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Fast, easy and cheap (foods)

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Versatile, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Cooks Illustrated rated slow cookers in August 2010 and found some of them burned food even in test-kitchen conditions with professionals using them. I'd link to it, but it's behind a paywall.

    I don't use a crockpot. When I want to braise meat (or even make spaghetti sauce or chili), I use an enamel-clad iron Dutch oven in the stove. It's not that I think people shouldn't use crockpots -- but it's not like you need one to do that task. My guess is the Dutch oven applies heat more evenly, and it's never going to die on me.
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I'm with you. I have a rice steamer that works overtime. You can add vegetable broth or curry and spices to the water that steams the rice to flavor it. I always have some brown rice on hand.

    I don't use my crock pot as much as I used to, but it is great for stews and chili. Locks the flavor in with that slow cooking. Nowadays, I have an enamaled cast iron monster le creuset that I use to make stews in the oven. Usually start by sauteeing and shallot in some olive oil with the pot on the stove (Shallots are the most underrated flavor enhancer there is), then add any kind of vegetable I can get my hands on chopped up, add some diced tomatoes. throw in some herbs de provence and dump whatever leftover wine in, or a beer or two in. Stick it in the oven with the cover in the pot and let all the flavors merge. Again, doesn't have to be a super expensive meal, and with the size of my cast iron thing, I can make enough to eat for days or to freeze some and then microwave / defrost when I haven't cooked.

    True this. We cook all of our meals (only go out for special meals), and we try to use the freshest ingredients -- nothing processed. And we don't spend a fortune on food. For example, we did fajitas the other night with our own corn tortillas. Premade tortillas are cheap, but look at the ingredients and you don't recognize half the things on the label and can't pronounce a lot of the ingredients. Making tortillas is as easy as buying some masa harina flour (it's corn/limestone ground), which is cheap as anything. Mix with warm water, make balls and press them out.

    Easy and cheap thing to do with your homemade corn tortillas, is to saute some onions and peppers in olive oil, grate some cheese -- anything from a manchego to a queso blanco to even a colby jack -- and sprinkle it on. Add some salsa. Fold and eat. Not expensive at all.
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