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Food for Neighbor / Tired of Chicken

Tehama Oct 11, 2010 08:50 AM

Hi all!

My neighbor keeps my dog for me a couple of days during the week while I am school, and I make a meal for her every week as a thank-you. I have done everything possible I can with chicken, and I suspect she might be as tired of it as I am. Last week I did Jambalaya with sausages and she was excited about that.

I'd love to get some ideas from y'all for some future either one-dish meals, or entrees. I'm on a student budget, so I can't do anything too fancy, unfortunately. I guess my only criteria would be non-chicken for the meantime, and affordable.

There is my neighbor, her 10 year old daughter and her partner, so enough for three should be sufficient.

Many thanks!

PS - I have a crock pot that I have never used and don't really know how to, but if there are some crock pot ideas I am into them as well with a little direction from the pro's!

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  1. greygarious RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 09:57 AM

    Braise cabbage with onions, apple, and caraway. When the cabbage is largely done, bury bratwurst, knockwurst, hot dogs, or other sausage in it. This is best with steamed or boiled potatoes - little redskins are nice. You COULD do the potatoes in with the cabbage but my feeling is that the cabbage then overwhelms the flavor of the potato. You need to sweat the onions first (extra credit for chicken fat or bacon grease!). I like to use apple cider as the liquid but beer or ginger ale are fine. You don't need much liquid since the cabbage exudes a lot.
    Add a little balsamic or cider vinegar at the end, so the zippiness isn't mellowed out too much by long cooking. I have never done this in a crockpot but it is suitable for this dish. You probably would need to leave it uncovered for part of the cooking since you want the cabbage mixture to be juicy but not soupy.

    Chili or hearty bean-based soups or chowders are obvious choices. They are economical since they are satisfying and filling without using a lot of meat. And who doesn't like lasagna? Although it's not cheap to make. Keep an eye out for sales on the ingredients, and when you've accumulated all the components, get cooking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious
      t
      TDEL RE: greygarious Oct 11, 2010 10:18 AM

      You can make sheppard's pie, spaghetti, baked zitti, beef stew.

      1. re: TDEL
        c
        cheesecake17 RE: TDEL Oct 11, 2010 12:23 PM

        Baked ziti and beef stew are great ideas since any leftovers can be easily reheated for another meal.

        You can do a mushroom based shepard's pie type dish.

        Or make a large pot of a lentil and veggie soup and bring over a nice loaf of bread to go with it. A butternut squash soup is also nice with a green salad- just bring over the dressing in a separate container.

    2. biondanonima RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 10:18 AM

      I do a fabulous lentil and kielbasa dish that is fairly inexpensive to make (especially if you go heavy on the lentils and light on the sausage) and a perfect one-dish meal for fall. Let me know if you want the recipe. You could also google saucisson aux lentilles to find the classic french version and do your own experimentations from there. I also make a red lentil soup with italian sausage if that's more appealing.

      How does the family feel about ground lamb (and how expensive is it in your 'hood)? I make this on occasion: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/qu... - it's very tasty, and a welcome change from chicken curry. I bump up the spices and use edamame instead of peas (hate peas!), serve over rice or noodles. You can easily bulk it up with more sweet potatoes or other veg and make the lamb a minor player. You could probably make it with ground beef as well.

      Oh, one other thought - pork tenderloin is typically pretty cheap around here (around the same price as chicken breast) - you could sub that for chicken in almost any recipe, or google for something interesting. I find that it's always a crowd pleaser and seems much more elegant/interesting than chicken even though it's the same price (and also very lean/healthy).

      1 Reply
      1. re: biondanonima
        o
        ospreycove RE: biondanonima Oct 11, 2010 10:22 AM

        Italian sausage pepper and onions easy, cook ahead , if she liked jambalaya she should like this dish.

      2. a
        Antithesisofpop RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 10:34 AM

        Not sure where you live, but if it's a place that gets cool in the fall and winter, chili and soups would be appropriate.

        1. mcel215 RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 10:50 AM

          Go to epicurious and check out Mahogany Beef Stew, it's scrumptious. You can make mashed potatoes and have her just heat everything up. It tastes even better a day or two later. And since mashed potatoes don't always reheat well. Add butter and some cream cheese, and it will make for a great meal. It makes a lot, so you could cut the meat in half and still have plenty for her and her daughter.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mcel215
            Tehama RE: mcel215 Oct 11, 2010 04:37 PM

            WOW! This Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce sounds fantastic! I seriously have always wondered what you do with boneless beef chuck roast and now I know! I can't wait to try! Thank you!

            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            1. re: Tehama
              k
              karykat RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 05:13 PM

              I love this stew recipe. It's on our regular rotation and I like to freeze it too. Look at the comments to it. A lot of people cut down on the hoisin sauce a bit. The wine and tomato flavors come through nicely. We also add other vegies to it. Some carrots or mushrooms or whatever looks good.

              1. re: Tehama
                b
                bagofwater RE: Tehama Oct 12, 2010 08:25 AM

                You can do lots of things with chuck, so long as you're doing low/slow cooks with it. It's my favorite cut of beef to roast, great in stews, etc. etc.

            2. boyzoma RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 11:10 AM

              Shredded beef enchiladas
              All the fixings for a "build your own" taco bar
              Beef tamale pie
              Bacon cheddar quiche
              Corned beef casserole
              Lasagna
              Ham & scalloped potato casserole
              Cheesy tuna & noodle casserole
              Turkey Tetrazzini
              Crockpot pulled pork with home made slaw

              1. greygarious RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 12:30 PM

                Current thread on frugal meals: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7351...

                1. Tehama RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 04:21 PM

                  You guys are the best ever! Thank you so very much for all the great ideas; I can't wait to try all of them. I really appreciate everyone getting me out of my food rut!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Tehama
                    boyzoma RE: Tehama Oct 11, 2010 04:23 PM

                    Hey, we all get in a food funk every once in a while. Just check back in and let us know what worked and what didn't! ;-)

                    1. re: Tehama
                      chowser RE: Tehama Oct 12, 2010 04:36 AM

                      Whatever you do, just don't forget the orange ring cake--I'll bet they'd be more than happy with just that!

                    2. Jay F RE: Tehama Oct 12, 2010 04:47 AM

                      I second the ideas for bean soup or chili or baked ziti. I've never used a crockpot, however, so I'll leave it to others to suggest how.

                      I've been making beans a lot lately, and they are so cheap. Either I make baked beans (navy beans, ketchup, mustard, salt pork and bacon, onion) or cannellini (Great Northern or Cannellini and sage in the pot, then grated parmigiano and tomatoes when the beans are done cooking) If you don't like sage, add chopped fresh basil when you add the cheese and tomatoes.

                      And that cake is a really good idea, too. I wish I had some right now.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jay F
                        m
                        momoftwo RE: Jay F Oct 12, 2010 09:39 AM

                        My favorite, cheap delicious one pot meal is pulled pork, or beef. Buy a cheap cut of either....boneless but for pork or pot roast for beef. put it in the crock with NOTHING. The fat in the cut of meat will render off and the meat will be fork tender after about 8 hours on low. Drain and reserve rendered fat..... shred meat with a fork, add a splash of vinegar and your favorite bottled BBQ sauce. I used the rendred fat to add a little juiciness to my liking (ie: not much). Get a bag of nice soft rolls and some coleslaw and you've got a great meal.

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