Category Archives: Less than 5

These recipes take less than 5 ingredients, less than $5, and/or less than 5 minutes

Hawaiian BBQ Pizza

 

Whoever was first to combine ham & pineapple was a brilliant person. Taking an Easter ham and slathering in brown sugar, and coating it in pineapple slices, leads to a sweet & salty perfect meal every time. This was then copied in sandwiches, and of course on top of pizza.

I’m a big fan of pizza due to its limitless topping capabilities. You can add just about anything to a pizza, and it will taste at least pretty good, and at best mind-blowingly delicious.

The “Hawaiian” combo of flavors is a pizza natural. Some are die-hard lovers, some may have never heard of such a crazy thing. Either way, give it a try yourself and see if you don’t have a new favorite.

Ingredients:

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Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 450. If you have a pizza stone, great. If you don’t, a cookie sheet works just as well, or any oven-safe pan.

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Step 2: Drain the pineapple, reserve juice for a cocktail, syrup, or smoothie later. Spray your cooking item, and roll the dough flat.

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Step 3: Layer on your ham slices, pineapple slices, and pour on the sauce. Cover with a thin layer of cheese if desired.

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Step 4: Bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes, until dough is brown and crispy on the edges. Dig in!

 

Mango Cherry Hurricanes

 

As a souvenir from my first visit to N’awlins, I had to bring home some hurricane mix. A little bit ironic now… anyways, this double-rum juice-heavy cocktail is a crowd pleaser and a sure party starter. It is the recognized ‘signature’ drink of the Big Easy. However, there are those that protest today’s Bourbon Street foot-long pitchers of syrupy sweet mixtures.

But as always, to heck with expectations. I had some hurricane mix waiting to be enjoyed, some spiced rum, a can of mango and a sunny day calling my name.

Try your own version at home with whatever type of juice you enjoy. Pineapple, mango, guava, lemon, orange, cherry, or passion fruit (the true original) are all delightful choices. You can even mix and match multiple. As long as there’s rum! Preferably 1:1 light and dark, but dark is all I had, so I just doubled up 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 can mango + juice
  • 1 package hurricane mix
  •  1 cup spiced rum
  • Optional: cherries or other fruit for garnish

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Step 1: Mix the hurricane mix & water in a large container. Depending on how many you are making, adjust recipe. This is for four drinks’ worth.

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Step 2: In a blender, blend the mango in its own juice until smooth.

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Step 3: In a large glass, add crushed ice 2/3 way full. Pour in 1/2 cup mix, 2-3 shots of rum (depending how strong you want it), and top with mango.

To make a large pitcher full, you won’t get the pretty layers, but simply mix 1 cup rum, 2 cups mix, and 1 cup mango. Adjust up to whatever volume you want. Then pour at will.

Garlic Roasted Goat Shoulder

 

For those of you who have never had goat products, I highly encourage you to try them! Everything from goat milk, to goat cheese, to goat meat, is delicious and pretty darn good for you. Goat cheese lasagna is absolutely fabulous, sharper and earthier than any ricotta ever will be, and it makes a great spread for toast or bruschetta. Pairs nicely with roasted sweet potato, beets, and on fresh green salads.

Goats milk is naturally homogenized, which means it doesn’t separate into the “cream” and skim milk, as natural cow’s milk does. The cow milk you buy in the store is one homogenous mixture because of the homogenization process; essentially putting such high pressure on the milk to shoot it through tiny tubes that fat globules break up into itty-bitty uniform pieces that no longer clump together and float to the surface.

Fun fact: baby goats are called kids. So when a goat has a baby, it’s just kidding!

Lame jokes aside, goats are delicious, and also good for the environment. They naturally think some of our worst plant enemies, like poison ivy & thistles, are delicious treats. They can even be used as a carbon-neutral landscaping option! (No seriously, you can rent goats to trim your lawn and get rid of unwanted greenery). As a final bonus, goat manure is odorless, can be directly applied to soil without composting, does not contain seeds, and is richer in nitrogen than that of cows or horses.

Ok, so goats are good at eating bad vegetation. How do they compare to cows and other meat producers? A similarly sized serving of goat meat has a third fewer calories than beef, a quarter fewer calories than chicken and much less fat, and up to two-thirds less than a similar sized portion of pork or lamb (source). They are browsers, not grazers, and a field can handle nearly ten times more goats than cows.

If the “gamey” taste and smell of what you think goat meat is turns you off, you may have had a bad experience. Some cultures prize older, tougher bucks, which are known to have that ‘barnyard’ smell about them. Give a local supplier a chance to show you what a younger cut is like, and you may completely change your mind.

So these little guys are totally adorable, extremely useful, and then completely delicious while also quite healthy for you. What are you waiting for?? Check out a local farmers market, or halal butcher, and find some goat near you.

I found Blue Slope Farm at the farmer’s market in CT. The proprietor, Matt, was there and he was very kind and helpful. He runs a working farm with cows, goats, and a maple syrup distillery. Their products are all local, they hand-raise their herd of over 200 cows each year to produce tender grass-fed veal and are branching out into goat meat. If you’re in New England check them out, they are top notch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cuts goat shoulder chops
  • 5-10 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp spice mix of choice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine

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Step 1: Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, and sprinkle spices onto chops. Place in the pan and sprinkle spices on the other side too.

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Step 2: Pour in the red wine, and cover. Cook low and slow for 10-15 minutes, until browned.

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Step 3: Using a sharp knife, cut holes in the meat. Press garlic cloves into the holes. Flip chops, cut holes into the other side, and fill with garlic. Cover and cook another 10-15 minutes on low.

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Step 4: Remove cover, turn heat to medium-high. Let wine evaporate, and sear the meat. Once lightly charred, flip and sear the other side. Be careful not to burn badly.

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Serve your delicious, sustainable, healthy chops with some fresh seasonal veggies and enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

 

Summer is the time for delicious veggies, picnics and get-togethers, and grilling out. While I’m a huge fan of any vegetable on the grill, I also believe bacon makes everything better. Water chestnuts, shrimp, and yes, even pork can and should be wrapped in bacon.

But if you’re trying to sneak extra veggies and fiber in, without compromising your meat-eating standards, this recipe is just the ticket. It only takes 2 ingredients and 15 minutes on the grill or in the oven to have a crisp, irresistible appetizer or side dish. Make these and watch as everyone inhales their vegetables. Or go here to watch me make these.

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Ingredients:

  •  2 pounds asparagus
  • 1 pound of bacon (turkey bacon may work too)

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Step 1: Cut the bottom most inch or two off of the asparagus. This is the hardest, woodiest part and does not taste very good. Then take 2-4 stalks, and one slice of bacon. Wrap the bacon around the asparagus stems from the bottom up.

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Step 2: Repeat for all the asparagus. Place the bundles either on top of a baking rack with a baking sheet underneath or on the grill. You want the bacon grease to be able to drip off as it cooks.

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Step 3: Grill on medium-low heat, flipping once, until bacon is fully cooked and asparagus is wilted but still crisp. Or bake in an oven at 350, turning once, for 15 minutes.

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That’s all there is to it! Let them cool enough to handle, and then chow down.

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Click below to watch the step by step video:

Perfect Diner Breakfast

 

Whenever you go to a diner, you know the kind, with linoleum floors, a jukebox, and likely some kind of dated decor, you have to get the classics. Hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, and toast. Don’t forget the endless coffee.

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While those are the classics, many people are intimidated by these simple breakfast favorites. Let me assure you, the perfect diner breakfast can be yours at home in under 20 minutes! If you really are unsure, just try one component at a time until you convince yourself that you really can do it all. Maybe start with toast 😉

This makes enough for two hearty servings. Coffee separate.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • Optional: veg/meat for the eggs, I used deli ham and chopped sweet bell peppers
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

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Step 1: If using veggies or meats, cook those 5-7 minutes in a frying pan. You can also just leave the eggs plain, or fry them over-easy.

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Step 2: Dice the potatoes into small cubes. To make it faster, microwave for 6-7 minutes. Heat the oil in a pan (you can use the same one from the eggs) and add the potatoes. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir and add seasonings, then cook another 5 minutes or until soft but crisp outside, stirring often.

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Step 3: Toast the bread using a toaster or by buttering and placing in the frying pan for 1 minute per side.

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Place all the components on a plate, and enjoy!

This looks very visually appealing, and tastes divine. Proof that you don’t need anything too fancy for a perfect and satisfying meal. Breakfast is also great any time of day, you can totally have breakfast for dinner. And breakfast foods tend to be cheap too, the cost of 3 eggs, 2 potatoes, and 4 slices of bread is likely under a dollar.

Perfect Diner Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • Optional: veg/meat for the eggs, I used deli ham and chopped sweet bell peppers
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. If using veggies or meats, cook those 5-7 minutes in a frying pan. You can also just leave the eggs plain, or fry them over-easy.
  2. Dice the potatoes into small cubes. To make it faster, microwave for 6-7 minutes. Heat the oil in a pan (you can use the same one from the eggs) and add the potatoes. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir and add seasonings, then cook another 5 minutes or until soft but crisp outside, stirring often.
  3. Toast the bread using a toaster or by buttering and placing in the frying pan for 1 minute per side.
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Frank-n-Beans Macaroni

 

For a cheap but filling meal, it’s hard to beat boxed macaroni & cheese. Ramen is really the only other college-type staple that comes to mind, and I’ve shown many ways you can jazz up that simple steaming bowl of chickeny salt water.

While I’m all for fancy-schmancy six-cheese homemade mac, and love health-ifying with butternut squash puree or acorn squash, sometimes you just crave that classic boxed taste. But if you’ve eaten it way too often, or just like some variety, I’ve got just the thing. Consider this recipe to be the even-more-broke cousin of my famous chili mac recipe.

If you look for a good sale, you can get store-brand mac n cheese for about 25-35 cents, hot dogs are on sale often for $1 per pack of eight, and beans, especially dried, are always affordable. It is likely you can create two servings or one huge serving for under $1. And with only three ingredients, there is just no excuse to not try it, no matter what your level of cooking knowledge (or lack thereof).

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot dog
  • 1/2 cup beans (dry cooked, or canned)
  • 1 box macaroni & cheese
  • Optional: butter, milk (for mac n cheese)

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Step 1: If using dried beans, bring 1 cup beans per 2 cups water to a boil, and simmer 2-4 hours, until tender. If using canned, simply drain and rinse. Cook the hot dog by either boiling for 10 minutes, grilling it, or microwaving for 1 minute 45 seconds.

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Step 2: Boil the macaroni, following directions on the box. Cut the hot dog into slices, drain the macaroni. If using butter or milk in your mac, add those as well as the beans and hot dog. Mix together and enjoy!

 

Avocado Beet Wrap

 

As spring kicks into gear and temperatures climb, we start looking for lighter, cooling dishes. It’s tough to enjoy a beef stew or thick chili when it’s 95 and humid. Luckily spring and summer bring a rotating buffet of delicious seasonal vegetables and fruits.

One of my favorite ways to use fresh produce is in a wrap. You can only have a bowl of salad so many times before it gets old. This way you can still have all the greens and good toppings but in a portable, desk-friendly format. Wraps are easily adaptable to just about any veggie or dip (such as hummus, guacamole, or sriracha ranch).

This wrap packs the healthy fats of avocado, the anti-cancer and inflammation-fighting power of beets, the hydration of cucumber and greens in one fabulous lunch. But feel free to sub in another type of green (spinach, kale, beet greens) or other veggies you have on hand. On average, you should eat about 2 1/2 cups of veggies per day, and a wrap should contain approximately 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 whole roasted beet (4-5 slices)
  • 1/2 cucumber, skin on if organic
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 head of romaine (or 1/2 c greens)

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Step 1: Cut up your avocado, cucumber, & beets. Spread the greens on the tortilla, top with veggies. Roll up and enjoy!

 

*Some time saver tips:

  • Use canned beets for the slices
  • Pick up pre-cut cucumber from a salad bar
  • Use packaged guac instead of an avocado

Chicken Ranch Burgers

 

Spring and summer means it’s time for picnics and backyard BBQs. While the usual suspects, hot dogs and burgers, are tasty they are kind of old. (Hopefully not literally, you threw out the half-used pack from last summer right??)

I don’t know about you, but I like to experiment with “standard” foods to see if there is a way I can improve it and make it my own. With burgers there are so many options. You really just need a few fillers, spices, and something to bind it all together.

For the vegetarians and vegans, vegetable burgers are crazy easy to make and have so many customization options! My favorite way is to simply take about 1 cup of mashed beans and 1 cup of a whole grain (like couscous, quinoa, or oats) and some cooked vegetables, then bind it all with some oil and maybe flour. Kidney bean and quinoa burgers are my favorite so far.

For meat-eaters, try ground turkey, ground pork, or ground chicken for something other than beef. Or get really adventurous and try some ground elk, bison, or lamb. This recipe is one I tried for a picnic with friends, and everyone said it was an absolute winner, a great new, interesting flavor. With only four ingredients, you’ve got to try this out.

Ingredients:

*Note: You can substitute 2-3 tbsp of a Ranch seasoning mix instead of the dressing and other seasoning, then use 1 large egg to bind

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Step 1: In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. By hand is best.

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Step 2: Fire up the grill! You can also use a George Foreman style press, broil in the oven, or fry on the stove top.

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Step 3: Top how you like it and enjoy!

You can see we put american cheese slices on ours, but the topping possibilities are endless. Try coleslaw, fries, avocado, hummus, salsa, hot sauce, tomatoes, grilled onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms, arugula, spinach…

This is chicken, so you need to be a little more careful about ensuring it is completely cooked. The only way to be totally sure is to use a meat thermometer, and for chicken it should read 165 F. Worst case, poke it and make sure the juice is clear, or cut a piece off to make sure it isn’t pink still. If not, then it’s chow time!

4-Ingredient Chicken Ranch Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup quick-cook oats
  • 4 tbsp Ranch dressing
  • 2 tbsp steak seasoning
  • *Note: You can substitute 2-3 tbsp of a Ranch seasoning mix instead of the dressing and other seasoning, then use 1 large egg to bind

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. By hand is best.
  2. Fire up the grill! You can also use a George Foreman style press, broil in the oven, or fry on the stove top.
  3. Top how you like it and enjoy!
  4. You can see we put american cheese slices on ours, but the topping possibilities are endless. Try coleslaw, fries, avocado, hummus, salsa, hot sauce, tomatoes, grilled onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms, arugula, spinach....
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Flatbread Flexibility

 

One of my favorite things to go on sale is biscuit mix. This is because the mix is so very flexible. You can of course whip up soft, flaky biscuits in ten minutes, but you can also do so much more. I’ve used it to make pizza bites, tuna pockets (more than once actually), and as a pie crust substitute.

But the best way to use biscuit mix, other than biscuits, is as a flatbread for pizzas! These are amazing because the toppings are only as limited as your creativity.

I was having a get-together, and had to make something to feed a crowd at the last minute. This was my mom’s idea, and it turned out to be brilliant. Everyone could try something different, and everyone was happy with the results.

Feel free to get creative with whatever you have in your kitchen.

Ingredients (per pizza):

  • 1 roll biscuit dough (or pizza dough)
  • Approx. 1 cup toppings
  • 1/3 cup sauce (marinara, ranch, BBQ…)

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This pizza included bacon, cooked chicken breast, spinach, shredded cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing.

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As you can see, you can make pizza pockets, in many different sizes. Just press the dough together and mold it to the size you need.

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The smaller the pizza pocket, the less time you need to cook. These all went in for about 12 minutes, and you can see the smaller pockets are a darker brown whereas the larger ones are slightly golden.

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We had some with mozzarella and pepperoni, some with red pepper and spinach, and some bacon BBQ. These would be great for birthday parties, cookouts, picnics, a casual weeknight, and more.

Crock Pot Apple Sauce

 

Sure, fall is still a long time away, but now is the time to start stocking up on ideas for the bounty of apples coming our way soon! Last fall, a friend of mine had an apple tree that just went crazy. She gave me a huge bag of apples for free. I ate several as snacks, made some into apple crisp, had some on pancakes, some in oatmeal, and made some into muffins.

Now I have a half bag left… what do I do?

Once you’ve gotten all baked-out, may I recommend trying your hand at making your own applesauce? The jarred stuff at the super market is ok, if that is the only way to get fruits into your kids (or partners) diet, then I’m for it. But imagine knowing exactly what is in that stuff, no GMOs, preservatives, thickeners, emulsifiers, etc.

This is where your handy-dandy slow cooker saves the day yet again! Those things are worth their weight in gold, I swear. If you don’t have one, get on it. Try Goodwill, yard sales, or grandma’s basement if you can’t get one new.

Applesauce is super easy to make, all it takes is a little time cutting up the apples, then you set it and forget it and come home to the lovely smell of apples and cinnamon, and a batch of ready-to-go applesauce.

Apples are naturally sweet, and slow cooking makes them even sweeter. But you can add honey, sugar, brown sugar, and/or maple syrup to taste to make it your own. You can also use cinnamon sticks rather than ground, just remove them before eating.

Ingredients:

  • ~4 cups chopped apples
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp sugar, maple syrup, or honey

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Step 1: Chop your apples, removing the seeds, stem, and core. Peel them or don’t, your call.

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Step 2: Add apples to the crock pot with the spices, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. That’s it!

Mash the apples up a little once they are done cooking, or puree in a blender for super smooth sauce. You can put into jars and keep in the refrigerator, or process in a pressure canner for longer term storage.

If you really have a lot of apples, or just want a larger batch, use a larger crock pot and triple the recipe or more.