Budget Cooking...Comfort & Gourmet!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Red Vinaigarette

It is very easy to make your own vinaigrette. You can change the flavor and color depending on which vinegar you use.
I simply tossed this with a cucumber salad. It was very refreshing!


4oz Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 tsp Onion Powder
1/3 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 Pressed Garlic Cloves
1 tbsp Sugar or Honey
8 oz Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil


1. Build dressing in order of ingredients (Acid, Seasonings, Sweetener, Oil)
2. Whisk them together. Refrigerate.
3. Serve over Salad. Enjoy

Refreshing Asian Salad

Humble Beginnings


3 Romaine Lettuce Hearts (I only used one)
1 Red Onion (thinly sliced into rings)
1 Navel Orange Halved and segmented (or 2 drained cans of Mandarin Oranges)
5 Radishes (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 1 cup of Chow Mein Noodles
- Chopped Grilled Chicken


1. Wash all produce.
2. Slice the Romaine Hearts
3. Add Sliced Red Onion
4. Add Sliced Radishes
5. Add Oranges
6. Toss
7. Add Toasted Sesame Seeds and Chow Mein Noodles just before serving.
Add Asian Dressing. Click
HERE for recipe
(This will not keep for a long period, as the dressing will break down the noodles)


Asian Salad Dressing


3 oz Rice Vinegar
1 oz Soy Sauce
1 pressed Garlic Clove
1 small knob of Ginger Root grated or finely minced
(about 3/4" or 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger)
2 tsp Honey
5 oz Vegetable Oil (I used 4 oz Vegetable Oil & 1 oz of Toasted Sesame Oil)


1. Build Dressing ingredients in the order listed.
(Acid, savory, seasonings, sweetener and oil last)
2. Whisk ingredients together.
3. Refrigerate
4. Serve over salad

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Asian Inspired Noodle Salad

I was inspired to do this recipe after having watched Ina Garten on one of the Cooking Channels. I tweaked this by using whole grain pasta and omitting the peanut butter.


1 pkg of whole grain spaghetti
1 Red Bell Pepper
14 oz Snap Peas, (fresh blanched would be best, but I used frozen. You could even used french cut green beans)
* optional 1 lb of prepared grilled chicken cut into bite sized pieces


3 fresh Garlic Cloves chopped
1 knob of fresh Ginger Root (about the size of a quarter) peeled & chopped
2 tbsp Honey
6 oz. Rice Vinegar
2 oz. Soy Sauce
10 oz Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
(We have a child with a peanut allergy, so I did not use peanut butter for the family. I did however add about a tsp to my personal portion which I ate in a different room. YUM!)


1 bunch of Scallions (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds (toasted)

Please add the dressing just before serving. This cannot keep overnight, as the acidity of the dressing would break down the noodles.


1. Boil Noodles.
I used my pressure cooker. I boiled salted water for about 7 minutes. When it was boiling, I added my pasta. It only took me 3 minutes to cook the noodles.
Remove from water. Set aside. Chill in the refrigerator.

2. Wash and core red bell pepper. Chop and set aside.

3. Blanch fresh Snap Peas or thaw frozen Snap Peas. Drain in colander.
Chop into bite sized pieces.

4. Chop Garlic Cloves. Set Aside.

5. Peel and chop Ginger Root. Set Aside.

6. Build Dressing. Start with the garlic and ginger root. Next add honey and vinegar.
* If using peanut butter add it next. Whisk in oils. Chill in refrigerator.
You may have to whisk again before adding to salad.

7. In a large bowl, add cold spaghetti, chopped pepper, chopped snap peas, cubed chicken. Toss.

8. Add dressing.

9. Add garnish. Mix well.


Rice Vinegar with Chopped Garlic and Ginger Root

Add Soy Sauce

Add Toasted Sesame Oil (Be sure to refrigerate this. It goes rancid quickly)

Egg Rolls

I could barely plate these and photograph them. The family devoured them!

Special thanks to Nadya and Lisa for the inspiration & basic blueprint for this recipe.


Oil for frying
1 lb ground turkey (or loose boca burger for my vegetarian followers)
(I also had a small pkg of salad shrimp I set aside for this recipe... this is optional. It was a job cleaning them. There were so many of them & they were so small!)
1 pkg egg roll wraps
1 pkg cole slaw mix
2 eggs

White Pepper
Ground Ginger
Garlic Powder
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce


1. Beat the eggs, & set them aside.
*Cholesterol conscious ones can use only the egg whites for this recipe.
I used the entire egg.

2. Brown ground turkey. Season with 1 pressed garlic clove.
Add garlic powder, ground ginger and soy sauce to taste. Set aside.

3. Place water in a stock pan.
4. Add Seasonings to taste.
I used 1 tbsp each of Rice Vinegar and Soy Sauce.
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Bring to a boil.

5. Add Cole Slaw Mix. Cook for about five minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Set Aside

6. Lay egg roll wraps flat.
It should be in a diamond shape with one of the corners facing you.
Place about 1 tbsp of ground meat in the center of the egg roll wrap.
Using a fork, add a double portion the cooked slaw mixture.
You may top with additional meat. It is up to you.
Using the fork, wet the edges of the wrap with the egg mixture.

Next, take the corner closest to you & fold it over the mixture. Fold in the sides
and roll until you have a sort of envelope. My first few egg rolls were not very neat. You will improve with practice. You may need to seal the exterior corner of the egg roll wrap.

Deep fry the egg rolls for 3 to 5 minutes at approximately 365 degrees. Drain.
Paper towels will soak up excess oil.


I've made these several times tweaking along the way.
Tips I've learned.
- Lay down the cabbage before the ground meat. The wraps have less tendancy to break.
- Buying a head of cabbage is less expensive than the cole slaw mix. If you are willing to cut it by hand, go for it.
- Instead of using the Rice Vinegar, I cooked the cabbage in chicken broth. It was much more flavorful.
- Fresh chopped Ginger instead of Powdered Ginger tastes even better.
Salad Shrimp

Shrimp + ColeSlaw + More Shrimp (egg on the border)

*UPDATE...I made these a 2nd time.
I cooked them for 3 minutes on one side and one minute on the other.
The top photo reflects the 2nd attempt.