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!

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.
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