Monday, March 23, 2009
7 News Features: Meal Deals
Most families are looking for ways to cut costs, but many still spend big bucks to eat out just because it's easier. Well one local chef says there are probably some great meal deals in your pantry right now, Seven's Belkys Nerey with the story.
WSVN -- Take out drive-thrus-- for a family on the run, it's an easy, quick fix, but many are finding it's also an expensive one.
Robert Egert: "It's a good $50. Just to grab something quick, it's $50. Somewhere nice, it's $100."
Right now, in the US, more than 50 cents of every dollar spent on food is spent outside the home.
Most families say figuring out what to cook for dinner can be hard, and it can require a trip to the grocery store.
Michael Moran, Chef-Instructor, Florida International University: "You know, two kids, school, everything else going on, what were you going to do tonight for dinner?"
Mom: "Call and get a pizza."
But FIU chef instructor Michael Moran is going to show this family what they can make for dinner using food they have in their pantry right now.
Michael Moran: "What if we kind of take a look at what you have hanging around here, and maybe we can pull something together?"
Michael Moran: "OK, you got some good stuff here. You got tomato paste, you got tomatoes."
Chef Moran also finds elbow macaroni, penne pasta and Japanese bread crumbs.
Michael Moran: "We have some salt and black pepper, I have a little bit of flour, we have some chopped garlic, little bit of cheddar cheese."
First on the list, homemade macaroni and cheese. While the noodles are boiling, it's time to make the cheese sauce.
Michael Moran: "This is four cups of milk."
Five-year-old Hannah and 3-year-old Sophie lend a helping hand by adding carrots to the cheese sauce for a healthy twist on an old favorite. Then pour the bread crumb mix on top and stick in the oven!
Michael Moran: "400 degrees, and it's going to take about 10-15 minutes, looking for it to brown on top."
Another quick and easy pasta dish straight from the pantry: penne pasta with pomadoro sauce! Put a little oil, onion, garlic and herbs in a pan.
Michael Moran: "You want to go ahead and dump the tomatoes in there, one shot. Ready? Go!"
Add fresh tomatoes as well as canned.
Michael Moran: "I'll match that up with anything you'll find in a jar, and it only needs about 20 minutes to cook."
For a quick meat dish: Cut chicken breasts into strips then have the kids help dip them in an egg and bread crumb coating, stick in the oven for 10 minutes.
Three homemade meals in a matter of minutes!
Michael Moran: "Just a little bit of planning, things that you have in the home, you can do an awful lot in a short period of time."
Chef Moran says there are some items you should always have on hand: marinara sauce, olive and vegetable oils, balsamic vinegar, rice and canned vegetables. Keep some frozen meats in the fridge, and you always have a good meal to bring the family to the dinner table.
Michael Moran: "Easier, quick, better financially, healthier, and it gives you more family time together."
Chef Moran also showed us how to make your own ketchup and mustard:
Yields 50 servings or 1.25 Qts.
-4 oz. yellow mustard seeds
-1 oz. brown mustard seeds
-1 cup white vinegar
-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 cup pinot grigio wine
-2 Tbs. ground Tumeric
-2 lemons: zest and juice
-1 Tbs. coarse salt
-2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1. Toast mustard seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, then let cool and grind in a food processor until fine.
2. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
3. Place in a clean jar and refrigerate for three days to allow flavors to blend and mellow.
4. Use as you would prepared mustard and brag about it.
Shelf life: four months under refrigeration.
Yield 1 qt. or 32 servings
-1 can whole tomatoes in juice (28. oz)
-4 oz. chopped onion
-3 Tbs. olive oil
-2 Tbs. Tomato paste
-½ cup dark brown sugar
-½ cup apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp. Salt
1. Place tomatoes in food processor and pulse until smooth.
2. Cook onions with oil over medium heat until translucent but not brown.
3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
4. Allow to cool and process until smooth.
5. Place in a clean jar and refrigerate until cold.
Shelf life: 1 month under refrigeration.
Recommended Pantry Staples
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Jarred marinara sauce
Red and white wine
Garlic and onions
Low fat Milk