Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving Recipes for 2017

It's the most busy and overwhelming cooking day -- well don't fret, The 99 Cent Chef wants to take the stress out and make it a bit easier for you. I got it all here: my holiday recipes, along with a cupboard full of money saving tips for you during this Thanksgiving season. Read on and click on any highlighted recipe name to read my original blog post for the recipe, illustrated with yummy photos, fun video and text.


Below is everything you need to serve a sumptuous and cost-saving dinner table feast. And make sure you bookmark this page because Christmas is right around the corner -- yikes!

First up, if you live in Los Angeles, the Grinchiest Chef would recommend getting fruits and veggies at any Superior Grocers -- just click here to see the great deals to be had, it's incredible. They cater to Latin clientele, but everyone is welcome.


In the recent past Superior Grocers have sold yams at 5 pounds for 69 cents, russet potatoes 8 pounds for 99 cents, tomatoes 4 pounds for 99 cents, yellow onions 7 pounds for 99 cents, green bell peppers 5 for a dollar, and collard greens for 69 cent per pound - oh boy!

Nickle Ad from Gonzales, Louisiana - always read the fine print.

I'm sure there are turkey deals to be had wherever you are during the holiday, so this week check out those grocery flyers in the mail, before you give them the heave-ho.

The main event is the centerpiece, a fat turkey overloaded with stuffing. Now, wouldn't it be great if you could get away with just setting out a stack of heated Banquet Turkey Dinners? That really is the cheapest way to go.

Well I know that won't fly, but one year in my bachelor days I had one. My wacky review of this frozen fiasco poultry dinner is a click away here.

But seriously, I posted my version of a Turkey with Stuffing recipe, and click here to read all about it. My blog post also features my Mother-in-law's decedent Sausage Stuffing. I shot a video below for you, and it's done in my movie technique of stop motion animation to boot.



My recipes are stuffed with cooking tips and cheap shopping sources like my local 99c only Store that carries boxes of stuffing and Hormel Bacon & Pork Sausage Links for, you guested it, 99.99 cents. Right now they are selling everything but the bird!



And my local Dollar Tree has stepped up their holiday food deals as well.

Click on any photo to see larger

Come take a walk on the wild sides with The 99 Cent Rebel With a Cause Chef. And you can be sure the following links will go over big with your hungry family and visiting neighbors. You've never seen stuffing made like this: Stuffing Cupcakes with Cranberry Topping & Gravy.

To get the step-by-step directions for this most deliciously unique savory and sweet stuffing recipe click here. It's easy and quick to make, all you need (to borrow) is a cupcake pan. Stuffing Cupcakes are portable for an office party or a pot luck dinner. If you are like me, stuffing, next to roasted turkey, is the main event for my ravenous taste buds.

Stuffing Cupcakes

Everyone knows how to make Mashed Potatoes, right? Well if you are a newbie to pulverizing tubers, I got your back! And you gotta have gravy to go with Mashed Potatoes. My Turkey with Dressing link has a Homemade Gravy recipe, too.

Mashed Potatoes

Boring Creamed Spinach is a typical Thanksgiving side, but I have a Hindi twist. One of my favorite India restaurant side dishes is Saag Paneer, which is just like creamed spinach, but with cheese and the added spice punch of ground cumin . My version is made with easy-to-get (and lower fat) cottage cheese instead of Indian Paneer (cheese) and Ghee (butter). Once you and your family try my cheesy and creamy Saag Paneer, you won't go back to Creamed Spinach. And the recipe is a click away, here.

If you are looking for traditional sides I have the old school French Fried Onions and Green Bean Casserole, that is right out of the 1960's themed Mad Men TV series. Yeah, all you need is a can opener for the green beans and Campbell's Mushroom Soup. This is a classic recipe were Betty Crocker has it right -- creamy, crunchy and so satisfying. Click here to see the Cheap$kate Chef's version.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts are edible Christmas ornaments that you can add to the oven during the last 30 minutes of your roasting turkey. Just drizzle them with oil and dust with salt and pepper. It couldn't be simpler to do and here is my stop motion animated video to prove it.



Of course, I have some more sides for you, just click on any of the following names: Green Beans with AlmondsWhiskey Yams with Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds, Squash, Tomatoes and Onions, Brussels Sprouts in Sour Cream, Roasted Potatoes with Carrots, Honey Orange Glazed Carrots, Collard Greens with Molasses, Asparagus and Red Potato SaladPear and Spinach Salad with Creamy Dressing, Fresh Fruit Salad.

Green Beans & Almonds

And don't forget the appetizers like: Warm Artichoke Dip, Black Olive Tapenade with CrostinisBacon Wrapped Dates with Cream Cheese, and Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Salami.
Warm Artichoke Dip

And if that isn't enough -- it's dessert time! After you push yourself away from the table and waddle to the couch to catch a holiday game on the TV, be sure to grab a handful of  my wife's Cranberry Orange and Coconut Cookies (click on the name for recipe.)


But you can't do better than desserts made by Mom. They know what makes a family happy and mine has been generous enough to show me how she does it. Here are a couple of videos I made of her homemade Pumpkin and Mini Pecan Pies.

Now is the time to hit up your local grocery for cans of pumpkin, or, if you are cheap like me, less expensive cans of sweet potato. You can use either, as the taste is identically delicious (that is, when canned yams are in a sweet syrup.)


Read the recipe details of my Mom's luscious Pumpkin Pie by clicking here. And watch the video below to she how she does it.



Every Thanksgiving holiday my wife and I eagerly await a package from Mom of her famous Mini Pecan Pies. A dozen of them travel well inside a shoe box from Louisiana to Los Angeles. These small pies are the tastiest present one can receive, and I got her recipe for you -- all you have to do is click here.

This is a great Thanksgiving party dessert, but make sure to give your host a few, as they will disappear way too fast. If you don't believe me, just check out the video I made of Mom setting out a plateful -- and watch my relatives devour them in no time flat! (By the way, I think you will be impressed how the Chintzy Chef gets around paying normally exorbitant pecan prices.)


The holiday wouldn't be complete without leftovers. I have a hearty Tea Party Chicken Soup, (of course, substitute leftover turkey and the carcass, instead of chicken.) And take a gander at my Ultimate Turkey Sandwich video.



I hope you all have a great holiday. Keep checking back here for more budget recipes and loads of new food videos.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato - Video Recipe

I usually bake Yellow Sweet Potatoes, but while there are a few warm days left it's nice to get outside and fire up the BBQ grill.


So let's get cooking with The 99 Cent Chef. My stop motion video features Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato.

This Frugal Forager gets them from the local Latin grocery store. I picked up a couple of tan, yellowish, ones. I usually cook with the red sweet potatoes as they are the sweetest, but I like the mild sweetness you get with tan, or yellow, sweet potatoes. The tan sweet potato has flesh that's white to yellow in hue.

You can use my recipe with yams or sweet potatoes. Sometimes grocery stores call the red and tan (yellow) tubers yams (at least here in the U.S.) You can read about the difference between a yam and sweet potato by clicking on the names.


I cook this tuber simply, just rub or brush on some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then grill them about 3 minutes on each side.

I have a cheap gas grill, so it's easy to keep track of how long it takes. If you have a charcoal or wood burning grill the cooking time will vary according to how intense the fire is, and you will have to watch things closely. What you are looking for is a a slight char or burn. When the Yellow Sweet Potato is soft to the touch then it is done.


I slice the tubers in half lengthwise. I also leave the skin on. It's up to you how you like to prepare them. It's okay to slice sweet potato anyway you like.

The grilled Yellow Sweet Potato will continue to steam and soften after removal from the fire. And you can easily peel off the most blackened skin parts if you like. Me, I like some of that charred flavor.

You can adapt this recipe for indoors cooking too. I like broiling them in the oven. Just check on them every minute or so. Some of the smokiness is lost, but the sweetness and char flavors still come through. You could even roast the Yellow Sweet Potato in the oven, especially if you are baking a chicken; it takes about 30 minutes of baking, so add the slices a little over half way through baking.

And be sure to cook plenty. Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato makes a low calorie side dish and can be easily reheated anytime. Pull the grilled wweet potato slices out of storage from the refrigerator and zap them in the microwave for about a minute or so.


When I'm grilling protein, Sweet Potatoes are a lighter contrast to typical heavy sides like potato salad or french fries.

In my stop motion recipe video I go overboard with the olive oil, but that's just for show -- you can lightly brush on a minimal amount or use your favorite oil spray.

My Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato recipe works with almost any other crisp veggie like: corn, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, yellow neck squash, onions and asparagus.

If you've never put vegetables alongside that barbecuing burger, hot dog or chicken leg, now is the time to start. And you can't do better or easier, than Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato.
Grilled Yellow Sweet Potato- VIDEO

Play it here, video runs 1 minute, 23 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.


Ingredients (about 2 servings)
  • 1 large sweet potato - about 1/2 thick slices
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil - I used olive oil, but okay to use any favorite oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste - Okay to use any favorite seasoned salt.

Directions
Get your barbecue grill going. Okay to do this recipe indoors too - in a broiler oven.

Scrub and clean sweet potato if necessary. Slice sweet potato in half lengthwise. Each sliced half was about an inch thick. I left the potato skin on, but you can peel potatoes if you like. For huge sweet potatoes you may slice potato in half, then slice each half one more time to reach 1 inch thickness.


Drizzle on oil. Salt and pepper sweet potato slices.



When grill is hot add sweet potato slices. Since sweet potato has a high sugar content, they may burn some. That's okay since it's easy to scrape off some of the burnt bits. Hey, char is part of the barbecue taste.

Your cooking time will vary depending on the grill heat. I used a gas grill and it took about 5 minutes for each side of sweet potato to cook through.


You want the sweet potato to be soft on the inside when done. I noticed that even if the middle is slightly hard, the sweet potato will continue to cook and tenderize, even when removed from the fire. So don't worry if all the cooked slices are not uniform in doneness, they will continue to cook some, even off the grill.

You can cook sweet potatoes ahead of time and reheat in the microwave or an oven.

This recipe works with any toothsome tuber or yummy yam, including: red, white, russet, yellow and red yams.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl - Deal of the Day Review

This is one sweet Deal of the Day. And it's a delish Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl by Smart Ones, under the banner of SMARTMADE.


I am a fan of Smart Ones by Weight Watchers, and this frozen entree lives up to their tasty reputation.

 Frozen & Zapped

You first taste the sweet orange sauce. It is flavored with pineapple juice too. There is a slight hint of soy sauce that's listed as low sodium. It is sticky and thick, so make sure you stir the defrosted ingredients to get it on all the chicken, veggies and quinoa. I would like more sauce, but what's there is good enough.


This bowl had 4 or 5 huge pieces of white meat chicken. It remained moist when zapped in the microwave - the sauce helps steam the meat. And it is real chicken, not sliced from a processed poultry loaf. The photo shows sesame seeds covering the chicken. I could not taste the sesame seeds as the quinoa was so similar - not that it matters much.


I liked the large veggie pieces of broccoli. The whole snap peas remain firm and fresh tasting. And small squares of red bell pepper add the right amount of pungent flavor. This is one well balanced bowl of savory and sweet.



This oriental-style stir fry is made with quinoa instead of white rice and that's a good thing. I prefer rice, but am starting to warm up to tapioca-like pearls of quinoa. If you have not tried quinoa it is usually steamed, and when done the tiny round seeds pop when bitten. The taste is a grain flavor, with a very mild oats taste. If you are eating glutten-free, this is for you. Quinoa comes from a flowering plant that originates in South America.


At 9 ounces this is a light lunch, but with the addition of quinoa, it is quite filling for it's small package. The ingredient list is small with mainly real ingredients and no fillers or chemicals.

click on any photo to see larger

Once again Smart Ones have come up with a real winner of a frozen meal. So on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give SMARTMADE Orange Sesame Chicken Bowl by Smart Ones a perfect 9 !


This is one delish Deal of the Day made with fresh and real ingredients, so get a few of them if they still carry them in the 99c only Stores - hey, get a few from any grocery store at full price, it's worth every penny.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Recipes with Leftover Pumpkin

The Witching Hour fast approaches and the Cheap$kate Recipe Conjurer is ready to cast his spell on your taste buds this Halloween season.


Once, a couple of days after Halloween I scraped off the melted wax from inside our pumpkin. I split the pumpkin in half and roasted them in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. I'll put the sweetly caramelized, soft orange flesh to good use.

And roasted pumpkin is tasty enough as a side dish, right out of the oven.


Roast pumpkin skin is soft to the touch, and the flesh is easy to scoop out when it's baked done. Let the pieces set for about 5-10 minutes to cool down. Scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh with a large spoon (discard any skin that may come off with it.) Now you are ready to make a few pumpkin-based recipes.
 

 

Pumpkins are cheapest this time of year, and they're tasty too, as you will see, so keep on reading and click on any recipe name to visit the original blog post recipe. 

Way below 99 cents per pound!

My Rustic Pumpkin and Corn Chowder  is easy to put together. The other ingredients are broth, half and half cream (or milk substitute,) a can of corn, onion, garlic and bell pepper. Pretty simple, but complex in flavor.


The roasted pumpkin chunks will break apart while cooking in a bath of stock and cream, so there is no need to blend it to mush - as most recipes tell you - hence, my calling this veggie chowder "rustic."


And, if you still have leftover roast pumpkin, I have a Pumpkin alla Fusilli entree you can try out by clicking here.

It's a pasta sauce made with sauteed roast pumpkin, garlic and onion, and sweetened with white wine. Finish the dish with as much Parmesan cheese as you like. 

I use coiled fusilli pasta, but you can use any cheap dried pasta you have on hand.

And this is a pasta dish your vegetarian friends and family will love.

I like to finish up with my Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe video. She makes hers with canned pumpkin, but just imagine how more intense the flavor will be with fresh roasted pumpkin.


You will want to smooth out the pumpkin flesh like mashed potatoes. You can use a potato masher, fork, or lightly blend roasted pumpkin.

I would also add your favorite sweetener to pumpkin. It's up to you how sweet to make it, but you can start with 2 tablespoons worth. Just taste the pumpkin puree until it is sweet enough to suit your taste.This recipe calls for evaporated milk and that will add more sweetness as well.


These comfy entrees will feed your whole family. I hope you saved your pumpkin like I did. So, just cut out the soft and moldy bits, scrap off the wax, and get cooking! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Baseball World Series - Recipes

Batter up! And that's just the coating for my MVP Fried Chicken recipe. Are you ready for the Word Series of cheap$kate eats? Just step up to the plate and allow me to pitch some tasty entrees your way, that you can serve up while viewing the Los Angeles Dodgers battle the Houston Astros for baseball's 2017 edition of Major League Baseball's championship series.

Nibble: to pitch along the far edges of the strike zone, around home plate.

The Penny Pinch Hitting Chef has a dugout full of recipes for baseball lovers that will leave enough green in your wallet to buy an extra keg of beer for your tailgate party. Just click on any recipe name below to see what I mean. There are no foul balls in this recipe list!

First at bat, hot dogs are the kings and queens of the ballpark. And boy does this Knight of the Round Dinner Table have a couple of royal recipes for you to try. 

High Cheese: A fastball thrown high over the plate.

For Dodger fans, the LA Street Dog is the grand slam of tube steaks. If you have never had one, you don't know what you're missing.  It's a kaleidoscopic flavor bomb of bacon wrapped wieners sauteed with sliced bell peppers, onion, slathered with mustard, mayo and ketchup and topped with a grilled whole jalapeno....whew, now that's a mouthful.

Check out my recipe video below, where I also take you to the back alleys of downtown Los Angeles to see for yourself how they do it in the streets.


 Homemade L.A. Street Dog -- A Delicious Hot Mess! 

Behold the Chicago Dog:  it's a warm, rosy-red grilled frank topped with mustard, nestled in a black-speckled poppy seed bun, flanked by half wagon wheel slices of tomato, Day-Glo green relish, chopped onion, a wedge of pickle, two sport peppers, and finished with a sprinkle of celery salt.


This is the real thing; just looking at it makes me shudder from the winter chill on a blustery, cloudy Chicago day. Now that you have the recipe make your own version using easy-to-get regular pickle relish, just don't tell Cubbie fans or you may get aced with a beanball.

Authentic Chicago Dogs can be had here is Los Angeles, too, at the exceptional Fab Hot Dogs in the San Fernando Valley. So all you Windy City transplants will definitely feel at home there. Check out my video below to see how a Chicago Dog is done right.



Tired of stale, soggy stadium hot dogs? I have a great and easy Corn Dog Recipe made with Vienna sausages -- but you can use regular wieners. There will be no foul balls as your hungry guests dip these crunchy coated pig skins into my tasty honey-mustard sauce.

Since you have the fryer going you might as well make a batch of my Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. They're as light and airy as the Goodyear blimp.

Ran out of hot dog buns? Well toss a few wieners or sausages on the grill and try my version of a Currywurst. Your recipe batting average just doubled when you slather on grilled tubes steaks: my spicy mix of ketchup, cumin and cayenne spices. It's also a great starter appetizer on game day.


For all you Houston Astros fans I have the prefect recipe for you: succulent and smoky BBQ Pulled Pork.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Smoked pork rules in the Lone Star State. My Pulled Pork recipe is easy and cheap to make, of course. Just check out the video below or click here to see all the tasty recipe details.



Texas is known for meaty Chili. Southerns love their Chili with or without beans. While beef is expensive, I get around that by using cheap beef shank. Once you've cooked it down for a few hours, beef shank is as tender as any pricey cut of meat. My Homemade Meat and Bean Chili recipe is perfect for your sports gathering and can be served during all 9 innings of the game - make plenty just in case the game goes into extra innings.


Set the Table: getting runners on base, ahead of a power hitter.

Next to pizza and hotdogs, Fried Chicken is a fan favorite. And I've come up with a crunchy coating that will empty the bleachers and have fans storming the kitchen! Kickoff the World Series with my Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe or use my special flour and spice mix for regular bone-in chicken parts. My mouthwatering video below is better than an inside-the-park home run.



Your boys and girls of summer will take a 7th inning stretch and huddle around your cast iron pot of my Mom's fragrant and spicy Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya and Cajun Gumbo.

Mom's Cajun Sausage and Chicken Gumbo

Serve a pitcher's mound size plate of Teriyaki Spam Musubi for your Hawaiian friends.

Spam Musubi

Or, set out shredded slow cooked pork, chopped onion and cilantro, with warm tortillas and your favorite salsa, for Mexican Carnitas Tacos. Your food fans will start a wave, from the living room to the kitchen table.

Can of Corn: An easy to catch high fly ball to the outfield.

 Does beer go with Steamed Articokes? Hmmm....you'll have to try out my recipe to find out - do let me know if you try it!



If fish is on your mind then hook your bleacher bums with some of my homemade Sushi Recipes. Try tagging out a Spicy Tuna or California Roll. How about setting up a Fielder's choice of chopped veggies and fresh fish and roll your own delicious Hand Rolls? It's easier than you think, and I have simple photo-illustrated instructions a click away, here.


My Fish Tacos deserve the MVP award for deliciousness. I make mine Baja, Mexico-style, that is, battered and fried tender fish fillets with a cabbage and creme topping.

Fish Taco

While everyone's watching the pre-game show send in any of my delicious dugout sides, including: Bacon Wrapped Dates, Tomato & Basil Bruschetta, Deviled Eggs, Portabella Mushroom Fries, Sweet Fried Plantains, Ceviche with Avocado and Black Beans, and Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.


Crack a few eggs for a meal most fowl, not foul -- click here to see my Veggie Frittata recipe that will feed all your hungry team players (add some ham pieces to fill out the frittata.)


Dying Quail: a fly ball weakly hit, that lands in between the infield and the outfield.

East Coast revelers will eat up my riff on a Lobster Roll -- a cheaper Scallop Roll. And if East Coast fans can't make it to Houston or Los Angeles, then throw another log on the fire and gather in front of the big screen with a steaming bowl of my cheap$kate Clam Chowder.

 Scallop Roll

Rhubarb: a bench-clearing baseball brawl.

There will be no need for rain checks when you serve a sandwich plate of gooey, cheesy Patty Melts, hearty Meatball Subs, Homemade Deli Pastrami, Falafel Pitas, and steaming Sloppy Joe's.


If you're looking for one pot meals, so you don't miss any action on the field of dreams, just check out my Pork Bourguignon, French Cassoulet, Chicken Tinga StewMr. Patti's Red Beans & Rice, Baked Pasta with Cheese and Cauliflower, Baked Lasagna with Ground Chicken, Shepherd's Pie, or Sausage & Sauerkraut with Beer recipes.

Baked Lasagna with Ground Chicken

Looking for a relief pitching recipe? How about a different twist on Buffalo Wings with my African Spiced Water Buffalo Wings? This original recipe features chicken legs, but you can substitute wings.


The Cheap$kate Chef's Turkey & Black Beans Chili recipe will add extra points on your scoreboard for flavor. Make it spicy, but be sure to have an ice chest full of brews for all your bench-warming guests.

And don't forget to send in from this Whisk Welding Culinary Coach a most versatile of plated plays, the Pita Pizza -- a varied list of toppings you can use would fill the coaches chalkboard.

Pita Pizza

So dig deep into my bullpen and click on any of the tasty treat names above to watch an instant reply of recipes from my blog. Your guest will be cheering you on -- from their cheap seats!

I'll leave you with my wacky video below, where I swing at all types of produce...and knock them out of the ballpark!


Batter Up!

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