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I worry about this too

by in View All Posts, March 19th, 2009

A worker at a Whole Foods store claims he was fired over a tuna sandwich. The store’s calling it theft, he’s calling it salvaging something from the trash. My major tuna sandwich worry, though? Is that my boss‘s well-documented antipathy for canned tuna (in any form) will someday meet my love for the Amy’s Bread tuna melt, and, well, boom.

Still away, still eating my bodyweight in bread, still slacking on regular posting, but back next week, I swear.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

5 Dollar (or Less) Dinners

by in View All Posts, March 18th, 2009

I’m not sure exactly how much money I spend on groceries every week/month/year, but I do know I’d like to spend less. As I worked on our Good Food For Less feature, I focused on obviously “low cost” recipes – vegetarian, tuna casserole, leftover transformations – but I decided to try a few for myself, curious to see how the groceries would add up.

For me, under $10 per person would be a savings compared to eating out (the cost of a meal at my favorite burger and fries spot). But I decided a truly “budget” meal should ring in at no more than $5 per person. I crossed my fingers, made a grocery list and went shopping.

Aida’s Pan-Roasted Chicken with Oranges and Rosemary
Chicken thighs – $4.95
Chicken drumsticks – $2.12
Orange – $0.50 / 2 = $0.25
Rosemary – on my window sill (although I used a lot less than the recipe suggests, because picking sprigs off my pet plant is somewhat painful)

Total spent = $7.32 / 4 servings = $1.83 per serving

Success!! I was amazed!! I made it a meal with a simple arugula salad and roasted spiced-up potatoes the first night. Then I decided to spruce up leftover night by making the simplest risotto recipe I could find (plus, adding some kale that was hiding in the back of my fridge). It was amazing.

I was hooked! I had to try another.


The Neelys’ Sloppy Joes (recipe halved)
1 pound (90 percent lean) ground beef – $4.00
BBQ sauce – $2.49 / 4 = $0.62
Tomato sauce – $0.32
Tomato paste – $0.50 / 4 = $0.13
Green pepper – $1.37 / 2 = $0.69
Red pepper – $1.32 /2 = $0.66
Buns – $3.19 / 6 = $0.53 x 3 = $1.60

Total spent: $8.02 / 2 = $4.01 per serving

I was surprised that the sloppy joes cost more than twice as much as the chicken, but they were still within my $5 budget, and the halved recipe really made two huge servings (1/2 pound of meat per person!). As a low cost side dish, I cut up some sweet potatoes, tossed them in oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted them to make baked sweet potato fries.

Just adding up a few recipe receipts has made me much more cost-conscious at the grocery store. I think I’m going to keep working my way through this feature. Wish me luck with the slow cooker recipes and Rachael’s tuna casserole!

- Kirsten, Web Editor

We see green!

by in View All Posts, March 17th, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Most New Yorkers are showing their Irish spirit by marching through the streets of the city and sampling beer & food from various pubs. The FN team is here and enjoying a Green Bagel & Irish Soda Bread Breakfast put together by our Employee Activities Committee – so we are all very excited!

In honor of today, here are some traditional foods to try:

1. COLCANNON – Mashed potatoes with onions and greens. Get creative – my favorite combination includes red skin potatoes (mashed with skins), sauteed kale & onion, and a bit of garlic.
2. BOXTY – A mixture of raw and cooked potatoes.
3. IRISH STEW – This particular recipe from our FN Test Kitchen inclues lamb and goat cheese.
4. CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE – Paula Deen’s fast and delicious recipe.
5. CURACH – An Irish dessert consisting of toasted oats, whiskey, raspberries, and whipped cream (how can you go wrong?!).

What are you cooking up for St. Patrick’s Day?

I hope you have a fabulous day!
Kendra, Operation Foodie

Counting Coins

by in View All Posts, March 16th, 2009


These days, we’re all scrounging around our couch cushions for nickel and dimes. So how considerate of Oprah to feature Tyler Florence and Iron Chef Cat Cora showing easy, tasty and budget saving home made meals for us to watch, while we pat down the sofa! You can catch a rerun of the segment here.

In case you missed it — there were three family interventions, if you will.  Being the guilty, quick-fix TV dinner girl over here, I tended to relate to the first family, who ate almost entirely from the freezer to the microwave!  Once the chefs demonstrated the whole slow cooking thing that’s been all the rage lately, I started to consider dusting off that crock pot hand me down (thank you cutey pa tootey Tyler Florence). Check out both Tyler’s family favorite recipes, as well as Cat’s complete 7-day menu, which includes a week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes for all under $150.

Oprah’s not the only day time gal teaching us how to save some dough while watching dvr-ed shows. Sandra Lee just finished taping her first 13 episodes of Sandra’s Money Saving Meals which premieres on May 10th (2 days before SC’s B-day, in case your curious). We did get some behind the scenes on Ms. Lee, so keep a lookey-loo out for that video on here. Let me just say, even with the dollar scrimping, her plates don’t make any color cuts.

Tell me dear readers what is your “recession budgeting” tips for tasty meals? We’re all in this together and as much as I’m loving my slow cooker, it’s uh, a bit slow. Let me know. Heres to keeping it real and hot!

Yours truly,
Secretary Confidential

Modest Diplomatic Proposal

by in View All Posts, March 13th, 2009

(image courtesy Gothamist)

From the transcript of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s speech at CSIS yesterday:

“We have worked together to manage complicated and tough regional hotpot issues…”

Well, that’s just fantastic. In the spirit of international collaboration, we’re happy to assist with any regional hotpot tastings; we’re particularly fond of the Sichuan variety, but can try to be unbiased.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Food & Finance – Protein

by in View All Posts, March 13th, 2009

Hi there readers!  I’ve completely recovered from my hunger-induced mania at the warehouse club.  I still don’t know whether I’ll ever get through all of the crackers that I bought; so I keep a big stack on the counter to remind myself of the consequences of “shopping while starving.” ☺

Today I’m addressing protein –  beef, pork, chicken, fish – because protein is often the most expensive component of a meal. In these challenging economic times, you may think that you have to eliminate, or severely restrict your purchase of protein sources in order to stretch your food dollars.  Here are some tips to help you avoid having to make a choice between delicious meals(and good nutrition) and fiscal responsibility!

Continue for money-saving tips on protein.

Congrats to Cat!

by in View All Posts, March 12th, 2009


Just last week Secretary Confidential mentioned the baby boom happening in the Food Network offices…and then THIS week, our own Iron Chef Cat Cora announced that both her partner, Jennifer Cora, and she are expecting as well! Cat shares that they’ll be adding two more boys to their exisiting fam — that’s right their two sons, Zoran and Caje, will be big brothers to more brothers. You can check out Cat’s Myspace Blog for more deets.

Congrats, Cat and Jennifer!

Rachael
Associate Producer, The FN Dish