Tag Archives: Southern

Red beans and rice: 62 cents/serving

Because of red beans and rice’s highly desirable price-to-tastiness ratio, I’ve been experimenting with it for years, and let me tell you: Despite the seemingly simple lineup of ingredients, there are many, many opportunities for things to go wrong (slow cooker vs. stovetop, red beans vs. kidney beans, rice cooked in-pot vs. separate, ham hock, no ham hock, different kinds of sausage…). This recipe, in my opinion, is both the most authentic and the best-tasting. It eschews the slow-cooker; uses small red beans, which cook up creamier than kidney beans; includes ham hocks and sausage; and has the beans served over the rice, which is the only way I’ve ever seen it in Louisiana. Don’t be afraid to make up a double batch—it tastes better the longer it sits.

Continue reading

Chicken soup with lemon-pepper dumplings: $1.17/serving

It wasn’t until I really started cooking in earnest that I learned there are two kinds of dumplings: dropped dumplings and rolled dumplings. I had always assumed the big, fluffy dropped dumplings were “real” dumplings, until I noticed quite a few Southern cookbooks calling for dumplings that consisted of dough rolled out and cut like pasta. I’ve since decided I’m a fan of both styles, especially since the rolled kind are a boon for those too afraid or impatient to make proper pasta. Rolled too thick? Didn’t knead enough? Cut unevenly? Not a problem! They’re supposed to be rustic! This happens to be my favorite recipe for the rolled kind. It’s quick enough to make on a weeknight (especially a rainy, gloomy Portland weeknight), and just as homey and comforting as the dropped kind, in its own way.

Continue reading

Fried chicken & Andouille gumbo: 99 cents/serving

I’ll come right out and say that while this is most likely going to be the best gumbo you’ve ever tasted, it’s not a recipe for the impatient, unskilled, or faint of heart. It’s taken me several years and several handfuls of blisters to learn how to make a proper roux (and even then, my definition of “proper” is probably open to interpretation. I’m no Southerner, nor have I ever lived in the South; I just like the food), and the tedium of waiting for the stock to finish and the chicken to get tender enough to fall off the bones is enough in and of itself enough to torpedo a weekend. But if you find yourself in fearless pursuit of the real thing, not to mention the real thing for under $1 per serving, look no further.

Continue reading

Biscuits and chicken gravy: 77 cents/serving

My brother used to live in North Carolina, and while I never got a chance to visit, my parents did, and were introduced to the phenomenon that is Mama Dip. During one particular visit they brought back for me an only-in-the-South brand of sausage gravy mix (by now I’ve forgotten which kind, of course) and a recipe for the buttermilk biscuits served at Mama Dip’s restaurant, which turned out to be, at that point, the best biscuits and gravy I’d ever had. I probably made those biscuits once a week for the next five years. I’ve fooled around with my own sausage-gravy variations, but this chicken version, which is not unlike pot-pie filling, might just take the cake. It’s hearty and comforting without making you feel like you just had a heart attack, and it’s not much more of a hassle to make than the sausage kind. I don’t think I’ve ever used a recipe for it, so please bear with my reconstruction. You will not be disappointed.

Continue reading

Smoky chipotle-cheddar grits: 59 cents/serving

Anyone following the national weather lately may have noticed a prediction of SNOWMAGEDDON!!!! for the Pacific Northwest. Blizzards! Freezing temperatures! FEET OF SNOW! I was all prepared for this to be another load of hyperbolic nonsense (as is usually confirmed by this informative website), but I looked out the window after I got home from work last night and, lo and behold, it was snowing. It looked to be up to 3 inches or so (which actually qualifies as FEET OF SNOW! for Portland) by the time I went to bed, and by the time I got up it had brought down a small tree in the backyard. It’s raining now and starting to break up the snow a bit, but still, the almost constant focus on the weather has been exhausting—delayed school openings, chained-up buses going 25 mph, talkative strangers overjoyed at the materialization of a universal conversation topic. At this point you may be asking yourself, What does this all have to do with grits?

Continue reading

Carolina pork, apple & sweet potato stew: $1.29/serving

As a big pork-and-fruit fan, I’d been eyeing this recipe in James Villas’ Pig: King of the Southern Table for quite some time. We had a few packages of $1.69/lb. boneless country-style pork ribs left over from a long-ago stock-up trip to Costco, so I knew it was only a matter of time before it made it into the rotation. Now that it’s been snowing for a couple days (I’d include a picture, but today is the only day it seems to be sticking, and so far it’s a relatively un-dramatic dusting), I can’t hold off any longer. A stew was pretty much the only thing that sounded appealing, let alone a stew with pork, apples, AND sweet potatoes, which tastes even better than it sounds. (Don’t be alarmed if it looks soupy in the picture; the liquid is easily adjustable.)

Continue reading

Cajun dirty rice: 50 cents/serving

If your only experience with dirty rice is adding water to the dried contents of a box of Zatarain’s—and let’s admit, we’ve all been there at some point or another—this recipe is for you. It’s actually cheaper than the boxed stuff and not that much more difficult (just some vegetable chopping here and waiting for the rice cooker there), and you’ll be saving yourself an entire day’s worth of sodium intake. If you’re unfamiliar with the etymology of dirty rice, the “dirty” comes from the brown color. In the authentic* stuff this comes from liver, in the boxed stuff it comes from soy sauce. If you think you don’t like liver, I recommend making it from scratch all the more—it exemplifies all the wonderful, flavorful reasons why people use liver in the first place without managing to taste liver-y.

*And yes, I have eaten the real thing in Louisiana. It was at a Popeyes in Lafayette and we had just gone to a mall and I was tired and suffering from a somewhat disabling case of culture shock, but still. I was in Louisiana. Eating dirty rice.

Continue reading

Inexpensive Holiday Gifts: custom BBQ sauce

As a card-carrying broke person, it should come as no surprise that I’m all about the handmade food gifts. However, not everyone likes sweets, and cookies and candy seem to dominate every “Food Gifts to Make” list on every website in the known Internet-verse.

But my potential recipient doesn’t barbecue! you say. It doesn’t matter. Barbecue sauce—especially good barbecue sauce—is great on hamburgers, meats broiled in the oven, rotisserie chicken, meatloaf, or as a dipping sauce. Vegetarians on the list? It’s great on pasta mixed with sautéed onions. Seriously—try it.

All you need is a canner (a few years ago we bought an enameled water-bath canner with rack and jar lifter at a thrift store for less than $10), some new half-pint jars, and your favorite barbecue-sauce recipe or two. It helps to have a few sheets of adhesive printer paper and some basic Photoshop skillz, but that’s by all means optional.

Continue reading

Guest Post: rice-cooker jambalaya: $1.54/serving

Note: This is another guest post by my husband, B. If I had come across this recipe on my own I probably would’ve rolled my eyes at the canned soup and “jambalaya” classification (because I’m an asshole, you see), but not only does this dish hold sentimental value for being the first of three—now four—things he’s ever cooked for me, it’s actually really good, and really easy. Probably easier than any recipe on this entire site.

Continue reading

Roasted garlic & rosemary grits soufflé: $1.05/serving

This is not only a diversion from my usual cheese soufflé, but it’s the first soufflé I’ve ever made with store-bought eggs. Words cannot describe how much I hate this. The days are now officially too short for chickens to lay without artificial light, and I’m not about to risk burning the house down—or the coop itself—with an extension cord snaked hither and yon through the yard. I know it’s a natural biological process (the lack of eggs, not the house burning down), but I still hope that somewhere deep in the chickens’ tiny pea brains they feel a little bit ashamed.

Continue reading