Archive for Budget-friendly

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

One of the coffeeshops I really like here has a great wrap on their menu called a super veggie hummus wrap. I love this sandwich, despite its odd ingredients. The only problem? It costs $9 and doesn’t even come with chips! I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to make this delicious lunch at home–and for much less money.

Now because of the broad range of ingredients in this sandwich, it will only be a reasonable price if you plan to use these items in other dishes. For example, you could use some grilled veggies for this wrap, and some on top of pasta, and some in a burrito. But as long as you use all the parts without letting them go to waste, it adds up to a pretty reasonable dish. I would estimate about $3/wrap.

Feel free to adjust the insides based on what you like/have in the house, but be sure to keep the hummus, apple and salsa. I know the three sound a little odd together, but I promise, it’s awesome.

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Super Veggie Hummus Wrap

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1 (easy to turn into more)


  • 1 whole wheat tortilla, approx 10″ diameter
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 3 kalamata olives (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sauteed (or grilled) veggies–summer squash, zucchini, bell peppers and carrots are all wonderful
  • 1 thin slice red onion (several rings)–approx 2 tbsp when chopped
  • several thin apple (red or green) slices–approx 1/4 apple
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • non-stick spray
  1. If you don’t have any sauteed veggies, chop up what you have around, spray a small skillet with non-stick spray and throw the veggies in the pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally. They’ll be cooked enough by the time you’re ready to add them into the wrap. Quarter the red onion rings and the olives (if using), and chop the apple pieces into pieces about an inch square.
  2. Spread the hummus in a 2-3 inch wide strip down the middle of the tortilla, leaving an inch-wide space from the edge of the tortilla. Press the spinach into the hummus, tearing any large leaves. Add the veggies, olives, onion and apple slices on top of the spinach. Top with the salsa.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat and spray with non-stick spray. Fold up the wrap: first fold in the 1-inch spaces you left on the edge of the hummus strip. While holding those edges folded in, fold over one side and then the other. Place the wrap seam-side down into the skillet. Heat about 4 minutes, or until light brown. Then flip over and heat the other side for about the same length of time. Enjoy!

Note: Packing a lunch to eat later? This will work! Make it ahead of time at home, leaving out the salsa and bringing it with you in a small container. Add it to the wrap when you’re ready to eat. If you have access to a microwave, heat the wrap for 1 minute on 70% power.


Leave a Comment

Eating well on a Budget

A few of my friends and I were recently discussing our need to keep our food budgets down in the coming months. We all share the two problems: we’re usually cooking just for ourselves, maybe one other person, and we don’t like to eat the same things over and over. We have a few ideas in mind, key among them is planning meals for a week (or two) so that one makes fewer trips to the grocery store with only a list of ingredients for those meals in hand (thereby making fewer impulse purchases). The other good thing about planning ahead is you can plan leftovers to be turned into other meals.

We’re also going to share a few recipes with each other that are cheap to make, but are good for a few meals. With that in mind, I’m going to start a new category: Budget-friendly. I’ll go through and mark those recipes already on the site today, and I have a couple posts ready to put up in the next few days.

What’s your favorite dish to make on a budget?

Leave a Comment

Leftover Turkey Salad

Have you ever had one of those sandwiches with leftover roasted turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce? It’s very tasty but also a lot of bread in one meal. In this turkey salad recipe, I combined the flavors of the dressing with the turkey. I still recommend a few slices of jellied cranberry sauce. It adds delightful sweetness and tang. This salad would also work well stuffed inside a ripe tomato.

Servings: about 3

Cooking time: less than 25 minutes, depending on how quickly you chop vegetables.

  • 1 cup turkey pieces
  • 1 rib celery (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • a few sprigs of parsley (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1 small apple (about 1/3 cup chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (less or more to taste)
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup light mayonnaise (to taste)
  • slices of jellied cranberry sauce (optional)
  1. Chop the celery, parsley and apple into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Combine with turkey pieces.
  2. In a small bowl, combine spices, oil and 1/4 cup mayo. Add this mixture to the turkey mixture. Add a little more mayo if necessary.
  3. Spread onto toasted slices of bread with a layer of cranberry sauce. Mmmm…

Leave a Comment

Courgette Croquettes

This time of year, everyone needs recipes for their prolific zucchini plants. I dared to plant one myself this year. Unfortunately, one of our windy rain storms toppled it over. Oh well. Zucchini are pretty cheap at the farmer’s market.

Not only is this a tasty way to use zucchini, it’s a continuation of my series of Greek recipes. The lemon and mint are really tasty here. The thing that’s tricky about this recipe is frying the croquettes quickly enough to cook all of them and get them to the table while they’re all still hot. I’m terrible at that. Nevertheless, they were quite tasty.

Servings: About 6 as a side dish with other items; enough for 8 appetizer servings

Cooking time: 40 minutes prep time, 1 hour+ chilling time, 30 minutes for frying

  • 5-6 medium zucchinis
  • half a medium white or yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves (enough for 1 1/2-2 tbps once minced)
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • fresh parsley, enough for 1 cup once chopped
  • fresh mint, enough for 1/3 cup once chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Grate the zucchini in a large, mesh colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt (1/2 tsp) and let sit in a sink or over a bowl for at least 15 minutes, or while you complete step 2.
  2. Grate the onion into a large bowl. Mince the garlic and add it to the onion. Finely chop the parsley and mint, being careful to remove any large stems. Add them to the bowl.
  3. Push down on the zucchini in the colander to remove more of the water. Add the zucchini to the large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, eggs and the juice of the lemon. Wash your hands. Mix together with your hands.
  4. Cover and chill the mixture at least one hour or over night. Shortly before you’re ready to serve them, heat 1/2 inch of oil in a pan. When you can feel heat coming off the oil about three inches above it, drop a small piece of bread in the pan. If it sizzles quickly, the oil is hot enough. (Make sure it doesn’t smoke.)
  5. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture into the hot oil, trying to keep the mix in a pile. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fit five to seven croquettes in at once. Make sure to leave space around them though so you can flip them over. When a croquette is golden on one side (3-4 minutes), flip it to the other side. When a croquette has fried on both sides, remove it with a slotted spoon or spatula onto a plate lined with paper bags (to absorb the grease). Serve as soon as they’re all done.

    Comments (1)

    Vegetable Chili

    I probably should not call this chili. I have a “vegetarian chili” recipe, and this is not it, though it does happen to be vegan. This is more of vegetable stew that happens to use chili powder. I created it to make use of all my wonderful farmer’s market vegetables, and it turned out quite well. The only things in it that didn’t come from the market were the spices, onion, beans, mustard and beer.

    You can substitute anything you like in this recipe. It is mostly an exercise in timing. Things like sugar snap peas hardly need any time, while my farm-fresh carrots needed a while. One of the best things in this stew was the earthy, floral quality of the fresh oregano. Fresh herbs need very little heat to release their essence.

    Vegetable Chili

    Vegetable Chili

    Servings: 4 large

    Cooking time: 40 minutes or so


    • 1 large garlic clove
    • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 small onion (white or yellow)
    • 2-3 carrots
    • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tbsp+ chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 cup water
    • 2-3 tomatoes (I used yellow)
    • 1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
    • 1 15 oz can of beans (I used kidney)
    • 3-4 oz good beer
    • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 ear of fresh corn
    • 1/2 cup+ sugar snap peas
    • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
    • cheddar cheese (optional)
    1. Mince the garlic and chop the onion and carrots (if the carrots are fresh, they only need to be scrubbed well, not peeled). Begin heating the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli, keeping the stems separate from the florets. Try to make the pieces as evenly sized as possible.
    2. When the oil sizzles when you put a drop of water in it, add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until almost clear. Add the carrots and garlic. Saute 4 minutes or so, until the carrots begin to soften. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute one minute. Add the water.
    3. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off of the corn. Snap the peas and cut them in half if they’re longer than 2 inches. Rinse the beans. Dice the tomatoes (do not seed them).
    4. When the water begins to simmer, add the beans and dried oregano. When the water returns to a simmer, add the tomatoes with juices, broccoli stems, mustard and the beer. Simmer about three minutes. Add the broccoli florets and corn. Simmer two minutes. Stir in half of the fresh oregano leaves and the sugar snap peas. Simmer one minute. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese and the rest of the fresh oregano.

    Note: When reheating leftovers, do so on medium heat, or you’ll overcook the vegetables.

    Leave a Comment

    Oatmeal Treat

    I wanted something different for breakfast this morning, but I didn’t want eggs since I’ll be eating a plethora of deviled eggs this afternoon. I concocted this yummy–and healthy–oatmeal, and it was quite satisfying.

    Servings: 2 generous

    Cooking time: 10 minutes, including time to boil the water


    • 1 cup rolled oats (I’m sure quick-cooking would be fine.)
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
    • 2 tbsp dried pineapple
    • 2 tbsp almonds
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    1. Put the water on to boil. This gives you time to measure out everything else.
    2. Add the oats and cranberries to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer. After about three minutes, add the pineapple and almonds. Continue cooking two to three minutes, or until thick. Stir in maple syrup and remove from heat.
    3. Serve in warmed bowls with a cup of coffee.

    Leave a Comment

    How to eat rice for a week without getting ill

    I am lucky enough to live in a place and have means such that I can make a statement like this title. I am very thankful for that.

    I must admit that my life of privilege–despite my limited grad school income–has spoiled me, and I hate eating the same thing every day. One of my good friends can have the exact same thing every day for lunch and never tire of her turkey and cheese sandwiches. I envy the simplicity of packing such lunches.

    Despite disliking repetitive meals, this is a busy time of year (when isn’t really), so I’ve been making large meals I can eat through the course of the week. This week, I made a big pot of rice on Monday, and I’ve been eating it different ways each day. Here’s what I’ve managed so far:

    Monday: Rice and black beans with cheese. I like to make beans from scratch, but it was canned this time. What’s worse, I have class on Monday nights, so I packed a resealable, microwavable container with a layer of rice, a layer of rinsed beans and some salsa. I took shredded cheddar cheese with me in a separate container and added it after heating the rice and beans.

    Tuesday: Sauted some julienned carrots in a touch of oil, then seasoned with garlic powder, ground ginger and pepper. I removed the carrots from the skillet, trying to leave most of the oil behind. Then I made some veggie potstickers in the skillet (frozen ones). While those were cooking, I heated up a bowl of rice. Then I mixed the carrots into the rice. Voila: rudimentary fried rice and potstickers. Tasty.

    Wednesday: Farmer’s Market! Wednesday is my one break during the work week, so I did some real cooking tonight. I got some beet greens for free at the market today, and I had some leftover arugula that I wanted to use, so I created the recipe below. It’s different (black beans in Asian food…), but pretty good I think.

    Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers. Recipe will follow soon.

    Friday: Yet to be determined. Possibly rice and cheese quesadillas. Suggestions?

    Asian Bitter Greens and Beans over Rice

    Cooking time: 20 minutes

    Servings: One very large serving


    • About 3 or 4 cups beet greens
    • 1-2 cups arugula
    • 1/3 cup carrots (when chopped)
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
    • 1 small to medium garlic clove
    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
    • small amount Asian chili sauce (to taste)
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    • dash ginger
    • dash ground pepper
    • one serving of rice
    1. Thoroughly wash the greens and shake out most of the excess water (I used a salad spinner). Tear any large pieces into smaller ones. (Be careful with the stems of the beet greens–they’ll turn your fingers pink just like the beets.) Mince the garlic. Julienne the carrots (tip: use baby carrots and chop lengthwise into 4-8 pieces depending on width of carrot). In a small bowl, mix together apple cider vinegar through pepper.
    2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic and carrots together for about two minutes, or when the carrots begin to get tender. Add beans and saute another minute or two. Meanwhile, reheat the rice if necessary. Add the beet greens and saute about two minutes before adding the arugula. Saute about two minutes more, or until all the greens are bright and wilted.
    3. Remove from heat. Stir the sauce again quickly, then pour over greens. Toss well. Serve over rice.

    Leave a Comment

    Older Posts »