Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Middle J's Thrifty Dinner...by Jessica


Here's a dinner recipe for those nights that you don't have anything in your freezer but one lonely package of ground beef; nothing in your fridge but the butt ends of a loaf of bread that no one likes to eat; nothing in your pantry but the bare staples.

And I'm going to tell you how to make it quick:

Turn your oven on to 300° and throw the end bread pieces in the oven. Let them bake in there for a good hour or so, or until completely hard.

Sit down for a minute and read a book. You deserve it.

Throw the pieces of bread into a baggie, give it to your kid along with a meat tenderizer and tell them to go at it. Cheap-o bread crumbs.

Mix them up along with the hamburger meat, some finely grated ginger, salt, pepper, soy sauce, maybe some oyster sauce...maybe some red chili flakes. I don't measure, so sorry, no measurements. But, obviously don't put in like a cup of grated ginger, and don't be stingy and only put in a 1/4 tbs. You'll figure it out.

Get your non-stick frying pan hot with some vegetable oil coating the bottom and roll up some meatballs. Fry those babies up.

While they are cooking, in another pan, mix together about 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. mustard (or 1/2 tsp dry mustard), pepper and 1/4 cup water. (These are very off the cuff measurements so please taste and adjust accordingly...is the vinegar searing your nostrils? add more sugar. Does it taste like dessert? add more vinegar. You get the idea)

Throw the browned meatballs in the sauce and let simmer. I add veggies too, but you don't have to. I make steamed white rice too...and I highly recommend you do also.

Benefits to this dinner? My kids like it and no one complains. It uses up the butt ends of a loaf of bread. Are you like me? Do you hate throwing them away? In fact, I never do for if they aren't being used for bread crumbs, they are being cubed up for croutons.

So that's my thrifty dinner tip for the day.

So here's the question: What's your favorite go-to, quick, loved dinner ideas?

7 comments:

Misty said...

Awesome recipe!
Going to make it for my family tonight. Thank you!
-Misty

Juliana said...

Last night was a total cheap, whatever I had dinner too. Basically, whatever meat I can find in the freezer gets thawed out and submerged in the Troup family teriyaki sauce: Brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, mai ploy. Pair that up with some sticky rice and a steamed veggie...Bam! Yummy goodness with no complaints!

Jessica said...

Misty, let me know how it turns out! Juli, yes many a nights dinner is teriyaki something with rice :)

Amara said...

Jessica, you should seriously think about writing a cook book. Love your measurements...I would totally buy!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm teriyaki I know who's home I'm going
To tonight.
Bobby

Jamie said...

My go-to 20 minute dinner is chicken pasta with artichokes (canned) and tomatoes. Super easy and I always have boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. I know you're laughing Jess! :) haha While bow tie pasta is cooking, cook chicken in a little olive oil, butter, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Then add artichokes. Add pasta and tons of grated parmesan cheese. Top with diced tomatoes tossed with a little olive oil, salt & pepper. And of course...add more cheese!

Jessica said...

Jamie, that sounds easy and delicious :-) Only laughing when I remember Kai's face when I gave him a drumstick at dinner and he said "what is this?"!!! Still makes me laugh! We also laughed because i made him eat a snow pea and when I asked if he liked it he made a funny face, nodded his head and said "NnnYaa" and we were all like..Nnnyaa? Is that No? or Yes?
Amara, I'm going to write a cookbook with ideas on how to cook without a cookbook :-) My measurement increments will be very vague!