Archive for cheap eats

Simple Cheap Eats

Some leftover stew from Fatty Fatty Boom Boom! zine and leftover baked potato fried with some spices.

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Broke Student Eats: Hummus Pasta

Ok, I know what you are thinking but hear me out! It’s not gross, I promise. What’s in your typical hummus? Chickpeas, tahini, oil, salt, garlic and lemon right? not bad. when you make spinach lasagna don’t you usually make a thickish, creamy sauce, with some garlic, maybe cook the spinach with some tasty lemon juice. Well, you see my point.

My pantry was bear, I had a whole container of hummus that I had just lost interest in (I know I know, I’m a horrible vegan). Plus I picked up a wicked soy-mayo-dip from the farmers market, so it pretty much left the poor hummus out in the cold.

This recipe is supper adaptable, in fact I think I was originally planning to use my eggplants in this as well. Basically, any lasagna/pasta bake style veggies you have and need to use can go in the pot!

So here we go, I made 2 large containers but you may want to cut back a bit as this was over 4lbs of food. :oof:.

ingredients
– Pasta of your choice, I used macaroni because I bought 10lbs of it at costco ages ago. Spirals also work nice or lasagna noodles if you want to be fancy.
-3-4 good sized handfuls of spinach, torn into peices
-1 medium onion (your choice, I had Spanish so I used those), diced into bite sized pieces
-3 TBSP Pureed Garlic (or minced) I would assume this is around 3-4 cloves
-2 lbs button mushrooms (or any other mushroom/veggie combo, celery is good, so are eggplants and peppers), chopped into chunks.
-1 container of store bought hummus (minus less than 1/3 in my case, any amount will do)
-1 jar tomato sauce
-2 TBSP olive oil
-Fresh cracked pepper, nooch, basil and Italian seasoning, soy-sauce/salt opt.
Optional: Vegan cheese, Almond milk

Preheat oven 355

Start by boiling water for the pasta and washing your veggies. Chop everything. Heat oil in a frying pan. Caramelize your onions in a pan with lots of fresh pepper. Once onions start to colour dump in your mushrooms and continue to sauté, add more oil if needed.

As those cook be sure to stir your pasta. After the mushrooms and onions are almost done add the basil, more pepper, soy-sauce and Italian season. Continue to cook until mushrooms take on the rich brown colour and everything is coated in seasoning and fragrant. Add garlic and sauté until it too is done. Leave on heat, but don’t let burn.

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Your pasta should be ready to drain and rinse with cold water. Take your baking dish(s) and fill half way with pasta. Tear up your spinach and add to dish, toss with pasta and cracked pepper. Now grab your hummus contain and scoop out the hummus into the baking dishes. Tossing with the pasta until everything is nice and coated.
Tossed.
Now the hotter your pasta, the easier it’ll spread. So I took turns dumping in hot mushroom/veggie mix onto the hummus globs to aid in spreading. Toss everything until well combined.
Hummus Pasta: Pre-Baked

Take your hummus container and add a splash of almond milk or water, close cover and shake. This will get all the little bits out, poor mixture into pasta. This also helps create a saucier consistency.
Saucy
now that everything is well combined, open your jar of pasta sauce and add it over top of the pasta creating a red layer. Top with nooch, cracked pepper and optional vegan cheese.

Creamy, oozing, goodness.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes covered*, remove cover and bake another 15 at 450 or until browned in spots/’cheese’ melts.

Serve piping hot! Or put it in the fridge for lunches, it gets better as it ages.

* If your container doesn’t have a cover, add a little extra almond milk or add water to the tomato sauce and shake it up to get all the little bits out and pour that over. The added moisture will help everything from drying out. I did one covered and one not, giving a little extra sauce etc to the non-covered dish.

Pre-baked.

For hummus lasagna, I would toss the vegetables separately with the hummus, then layer, veggie/hummus mix, noodles, spinach, tomato sauce and repeat.

Star Starches!


Featuring our favorite spud, the potato!
What better cheap, easy and oh-so-delightfully-filling product could there be?

The ways to prepare our fabulous spudding buddy are endless.
Wither mashed, baked, roasted, grilled, chilled, or fried potatoes make a great addition or composition to any meal.

Eaten with the skin the potato provides you with a rad assortment of vitamins and minerals, heavy on the C with some potassium and vitamin B6.

Its carbby goodness has filled many a hungry student belly, so when you take a break from saving animals do something nice for yourself and curl up with one of these fluffy baked delights and re-fuel your bad ass self.

Use them to bulk up, or compliment any meal. No matter what the menu, there is a potato accompaniment. If the cupboard is looking bare, then bake up one of these bad boys and top them anyway you’d like.

Happy eating!

(In our featured photo, we see the might spud enjoying a coating of paprika, pepper, earth balance, vegan bacon bits and some garlic salt. mmm)

Home Sweet Home

First meal back home a simple vegetable stir fry. Basic principles for stir fries, heat wok with some oil (i like to use a splash or two of sesame oil for taste) fry your onions, fresh garlic or ginger (or both!), sesame seeds or nuts, then add the vegetables in order of which cook the longest like carrots.

Be sure to add your favorite spices and sauces half way through cooking. With this stir fry I added my sauce when I added the faux chicken strips. Things like bean sprouts should be added just before consumption.

Fresh vegetables always taste best but frozen works just as well, especially if you plan on using a thick sauce that will coat your stir fry. You can even mix and match frozen with fresh. Be sure to serve your stir fry with your favorite whole grain or grain mix. Here I have a herbed wild rice.

Some Tips and Tricks to stretching your food dollar

Simple things that we all know, but sometimes fail to due for convenience, peer pressure and who knows what else. Like buying dry goods in bulk, cooking whole grains like brown rice over white for more nutrient bang for buck and the classic using dry beans. Dry beans, are supper cheap and if you plan a little or even cook a bunch on a day off and freeze for later, the can save you loads.

Buy dry goods in bulk. Again, don’t go over bored and make sure you have lidded containers to store them away from moisture and bugs.

some other tips and tricks I often use when I need to save money and still eat well which may or may not be obvious.

Jarred sauces, stocks, soups, condiments and whatever else, they aren’t cheap. In fact, most are pricer than making things yourself. Which you likely know, but hey everyone loves the convenience and ease of opening a jar, so my only tip here is to use all you buy. You’re going to be recycling the bottles anyway, which means you have to rinse them.

Rinse and save: Whenever I use the last bit of tomato sauce, tomato juice, salsa, veggie broth /whatever it may be, take a small amount of hot water into the bottle. Close the lid and shake to get out every last bit of content, and add this diluted mixture to whatever it was you were making. The small amount of water won’t hurt. I do this with ketchup, soymilk and well everything.

Another point, with leftovers EAT THEM! Sure the same food in a row might not be super exciting but you can recycle these too.

Diluting purees/blended soups: If you make a blended soup, make it stretch and change it into something different by adding liquid of choice.

E.g.: I made corn chowder the other day and for lunch today I took out a cup of the thick blended goodness and added it to a soup pot with a bottle of V8 (using the water/rinse trick too) and cooked until combined with stirring. Now this trick would be better with a vegetable soup, but it’s still good with the corn chowder. Sure it’s still soup, but now its a lighter vegetable soup. This is also great if your feeding more people.

Freezing vegetable ends. Whenever you chopping or dicing vegetables save all those skins, end pieces, stalks or anything else you would usually compost and freeze them into a plastic bag. Then when your bag is full use the odds and ends to make a flavorful and tasty stock.

More on recycling leftovers

Burgers: Just about any leftover can be made into patties or burgers by adding breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, corn flour, regular flour or some kind of grain and maybe a binding agent. Beans and rice make great burgers just smash with a potato masher and add crumbs as needed to form patties. Soups particularly the thicker kinds can be transformed into burgers in the same way, as can casseroles, chillies, stews, pasta dishes and even braised/roasted vegetables.

Casseroles: Like burgers casseroles can be made out of almost anything. Grains, veggies, legumes, burgers, soups, anything can be made into a casserole. Depending on what it is, you could add some grains , broken crackers or mashed potatoes, some gravy or sauce and you have an instant casserole. Again this is a good way to use up leftovers or if your simply stuck on what to make for dinner. Generally a starch, sauce, veggie or protein (or both!) and your half way there.

Burritos: Basically take anything you have in your fridge and add it to a tortilla and viola, instant burrito. Rice and bean dishes or curries are particularly good served this way but most any left over will do. Vegetable stir fry or sloppy vegans or chilli even your burgers can be added with some lettuce for easy transport and a tasty lunch the next day.

Bulking up: If your making soups, stews, gumbo, sauce or really anything that you feel could do with a little more adding grains is an easy and simple way to make dishes stretch further and feel more filling. Same with blending cooked veggies to add to sauces, spreads, soups or anything you fancy. This adds flavor, nutrients and bulk. The same can be done with beans, once cooked simply blend and add to anything you like.

Mashed potatoes: another cheap and easy solution. Can become a meal in and of itself with the addition of blended white beans and blended steamed greens. Or added to sauce, stews, soups etc to thicken and bulk. It can also turn most leftovers into a burger or casserole and makes a great burrito or breakfast patty if friend with veggies.

So go out and eat something!

VeganMofo: Poor Gal’s Soup

Here is a recipe for a soothing soup when your wallet is looking bare.

Poor Gal’s Soup:

  • Tomatoes (fresh is best, but canned works or a combo of both)
  • Onion (for a milder soup, green onions are best but they are pricer)
  • Garlic (I like garlic so I use 3-4 cloves)
  • oil
  • Water
  • Seasoning: Optional but this is best with fresh thyme and a little S&P
    • Thyme*
    • Rosemary*
    • Oregano*
    • Pepper
    • Cayenne if you like the heat
    • Mix it up and use whatever you have on hand or like

*On a super budget, Italian seasoning will do and you can use granulated or powdered
onion/garlic.

This soup is great with just the bare minimal (water, tomatoes, flavorings), but some easy add ins include: Small quick cooking pasta, rice, beans or lentils, veggies like greens, zucchini, peppers and anything you like. This time I had some Quinoa (lucky me!) so I used that.

Directions:
Heat your saucepan with a little bit of oil, chop your fresh garlic and onions add them to the oil and cooked until soft. If you like you can add your spices now to flavor the oil. Chop your tomatoes (or open your can). Add them as well, cook them for 3-4 minutes and then begin adding your water, it may look thin but as the tomatoes cook down you will begin to thicken the soup base into a surprisingly think and tasty broth.

Notes: if you are adding any extras like beans or veggies you can fry them with the tomatoes or simply add them after the water. Grains or pasta (uncooked) add them once the water is boiling.

This is a great light soup, easy for when you sick or studying, and filling when your fridge is bare.

Campus Triumphs

I know it’s been a while, so here’s a little update on my culinary world. I have been busy in the kitchen, teaching vegan cooking classes and cooking for groups of people all week (ok so sometimes it is just Katie and I but still).

Sadly, that is not what I am here to report. I am here to talk about the magic of cheap, vegan, campus food.

After my biology exam, I was a hungry and on my way to the Dunn building. Gracefully I Bi-passed the Dawg-Father and his 3$ veggie dogs and went into the grad house. It turns out Charleton offers plates of Veggies and Tofu for 3$, the same as the veggie burger. They also had Eggplant Xio-something, rice, rolls, etc. After my dish of spicy tofu veggie delight, I cut through the Killiam library and bought a Strawberry soy milk 1.50$.

All together a fairly decent and extremely cheap meal, all on the way to where I was headed.
4.50$ vegan lunch on route @ Dal.