Wednesday, July 31, 2019

National Avocado Day - Recipe Videos

God, how I love avocados. My last bite on earth would be a simple slice of creamy Haas avocado.

This is a most delicious blog post you will want to bookmark for future viewing. And click on any recipe name to see all the original recipe photos and text.

July 31 is National Avocado Day and I have a ripe basketful of recipes for you to use this most luscious and rich fruit.

The creamiest and richest Avocado, the Haas, was first grafted from a single tree here in La Habra Heights in Los Angeles County almost 100 years ago. Read about the origin story here, And if you need a reminder on how to tell when an avocado is ripe, just click here.

The simplest and most tasty Avocado recipe is for Avocado Toast. Just mash a ripe Avocado, season with salt and pepper then spread it on warm toast. Use a tasty fresh-baked slice of bread if have a local bakery or farmers market. But a nice nutty whole-grain grocery store brand is fine.

Here in Los Angeles, Avocado prices are all over the map, from a buck and a half for a large one, to six small ones for 99 cents! If you keep an eye on seasonal sales you might find them for bargain prices too.

I like to start the day with this green bauble of deliciousness sliced and tucked into a cheesy Omelet. This is too much of a good thing but what the heck.

I like a fresh and creamy slice Avocado on my taco, how about you? And all my yummy Taco Recipes are a click away, here.

If you have a local Latin market in the hood then this next recipe is for you. Plus this recipe is a real dollar stretcher. Avocado Crema is a mix of Mexican Crema and mashed Avocado.

Mexican Crema is similar to sour cream (okay to use sour cream instead,) just sweeter. Use this recipe at your next Taco Party and serve it with chips, and top a taco or burrito -- so good.

If you have a favorite cold salad then add a chopped Avocado for a rich addition. I like Macaroni Salad mixed with mayo, krab, and Avocado brings it over the top.

For these immigrant-bashing days, I have a Cesar Chavez Salad made with funky anchovies and illegal Mexican-immigrant-picked Romain lettuce with, of course, Avocado from Mexico.

The sushi California Roll was invented here and boy does the rest of the country owe California a big thanks. Even hardcore sushi connoisseurs will pick up a pre-made package in the deli section of a local grocery chain store. Check out my video below and see how easy a California Roll is to make.

You can't do a better sandwich than a BLT, or Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich. Oh, wait, I take that back - you can do better with the addition of Avocado, of course. Okay, now go and make yourself a BLT+A Sammie.

I discovered Cuban cuisine here in Los Angeles. And I like to start my restaurant meal with a Cuban Salad, comprised of Avocado, tomato, sliced onion and radishes, and mixed with vinegar and oil. Very simple but a great contrast to typical heavy and rich Cuban Roast Pork.

For the dog days of summer, nothing is better than a cool Ceviche. There is nothing to cook, just drain a can of beans and mix in shredded krab, chopped onion, jalapeƱo, tomato and of course, Avocado.

Chill it then get out the tortilla chips and park yourself under a cool shady tree with a frosty mug of beer or your fave cold beverage and watch the world go by.

I can eat Avocados morning, noon and night and you can too if you hang out at the 99 Cent Chef's food blog.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Easy Smoked Ribs - Video Recipe

Summertime is right for ribs. I guess anytime is fine, but I usually smoke ribs on my patio during the warm weather months. My latest recipe features cheaper Pork Spare Ribs but you can use any you like or find on sale, including Beef Ribs.

My method gets you halfway there quicker after seasoning the ribs and wrapping them in foil. Then you bake them until tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

It's important to wrap the ribs in foil so they do not dry out and will stay moist with steaming and reach fall-apart tenderness.

I use a simple dry rub of garlic and chili powder along with salt and pepper, that's it. You can even buy store-bought versions, or use your own family recipe. BBQ sauce is cheap everywhere.

Click on any photo to see larger.

If you don't want to smoke the ribs you can add barbecue sauce with the dry rub and bake only.

I do an easy smoking method, that is, I smoke the cooked and baked ribs for just an hour only, in a gas grill instead of using a regular old-school pit BBQ.

My simple smoking method uses a pan of wood chips that rest over a low gas flame. I find the dry wood chips start smoking in less than 5  minutes. I only have to add more chips a couple of times, pushing aside or removing the burnt wood.

The flame is under the wood chips only, so the ribs get indirect heat from the smoke. After an hour the barbecue sauce will dry out some and the meat will get a crunchy coating.

If you have a patio BBQ party, I bet most of your guests will eat the ribs up, and will not be able to tell you took a shortcut and were not slaving over a smokey grill all day! And your closest neighbor may even thank you for not smoking up the block, ha.

I get my Pork Spare Ribs for about $2 per pound from my local Latin grocery store called Superior Grocery, now that's a good deal.

My simple dry rub ingredients come from a local Dollar Tree and 99c only Store. Barbecue sauce is cheap at any grocery store. If you have a local fave then use that.

I've tried out this recipe on friends and they've raved by eating every last smokey fall-off-the-bone tender rib on the plate. I don't make these tasty Ribs enough, but I'm singing a different tune this summer, you can be sure I'm making them again, and soon!

You can watch my easy-to-do smoking method for barbequing ribs in the video below. Watch the first half up to and including the baking portion and stop cooking if you like, or go all the way to the end for Easy Smoked Ribs.

Easy Smoked Ribs - Video
Play it here. Video runs 3 minutes, 29 seconds.

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

  • 1 large rack of Pork Spare Ribs - about 4 pounds. You can use this recipe for any favorite pork or beef ribs.
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder - any dried type of garlic.
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder - okay to substitute with paprika.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste - I used about a tablespoon each
  • Wood Chips - 4 cups for smoking ribs one hour on a gas grill. Add more if needed.
* If you have a favorite premixed or grocery store Dry Rub then use that instead of garlic powder and chili powder.

With the meat side up, apply garlic and chili powder, followed by salt and pepper. 

You can lightly rub seasoning onto the meat side. For extra meaty ribs add seasonings all over the ribs.

If you are only baking the ribs, and not going to the smoking stage, then it's okay to add your favorite barbecue sauce to the ribs. And can you sprinkle on half a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke? Sure, why not. I usually add barbecue sauce just before the smoking stage.

I only season the flesh side of the ribs. You can rub in the seasoning.

Some recipes call for removing the bottom rib membrane. I don't because the ribs are cooked so long that the tough membrane renders to a soft fatty texture.

If I was grilling only (no baking stage) then I would slice away most of the membrane on the rib/bone side. In that case, the grilling would not last long enough to tenderize, so the membrane would be tough and stringy.

Rib membrane

To prepare the ribs for baking, wrap Spare Ribs in foil tightly. If you have a large enough pan with a cover then skip the foil wrapping. Make sure the pan lid fits tightly or the ribs may dry out.

Place the meat wrapped in foil on a rack or pan. Some meat juices will leak out a little bit, so best to have a pan to catch it. I keep the meat side facing up. If meat is in contact with a hot pan surface it will fry, dry, and toughen.

Bake at 350 degrees for 3.5 hours. The meat will steam and tenderize. You can serve these oven-roasted ribs if you like, or go on to my final Easy Smoking stage.

The view inside the foil.

When done baking carefully unwrap the ribs, they may still be hot. If any meat juices are left you can pour them out to save. I add it to the pan I smoke the meat in.

Add the meat to a pan or rack with a bottom. You can also just put the meat on your BBQ grill. This is when I add a layer of barbecue sauce to the rib meat. Put on as much or as little as you like. Hey, you can even leave it off.

I do an easy smoking method, that is, I smoke the cooked and baked ribs in a gas grill with a cover for just an hour. For the real thing, you normally have to smoke meat all day.

My simple smoking method uses a pan of wood chips that rests over a low gas flame. I find the dry wood chips start smoking in less than 5  minutes. I only have to add more chips a couple of times, pushing aside or removing the burnt wood.

You want to see a lot of smoke from the dried wood for this quick-smoking method to work. With whispy and wimpy smoke amounts, the meat will not have that BBQ smokey flavor no matter how long you smoke the ribs.

The flame is under the wood chips only, so the ribs get indirect heat from the smoke. After an hour the barbecue sauce will dry out some and the meat will get a crunchy coating.

Spare Ribs have most of the meat on one side so make sure the meat is facing up to get all the smoke flavor. Some ribs have meat on both sides, so turn the meat a couple of times during smoking time.

I like to serve my Easy Baked Ribs with cool Coleslaw or Potato Salad, click on recipe names to read all about them.

Again this is a quick smoking method, so it won't satisfy the most hardcore BBQ enthusiast, but your average nosher will like my version of Easy Smoked Ribs just fine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

National Hot Dog Day - Recipes & Reviews

šŸŒ­ July 18th is National Hot Dog Day, so let's begin with a recipe that is literally a hot mess, the L.A. Street Dog. The wiener is bacon-wrapped and topped with mayo, ketchup, mustard, and a grilled fajita mix of bell pepper, onion, and finally a spicy jalapeno. Whew, that's a mouthful. Check it out below. And click on any restaurant name or recipe name to see the original blogpost with all the yummy photos and tasty prose.

The premier tube steak purveyor in town may be Fab's Hot Dogs. Chef-owner Joe Fabrocini has brought virtually all of America to the San Fernando Valley, offering a menu of beautifully crafted dogs from every region worth it's mustard. The selection of hot dogs is head spinning, but go ahead and dive into my video, where I show you a few favorites.

Summertime is Hot Dog Season and nothing beats making your own. I always have mustard and pickle relish in the fridge, and tube steaks and hot dog buns in the freezer. I make 'em this way more than any other - sweet pickle relish, sour mustard and a meaty weenie on a bun, so good, and below is my simple recipe for a Relish Dog.

Pink's, L.A.'s most popular hot dog stand (the place can't put up all its celebrity headshots), was started in 1939 with just a pushcart and has the longest lines of any fast-food stand, and deservedly so. It has been filmed and reviewed by every media outlet in L.A. so I won't repeat it all here. However, I did notice one special hot dog that has not been covered, and that is the "Dude," named after the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel. It's the most extravagant of hot dogs - get an eyeful of it in my video below.

I like a Chili Dog anytime. Where does this cheap$kate and lazy Chef get his chili? From the can of course! Just watch my Chili Dog recipe and make your own, the 99 Cent Chef way.

Let's Be Frank, serves up wieners with compassion. No factory farm beef, pork, or turkey is used in their franks. All the animals are 100% grass-fed and humanely raised locally in California. Hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, and nitrites are not added in the production of the meat.

I often gild the lily, that is I lay it on thick, like my next Hot Dog recipe, a Chili & Sauerkraut Dog. I find sauerkraut from the can or jar and chili from a can is tasty enough -- no need to complicate things.

Carney's dining train car hosts the cheapest Hot Dog Happy Hour on L.A.'s notorious, and famed Sunset Strip, serving a trifecta of beer, hot dog, and fries for $4.75! This is one of the best deals in town too!

If chili and sauerkraut are not your cup of tea then leave out the heaviness of chili and go with a simply delicious Kraut Dog. I've left a jar of sauerkraut in the fridge for weeks at a time and it keeps on giving these intensely flavored hot dogs.

Come on down to Crenshaw Boulevard in South L.A. for soulful hot dogz served by Earlez Grill. These wieners are split and grilled on a flattop for max flavor. Check out my video below to hang with the boyz and girlz in the 'hood.

I like a Chili Dog with sweet relish. Hot, meaty chili cut through with sweet relish is satisfying on so many levers. Just watch my Chili & Relish Dog still my heart!

A culinary car crash of cultures, the Oki Dog is a true representative of diverse Los Angeles. Combining the all-American fast food standbys of hot dogs, chile and American cheese, with the Jewish deli classic pastrami, and wrapped in a Latin street food Mexican blanket of a flour tortilla. I dare you to try and finish one. Well, if you want to see what I'm talking about look no further than the video below.

You don't have to go far these days to bring Coney Island to your town. 

I get a famous East Coast Nathan's Hot Dog from the frozen deli case of my local Dollar Tree, when I want an easy, microwavable, quickie lunch. They do the job and I even wrote a Cheap$kate Deal of the Day you can read here.

They come naked so I dress the dogs with just mustard and sweet pickle relish, how about you?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bastille Day - French Cuisine Recipes

This Chef is a Francophile. I like movies by Jean-Luc Godard, ye-ye pop music by Serge Gainsbourg, and pommes frites, yes French Fries.)

There is more to French cuisine than French Fries of course and I've learned how to make a few recipes for this Bastille Day on July 14th -- the cheap$kate way, of course. So read on to see scrumptious videos and food photography, that I hope inspires you to try a recipe or two. And click on any recipe name to go to my blogpost with all the yummy photos and delish recipe instructions.

This French holiday is celebrated as the turning point of the French Revolution on July 14, 1790. Hey, this sounds like a fine excuse to celebrate French cuisine, to me! So I'll start with one of my favorite ones, a hearty Cassoulet casserole.

One of my early L.A. jobs in the Biz was as a videotape editor. Lunch was often in a neighborhood restaurant run by a charming French couple. My favorite dish was a comforting plate of Cassoulet. It reminded me of a rustic home-cooked all-in-one dish: a bean casserole version of Mom's Cajun rice dish, Jambalaya.

A classic Cassoulet is made with confit duck legs, sausage, and white beans. I've yet to find duck for 99c or less a pound but chicken quarters from a local Latin market do fine; as for sausage, 99c only Stores always carry it.

A French mirepoix of veggies includes: onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot and celery. They will sweeten this stew with slow cooking on the stovetop and in the oven.

In fall and winter months I make a Cassoulet almost every few weeks, and always have leftovers to enjoy and share.

My next Francophile recipe really does use the cheapest veggie, onions. French Onion Soup uses half a dozen roughly sliced onions, that are cooked down until caramelized to a sweet brown hue.

 I get them from my local Latin market anywhere from 4 pounds for a dollar. Go ahead and use the least expensive white or yellow onions.

French Onion Soup comes together with red wine (cheap is okay,) a fave broth, butter, and a little flour to thicken it. A pretty simple recipe, but oh so delish, especially when it's finished off topped with cheese and a slice of crusty bread.

My favorite fries are double-fried French Fries, and that's a tasty mouthful. Soggy fries were the norm until McDonald's came on the scene and changed forever the way Americans look at French Fries.

It became all about the crunchy outside and fluffy inside. And anyone can do it if you follow my method in the video below. But you have to go to the end of the video for my French Fry tutorial, as the first part is all about British-style beer-battered fried fish.

You would think a world-famous French chef would do French Fries right? Wrong -- I reviewed Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Fried Chicken Truck.

You can get French Fries with his fried chicken. Maybe it was an off day, but the fries were limp and soggy. I'm willing to try again when I run across the truck. Maybe they are great, just not when I was there. So check out my Cheap$kate Dining Review for French Chef Ludo's Fried Chicken and French Fries Truck to see for yourself.

But Chef Ludo  Lefebvre did turn my head around for his French Cheese Omelet. Man, is it tender and so good. The French method is to whip eggs first, then lightly scramble them with butter until almost done, but eggs still slightly moist. You finish by adding cheese and gently folding the egg into an omelet shape.

My omelet experience is with middle American diner-style where the eggs are solid and a bit dry. Now I make my omelets the French way, and you can too if you follow my recipe video below.

I grew up watching Julia Child cooking French food on her Public TV cooking show. And she literally wrote the book on French cooking called "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Her personality was larger than life, and I had to do a video in her honor after she passed away. My recipe homage is a bit silly, but it is done with heart. Check out my version of Julia Child's Crepes Suzette -- done by her nephew, Julian Child!

Beef Bourguignon is a classic French stew, at least until the Cheap$kate Cuisinier gets ahold of the recipe. Beef is too expensive, but pork is the right price, so I turned the recipe into a Pork Bourguignon.

All the other classic ingredients are included like: mushrooms, onions, tomato paste and of course, cheap red wine. To get that rich beefy flavor I include beef stock.

I didn't know there was a French-style Yogurt, so when I saw it at my local 99c only Store, I had to try it. Boy, is it creamy and flavorful Yoplait is the brand and some buy this brand just for the cool jar.

I like to add fresh fruit to plain yogurt. I find that pre-mixed yogurt with fruit is loaded with sugar and way too sweet for me. Below is how I do it.

So do click on any recipe name to see my original blog post recipe, and dig in!

Viva la France and bon appetit!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Emergency Earthquake Meals - Dollar Tree Edition

The Cheapest Chef has been shaken but not stirred! With 2 earthquakes near Los Angeles over the span of a couple days and whose epicenter was an hour and a half away in Ridgecrest, California -- and the last one was a magnitude 7.1.

After being thrown around in this giant bouncy room of a city the Wobbly Chef made his way to the local Dollar Tree to replenish his Earthquake Survival Kit with foodstuffs of the thrifty variety.

And boy did I find what I was looking for. Hey, when the big one hits I want to be able to get 3 squares a day when the city shuts down and I'm stranded because of collapsed freeways.

This is a Public Service Message is for cheap$kates only, so the rest of you can take the Seismic Chef's meal deals with a grain of salt. Let's just say I combine the good, the bad and the ugly all into one blog post !

If you have trained in the military, the following dining tips will go down good as all the mess kit contents are unrefrigerated and ready to eat -- while some are made more palatable with short heating times

And as a caution make sure gas lines are not broken in your vicinity, as I describe cooking with a small flame below.

Now, not all Dollar Trees are stocked the same. When I visit Louisiana they sell items for more than a buck as these stores are closer to a generic convenience store, but there are still plenty of dollar deals to be found. And impulsive shopping is fine for foodstuffs too good to be true -- because they may be gone tomorrow, so stock up!

And read on future cataclysmic survivors, Judgement Day and Rapture awaiters, Global Warmers, Illuminati enthusiasts, New World Order bunker builders, and especially my visitors from other States with their own environmental calamities, like tornadoes, flooding, drought, and hurricanes.

Morning Beverages
When you awaken after being knocked out by that poster or painting hanging over the bed headboard, weave your way to the nearest Earthquake Kit and make a cup of coffee to help clear your head!

Click on any photo to see larger.

I've found ground and instant coffees at the Dollar Tree. I think a jar of instant coffee will last longer and lose less taste. Just add to a cup of warm water and stir (keep reading further below for my ingenious heating method using Canned Heat or Sterno.)

Before I became an internet chef, way back in the day, I used to drink instant coffee. I know, how lame, but this was way before Starbucks when Folgers and Maxwell House were king. So after devastation, drastic measures are needed. -- damn the taste, I want my caffeine.

A cup of Stormtrooper - May the Force be caffeinated!

For you tea drinker there are plenty of boxes out there. I'm sure you could just set a bag in a cup of water in the sun and in an hour it would be ready to drink. In the South, we call this Sun Tea.

My local Dollar Tree sells milk and soy milk in a box and they are unrefrigerated! When you open them use plenty in your coffee, tea, oatmeal or breakfast cereal - once opened the milk and soy milk will go sour without refrigeration.

A great breakfast (or anytime) addition are single serving 100% Juice Packets. I found small Orange and Apple Juice Boxes with straws included.

As you move wheelbarrows full of debris drink plenty of water. Most dollar or 99 cent stores carry plastic bottles of water, single serving 6-packs or larger half gallon jugs. So do stock up with these.

Health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of per day, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember? I probably drink half this amount as morning coffee, and later an evening beer help fulfill that quota.

Let's start the day with something light to eat. If you were rattled in the morning, then a light breakfast may be in order. I enjoy dipping Italian-style Biscotti with Almonds in my French Vanilla Cappuccino.

And your traumatized digestive system may need a jumpstart, so take a slug or two of Prune Juice.

Breakfast Pop-Ups (Pop-Tarts) are usually precooked pastries with frosting and filled with jam, so you don't need to toast these. And a bowl of Capt'n Crunch will supply all the sugar energy I need to get through a cataclysmic day. And double that fructose dose by serving cereal drenched in Chocolate Milk!

Of course, use any healthy Granola or dried low sugar Cereal you like. And there's always Instant Oatmeal served with or without milk. I do like to add dried cranberries or raisins to mine.

Canned Heat
Many foodstuffs on the shelf taste better heated. My Dollar Tree sells small cans of Fancy Heat for warming small amounts of food or liquids - you often see these tins lit under metal chafing dishes of food in the buffet line or at a fondue party. One lit can warms up a cup of coffee or tea in a ceramic cup quite quickly. Of course, be careful heating up small items as they can get too hot to handle!

I made a small Homemade Grill using a metal grilling rack balanced on a couple of small bricks, or you can build your own heating unit. Place one or two Canned Heat tins under the grill and light the wick(s) with a lighter or match. And this grill can be built almost anywhere even on the ground if the aftershocks are coming fast and close together.

I guess in a pinch a couple tealight candles would work as well if you can hold the cup of coffee over the flame long enough!

With a small cooking pot, you can heat up almost anything. Now you don't need to bring canned or packaged foodstuffs like beans, veggies, chili or canned pasta up to a high temperature,  just let it heat up enough to warm through.

This Homemade Grill is best used out of the wind as the canned heat flame is small and blows around easily, thus making heating less effective.

When cooking with canned foodstuffs, I've read they can spoil if stored in the sun, so keep them in the shade!

This setup will also work well for Instant Oatmeal and small cuts of Pasta (macaroni, bow tie, etc.)  or Ramen Noodles.

Disaster relief - soothing Mac & Cheese.

I would break spaghetti and ramen into smaller sizes for quicker cooking. Cover pasta with an inch of water. When the water reaches a medium hot you can soak pasta/ramen covered for half an hour and it will tenderize. Hey, I like pasta al dente so mine will be ready quicker, ha!

Now, if you have a BBQ  gas grill or a camping stove that wasn't crushed in the garage where it is stored, then you've got it made!

After cooking, canned food is difficult to tell when it goes bad, so use quickly within 20 minutes. Try to keep all prepared food covered and in the shade. There is no surefire method to tell when cooked and opened items are spoiled after laying about for half an hour, so if in doubt, throw out!

For more details using Canned Heat safely just click here. And here is an interesting link and tread about cooking with Chafing Dishes or cooking Buffet-style that talks about safety, cooking times, etc.

My above method is for cooking stovetop style, not about keeping food hot for long periods of time, like at a Buffet.

Small Fruit Cups, packages of Nuts, and a Granola Bar or two are light and quick energy boosters, so you can start picking up all the objects that have shaken off your shelves.

Crackers and Rice Cakes keep long and single-serving Flavored Tuna, or small cans of Mystery Meats, like Vienna Sausage, Spam and Potted Meat are simple and quick to assemble.

Sometimes I need me Louisiana Hot Sauce, yea !

Chips and Dips are an indulgence, but you might as well go for it, hey what do you have to lose after you've lost everything?

Lunch & Dinner Meals
Temp your frightened feline friend back home by setting out an open can of Chicken, Turkey or Tuna.  And these do double duty when made into a spreadable Salad on a Saltine. The protein is cheap enough and carried at any discount or local grocer. Mayo and sweet or regular pickle relish come in small unrefrigerated jars so you can chow-down on a stack of Chicken or Tuna Salad on Crackers. Tuna in oil can be heated like this soldier does it -- his pretty wild way is setting it on fire as described right here.

 My Loaded Tuna Salad recipe text with photos is a click away here (okay to add or subtract ingredients on hand.) And here's the yummy video.

After stanching the bleeding of your loved one's wounds, clean up and prepare them a Mexican Lunch!

Mmmm, how I love Tamales. They are plump packages of deliciousness and I have my local fave here in L.A called Tamales Alberto. So how does Hormel Tamales in the can stack up? Well, let's just say smother them in plenty of Pace Picante Sauce!

If the earth shakes on Taco Tuesday and your local fast food Mexican joint is jolted into closure, I have a cheap$kate alternative -- those folded hard Corn Tortillas sold in a box! They store well and taste like Taco Bell crunchy corn tacos.

If you can heat up a can of Refried Beans, a couple tablespoons will fit snuggly into the hard corn Taco Shell. Add some flakes of White Meat Chicken from the can. And finally, top with Cheese Sauce and Salsa...yummy! This hardy Happy Hour meal will help put your wounded spouse or roommate on the road to a quick recovery.

Hamburger Helper? No, it's Tuna Helper.

The whole family loves Pizza, right? I found enough budget ingredients to feed your brood --including pre-cooked single serve Pizza Crusts! You can coax them out from under the sheets, or if they are hiding under the bed, with this fast-food favorite.

So what does your picky kid like on her's? Hmmm, how about Pepperoni with Cheese Product and a little Pizza Sauce

Or maybe they're a vegan-in-training so Black Olives or Mushrooms instead of Pepperoni? Well go ahead and mix and match!

Did you grow up with Chef Boyardee packed in your school lunch? Well, then it's time to become reacquainted with this meal-in-a-can. Add some black olives or mushrooms from the can or jar to make the meal more palatable.

Before you turn in for a cold night under a tarp because your home has been leveled or flagged uninhabitable, a warm supper is in order. Just fire up the homemade grill and open canned meals like Chicken and DumplingsBeans & Franks or Beef Stew.

Desserts are always appreciated as you psychologically recover after an apocalypse.

I love me some Moon Pies. Or how about European Cookies with a smear of Cake Frosting and Sprinkles?

Nutella, you had me at Pretzel.

Local Los Angeles dessert legend Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies are always a welcome treat!

And these imitation Twinkies will last until any end-of-times scenario, plus they double as pillows!

If you have any wood splints left after setting your neighbor's broken bones you can use the lumber to build a fire and roast a few Marshmallows...yum!

Another sweet smelling headrest.

Vegan and Vegetarian
I haven't forgotten my vegan or vegetarian friends, even after being knocked out by the overhead ceiling fan! Dollar Tree sells plenty of Canned Veggies and some specialty appetizers like Peppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese in Oil.

Let's get a little chic amongst the rubble and dust off the white tablecloth and dig out a couple of candles to light up a makeshift table made from the collapsed front door hanging by a hinge, and dine on a Pasta entree featuring imported Potato Gnocchi and Pomi Chopped Tomatoes, both from Italy.

This posh meal is served with Red Peppers, Genovese Sauce (basil pesto) and finished with Grated Topping. No gratuity is necessary for this Uptown Chef, but thanks anyway!

Can Opener Cuisine is the easiest way to go. Soups in tins come in all types, vegan, vegetarian and good old fashioned Chicken Soup.

The Andy Warhol Diet

Soups On!

After your meal just relax with a cheap small airline bottle of Wine or a warm (European serving style) can of Beer with Beer Nuts.

Well, don't sweat the small stuff at this point, you are still alive and kicking, right?

On the serious side, my meal ideas can be adapted to your favorite grocery market, including Whole Foods, Ralphs or any chain, neighborhood and ethnic markets.

I've seen healthy soups in boxes, organic canned goods, and breakfast cereals low in sugar. Make your own Earthquake Kit to suit your and your families dietary needs.  

So when nature turns toxic and before disaster stikes, take a few of the above tips from the Good Samaritan Chef and be sure to stock up the cheap$kate way!

Only the trauma of an earthquake would cause me try this hot mess!

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