I can feel good about myself when I don't eat out every single meal on the weekend. Now that Recession: Party of One is in full swing, I'm finding it a lot easier to stay in and cook - whatever motivates you, right?
My lunch Saturday was another attempt on my part to eat more vegetarian meals. Sunday, however, was a completely meat-tastic day. Read on to see how to make two yummy, simple lunches, and of course I'll give you the Party of One Price Index Update for both meals.
GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP WITH HAM, PEAR, & MOZZARELLA SANDWICH
I debated even posting this at all, considering I didn't actually MAKE the soup, but I thought the sandwich was creative enough - and the overall meal was thrifty enough - to warrant a R: P of 1 shout-out. And frankly, I thought the picture came out nicely. This was a really yummy meal - it rained non-stop here in Chicago all weekend, and soup and a gooey cheesy sandwich seemed like the perfect stay-in-and-watch-the-entire-season-of-The-City meal.
2 slices French bread
2 slices deli ham
1-2 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 pear, very thinly sliced
1 can Muir glen Garden Vegetable Soup
2 pats butter for grilling sandwich
1 T. sour cream (optional), for stirring in soup
In a medium pot, cook the soup until steaming hot. Top with a dollop of sour cream if you want.
Place the ham, pear, and cheese on the bread. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the sandwich until golden brown, cooking the side closest to the cheese first so it melts. Flip, and cook until the other side is also golden brown. Slice in half, serve with soup, and enjoy.
PARTY OF ONE PRICE INDEX:
PEAR: I'm going to call this free, since it was on the verge of being wasted (it was once one of a 3-lb. bag).
HAM: 66 cents
MOZZARELLA: 15 cents
BREAD: 14 cents
The GRAND TOTAL is...
$2.61. This really only made one serving (I had about a 1/2 c. of soup left over), but I think that was still a very Recession-friendly lunch!
And now on to my attempt at vegetarian cooking...
SPICY VEGETABLE CURRY
1 T. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
5-6 frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/2 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. whole cashews
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c. sour cream
1/4 c. chicken broth
Sriracha to taste
Moroccan spice blend (or curry powder), to taste
juice of half a lime
1/3 c. dry couscous
2/3 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper
Bring chicken broth to a boil for the couscous. Add couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and carrots, and season with some of the spice blend/curry. Cook until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the chicken broth, broccoli, and chickpeas, and some more spice blend. Reduce heat to medium, stirring frequently. Stir in the sour cream until it is well-incorporated and the whole mixture is smooth. Stir in the cashews, Sriracha, and half the chopped cilantro. Cook until all vegetables are tender-crisp.
Serve over couscous, garnishing with the lime juice and the rest of the cilantro.
PARTY OF ONE PRICE INDEX:
BELL PEPPER: $1.08
CARROT: 9 cents
BROCCOLI: 54 cents
CHICKPEAS: 10 cents
CILANTRO: 83 cents
CHICKEN BROTH: 40 cents
CASHEWS: 50 cents
SOUR CREAM: 50 cents
I'm not counting the Sriracha, couscous, olive oil, and spice blend, because those are pantry staples I tend to have on hand.
So the total for the ingredients comes to $4.04, but I got two servings out of them, which makes the GRAND TOTAL...
$2.02...not too shabby!
The curry came out nicely, although it's worth noting that the sour cream and chicken broth, as opposed to the blend of heavy cream and milk I used last time made the curry significantly more savory than the other one I made recently. It sort of balanced out the natural sweetness of the cumin, but I think that in the future I'll use the cream/milk instead, since I like the cumin's sweetness to shine through. I really like the bite of the lime juice and the freshness that the cilantro added. And I'm always surprised at how full I can get from vegetables alone! The protein and richness from the cashews and sour cream help, of course.
Well, it's been a weekend of disappointing weather, but that almost always leads to great food. One more R: P of 1 post to come soon! Thanks for reading!