Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for August, 2008

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Hello, hello Cheap Eaters! I have made a it a bad habit of injuring various body parts over the past couple years. First it was the shoulder and back. (Actually, those are still ongoing issues, that are tolerable.) But the latest and greatest is some sort of injury to a joint on my left ring finger. No idea what happened but I’ve had to tape it up which has made it absolutely JOYFUL to type. The previous entry was done mostly with one hand and 2 fingers.

Thusly – I really need to take a R&R break. And because I also happen to be working on an upcoming project related to Cheap Eats, I thought I might as well take the opportunity for a longer vacay. Not that long, mind you. I’ll likely return with posts some time in late September.

By the way, thanks to everyone who has posted wonderful comments and written in with words of encouragement over the years. I really appreciate it!


[ Currently Eating: Grilled Cheese Sandwich ]

This Is Grilled Cheese - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I had a friend in college who once subsisted through all his finals on nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches.

Regrettably, this is not his story. =)

Nevertheless – I have eaten many a grilled cheese in my day. It’s cheap and fast, takes no special skill. You can dress it up any way you like. A “recipe” isn’t really needed – but people seem to love it when I attempt to calculate the price of single slice of cheese and a tablespoon of butter. I haven’t the heart to tell them I’m making it up usually. Man, I’m not going back and looking at grocery receipts and dividing each item on the calculator!

Grilled Cheese

2 Slices Bread — $0.15
1 Slice American Cheese (or other meltable) — $0.20
1 Tbsp Butter or Margarine — $0.10

Total: $0.45

Use a pan (or pancake griddle) that will fit the 2 slices bread. Put on low to med heat. You want to have enough butter to coat the bottom, so the entire bread surface gets crisped. When the butter is melted, put the bread in the pan. Put the cheese down on one slice of bread. Some people like to wait until the bread is cooked, flipping it once, and then putting down the cheese.

Either way, keep checking the bottom of the bread with a spatula so it doesn’t completely burn. When cheese is sufficiently melted, and bread sufficiently toasted flip the piece of bread w/out the cheese onto the other one. Take it out of pan, cut it if desired, and enjoy.

This Is Grilled Cheese - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

I’m a huge fan of grilled cheese done in this manner, but you can make it even simpler by just cooking it in the toaster. Or, don’t use butter in the pan. I tend to go with the butter if possible. It’s not as good for you, but I remember my mom making them this way on the stove.

Continue reading “Grilled Cheese Sandwich” …

[ Currently Eating: Bananananas ]

Brooks Chili - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

No matter what dollar store I walk into, I always seem to walk out with some sort of chili. These things just happen. I’ve come to accept it rather than fight it.

It doesn’t matter which hockey team is winning, who’s running for president or what I ate last night. These cans of chili inevitably find their way into my hands.

And onto my plate for review. I’m no stranger to chili from a can. Previously, we’ve reviewed Hormel Chili w/ Beans. I’m somewhat surprised that’s the only real product review yet, not counting the posts about free Weinerschnitzel.

Anyhow, I’m going to run this review a little different. One thing that happens when you do a lot of reviewing (at least for me) is that you end up with a ton of different products that you’ve eaten but haven’t reviewed. If I was to review every single thing that came across my plate, I’d be doing 5 reviews a week non-stop. That’s too crazy.

So, what I often do is take notes. You’re going to laugh – just imagine me sitting with a bowl of chili, bread in one hand, pen in the other, and writing down my deepest darkest feelings about this lumpy, pseudo meat-bean product so they won’t be forgotten.

But the thing is – I WILL forget if I don’t write them down. For instance, I ate this Brooks Thick Chili with Beans almost a month ago. Without notes, I’d completely forget how it tasted. You can’t seriously expect me to eat several cans of this stuff in a month, right? Hm… I guess it would depend how cheap it was.

Anyhow, I’m just going to type in the exact notes as I scribbled them down furiously. You may or may not find this extremely boring, sorry if the former:

Brooks Chili

Overall: Surprisingly low salt(although 44% daily val sodium!), color nice red as chili shoudl be, a tiny bit gummy from the beans but OK.

Spice not too strong, I could have it stronger but suppose it’s better so can taylor [sic] it.

Beans: pinto soft cooked, nice, a little bland if you just eat it plain, pasty to some perhaps.

Ground beef: better than some, but nothing to write home about pretty much pureed, instead of large chunks – reminds me of J in the Balpha tacos.

Heat – barely there at the back of mouth. Could use Tabasco.

Continue reading “Brooks Chili W/ Beans” …

[ Currently Eating: Bacon ]

El Pollo Loco 4 Dollar Meals - Cheap Eats at BloglanderMan, I really apologize for yet another lame post. My sleeping schedule has just been zonked out lately, I feel like a zombie.

If you should decide to forgive me, here is a quickie on El Pollo Loco. Like nearly every fast food restaurant, they’re under the gun to promote some really cheap food to get customers in the door. I never saw so many 99 cent menus in my life. One day, I’m going to have to review them all (yeah, right).

However, EPL also has an under 4 dollar meal which is decent. There are 4 different choices. They are:

2 Pieces chicken leg/thigh, tortillas, plus 1 side
Crunchy Taco, BRC burrito, plus 1 side
Classic Chicken Burrito, Taquito, plus 1 side
3 Tacos al Carbon, plus 1 side

Lately on Wednesdays, I’ve been ordering El Pollo Loco to-go after the nightly rollerhockey game. I’ve been somewhat shocked to see the place jumping at 8:30 at night. It took nearly 20 minutes to get my food. It must be because it’s one of the healthier options for fast food. Maybe a lot of folks coming home after a late workday would rather pick that up than KFC. I dunno. I just know that the $3.99 meals are rather nice because you can pick the side. I usually get salad, or mac n cheese.

Their menu says the side is limited to Rice, Pinto Beans, or Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – but ours lets you order whatever you want. Sometimes instead of the 4 dollar meal, I mess around with their dollar menu which we’ve posted about favorably before. Or, I just get the 2 piece chicken / 2 side meal w/out the drink which comes out to about $5. I’ll probably do one or the other tomorrow – if I don’t fall alseep while waiting for the food.

Read: Four $4 Meals at E.P.L.

[ Currently Eating: Something Light ]

Las Campanas Burrito - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Well, well, well. Time for frozen burritos again.

Truthfully, I’ve been trying to avoid buying these things and just make my own burritos. I try to keep some flour tortillas handy at all times. Cans of refried beans are usually in the pantry, and there’s always some ground beef in the fridge. Then it’s just roll up whatever produce is handy into the mix – lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, etc.

But I have to admit there’s still times when you might want a faster snack. I picked up this Las Campanas Red Hot Burrito the other day at the market. It’s actually not a frozen burrito, it’s one of those that are sitting in the prepared food section next to the meats.

However, the shelf life seems to be rather long for a prepared burrito – it was nearly two months! Must be all the yummy preservatives in it…

Las Campanas Burrito - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

This is actually a much longer burrito than the usual frozen variety. In fact, because it wasn’t frozen, I nearly broke one in half by picking it up by the end (like a lightsaber, of course). It measures about 11 inches and weighs in at 10 ounces.

Interestingly, the serving size portion is 1/2 burrito. Who eats only half a frozen burrito? I have to admit that this was at least twice the size of the normal 33 cent frozen ones. But in that case, it’s not really a nuke ‘n run type of snack you eat in the car then. It’s a two-hander you have to sit down with. So in the back of my mind I was thinking, why wouldn’t I just make this if I’m going to eat it at home anyway?

Actually, maybe the other reason they suggest 1/2 burrito per person is that it lets them halve the sodium and saturated fat in the nutrition facts on the back. Eating the ENTIRE burrito will give you 1080mg sodium (46% DV) and 9g (50% DV) saturated fat. But then, I’m not hear to talk nutrition I guess.

Continue reading “Las Campanas Burrito” …



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