Reducipe – Pork Adobo

Sooo good!I’ve been trying to share this household favorite for a while now but I kept forgetting to take photos of the rub components. Finally I didn’t forget this time and it’s ready to post.

My Pork Adobo is an adaptation from a recipe I found in a diet cookbook. Not only is it good for your wallet, it’s good for you!

This is a great recipe to serve to a mixed group of dieters and non-dieters because everyone will love it and feel satisfied. Serve it with charra beans (I’ll post that recipe soon) or a green salad and you have a nice little meal.

This is a simple combination of lean pork, sweet onions, and spicy tomato sauce all rolled up in a tortilla. How can you go wrong?

Pork Adobo

1-2 teaspoons canola oil
2 large sweet onions, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt
1/4 cup water
10-15 oz tomato sauce
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo, pressed through strainer, reserve sauce
1-2 lb pork tenderloin
Flour tortillas

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into the pork and let marinade for at least 30 minutes in fridge.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil. Place the pork in the pan and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of meat reads 155 degrees, about 25 minutes.

While pork is roasting, heat a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the oil then add onions, sugar, salt, and water. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned – about 20 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and the strained adobo sauce and simmer uncovered until flavors blend, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

After you remove the pork from the oven, transfer pork to cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm. Thinly slice the pork and stir into the onion mixture. Spoon into tortillas and serve like tacos. Serves 6-8.

Be sure to cook the onions over medium low heat so they become soft and translucent without becoming caramelized. If the onions are too long they can be awkward to eat in the tacos. It’s best to keep the slices bite size. I find that cutting the onion slices into fourths works really well.

Use more Adobo sauce to increase spiciness or less if you prefer a milder flavor. I tend to like my tacos saucy so I use the full 15oz tomato sauce.

Ingredients for the Pork Adobo Rub
Ingredients for Pork Adobo

Please do not skip the resting period for the pork after you remove it from the oven. It is very important that you let it rest and give the juices time to redistribute within the meat. If you don’t, be warned that you will have a cutting board full of juices and dry meat. (this is a cooking school tip)

The best part is that this meal is even better the next day as leftovers! Just heat up the Pork Adobo and tortillas in the microwave and roll into tacos.

Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Canola Oil $0.10 Pork Tenderloin $3.69
Onions $1.17 Tortillas $1.59
Sugar N/A Brown Sugar $0.05
Tomato Sauce $0.92 Vinegar $0.02
Chipotle Peppers $1.09 Total $8.63 or $1.44 a serving

If you want to stretch the meat even further you can add beans to this recipe although the texture suffers a little. Personally, I prefer to cut the slices of meat into quarters and add more onions to increase the yield. Either way the dish is very economical. Enjoy!

Reducipe: Mirin Wasabi Glazed Salmon

Simply awesome!This is one of those recipes that’s easy to make, tastes great, and it’s good for you, too!

This is Eric’s most requested salmon dish and every time he finishes, he licks his plate clean. No joke.

It really is that tasty, folks.

This Mirin Wasabi glaze is out of this world. It blends sweet with a little tangy and a little hot. It matches really well with the fattiness of the salmon and complements it beautifully.

If you are concerned about the kick of wasabi, there is a trick to controlling the heat. If you want it on the milder side just add your wasabi along with the other sauce ingredients before cooking. Cooking really seems to temper the flavor and heat of wasabi. If you want your wasabi at full strength (like us) whisk it into the sauce after cooking.

Mirin Wasabi Glazed Salmon

3 tablespoons Mirin
1 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 teaspoons wasabi paste (more if you like it hot)
1 lb salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced

To make the sauce combine the Mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and ginger in a small bowl and whisk. Transfer to small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until the flavors blend and the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the wasabi paste. Set aside.

Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and the pepper. Set a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the salmon and cook, turning once, until the fish is browned on the outside and almost opaque in the center, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Transfer to plates and spoon the sauce over the salmon. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

As far as cooking temperatures go, my sanitation guidelines state that fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F. However, this must not be a hard and fast rule because restaurants often serve salmon medium and tuna rare. Personally, I like to remove my salmon from the heat when the thickest part reaches 132 F and I let carry over cooking take it the rest of the way to 135 F.

I chose farm-raised salmon for this recipe because it was fresh (not previously frozen) and on sale. I couldn’t believe I found it for only $4.99 a pound this week, especially with food prices rising every where. Turns out they overstocked. Yea for me!

Ingredients for Mirin Wasabi Salmon

I highly recommend finely grating fresh ginger when it’s being used in sauces. This step helps break down the fibers within fresh ginger and creates a better texture. To grate my ginger I use a microplane. They aren’t too expensive and can be used to grate all sorts of things like spices, chocolate, or even hard cheeses.

This time I had to make an educated guess at the cost for the Mirin. I always seem to have it on hand and I forgot to jot down the price at the grocery store as a reference. I decided to estimate high though, just in case.

Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Mirin $0.10 Wasabi $0.12
Rice Vinegar $0.05 Salmon $4.94
Soy Sauce $0.10 Olive Oil $0.06
Honey $0.16 Scallions $0.15
Ginger $0.09   Total $5.77 or $1.44 a serving

Wow, a yummy salmon dinner for less than a $1.50 per serving. Not bad. As you can see in the picture I paired it with some plain rice (to soak up the sauce) and a frozen Asian veggie mix. Even with those additions it’s still well under $2.00 a serving. I hope you will try this out and tell me what you think! Enjoy!

Reducipe: Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

Mexican Ham & Bean SoupWith food prices still going up I wanted to post another bean recipe that we enjoy. Bean soups are a filling and hearty way to satisfy your family and keep food costs down. This one isn’t vegetarian and incorporates a little bit of ham.

This recipe is a spiced up version of ham and bean soup. It brings in a lot of the flavors of my region and is anything but bland. The ham and chipotle chilies add a smoky note to the soup and really compliments the other flavors.

If you can’t find whole chipotles where you live you can also use ground chipotle. Just be careful not to be too heavy handed with the ground stuff. It’s smoked jalapeno and it can get spicy! If you have to leave it out entirely I would consider adding a ham hock to boost up the smoky goodness.

The Manchego cheese and cilantro toppings bring coolness to the soup and offer a wonderful contrast to the highly flavored broth.

Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

1 lb dried pinto beans
10-12 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups onions, chopped
2 cups smoked ham, cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 chipotle chilies
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons oregano
3 bay leaves
Dash cayenne
Kosher salt, to taste
Manchego cheese, finely shredded
Cilantro, chopped

Pick through beans for pebbles and wash thoroughly. Place beans in large dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Combine beans, broth, onions, ham, garlic, and spices in a dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in tomatoes and chilies and simmer another 30-45 minutes. Discard the chilies and bay leaves and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve hot with cheese and cilantro sprinkled on top. Serves 6-8.

I actually put the chipotles in the soup at the time I mix all the other ingredients. I tend to like my soups spicy and the added time steeping really amps up the heat factor. If you don’t like too much spice be sure to add the chipotles when you add the tomatoes.

The soup is awesome when it is brothy so don’t skim on the liquids. If you can’t find low sodium chicken broth cut it with some water. Otherwise the soup can turn out a little salty after it condenses. Save your salting for after the simmering on this recipe.

Ingredients for Mexican Ham & Bean Soup

I like to buy the prepackaged slice of center cut ham for this recipe. I find it gives just enough and keeps the price low. Make sure to go for smoked ham, or if you want you can also add a ham hock for added smokiness.

I really like Manchego cheese for the topping on this dish. It’s a feisty cheese that can hold it’s own to the spiciness of this soup. I like it so much that I’ll try to bargain for it! If Manchego just isn’t in the budget you can replace it with Monterrey Jack.

I think this is great with a little cheese quesadilla on the side. I used fresh tortilla, Manchego, sautéed onions, and a little garlic powder for mine. Yum!


Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Pinto Beans $0.57 Canned Tomatoes $1.36
Chicken Broth $3.00 Chipotles $0.11
Onion $0.79 Spices $0.10
Ham $2.99 Cheese $2.00
Garlic $0.04 Cilantro $0.33
  Total $11.29 or $1.41 a serving

This soups sure packs a lot of flavor for such a small price tag! You can cut down the cost even further by substituting a cheaper cheese for the Manchego, using your own chicken broth (or buying it in bulk), and getting a deal on the canned tomatoes. Enjoy!

Reducipe: Southwestern Falafels with Guacamole

Southwestern FalafelsWith rising food costs, I think everyone could use a few reducipes that use beans as the main protein instead of meat. Beans are not only a cheap substitute, they are really tasty and versatile. And they are good for you, too!

This isn’t your average falafel. It has southwestern style ingredients (like pinto beans and mexican spices) to make a truly unique version. These flavors are very “me”.

This recipe is yet another staple of mine and was even featured at my last catering event in bite size form. Hmmm, maybe I should stop giving away all my secrets. Just kidding!

I haven’t tried this dish out on kids (I don’t have children yet) but I bet they would like it. It’s like a hamburger in a different form. The crunch and hands-on “eatability” is fun. If guacamole freaks them out try a little ranch dressing instead.

Southwestern Falafels are one of our all time favorite dinners and I’m tickled pink that it happens to be so economical, too.

I just had to share this one with you all. I hope you like it!

Southwestern Falafels with Guacamole

1 (15oz) can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup tortilla chips, finely crushed
2 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Cayenne, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup panko crumbs
Canola oil
Guacamole, recipe follows
Pita bread

To prepare patties, place pinto beans in medium bowl and partially mash them with a fork. Add the cheese, mayo, tortilla chips, green onions, cilantro, spices, and egg and mix well. Form into 4 patties, about 1/2″ thick, and dredge in the panko crumbs. Set aside.

Heat about 1-2 tablespoons canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and pan fry them until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides.

Serve with guacamole and fresh pita. Serves 4 (or 6 if you make smaller patties).

1 avocado, peeled, cubed, and lightly mashed
1/4 cup pico de gallo
Garlic salt, to taste
1/2 lime, juiced

Mix the avocado, pico de gallo, garlic salt, and a drizzle of lime juice together in a small bowl. Pour the remaining lime juice over the surface (to help delay browning). Refrigerate, with a layer of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the guacamole to help keep it fresh and green.

Look for panko crumbs in the Asian Foods section of your market. If you can’t find it you can just omit it; they are very tasty even without that added crunch. I don’t think regular bread crumbs would do it justice, though.

If you can’t make or buy fresh pita bread, you can substitute flour tortillas. Tortillas aren’t as good as pita because the dish loses some of its chewy-ness but they aren’t bad. Just make sure to warm up the tortillas over a flame to get them nice and soft. Toasting them a bit will also make store-bought tortillas taste better.

Ingredients for Southwestern Falafels

If you want to make the patties ahead of time, don’t roll them in the panko. Wait to dredge the patties in the panko until right before cooking so the crumbs stay nice and crisp.

On a diet? No problem! Use low-fat mayo, baked tortilla chips, omit the panko coating, and cook them in very little oil. You can easily make this meal lighter by following those steps.

Let’s see the damage!

Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Pinto Beans $0.50 Egg $0.16
Cheese $0.54 Panko Crumbs $0.25
Mayo $0.02 Canola Oil $0.15
Tortilla Chips $0.05 Avocado $1.79
Green Onions $0.09 Pico De Gallo $0.29
Cilantro $0.05 Limes $0.08
Spices N/A Total $3.97 or $0.99 a serving

Do you see that total? Wow. That’s really cheap!

I didn’t add in the cost of the pita bread I made but if I did it would only raise the cost by $0.04 a serving (2 pita rounds). I told Eric about how much our meal cost last night and he was astounded. Quite frankly, I am too. These falafels taste too good to be so inexpensive!

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Reducipe – Southwestern Meatloaf

This ainAhhh, meatloaf. Loved and yet hated by the young and old alike. It’s so good when at its best and so bad when messed up. I think people develop their meatloaf preference early on and their first experiences with the stuff can make or break it.

Many mothers, in an effort to pinch pennies, have thrown together makeshift meatloafs that lack flavor, moisture, and flair. It ruins its reputation.

Meatloaf, when done right, is succulent, moist, hearty, and best of all, cheap eats. It just takes a gentle touch and a fabulous glaze to turn even the most opposed into meatloaf fans.

This recipe is one of my most popular. Everyone loves it and Eric requests it often. I have even served it at an hors d’Oeuvres party by increasing the amount of crumbs and forming meatballs. What a hit!

It’s juicy, tender, and anything but dull. The bold southwestern flavors helped me win first place in a meatloaf cook-off contest a few years ago. It is definitely worth a try, even if you hate meatloaf. It might blow you away.

Southwestern Meatloaf (adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)

5oz garlic flavored croutons
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium sweet onion, rough chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and rough chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1 lb ground chuck
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg

1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons honey
Dash Worcestershire
Dash hot sauce

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

Combine the croutons and all spices except salt in a food processor. Pulse until it’s a fine texture. Pour crumbs into a bowl and set aside. Combine the onion, carrot, red bell pepper, and garlic in food processor bowl and finely chop.

Place the hamburger meat in a large bowl. Season with the salt then add the crumbs and vegetable mixture. Add the egg and combine all ingredients thoroughly with your fingers. Avoid squeezing the meat while you do this.

Pack the mixture into a loaf pan, insert a meat thermometer, and place in oven. Prepare the glaze by mixing all ingredients together, adjusting to taste. Brush some of the glaze on the meatloaf after about 10 minutes in the oven. Repeat glazing 20 minutes later.

Cook until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let rest until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. Serve hot, with plenty of additional glaze. Serves 6-8.

Notice that I changed up the bowls this time? I’m trying out white plates now. The glaze ingredients are in the mini cups below.

Ingredients for Southwestern Meatloaf

I highly recommend doubling the glaze recipe, I always do. It will be highly requested. This meatloaf is awesome with thick and creamy mashed potatoes. Use the mashers to sop up the extra glaze. Too yummy!

Ingredient Cost Ingredient Cost
Croutons $0.95 Ground Chuck $2.83
Spices $0.10 Egg $0.11
Onion $0.56 Ketchup $0.12
Carrots $0.43 Honey $0.14
Bell Pepper $1.49 Worchestershire N/A
Garlic $0.05    
    Total $6.78 or $0.85 a serving

That’s dirt cheap for such a high-quality meal. ‘Nuff said!

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