It just so happens the first installment is a recipe I've had forever. Literally, my mom has been making it for years. In fact, I told a friend about it the other day and went to show it to her on my blog because I assumed I must have shared it at some point. I know I posted about it way back when I first started my old site, but since that's been a while and this venue is all new, I thought I would do a new and improved version. Oh and PS- if you have suggestions or recipes that fit the cheap and easy requirements, please share!
Before we jump into the recipe, I wanted to share a few tips that I've discovered for keeping the cost of food down.
1. Buy in bulk. This tip may seem obvious, but there are pitfalls. A Costco or similar store membership usually costs around $50. If you have roommates or a close friend, I'd suggest splitting the membership. Usually two people can be on the account and each person gets a card. If you have more people in your apartment/house, just pick two to be on the account and make sure at least one of them goes with you. It may seem like a pain, but it's not like you are going to these types of stores just to pick up one ingredient.
While you are there, I really recommend getting things like chicken. They have these awesome deals where you can get an entire container of chicken and they have individual wrapping for two breasts. Pop the entire thing in the freezer and then just cut off a little section and defrost two breasts whenever you need them. It's so much cheaper than getting your meat at Safeway or a normal grocery store.
Just don't fall into the traps and buy things you don't need. While it might seem perfectly awesome to buy 50 breakfast burritos at the time, don't buy it just because it's a good deal. You'll probably get sick of them before you are through.
2. Try and have a well stocked pantry. Sure this recipe calls for a few different ingredients (rice vinegar, sliced almonds, soy sauce, etc.). The first time you buy them your grocery bill might be a bit more than usual, but they last for a really long time and you won't need to buy them again for months, if not longer.
3. Make the most of your leftovers! For example, this recipe calls for 1/2-1 head of Napa cabbage. If your grocery store happens to have massive heads of cabbage, use the whole thing, maybe add an extra chicken breast, another package of noodles and double the sauce. You end up not wasting the cabbage and you have extra leftovers. Win win! To make sure you use those leftovers and not impulsively buy lunch while on campus or at work the next day, package them up right after you finish dinner. I like to put some of the leftovers in a bowl (if I'm going to be home for lunch) and some in a tupperware container if I know I'm going to be on the go. If the food is already packed, I can't use "I'm in a rush" as an excuse and I'm much more likely to utilize my extra food.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Ingredients for Salad:
2 whole chicken breast- poached (you could also saute or roast if you wanted)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
½ to 1 head Napa cabbage- chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 package Top Roman noodles – crumble dry noodles (do not use
Ingredients for dressing:
2-3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons rice vinegar