Saturday, November 30, 2013

Soul Food-Style Black-eyed Peas with Ham - Video Recipe

The most flavorful pot of beans you'll ever cook up is featured in the Cheap$kate Chef's latest stop motion animated video recipe.

Call it Southern-style, Low Country, or Soul Food, and by adding a ham hock or a leftover ham bone, you raise a humble pot of beans to a whole other flavor profile. If you are cheap like me then you froze the ham bone from that less-than-a-dollar per pound holiday Shank Half Ham.

And for the upcoming New Year's Day Celebration, my Black-eyed Peas just need some rice to make the Southern traditional Hoppin' Johns. You can cook some rice (about 20 minutes of simmering, covered) with the finished Black-eyed Peas or steam the rice separately and add the Black-eyed Peas when you are ready to celebrate.

You'll be surprised by all the ham you can pull off the bone, after it has simmered in the pot of beans for a couple of hours. Just watch my latest recipe video of Soul Food-Style Black-eyed Peas with Ham to see what I mean.

Cooking with leftover smoked pork is how they do it in the South, heck, I'm sure that's how they do it everywhere. (If you don't have a leftover ham bone or ham hock, it's okay to use a few slices of bacon or any cheap smoked pork or turkey meat, like: neck bones, tail, leg and wing.)

This recipe can be applied to most any type of dried beans: black, white, red, pinto, lima, green pea, lentil, etc. Only the cooking time will vary -- beans like pinto and black beans need 3 to 4 hours, while lentils cook through in half an hour. Make sure to read the package directions for cooking times.

Surprisingly Black-eyed Peas are more expensive than the average legume, over a dollar and a half per pound -- at least in Los Angeles grocery stores. Maybe they are cheaper in the South? Well, I got mine with a dollar coupon from Ralphs, so my recipe hits all my cheap$kate price points. Even at full price you'll get half a dozen servings, so it's still a tasty budget recipe. I also used an onion, one bay leaf, and some chopped garlic -- all inexpensive ingredients.

My friend, Miss Patti, showed me how to make Cajun-Style Vegetarian Red Beans. So if you are meat averse, then click here to see that video recipe post, so you make Black-eyed Peas your way.

For your next homemade pot of beans on a cold winter day, go with The 99 Cent Chef's smoked pork addition -- you'll drive your household crazy with the tantalizing aroma that comes with slow cooking Soul Food-Style Black-eyed Peas with Ham.

Blackeyed Peas with Ham - VIDEO

Play it here, video runs 2 minutes, 21 seconds.

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

  • Ingredients (about 6 servings)
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 leftover ham bone or ham hock - You are going for the smoked pork flavor. Okay to use 4 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces. You can brown the bacon first and add the amount of bacon fat you feel comfortable with. Also, okay to use a small ham steak cut into cubes, or any cheap smoked meat.
  • 1 whole large onion - or 2 small onions, white or yellow.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 1 stalk celery - optional
  • 8 cups of water - add more if needed during cooking.
  • Salt and pepper to taste - or any favorite seasoned salt, like Creole Seasoning.

Check black-eyed peas for pebbles or discolored peas and discard. Rinse off back-eyed peas.

Add black-eyed peas and  ham bone, ham hock, or bacon, to a large pot with 8 cups of water.

Chop onion and celery into 1 inch pieces. Add to pot of peas. Season with salt and pepper or Cajun Seasoning.

Bring the pot of peas to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook about 2 hours. Check and stir every half hour or so. (Add water should it cook out, for whatever reason.)

Black-eyed Peas should be tender. Remove ham bone or ham hock (no need to take out bacon) and peel off the meat. Add the ham pieces back to the pot, mix well, and low simmer uncovered another half hour.

That's it. Pretty simple to make and you can use this recipe for any of your favorite dried legumes, including: red, white or black beans, pinto, lentils and green peas. Cooking time will vary as some beans need 3 to 4 hours of low simmering. Dried lentils cook the fastest - about 30 minutes.

For vegetarian black-eyed peas, click here for Miss Patti's Red Beans recipe. Basically you're adding chopped veggies like: bell pepper, celery, onions, and green onions. To get a slightly smoky ham hock flavor, try adding half a teaspoon of liquid smoke from a bottle

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving & Christmas 2013 Recipe Compilation

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 and Christmas season.

 Below is everything you need to serve a sumptuous and cost-saving dinner table feast. Presented with links to my recipes, easy-to-follow directions, and illustrated with yummy photos and fun videos. 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 your big bird at any Superior Grocers -- just click here to see the great deals to be had, it's incredible. (Be sure to check back, the deals to be found here are just beginning.)

You can get a 10-27 pound turkey for 47 cents per pound with a $25 purchase. That's no problem, when Superior Grocers sells 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, collard greens for 69 cents per pound, and pork butt (2 per package) for 89 cents a pound. (I made a Mexican Carnitas recipe  video for you, just click here.)

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 poultry fiasco dinner is a click away here.

But seriously, last year I posted my version of a Turkey with Stuffing recipe, click here to read all about it. Not only is there a recipe that features my Mother-in-laws's decedent sausage stuffing, but I made a video below for you. And it's done in my movie technique of stop motion animation to boot.

My recipe is 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 guessed it, 99.99 cents. Right now they are selling everything but the bird!

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.

Boring Creamed Spinach is a typical Christmas side, but I have a Hindi twist. One of my favorite Indian 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, which is right out of the 1960s 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 where 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. Go here to see the recipe details. 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 Salad, and a Pear and Spinach Salad with Creamy Dressing.

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

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 the 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.

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

Every Christmas 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 shoebox 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 Christmas 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.)

Well after all that slaving in the kitchen you deserve an Egg Nog. In my first holiday-themed video from 2008, I made a Homemade Egg Nog that went a 99 cent airline bottle of rum too far. Be sure to view past the recipe for my humorously Tipsy Tree Trimming fiasco -- blogpost with written recipe and photos here.

The holidays wouldn't be complete without leftovers. I have a hearty Tea Party Chicken Soup, click here (of course, substitute leftover turkey and the carcass, for chicken.) And the most fantastic Turkey Sandwich video is a click away, here.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Deal of the Day - 2 Chicken Burritos

My latest Deal of the Day review is a lucha libre battle royale between two 99 cent chicken burritos. In this twofer blogpost, Jose Ole Burrito Chicken Monterey goes mano-a-mano against a Del Sol Grilled Chicken Burrito.

Does a flamboyant green chile and cheese flavored Jose Ole Burrito Chicken Monterey body slam the more traditional rice and bean stuffed Del Sol Grilled Chicken Burrito? Which burrito will be unmasked as the loser in this Deal of the Day? And with a rating of 1 to 9, 9 being best, who will be declared the champ?

For the first round let me introduce the Jose Ole Burrito Chicken Monterey. It's the smaller of the two at just 5 ounces. However I will not deduct points, it's all about  flavor in this Mexican fast food smackdown. First off, after a 2 to 3 minute microwave, the burrito must be named for a hot cheesy filling of Monterey cheese and green chiles. You are immediately walloped with the savory combination. However, there is a weak smattering of rice mixed in the yummy sauce. 

The flour tortilla is fine, no points lost for the wrapping.

But the Achilles' heel is the white meat chicken. While there is actually plenty of poultry cubes, it's made from a processed loaf. For such a serious foul this chicken burrito gets an immediate 3 point deduction.

So while I like the chile and cheese sauce, Jose Ole Burrito Chicken Monterey throws in the towel because of the fake processed chicken pieces. On a Deal of the Day dining scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give the Jose Ole Burrito Chicken Monterey a 4 count.

Next up, please welcome to the wrestling ring a Del Sol Grilled Chicken Burrito. This is a stripped down burrito. No no fancy show off moves or glittery attire here, just beans, rice, and chicken.

At 7 ounces this fat burrito body slams you to the mat and keeps you in a headscissors armlock of Mexican traditional flavors. I like the use of whole pinto beans with refried beans. Usually Mexican frozen fare mushes pinto beans into a paste. And there is a good balance of rice to beans.

On the package cover, cheese and a "zesty green chile ranch sauce" is listed. The top billing status is deceiving though. As a tag team member, it enters the fight too late and only plays a minor role. The flour tortilla holds it's own, with no fancy moves.

 But the winning wrestler's hold is the use real white meat chicken! The pieces are small but moist and tasty.

Overall the Del Sol Grilled Chicken Burrito is a simple opponent, it's been knocked around and is a bit slow in the ring, but it delivers the knockout punch.

So on the Cheap$kate Chef's Deal of the Day dining scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I declare Del Sol's Grilled Chicken Burrito the champ, with a rating of 7!

Congratulations Del Sol Grilled Chicken Burrito, and wear your 99 Cent Chef Cheap$kate wrestling winners belt proudly.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Egg Salad

Eggs are cheap and so is this recipe. Half a dozen boiled eggs with a little mayo and some chopped celery will yield a bowlful of creamy deliciousness that can go between 2 toasted slices of bread, or as a topping to your favorite salad.

The price is right, I always find a dozen eggs for 99.99 cents at my local 99c only Stores. And eggs keep weeks in the refrigerator until ready to use. They also sell small 15 ounce jars of mayo, from off-brands to vegan.

Celery is a cheap veggie. Chopped celery adds the right amount of crunch to my Egg Salad recipe.

It's a simple recipe that I don't make enough. If you eat Tuna Salad (my recipe here) all the time, try mixing it up and make my cheap$kate Egg Salad.

Ingredients (about 3 sandwiches)
  • 6 eggs - I used small eggs. Boiled, peeled and chopped. about 2 cups total after chopped.
  • 1/4 cup mayo - I used light mayo. Okay to add more. Add an extra teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess. Large eggs will need more mayo.
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped - including leaves on the stalk -- if it comes with them. About 1/2 cup total after chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Water to boil eggs.

*Many recipes call for mustard, I like it without. But you can add it - try a teaspoon Dijon or regular mustard. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder.

In a pot add eggs and cover with an inch of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Just when eggs start to boil, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a lid (or plate.) Let sit for 15 minutes. Eggs will continue to cook in the hot water.

Meanwhile chop one stalk of celery, including leaves. Chop finely.

After 15 minutes, remove eggs and rinse off in cold water, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. You can also let them sit in a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes for about 5 minutes.

Now time to bring it all together. Peel, discard shells, and chop the eggs. You can add them as you chop to a large bowl. I usually chop the eggs in half, them place them yolk side down on chopping board and finish slicing.

Add all the chopped eggs to a bowl. Mix in the chopped celery. Finally scoop in 1/4 cup of mayo. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Try out a small spoonful of Egg Salad. At this point you can add more mayo if you like, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess.

I find less mayo and mustard (optional) the better, as they easily overpower the mild egg flavor.

A scoop of Egg Salad goes well with your favorite vegetable salad. Egg Salad is a tasty party dip on your favorite chips or crunchy veggie slices. Also try a spoonful on an avocado half. But I like an Egg Salad Sandwich the best.

This recipe is easy to double using a dozen eggs -- just add another 1/4 cup of mayo and another rib of chopped celery. Keep finished Egg Salad covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick White Bean & Chicken Chili

If you've put in long hours at work and want to just chow down quickly, but deliciously, then try out my Quick White Bean & Chicken Chili.

And it's all made with easily attainable 99c only Store ingredients. And cheap enough from regular markets or other discount stores.

White beans are milder than most other beans. So they won't overpower white meat breast chunks in a can.  But canned beans can be very salty, even the ones I got that are "in light seasoning." To see a version where I lighten the sodium load, be sure to read Hindsight at the end of this post.

If you've never had chicken from a can, it's really quite tasty. The can size is small, like canned tuna fish, but convenient for single servings. And the texture is similar to canned tuna. Usually chunks of breast meat is used. And believe it or not it tastes like real breast meat, not a processed loaf.. Also use canned chicken to make a fantastic chicken salad with my Tuna Salad with Green Olives recipe by clicking here.

Dried or fresh chilis are the main flavor for typical beef and bean chili. I always have a bottle of deep red dried chili powder in my spice rack. Since this is a single serving (at most 2) you can use less than a teaspoon. And I like to add a little chopped onion, garlic, and some black pepper. That's barely six ingredients, and common enough that I already have most of them in my cupboard.

So read on and try my easy to make Quick White Bean & Chicken Chili.

  • 15 ounce can of White Beans
  • 5 ounce can of Chicken - very similar to a can of tuna.
  • 1/2 small onion - any color. Use a 1/4 of a large or medium.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pepper to taste
  • Teaspoon oil

Roughly chop onion and fresh garlic clove (I used garlic from a jar for convenience.) Add oil to a pot over medium heat.

Saute onion for about 3 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook another minute.

Pour in a can of white beans. Add a can of chicken. Lightly stir to mix well - I like to keep the chili chunky.

Sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder and add black pepper to taste.

Heat Quick White Bean & Chicken Chili until just starting to boil. Turn off heat and ready to serve. For extra flavor sprinkle  on some chopped onion, shredded or sliced cheese, and spice it up with your favorite hot sauce.

Now that's a lot of salt, using 2 canned main ingredients. That's why you see no additional salt in my cheap$kate recipe. The salt in this recipe mainly comes from the white beans. If you can find low sodium beans that's best. Even though the label of my beans said "light in seasonings" it still tasted very salty. Taste a teaspoon of sauce from your purchased brand to check salt level.

It's easy enough to dump beans in a strainer and rinse off about half the sauce, that should lighten the saline flavor. Or if you don't have a strainer add beans to a large bowl, add a couple cups of water, swish around and pour off 3/4's of the liquid.

You should add half a cup of water to replace the sauce. Now you can follow the directions above.
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