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Penny Pinching Epicure: March 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Creamy Edamame Dip

I had intended to make a cilantro chumus for my St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party, but a quick look in my pantry revealed I was out of chickpeas!

Plan B: I had a bag of shelled edamame from Trader Joe's in my freezer, and although I had never tried it before, I figured, how bad could it be if I substituted edamame for chickpeas?

It was delicious (pictures didn't come out so great but trust me, it's quite tasty). Unlike chumus, the edamame dip came out lighter and fluffier. Definitely a keeper.

  • I made this in my immersion blender attachment which is pretty much a mini food processor. I had to do it in 2 batches since not all of it fit at once, but you can also make this in a blender or food processor all in one shot.
  • I used unsalted edamame; if yours are pre-salted, add salt to taste rather than the amount in the ingredient list.

Creamy Edamame Dip


1 lb shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
2 Tbsp water, coconut milk or other dairy free alternative

  1. Cook edamame according to package directions and cool (not necessary if they are already cooked).
  2. Blend together edamame, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add liquid 1 tsp at a time until mixture forms a creamy consistency (you made need only a few teaspoons). Add additional salt & pepper to taste. Chill before serving.
The cost:
edamame: 1.99
other ingredients: <1.00

Grand total: $3.99; serves 12-14 (makes about 4 cups of dip)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes (Vegan)

When I went dairy free, I really missed scalloped potatoes. The kind where you make a thick, cheesy sauce, pour it over thinly sliced potatoes, and then bake it in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and the potatoes are crispy-edged. Mmmmm.

Instead of trying to create something very cheese-like to replace this dish (I would invariably be disappointed), I instead set out to create a new scalloped potato dish that would be just as creamy and rich, but dairy free.

It took a number of tries, but I think I figured it out! I make a roux (mixture of fat and flour), then stir in a combination of spices, soup stock and a milk substitute (coconut milk or soy milk). It's no cheesy scalloped potatoes, but it's still pretty darn good.

For my St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party, I also added a layer of spinach in between the layers of potatoes for extra flavor (fine, and color :)).

Note: For a delicious and filling dinner, saute the onion with 1 lb ground meat, then add (maybe with a cup of peas) in step 4! This recipe is also Passover friendly if you substitute the flour for cake meal and the soy/coconut milk for additional soup stock.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes (Vegan)


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp flour (regular or gluten free)
2 Tbsp white wine (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup milk substitute (soy or coconut milk work best)
1 lb baby potatoes, sliced thinly
1 small onion, quartered and sliced thinly

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add flour and cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon and watching carefully so it doesn't burn.
  2. Whisk in wine (optional) and vegetable stock a few Tbsp at a time, making sure to incorporate all liquid before adding more. Once all stock has been added, bring to a boil and allow to bubble 1-2 minutes, stirring to avoid burning.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in spices and soy milk (mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; if it isn't, return to a boil and allow to bubble an additional 1-2 minutes).
  4. Add potatoes and onions, stirring to coat evenly.
  5. Spread mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (I spread a single layer of potatoes, then a layer of fresh spinach, then topped it with another layer of potatoes). Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes until potatoes and tender and the edges are crispy.
The cost:
stock/soy milk: 1.99
potatoes: 1.69
onion: .39

Grand total: $4.07; serves 6-8

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unstuffed Cabbage

My mom and I love stuffed cabbage, but it can be pretty time consuming, so she started making unstuffed cabbage, where she layered cabbage leaves and the ground meat filling, then baked it in the oven.

My version of unstuffed cabbage is even easier--the same principle flavors, you just add chopped cabbage to the filling and cook it all together. It's still delicious, and takes 1/4 of the time!

Check out the other St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party menu items: Beer Bread, Irish Soda Bread, and Guinness Braised London Broil.

Unstuffed Cabbage

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground meat
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 bags (20 oz) shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar (I used cider)

  1. Heat oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven. Add onions and cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add ground meat and brown, cooking 2-3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place cabbage in microwave for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add to pot with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk together ketchup, sugar and vinegar. Add to pot and stir to combine. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender.
The cost:
meat: 4.99
onion: .45
cabbage: 3.98

Grand total: $9.42 (less if you buy a whole cabbage and shred it yourself); serves 4-6

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party: Guinness Braised London Broil

All I can say is, yum. Beer + red meat is an unbelievably delicious combination. I let the meat soak up my sweet & spicy Guinness marinade for a full 24 hours, and wow. But don't take my word for it, try it yourself!

Note: You can easily make this gluten free by substituting a gluten free beer.

Guinness Braised London Broil


1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp spicy or dijon mustard
2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
4 garlic cloves, cracked and peeled
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 shots of Sriracha or other hot sauce
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
14 oz. Guinness or other stout
2 lbs london broil (I used two 1 lb-ers)


1. Mix together all ingredients but meat in a heavy zip-top bag. Add meat, then marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (I did a full 24).

2. Using a pair of tongs, remove meat from marinade into a baking dish. Pour in enough of the marinade so the meat is just submerged.

3. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your cuts of meat (if you use a single cut at 2 lbs, it might take longer; you can also braise this on the stove-top in a large dutch oven).

The cost:
meat: 17.98
other ingredients: <3.00

Grand total: $20.98; serves 6-8

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Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party: Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Vegan)

This traditional Irish soda bread was so unbelievably easy to make. Between this and my beer bread, I don't think I will ever again make regular bread that requires kneading, resting and all that.

I did a lot of internet searching for a recipe for traditional Irish soda bread--I found a lot of variations, and stumbled upon a number of rants (like this one) that real Irish soda bread has ONLY 4 ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.

I hope this recipe won't spark any rants, but I cannot eat dairy so I veganized this recipe with a combination of soy milk and white vinegar to create the illusion of buttermilk.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 + 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp white vinegar

  1. Sift together dry ingredients. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar, then add to dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.
  2. Spread into well-greased loaf pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the bottom is hollow and a toothpick comes out clean.
The cost:
soy milk: 1.69
other ingredients: <0.99

Grand total: $2.68ish

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Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party: Beer Bread

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I decided I wanted to make a beer bread. Having never made it before and finding a myriad of recipes online, I decided to put the question out into the Twitterdom. One of my Twitter buds, the Novice Chef, happily sent me her recipe. I made a couple of tweeks (made a bit of a smaller batch, left out the butter) and it was DELICIOUS. I should have made a loaf for each person :). It's so quick and easy to put together, but people will think you slaved for hours kneading, letting it rise, etc. Thanks @TheNoviceChef!

And stay tuned for the rest of the St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party recipes!

Note: This recipe is not gluten free; I am being tested for Celiac Disease in a few weeks and have unfortunately had to reintroduce gluten into my diet for an accurate result.

Beer Bread


2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp + pinch salt
11 ounces of beer (1 + 1/3 cups; I used a Belgian ale)

  1. Sift together dry ingredients. Add beer and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined (dough will be a bit sticky).
  2. Transfer dough into greased 8-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the bread has risen and it sounds/feels hollow when you tap the bottom.
The cost: $2.00ish

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dinner Partying for Penny Pinchers: St. Patrick's Day!

I love throwing dinner parties, and themed dinner parties are even better! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I decided the throw a party where all of the food was either Irish-inspired or green. It wasn't as challenging as I thought it would be (imagine having to do a blue party...), and it was really fun to plan the menu and cook everything.

Thank you to my awesome guests: AK, AF, CSS, RJG, BL, and MK for a super fun dinner party!

Here is a peek at the menu--stay tuned for the bread recipes tomorrow!

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Party Menu

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Check Out My New Guest Blogger Gig!

Dear Lovely Readers,

In case you couldn't get enough of my over here, you can now also read my random musings about food, being Jewish and other contemporary issues at The Jew & the Carrot! I'll be blogging there a few times a month, but in case you don't want to be checking back there all the time to see if I've posted, I'll post a link here so you can check it out if you like.

Here is my first post: Quinoa, a Passover Game-Changer.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RellaBellaK, and if you use a feed reader (like Google Reader), you can subscribe to my blog by clicking on the little arrow to the right of this post where it says "subscribe."

Thanks for being a loyal reader! Oh, and stay tuned for some very special St. Patrick's Day themed posts over the next few days (hint hint: Guinness Braised London Broil!!)

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Risotto (w/ Homemade Vegetable Stock)

I may just have a new favorite comfort food.

It used to be baked macaroni & cheese before I had to become gluten & dairy free. I hadn't been able to find something to replace it...until now! The host of this month's Daring Cooks Challenge called it a comfort food but I was skeptical. I mean, rice as a comfort food?

So last week, I made risotto for the first time, and it was a-mazing. So creamy, succulent, ridiculously satisfying. The best part is, it's easily made dairy free, and rice is always gluten free! Delirious happiness is putting it mildly.

The challenge was to make not only risotto, but also your own stock for it! I made vegetarian rather than chicken stock since I made extra to use at a later time. It's really easy--throw a whole bunch of vegetables in a pot (I sauted the onions and garlic first), add 8-12 cups of water, then let it simmer until it has reduced at least by half; I reduced it to 1/3 the original amount of liquid for a super concentrated flavor.

I kept my stock flavors really simple because I like to do a lot with flavor when I'm using it for other things--just a mirepoix, water, salt, pepper, & 2 bay leaves. A lot of stock recipes say to discard the leftover veggies, but they served as a delicious snack for me :) I used most of my stock, but I would have stored the remainder in 1-cup servings (either in a container or freezer ziploc bag) in the freezer.

Now the risotto. I was a little intimidated but it's actually not that bad! You just need to be careful about adding the liquid a bit at a time, and then waiting until it is absorbed to add more. I can't eat dairy so I didn't use butter, but it still came out nice and creamy. I think I shall be making risotto more often :)

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Homemade Vegetable Stock


4 tsp vegetable oil
4 small onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, cracked and peeled
4 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
12 cups water

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot and saute onions and garlic until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook 4 minutes more.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 2-3 hours or until liquid has reduced by at least one half.
  3. Pour through a fine sieve to strain out any vegetable pieces. Store stock in the fridge up to a week, in the freezer pretty much indefinitely :)

Vegan Onion Risotto


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in dutch oven. Over medium flame cook onions until soft and translucent.
  2. Add rice and brown 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add white wine, stirring to combine. Allow a low simmer, stirring occasionally until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add remaining liquid 3/4 cup at a time, waiting until it has been absorbed to add more.
Note: I liked the creaminess of the risotto; if you like it dryer, add less liquid; creamier, add more!

The cost:
veggies: leftover, or about 5.00 to buy new
rice: 5.99
onion: .35

Grand total: $11.34; serves 4

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Smoky Maple & Brown Sugar Candied Pecans (Vegan)

My sweet & smoky almonds were a huge hit last week, so I decided to experiment with a little more smokiness. I've also had a bottle of good quality maple syrup sitting on my counter (thanks for the gift AD!), so I used the syrup to help the sugar-spice mixture stick to the nuts.

I was really happy with how these turned out, certainly more candied than the last time I made the attempt (although glazed nuts are still great too!). I love the sweet, smoky, salt combination here. Let me know what you think!

Note: This is one of those times that since you want the maple flavor to shine, you should spend the money on a good quality maple syrup and not the fake, corn syrup reinforced pancake syrup.

Smoky Maple & Brown Sugar Candied Pecans (Vegan)


1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 lb raw pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar, paprika, and salt; make sure there are no lumps.
  3. In a separate bowl, coat pecans in maple syrup. Add sugar/spice mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cool.
The cost:
pecans: 6.49
other ingredients: <1.00

Grand total: 7.49

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

No-Sugar-Added Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins


A few nights ago I came home from a really long day at work but still wanted to cook or bake. I made onion smothered chicken and a batch of my ever favorite chocolate chip banana nut muffins. The chicken was fantastic. The muffins were a bit of a crapshoot.

This is a testament to how tired I was--I've made these muffins hundreds of times, and I felt like I was forgetting something. I remembered two minutes after I put them in the oven: I had completely left out sugar! There wasn't much I could do at that point so I just let them bake and figured a little experiment couldn't turn out too terribly...right?

They were in fact a huge success. They came out much lighter and fluffier than my usual muffins (fine, a little mutant looking too), and the chocolate chips and banana itself added just the right amount of sweetness; honestly, if I thought of them as mini banana bread rolls (or almost popovers?), I couldn't find anything wrong with them. In fact, AK liked them better than my original recipe because they are so light and airy.

I guess sometimes mistakes/accidents can reveal great things (it worked for potato chips)...And this really makes me want to experiment with gluten free bread :)

No-Sugar-Added Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins


4 bananas, pureed
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 + 1/4 cup flour (I used gluten free)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Combine bananas, eggs, vanilla, and spices.
  2. Sift together BP, BS and 1 cup of flour. Stir into wet mixture. Add additional flour as needed (depends on how big your bananas were; you want the batter to be relatively thick). Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Divide evenly into a 12-muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes until edges are browned and tops are firm and golden.
The cost: $4.00, give or take.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrating 100 Posts. Fine 112. Better Late Than Never?

Funny thing. The last few months I was thinking that I should do something special for my 100th post. It's a milestone, right? Well, that milestone came and went a few weeks ago :-p. This post is number 112.

I'm not sure why I up and forgot about my 100th post. Maybe I thought I didn't have anywhere near 100 posts (actually that number still seems somewhat staggering to me, although I'm not sure why since I usually blog 4-5 times per week and I started back in September. I also missed my 6 month anniversary...), or maybe I'm just loving this whole blogging thing so much I plan to blog 100,000 more times and 100 seems measly :)

Either way, thank you, dear readers. You are the reason I blog. I love it when you tell me I inspire you to try new things, and make you want to cook and bake. If you are a faithful RSS subscriber, you can also follow my random musings on Twitter @RellaBellaK. For those of you who aren't subscribed but use things like Google Reader, well, become a subscriber! Just click the little drop-down arrow to the right of this post where it says "subscribe to."

As always, feedback is most welcome and encouraged. Let me know what you like, and what you want to see more of!

And in case you happen to be wondering what my 100th post was, it was actually rather fitting. Perhaps you've noticed my obsession with banana flavored baked goods?

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Onion Smothered Chicken w/ White Wine Braised Baby Bok Choy

Earlier today, one of my Twitter buds tweeted a photo of his caramelized onion steak. It really put me in the mood for something smothered in sweet, slow cooked onions.

I decided on chicken since I didn't have any steak; originally, I planned to use broccolini (baby broccoli) for this recipe but they were out, so I got baby bok choy instead and it came out great! It takes a long time to cook the onions down low and slow so they release they sugars and caramelize, but it's so worth it. If you don't have time, you can just saute the onion regularly over medium high-heat.

Onion Smothered Chicken w/ White Wine Braised Baby Bok Choy


4 tsp vegetable oil
3 small onions, quartered and sliced thinkly
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper (or red chili flakes)
1/4 cup white wine
4 baby bok choy, sliced in half length-wise


1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large skillet. Over medium-low heat, saute onions until soft and caramelized, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add chicken and cover with onion. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side to brown, sprinkle in salt and pepper and stir to coat, then add wine to deglaze pan. Raise heat until liquid is bubbling (you want to cook out some of the alcohol), turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 3-4 minutes more until chicken is no longer pink.


3. Remove chicken from pan and add baby bok choy, cut side down. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes, then turn over (cut-side up) and cook 1 minute more until core is soft and leaves are wilted but still very green.


The cost:
onion: 1.19
chicken: 6.72
baby bok choy: 2.49

Grand total: $10.40; serves 2 + leftovers (serve over rice or mashed potatoes)

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Monday, March 8, 2010

No Milk for Me: Calcium-Intake Tips for Dairy Free Diets

I've been almost completely dairy free for about sixth months now (I developed lactose intolerance 3 years ago, but used to be able to eat cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese; sadly, a little lactose-free milk for my cereal is about all I can handle now). When I went dairy-free, I was worried about getting enough calcium, so I did an investigation into foods outside of dairy that are high in calcium. Luckily, I already ate many of them!

Calcium-rich foods include: Tofu, cabbage, bok choy, figs, apricots, edamame, turnip greens, kale, brussel sprouts, canned salmon & sardines, cooked oats, roasted almonds, sesame, navy & white beans, and chickpeas.

You can also eat foods that are calcium-fortified (i.e. they add calcium) like select brands of cereals, soy milk and orange juice.

For more information about calcium intake, calcium deficiency and calcium-rich foods, check out this link.

Are you dairy-free? All of my recipes are! Check out some of my favorites here, here and here.

Many of my Twitter friends are dairy-free too! Be sure to check out:
Dairy-Free Betty -- lots of yummy dairy-free ideas (blog link)
A Life of Sugar & Spice -- dairy & gluten-free (blog link)
The Blissful Chef -- great vegan recipes (blog link)

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snap Pea & Blood Orange Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette

I had a leftover bag of snap peas that I wanted to use in a salad, but frankly my fridge revealed very few other vegetables (I was going grocery shopping later that evening). One of my twitter friends had suggested a while back that blood orange and balsamic are great flavors together, so I decided to make a balsamic vinaigrette and top everything with some chopped nuts from the previous nights candied nut adventure.

Snap Pea & Blood Orange Salad w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette


1 bag snap peas
3 blood oranges
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp light olive oil
shot of agave
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of black pepper
handful of chopped nuts

  1. Cut snap peas into bite-sized pieces and place in bowl. Segment and blood oranges
  2. Squeeze blood orange juice from center/membrane and combine with vinegar, oil, and spices. Pour over peas, tossing to coat.
  3. Top with chopped nuts and serve.
The cost:
snap peas: 2.39
blood oranges: leftovers (2.99)
other ingredients: <1.00

Grand total: 3.39ish

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sweet & Smoky Glazed Almonds

TJs carries a number of candied nuts, but I always hate buying such a teeny tiny bag for the same price as a full pound of un-candied nuts. I got home last night wanting to bake, so I decided to try candying my own nuts!

The first idea that popped into my head was brown sugar and smoked paprika, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't totally crazy and setting myself up for a flavor combination disaster, so I did a little internet searching and found this recipe by Smitten Kitchen. I made some recipe adjustments: I used just almonds, reduced the sugar since I don't like super-sweet candied nuts, used sweet smoked paprika rather than hot, and upped the cooking time just a bit. I also removed the nuts from the egg wash before sprinkling with the sugar mixture because there was a lot of extra liquid and I didn't want the sugar to dissolve and melt (although it still ended up doing that my I'm saying my almonds are glazed rather than candied :)).

I think these came out great! Just the right balance of sweet and salty, a little pizazz from the cinnamon, and a mild smoky hint to finish things off. I'm taking them into work today so I don't eat them all, they are addictive!


  • Make sure you buy raw nuts if you are going to be doing any kind of roasting with them; if you buy pre-roasted, you'll end up with brittle and overcooked nuts.
  • I didn't feel like waiting for my egg white to come to room temperature, so I put it in a warm water bath by nesting 2 of my awesome metal mixing bowls (kind of like a double boiler) from Webstaurant Store (@webstaurant) and it was room temp in less than 2 minutes.
  • Thanks to my beautiful sister (a potter as well as an amazing cook) for the serving dish featured in the above picture!
Sweet & Smoky Glazed Almonds


1 egg white, room temperature
1 tsp water
1 lb raw almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper; make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Whisk egg white and water until frothy. Add almonds and stir to coat.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove nuts from egg wash and spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar mixture, tossing to coat, then re-spread in a single layer.
  5. Bake nuts for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Allow nuts to cool, breaking up any that are stuck together. Store in an airtight container.
  7. Take them into work so you don't eat them all.
The cost:
nuts: 4.49
other ingredients: <1.00

Grand total: 5.49

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Pot Wonder: Dutch Oven Chicken & Rice

One-pot dishes are the best. You throw in a whole bunch of ingredients for a complete meal, and you only have to wash one pot (fine, maybe a spoon, knife and cutting board too)!

Pretty much any combination of vegetables, grain/legumes and protein can work so feel free to be adventurous! If you don't have a dutch oven, either than highly recommending you get one, you can also do this is a large saucepan and baking dish, but you will have more to wash :)

Note: Some readers have asked for more pictures of my preparation/cooking in addition to the finished product. Please let me know what you think!

Dutch Oven Chicken & Rice

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, quartered and sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
8 oz cremini mushrooms
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
3 carrots, sliced into rounds
12 brussel sprouts, quartered
1 cup white basmati rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 chicken quarters


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in dutch oven and cook onions over low heat until soft and browned, 10-12 minutes (add garlic and mustard seed after 5 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook until they are soft and have released their juices, 4-5 minutes.

2. Add brussel sprouts, carrots and 1/2 cup of stock. Bring to a boil and cook covered 2-3 minutes. Add rice, remaining stock, salt, pepper & bay leaves, stirring to combine.

3. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and add to pot, slightly submerging in liquid. Raise heat and bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven. Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes until rice has absorbed all liquid and chicken is cooked through. Remove bay leaves before serving.

The cost:
onions: .69
garlic: .10
mushrooms: 1.99
carrots: .99
brussel sprouts: 1.89
rice: .99
stock: .99
chicken: 3.89

Grand total: $11.53 (5.77/person)

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Recipe Remix: Smoked Paprika & Mustard Seed Chicken (Dutch Oven Braised)

I have become a huge fan of mustard seeds. Not only do they add great flavor to a dish, but they also lend a nice crunchy texture, but they soften with cooking so they aren't too hard. For now I'm just using yellow mustard seeds which are pretty mild, but when those are done I am totally going to try brown ones which are much spicier.

This chicken is similar to a previous recipe, although I think the addition of white wine really makes all of the flavors pop. This dish also inaugurated my new dutch oven (thanks Mom :)). If you have any other recipes for dutch ovens please feel free to share!

Smoked Paprika & Mustard Seed Chicken (Dutch Oven Braised)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 scallions, chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup white wine

  1. Heat oil in dutch oven and saute scallions until soft, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Combine paprika, mustard seeds, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pat chicken breasts dry, then dip into spice mixture, rubbing and massaging into chicken.
  3. Add chicken to pan and brown chicken, 1-2 minutes on each side. Add white wine to deglaze pan, moving the chicken around to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Cover and cook over low heat 6-8 minutes chicken is no longer pink.
The cost:
scallions: 1.19
chicken: 5.99

Grand total: $7.18; serves 2 (add brown rice & steamed broccoli for a complete meal)

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