Recipies orignally by Leanne Brown
Filipino Chicken Adobo
Author Leanne Brown credits her friend Tony Pangilinan, who she says grew up on food stamps after his family immigrated from the Philippines “with nothing but suitcases and a lot of dreams.” Filipino adobo is different from Spanish adobo—it’s cooked with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic, and can be adapted to almost any variety of meat. Estimated cost in cookbook: $10.40 total, $1.30 per serving. The way we did it:
- 8 chicken thighs (We actually purchased chicken quarters and cut them apart because they were cheaper per pound.)
- ¼ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar (we used white)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
- 4 medium-sized carrots, sliced
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup water
- 4 jalapeno peppers, sliced (remove seeds for less heat)
- Grated ginger
- Pork shoulder or butt, about 1 ½ pounds
- 1 can of coconut milk (13.5 ounces) can be substituted for the water
- Cut off the chicken fat. Don’t get rid of every last bit, just trim what seems excessive. (I’d cut off the skin, too. We left it on this time for flavor.)
- Stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, and bay leaves in a large, non-aluminum pan. Add the chicken, coating each piece. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes (overnight is great.)
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat each piece dry with paper towels. (Don’t throw out the marinade! You’ll use it later.)
- Pour the oil into a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add enough chicken to cover the bottom. Cook until one side of the chicken is browned, just a few minutes, then flip it over and repeat. When the first batch of chicken is done, remove it from the pot and repeat. (Something I really appreciate about this book is that the directions are very helpful for someone who doesn’t cook much. A lot of cookbooks would just tell you “brown the chicken,” or something very similar.)
- After all the chicken is browned, put it back in the pot along with the marinade, potatoes, carrots, and ¾ cup of water. Turn the heat up, bring the liquid to a boil, then decrease the heat to low. Simmer until the meat is cooked through and the carrots and potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. Cut into the meat. If it’s no longer pink, it’s done. (The directions are so clear, and the only mistake I made was in doing something they had NOT said to do—I covered the pot. That kept too much liquid in the pot, and the dish was a little watery. Still tasted good.)
- When the dish is almost ready, pour the rice into a medium-sized pot with 4 cups of water and the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and cover with a lid placed slightly askew. Cook until the water is gone, about 20 minutes. (Note that these are NOT the directions you would use with an “instant” rice, such as Minute Rice, which will work just fine, but is more expensive than the kind you have to cook longer.)
- Remove the bay leaves from the adobo and stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Let it thicken until the chicken and vegetables are well glazed. Serve over the rice.
No price was given for this dish, since it varies depending on what kinds of vegetables you use. Our cost was for a combination of potatoes, carrots, turnips, and Brussels sprouts.
Roasting vegetables is easy, and it makes them sweeter and more appealing than a lot of other preparations do. You can save them to eat in a sandwich, or with an egg for breakfast.
Use the following vegetables in almost any combination:
- Roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, onions, parsnips, carrots, sunchokes, kohlrabi, fennel bulbs
- Non-roots: Bell peppers, winter squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant.
Additions: whole, unpeeled garlic cloves, lemon slices or lemon zest, anything you would pair with roast chicken, tough herbs such as sage, oregano, thyme, or bay leaves, or a favorite sauce or soft cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Clean your vegetables. Generally I prefer to leave the skin on. (So do I!) Skin tastes nice and gets crispy, there’s a lot of nutrition in the skin, and peeling is fussy! Just be sure to wash the vegetables thoroughly. (I used a vegetable scrubbing brush, and peeled some rough patches off some of them.)
- Chop them up. Many vegetables are nice roasted whole, like new potatoes or little sunchokes or turnips—they will be crispy and salty on the outside and bursting with fluffy, starchy goodness inside. However, the general rule is that the smaller you chop things, the faster they cook, so try to keep everything about the same size.
- Dump your vegetables into a roasting pan. Drizzle everything with olive oil or melted butter—about 2 tablespoons per standard-size roasting pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and add any other additions from the list. Use your hands to coat the vegetables thoroughly with the oil and spices.
- Pop the pan into the oven. Root vegetables generally need to bake for at least an hour or longer, but check on them after 30 minutes. (I chopped ours fairly small, so they were ready in 35.) Non-roots only need 25 to 30 minutes, so check on those earlier. If the knife meets no resistance, they’re finished; if not, let them cook longer (you don’t want undercooked root vegetables in particular—they’re awful). Don’t worry about leaving them in too long. Unlike vegetables overcooked through boiling or steaming, overcooked roasted vegetables may dry out a bit, but they still retain their shape and flavor.
- After you pull the vegetables out of the oven, push them around with a spatula to free them from the pan. Remove any garlic cloves and smash them into a fine paste (remove the skins at this point), then put the garlic back in the pan and mix together. Squeeze the juice out of any lemons and discard the woody bits of any cooked herbs.
- Add a little more butter, a bit of a favorite sauce, or a little soft cheese or mayonnaise, and serve. (We didn’t do this. We just ate them with the Filipino chicken adobo, which provided a great sauce.)
The cookbook features several variations on hummus. This is the basic recipe; the cost is given as $1.60 for four servings, $0.40 per person. Ours cost xxx, but we used canned chickpeas which are easier and more expensive. With pita or vegetables, this makes a substantial snack or a light lunch.
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you are making the hummus by hand, warm the chickpeas for about 30 seconds in the microwave. (I did choose to make it by hand, with a fork and a potato masher. The book warns that unless you are extremely thorough and patient you will have a chunkier texture than storebought hummus. I was not extremely thorough and patient, and I found that the flavors didn’t blend as well when I did it. Next time I make hummus, I’ll probably go back to a food processor—you can use a blender, too.)
- Mash the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Slowly add ¼ cup water a bit at a time, mashing as you add it, until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and light, about 5 minutes. Taste it and adjust the seasoning. Add more oil and tahini if you want it richer.
(Directions are also given for making it in a food processor—put all the ingredients in the bowl along with 1/8 cup water.When the mixture is a smooth paste, taste to check the consistency. For smoother and lighter hummus, add more water. If you want it richer, add more oil and tahini)
Avocado on toast
Good and Cheap also features lots of really easy time-saving recipes, including a dozen different things to put on toast to make a light meal or a substantial snack. I did not actually follow the recipe on this on. The recipe called for mashing the avocado, but I sliced it because I thought it looked prettier, put the slices on toast, and added salt. The healthful fat in the avocado helps make this a satisfying lunch or snack.
Cost given in the book: $0.90 per serving / $1.80 total. We got an avocado on sale for $1.00, and our total cost was $0.62 per serving / $1.24 total.