Budget Cooking...Comfort & Gourmet!


Friday, December 31, 2010

Quick and Easy - Simple Baked Whiting

I love my fish FRIED! Sadly this is not always the healthiest option. *smiles*

In the interest of good health, a little baked fish every now and then is good for you.

Fresh ingredients are best.
However if you are in a pinch, you may use bottled lemon juice and jarred minced garlic.

Frozen Whiting Fillets are an inexpensive option.

Any fish may be substituted in this recipe.
I have also used this combination of ingredients for pan seared Tilapia. YUM!



Measurements are not precise. I generally eyeball them.
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Minced Garlic
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil

1. Arrange Fish Fillets on a broiler rack. I used Foil for quick clean up.
2. Season Fish on Both Sides. Start with dry ingredients.
3. Finish with Olive Oil and Lemon Pepper Seasoning and Oil.
4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 12 minutes (until fish is opaque)
4. Serve HOT

Friday, December 10, 2010

New England Clam Chowder

This recipe is a family favorite. It's perfect for cold wintery days.
I love it because it is something I can whip up quickly using basic items from my pantry.

3 tbsp Best Life Margarine Spread
1 tbsp Olive Oil
5 cloves fresh pressed Garlic
2 small Yellow Onions Chopped
5 Carrots sliced
4 Celery stalks (hearts) sliced
3 Russet Potatoes quartered and sliced
1 16 oz poly bag of thawed frozen corn
1 box of Chicken Stock
1 jar of Clam Juice
2 cans of Chopped Clams with juice
2 tsp Garlic Powder
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
1/2 pint Light Cream or 1 can of Evaporated Milk
1 tsp dried Thyme

If you desire to thicken your chowder you may add cornstarch dissolved in cold water.

If you do not eat seafood, you may replace the clam juice with additional Chicken Stock.
You may add chopped Chicken Breasts to make this Chicken Corn Chowder

If you do not eat meat, you may substitute vegetable stock and mushrooms for the dairy/meat.

1. Wash Veggies (minus potatoes). Peel Carrots, Onions and Garlic. Dice, slice and press as desired.
Set Aside.
2. In a large heavy bottomed stock pan, melt/heat the fat.
3. Sautee veggies until soft.
4. Add chopped Clams with juice.
5. Add Clam Juice.
6. Add Chicken Stock
7. Add Potaotes.
8. Bring to a boil.
9. Add Sea Salt, Garlic Powder, Crushed Black Pepper.
10. Add thawed Corn.
11. Reduce heat to a simmer.
12. Add Cream.
13. Reduce until desired thickness is achieved.
14. Add Thyme.
15. Serve with warm Italian Bread or Oyster Crackers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone for following.

A hearty warm welcome extended to new followers as well.
I am writing to let you know that I will be away for a time.
There are some personal matters which deserve my full attention at this time.
(Not sure exactly how long I will be away)
However, I do hope that previous posts will continue to be a resource of information.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Mushroom Barley Soup

Barley is a long chain carbohydrate. It has a low gycemic index. I have a love for mushrooms. These are what piqued my interest in this recipe. There's nothing like a hearty hot soup to warm your insides on a cold day. We enjoyed this soup! The hubby said it was missing just one thing, "MEAT". Maybe I will try preparing it with a few beef stew cubes in the future. I felt like this had too much barley. The next time I prepare this I will probably reduce the amount of barley in half.


3 tbsp olive oil
1 rounded tsp chopped garlic
1 yellow onion chopped
2 carrots diced
2 ribs celery diced
1/2 pound white button mushrooms diced or sliced, whichever you prefer

64 ounces of hot broth (divided)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp sea salt (optional)
1 cup of pearlized barley
1 tsp White Wine Vinegar


1. Heat oil in heavy bottomed stock pan.
2. Add garlic, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook until tender.
3. Add mushrooms.
4. Add herbs and seasonings and White Wine Vinegar.
5. In a separate pot heat half of the broth until boiling. Once it has boiled, pour over softened veggies.
6. Rinse sort and rinse barley. Add to stock pan.
7. Simmer on low for 2 hours.
8. The barley will have swollen and softened. As a result you may not have very much stock left.
9. Add remaining half of hot broth to the stockpot and stir.
10. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Niçoise Salad - Julia Child Inspired

I was intrigued by this recipe when I saw Alton Brown feature
Tuna on his show Good Eats.
I perused the internet until I stumbled upon this
Julia Child Inspired Niçoise Salad.
I also watched a few recipe videos on YouTube.
I came to the conclusion that tweaking the recipe is acceptable.
However using the finest quality ingredients would only enhance this recipe.

Purists would use

- Boston-lettuce leaves. I am using Romaine Hearts
- French Green Beans. I am using American Green Beans.
- Kalamata Olives. You can use Black Olives
- Italian Tuna Packed in Olive Oil. I am using 1 Can of Alaskan Pink Salmon. You could also substitute Vacuum Packed Tuna or Chunk Light Tuna packed in soybean oil.
- Shallots. You can used finely minced Garlic if you prefer


2 Romaine Lettuce Hearts, washed and dried
1 large handful of Green Beans, trimmed and blanched
1-1/2 tablespoons minced Shallots
1/2 to 2/3 cup Basic Vinaigrette Click HERE  for recipe
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 or 3 ripe Ripe Tomatoes, cut into wedges (or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved)
2 or 3 Red Bliss Potatoes, peeled, sliced, and cooked

Two 3-ounce cans Chunk-Light Tuna, preferably oil-packed
or 1 14 oz can of Salmon

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1 freshly opened can of flat Anchovy Fillets (to be rolled later)
1/3 cup small Kalamata olives
2 to 3 tablespoons Capers
3 tablespoons minced fresh Parsley

1. Drain Fish. Set Aside.
2. Remove Anchovies from can, reserving the oil. Roll each fish and set aside.
3. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter.
4. While the Potatoes and Beans are still slightly warm, toss them shallots, spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper.
5. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette.
6. Place the potatoes in the center of the platter and arrange a mound of beans at either end, with tomatoes and small mounds of tuna at strategic intervals.
7. Drizzle Olive Oil from Anchovies over Fish.
8. Place halves of hard-boiled eggs around the edge of the platter, sunny side up, and curl an anchovy on top of each.
9. Spoon more vinaigrette over everything
10. Scatter on olives, capers, and parsley, and serve.

Boil , Cut, Toss

Boil, Shock, Toss


While the presentation of this on a platter or large serving dish is impressive, I would prefer to make individual salads in the future. It was rather messy picking through everything.
Also, I doubled the dressing.
This salad was DELICIOUS! Surprizingly everyone enjoyed it, even the pickiest of eaters in the house. I was shocked because normally the picky eater does not like olives and I was anxious that they would not like the anchovies and capers. I think they enjoyed all the different levels of flavors. Eating this salad was like going on a treasure hunt.

Julia Child Inspired BASIC Vinaigrette

I like this vinaigrette recipe best.
It is not as acidic as other vinaigrette recipes that
I have tried.
The lemon juice adds a refreshing note.


1/2 Tbsp finely minced shallot or scallion
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Build the dressing
1. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard salt and pepper.
2. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, blend.
3. Add the oil Beat in freshly ground pepper.

Makes about 2/3 cup

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dirty Rice Updated - (With Step By Step Photos)

This is so delicious! It can be served as a side dish or a main dish.

Chop Veggies

Saute In Oil

Brown Meat and Add Seasoning, Stir

Stir In Cooked Rice, Add Seasoning, Stir


4 Cups of Rice Cooked in Rice Cooker
4 Cups of Water
you may add 4 bouillon cubes to the water for more flavor
or substitute 4 cups of broth/stock
1 - 2 lbs Ground Turkey (or loose crumbled Boca Burger)
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 ribs of celery diced
1 Bell Pepper Minced
1 Onion Minced
2 Garlic Clove Minced

(If you are really trying to stretch the meal, you may certainly use 1/2 minced bell pepper and 1/2 minced onion...the idea is to impart the flavors to the dish)

Emeril's Bayou Blast to taste (I used 2 tbsp divided)Click
HERE for recipe

Emeril's Essence to taste (I used 2 tbsp divided)

- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chopped Fresh Parsley


1. Prepare Rice and Water in rice cooker.
2. While Rice is cooking, add oil to a separate heavy stock pot.
3. Add minced vegetables
4. Leaving the vegetables in the pot, brown the ground meat.
5. Add half of the seasoning to the meat.
6. After rice is cooked, fluff it and add it to the sauteed vegetables and ground meat.
7. Add the remaining half of the seasoning. Stir well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza






Pizza Dough Click HERE for Recipe
8 oz Freshly Grated Mozzarella Cheese
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Baby Spinach Leaves
2-3 freshly pressed Garlic Cloves
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Recipe Yields Three 10" Pizzas


1. Grate Mozzarella Cheese. Set Aside.
2. Drain Artichoke Hearts. Chop them to desired thickness. Set Aside.
3. Chop Spinach. Set Aside.
4. Mix Together Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, Hearts, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, and Cheeses.
5. Top Dough with Mixture.
6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.