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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Rules

I watch a lot of Top Chef. The memory on my computer is filled with episodes from every season, and every time I watch an episode, I always want to make the crazy things that the chefs made. However, as a teacher, I neither have the time nor the money to make the crazy stuff they make. So I have to find a way to still make cool stuff without breaking the bank.

This is why I'm super excited about this challenge. Not only do I want to encourage myself to cook more, but I don't want to spend a lot of money doing so. My dad and I keep talking about saving money and being less wasteful, and while I'd love to spend my paychecks on interesting ingredients, I'd also be nice to actually, you know, have savings. Perhaps have some money in the bank just in case anything happens. And maybe not pay for my morning coffee with spare nickels I scrounge around for on my apartment floor. Not that this has ever happened...twice this week...

So here's my list:

1. Onions
2. Potatoes
3. Chickpeas
4. Broth
5. Eggs
6. Lemons
7. Tomatoes
8. Pasta
9. Parmesan cheese
10. Spinach
11. Bell peppers
12. White rice
13. Lentils
14. Wheat bread
15. Fresh parsley
16. Fresh basil
17. Milk
18. Mushrooms
19. Red Wine
20. Quinoa

Included on this list are my kitchen staples--not because I want more ingredients or anything to work with, but because I know I won't have to buy more of these ingredients. Things like salt, pepper, dried spices, olive oil, butter, etc...are already part of my pantry and count as gimmes.

While this challenge is about using cheapo ingredients over and over, I also want to push myself to use these ingredients in ways I've never used them before. For example, if I'm hungry and broke, I usually just cook pasta and pour some sauce over it. Or scramble some eggs with salt and pepper. I'm interested in using these ingredients in different ways and not cooking these things the way I normally do.

I have so many recipes already bookmarked and I'm ready to go.


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