Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sauteed Crookneck Squash - Video Recipe

I like a side dish that takes minimal prep - no peeling or need to clean it out. You can cook it whole or slice it and saute. I like to add a little onion and garlic with a dash of salt and pepper.

 Play my video recipe below to see for yourself how easy it is to make my tasty vegetarian side:
Sauteed Crookneck Squash - Video

Play it here. Video runs 1 minute 58 seconds.

Also called Summer Yellow Squash, the skin is a bright hue and usually smooth, but sometimes it has a bumpy surface.

You don't peel this type of squash as the skin tenderizes when cooked. You also eat the seeds. All I do is slice off the tough squash ends, then cube the squash for cooking - so there is very little waste.

Squash comes in all shapes and sizes, some have a hard shell. Yellow Crookneck Squash is similar to green Mexican squash. Italian squash is called zucchini.

This recipe comes together quickly. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of slow cooking to tenderize fresh squash.

I get whole fresh squash at my local Latin grocery and 99c only Stores for around a dollar per pound. I used 2 whole yellow squash for this recipe, a half onion, and one small garlic clove. You can substitute zucchini or Mexican squash for Crookneck Squash, they taste similar enough.

Next time you are in your local farmers market or a regular grocery store make sure to pick up a few Crookneck Squash and try my brightly colored sauteed side dish.

3 cups Squash - about 2 medium-sized Crookneck Squash. Roughly chop into bite sizes. Okay to use Italian squash (zucchini) or Mexican squash.
1/2 Onion - about 1 cup chopped.
1 teaspoon Garlic - chopped.
1 tablespoon Oil - to saute onion, garlic and squash.
Salt and Pepper - to taste

Chop half an onion. You can cut into larger or smaller pieces to suit your taste.

Add cooking oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute onion and saute until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. While onion sautes, you can chop squash and garlic (or use chopped garlic from a jar.)

Add chopped garlic to cooked onion. Mix and saute for a minute.

Roughly chop yellow squash into bite sizes. Discard the tough stem and end piece. Finally, add chopped squash and season with salt and pepper. Mix cooked onion, garlic and squash.

Turn the heat to low and cover the pan or pot. 

Now all you are doing is softening the squash by letting it steam for about 15 minutes total. Stir squash every once in a while.

The yellow squash will break down and release some liquid as it steams. I don't add any water, but do check on cooking squash in case the the liquid cooks out too fast. If so, add a tablespoon of water as needed. 

As long as the pan or pot is well covered, and the heat is not too hot, the squash will stay moist.

You can cook the squash as long (or little) as you like, to reach desired tenderness.

Serve hot when done. My Sauteed Crookneck Squash freezes and reheats fine, too.

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Morning Coffee

Here, I saved you a cup - have a sip of my first morning coffee.

Dang, sorry I ran out of fresh ground coffee, but fortunately I have some leftover grounds, just enough to make one more cup of joe.

What, you don't want any now? Okay be that way, I'll drink it myself.

Well, after watching my video, I guess I can't blame you after all. Looks like it's going to be one of those days, here in the cheap$kate cocina....

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chipotle Lime Chicken by Weight Watchers - Deal of the Day Review

This is one well balanced Deal of the Day. Smart Ones Chipotle Lime Chicken by Weight Watchers is not only tasty, but the ingredients are well prepared, and that's saying a lot for typical frozen fare.

Weight Watcher cuisine lacks the heft of carbs and glutton, but for this Deal of the Day you get plenty of nutritious veggies, white meat chicken and a lot of Mexican-style flavor. At 9 ounces you may not fill up, but you will enjoy every mouthful.


First off the white meat chicken is flaky, not a spongy processed loaf texture that typically makes up a cheap frozen meal. And for once the cover box photo matches the size of the chicken pieces inside. Plus, with the tomato, lime and chipolte sauce, the chicken stays moist.

I especially like the veggie medley. Often frozen food purveyors overcook them to mushiness, especially squash. Well, there is still a bit of crunch to the corn, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, and red bell peppers.

Even the red beans are firm, I like them that way. The veggies remind me of what you get in a fresh frozen bag from the grocery deli case. Good job with the veggies Smart Ones!

The only thing to watch out for is a subtle spicy heat, that sneaks up on you after you've dredged the veggies and chicken through the tomato and spicy chipolte sauce. The sauce is still a light and watery one, and that's fine with me.

The lime flavor is subtle, but it's there. This Deal of the Day has a very mild heat that I think most noshers can handle.

Finally, I like the short ingredient list of mostly natural veggies and white meat chicken. And, of course, the calorie count and fat amounts are minimal.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Well, I think you can figure out what my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, will be for Smart Ones Chipotle Lime Chicken by Weight Watchers, right? This is one of the better frozen meals I've had lately so this Deal of the Day gets a perfect 9! I'll be stocking up with these as long as my local 99c only Store carries them.

Okay I'll admit it, I cheated on the diet part - I added some brown rice to my Chipotle Lime Chicken by Weight Watchers, to soak up all that delish chipotle lime sauce.

Brown rice is not included in this frozen meal.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Labor Day Grillin' - Holiday Recipes

Labor Day is a day of rest for us working nine-to-fivers, yeah right! Well don't sweat it, I'll do the heavy lifting with a wheelbarrow full of tasty recipes for you to choose from. And this Penny Pinching Proletarian has all the photo-illustrated cooking instructions laid out for my visiting toilers, with some videos sprinkled in for no extra charge.

Smoking Pastrami

For this final summer holiday here at the Institute of Penny Pinching, I'm getting out the BBQ grill for a backyard blowout. So read on and click on any recipe name below and you'll be directed to my original blog post recipe page of eats, illustrated with yummy photos.

Let's start with the main meat course. This Chintzy Hash Slinger cooks with chicken because it's the cheapest.

And dark meat is the best bargain. I can even get boneless and skinless chicken leg quarters on sale for around 99 cents per pound at my local Latin market. They also sell 10-pound bags of plain whole leg quarters for 49 cents per pound.

Use your favorite BBQ sauce for a traditional redwhite and blue backyard poultry cookout. I just season cheap chicken pieces with salt and pepper and slather on the BBQ sauce. Before serving, slice into the thickest part of the chicken piece to make sure the juices run clean - no pink or red is allowed!

Next to chicken, pork is one cheap protein and I like to smoke it. Smoking thick meaty Country-style Pork Ribs are a favorite. I boil the ribs until tender (you can also wrap them in foil and oven roast) then throw them on the grill for an hour of smoke. This is a tasty shortcut to traditional all-day smoking. My blogpost shows you how to smoke pork ribs 2 ways.

If you like a rack of ribs then watch my video below for an eyeful of deliciousness. The video recipe features Pork Spare Ribs and I've used this recipe for Beef Ribs, too.

What helps drive this great nation economical engine is our mosaic of industrious cultures, so why not get multi-culti and try my recipe for a grilled Thai-style Chicken Satay with a Peanut Dipping Sauce.

The Japanese version of grilled Shish Kabobs is called Yakatori. And the Japanese like to grill it all, even chicken livers. If that is too pungent for you it's okay to substitute liver with cubes of firm fish like salmon or halibut, and chicken fillets. Everything tastes better when served on a skewer.

Chicken Satay - ready for the grill.

Los Angeles has a bustling Koreatown and I have had the pleasure to try a few Korean BBQ joints. Enter one and you are enveloped in smoke from the tabletop grills, loaded down with marinated beef and chicken. I have my own cheap$kate version of Korean BBQ you can make for your next backyard gathering.

It's all about the marinade that mainly consists of garlic, soy sauce, and brown sugar. It's a potent combination you should try out sometime. Just click here for my Korean-style BBQ Chicken recipe. The photo below shows cheap, grilled boneless and skinless, dark meat leg quarters.

 If you are glued to the widescreen TV for a baseball game, then you can't go wrong with grilled tube steaks. They are the easiest fast food to make, and you won't have to put in any overtime for my wiener vittles. I have a couple of unusual recipes I think you will enjoy. And it's easy enough to replace cheap hot dogs with your favorite specialty sausages - if you're the artisanal type.

I usually get my hot dogs with just relish and mustard, but sometimes I like to mix it up. Here in Los Angeles, we have a uniquely constructed wiener sold by entrepreneurial sidewalk vendors called the L.A. Street Dog.

It's a crazy quilt combination of sauteed onion and bell pepper that's strewn over a bacon-wrapped wiener, then topped with mayo, mustard, ketchup, and finally crowned with a spicy jalapeƱo!

You've never had a hot dog like this - it's the roman candle of finger foods. In my video below I grill the bacon wrapped wiener on the stovetop, but it's even better sizzling on your BBQ grill.

Allow me to introduce to you to a Currywurst, which is a sausage or hot dog that's grilled and topped with a spicy sauce consisting of ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, cayenne pepper, and curry powder (dried cumin). This Berlin, Germany delicacy started just after WWII as street food for British and American soldiers stationed there. It sounds like a weird combination of ingredients, but it works and it's so easy to make, so give it a go - it makes a great appetizer served with toothpicks.


Another Eastern European entree is made with grilled Sausages, Sauerkraut and Beer. Now, these are ingredients that work well together! Again, I cooked this dish on a stovetop, but you can cook the sausages over an open fire for extra charred flavor.

To add some veggie crunch, try my bastardized version of a Chicago Dog. I can't get Day-Glow green relish out here in LA so I tweaked the Windy City's fast food classic by adding some chopped lettuce along with traditional sliced tomato. Hopefully, Chicago tough guys will give me a pass for tweaking this culinary bad boy. And check out my wacky video below, where my Chicago Dog is the video punchline.

Hamburger is a backyard grill favorite that almost every working stiff lusts over. And boy do I have a meaty South of the Border spin with my Mexi-Turkey Burger.

It packs a lot of flavor with the main ingredient, Mexican chorizo, which has a deep flavored red chile taste, spiced with paprika, Mexican oregano and garlic powder. And you can use regular ground beef instead of poultry. Get out the salsa for my Mexi-Burger.

My fave grilled hamburger is slathered with barbeque sauce and has sauteed mushrooms and cheddar cheese. What's yours?

Attention all you breadwinners, I have the perfect meal between 2 buns, Smoked Pork Butt Sammies! For lovers of smoked pork, the following entree will have you asking for seconds and thirds. I like to smoke a whole pork shoulder (or butt) when I throw a Labor Day BBQ party.

If you have traveled the South then you've run across BBQ Pulled Pork. Mainly served between buns and topped with BBQ sauce, this crowd-pleasing self-serve sandwich has it all: smokey tender pork that's seasoned with a dry rub of sugar and spice.
Pulled Pork Dry Rub
Click on any photo to see larger.

Just set out a tub of Pulled Pork along with hamburger buns, BBQ sauce, sliced onion, pickles, and Coleslaw, and get out of the way as the line forms. And I have an easy gas grill smoking method you can see in my video below.

Pork Carnitas are my favorite tacos. While not done on a BBQ grill it's still one of my go-to backyard holiday foods, so I gotta give you the recipe gratis, no charge. You can always give it a quick smoke pass to kick it up a notch. It really is the perfect party food because you get to sit back and let your friends do all the work and build their own tacos. Go to the following blog post to see some tasty Homemade Salsas to spoon on your taco - or scoop up with tortilla chips.

Carnitas Taco

And pork is still cheap these days, especially when it comes on sale at my local Latin market. So you won't break the bank feeding your lovers of all things porcine.

I seldom cook with beef because it's just too darn expensive for this wage earner, but when I splurge, it's for ribeye steak. I just season it with salt and pepper, that's it. Believe it or not, 3 ounce thin-sliced steaks do show up at my local 99c only and Dollar Tree stores from time to time.

Sometimes I'll finish a steak with a little BBQ sauce. But if you want to impress your guests then try out my Carne Asada recipe. Ribeye (or any favorite tender cut) is marinated in cilantro, green onion, garlic, lime juice, and a little ground cumin. When it's hot off the grill, chop the meat for Carne Asada Tacos or a Warm Steak Salad.

Carne Asada Marinade

If you are smoking meat, get your hands greasy and throw on a slab of corned beef brisket for Homemade Pastrami. I always freeze 2 or 3 corned beef briskets when they are on sale for about 2 dollars per pound during St. Patrick's day sales.

My  Easy Smoked Homemade Pastrami recipe is tasty as any Jewish Deli version - so says everyone I've served it too, and you don't have to leave me a tip. I think it's because the smoky flavor it more intense fresh off the grill, than from a deli where the pastrami has been setting in the cold case for a few days. Hey, don't take my word for it, give it a shot and get ready for an assembly line of high fives sure to come your way!

Seafood and a BBQ grill go together. For Grilled Fish you have to have a delicate touch as fish is easy to overcook. But it's done quickly so you won't smell too smokey slaving over the grill.

Grilling a whole fish is the easiest way to do it. Of course, your guest may have to work overtime to pick out fish bones, but all that effort will be worth it if you cook the fish my way.

I have a deep-fried Fish Taco recipe that's easily adapted for outdoor grilling. Just leave off the batter and grill the fish for a lighter and healthier pescado. Check out my recipe for all the details, including a cool Creme Topping.

A bag of tortilla chips and a light Seafood Ceviche made with budget fake crab is a chill appetizer to greet the guests with.

Seafood Ceviche

For my vegetarian friends working for a living, and who've got off the conveyor belt of meat, the following recipes are for you. My sister Denise has a fave veggie Eggplant Burger (and easy enough to BBQ instead of frying pan sauteing).

 Eggplant Burger

Portabella Mushroom Burger

A tasty meat substitution is an earthy Portabella Mushroom Burger that's topped with grilled bell pepper and cheese (or use a cheese substitute).

Roast a few ears of corn to serve with the veggie burgers or go a little further and make my Roasted Cream Corn.

It's all about the veggie sides when you have a BBQ patio party. You can simply drizzle a little olive oil and season any fave summer veggie to grill over the fire.

 Braised Romain Heart

Click on any recipe name to get my recipe details for: Sweet PotatoesGrilled Bell PeppersZucchini with Herbs, and Braised Romain Hearts (originally done inside, but easy enough to do outside).

You gotta have Potato or Macaroni Salads when you grill meat. I have a colorful Peanut Coleslaw made with red cabbage. But a regular Coleslaw it good enough for me, like in the video below.

My Mom recently dropped by the cheap$kate kitchen and set off a flavor bomb: Cajun Potato Salad. It was so good I had to make a video to share her recipe with you.

Get your guests started with light salads such as: refreshing Watermelon, Mango and Spinach; hearty Black Bean & Corn ; an exotic, but simple, Korean-style Cucumber Salad; a tangy Cuban Salad, or luscious Pears & Spinach with Herb Cream.

Watermelon, Mango & Spinach Salad

If you are doing burgers, then you want fries to go with it, and my double-fried French Fries does the trick.

I like a pot of beans on the stove simmering while I'm grilling. Cook them the day before and they taste even better the next. Be sure to set out a stack of bowls so your guest can help themselves. I like to have some grated cheese and minced onion on the side.

My New Orleans friend, Miss Patty, has a delish Vegetarian Red Beans recipe for you, and I have my own Beef & Bean Chili and Cuban Black Beans recipe.

There is nothing better at stoking appetites than walking past the kitchen and inhaling the savory perfume of seasoned slow cooking legumes.

Every holiday has their produce specials, so be sure to check out your local grocery fliers for all the holiday deals.

Labor Day is almost here, and this Parsimonious Culinary Artisan put in 12 hours, 8 days a week, cranking out the recipes for your use, royalty, and tax-free.

So get to work and click on any recipe name listed above and get all my tasty recipe details - it's the easiest and tastiest job you'll have all year!

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