OK you asked for it so here it is....Bobbi on a Budget TADA (and the crowd goes wild)! Ahem....OK let me reel myself back in and be a bit serious here. I was very happy when the votes came in and I saw that people wanted a budget post on a regular basis. With the economy the way it is and so many people out of work, it just makes sense that many of us can not afford to cook whatever we want whenever we want it. The dilemma? Trying to cook healthy (or at least healthiER) on a limited budget. That is something I struggle with all of the time. I love to use fresh produce and fresh herbs and, let's admit, that isn't "budget" cooking.
I am realizing that sale fliers are a wonderful thing (Ya, I know, who knew?). I have been so bad about just making a menu plan and shopping without even looking to see what was on sale. Now I am getting the hang of checking the sale fliers to the 3 local grocery stores and finding what meat, produce, etc. is on sale for that week.
A suggestion, look for things like canned tomatoes, tomato paste, stocks, beans, etc. All of things that are staples in your pantry. If you use dried spices a lot (I use a lot of cumin and coriander) grab those when they are on sale too. Again, probably not something you didn't know but something I am having to learn quickly.
For the budget meals segment I will be trying to stay as close to $10 for a 4 serving meal as possible.
I took a little help from Melissa d'Arabian for my first post to get me started and in the swing of things. I have to admit I thought there was no way I could feed my 3 hungry guys for $10 but I was shocked and pleasantly proven wrong. With the white beans they end up being quite filling. They all loved this meal and there was enough for everyone. I was lucky enough to have the O Olive Oils that I won in the eRecipecards.com challenge, so I used the Tahitian Lime oil for this recipe. But regular olive oil is just as good.
Oh, the meal? Ah yes, the reason we are all here. I guess I should post the recipe so you can all enjoy!!
Fish and White Bean Tostadas and Pineapple Avocado Salsa
- 1 lime, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking sheet
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound white fish fillets, (I used Tilapia) cut into finger-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Sauteed White Beans, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
- Pineapple and Avocado Salsa, recipe follows
- Sour cream, for garnish
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the fish in a baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Marinate for no more than 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or grill. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Remove the fish from the marinade and arrange on the baking sheet, making sure to leave space between the pieces. Broil until just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the corn tortillas, 1 at a time, just until crisp, flipping halfway through to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels and salt while still hot.
To assemble the tostadas: Layer each tostada first with Sauteed White Beans, then the fish. Top with the shredded cabbage and Pineapple and Avocado Salsa. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of a lime wedge.
Sauteed White Beans:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a small pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat and add the white wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the beans and oregano and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook gently for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Pineapple and Avocado Salsa:
- 1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained and juices reserved
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small jalapenos, seeds removed and diced (You can just use one if you don't like much heat)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
In a medium bowl, make the dressing by mixing 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice with the lime juice, honey, oil and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pineapple and onion. Gently fold in the avocado and cilantro. Let the flavors blend for at least 15 minutes before serving.