Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for April, 2007

[ Currently Eating: Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs! ]

Cheap Eats - Lays Potato ChipsI fell into a junk food mood again a little while ago. I’d actually had these Lays Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips since near the new year, but didn’t have the heart to open them. Well, I think I actually bought two bags of these and ate one right away. So I didn’t have the heart to open TWO of them at once.

This is actually an enormous bag of chips; I could almost climb into it and use it in a potato sack race. Or I could inflate the empty bag and use it as an air pillow while camping. Or I could put some handles on it and use it as a shopping bag at the mall. Not that I’ve been to the mall in 10 years.

Anyhow you get the picture – it’s an oversized bag of chips. In fact you get 20% more chips according to the screaming words on the bag. Which is a good thing for Cheap Eats, I guess because you’re getting more for less. Still, it took a good amount of time to eat the entire bag – I don’t know if I need this much chips unless there’s a party. Not that I’ve been to a party in 10 years.

Potato Chip makers have gotten hit pretty hard with all the negative publicity over how fattening and bad their chips are for you. So it’s no surprise that they’ve tried to reform their image – 0 grams of trans fat, 100% sunflower oil. I guess it’s better than nothing (right, healthy eats peeps?)

They claim that the taste is still the same. I don’t know about that because I don’t have potato chips too often any more. But I rather liked the taste and texture of these chips. They just seemed chunkier and substantial without being overly oily. I think the Lays I used to get were more “feathery” light and lacy in texture, but more oily. My personal preference is thicker potato chips over thinner ones so it suits me fine.

Cheap Eats - Cheddar and Sour Cream Lays

Continue reading “Lays Cheddar Potato Chips” …

4/17/07 | Pork Chile Verde

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Cheap Eats - Chile Verde Pork

I didn’t really feel like posting a whole lot today, but since Tuesday is usually Cheap Eats Posting day here’s a pic of a version of Chile Verde Pork that we make a lot at home. I managed to get an “action” photo this time around with the pork cooking on the stove. This is from about 1/2 way through our recipe; we usually cook the pork (chunks of “country” boneless ribs(?) from Costco) until it really starts to break down. It usually takes at least a couple hours.

I’ll try to get some more Cheap Eats coverage later in the week. For now, my thoughts go out to all the folks affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy yesterday…

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Cheap Eats - Nature Valley Cereal BoxI got this Nature Valley Cereal for review in the mail quite awhile ago. My excuse for not reviewing it earlier is that there was no milk in the house. That’s a pretty lame excuse, because I’ve actually been snacking on this cereal plain for quite awhile now. It turns out that I’m just plain lazy.

No milk in the fridge is also the reason that all of the pics below show the cereal plain. This is actually good for pictures because when you pour milk into cereal you don’t have too much time before it starts to get soggy. Plus, I can never get the same sort of composition they do with the cereal perfectly dry on top while sitting in milk. Even more difficult: trying to induce the “magic raspberries” to appear in the cereal for their photo op. Those little suckers are hard to convince to come out of hiding… it seems like all the species of Cereal Fruit are nocturnal or something.

But anyhow, this isn’t a photo blog. You want to hear about the cereal. I’ve been seeing a lot more commercials and in-store displays for Nature Valley. They also have the obligatory “Website That Doesn’t Have Our Name In It So It Must Mean We’re Fer Real”. Seems like a big push to promote it is in the works.

There are two flavors currently – Oats ‘N Honey and Cinnamon. I got the former, which is good because I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon flavored cereal. Well – I probably did have Cinnamon Toast Crunch once in awhile.

Cheap Eats - Nature Valley Cereal

The big draw for the cereal is supposed to be the granola bar pieces… I’ve had cereal before that had granola in it, but the pieces in here are actually quite substantial. They’re hexagonal shaped and nearly an inch across – the distribution of the pieces is quite good. I got quite a few in each bowl I poured. The ingredients label says the granola pieces contain whole grain oats, rice and honey, among other things.

Cheap Eats - Nature Valley Cereal

I was actually going to take some separate close-up pictures of each of the different pieces and then decided that’s overkill. There are three different types of pieces, the granola bar chunk, a rice and oats dominated flake, and a corn dominated flake. The granola is hexagonal as mentioned. The rice and oats flake is pretty puffy and roughly circular in shape. It has a slight sugary glaze on the top. The corn flake is a bit smaller, more elongated and also coated with a sugar glaze.

Continue reading “Nature Valley Cereal” …

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

The reason for this particular post: my digital camera is about to explode. It’s filled to the brim with pictures of FOOD leaving room for nearly nothing else. So every now and then I have to dump some pics that were meant to be future posts to make room. Instead of wasting the pictures (for the average Cheap Eats post I usually need to take about 15-20 photos – because I’m not an accurate photographer) I decided to lump some of them together in a Leftovers for Lunch post.

Cheap Eats - LOFL Shrimp

Actually, these don’t really qualify as leftovers but they were definitely lunch. They could probably slide under the “three dollar or less” bar as well if I had the time write up a recipe for them. But I’m not going to insult the intelligence of canny crustacean cookers with a recipe for the fried shrimp pictured above – this is like the first time I tried to make them like this. I’m a bit of a fried shrimp newbie. Still, you can make some pretty decent results with a deeper cast iron skillet. It ain’t like the restaurants, but then I don’t have a deep fry cooker.

In the past, I’ve either tried the flour / eggwash / panko (“Pawn-Ko” please, not “PAN-Ko”) method, or a slurry batter using tempura batter. Lately, I’ve been having fun frying things using an interesting corn starch /yam flour mix that they sell at the Chinese Market near me. It contains these tiny nodules of yam that when fried up get extra crispy – the in-laws use it on fried pork chops. You can sort of see the yam bits as bumps on the shrimp. I’ve also tried it on fish filets with some decent results. I didn’t use any egg at all for the shrimp, just a shake-n-bake method in a ziploc bag and then into the oil.

The part that takes the longest is de-shelling, de-veining and butterflying (if desired) the shrimp. You can buy it pre-processed, but it costs more – unless you happen to live in a place where they get fresh shrimp all the time.

Cheap Eats - LOFL Yakisoba

Next up is Yaki-soba. If you’re thinking this looks like chow mein, then you’re mostly correct. The only big difference is that it’s fried with a Worcestshire sauce type of base, and they often sprinkle stuff like furikake and a greenish seaweed called “Laver” on the top.

I usually try and make mine by boiling up some fresh ramen (they sell it just like they sell fresh pasta, although you can use instant as well), draining and rinsing it and then re-frying it quickly w/ leftover pork or beef, veggies and a Worcestshire and soy sauce base. Nice fast lunch that uses up various leftovers in the fridge.

Cheap Eats - LOFL Chicken

Last up is an attempt at grilled chipotle chicken thighs. I like opening up a can of chipotle chiles (basically smoked jalapeƱos) and using it gradually in various dishes throughout the week. They’re pretty spicy, so you only need to add one or two for a dish. I was trying to find a recipe for grilled chipotle chicken, but couldn’t find a really good one (if you happen to know one, please send it!)

I basically marinated the chicken in chipotle, olive oil, lemon, garlic, cilantro, sugar and salt, and then cooked it in a nonstick grillpan. It came out OK-looking, but there was something missing in the taste – probably because I only marinated it for 1/2 hour. I think next time I’d also try a few other spices like cumin or chili powder and marinate it overnight.

Cheap Eats - LOL Grilling The Chicken



Recommended Reads