There was left over fettuccine pasta in the fridge from the other night’s pesto delight (courtesy of my brother’s girlfriend) so I decided to grab some pantry ingredients, toss everything together to create this simple, easy and yummy dish.
Chicken thigh fillet, quartered
All purpose cream
Half cup of water
Salt and pepper
Heat the pan, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil.
Saute onion, then garlic.
Add in the quartered fillet. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the red bell pepper.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Pour the all purpose cream plus half cup of water.
I have nothing else in the pantry (unless I go out and purchase something).
The answer is simple — I will improvise a chili con carne recipe.
I have been cooking chili con carne for several years now and this has been a staple with rice, nachos and taco shells. Everyone who tastes it loves the damn thing that one of the Team Leaders in my past life asked for my recipe.
Today I deviate from my original recipe, the recipe that has put my cousin to shame (and I tell you, she does a decent chili con carne too) as I rummage our counter and our fridge for a good substitute for tomato paste and cumin.
Was the result spectacular?
Hell it was!
Pink beans (maybe you can substitute pork and beans? For this recipe I used this)
Garlic (whole and chopped finely)
Yeah, you are correct, substituting tomato paste and cumin are ketchup and curry powder oh thank goodness I still have them at home!
The ketchup I used was UFC banana ketchup. Yup, banana ketchup! If you are a reader from overseas, this kind of ketchup is popular here in the Philippines maybe because it is less pricey than tomato ketchup? Or maybe it’s also because we Filipinos have been accustomed to the tang of banana ketchup versus the sharpness of tomato ketchup.
As for the curry powder, I tweaked this one a bit. With the store bought curry powder as base I added paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Tossed everything together and kept in a plastic container.
Saute garlic in hot pan with palm oil.
Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly.
Add the spices: star anise, bay leaf, ground oregano, curry powder, cayenne pepper. Mix and let it simmer for some two to three minutes.
Add the ketchup, mix. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. For extra kick, add more cayenne pepper.
Now here is the fun part. I saw that gorgeous looking butter in the fridge and thought hmmm why not give my chili con carne a nice sheen to it? And so I did! Add two table spoons of butter.
One of my go to dishes when I am running out of both budget (yes I have serious budget issues not because I am poor in handling finances but for other reasons) and time is a jazzed up scrambled egg.
It is huge in servings (I usually use two eggs) and you can be as creative as you want!
For this entry, I used:
Saute the onion and tuna first (by the way, please drain excess oil in the can). Once the tuna is almost dried up, include your black olives. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
After three minutes you can add the egg and if you have a non stick pan (I do not have it so the finished product looks a bit crazy) you may include the cheese cubes before flipping so it looks like an egg wrap.
Serve with rice or bread.
As for me, it’s with rice:
Other suggested ingredients for a fancy scrambled egg are ham and bacon bits, ground meat, mushroom and bell peppers. Wow my mouth is watering at 1:22 AM!
I hope you try this dish. Filling, easy to prepare and delicious! (and it’s a complete meal depending on what you will add so it’s also nutritious).
I love preparing my packed lunch for work for these reasons. Oh well, let me rephrase that. Here are the reasons why you should prepare your packed lunch for work or school:
You get to control the portion (therefore you can manage to share too!).
You have a say on what to eat, how it should taste (spicy? a bit sweet? pepper-y? herb-y?) and how to prepare it.
You save money.
It’s home cooked food (not your fast food stuff that is loaded with whatever stuff to ensure longevity) and home cooked food rocks.
You get really creative in the kitchen.
If you are a complete health freak (calories, eh?), your dish can be insanely balanced!
Today I will share three pasta dishes that helped me get through a very, very, very broke stage of my working life (payroll disputes, anyone?).
With the help of some pantry ingredients, I sure made something wonderful out of these ingredients. Happy wallet, happy tummy.
The “base” of all pasta dish is the pasta of course. I found this pasta sitting on the counter (my aunt sent us some stock from the US so yeah, this pack must be put to good use!).
First pasta dish: Pasta in Meaty Red Sauce
Not in photo: Ground Beef
Cost of this dish:
Onion – 10 PhP
Carrot – 15 PhP
(Garlic – pantry)
Ground Beef – 22 PhP
Tomato Sauce – 12 PhP
Total: 59 PhP or roughly 1.28 USD
By the way, this dish could feed two people! I was not able to finish this serving because it’s a lot. Blame it on the hearty meat sauce.
As for the procedure, all you have to do is saute the onion and once translucent drop the garlic. Once the garlic starts to be golden brown (not burnt okay?) add the ground beef. Cook well. Put the tomato sauce and a bit of pasta water. Whilst reducing you may add the shredded carrots. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar. Reduce to your desired consistency. Serve on top of the cooked linguine.
Something worth mentioning: the smell of the reduction drove my two cousins crazy (we are neighbors) that one of them tracked where the smell was coming from and bam! Found me cooking this baby.
Second Dish: Pasta with Smoked Longganisa (Filipino sausage)
My go-to pasta dish! This pasta dish is super easy to prepare and super inexpensive! If you have some left over longganisa in the fridge or a pack of pasta at home (like me!) then wow, you found a treasure!
Longganisa is such a joy to work with. I do not really like this delicacy as viand (especially the round, little ones in pork casing) but I like it when I put it in fried rice and in pasta…like this one!
Cost of this dish:
Smoked longganisa slices (from your local grocery meat section) – 25 PhP
(Garlic – pantry)
(Chili flakes – pantry)
Total: 25 PhP or roughly 0.55 USD
Saute the garlic and once it starts to be golden brown, add the smoked longganisa. Cook for five to ten minutes, add pasta, adjust taste with salt, pepper and as for me, I added my ever favorite chili flakes for that extra spice. You may add Italian seasoning too if you want! Too bad my little jar of Italian seasoning expired weeks ago so the left over I had to throw away too — bye good friend, you have been spectacular.
Third Dish: Pasta with Spanish Style Sardines
This is no bullshit, in your face, quickie, taste overload pasta!
This damn thing gets snubbed at home so I am going to make it the best supporting actress of my dish haha.
My apologies — was not able to take a photo of the Spanish style sardines (in can) and the several cloves of garlic used (yup, not a whole garlic, just maybe three to four cloves of finely chopped garlic).
Cost of this dish:
My apologies again, I forgot the price of the sardines! Kick me on the shin! Well let us peg it at 30 PhP, I know it’s less than that but let us put it at that. By the way, its brand name is “Family Spnish Style sardines” to those who are curious.
(Garlic – pantry)
Eden cheese slice, individually packed – 12 PhP
Total: 42 PhP or roughly 0.92 USD
Easy peasy. Saute garlic until golden brown (again, not burnt! LOL) then, add the sardines, cook for some five minutes, add the olives, cook for two more minutes, toss in the pasta. As for me, I did not add anymore seasoning, I just served it as it is, anyhow, I will be putting cheese which will add saltiness to the pasta dish. Oh! You may add some herbs or chili flakes if you want! And garlic bread on the side too.
Roughly, for three days I only spent 101 PhP or 2.20 USD and on a fine payday my lunch would range anywhere between 200 to 400 PhP see the difference. I know there is some effort involved but don’t you think a little effort in this world of instant everything (instant celebrity, instant millionaire, instant boyfriend, instant noodles) is worth the shot?
Come to think of it, you shell out some 200 PhP for a plate of pasta that you can replicate at home — this is luxury especially if done everyday or most of the time especially if you are paying your bills with a meager income. If you have more than enough, cooking your meal is not a bad idea at all, still a win-win situation, yes? See above reasons why you should, at least at some point, prepare your packed lunch.
There you have it, my super yummy and super affordable pasta dishes! Go grab your kitchen tools and cook!