TIME TO THROW DOWN ANOTHER TIP WITH OUR FRIENDS AT THE FIREFIGHTER THROWDOWN! THIS WEEK'S TIP IS PERFECT BOTH FOR THE FIREHOUSE AS WELL AS YOUR HOME!
We all know it comes down to the all mighty dollar. An expensive meal will usually end up in a verbal "beating" from the crews, even if it was the best dish you ever cooked. At a recent visit to a firehouse in midtown Manhattan, I overheard the battalion chief on the loudspeaker asking for an audit on the cheesesteaks they had for lunch. The firehouse can be a brutal place for a chef.
In a previous Tip to Throwdown we talked about shopping seasonally to help lower the meal cost. Another way you can do this is by using the adage "kill two birds with one stone", in other words use one ingredient in two parts of the meal.
When shopping we obviously want to look for sales that may be going on, especially in the produce aisle. Maybe red bell peppers are on sale for $1.99 lb instead of the normal $4.99 lb, why not use them in the meal more than once?! We should take advantage of these deals as much as possible, your pockets and belly will thank you. More often than not, by capitalizing on these sales that may be going on in the produce aisle, your meal will end up healthier than if you went straight to the cheap canned goods aisle for the processed crap that is on the shelves. So now we are not just saving money, but eating better at the same time. There are numerous ways to implement this approach when shopping, but the best advice I can give is to just use your imagination when you shop. Think about the "theme" of the meal whether it be Asian, Spanish, Italian or American and how the ingredient that may be on sale can be used in different ways within one meal. You may even be able to use one ingredient in both a lunch and dinner meal. To help you out, here are some suggestions.....
- Spinach - Stuff pork chops, steak or chicken with a side of sauteed spinach or a spinach salad
- Bell pepper - Stuff the peppers, reserving some to slice up and put on top of a side salad. Slice some up and top a steak while using the rest chopped up for a side of home fries
- Mushrooms - Roast mushrooms for a side while using the remaining to make a gravy or sauce for your main
- Sweet potatoes - Hash for breakfast, mash for dinner
- Kale - chips for lunch, sauteed for dinner
- Portobello mushroom - use as a portobello "bun" for burgers at lunch, grilled as a side for dinner
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, use your noggin' and shop smart. No one likes a pissed off crew crying about the bill!