As I mentioned in my previous post, I am doing my best to eat on a budget. Now, some people make the argument that those who are eating on a budget tend to eat much more unhealthy food [ie fast food] I have to say I cannot remember the last time I have eaten fast food [it was June 4th with mom… I had a protein style hamburger and well-done fries at In-n-Out] on my own, and I do not intend to start now.
So I was eating my tofu with onions and mushrooms but then I ran out. In a moment of weakness I bought some flax/quinoa chips for $2.00 at Marshalls and decided to make something of it. I had several avocados left over from a week or so ago and so I decided to make nachos for dinner [for about 4 nights in a row] to supplement my oatmeal/chia seed breakfast and lunches.
Here are my nachos. one serving of flax/quinoa chips [120 calories]
1/4 cup Vegetarian refried beans [50 calories]
1/2 of an avocado [140 calories]
5 table spoons bean salsa [100 calories]
410 calories for a well rounded [balanced with carbs, protein, fat, and fiber] dinner that kept me full despite the small size! See it can be done!
But then I realized that my fridge was pretty empty….
and that I had not cooked in a while and so I was getting a bit stir crazy. I decided to ask for a “Chopped Challenge” ingredient list. My friends provided me with several ingredients and since I wasnt doing an appetizer-entree- dessert meal, I decided to try and take about 6 of their ingredients to make a meal for myself – while staying on budget.
I forgot some of the list when I went to the store but tried to stay true to them and purchased – tilapia, parmesan, strawberry ice cream, jack daniels whiskey ( forgot she said captain Morgan ) , edamame, and red raspberry Fun Dip ( couldn’t find cotton candy ).
I made a strawberry ice cream, balsamic vinegar and cayenne glazed tilapia, smashed tandem with whiskey, maple syrup and cinnamon, and edamame with a sweet and sour sauce I made with teriyaki, fun dip, and rice wine vinegar and dusted with parmesan. Honestly, I would eat all of it again. Especially the yams!!!! Mmm
My required Ingredients [minus the Fun Dip]. If you don’t count the Whiskey, I was able to get everything for under $10
For the Tilapia, I started by adding about a little less than 1/2 cup of strawberry ice cream [100 calories] to my pan with a little shake of salt and about an equal amount of balsamic vinegar. I let the ice cream melt down and the mixture start to reduce and then added about 1/2 teaspoon or so of cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.
As the mixture came together, I added the Tilapia filet [only 80 calories] and cooked for about 1-4 minutes per side, constantly taking the extra sauce and drizzling it over the filet to really kind of glaze the fish.
For the edamame, I boiled the edamame in order to cook them and then made a sauce for them with a mixture of about 1 teaspoon of fun dip, 3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. These measurements are just a guess…may be more or less. I put the mixture over heat in order to reduce it and blend the flavors better, i took it off of the stove, added a quick splash of vinegar for bite and then poured the mixture over the edamame, sprinkling with a finishing touch of parmesan.
The whiskey yams [or yam in my case] was really my favorite part. I boiled the yam in order to cook it through but kept the skin on because I love the skin and the vitamins and minerals it has! When the yam was cooked, I added some whiskey [maybe 1/8 cup?] and about 2 Tbsp of maple syrup with a shake or three of cinnamon and let the alcohol cook off a bit before mashing the yam and adding it to the pan with the sauce in order for it to really absorb every little drop. It didn’t take long.
And then I plated and enjoyed! Honestly, it really was pretty darn good. The yams may just be athanksgiving/christmas side dish. You really couldnt taste any strawberry on the tilapia but every now and then I got a bite that was just a tad sweeter which was nice. The cayenne added just the right amount of warmth in my opinion. It was good but if I was making it again I would want to make a strawberry salsa to top it with I think – or perhaps substitute a jam for the ice cream. The edamame was fine, not bad, not out of this world either.I added the parmesan on top because it was an ingredient I had to use, really I should have just used it on the fish or something. But I wouldnt mind edamame with salt and parmesan tonight…maybe I will. The teriyaki/fun dip sauce started out awful but when I cooked it down a bit it really made it better – especially the vinegar in order to make it a bit more of a sweet-sour type sauce.
I really had a lot of fun cooking this and thinking about things to use in my kitchen with the ingredients allotted me. I dont have a “Chopped Kitchen Pantry” so it definitely makes it even more challenging in my mind. Fell free to comment on this post with any additional 4-ingredient lists you would like to see me try!!