Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Cauliflower Vegan Soup

For a colorful soup use purple Cauliflower. It tastes the same as regular white Cauliflower. 

I used purple Cauliflower because it was at my local 99c only Store on sale. I used to get them for a buck, but now they are in the $1.49 range for a whole Cauliflower.

For my deliciously quick and easy Vegan Cauliflower Soup use any color of Cauliflower you find cheaply. 

I only ate Cauliflower a little, but when it showed up at my local 99c only Store I felt I had to do something with it.

I made my Cauliflower Soup two ways, with milk or cream, and another way with Almond Milk. I enjoyed both versions. What follows is my vegan version.

I basically steam Cauliflower florets in a pot with sauteed onion and garlic until tender. I allow the steamed and tender veggies to cool down some then blend it all. 

After blending I return the Cauliflower Soup to the pot and add Almond Milk, season it with salt and pepper, and heat it through. It really is a simple recipe. 

If you do not have a blender, mash the cooked veggies with a potato masher or a large fork. Hey, it's a rustic soup then. 

I like veggie soup and my Cauliflower Vegan Soup will satisfy your vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners.

Cauliflower Soup - Video              Play it here. Video runs 4 minutes, 12 seconds.

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

Ingredients (about 2-3 servings)

  • Cauliflower - 1 head of cauliflower. Broken apart in smaller florets. It's okay to use any color including white, yellow, and purple.
  • 1/2 Onion - chopped.
  • Garlic - 1 teaspoon chopped.
  • Vegetable Oil - 1 tablespoon.
  • Water - 1 cup.
  • Milk Substitute - 1 cup. Use any favorite like almond, soy, oat, hemp, coconut, etc.
  • Salt and Pepper - about half a teaspoon or to taste.


Add one tablespoon of oil to a pot over medium heat. Saute chopped onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add chopped garlic and saute for a minute.

Pour in a cup of water. Add Cauliflower florets to the pot with garlic, onion, and water. 

Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until Cauliflower florets are tender and easily pierced with a fork or knife.

After the Cauliflower is tender turn off the heat and allow the veggies and liquid to cool down for a few minutes. 

Add cooked, cooled veggies and liquid to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth, for about 1 minute. Make sure veggies and liquid are not hot when blending - things can get too hot to handle. 

It's okay to mash Cauliflower, onions, and garlic with a potato masher and even a large fork. You can mash ingredients roughly or finely.

Add one cup of milk substitute to a pot over medium heat. Add blended Cauliflower.

Finally salt and pepper to your taste. Heat Vegan Cauliflower Soup to a low simmer. 

Serve when warm or hot. It's okay to serve cooled and at room temperature. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

National Cocktail Day - Video Recipes

Belly up to the bar and raise a glass to National Cocktail Day! This Cheap$kate Mixologist enjoys a Happy Hour at home these days after a long YouTube video-making and blogging day. I haven't made many Cocktails published on the internet but I have a few so read on and click on any intoxicant name to get all the boozy details from my original blog post.

While a fifth or pint of booze is expensive, most of my Cocktail Recipes can be made with a cheap single-serving airline bottle of liquor. I used to get them for a buck, but now they are a little more, but still much cheaper than drinking at a bar.

While bottles of liquor do not show up at 99c only Stores or the Dollar Tree, they carry happy hour garnishes like pickled green olives and small cocktail onions.

Click on any photo to see larger.

After a hectic workweek, if you need a Bloody Mary weekend morning, dollar stores have all the ingredients...except vodka (crunchy celery is easy enough to find cheaply at your local grocer.)

I like to cook with alcohol and my first Cocktail, a Loaded Egg Nog, uses a lot of eggs. And the Egg Nog can be finished with an airline bottle of Brandy, Rum, Scotch, or Whiskey. 

I still can get milk or milk substitutes for a Loaded Egg Nog for around a buck a piece...not bad. Eggs for a buck have disappeared, but I hear prices are dropping?

This was originally a Christmas holiday drink recipe, plus at the end of the video is a Tree Trimming that goes off the rails...oh, boy, you are in for a wild ride so watch it below.

My next Cocktail is a classic called an Old Fashioned. It's typically made with Rye Whiskey, a couple shakes of Bitters, sugar, a splash of water, a bit of orange zest, and sometimes garnished with a cocktail cherry. I've had them that way and they are in my Cocktail Top Ten. 

I came up with a meaty spin, an Old Fashioned with a sweet and savory Candied Maple Bacon garnish. 

I guess you could say my version is on the trendy side of specialty garnishes and something you would not serve every day.

I went out on a limb and served my tweaked classic hootch to my friends whom I invited over for an evening of Film Noir that shows on regular TV in Los Angeles. (If you have an antenna you can get it, too, so look it up in your local TV guide.) 

The channel is called Movies! and it's on channel 13.3 in the home of  Film Noir, Los Angeles. Click here for their broadcast schedule, and "arrow forward or backward" to Thursday and Sunday night to see what they are showing. My version of an Old Fashion was a hit and everyone had seconds and thirds, whew! 

Film Noir is still big in Los Angeles and every year there is a movie festival that celebrates these crime thrillers from the 1940s and 1950s called Noir City. Check out my slide show below to see the scene on opening night.

I made my own Maple Bacon, so my recipe video is worth the price of admission.

Check out my Old Fashioned with a Maple Bacon Garnish video below, it's best served on a cold and stormy night to your roguish friends and favorite femme fatale.

Along with garnishes, Cocktail mixes like fruit juices and bubbly water show up at dollar stores. 

Even if you're "on the wagon" just pour this beverage over ice with a Maraschino cherry for a non-alcoholic Shirley Temple.

Have you had a Mojito? It's a refreshing tropical drink made with rum, club soda, sugar cane juice, and garnished with mint leaves. This concoction comes all the way from Cuba. 

Hey, can we end this embargo of Cuba already? Geeze, you may not agree with my politics, but do join me and hoist a glass in solidarity to my Homemade Mojito!

Keep checking back every year for new CheapSkate Cocktails. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

National Sloppy Joe Day - Recipe Video

This is the leanest Sloppy Joe you will ever eat. On this auspicious day in celebration of National Sloppy Joe Day, I have my version that is for the diet-conscious who uses ground chicken or turkey. And ground poultry seems to be a buck cheaper than ground beef these days.

Sloppy Joe's are typically made with ground beef, and depending on the fat content, you will have a gallon of grease after browning the beef. So, not only is my homemade poultry Sloppy Joe Burger delicious, but it fits into almost any dietary regimen.

I found a package on sale!

Hi, I am The 99 Cent Chef and I am a tightwad. I seldom cook with ground beef anymore. Since I created this blog in 2007, I've weaned myself off this artery-clogging but oh-so-tasty protein and learned to love ground poultry. 

The kind I use is mechanically separated and typically found in the frozen deli case. It's more watery than fresh ground chicken (or turkey,) but I've found that it firms up fine during baking or sauteing. Of course, use your favorite local ground turkey or chicken, mechanically separated or not.

My Ground Chicken Sloppy Joe Burger is loaded with flavor, using sauteed fresh veggies, pungent chili powder, ground cumin, and brown sugar -- all in a thick sauce of tomato and ketchup. 

Upon the first bite of my homemade Sloppy Joe, you will flashback to your childhood: when Mom put the steaming meaty bowl of goodness on the dinner table, and you piled on the sloppy mess between a bun -- then dribbled it all over your fingers, while staining the front of your tee shirt, as you scarfed it all down as fast as you could.

I used a pound of ground chicken for this recipe, so the end result will easily, and cheaply, feed your hungry brood -- just make sure to lay out extra napkins. Prices have increased since I originally made the recipe 10 years ago.

Condiments like Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and chili powder still show up cheaply.

You could conveniently buy a couple of cans of Sloppy Joe sauce, but you will still have to fry up some meat, so you might as well go the extra step and make my much more delicious homemade Poultry Sloppy Joe

And like two of my earlier video recipes, Beanie Weenies, and Chicken Stroganoff, I used stop motion animation -- it makes following cooking directions so much more fun!

Poultry Sloppy Joe's - Video
Play it here. The video runs 3 minutes 18 seconds. 

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients (about 6 - 8 servings, depending on how sloppy you like it!)
  • 1 pound of ground chicken, turkey, or beef - I used packages of cheaper, frozen (and thawed,) mechanically separated, ground chicken.
  • 1 whole small onion - chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery (optional) - chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper - green, red or yellow, chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic - chopped, from a jar or fresh.
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (about 15 oz.) - okay to use crushed, whole, or chopped tomatoes. Just break apart into smaller chunks when sauteing.
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar - or your favorite sweetener (may need less, depending on sweetener potency.)
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil - 1 tbsp. for sauteing chicken, and 1 tbsp. oil for sauteing veggies.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on hamburger buns

In a large pan or pot, add a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, then add ground chicken. I spread out the chicken to cover the bottom of the pan and just sit back and let one side brown. You don't need to brown both sides. It should take about 7-10 minutes. 

Turn over meat and break apart into bite-sized pieces -- like you would for a spaghetti meat sauce. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan. You can add chopped celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the same pan -- or you could have been sauteing the veggies, at the same time as the chicken, in another pan -- it's up to you. Stir and cook veggies for about 5-10 minutes, until onions begin to turn light brown and caramelize.

When veggies are done, add cooked ground chicken. Pour in a can of tomato sauce, and a 1/4 cup of ketchup, and mix well.

The final additions are the seasonings, including Worcestershire Sauce, ground cumin and chile powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix the Poultry Sloppy Joe sauce well.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Check during the last five minutes and stir. You want a thick chili consistency -- not too watery. Uncover and let sit a couple of minutes, and the sauce will thicken even more.

Get out the hamburger buns and load them up -- but don't forget the extra napkins!

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