Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for November, 2007

[ Currently Eating: Clam Chowder ]

Ugh, I’m a little under the weather. So we’ll have to go with simple pics with captions again for this week.

Obviously, making good use of Turkey Leftovers from Thanksgiving is definitely Cheap Eats. I say if you cooked the turkey, you’re entitled to the bones and some of the meat. Even if you didn’t make it – beg, borrow and steal that carcass. And heck with it: take the mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and cranberry as well. I surreptitiously begin “setting aside” a leftover goodie bag while most guests are still working on clearing their plates. And you can distract (or scare) other would-be turkey bone thieves with wild-eyed stories of the “turkey that got away”.

By the way this year, I did the turkey using the Alton Brown brine-method w/ foil turkey shield, Polder probe and once again it came out underdone. Grr… Needless to say, after following his method EXACTLY 3 years in a row with the same results – I’m looking for a new method next year.

But let’s talk, er, happy turkey thoughts. Happy turkey leftover thoughts that is: I like to make at least 2 things with the leftovers. First is an Open Face Turkey sandwich, as in below:

Turkey Leftovers - Cheap Eats

I just warm up the leftovers and pile it on top of toast. To me, this is even better than turkey on the Day itself. Second up: The day after I also make a stock with the turkey bones and carcass (stockpot: water, 1/2 onion, 1 garlic clove, 2 carrot, 1 celery, dried thyme, simmer slow, skim, strain, refrigerate). Then on Saturday for lunch, we add some noodles, carrots, leftover shredded turkey, dash of Worcestshire, and sometimes potatoes to the heated stock. And it’s Turkey Soup time:

Turkey Leftovers - Cheap Eats

Man, looks like it came out of a can. But tastes a lot better. See you next week…

[ Currently Eating: Leftover Chicken Lasagna ]

Hi there Cheap Eaters – well, it’s Thanksgiving time already and I’m already running around starting the prep for the turkey (cooked Alton Brown style as usual) and other dishes. So, I don’t have much time to blog – in lieu of the usual wit and repartee, here are three different dish pics representing “eating out”, “buying prepared food and eating in” and “eating in from scratch”:

Fish Tacos 1 - Cheap Eats

Ah yes, fish tacos. There’s a halfway decent place near us called Dorados that has fried fish tacos with cabbage, salsa, guacamole – $2 per taco (they used to be less). Not the cheapest, but we like these a lot as far as the fried fish tacos go.

Fish Tacos 1 - Cheap Eats

Have you ever tried taking a pic by holding the camera in one hand and a wild, flopping half-eaten fish taco in the other? Not the easiest of things…

Tortellini - Cheap Eats

I often make a quick pit stop at Trader Joe’s… that is when there’s parking in the lot. For the longest time I was under the impression that this is a high-end foodie shop for those with wallets fatter than a Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich. However, there are certain products that are much cheaper at Trader Joe’s than in normal supermarkets. Things like mushrooms, Lactaid, arugula – I find they’re much cheaper (and more fresh) than the average supermarket.

Also, since I’m at the market anyway, I often pick up a package of their pre-made pasta thingies to cook at home for lunch – they have ravioli, tortellini, lasagna, and so-on. These Pesto Tortellini were very good, and I think the one package was about $2.25 or so. It was much more than I could eat as well. I figure an average Healthy Choice frozen dinner is $2, so why not go with the fresh stuff. Simple butter garlic sauce, with some grated parmesan on top.

Chicken Chile Verde Soup - Cheap Eats

Finally, this is supposed to be Chicken Chile Verde made from scratch, but it turns out I made it too salty so I had to keep diluting the heck out of it until it became Chicken Soup. It was pretty good, sort of like Tortilla Soup you get at restaurants. I often make Chile Verde Pork, but I had some chicken breast in the fridge so I decided to try that instead. On reflection, it looks an awful lot like Progresso Soup. The amount of effort I put into it versus opening a can of soup – I don’t want to talk about that. =) But I’ll try get a recipe up if I make it again.

[ Currently Eating: Mabo Tofu ]

Albertsons Chicken Dinner Deal  -  on Cheap EatsIn complete contrast to the previous post, I’m going to get right to the point in this review: I Like Fried Chicken. So a few weeks ago, weakened by hunger after grocery shopping at Albertsons near lunchtime (I believe they must purposely make items hard to find so you’ll work up an appetite while shopping and buy some of their deli food), I caved in an purchased their Chicken Dinner Deal.

I would first like to say that Fried Chicken is not exactly good for you – so please, all you nutritionists (and nutritional anthropologists) don’t write in to say how bad all that fat, trans-fat, mega-fat, uber-fat and fuggly-fat is for me. I don’t eat this every day. I would, but my health plan is pretty strict about the “One Fried Chicken Meal Per Quarter” clause. Read it, it’s in the fine print.

Here’s what this dinner contains: 1 whole fried chicken (8 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts), 1 lb of your choice potato salad or macaroni salad, and 4 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Total price is $6.99. Sorry, this pic makes the chicken look darker than it actually is.

Albertsons Chicken Dinner Deal  -  on Cheap Eats

I’m going to confess that I don’t track the stock index price of FCMDX (Fried Chicken Meal Dinners Index), so I’m not sure what the average big meal goes for at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeye’s, Church’s or El Pollo Loco. But I’m pretty sure you could line up a deal similar to or better than the price of the Albertson’s meal. Here’s the thing – it’s convenient. I didn’t have to drive to another place to get it, and since we’re talking fast food here – why not get it at the grocery store where I’m shopping at anyhow?

Actually, my own argument is full of holes – there is an El Pollo Loco in the same plaza as the Albertsons, and KFC and Popeye’s is right down the street. So it’s no trouble. Ah, well. Just another reason I didn’t join the debate team.

Continue reading “Albertsons Chicken Dinner” …

[ Currently Eating: Almond Joy and Stride Gum ]

Curves Chocolate Peanut Granola Bars -  on Cheap EatsBreaking Newz: Due to the current Writer’s Guild of America strike, Cheap Eats will be broadcasting reruns via the interwebnetthingy. I will be proudly walking the picket lines with my fellow writers in Hollywood. I will be wearing a shirt that says “DIE MOVIE MOGUL SCUM”. Come on down and toot your horn to support this great endeavor!

Ah.. yes, I jest. Or maybe not. Stuff like this strike remind me that hey, there are actually people who get a regular paycheck to write things. I’m not saying that I should be hired by a major motion picture studio to write the next Shrek movie. (I forget, are they on XVI or XVII?) No way – those writers are way too good for me. I mean they’re way gooderer or betterer than me (Than I?) I could never be one of them.

But, it gets me down sometimes. It also makes me want to write shorter posts. I think it’s something a huge majority of semi-successful bloggers face, there’s just not enough time in the day to churn out really interesting, humorous posts with character unless you’re writing for Slate or the LA Times. Try writing posts every day for a few years for free – I bet you’ll get a tiny bit bummed occasionally.

Here’s the thing: most of the successful bloggers take a huge amount of pride in what they do. I have to keep reminding myself that however proud I am of the posts that I make: IT’S NOT A JOB. So it’s not a big deal – I can take a break for 15 weeks and only 15 people will notice. These writers who are striking – it IS their job that they’re defending (or at least the union wants them to think so) – so it IS a big deal.

Anyhow, to sum things up… Note to self: Relax and Enjoy the occasional free food coupon.

Sometimes I feel like Stuart Smalley: I deserve good things, I am entitled to my share of happiness, I refuse to beat myself up, I am an attractive person. Well, that’s debatable. I am fun to be with. Not really…

Holy crap, is there going to be some sort of review in all this? I guess so. I was sent the Curves Chocolate Peanut Granola Bars many, many moons ago. Here is what they look like:

Curves Chocolate Peanut Granola Bars -  on Cheap Eats

The box is the picture at the top of the post. I was also sent the cereal but I’m “reviewing” the bars only. But the cereal is not too bad. However, in either case, I did not feel like jumping up in the air like the lady on the box after eating them. (Mostly because I am afraid of a large 8 ton beer can falling on me if I do anything “un-manly”. Because men should act like men.) If I want to see get my jumping jollies off, I just go to one of the Flickr groups that deal with it.

Well, OK maybe I’ll give the bars just a little hop. A small bunny rabbit jump.

Curves partnered with General Mills to market these 100 calorie each, 0.88 oz granola bars. These are the chewy type unlike the Nature Valley Nut ones we reviewed earlier.

Continue reading “Curves Granola Bars” …



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