Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Taco Casserole

This taco casserole recipe is based on a post on the Mothering message board from March 2007.  The topic of discussion was cheap meals. I actually found the thread even after all this time and there are lots of good ideas.  I’ve adapted the recipe a bit.

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Taco Casserole

1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 c cooked rice
1/4 c salsa
1/3 c taco seasoning
1/4 c water
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish. Dump all ingredients except cheese into dish and stir well. Sprinkle top with cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

You can serve it with chips, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, etc if you like.

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Simple And Frugal Mujadarra

This is a great tasting dish for a low budget. You need just lentils, onions, rice and a few spices. Everything is easy to get and keep around. It is super filling and is not high calorie. It is not fast food. It takes time to cook the onions.
http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/06/recipe-for-mujadarra-middle-eastern.html is the recipe I have used as the basis for mine. There are many mujadarra recipes on the internet with slight differences. I increased the seasonings a bit and added a dash of cinnamon to mine. Delicious!
We have packed this in lunches. It is good reheated or cold. It is great with a simple salad.

Mujadarra

Ingredients:
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
3 yellow onions, cut into quarter slices
1/3 cup olive oil (I have used peanut oil so if you don’t have olive oil use what you have)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
Dash of cinnamon, optional

Instructions:

Cook rice in water following package directions. Set to the side. ( I cook this while I am cooking the lentils. If you have leftover cooked rice you could use it.)

Rinse lentils, then place in heavy pot with about 1 quart water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let lentils simmer  uncovered until they are soft- about 20-30 minutes. When lentils are cooked, cover and let them absorb any leftover water.
While lentils cook, chop onions. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until deeply browned and caramelized.
When onions are browned, remove half the onions to drain on a paper towel to crisp if you want. I don’t bother with this.  Stir 1/4 tsp cumin into the onions in the pan and cook 1-2 minutes.
Combine drained lentils with the onions in a pan. Season the cooked lentils and onions with salt, black pepper and cinnamon if you like and cook 1-2 minutes to blend flavors.
Mix cooked rice into the lentils and caramelized onions, heating for a minute or two if the rice is not hot. Top with crispy caramelized onions if you want. Serves 4.

Give this dish a try!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Oyakodon

Oyakodon is a Japanese dish of chicken and egg simmered in a dashi stock served over a bowl of rice. It is not complicated to make. I used this recipe-> http://japanesefood.about.com/od/ricebowl/r/oyakodon.htm

4 cups steamed rice
3/4 lb chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 2/3 cups dashi soup stock
7 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp sugar
4 eggs
nori dried seaweed *optional

Put dashi soup stock in a large skillet and put on medium heat. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in the soup. Put chicken and simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Add onion slices and simmer for a few more minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Bring the soup to a boil, and pour the eggs over chicken and onion. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. After about one minute, turn off the heat.

Serve steamed rice into individual deep bowls, then serve simmered chicken and egg on top of the rice. Sprinkle strips of dried nori on top if you would like.

Since I live in a small town in Kansas, I ordered a jar of Hon-Dashi bonito fish stock granules off the internet. There were no instructions on my bottle on how to use it which was kind of curious and irritating. I found a ratio of 1/2 tsp to 2/3 c water on the internet and went with that.

Verdict:
Amethesto opted out of eating this. She complained about it having a strong fishy smell.
Hagbard had two bowls of it and thought it was great.
I wanted to like it but I couldn’t even eat half of my serving. It was super salty from all the soy sauce. I started feeling unwell at dinner so it just wasn’t appealing to me.
I’ve looked at other recipes now that use just 1-2 T of soy sauce and I bet that would be more pleasant. So if you use this particular recipe I’d recommend using less soy sauce.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

I found the recipe for this comforting broccoli cheddar casserole some time ago on the Budget Bytes blog. I was interested in a casserole with rice to switch things up from pasta or potatoes. I have made it as it was originally posted but also have added things like leftover ham or chicken. My family cleans their plates when we have this dish! http://www.budgetbytes.com/2015/03/broccoli-cheddar-casserole/
Budget Bytes is a great blog with budget conscious but tasty food. We have enjoyed many recipes so I feel confident recommending the site to anyone looking for great meal ideas. I love her baked oatmeal recipes! The author does not post nutrition information but I generally don’t have any trouble fitting the dishes into my calorie goal when I log them on My Fitness Pal.
Speaking of My Fitness Pal, before making dinner tonight I looked at my food diary and noticed I could use a bit more protein in my day. We had some turkey in the freezer so I pulled it out. I mixed 14 oz of cubed turkey with the casserole. That is my only change to the original recipe today.
This is totally something you could prep in advance and pop in the oven when you get home from work.

I was thinking about a tip for cooks trying to cut down on nibbling and tasting too much. I started chewing mint gum while cooking and it works really well for me. Give it a try!

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