If I have a guilty-pleasure-trash-food-first-love-can’t-believe-I’m-admitting-this food, it’s tater tots. I own a deep fryer that has produced more tater tots than all other foods combined. I even created a Tater Tot Cone Holder for use at parties for my Tater Tot Bar with Accompanying Sauces.
We all have Ore-ida, the inventor of tater tots, to thank for the best of all bad foods. And although they make a fabulous version (it is the original after all) I tend to favor the Trader Tots from Trader Joe’s. Either way, turning them into The Best Veggie Patty Of All Times is a great idea. No meat eater on the planet will complain about this meatless burger.
Tater Tot Burger with Sriracha Sour Cream
Yield: 4 burgers
2 cups tater tots (thawed if frozen)
1 tsp onion powder
¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
2 tbs olive oil
sliced cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp sriracha
In a large bowl add the tater tots, eggs, onion powder, and breadcrumbs. Using a potato masher, mash and stir until well combined.
Form into 4 well compacted patties.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Gently place the patties in the skillet, allowing to brown before gently flipping.
Add the cheddar cheese and cook until melted.
Transfer to buns.
Mix together the sour cream and sriracha.
Top burgers with sriracha sour cream prior to serving.
I started this blog with the idea that I’d blog my dinner, which turned into cooking for the blog which turned into freelance work and somewhere around starting an LLC and registering trademarks I realized that I rarely or never blogged my dinner.
I did an interview recently and the interviewer asked for links to my "go to week night meal," and I was more than embarrassed to say that I’d never really blogged it. This is just one version of my 15 minute chicken that seems to make it into regular rotation.
I always use boneless skinless chicken thighs, the flavor is worlds above the chicken breast and it is almost impossible to dry out. I love to cook them in a cast iron skillet because of the awesome crust it gives the chicken. The sour cream version was a big hit, so I’m sure it will make it into my busy weeknight menu again.
Skillet Sour Cream Chicken
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs minced basil (about 3 large leaves)
2 tbs Dijon mustard
½ cup sour cream
1 tbs lemon juice (about ½ medium sized lemo)
1 tsp honey
1 tbs vinegar (apple cider or rice wine)
rice, pasta, potatoes or quinoa for serving
sprinkle the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet until hot and almost smoking.
Add the chicken thighs and sear on both sides until browned.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour over chicken. Lower heat to medium-low, cover loosely and allow to gently simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
I started a Cheap Eats section of my blog because I wanted dishes that were good enough for a dinner party, but didn’t cost a lot. It was a challenge to myself to create dishes that I’m so proud of I want to serve to company, but that will serve 4 people for less than $10. I don’t want to dump a bunch of pre-packaged food in a slow cooker, I want real food. These dishes aren’t necessarily quick, but they are low cost, easy and taste great. Hope you love them as much as I do.
I’m going through a hostess phase right now. I’m also going through a phase where I’m trying to spend less on groceries (my grocery store impulse buying was getting out of control) and these two phases are battling it out right now. I love having people over for dinner, and although I want to spend crazy amounts of money to "play" in the kitchen, that just doesn’t make sense for a freelancer. By the way, if you see me in the cheese aisle of Whole Foods, remind me that it is not a good idea to spend $45 on cheese when I don’t really have any cheese cookin' plans. Homemade tarts are a great way to bridge the gap between these two phases, they just feel special but can be really affordable (less than $5!).
If you haven’t made a tart crust from scratch, I promise that this is so easy you’ll be thrilled at your new found kitchen talent. You can even make it 3 days ahead of time, this dough stores really well (you can even freeze it in a zip lock bag for up to a month) and for just about $1 and 10 minutes of active time you just can’t go wrong.
I served this with a salad made of what I already had, similar to this one. If you want to add a little protein, serve this with grilled chicken or pan seared red snapper and you’ll probably still be under that $10 mark!
Rosemary Potato Tart (Serves 4 for $4.87)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour ($.25)
½ tsp salt ($0.01)
8 tbs of butter (for vegan use vegetable shortening), cold, cut into cubes ($0.80)
1/4 cup cold water ($0.00)
¼ cup vegetable oil, divided ($0.22)
1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes ($2.10)
1 tsp salt ($0.02)
1 tsp pepper ($0.02)
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced ($0.20)
3 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices ($1.25)
In a food processor, add 1 cup of flour (reserving the other ½ cup), salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter cubes (or shortening), process until combined. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour, process until well incorporated.
Transfer to a bowl, add the water and mix until combined. Dough will be very soft.
Form into a wide flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out on a lightly floured surface, transfer to a 9-inch tart pan (or pie pan) press into shape. Remove the excess. Chill until ready to use.
Add 2 tbs of vegetable oil to a pan over high heat. Once the pan is very hot but not smoking, add the tomatoes, toss until softened and blistered, about 5 minutes. Smash slightly with a wooden spoon or spatula, pour into the bottom of the tart in an even layer (this will act like a sauce).
Combine the salt, pepper and rosemary in a small bowl.
In a skillet over medium high heat, add the remaining oil. Working in batches, add potato slices to the pan, sprinkle with seasoning mixture and allow to cook until slightly browned, flip and sprinkle with more seasoning. Once the potatoes have browned lightly on both sides, add to the tart crust (over the tomatoes) in overlapping concentric circles. Repeat until all of the potato slices have been browned and added to the tart. This will give you two or three layers of potatoes depending on how tightly the potatoes are overlapped.
Bake at 350 until the crust is a light golden brown, 22-25 minutes.
I’ve made a decision. I am going to redefine the word "rich".
When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money, on our best months we lived pay check to pay check. I vividly remember standing in line at a Stater Brothers Market as my mother rapidly added the groceries in her head, factoring in coupons, putting back items and trying to feed ten mouths for the month with a thin envelope of cash. I remember thinking I would be rich if I could go to the grocery store and buy anything I wanted.
As I got older I though this was funny, how small my definition of rich was. But why not? Why is rich defined by excess, yachts and handbags that cost 10 grand? I’m going back to my 10 year old definition. We are rich. We have a refidgerator full of groceries, warm beds, we can turn on the heat and air on a whim, and our kids have several pairs of shoes. In many, many, parts of the world, that is rich. Who cares about billon dollar Hampton Hideaways, Rolls Royce and Hermes bags, we have well fed families!
So, in honor of our new found wealth, I have decided to start a Cheap Eats category as a way to expand the limited resource that is our grocery dollars. I’m in the process of making the switch from Director at my previous company, to freelance stay at home mom and I’ve had to adjust the budget, but I still want to eat great food. I don’t want to add two jars and some meat to a crock pot, I want to eat well, but I want it well priced.
Cheap Eats will be food that’ll be fancy enough for company, cheap enough for a budget, and include real-life ingredients with minimally processed foods. I hope you love these Rich People Dishes as much as I do, and never forget to be grateful for all that we have. Check us out, we 're rich!
Roasted Chicken, Green Beans and Potatoes Feeds 4 for $10
For The Chicken:
1 4.5 lb whole chicken
3 tbs softened butter
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
For The Potatoes:
1 lbs red potatoes (cut into quarters)
2 tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
For The Green Beans:
1 lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 tbs oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
In a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
Rub the chicken all over with the butter (under the skin as well as over).
Place chicken in a roasting rack inside a roasting pan.
Roast in a 425 oven for about 1 ½ or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
About 10 minutes before the chicken is finished, start the potatoes.
Add 2 tbs olive oil to cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking.
Add the potatoes, one of the cut sides down.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Push each piece of potato over, toggling it onto its un-browned cut side.
Cook for about one minute, remove from heat.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest.
Transfer the potatoes to the oven, reduce heat to 375, allow to cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes.
For the Green beans, heat a skillet over high heat with 1 tbs olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the green beans, toss until starting to blister. Add the balsamic and cook until the balsamic has reduced and the green beans have softened, add the pepper.
Once the chicken has rested (about 10 minutes) transfer to a cutting board and carve.
Note about the chicken: If you have never roasted a chicken, you should start. It’s fairly easy to buy a whole roasting chicken for about $1 to $2 a pound. They are cheap, healthy and easy. For a step by step on how to roast a chicken, check out my How To Roast A Chicken post.