Tag Archives: ten for two

lettuce wraps

1 Jul

My sincerest apologies dear readers for being such a horrible blogger these days.  I just don’t know where the past week has gone!  I feel like this recipe is too Sandra Lee for me to post, but I am going to do it anyways.  The truth is that I was going to make a hoisin sauce from scratch, but alas I didn’t have all of the ingredients in my pantry.  I broke down and bought pre-made hoisin sauce (I know, I know).  So, not only I have I been a bad blogger lately, but a lazy one at that.

The highlight of these lettuce wraps is really the summer squash.  They are basically the reason I made lettuce wraps in the first place.  It’s officially summer which means I have been spending quite a bit of time outdoors, staying out a tad too late on work nights, and truly enjoying all of the goodies at the farmer’s market.  I picked up these vibrant little squash for $1.25!!  I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with them, but I brought them home anyways.  Then I remembered one of the main ingredients in my favorite lettuce wraps from Phillipe is yellow squash.  It was decided.  These little squash were going to be turned into lettuce wraps.  I also had some basil on hand (left over from the spaghetti), so I figured instead of making pesto like I had originally planned I would use it for the wraps.

For the lettuce wraps….

Dice squash into small-ish pieces. Set aside.

Rinse chicken, remove any excess fat, and pat dry.  Coat in hoisin sauce. Brown on both sides in pan on medium heat and continue to cook on low heat until cooked all the way thru, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest/cool.

While chicken is resting, put yellow squash in pan and cook on low until centers become soft.  While squash is cooking, dice up chicken into small bite-size pieces.  Place chicken back in pan and cook squash and chicken together.  Don’t let them cook too long-you don’t want the chicken to over cook, just until the two ingredients cook together.  Remove from heat and fold in chopped basil.  Plate in large bowl and serve with lettuce leaves.

Grocery Bill:

  • 3 summer squash from the farmer’s market $1.25
  • 1 head boston bibb lettuce from the farmer’s market $1.25
  • boneless skinless chicken thighs (about a pound) $3.90
  • hoisin sauce $2.99
  • left over basil…eh about $2.00

Grand Total: $11.39

So, it looks like I owe you a hoisin sauce and more regular posts….

Happy Cooking!


spaghetti with garlic tomatoes

22 Jun

I saw the new Tilda Swinton movie “I Am Love” this weekend.  The movie was fantastic.  I don’t want to divulge too many details about the film (you have to see it), but one of the characters is an Italian chef.  Now, I am by no means comparing myself to an Italian chef (especially the one in the movie), however, watching the film made me crave something simple, filling, Italian, and inexpensive.   I made spaghetti with garlic tomatoes and topped it off with a little fresh basil.  We still aren’t quite in tomato season yet, but they are beginning to show their plump little faces at the farmer’s market and I am very excited about it.

for the spaghetti:

Dice up 4-5 cloves of garlic.  Saute in pan with olive oil.  Rinse tomatoes and remove stems.  Add to pan with a pinch of salt and saute on low heat.  I like to let the tomatoes cook until the skins just start to burst.  Cooking the tomatoes like this allows the skin to keep some of it’s integrity, but the tomato almost melts in your mouth when you bite into one.

Bring pot of water to boil, add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you are cooking.  I used spaghetti because the tomatoes were quite large and round.  If you are using smaller grape tomatoes, I recommend using capellini instead of a thicker spaghetti. Once you have drained the pasta, add to pan with tomatoes and saute quickly together.

Plate spaghetti and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil.

Grocery Bill:

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti  $0.50
  • 1 container fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market $4.50
  • Basil $2.99-you can use the leftover basil to make pesto
  • Parmesan- $4.25 for the container…I have been slowly eating the cheese for the past 2 weeks.

Grand Total: $13.50

If  you don’t want to go over budget, skip the basil.  It adds a bit of sweetness to the dish, but it’s really not necessary.

Happy Cooking!

scrambled eggs with goat cheese and chives

25 May

Brunch is a really inexpensive and pretty stress-free way to entertain.  I had some people over for brunch this past weekend and when I am entertaining I like to keep the cooking as simple as possible.  I made scrambled eggs, potato hash, and put out some fresh fruit with yogurt and granola.  Oh! And there were some cranberry coffee bars, but we will discuss those bars at a later date….

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19 May

The other day my brother asked me how to make bruschetta.  Although tomatoes aren’t quite in season yet, they’re  starting to pop up at the market. I have found that the key to making tasty bruschetta is to let the tomatoes marinate in olive oil and salt for a little before mixing in any other ingredient.  I don’t know if this is the traditional way to make it, but it sure tastes good.  Remember when you are storing tomatoes to keep them on the counter top.  If they go in the fridge their flavor will change.

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chicken paillard

13 May

Stressful day at work?  Make chicken paillard!  After countless hours of scientific research, I have come to the very precise conclusion that this is the perfect dish to make after a long day.  First of all, it takes about 10 minutes to make. Secondly, it requires very few ingredients.  But most importantly, you get to pound the crap out of some meat.  Forget screaming into your pillow, just try making chicken paillard and your stress will go away in no time!

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steak with greens

10 May

Sometimes I think my recipes are ways not to cook/get bamboozled into buying too much food at the super market.  Take what happened to me yesterday: I wanted to make steak and greens.  So, I went to the store and some how ended up with 2 pounds of meat-  two freaking pounds of meat that was way over budget and enough food to feed a family of four.  Well, I cooked all of the steak yesterday (LOTS of leftovers) and learned my lesson about the butcher counter: do not let the butcher talk you into buying massive amounts meat.  Simply stick with your task at hand, buy the appropriate amount of meat for two people (the recommended serving of meat per person is the size of a deck of playing cards) and be on your way.

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chicken and apples

5 May

It’s been so warm and lovely out the past few days I was in the mood to cook with some fruit.  This chicken dish is hearty but not too heavy-perfect for this hot spring weather.

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pizza pizza

28 Apr

Okay, I have a confession to make.  Last night was the first time I have ever made pizza.  I mean, can you blame me?  I live in New York and the idea of staying home and cooking pizza never really occurred to me.  When I’m craving pizza, I usually bop over to my local pizza place, Artichoke and grab a slice (if you haven’t been, it’s a must). When my friend H mentioned to me that she has been making pies lately, I was intrigued and asked her if she would teach me.

Before I get into the recipe (which is pretty easy), I want to take some time to discuss Trader Joes.  I love Trader Joes-it’s inexpensive and all of the employees seem genuinely happy to be stocking the shelves.  It was my store of choice in college.  I dislike, however, the frighteningly long line at the Trader Joes in Union Square.  When H told me we had to go there to get inexpensive dough and pizza sauce, I cringed.  I discovered that it was worth the money for certain items-I’ll break down the cost at the end, but the important lesson I learned about Trader Joes is this: go with a friend. One of you can stand in line while the other shops.

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FEED Top Chef Challenge

26 Apr

Last night I was very excited and honored to be a judge at the Columbia University FEED Club’s Top Chef Event.  The challenge was, and I quote, “to cook a plentiful, low-budgeted and healthy meal” with only $17 dollars that would feed a family of eight. One in every 6 Americans faces this very challenge every day.  Six teams faced off against each other to compete for the title of Top Chef.  I was really excited to see how creative each team was with only $17.  There was everything from spinach frittata to fresh bruschetta. “Not Sam’s Mom’s Cooking” took home the grand prize with their spicy and flavorful jambalaya, but all the teams did a wonderful job!  Thanks, CU FEED Club for letting me be a part of Top Chef!  For more info about FEED, click here.

click for more pictures….

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asparagus soup

25 Apr

Today is the perfect day for asparagus soup.  It’s rainy and dreary outside and all I want to do is curl up on my couch in my pajamas, sipping tea and eating soup.  So I decided to pretty much do just that.  The real reason why today is the perfect day for asparagus soup is that it’s spring time!  I went to the greenmarket yesterday and every other stand had bunches of asparagus piled high.  So of course, I bought some asparagus and decided to turn it into a soup.

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