Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mushroom Cream Soup - Vegan Recipe Video

Fungus shouldn't taste this good. Almond milk and caramelized mushroom blend together perfectly. My rich and earthy Mushroom Cream Soup is meant to be shared on a cold wintry day.

I often find four ounce packages of brown crimini and portabella, along with regular white button mushrooms, at my local 99c only Stores, here in Los Angeles. Sorry to rub it in, but mushrooms are expensive, except in my Cheap$kate Chateau.

Click on any photo to see larger.

The rest of the ingredients are cheap enough. I saute onion along with the  mushrooms, and sweeten the soup with white wine and almond milk.

You can keep this recipe vegan by substituting cream with almond, cashew or soy milk. I'm not up on all the milk alternatives, so use what you like. 

I add a couple cups of water to the soup, but you can use a favorite broth for an extra flavorful soup.

Can you keep it low calorie and leave out the rich cream? Hell yeah, it's just as tasty without cream.

But if you are feeling extravagant, and making this for a special occasion, like trying to impress a date, then go all the way...with extra cream!

Mushroom Cream Soup - VIDEO 

Play it here, video runs 3 minutes 14 seconds

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (about 4-6 servings)
3 packages of mushrooms - I got 4 to 5 ounce packages of each: crimini, white button and portabella mushroom. Okay to use one type of mushroom, or any you can find on sale.
1 onion chopped - I used a cheap yellow onion. If you don't like onion then leave it out.
1 cup white wine - optional. If you leave it out then just use broth or water instead.
2 cup almond milk - use any favorite milk substitute.
1 cup water - or a favorite vegetable broth.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil - to saute onion and mushrooms.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Please note that I cooked this soup recipe in a large pot. If you use a standard smaller pot then cooking time for mushrooms may take longer than 5 minutes, more like 10 minutes. Mainly, just cook veggies until soft.

Chop one whole onion. Saute in pot with tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook and stir onions until soft, about 5-10 minutes. You want onions to caramelize just a little to sweeten and lose that raw onion texture and flavor.

Clean mushrooms if needed. (Wipe off dirt with a soft brush or napkin.)

For crimini or white button mushroom roughly slice. Okay to use pre-sliced mushrooms.

For larger portabella mushrooms whip off any dirt. Once the portabella mushrooms are cleaned, slice them up. Doesn't matter how small the pieces, as they will end up in a blender or food processor.

Once onions are softened stir in the mushrooms. Cook them another 5 minutes until mushroom pieces are soft. May take longer to soften if you use a small pot - the more pan surface area the quicker everything cooks through.

Salt and pepper to taste any time during sauteing.

Mushrooms and onions will reduce in size considerably. Again if you use a small pot the mushroom may take 10 minutes to soften.

Pour in about a cup or white wine. 

Finally, add 1 cup of water or a favorite broth. Mix liquid well. Bring soup up to a low simmer and cover the pot.

Simmer for about 15 minutes. You just want to finish cooking the mushrooms and onions until extra soft.

Now you are ready to finish up the Mushroom Cream Soup. Allow the soup to cool down, so you can add it to a blender or food processor. Blending with too hot liquid is asking for trouble. Let the soup cool down for at least 5-10 minutes.

Add soup to a blender and pulse/blend until smooth. It goes pretty quickly. I blended all my soup in about a minute. Okay to work in batches. I blended my soup in two batches.

Lastly, add blended soup to a pot. Stir in 2 cups of almond milk. You can use any favorite vegan milk substitute, since now all you are doing is a final soup warming up.

Heat Mushroom Cream Soup until hot, about 5 minutes - that's it.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dos Amigos Tamales - Deal of the Day Review

Plump and pungent in a small package, my latest Latin-style Deal of the Day is worth a second bite.

I unearthed tamales by Dos Amigos from the frozen deli case at my local Dollar Tree. You get two for a buck. Right off the bat, not a bad deal. The tamales are wrapped in corn husks, Mexican-style.

You have to read the fine print under Ingredients on the front of the package to discover if the tamales are cheese, veggie, fruit or meat filled. The tamales I purchased are made with pork.

The cooked pork is halfway between ground and shredded, and you get a good amount. Often tamales are skimpy with the meat, not so here. The pork is steeped in zesty chili pepper spices.

The spice mix is well balanced with a slight tongue-tingling heat that slowly builds. The overall flavor is similar to enchilada sauce, what one would expect. I was not disappointed.

I microwaved these suckers like the label says. Since tamales are normally steamed, I made sure to wrap them in a damp paper towel to keep moist during defrosting.

It only took a couple of minutes for tamales to reach steaming hot.

tamale rises or falls based on the corn husk-covered steamed masa. And masa can be too dry and crumbly, like eating sawdust, at it's worst.

The ground corn masa coating did not dry out like I expected. While not as moist as the best tamales you would get at a Mexican bakery or grocery, these retained a soft texture, but there were a few dry flaky spots. Next time I would steam these tamales, instead of microwaving. But overall not a bad texture.

The corn masa was not gritty and the flavor was mild to contrast with the intense chili spices in the pork filling. Overall a nice balance of corn and pork flavors.

The two tamales are small, just short of four inches in length, but you get two fat ones for a buck, so no complaints here.

I also like that the ingredient list is short. They seem a little on the oily side, so not a low-calorie meal. But it's a small amount overall, in a  plump package.

So, on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being perfection, I give Dos Amigos tamales a tasty 6!

I can recommend my latest Deal of the Day from the Dollar Tree. While they won't replace tamales you get from the neighborhood street vendor, they're enough to temporally satisfy an attack of tamale-fever.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Best Chicken Salad Recipe - Video

I love Chicken Salad as much as Tuna Salad. It's a milder taste compared to tuna, so the crunchy veggies and mayo/mustard come forward in flavor. My Chicken Salad recipe video will have coming back for seconds and thirds once you've had your first bite.

The ingredient list is small. I like a little fine chopped onion and celery for crunch. And those veggies are about the lest expensive ones you can find at any grocery store.

I also include a tablespoon of pickle relish. You can add more or less veggies to suit your taste. You can even leave out the veggies for a more meaty salad.

I add a little mustard with a lot of mayo for extra creamy Chicken Salad. Again, you can adjust the balance to please yourself and the family. If you don't like mustard then leave it out. Some recipes call for the herb Dill. Again, use it if you like it, or forget about it.

All the ingredients come cheaply these days. I get dark chicken leg quarters for way less than a dollar per pound and white meat for around 99 cents per pound from Superior, my local Latin market. Dark meat is harder to filet than white meat, but after you've done it a few times it does get easier

I lightly boil or poach the chicken pieces so they stay moist. You can use any chicken you have on hand, either fresh-baked or sauteed, too. I've used leftover roasted whole chicken from the deli case of my local grocery chain store when it's on sale, usually at the end of the work week. Leave out the skin and bones.

Poaching Video

I always can find mayo on sale at my 99c only Stores. And onion and celery are some of the least expensive veggies around.

Chicken Salad is versatile recipe that's delish between 2 slices of bread, or as an appetizer and spread on any favorite cracker. Put a big scoop on you favorite green garden salad for extra flavor and heft.

So get out the leftover cooked poultry and mix up my latest video recipe of Chicken Salad.
Chicken Salad - Video

Play it here. Video runs 1 minutes, 38 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

  • 1/2 chicken breast - cooked and cubed. About 2 cups. Okay to use dark meat leg quarter (leg plus thigh.) Use leftover cooked turkey during Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion - okay to add more or less to taste. I fine chopped 1/4 of a white onion. You can use any type of onion including red and green onion.
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery - okay to add more or less to taste. I used one celery rib.
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish - optional.
  • 1 teaspoon mustard - or Dijon mustard. I've made this salad without mustard.
  • 3 tablespoons mayo - any favorite light or whole mayo. Again add a tablespoon at a time to reach your preferred creaminess.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dill - herb can be dried or fresh. Optional ingredient.

Use boneless and skinless cooked chicken. I used leftover breast meat from a roast chicken.

You can boil/simmer chicken pieces about a half hour in seasoned water. Or, saute chicken in a little oil. Just make sure chicken is cooked all the way through - no pink or red juices.

While chicken cooks you can chop celery and onion. I like onion in salads (tuna, chicken, turkey, egg) fine chopped. For celery, I like pieces a little larger. Okay to chop veggies anyway you like.

Now time to bring it all together. Add chicken and chopped veggies to a bowl.

Mix in a tablespoon of pickle relish. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the herb Dill (optional.)

Stir in a tablespoon of mayo at a  time to reach your desired creaminess. I mixed in about 3 tablespoons. Add teaspoon of mustard. Okay to add or subtract amounts of mayo and mustard.

Finally salt and pepper to taste. Store Chicken Salad in the refrigerator. If you wait a couple of hours before serving, then all the ingredients will have time to meld and become more intense.

I like to scoop my Chicken Salad onto a toasted onion bagel. You can serve Chicken Salad with crackers as an appetizer. Add a scoop of Chicken Salad to your fave salad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Best Easter Egg Recipes - Leftovers Series

For some, it's all about eggs for Easter, and I have a basketful of recipes for leftover ovums the kids can't finish. So read on for using up eggs that are hard boiled, because there is no way youngsters can put away that many. And be sure to set aside a few raw eggs for some of my recipes listed below (click on any recipe name to see original blogpost.)

Eggs are still a great deal. Lately, I get my eggs from a local Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar for half a dozen medium eggs, and sometimes they even carry a dozen for a dollar.

The easiest leftover use of eggs is a simply delish Egg Salad. It's the quickest and easiest way to use up leftover boiled eggs.

Half a dozen cooked and peeled Easter eggs mixed with a little mayo and some chopped celery will yield a bowlful of creamy deliciousness that can go between 2 toasted slices of bread, as a topping for your favorite salad, or serve spread on your favorite crackers as appetizers.

Ingredients (about 3 sandwiches)
  • 6 eggs - I used small eggs. Boiled, peeled and chopped. about 2 cups total after chopped.
  • 1/4 cup mayo - I used light mayo. Okay to add more. Add an extra teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess. Large eggs will need more mayo.
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped - including leaves on the stalk -- if it comes with them. About 1/2 cup total after chopped.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Water to boil eggs.
*Many recipes call for mustard, I like it without. But you can add it - try a teaspoon Dijon or regular mustard. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder.

In a pot add eggs and cover with an inch of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Just when eggs start to boil, turn off the heat completely and cover the pot with a lid (or plate.) Let sit for 15 minutes. Eggs will continue to cook in the hot water. (Okay to use any favorite boiled egg recipe you may already have.)

Meanwhile chop one stalk of celery, including leaves. Chop finely.

After 15 minutes, remove eggs and rinse off in cold water, so you can peel them without burning your fingers. You can also let them sit in a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes for about 5 minutes.

Now time to bring it all together. Peel, discard shells, and chop the eggs. You can add them as you chop to a large bowl. I usually chop the eggs in half, then place them yolk side down on chopping board and finish slicing.

Add all the chopped eggs to a bowl. Mix in the chopped celery. Finally, scoop in 1/4 cup of mayo. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. Try out a small spoonful of Egg Salad. At this point you can add more mayo if you like, a teaspoon at a time to reach desired creaminess.

I find less mayo and mustard (optional) the better, as they easily overpower the mild egg flavor.

A scoop of Egg Salad goes well with your favorite vegetable salad. Egg Salad is a tasty party dip on your favorite chips or crunchy veggie slices. Also, try a spoonful on an avocado half. But I like an Egg Salad Sandwich the best.

This recipe is easy to double using a dozen eggs -- just add another 1/4 cup of mayo and another rib of chopped celery. Keep finished Egg Salad covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Another early recipe of mine is a silly Devilish Deviled Eggs I made one Halloween. Fun and tasty. Of course, leave out the spicy chili peppers for kid-friendly bites. And you can find all the yummy recipe details from my food blog by clicking on any recipe name.

For extra eggs you haven't boiled yet (or set aside,) there are a lot of my cheap$kate recipes to choose from, like a filling Pasta alla Carbonara with egg yolk and crumbled browned bacon over spaghetti; or a baked omelet-like Frittata with pasilla chili, chorizo, potato and cheese.

Scrambled eggs come in many variations. Jewish delis have a couple of good ones that I've adapted. I get corned beef on sale during St. Patric's Day, so it's only natural to have some of it sauteed with eggs (even better is pastrami made from corned beef - my recipe is here.

Small packages and cans of salmon come cheaply and I like to add it to my Jewish Breakfast Scramble. And add a dollop of cream cheese and you have a lighter substitution for Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel. Try it sometime, I know you will like it, too.

Booze and eggs go together, especially if you're making my Homemade Eggnog. This video recipe is one of my holiday favorites. You won't believe your eyes when you see my intoxicated antics after imbibing on one Eggnog too many. Be sure to watch this recipe video all the way to the end!

One of my earliest published recipes is also one of the quickest and easy to make: Scrambled Eggs and Sundried Tomatoes. I like to keep a jar of pungent dried tomatoes in herbs and oil in the refrigerator, right next to my carton of eggs. For a non-oil, lighter version, use plain dried tomatoes in a plastic pouch, too (this is what my wife uses.)

Eggs make a great binder for my sister Denise's Veggie Eggplant Burgers. (You should make sure to check out the video we made that features a wacky shopping spree in my local 99c only Store.) And you want to add a scrambled egg or two when you make my cheap$kate version of Chinese Fried Rice.

Ever make Crepes Suzette? There's not much to it really, just eggs, flour, milk and to quote Julia Child's nephew: "lots of butter." And who's that famed chef's nephew anyway?

Well, just watch the video to see this outrageous character shopping in the Hollywood Farmer's Market -- then moving on to the kitchen to show you how to make a tender and delicate pancake-like dessert, that's covered in a buttery orange sauce spiked with brandy!

 Do you have a package of frozen veggies in the freezer accumulating frost, and a crisper drawer full of veggies that are close to being thrown out? Well, just rinse off the frozen veggies and slice off the brown spots from the bell pepper and onion to make my colorful Veggie Frittata.

For this photo story recipe I ran out of eggs, but my neighbor Nuno was kind enough to lend me a few. (How's that for a cheap$kate move, free eggs!)

If you have a small patio garden then I have a couple of nutritious recipes to use the fresh-picked bounty. An easy veggie to grow is bright green Swiss Chard. Just saute it for a couple of minutes and add it to your favorite omelet recipe, my recipe is here.

Every time I change out the dirt from my teeny garden, seeds sprout willy-nilly. Often it's some kind of squash, that never bears fruit. Oh well, that's okay because the flowers make a great Squash Blossom Omelet.

I grew up in the South and was raised on Mexican food for a while. Almost everyone in Texas has tried Migas, which are tortilla pieces scrambled in eggs. And, you can't get simpler than having Refried Beans and Eggs. I didn't think I would like this meal at first, but learned that scrambled eggs elevate any humble ingredient!

Refried Pinto Beans & Scrambled Eggs

I get all types of Mexian chorizo at my local 99c only Store, including: beef, pork and soy (vegetarian.) Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo, mainly it's the texture. Spanish chorizo is hard like salami and Mexican chorizo is soft like ground meat. It's a pungent and flavorful protein that mixes well for Chorizo and Scrambled Eggs. And use it to stuff a Breakfast Taco or Breakfast Burrito.

Click to magnify.

Huevos Rancheros are the Eggs Benedict of Mexican cuisine. A corn tortilla with refried beans and a fried egg that's topped with crumbled queso fresco (cheese,) and your favorite salsa, is a decadent and filling way to start the day. Make a batch of this your family sometime, it's quite easy to do when you follow this cheap$kate's recipe.

You can top any of my Mexican breakfast entrees with a favorite jarred salsa or go here to see my list of Homemade Salsa Recipes, with links, that include:  Roasted Salsa Verde (tomatillo,) Red Chili (2 dried types - but same recipe,) Pico de Gallo and Mango.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Looking to impress an overnight guest, then serve her/him my recipe for Eggs Florentine for breakfast - you will definitely get an extra kiss. This creamy spinach and egg dish will keep any afterglow going. And if that doesn't work then I have a sensuous Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus.

I like a challenge. A favorite breakfast fast food is the classic Egg McMuffin. It's not as cheap as it used to be, so I figured out how to make my own cheaper version. And I share it with you in this homemade video recipe.

And for an extra hardy breakfast be sure to add my Old School Hash Browns to the menu.

If you are flush with cash and your ship has come in, then make like a bonus bloated Wall Street con artist and serve up my Billionaire's Crab Omelet. (I even give you a cheap$kate shortcut, just in case the stock market crashes, your government bailout  is rejected, and all your chips have been cashed in.)

And for my latest egg recipe video I made a classic French-style Cheese Omelette. What's the difference between it and the ones you get at a typical American diner? Well, it all about technique: mainly you just soft scramble the eggs in butter, add the cheese and gently roll the egg to close up the omelette.

Most American-style omelets are cooked dry, while a French omelette is slightly moist in the middle. It's a different way to cook an omelette that I've grown to like.

Eggs for dinner? Heck yeah, especially when pizza is on the menu. Break an egg on your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza during the last 10 minutes of oven baking. A mix of creamy yolk is a sumptuous topping, so be sure to try my Pizza with Egg recipe.

And finally if your looking for a bit of levity, well, I have an early morning fried egg comedy video to brighten your day, here.

Whew, that's a lot of egg recipes, I'm exhausted. You've just scrolled through 10 years of egg recipes from my food blog.

And if you want even more egg facts then click here to view a fun video.

Cooking with eggs is cheap. While not as inexpensive as they used to be, it's still affordable, especially when you use any of my creative and tasty recipes listed above.

Also, have a chocolaty Good Friday & Easter ;-p

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