Friday, October 2, 2009
This week, I thought I'd pull out an old faithful frugal meal. Tacos made with lentils and rice. This is a very easy, very quick meal to throw together. It's perfect for the nights when you aren't sure what you are making until about 5:00. Although I know that none of you have those days, they sneak up on me from time to time. And, unfortunately, neither my kids nor my husband share my love for noodles with butter and parmesan cheese (my go to dinner when I was a single girl). They actually want, well, supper. So, this is easy to accomodate. And, it looks like I slaved all day.
That's my kind of meal.
I always have this size tortillas on hand. I think that they are called "fajita" tortillas. They are perfect for soft tacos. This package size is 20 small tortillas, so for us, that's 2 meals, plus a few extra.
The lentil/rice mixture. The night I made it, we were starving, and there was no time for pictures. This is the next night, as leftovers. So, you can see, this makes a huge portion. My husband also likes it cold (?), so he sometimes takes it for lunch that way.
It's easier for my boys to eat things as quesadillas, instead of tacos. The cheese melts, which holds everything together. And quesadillas are soooo easy. I just heat one side of the tortilla in a dry skillet, flip the tortilla, add the filling (this time, it was cheese, plus the lentils), fold it over, and let it brown. This takes less than 5 minutes.
And, voila! Perfect quesadillas. These are a huge staple at my house. Lunches, snacks, supper for when the grown-ups want grown-up food, picnic fare. You name it, and we've eaten quesadillas for it. For this night, the boys had quesadillas, and the grown-ups had regular, American tacos, but there are no pictures.
Just use your imagination. Flour tortilla, lentils, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.
I made salsa to go along with this meal. I use this recipe as the base for all my winter salsa, but then I just tweak it as needed. This salsa started with real tomatoes, roasted in the oven. I used serranos (my mom has these fabulous serranos this year--they taste really good, but they are mild enough for my non-hot-head-baby), onion, and cilantro. No garlic, just because I was out. I almost always use lime juice.
This salsa is very (and I do mean VERY) flexible. Any peppers work. Real tomatoes, canned tomatoes, it'll all work. I've used Ro-tel instead of regular tomatoes. And, sometimes I mix roasted tomatoes with canned. Whatever you have. Tomatoes are tomatoes. It might taste different, but it's all good.
A thing of beauty to behold.
And, easy as all that, supper is done!
Lentil and Rice Taco Filling
adapted from hillbillyhousewife.com
3/4 cup dry lentils--$0.38
3/4 cup brown rice--$0.30
4 cups water
2 T chili powder--we'll say $0.20 for all spices
1 t cumin
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 T salt
Bring the water to a boil. As the water is heating, add the lentils, rice, chand spices. Bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and allow the mixture to simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes. The water should be mostly absorbed.
Roasted Tomato Jalapeno Salsa
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
2 fresh jalapeño chiles--$0.20
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled--$0.05
½ cup white onion, finely chopped--$0.15
1 pound fresh tomatoes, roasted--on sale--$1.49
1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro--$0.25
A teaspoon of fresh lime juice--$0.20
Serve tacos with lentils-rice--$0.88
tortillas--I'll count 10 small tortillas--$1.15
sour cream--4 ounces--$0.38
salsa--use half of a homemade batch--$1.17
lettuce (it just takes a little)--$0.30
Total cost for this throw-together meal--$4.30. Way cheaper than Taco Bell. And you don't have to get in your car. Now that's my kind of quick meal.
As always, for more $5 meals, check out bargain meal of the week over at $5dinners.com.