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I like cheap things–cheap booze, cheap clothes, Courtney Stodden…  But I especially like cheap dinners.  This idea was a brainstorm of mine, that has been taking to another level by my roommate, her boyfriend, and that cute thing that likes me more than he should.  The turkey mixture is my original meatloaf recipe, which you should feel free to bake without the stuffing for a simple meatloaf (just up the cooking time to at least 40 minutes), or you can take it to the next level by making little cups of Thanksgiving goodness, that depending on how you make your potatoes (mine with almond milk and diet butter) and your stuffing (My first Stove Top Stuffing experience!) can be around only 100 calories each.  Two to three of these make a great serving and I’m sure sans potatoes, these babies freeze well.  Oh, and please God, use gravy and cranberry sauce and you will be in cheap, premade Thanksgiving heaven.  Bam.

PS  Why haven’t we talked more about Courtney Stodden?  This 95-year-old imposter of a 16-year-old is a bad porn on wheels.  Observe:

Ingredients (For 12 muffins, at around 2-3 muffins per person):

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 egg (or two egg whites)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste (I shake this on like I’m in a Diana Summer Video.)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 squirt (Yes, that is a measurement to me.) or around a tablespoon of ketchup
  • Prepared stuffing of your choice (A box of Stove Top worked out perfectly for double this recipe.)
  • Premade mashed potatoes (I made a three lb bag for double the recipe, and I would assume around 1/4 cup of mash po per muffin, depending upon your preferences.  Always better to have extra; potatoes are cheap anyways.)
  • Any preferred toppings…Cranberry Sauce, Gravy…
Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix up the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.  Using about half the mixture, press some into the bottom of 12 lined muffin tins (I used tin foil liners for heft sake), making sure to only fill about half way at most. Then add about a tablespoon of stuffing to each muffin and press down.  Add the rest of the ground turkey on top and press down.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until firm, browned around the edges, and the internal temp meets 165 degrees.  I would be very careful about cooking these enough.  The raw meat touching the stuffing is the Mom’s of America’s nightmare.  Cooked enough it’s a’okay, but there is something about shoving stuffing up the back of a raw bird…
Pipe or top with the desired mash po, and put under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until everything is brown and warm.  Serve!
I am a 5 star photographer.  Yes, those are my rain boots in the back.

I Am a Coupon Whore

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I like free things.  When I was in Middle School, my teachers would have us write letters to companies, mostly to practice our writing skills, and some of the kids would actually get free stuff in the mail.  I obviously was stupid enough to choose megagiants like Nintendo to write to, but now I’ve learned the secret.  I’ve been in Italy for a week or so, so with no recipes to post, I thought I would share some tips and tricks of free crap letter writing.  (Italy pictures coming soon, promise…)

  • Be sure to talk about how much you love the product and how you want your friends to try it.
  • If you ever have an issue with a product (my Kombucha kept exploding), keep the bottles or packaging.  They will want upc codes and anything about the product.
  • Email your issues!
  • Follow any issue with a product compliment.
  • If it’s a bigger company, go for the handwritten letter.  They find those more quaint.
  • Be super friendly and use a ton of exclamation points.

So far I’ve received coupons/merch from Zico, Vitacoco, GT’s Synergy Drinks, Jimmy Dean, American Airlines….the list goes on.  So now pull out your inner cheap skate and go for it!

Pizza Dip

Mother-effin Pizza Dip.  Done and Done.

Ingredients:

  • 1, 8 ounce, block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (or any tomato sauce you have lying around, preferably not too chunky)
  • Chips, homemade garlic bread, crackers for dipping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the softened cream cheese in a pie plate or any small square/round oven safe dish.  Add the spices and mash around until well mixed, then evenly distribute across the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle on about 1 cup of cheese, pour on tomato sauce and evenly distribute, then add the rest of the cheese.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until melty and starting to bubble.  Then, if you would like, kick on the broiler and brown the top for 3-5 minutes, or just continue baking.  Serve!

We were pretty lucky with Hurricane Irene, but we still drowned ourselves in comfort food while we waited out the storm.  After consuming pizza dip, chips and salsa, peach rings, dried mango, eggs and toast, we decided we needed a dinner meal.  This is really simple to put together, has a slight kick, and will help you forget about the giant looming crane that is outside your window during a hurricane.  However, the giant gaping holes of the 2nd avenue subway and the debris to match?  That you may need some wine for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 2 cans of Rotel (or if you like it less spicy, one can of Rotel and one can of plain old diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cans of Black beans (15 ounces)
Drain the black beans and tomatoes, reserve the liquid.
Add enough water or chicken broth until you hit 4 cups.  Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan until shimmery.
Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the spices, and cook stirring constantly for a minute.
Add the rice and toast for about 30 seconds, then add the liquid and tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add the beans and cook until the rice is cooked through and fluffy.  Remove the bay leaves and serve.
Preferably to some hungry Irene survivors.

Okay, so I’ve been gone for a while.  Work got crazy, life got crazy, but now I’m back.  During the time I was gone, I turned 24, ate a lot of meals at my desk, my Aunt and Uncle had a baby (He is perfect!) and I started wearing red nail polish again.  I promise to follow in the footsteps of Michael Lohan and make a stronger attempt to be better at life; so wish me luck.

Here is an incredible crispy chocolate chip cookie recipe so that you forgive me. You get to hit a chocolate bar with a hammer–what can get any better than that?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate– I smashed up a good chocolate bar by putting it in a plastic bag and went at it with a hammer for a good texture, but you can use chips

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cream shortening and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.

Add in the dry stuff, mix away, adding the oatmeal and chocolate last.

Drop by teaspoonfuls, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

First of all, Happy Birthday to my lovely father, who is 50% responsible for creating this monster and 100% responsible for my love of cheese.


I was so frightened and concerned by the Rapture along with Schwarzenegger’s love child that I lost my camera.  I found it two days later under my couch, but I missed the opportunity to take pictures of this food gem.  I’ve made raw zucchini pasta before, but the cooked version takes the cake.  It is really worth using good quality tomato sauce here (I would give my first-born for an endless supply of Rao’s Arrabbiatia.) and having machinery to shred your zucch.  Feel free to add any other preferred vegetables, or just a heaping amount of cayenne when you eat it the next day because you have an uncontrollable urge for spice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce, around 70 calories per 1/2 cup
  • 1 tablespoon fat free half and half (optional)
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and peps to taste

Spray a high sided pan or Dutch oven with Pam.  Grate the zucch either by hand or using the grating tool on your food processor.  Add the garlic to the pan and let soften for around 30 seconds, then add the zucchini and mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Allow to cook until the mushrooms and zucch are tender and the zucch has a wiggly pasta-like consistency.  Add the tomato sauce and cook until it bubbles, then stir in the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  Feel free to add some fat free half and half here if you’re feeling frisky.  Serve and enjoy!  Makes two servings at around 115-130 calories each.

Nothing gets me more than a good, homemade tomato sauce.  I’ve never sat around and made my own slow cooked-style sauce.  However, this food processor genius may be close.  It is flavorful and thick, matching the chunky, cheesy filling of these poblanos perfectly.  They aren’t too many calories sans cheese, so adjust your cheese amount if you care about your calories.  Oh, and the pepper jack is definitely a must have and there is no exception.  Pepper jack, #winning!

Adapted from Back to the Cutting Board

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (remove ribs and seeds for a milder sauce)
  • 2 small onions, chopped, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves (2 whole, 1 minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. Chipotle chilli powder (optional)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes, minced jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt; taste and add more if necessary.  You can also add any chilli powder of choice here. I have been on a chipotle kick, but ancho would work, or anything with a flavorful heat.

Pour sauce into a 9×13 in. baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, remaining onions, minced garlic, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, cumin, chili powder and 3/4 cup water. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper (or more to taste).

Stuff poblano halves with even amounts of the bean mixture. Nestle them side-by-side in the baking dish, over the sauce. Sprinkle the poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until poblanos are tender. Uncover and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes.

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