Five cheap recipes to bookmark – Twin Cities

Five cheap recipes to bookmark – Twin Cities

Inflation dominates the news, and all we seem to be talking about at the New York Times Cooking (virtual) headquarters is how much groceries cost.

I’ve picked five value-for-money recipes that I love for this week’s offering. And here are a few ground rules when you think about meals and current supermarket prices: go away from meat (which is significantly more expensive, especially beef) or create recipes that use it in smaller quantities. Embrace vegetables and beans, which suffer less from inflation. Canned tuna is your friend, just like anchovies, which can bring incredible flavor to your cooking.

Chicken zucchini meatballs with feta

Chicken and zucchini meatballs with feta. Ground meat is less expensive than steaks or chicken breast and can be stretched with added ingredients, such as the ever-cheap in-season zucchini. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini. (Linda Xiao/The New York Times)

In general, meatballs are an economical way to eat meat: ground meat is less expensive than steaks or chicken breasts, and the meat is “stretched” with added ingredients. A little goes a longer way. In this excellent Ali Slagle recipe, the addition of zucchini is always cheap and now plentiful.

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

  • 3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, halved
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, basil, parsley, or dill, plus more to serve
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 4 ounces of feta

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut 2 of the zucchini into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer to a plate, season with salt and set aside.

2. Working over a large bowl, use the large holes of a grater to grate the remaining zucchini. Also grate 1 half a shallot into the bowl. Add the panko, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and use your hands to mix until combined. Add the chicken and spices and stir gently until combined.

3. Lightly grease a baking tray. With wet hands, form 16 meatballs from the chicken mixture (about 2 to 3 tablespoons each) and place on one side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, pat the sliced ​​zucchini dry and brush lightly with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with pepper.

5. Coarsely chop the remaining shallot half and place in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and stir to combine.

6. Add the sliced ​​zucchini to the other half of the baking sheet, moving the meatballs as needed. Bake until meatballs are cooked through and zucchini is golden brown on the bottom, another 15 to 20 minutes. For more browned meatballs, roast for a few minutes if desired.

7. Meanwhile, crumble the feta into the shallot mixture. Add the 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir, break the feta a little and season with salt and pepper.

8. Eat the meatballs and zucchini with a drizzle of feta sauce and more fresh herbs.

Cold Tofu Salad With Tomatoes And Peaches

Salad on a white plate.
A salad of cold tofu, tomatoes and peaches, with basil and mint. This dish is best served with vegetables or with rice noodles tossed in some of the dressing. Food Stylist: Hadas Smirnoff. (Linda Xiao/The New York Times)

Fresh fruits and vegetables are less prone to inflation, making this gorgeous silken tofu salad from Hana Asbrink a great choice for dinner. Serve it with greens or with rice noodles tossed in some of the dressing.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

For the salad:

  • 12 to 14 ounces silken tofu, chilled
  • 2 to 3 ripe medium peaches
  • 3 to 4 ripe medium tomatoes
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • Black pepper

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

1. Prepare the tofu: Carefully drain the tofu in the package and remove the tofu. Gently wrap in paper towels or a clean tea towel to absorb excess moisture and place on a plate.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the peaches and tomatoes: deseed and cut each peach into 1-inch thick wedges, core, and slice each tomato into 1-inch-thick wedges. Arrange tomatoes and peaches on a serving platter and pour any tomato or peach juice from the cutting board over the platter. Season generously with flaky sea salt to draw out the juices.

3. Remove the tofu from the kitchen paper and put it back on the plate. With a large spoon, scoop tofu mounds onto the tomatoes and peaches. Season the tofu with coarse sea salt.

4. Prepare the dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a small glass jar, cover and shake to combine. Spoon 4 tablespoons of dressing over the tomatoes, peaches and tofu. Extra dressing can be served on the side.

5. Just before serving, stack the basil and mint leaves on top of each other and roughly chop. Garnish the salad with chopped herbs and black pepper. Serve immediately and scoop extra dressing and juices from the bottom of the dish.

Pasta With Tuna, Capers And Scallions

This Melissa Clark dish says, “I eat a light meal on the Mediterranean island,” and you can buy most of the ingredients at Costco. Cheap and chic, and easy to make too.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes

  • Salty
  • 12 ounces long, thin pasta, such as bucatini, spaghetti, or linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 6 to 10 anchovies, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 cup torn fresh herbs, such as parsley and dill, or celery leaves, plus more to serve (optional)
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • Red pepper flakes, to serve
  • Lemon wedges, to serve with it

1. Cook the pasta in a well-salted pan of boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and scallions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and capers and cook until anchovies melt and capers and garlic turn golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add 1/2 cup pasta water, reduce until just a little bit remains in the pan, then add pasta and spices and mix well to coat. Add tuna and toss well.

3. Serve topped with red pepper flakes, more herbs, spring onions and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing.

Vegan coconut ginger black beans

Beans are not only extremely versatile and climate-friendly, they are also quite affordable, especially if you start with dried beans. You can lavishly feed yourself with recipes like this one, from Ali Slagle, which combines black beans with coconut milk, a classic combination that can be found in a variety of cuisines.

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin or coriander
  • 1 (3-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 (13-ounce) can of full-fat coconut milk
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plantain chips or toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 lime)
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

1. Rinse 1 can of black beans and set aside. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and half the ginger and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rinsed black beans and the remaining whole can of black beans (including the liquid) and the coconut milk; season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and mixture is flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes. (If you want a thicker consistency, break some of the beans with the back of a spoon while the mixture is cooking, and let it simmer longer.)

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, crumble the plantain chips into bite-sized pieces. Add the lime zest and some generous ground black pepper and stir to combine.

4. Remove the beans from the heat. Stir in the remaining ginger and season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the lime juice until the beans taste clear but the coconut flavor is still rich. Top with the seasoned plantain chips and serve with hot sauce for more kick.

Noodles with caramelized shallot

This Francis Lam recipe checks a lot of boxes. It is cost effective. It’s largely progressive (the sauce will keep for weeks in the fridge). It is adaptable for eaters of all ages. It is an excellent vehicle for leftover meat and vegetables. And it’s totally delicious! Fix it!

Yield: 2 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

  • Salty
  • 6 ounces Chinese broccoli (or other cooking vegetables), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces fresh noodles (or 6 ounces dry pasta)
  • 6 tablespoons caramelized spring onion sauce (find recipe online), or to taste
  • 3 to 4 ounces cooked chicken, ham, tofu, mushrooms or whatever meat you like, sliced, warm
  • 2 soft-boiled eggs, halved
  • Oyster sauce, to taste
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • Raw ginger or spicy pickles of your choice, julienne, for garnish

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and salt it well. Cook the Chinese broccoli until tender, about 4 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a slotted spoon and dry them well. Keep the water boiling.

2. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once drained, return them to the empty pan, remove from the heat and top with 6 tablespoons of caramelized scallion sauce or to taste. Season with salt if desired.

3. Divide the noodles between bowls and garnish with the Chinese broccoli, chicken (or whatever protein you choose) and eggs. Drizzle oyster sauce on the Chinese broccoli and season the eggs with a few drops of soy sauce. Finish with a few pinches of julienne ginger or gherkins and serve immediately.