Poor Man’s Makeshift Guacamole

As you know, I’m in the process of planning a wedding. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that they are money suckers. So, my fiancé and I have been trying to save as much money as possible before our wedding next September. What does this mean? This means trying to be as cheap as humanly possible without making ourselves miserable.

One of our biggest expenses each month is food. So, we’ve been trying to cut back on the more extravagant and expensive ingredients required for some dishes, and sticking to the easier stuff. That’s why I’ve been making things like these $2 Chinese Noodles (which were amazing!).

Yesterday we acquired a avacado from one of our co-workers. He wasn’t going to eat it, so he figured we could somehow make use of it over the weekend. Well, it was gone by about 10:30am Saturday morning. I wasn’t really sure what I could do with the avocado, since we didn’t have much at home to work with. So, this is where I got creative.

Typically to make guacamole you need some diced veggies. Since I didn’t have any, I cheated and grabbed some hot salsa. I mixed this into the mashed up guacamole, added some green chilies I had left over from the other night, and added a few squirts of lime juice. The result? A really good make-shift guacamole! Both my fiancé and I were seriously impressed. We paired it with some Triscuts and enjoyed that along with our uber classy Friday night meal of Elio’s pizza and mozzarella sticks. Don’t worry, we had a salad too!

There was quite a bit left-over this morning, so we had it as our pre-run snack. I can’t say it necessarily helped, but it didn’t hurt! Nothing like some good for you fat to kick start your day!

If you’re ever stuck with an avocado and unsure what to do with it, I say anything goes. Whatever you’ve got can probably work. And it’s a pretty decent and good for you snack! A nice way to be a healthy cheapo!

Poor Man’s Makeshift Guacamole

1/2 a ripe avocado
3 tbsp chunky salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
1 green chili

1. Remove avocado skin, and in a medium bowl smash with a fork
2. Chop and dice green chile
3. Add salsa and lime juice, mix together

Snazzy Ramen Noodles

I found this particular recipe on one of the most visually appealing food blogs I follow in my quest for deliciousness. Not only are there yummy recipes, but just the presentation of each post is beautiful. So what is this site you may ask? Cheeky Kitchen!

The recipe itself is called $2 Chinese Noodles, and basically plays on the concept of a take-out type meal made on the cheap at home. As a former college student, I have come to love and embrace Ramen Noodles. I have no shame in declaring my love for them, so when a recipe uses them, I’m all about it! It’s a plentiful recipe, offering to easily feed 8! Since it’s just me and my fiancé, I cut the recipe down so that we could have our fill, but also bring some leftovers for lunch.

Per the usual, I had some modifications to the recipe. For starters, I couldn’t find plain old sesame oil at the store. Totally ridiculous, I know! But, I did find hot chili sesame oil. Since as you know I’m a spicy food fanatic, I thought this would be a perfect substitution. Oh, and it was! I have a bunch of ginger left over from the Crisp Noodle Cakes I made back in April. The store also didn’t have beef flavored Ramen, so I stuck to four packets of chicken. As for the veggies, I went with the Bird’s Eye green bean stir-fry mix. It had green beans, water chestnuts, red pepper, broccoli and carrot. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe.

The whole meal took about 15 minutes to make and of course only about 10 minutes to devour. I would absolutely make this again! It was a great way to snazz up the A-typical, super cheap Ramen Noodles I grew accustomed to in college. One might say they were the grown-up version, and I think that’s a type of growing up I’m more than okay with.

$2 Chinese Noodles
– Serves 8 –

3 packs Top Ramen, chicken flavor
3 packs Top Ramen, beef flavor
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 package frozen stir-fry veggies or chow mein medley
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated

1. Fill a very large pot with water and bring to a boil.
2. Remove flavor packets and add ramen noodles. Boil 2-3 minutes, or just until softened. Drain.
3. Return pot to hot stove, add sesame and olive oils. Add the garlic and ginger to the oils, allow cook for about 1 minute, then add veggies and flavor packs.
4. Once veggies have fully thawed, add hot noodles back into the pot. Stir carefully until noodles are well coated with oil mixture.
5. Serve immediately.

Happy (cheap) nomzing!

Our Wednesday Routine: Barilla Tortellini

This might sound ridiculous, by every Wednesday for at least the past six months, my fiance and I have dined on Barilla tortellini without fail. Sure, lot’s of families have different themed dinner nights; maybe Thursday is taco night and Friday is pizza. But I’ve never heard of say “Eggplant Pizza Friday,” something so specific as to the exact flavoring. But my fiancé and I have taken it that far. So, each and every Wednesday night we have the spinach & ricotta stuffed tortellini, smothered in red sauce and doused in red pepper flakes, with a salad. Every once in awhile, we throw in some garlic bread.

They are actually really filling too. The bag says they serve 2 people, and that’s definitely more than enough with a side salad. They offer 4 serving bags as well, but we stick with the 2 servings instead. And, they’re always on sale; we get 2 bags for only $5! They aren’t “bad” for you, but it is pasta stuffed with cheese. So, it probably won’t be the healthiest meal you eat all week (or, it might be). I took a nutrition class in college, and the professor said that if the food is cheap, 99% of the time it’s poor quality and isn’t good for you. I mean, sure, the 99 cents you pay for mac ‘n cheese in a box isn’t exactly a healthy meal. But sometimes you just want that quick, easy, comfort. And if you’re pairing it with veggies and plan to do some type of exercise, who cares?! A cheap indulgence should be allowed from time to time!

I’ve often been the type of person that craves the same type of food for a brief period. I’ll go through a sushi phase where that’s all I want. Or maybe a cheeseburger phase. But every Wednesday, I look forward to my tortellini. The reasoning might be twofold; not only are they delicious, they’re super easy. All I need to do is boil a pot of water, dump the tortellini’s in, and let them cook for 10 minutes. Then, I can heat up some sauce, throw together a salad, and dinner is ready!

Because my fiancé does his weekly radio show on Wednesday nights at 90.3 The Core (you should listen – head over to thecore.fm from 9-10p Eastern), we need something quick and easy by the time we get home from work. We stumbled upon these guys one day in the pasta aisle, and it’s been love ever since.

The possibilities for these tortellinis are endless. Add it to some broth and throw in some veggies you’ve got yourself a tortellini soup. Sauté some veggies and throw them in, you have yourself a tortellini primavera! You can always use this as a side versus a meal too, and pair it with pretty much anything. Not interested in a red sauce? What about pesto? Or alfredo? Or maybe a cool pasta salad? Do you see where I’m going with this? These things RULE!

There are definitely other brands of tortellinis available too (such as Bertoli and Buitoni). However, both the fiancé and I have concluded after trying a few different variations, the Barilla Spinach & Ricotta is the best. We even tried the Barilla Four Cheese and weren’t impressed. But, I’d suggest trying some different varieties to find what you like!

Next time you’re in the pasta aisle and are looking for some quick and easy meal options, check out Barilla’s tortellinis, I think you’ll be glad you did!