Sunday, December 10, 2017

Strawberry Compote - Video Recipe

The last time I made pancakes, I reached for the maple syrup only to find the bottle almost empty, and my backup, fruit jam, was starting to form mold in the jar. As a tasty substitute I cooked a fresh Fruit Compote made with strawberries. Plus, this fresh fruit recipe is perfect for homemade Cranberry Sauce during the holidays.

Fortunately I had half of a one pound container of strawberries left from my last 99c only Store run (and I do see them on sale for the same price at my local Latin grocery store.)

Even though they were a few days old and starting to wrinkle just a little bit, I salvaged enough to make a Strawberry Compote. I first rinsed them off, then trimmed the stems and sliced off any soggy spots from the berries.

Next I assembled a few ingredients that make up Fruit Compote, including: apple juice, honey and a little ginger. Finally I added everything to a pot and let it simmer for a few minutes to soften (and mash) the fruit into a fragrant and fruity sauce. That's it.

The consistency of my Strawberry Compote is a little looser than a fruit jam.

This is a versatile sweet topping, and you can use almost any fruit and berries you have on hand - canned, frozen or fresh. Go ahead and try it with pineapple, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, apple, banana, pear - even seedless grapes and cherries. If you use canned fruit, the juice will be sweet enough, so leave out the honey. And you can use this recipe with fresh cranberries for a homemade chunky Cranberry Sauce (compote) for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

You can spread my Strawberry Compote over pancakes, waffles, toast, French toast, cereal, and any favorite dessert like ice cream or pie. And store it in the refrigerator, if you have any left.

Strawberry Compote - VIDEO

Play it here, video runs 1 minute 24 seconds.

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

Ingredients (about 2 servings)
  • 2 cups fresh fruit - I used strawberries. Okay to use frozen or canned fruit. Some fruit to use include: peach, pineapple, pear, apple (add a teaspoon lemon juice to keep apple from turning brown), and all types of berries. You can leave on some peach and apple skin.
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice - okay to substitue with favorite fruit juice like: orange, cranberry or grape juice.
  • 1 teaspoon of honey - or favorite sweetener.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger - fresh grated or minced, dried powder, or from jar. This is optional, okay to leave it out.

 Prepare fruit. I used fresh strawberries and just removed the stem and leaves. Depending on strawberry size, half them or slice them into small sizes. You can use almost any fresh fruit on sale, or that you prefer.

For my recipe I use 2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit. This recipe is easy to half or double the amounts.

Over a medium heat, place fruit in a pot.

Add apple juice, ginger and honey, or favorite sweetener.

Once liquid starts to simmer, reduce heat to low. Use a fork or spoon to muddle and mash the fruit.

Continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, occasionally mashing fruit as it gets soft. Compote is ready when liquid is reduced by half and all the fruit is mushy and soft.

Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or jar to cool to room temperature, so it thickens a little more. It is now ready to serve. While Strawberry Compote sets, you can cook up a stack of pancakes.

The consistency of my Strawberry Compote is a little looser than a fruit jam.

Store in the refrigerator. Serve with french toast, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, ice cream sundaes and more. You can give it a quick microwave (or warm it slightly on the stove top) before serving.


Recipe is easy to double ingredients. You only need to add a little more fruit juice though - about 1/3 cup total.

Use any favorite and seasonal fruit, like: cranberry, peach, pineapple, pear, apple (add a teaspoon lemon juice to keep apple from turning brown), and all types of berries. Obviously remove cherry, apple, pear, and peach seeds. You can remove peach and apple skin, or leave some of it on.

For homemade Cranberry Sauce, use whole berries. You can thicken the sauce by cooking for an extra 5 to 10 minutes until you reach desired sauce texture. Remember, any sauce will continue to thicken as it cools down.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Asian Style Rice Bowl - Deal of the Day Review

While not anything to write (email) home about, my latest Deal of the Day, Asian Style Rice Bowl by Banquet, is just okay. Banquet frozen meals are often more miss than hit. But this thawed entree has some tasty bits.

The cooked veggie pieces are a nice size, not chopped into pulp. And chopped broccoli, red bell pepper and sliced carrot retain a bit of crunch even after microwaving - often frozen veggies are mushy and flavorless.

frozen & zapped

They tasted like fresh frozen veggies you would get from the grocery cold case.

I was especially impressed with the white rice, not something I would usually comment on. The rice is cooked perfectly. The rice grains are fluffy without being a sticky lump or a soggy mash. The grains held up well to microwaving.

I liked the "Tangy Asian Inspired BBQ Sauce", although the "Tangy" part is mild, not spicy or acidic at all. BBQ sauce is is not too sweet, as is the case in manhy BBQ frozen entrees.

The BBQ sauce has a mild smokey undertaste and a dash of Worcestershire sauce flavor.

The cooked meat is a large lump, and fairly bland, but that's okay for precooked frozen ground meat. The ingredients say a combination of pork and chicken. For being white meat pork and chicken, the meat has an unnaturally dark brown hue.

The protein part of this frozen entree is good enough. The pork and chicken structure reminds me of a McDonald's McRib sandwich patty, but with a little more texture.

The meat is really  just a delivery device for the tasty sauce, veggies and rice,

It is light lunch - just over 7 ounces. The large loaf of meat and rice provide the heft to this cheap$kate deal.

Click on any photo to see larger.

The ingredient list is way too long, but I guess that's comes with frozen Banquet Meals in the cheap grocery section of your frozen deli case.

So on the 99 Cent Chef's Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give this Deal of the Day, Asian Style Rice Bowl by Banquet, a 5. It was an okay frozen meal, but I'm not sure I would get it again anytime soon. I think I will stick with my guilty pleasures of Turkey or Salisbury Steak Meals.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Recipes

A cooked Thanksgiving turkey is the gift that keeps on giving. So keep reading to see a few of my recipes that will have you coming back for more succulent turkey leftovers. (And click on any recipe name to be directed to my blogpost with all the tasty recipe text and yummy photo illustrations.)

The easiest and quickest use of Thanksgiving leftovers is to just pile them between 2 slices of bread or between a bread roll. I like mine with stuffing, cranberry sauce, warm gravy and turkey.

Click on any photo to see larger.

But to kick the sandwich up to an Ultimate Turkey Sandwich, just crisp up in the frying pan some of that uneaten soggy turkey skin.

It is a decadent and tasty addition to a classic Turkey Sandwich. Check out my recipe video below for a little culinary decadence.

A most popular leftover for the coldest days of winter is a warm and soothing Turkey Soup. I hope you saved the poultry carcass?

For the tastiest soup it's best to boil leftover turkey bones in a pot of water. Once the water is simmering on low, just step away for an hour, and meanwhile do a little veggie chopping to add when the turkey broth is strained and ready to use.

My Turkey Soup recipe link here, is based on a typical Chicken Soup, so just substitute with cooked leftover turkey.

My Chicken Soup recipe starts with uncooked chicken, so this Turkey Soup will be done in less time - just simmer long enough to tenderize the chopped carrot, onion and celery. This soup is easier with cooked turkey.

If you feel a bit more ambitious, then rustle up a Cajun classic Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, but with leftover turkey instead of chicken.

My Mom lives in Louisiana and she sure knows how to do a Gumbo. This is another cold weather dish. Serve Mom's Turkey and Sausage Gumbo over rice. Again you can reduce the prep time because the leftover turkey is already cooked. And another shortcut is using a pre-made Gumbo base called a roux, that is often stocked in regular grocery stores.

Check out my video below for all the tasty details.

A pot pie is the most soothing of winter meals, and my Turkey Pot Pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers will have you returning for seconds and thirds!

For my simple recipe I used a grocery store frozen pie crust that covers the leftovers. And all you do is load up a deep baking dish like you would a lasagna - layering mashed potatoes or yams, veggies, stuffing, turkey and gravy.

My video below lays it on thick, that is, with plenty of delish leftovers.

I hope you had a great gathering of family and some friends for your Thanksgiving. And do check back for more 99 cent cheap$kate deliciousness.

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 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.)

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.

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.
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