Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Budget Cooking 101: Meatloaf! (recipe)

As I have stated before, funds are limited. We barely have enough money for rent. So, money for food is next to non-existent. For the first time in my life, there is absolutely no rice in the house, not even those weird rice they sell at American market. If I have rice, dinner would be very easy. Rice and some sort of vegetable stir fry. See? Yummy meal. Left over rice plus left over meal equal fried rice. See? Equally yummy meal. Without rice though, I'm at lost of what to do. I have two chayote that is going bad because the only thing I know how to make with them is with rice.

With my current situation, I'm glad that it was my mom that taught me how to cook.
That means our cupboards aren't that bare, and I can whip a meal with very little. Again, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing for me as cook.

I've been thinking all day trying to come up with dinner meal plan, as dinner time comes along, I opened the fridge, for the fifth time today, to see what's inside. So, in my fridge are the following: half a pound of ground beef, some celery, some carrots, one slice of bread, 3/4 of an onion, garlic, and ginger.

I came up with two things to make: sloppy joes, but no buns, and meatloaf. So, meatloaf it was.

The way I learned how to cook was through my mom. She would sit and instruct me what to do and I would do it. The first meal i cooked was cabbage and carrot stir fry with pork. Then, I made muffin mixes from boxes. Then, I would scour the cooking books for things to make, but most of the time, my house, being asian, wouldn't have a lot of the ingredients, so I would always have to make do. So, when I cook, I rarely follow recipes too closely. As I grow older, I tend to be more and more creative and instinctive. I would replace things and come up with new ways to make certain things.

So, when ingredients are fewer and fewer. I just need to be more creative. Thus, with this meatloaf. It would be a meatloaf like no other. After just going through the fridge just pulling out what's left of all the ingredients, this is what I came up with. Remember, measurements aren't exact. Just, you know, do what "feels" right.

Budget Meatloaf Number 2

A few stalks of celery
half an onion
four cloves of garlic
half a pound of ground beef
1 tbs baking powder
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp molasses
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tbs butter

-preheat oven to 375 degrees
-mince the onion and garlic in a food processor
-saute the onion and garlic with butter for a couple minutes
-chopped up the celery - i like to add a lot of the leafy part
-mix in well the ground beef, baking powder, bread crumbs into with the celery
-add the rest of the ingredients
-grease baking pan
-shape mixture into loaf - i made a bed of chopped celery sticks and onion rings to add a little something and i greased the pan with sesame oil
- bake for 35-40 mins

I think this meal wasn't too bad. For a side dish I blanched some carrots, saute up some garlic in oil and add about a couple of tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of key lime peel, and mixed them together.

It was pretty good.

As always, Happy Eating!

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