Ballin’ on a Budget

This post isn’t so much about sharing a specific recipe nor does only it pertain to those who have tight finances. This is more about encouraging people to utilize those leftovers or things in the pantry that are waiting to get thrown away. You don’t have to be a grand master chef, and you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients. The ingredients can be simple, and the meal can be quick and easy, but still be delicious! This way, we can stop from wasting so much of our food! You know how sometimes a recipe only calls for half the bag of pasta and the other half of the pasta sits around in the cupboards? For dinner tonight I boiled up some extra pasta I had. I threw in some frozen peas, chopped green onions, minced garlic and chopped, cooked pork. All these ingredients were leftovers, just sitting in my fridge on the brink of being tossed out. I tossed it all in some soy sauce, sesame seed oil and a little bit of rice vinegar. I must say I was quite pleased with the results!
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Quick note** Add any combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar and/or sesame seed oil to a meat or pasta dish and you have the makings for a great and tasty asian inspired recipe. These flavors together never fail-
especially if you add in some fresh garlic!!

Anyway I hope this may have inspired you to jazz up some of the leftovers you have sitting around in your fridge or pantry. Sometimes I don’t even eat leftovers because I’m just tired of having the same thing again and again, so this was a nice way to switch things up on my taste buds, while also being less wasteful! Happy cooking everybody!

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Easy Pork Chops with Mac n Cheese

Yes this is a healthy dish BUT this recipe is only healthy if you keep the Mac N Cheese to a minimum people! We are talking 1.5 cups (no bigger than your fist). For greens, you can use brussel sprouts, green beans, whatever you like! I used green beans. The pork chops were amazingly easy to cook, tender and perfectly seasoned! I don’t eat pork chops often but they are a very good, lean meat to eat! So here it is!

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EASY PORK CHOPS WITH MAC N CHEESE

Ingredients:

For the pork:

6 thin-cut boneless pork chops (have the butcher cut them into 3/4”-1” in portions)
1 tsp. Cavender’s all-purpose Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp.garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 lemon
optional: port wine

To round out the meal:

Annie’s organic white cheddar Mac and cheese, prepared according to the box, or roasted potatoes if you have more time.

Your preferred veggies — green beans, brussels sprouts, heirloom carrots, etc.

Instructions:
The night before you plan to eat the pork, take it out of the freezer and place in the fridge. To cook, first drizzle the chops with extra virgin olive oil and season with the cavender’s, lemon pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of those seasonings. Simple kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper work too.

Heat canola oil or olive oil in a saute pan until very hot, then cook the meat for about 2-3 minutes per side. Squeeze on a little fresh lemon juice just before removing from pan. If you have some port, you can add it after the meat is out of the pan, then scrape up the brown bits, simmer the port for a minute or two, then use as a sauce for the pork.

If you’ve got green beans or carrots, steam them in a steamer basket and season with salt and pepper.

Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

Everyone right now is cooking up delicious creations with Asparagus. Well, here’s another! This recipe is meant to be vegetarian friendly, but I added some diced chicken to it to make it more to my liking. I also used whole wheat penne pasta! I just love love love the combination of Asparagus with Balsamic. Bon appetite my friends!

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PENNE WITH ROASTED ASPARAGUS AND BALSAMIC BUTTER

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound asparagus
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 2 teaspoons salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  6. 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  7. 1 pound penne
  8. 1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces
  9. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 tablespoons remain. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from the heat.
  3. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter, vinegar, asparagus, Parmesan, and the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Serve with additional Parmesan.

 

P.F Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

I’ve been MIA lately because I took a trip out of state to go see my friends and family back in WA. While it was a lovely time, I came home and was a little distraught by the change in the scale number. So here I am back to cooking and not eating out every night!

This is a recipe that I just had a craving for so I made them for dinner tonight. I’ve made it before and even my husband liked them, which is an accomplishment considering it’s food wrapped in lettuce! He even took some leftovers to work and let his friend try some who also said it was delicious. 

Now that summer is coming…this is a light, refreshing and healthy meal to try. On top of it all, it was easy to make! So now the real question…does it really taste like P.F Chang’s Lettuce Wraps? Not really. In my opinion at least. But is it still delicious?? Heck yes! It is even a lot more healthy and light…definitely not as salty too. I also used lettuce leaves which is a lot healthier than the iceberg lettuce because it has more nutrients. This is definitely a recipe I make time and time again! Enjoy!

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P.F CHANG’S LETTUCE WRAPS

Ingredients:
1lb ground chicken breast
1/2 onion, minced
salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1″ knob ginger, peeled & minced
2-1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 Tablespoon water
1/2 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (or more if you like it hotter)
dash of pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1/2-8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained & chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
10-12 large outer lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

Instructions:

1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet on high. Add chicken, onion, salt & pepper, then cook until chicken is nearly done, stirring often to break up the meat. Add garlic and ginger then continue cooking until chicken is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, oil, peanut butter, water, honey, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Add into the skillet and stir to combine.

3 Add green onions and water chestnuts into the skillet then cook for 1-2 minutes until the onions are soft and the water chestnuts are heated through. 

4. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and serve with cold lettuce leaves.