Forever Disqualified

Blake and I love the show Chopped on Food Network. When Lottie was in the “she-is-cute-to-look-at-but-does-absolutely-nothing” stage, we always looked forward to cooking dinner. We had tapped out our baby staring-o-mometers and we needed something else to entertain us. We cooked every night. Soon, we became bored with that  as well. One night when we were engaged in the highlight of our week, the new episode of Chopped, it hit me! We can play our own version of the show.

For those of you who are not familiar with the show. Four chefs from around the country compete in a culinary challenge. Each of them are given a “mystery basket” filled with four ingredients. They are given a short limit of time to create a restaurant-worthy dish to present to judges. The worst dish gets “Chopped”, and the remaining chefs move to the next round until there is one winner.

“Foster Chopped” is a little different. At first, Blake and I competed. He gave me a basket, and I gave him one. We made one small plate each, and made honest judgement and against one another. This form of “Foster Chopped” was ended abruptly when I almost put my precious “cute-to-look-at-but-does-absolutely-nothing” infant in the ER.

Blake opened his basket, and I treated him with flank steak, black beans, gnocchi and grapes. He hit me with Kielbasa sausage, pineapple, peanut butter and habenero peppers. At the time, Blake and I were living in a condo on the lake. Outdoor grills were not allowed so we had an indoor grill pan. Definitely more dangerous. I envisioned myself creating an Asian grilled meal with Thai peanut sauce. I just knew I was going to win.

My plan was simple: heat up the grill pan and start grilling. I always saw the likes of Emeril and Bobby Flay grilling up pretty much anything. They always found a way to get that delightful char on the outside of their peppers. I was going for this. The sausage, coated in its Asian style marinade, went on without a hitch. I cut the pineapple into unique shapes just to show off. “Boom” they hit the grill. On to the peppers…

I decided to skewer a few of them. I knew that Habeneros were hot peppers, but I didn’t know how hot. After skewering them up, I tossed them on the hot grill pan inside our less than adeqautely ventilated condo. I immediately turned to finish my peanut sauce ensuring I make every item in the mystery box a stand out. Within 30 seconds, Blake and I were tearing up and coughing, and Lottie went from a peaceful siesta to a screaming rage. I thought for sure we had been gassed. It was the end of the world. This wasn’t just happening to me, but to everyone in the world. “What do we do? Where do we go? Hold your loved ones tightly people.”

“Meredith, are you serious?” I heard my passive and overly kind husband say to me with an unheard of brusque tone. At the time, I am still running through my memory book, and I am cupping my palms over my sweet girls air passage ways to protect her from the deadly fumes. Blake raced over to the grill pan, turns it off, takes my skewer of peppers to the deck and promptly tosses them into the receeding water levels known as Lake Lanier. He walked back in coughing and grabbed Lottie from my arms. He grabbed my hand, nearly ripped my cooking shoulder square out of the socket and guided our little family upstairs and out the front door.

In my still oblivious mind, I am picturing my neighbors racing out their doors in a panic from the world-wide gassing. I was shocked to see it was just Blake, Lottie and me. I peek over at Blake who is looking into our helpless infant’s eyes to make sure she is ok. She is calm at this point. He looks up at me. His look is abnormally unplesant. “Are you serious about grilling whole Habeneros with the seeds?” he asked me in a belittling tone. I peek behind him, then behind me hoping to see others evaucating. Still just us. “Bobby Flay grills peppers all the time,” I say as I run through my Boy Meets Grill Episode schema hoping to picture him grilling a hot pepper. All I see in my mind of memories is green pepper, red pepper and poblano….nothing hot. “Whoops” I say to my disappointed husband and zoned out infant. I knew I had really messed up. The house was a danger zone. Blake went in to turn on the fans and open the windows. I followed him in thinking for sure things would be fine by now. SIX HOURS later, we were able to return to living within the walls of the condo.

From this point on, I have stayed out of the kitchen. I opt for shopping, finding deals and creating challenging mystery baskets for Blake to prepare. I am forever disqualified from “Foster Chopped”. Blake on the other hand has made some amazing dishes. Here are the recipes from the highlights of each basket.

Last week he was given:

Trout
Brazil Nuts
Brussel Sprouts
Apple Sauce

Boom!!! He busted out Bacon Wrapped trout on jalapeno-apple grits and sauteed brussel sprouts. It was amazing!

Chopped Round 1

Bacon Fried Skin-On Trout

Ingredients:

  • 2 skin-on trout filets
  • 4 slices bacon
  • Pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder/salt

Directions:

  1. Pat the trout dry with paper towels.
  2. Season the trout on both sides with a little salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. Place 2 slices of bacon on each trout filet on the side without skin, covering the filet.  Bacon should be trimmed to evenly cover the trout in a single layer, let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Heat a saute pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
  5. Place the trout bacon side down in the oil, it should sizzle.
  6. Cook until the bacon is cooked through and a crispy golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Flip the trout and cook skin side down in the bacon grease until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

The next night he was given:

Pork Chops
Potatoes
Apricots
Pimento-Jalapeno Cheese

He created Pimento Cheese scalloped potatoes with a saffron, yes real saffron, cream sauce, fried pickles and okra and grilled pork chops with apricot compote. Really dude? How awesome are you?

Foster Chopped Round 2

Fried Okra and Pickles:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper, garlic powder/salt, cayenne, and paprika
  • 12-16 okra halves
  • 4 pickle spears
  • Oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix eggs and milk with a pinch of salt, garlic, cayenne, and paprika.
  2. Place okra and pickles into the egg and milk mixture and toss.
  3. Mix flour, panko, 1 tsp salt, pinch of pepper, garlic, cayenne, and paprika.
  4. Place the soaked okra and pickles into the flour mixture(let excess liquid drain), and toss.  Let sit and set up for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Heat oil to around 375 degrees, until a okra piece really bubbles and sizzles when it is dropped.
  6. Drop the okra and pickles and let fry until they are floating and are a deep golden brown.
  7. Remove the okra and pickles onto a plate or in a bowl lined with paper towels and let sit for 2-3 minutes before eating.

Apricot Balsamic Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Diced Apricots
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a saute pan.
  2. Add in diced apricots and brown sugar, stir.
  3. Cook mixture until it is nicely browned and set, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. When the mixture is cooked and the pan is nice and hot add in the balsamic vinegar, it should sizzle and simmer rapidly.
  5. Let the sauce cook together and reduce by about 1/3rd.  Add more balsamic if it gets too reduced or thick. 
  6. Serve over meat of choice.

For the final night I thought Blake deserves a really tough basket. I gave him:

Filet Mignon
Mushrooms
Anchovies
Nacho Cheese Doritos

He created Grilled Filets with Caesar Broccoli and zuchini stuffed mushrooms topped with crushed Doritos.

 Dorrito Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 8 mushrooms caps
  • 1 slice bacon diced
  • 1/2 zucchini and/or squash julienned (cut into thing strings like pasta)
  • 2 tbsp crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos

Directions:

  1. Hollow out mushroom caps, drizzle lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside in a pan lined with olive oil.
  2. Heat diced bacon over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add julienned zucchini and cook with bacon until entire mixture is browned, about 4 minutes.
  4. Spoon zucchini and bacon mixture into mushrooms.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. Place mushrooms into the oven and cook until they darken and moisten, about 6 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle crushed dorritos over the mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Serve hot.
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Once Upon a Time in Mexico…

Going to a Mexican restaurant is always something I have done for Blake. I don’t like the smell of the frying tortilla chips, margaritas or the taste of melted cheese. I don’t mind cheese slices or cheese platters, I just don’t like it melted. The hard part is I love Mexican ingredients, tomatoes, beans, cilantro, cumin, corn, etc.; I just don’t like the saucy and cheesy execution.

The last time I was “taking one for the team” at a Mexican restaurant, Blake and I were waiting at the bar for our table. In this particular restaurant, the kitchen door was right next to the bar. Blake and I were engaged in a conversation when something caught my eye. I noticed one of the employees carrying a 5 gallon paint bucket. As he walked behind the bar to grab a dish cloth, he set down the bucket. Guess what was in the bucket? LARD, 5 gallons of it. Needless to say, we didn’t wait for our table, and we left determined to use the amazing ingredients that Mexican food offers in a lardless way.

The cool thing about this dish is it’s versatility. You can top it with avocado

Disclaimer: I do love seeing all of the new trendy, fresh Mexican restaurants popping up all over the place. They are a whole different ball game.

Black Bean and Chicken Casserole

Serves 6

Black Bean Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced (more if you are an onion fan)
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cans black bean, drained
  • 3 ounces green chile peppers, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup uncooked instant rice
  • ¾ cup frozen corn (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Stir in onions, and cook until soft and translucent.
  4. Stir in chicken; cook until golden on all sides. (this may take two rounds in the pan)
  5. Pour onions and chicken into a casserole dish.
  6. Stir in tomatoes, black beans, corn, chile peppers, cilantro, cumin, and rice.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  8. Allow 10 minutes to cool and enjoy
  9. Serve with sour cream.

Sales used in this recipe: Black beans- buy one get one free- Kroger, cilantro free from the garden, chicken from Costco.

Dress Me Up and Take Me Out

Anyone else in the grilled meat, fresh vegetable, no creativity, summer cooking slump? I absolutely love summer food, but the meat choices are becoming boring to me. I was looking for a way to dress up my steak, without losing it’s flavor.

Until recently, I have been a salad-dressing -mariander. The idea of making my own marinade had never crossed my mind. Blake headed out to work the other day and took some filets out of the freezer. As he was walking out the door he said, “steaks on the grill OK, babe?” “Sure” I replied dropping my shoulders and thinking about the monotony of another grilled steak dinner.

Right then, I knew it was time to give my steak a boost, and I got to work.  I have always liked the flavors in a Chimichurri Marinade, but I never knew how easy it could be. I got the meat marinating, threw a little cilantro spin on our potatoes and took the corn off the cob and added black beans. Soon, we had a transformed dinner packed with flavor and ready to hit the grill.

Chimichurri Marinade

(We used on Filet Mignon, but would also be delicious and tenderizing on skirt steak, flank steak, hangar steak, London broil, lamb blade or lamb chop)

Makes 2 cups- MUST use fresh herbs, not dried!

Chimichurri Marinated Steak

Ingredients

– ½ cup red wine vinegar

– 1 tsp coarse sea salt

– 4 cloves of garlic sliced thin (if you don’t have a mandolin, try using the long side of a cheese grater)

– 1 shallot chopped finely

– 1 red jalapeno, finely chopped

– 2 cups of minced fresh cilantro (use a food processor if you have one)

– 1 cup of minced flat leaf parsley

– 1/3 cup chopped oregano

– ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine vinegar, shallots, garlic and jalapeno in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in FRESH herbs.
  4. Whisk in olive oil using a fork.
  5. Remove ½ cup of marinade and put aside as a sauce.
  6. Put meat in a glass dish and cover with remaining marinade.
  7. Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight for more tenderness.
  8. Remove meat, pat dry and grill as usual.
  9. Top meat with reserved sauce.

Put a Little SPICE is Your Night

I wish I liked  margaritas. I think they are so fun to make and so fun to drink. I have just never just found a liking for the flavor of the sour mix. Even when I add orange juice, it still just doesn’t do much for me. I decided that I was going to find a way to take the idea of a margarita and tweak it a bit more to my liking.

I read a magazine article about a restaurant owner in Mexico who spiced up his tequila with peppers and used other juices to make margaritas. I decided to swipe his idea. Swiper no swiping.

Be prepared: they are spicy!!! If you are not a big fan of spicy, be sure to reduce pepper steeping time or dilute tequila with more juice.

Spicy Grapefruit Margarita
Serves 8

Ingredients

– 2 cups of tequila (I buy cheap for this drink because it is diluted anyway)
-1-2 Habanero peppers, halved (the more you use, the spicier the tequila gets)
– 2 tbsp sweetened lime juice
– juice of one lime
– 5 cups grapefruit juice
– 1 cup of sour mix
– Sea salt

Directions

1.Combine tequila and Habanero peppers in a pitcher and allow to steep for 2-4 hours depending on spice desire (this can be done up to one month ahead).
2. Rub the rim of each glass with a lime to moisten it.
3. Pour sea salt onto a plate and dip rims of the glass into it to coat the rims.
4. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with tequila. Stir.
5. Serve on the rocks and have fun!

A Pleasant SOUPrise

I love to pack a hearty lunch in my lunch box everyday. The OCD in me has a hard time when my lunch box has too much empty space in it. A bowl of taco soup, a small sandwich, a fruit and a perfectly folded napkin fill it up ideally.  This recipe makes enough soup for about 10-12 servings leaving a family of four with lunch the next day.

So we all have those nights where we don’t want to spend a lot of time making dinner or doing the dishes. This soup is one of those dishes that allows you to have a quick and delicious home made meal that leaves little to no mess.  Taco soup is a something that I grew up eating. I am not sure where my mom got the recipe, but we cook it a few times a month in the winter. Enjoy!

Taco Soup

Serves 10-12

Total Amount- $13.01

Total price per person- $1.09

Average Retail price- $22.88

Total Savings- $9.87


 

–          2 lbs of ground beef, turkey or bison

–          1 onion, chopped

–          3 cans pinto beans

–          3 cans corn

–          2 cans diced tomatoes

–          1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies

–          2-3 cans of low sodium chicken broth

–          1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning

–          1 packet of taco seasoning

–          1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

–          1 tsp garlic salt

–          2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  1. Brown 2 lbs ground beef and 1 chopped onion in pot with a little olive oil
  2. Season beef with Lawry seasoning salt, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce and packet of taco seasoning.
  3. Add 3 cans Pinto beans (slightly drained)
  4. Add 3 cans corn (slightly drained)
  5. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  6. Add 1 can rotel tomatoes with chilies
  7. Add 2-3 cans chicken broth
  8. Add dry hidden ranch dressing packet
  9. Cook until warm (medium heat for 30 minutes)
  10. Top with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, olives, ect.

Sometimes I adjust flavor with more tomatoes or chicken broth….depends on your taste!

Sales used in this recipe:

Patton’s Meat Market- 5lb package of lean ground beef $11.99

Kroger BOGO –  Delmonte Diced Tomatoes

Kroger BOGO – Rotel Tomatoes

Costco $2.25 off Swanson Low Sodium Chicken Broth

The Whole Enchilada

I am not a big fan of Mexican food. To me, the flavors are kind of monotomous, and I always smell funny when I leave the restaurant. My best friend, Jenny and my husband, Blake love it! As with all of my other food pickiness, I have an exception to my dislike of Mexican food. I love Blake’s homemade Mexican food.

Last night, we had home made enchiladas. They were so good! They are not hard to make, but they do require some time and attention. The thing I love most is the fact that they are decently healthy!

Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6

Total Price- $1.28

Total Price per Person- $1.92

Average Retail Price- $14.26

Total Savings- $6.49

– 6 chicken breasts or substitue any # of breasts for thighs (Make it even easier by buying a Rotesserie Chicken at the grocery store)
– 1 can Rotel tomatoes
– 1/2 tbsp cumin
– 1/2 tbsp chili powder
– Pinch of salt and pepper

– 1 Can salsa verde or green chili
– 1 tsp cumin
– Pinch of salt, pepper, and cayenne
– 1 tbsp sour cream

– 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
– 1 package corn tortillas
– 1 can enchilada sauce, or home made enchilada sauce

Steps 1-3 can be eliminated by using Rotesserie Chicken

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Place chicken in a roasting pan, top with rotel tomatoes, cumin, chili    powder, salt, and pepper
3. Cover and roast in the oven for 1 hour

4. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
5. Pull chicken apart and place in a large mixing bowl
6. Add salsa verde or green chili, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, and sour cream
7. Mix well, and season to taste (Blake likes to add a bit of chopped up chipotle peppers with adobo sauce for extra heat to his)

8. Heat the oil in a saute pan to medium-high heat
9. Place the corn tortillas in the oil 1-2 at a time to soften and lightly cook, roughly 1 minute, and place on a paper towel
10. Spoon the chicken mixture into a corn tortilla, wrap, and place in a baking dish
11. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is used

12. Top with enchilada sauce, and cheese if desired
13. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until sauce bubbles
14. Let set for 10 minutes and serve

Sales in this recipe:

Chickem $1.48/lb at Kroger

Corn Tortillas- $1.00 Southern Savings

Sour Cream- BOGO at Publix

Enchilada sauce- $0.20 off Soutern Savers

Peter Piper Picked A Pepper Relish

So far one of my favorite things about this blog is when people ask me for ideas. I like the challenge of finding ingredients for what they want on sale and making them into something delightful.

Last week I posted about home grown veggies. One of my friends, Christy, told me that she had so many banana pepper that she was throwing them out before she could use them. First off, I would say compost them. In fact, it was her mom, during my childhood, who introduced me to composting.

I thought for a while about what to make with a plethora of banana peppers. At first, I considered a casserole with a biscuit topping, but no matter how savory you make it, that would still be pepper overload.

So I went in the direction of a relish. The coolest thing about pepper relish is that it stays good for a while. Generally when anything is cooked in vinegar, it will last a lot longer than you would think.

Banana Pepper Relish

Total Cost- $1.49

Total Cost at Average Retail- $6.34

Total Savings- $4.85

Banana Pepper Relish

–         7-9 Banana Peppers, seeded and deveined and chopped finely (Garden FREE- Average Retail- $3.99/lb)

–         2 jalapenos, finely chopped and deseeded (Garden FREE- Average Retail $1.99/lb)

–         1 cup of vinegar (Publix Manufacturer’s Coupon $0.50 off doubled so $1.00 off from Average Retail $1.99)

–         1 tsp salt

–         ¼ cup water

–         1 tbsp mustard (Publix Manufacturer’s Coupon $0.40 off doubled so $0.80 off from Average Retail $1.79)

  1. Cook peppers and vinegar on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 5-7 more minutes.
  3. Quickly strain, still reserving some of the liquid.
  4. Allow time to cool and transfer to an empty jar.
  5. Refrigerate and serve

All it takes to make a pepper relish

The ingredients

Here Fishy Fishy

Blake had his best friend, Yas, and his dad come over for lunch today. We made fish tacos. We had some Tilapia in the freezer and our garden provided most of what else we needed. Yesterday at Super H mart, the whole wheat tortillas were not on sale, but I knew they were at Publix. I really hate going to a store for one item, so I asked if they would give me the $0.50 off so I didn’t have to go to Publix, and sure enough they did. I buy all of my seasonings at BIG LOTS for $1.00 each. They are just as good as the name brands. For this recipe, you can buy the premixed blackening seasoning to simplify it, but I like making my own. Whoot!

Blackened Fish Tacos and Black Beans

Serves 4

Total price for 4- $8.02

Total price per person $2.00

Total price without sales- $16.49

Total savings- $8.47

Blackened Fish Tacos with Black Beans



3 filets of tilapia (Super H $2.99/lb from Publix $6.99/lb- recipe used about 1.5lbs $4.49)

3 tbsp of blackening seasoning (mixture of cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and nutmeg) This recipe uses about $0.50 worth of seasonings

2 tomatoes (Garden- FREE)

½ onion (red or sweet) (Super H $0.69/lb from Kroger $1.99/lb- used 1/5 of  pound $0.14

3 tbsp of fresh cilantro (Garden- FREE)

juice of one lime (Super H 7/$1.00 from Publix 3/$1.00 total $0.14)

2/3 cup of sour cream (Super H $0.99 from Publix $1.99. Used $0.50 off coupon)

1 fresh jalapeno- seeded (Garden FREE)

1 can of black beans (Buy one Get one Free at Publix last week. $0.49 each from $0.99)

6 flour tortillas (Super H- $1.99 to match Publix. Was $2.99)

¼ head chopped green cabbage (Super H $0.49/lb from publix $1.29 per lb- used 1/5 of head $0.07 total)

Before starting the fish tacos, you need to make the pico de gallo and the cream sauce. Cut 2 tomatoes into 1 inch chunks and remove seeds. Dice half of onion and add to tomatoes. Add 2 tbsp of fresh cilantro coarsely chopped. Dice ½ seeded jalapeno and combine. Add juice of ½ lime and 1 tps of salt and pepper. Mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, strain and serve to top tacos.

To make the cream sauce, add juice of ½ lime, 2/3 cups of sour cream, 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro and ½ diced jalapeno- seeded. Mix and refrigerate and serve on top of tacos.

Heat black beans in pot for 10 minutes on medium high.

Combine all seasonings together to create blackening. Cut each tilapia filet in half and pat dry with paper towel. Bring to room temperature. Put 2 tsp of butter  and 1 tsp of oil in a large pan and bring up to very high heat. Roll tilapia in seasoning and when the pan is hot, place filets in pan. Cook on high heat until cooked through and crispy (about 3 mins per side depending on thickness of filet.

Wrap tortillas in foil and put in the oven on 300 degrees for 5 minutes to heat before serving.

Serve like a salad bar and allow guest to top with what they choose. For me, sauce, fish, pico, more sauce, cabbage- black beans on the side. YUMMY!

How to Eat Fried Cow.

Tonight we were planning on capitalizing on the low price of the chicken breast tenders again, BUT I happened to be in Super H Mart looking for some veggies for Lottie’s veggie blend pasta sauce, when I saw my dinner! Manager’s Special: 1.12 lbs of Flank steak for $2.23 total! I grabbed it and tried to decide what to do with it. I have been craving Cuban lately, so I decided on an authentic Cuban dish called Vaca Frita. Vaca Frita means, “fried cow”. Can’t really beat that can you? Basically it is shredded, garlicky flank steak cooked in a pan for extra crispiness. It’s quick, easy and tasty. Have a try! Also I had a few Russet Potatoes left from my $2.99 5lb bag, so I decided to use those. Normally, Cuban dishes come with Yuca, but I checked at Super H, and Yuca was not on sale. Potatoes it is. I came across avocados (that were ripe) that were 2/$1.19 so I knew I needed those. Here is what came out of the shopping trip (ALL AT ONE STORE- my favorite way to shop).

Blake and I had this meal at our favorite Cuban spot. I know it sounds intimidating, but it is really simple.

Vaca Frita with Mock Yuca Spears and Avocado Salad

Serves 4

Total price – $5.00 (BEST DEAL YET)

Total price per person -$1.25 Seriously, thank you Super H Mart manager

Total Price without sales- $17.49

Total savings $12.49

Vaca Frita with "mock yuca" potatoes and Avocado salad

Vaca Frita

1 ¼ lb Flank Steak (Super H Mart $2.23 compared to $8.99/lb Publix so $11.24)

2 small sweet onions-one halved and one thinly sliced (Super H Mart $0.99/lb from Kroger $1.99/lb)

1 Bay leaf (BIG LOTS $1.00/bottle includes about 50 leaves)

2 cloves of garlic (Super H Mart $0.99/lb from Publix $2.99/lb)

salt and pepper

¼ cup fresh lime juice (Super H Mart 7/$1.00 or $0.14 each- used 3 from Kroger 2/$1.00)

2 tbps Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Publix Buy one get one free- $5.00 each)

dash of cumin (BIG LOTS $1.00)

Avocado Salad

2 ripe avacados (Super H Mart 2/$1.19 from Publix 2/$3.00)

1 tomato (GARDEN- FREE)

1 tbsp lime juice (Super H Mart 7/$1.00 or $0.14 each from Kroger 2/$1.00)

coarse salt and pepper

I tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro (GARDEN FREE)

Mock Yuca aka Potatoes

2 medium russet potatoes (Publix 5lb bag $2.99 – $0.35 total from Publix normal price of $5.99/lb $0.70 total)

4 roasted garlic cloves (Super H Mart $0.99/lb from Publix $2.99/lb)

1 tbsp olive oil (Publix Buy one get one free- $5.00 each)

In a large sauté pan, add the halved onion, the mean, one bay leave, and salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the meat. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan to another working surface to cool. Allow meat to cool and then shred into thin pieces.

Mash 2 cloves of fresh garlic with 2 tsp of coarse salt with a muddle or the flat side of a knife until it becomes a paste. Kneed the garlic paste into the cooled meat along with the olive oil, cumin, and limejuice. Let stand at room temperature for 30-90 minutes

This is what the meat should look like when marinating after being simmered and shredded.

While you are simmering…

Peel potatoes and cut into large spears. Boil until al dente and stain. Coat in olive oil and crusted, roasted (to roast garlic- cut tip of root side of bulb until each garlic clove is exposed a little bit. Coat with olive oil and wrap tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until fork tender) garlic and keep warm until serving.

Cut tomato (seeded) and avocado into ½ inch cubs and put into a bowl. Add juice of one lime, salt, pepper and cilantro and mix together. Refrigerate until serving.

Thinly slice and caramelize one small onion and keep warm for serving

Then…

Heat a large flat griddle (you can use large sauté pan if you don’t have a griddle) to high heat. Spread the shredded meat into a thin layer on the hot grilled and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Cook over high heat flipping once until crispy coating appears, about 5-7 minutes per batch.  Top with carmaleized onions and serve with a slice of lime. Happy Eating!