Cook it yourself

Mary Shaw, the Ashland Co-op's culinary education specialist, has created 40-some Budget Solutions Recipes by tinkering with established recipes to keep costs low. Each meal costs less than $10 to make, using Co-op groceries, and will feed four people.

Smart Chicken Stir Fry Stew $ 9.90

1 1/2; pounds Smart Chicken whole legs, skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch green onions

2 carrots, julienne

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1 tablespoon cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon tamari

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 cups broccoli, cut into florets

1 tablespoon arrowroot

2 tablespoons water

4 cups brown rice, cooked

Sauté chicken in 1 tablespoon of the oil until cooked through. In the remaining oil, sauté the onions and carrots for 2 minutes.

Combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, pepper flakes, tamari, vinegar, and water. Add to the sautéing carrots and onions, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and the broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli is tender. Add the arrowroot dissolved in the water, and cook until thickened. Serve over the brown rice.

Note: This same recipe can be made with 1 pound of pork stir fry meat. Total cost of the meal is then $10.20

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Oh My, Tamale Pie! $8.50

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

2 tablespoons mild red chili powder

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (15 ounce can, undrained)

1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped

1 1/2; cups pinto beans, cooked

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2; cup cheddar cheese, grated

¾ cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon unbleached white flour

1/2; teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1/2; cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet. Sauté the onions until transparent, then add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Sauté a few minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach, and the beans. Return to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Combine the wet in another bowl. Gently fold the wet into the dry. Pour directly on top of the spinach and bean mixture, pressing it down a little with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top.

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Spicy Thai Beef Salad

Serves 4 for under $10!

1 pound beef sirloin steak

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup shallots, sliced thin

4 scallions, cut into thin strips about 1 inch long

1/2; cup mint or basil leaves, chopped fine

1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces

Rub the meat with black pepper. Sear quickly over high heat in a skillet, or on a grill. Remove from heat, and slice the steak thinly across the grain of the meat. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the meat and immediately remove from the heat. Transfer the meat and dressing to a large bowl. Add the shallots, scallions, and mint. Toss gently. Add the greens and toss again. Serve with Thai sticky rice or black rice.

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Spring Cabbage and Tuna Slaw

Serves 4 for under $10!

4 cups Savoy cabbage, chopped fine

1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2; teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 can Pisces unsalted tuna

Combine the cabbage, scallions, and parsley in a large salad bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, and agave together in a small bowl. Pour over the cabbage and toss well. Add the tuna, and toss again.

Other possible additions: grated carrot, red cabbage, sea palm sea weed, grated apple, or red pepper.

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Enchilada-Style Beans $1.59*

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour of your choice

1 tablespoon red chili powder (mild)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup water

3 cups cooked pinto beans

Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil, then the garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the flour, chili, cumin and sea salt. Continue sautéing for a few minutes more. Combine the tomato paste and water. Mix into the chili-flour mixture using a whisk. After the sauce begins to thicken, add the beans and heat through.

Serve with: Roasted butternut squash ($2.50) and steamed greens ($1.99) total for meal: $6.08

Or:

Brown rice (.61) and steamed greens ($1.99) total for meal: $4.19

*This price assumes you precook the beans from scratch.