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Eating well on the cheap

November 22nd, 2006 at 01:05 am

Eating well on the cheap-- or at least trying to.

As I wrote earlier, on a whim last week I decided to stay out of the store and cook only with what we had on hand.

I did fairly well, but by Friday night I was hungry, tired, and creatively zapped. I was thinking about ordering pizza, but after taking another look at the pantry, I decided to make pumpkin soup. I used this recipe for Cream of Pumpkin Soup for inspiration. I substituted evaporated skim milk for the cream (less fat), added fresh grated ginger, and increased all the spices for extra flavor. I also used an immersion blender so I only needed to clean one pot. Iím sure the soup would be delicious with cream, but I didnít have any plus it would really make the soup fattening. I did make the whole wheat croutons, and they added a nice extra crunch to the mealóalthough Iíd say 4 slices of bread is too much (we ended up just eating the croutons like crackers after the meal. For dessert, I whipped together an apple crisp with apples, oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and butter. Total time in the kitchen was less than 40 minutes, and the results were tasty, pretty healthy, and definitely cheaper than ordering out.

Needless to say, when I did go to the store, I was happy to buy fresh produce again. Tonight I made a Tofu Pad Thai with an entire container of bean sprouts and an entire bunch of cilantro.

Other people have mentioned this before, but if there is an Asian grocery in you town, shop there for things like sauces, stir-fry sauces, noodles, tofu, etc. Itís cheaper than the conventional grocery store and a better selection. (The cost of Taste of Thai brand in the grocery store will seem like highway robbery after you visit an Asian grocer!)

I think there will be enough pad thai to freeze-- even after we have it for lunch tomorrow. I usually spoon a 1-serving portion into a small containers and pop them in the freezer. After microwaving, it doesn't look as good as when it was fresh, but the taste is still great and it's perfect for days when I don't have anything to bring to campus for lunch.

5 Responses to “Eating well on the cheap”

  1. jodi Says:

    I carved up the pumpkin we had for decoration a few weeks ago and stuck it in the freezer. I've been waiting to get some curry powder for a pumpkin soup recipe I want to try. I hope it comes out as good as yours sounds - nice job "making do"!

  2. threebeansalad Says:

    Jodi-- Typically the large pumpkins used for carving aren't good for baking, but I've heard they work great for soup. Let us know how it goes!!

  3. jodi Says:

    So far, the pumpkins muffins have come out okay, but the pumpkin pudding I made was not good at all. I think I will stick to soups or baked goods where pumpkin is not the defining flavor. I think the pumpkins I used were a little past prime too...but I have high hopes for the soup!

  4. yummy64 Says:

    Can you email me the pad thai recipe if you happen to have it handy? That sounds great!

  5. pjmama Says:

    Mmm I love thai food... Smile

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