I have semi-recently decided to live on a very tight budget and attempt to stop wasting so much food and water (and a little bit out of necessity). I have found that because I buy fewer things, I have less to throw away. It is completely logical, but surprised me nonetheless. Naturally, I was afraid that by cutting back on the money that I spent that I was not going to be able to eat as well as I have before. This would be quite upsetting because cooking is one of my favorite things to do in life. Luckily, my experience has been quite the contrary. For example, I baked a very tasty focaccia bread and served it with zucchini boats (for lack of a better name). The meal was tasty, inexpensive and easy to make.
Here is a break-down of the costs:
|200 Grams Fresh Mozzarella||.55|
|1 Can Pizza (Diced) Tomatoes||.45|
|2 Large Zucchinis||Free thanks to my very sweet garden neighbors(Normally ~1.50)|
|1 Package Flour (1ooograms)||.35|
|1 Cube Fresh Yeast||.09|
|GRAND TOTAL||$2.54 ($4.04 if I paid for the zucchini)|
Granted this is in Euros, so it is about $3.50 – $5.00USD, but it was a really tasty meal for not so much money. Plus, it was nice and light which is always appreciated in hot weather.
The recipes are as followed:
ZUCCHINI BOATS (serves 2)
2 Large Zucchinis
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper, to taste
200 Grams Shredded Cheese (I like mozzarella)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C.
2. Combine tomatoes, herbs, sugar, and oil.
3. Chop the ends off the zucchini and cut it is half. Turn the halves the long way on their sides and use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.
4. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper.
5. Fill the ‘ditches’ in the zucchinis with tomato sauce and top with cheese.
6. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and the zucchini is soft, but not mushy.
HERBY FOCACCIA BREAD (makes 16 servings)
2 3/4 Cups Flour
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 tsp White Sugar
17 Grams Fresh Yeast or 8.5 Grams Active Dry Yeast (~1 TBSP)
1 Cup Warm Water
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Olive Oil or Your Favorite Flavored Oil (I like a 50:50 mix of chili oil and olive oil)
Coarse Sea Salt to Taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees C.
2. If you are using active dry yeast, proof the yeast by combining the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl until frothy – approximately 10 minutes.
3. Combine the remaining ingredients with the exception of the 2 TBSP of oil and the coarse salt.
4. Add the yeast-water mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook until the dough is smooth.
5. Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size.
6. Punch the dough down and form into a large rectangle approximately 1 cm thick. Use the rounded end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the dough. The holes should be approximately 3 cm apart. Brush the dough with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the coarse salt.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.
I would like to try the focaccia bread with some whole wheat flour, but it might ruin the light and chewy texture. I would also like to try filling the zucchinis with ground beef, but will have to wait until it is on-sale.
As for today, I am going to attempt to make a pineapple chicken stir-fry using the boiled chicken from the chicken stock that I made yesterday. I used the stock to make a tomato, carrot and ham soup. I find that buying bone-in chicken is much more cost-effective than buying just the breast. I always get the foundation for two meals instead of one – one soup base and one meal with chicken. As an added bonus, I have been reading about the health benefits associated with consuming ‘bone water’ (although the name could use a little tweaking). Now I know why we are supposed to eat chicken soup when we are sick. Check out these sites for more information – natural news and the nourished kitchen.
One last thought – I cannot believe how quickly my English skills have deteriorated. When I reread what I have written I find silly mistakes like using “flower” where I should have used “flour” and “too” instead of “two”. I think that I need to find some English-speaking friends ASAP. Maybe even a Pen Pal. That would be cool. I have not had one of those since I was a child, but back then I was never any good at it. Maybe I never had the right inspiration. Ah well.
Until next time…
the transplanted gardener(in)
ps. If you might like to have a Deunglisch speaking Pen Pal from Berlin, Germany, E-Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. : )