past few days and my husband made some blackbeans for gallo pinto, so I coupled that with some fresh sweet corn from the organic market on Wednesday in Escazú, added a little ‘this and that’ for an ultra successful TexMex dinner.

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Calling all cheap foodies

In an effort to mingle with my fellow foodies and generate a collective set of blog posts, I am requesting all cheap food hints, tricks, recipes, gadgets, etc that help reduce your cooking budget from all corners of the world. Please send info to me at “ashley(at)cheapfoodhere(dot)com”. With the info, I will create a series of blog posts that link back to the source blog (your info doesn’t have to be a formal blog post, but just make sure to include your food blog URL). The series of posts will be named Cheap Food Blogosphere and will include everyone’s content and credits. I’m excited to see the variety of information and insight I’ll receive from my fellow foodies.

As a backstory, I have been actively involved with the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover to plan my budget and pay off all my debt. I finally conquered Baby Step 2 this month and am consumer debt free! No more student loans, no more credit cards, no more car payments; just the mortgages are left. It was painful, but one of the most helpful parts was creating a food budget and planning out my meals.

I got anal with it and started shopping lists, spread sheets, figured out costs per portion, where to find the cheapest groceries, etc. I’m documenting everything for my first book to be published. It’s a huge help just to be conscious of the money being spent each month, especially on food. As I explained in my recent post about shopping at farmer’s markets, pricing items can be tricky and vary significantly from place to place. It pays to be diligent.

So, what I’m asking for are submissions of all the unique ways to cut corners on price but not on flavor. We’re not talking just spaghetti dinners and boring potato casseroles here. I am truly passionate about designing meals on a creative budget, and I’m sure there are others out there. Thanks for everyone’s feedback, small or large.

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


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)


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.


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