I came across this dish a few weeks ago, and as I could find everything in it for relatively cheap this time of year, I decided hey, why not? This is a wonderfully spiced, fantastically vegetarian, and if you buy everything at the right time and have a well stocked spice cabinet, cheap recipe. Honestly, the most expensive part of this dish was the eggs, and that was because I bought them from the farmer’s market.

Don’t know what garam masala is, or your local grocery store is overcharging for the mix? No problem!  The blend that I used a while ago for making garam masala gingerbread (and still had leftovers of) mixed the following:

  • 1 T cumin
  • 1.5 t coriander, cardamom, black pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • .5 t ground cloves, nutmeg

The above blend yields .25 c of spice mix, which means there’ll be plenty leftover for another day 

Indian Spiced Tomato and Egg Casserole
Lasts appx 4 to 5 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fingerling potatoes
  • sea salt and pepper
  • .25 c olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 T finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t garam masala
  • .5 t ground coriander
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • (original recipe recommends fresh mint and cilantro or basil, I went with dried for both as it’s the dead of winter, probably about 4 T dried mint and 1 T dried cilantro)
  • 6 eggs

Place your potatoes in a large pot with heavily salted water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for twenty minutes, until your potatoes are fork tender.

While your potatoes boil, in another pan, heat your olive oil over medium high, and add your onion, cooking until it’s tender (about 5 minutes).  Then add your peppers, and cook another three minutes, followed by your ginger, garlic, cumin, garam masala, and coriander, cooking until fragrant (about a minute). Then, reduce the heat to medium low and add your tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt, and cook for fifteen minutes, using your spatula to break down the tomatoes as you cook. If you time this right, you should be able to time the fifteen minutes to the last fifteen minutes of the potatoes cooking. Remove from heat once they’re done, and stir in the mint and cilantro. As soon as the potatoes and tomatoes are done, preheat your oven to 375.

Once your potatoes are done, drain them and let them cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice the fingerlings into half-inch slices, and layer on the bottom of your casserole dish or 9" square glass baking pan in a single layer.  Pour the hot tomato sauce over the potatoes, and bake for twenty minutes.

After twenty minutes, make six wells in the tomato sauce, and crack your eggs into them. Season with sea salt and pepper, and bake for another 8 to 13 minutes, depending on how done you want your eggs. 10 minutes gave me set whites, and still runny yolks, which is just how I like them.

The final pic is how it looks transferred to a container for keeping in the fridge, and how it’ll look once served, but trust me, it’s still quite fantastic.

I cannot explain the full depths of awesome that this drink is. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold out, and I need to keep warm. Maybe it’s because I like buttered rum way more than I thought it did. maybe because it has the words “pumpkin spice” in it. But either way, this is a fantastic drink for a late fall edging into winter night.

Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum
Makes 1 small pot, or enough to get you drunk if consumed over the course of an evening

Ingredients

  • 2 c dark rum (I used Kraken rum)
  • 1.5 c apple cider (obtained from the farmer’s market)
  • .5 c water
  • 1 T pumpkin spice flavoring
  • 2 T butter
  • .5 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T honey

Boil your dark rum, cider, and water. As soon as it reaches the boiling point, add the pumpkin spice, butter, vanilla extract, and honey. Then, keep on low, and slowly but surely enjoy through the night.

This soup is one of my fall mainstays, especially when the veggies in it come into season.  That massive eggplant only cost me a buck twenty five at the farmer’s market, and the tomatoes were two bucks, tops. Good veggies + roasting = amazing results, especially in a soup.  I did the spicier riff that Deb recommends at the end of the recipe, and substituted the feta for the goat cheese, and the results are absolutely amazing.

Roasted Eggplant Soup
Lasts 5+ lunches

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large eggplant, halved
  • 10 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • enough olive oil to drizzle on all of the above
  • 4 c vegetable stock (get a 32 oz box of stock, there will be enough)
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • one large dash coriander, cumin
  • some red pepper flakes
  • accidentally a bit of spanish paprika
  • 1 onion, halved
  • .25 c heavy whipping cream
  • .75 c (3.5 oz) feta crumbles

Preheat your oven to 400 (375 if it runs hot), and place your eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic on a lined baking sheet, and drizzle olive oil over all, until they’re reasonably covered (see pic one for what I did).  Place in the oven for 20 mins, and then remove your garlic cloves (they’ll burn otherwise) and put the tomatoes and eggplant in for another 25 minutes.  Your tomatoes and eggplant should look like picture 2 by the end of the 45 minutes.  Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skin, and put in a saucepan with your tomatoes and garlic, and add the vegetable stock, spices, and onion.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and simmer for another 45 minutes, until your onion halves are very tender.

Blend the soup in batches (because trust me, you don’t want hot stock and veggie bits all over your kitchen, that’s happened to me trying to do that) until it’s smooth, and then add it back to the pot.  Add your cream and bring it back to a low simmer before stirring in your feta.

Please note that the spices in this were pure guesswork, and feel free to use your own variations – the original recipe does not include the cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, or the paprika, and doesn’t use the cream and substitutes goat cheese crumbles for feta.  I just like the resulting soup and texture way better this way.  😛

For the record, my weekend starts as soon as I’m out of the office Friday.  😛  As such, let’s get some spicy chicken going on up in here!  Another recipe off of Budget Bytes, and again, for the most part, except for the chicken, coconut milk, and maybe the diced tomatoes, most of this should already be in your pantry!  Yay cheap meals!

Tumeric Chicken 
Lasts appx 4 meals

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • Half of a large onion, diced (I used a cippolini, any kind you have on hand would work)
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (whatever amount works best for you, really)
  • .5 T tumeric
  • dash cumin and cinnamon and crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 package chicken, diced (breast or thigh, I used boneless skinless thigh)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (DO NOT DRAIN)
  • 1 13 oz(ish) can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Take the onion, garlic, and ginger and olive oil and saute until onions are tender.  Add the spices and saute for an additional two minutes, and  then add the diced chicken and saute until cooked (7 to 10 mins).  Add the can of tomatoes and bay leaf, and then cover and let simmer for 30 mins.  After 30 mins, turn off the heat, stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

So, this blog’s inaugural post is Budget Bytes’ Tangy Tomato Pasta!  Honestly, part of the reason that I picked this recipe was because it’s super cheap (most of these things, except for feta and maybe the tomato paste, should probably already be in your pantry), and because it’s super quick (this took about fifteen minutes, tops). Great if you’re feeling lazy (or, in my case, throat achey), or if you’re running low close to payday. 

Also, a note: I cook for one, and I’ll try to give you an idea of how long recipes last me, instead of servings. If this is my first time cooking a recipe (which, in this case, it is), I’ll likely edit it after the fact.

Tangy Tomato Pasta
Lasts appx 5 meals

Ingredients

  • Pasta (whatever amount you have handy, and whatever you have in your pantry; alternatively, whatever’s cheapest)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Several cloves garlic, chopped (I tend to go a little heavier on the garlic; the recipe originally calls for one clove, can be done to taste)
  • Pinch dried basil, dried oregano, salt, rosemary, dried thyme, crushed red pepper (oops, forgot this), black pepper (you can go dried, ground, or fresh, whatever you have handy, really, for all of these)
  • 3 oz tomato paste (half a 6 oz can)
  • ½ t honey 
  • 3 oz feta (half a 6 oz package)

Boil a pot of water.  While you wait for it to reach a heavily rolling boil, in a separate skillet, turn the heat to medium to medium high, and combine the olive oil with the chopped garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, rosemary, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.  Stir, and wait for it to start sizzling, and then cook for one more minute.  Add the tomato paste, turn the heat down to medium, and stir and cook until the mixture is a few shades darker red (appx 2 mins).  Turn off the heat, and add the honey.  Once the pot is boiling, cook the pasta per the instructions, drain, and then add to the skillet and stir until the pasta is coated.  Add the feta (either 2 oz straight to the skillet and stir to combine, with the remainder for garnish, or just all of it to the skillet). 

And then, nom!