Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cheap Bastid's School, Slaw & Sliders

Once again, Cheap Bastid got either too hungry or too spontaneous and I didn’t take out my trusty digital camera often enough.

But I’ve been thinking about good, cheap food a lot (or is that cheap, good food?) because I like to eat. For some reason lately I’ve been on a cole slaw kick. (OK, I already know that another Foodie Tuesday poster did cole slaw this week but mine’s simpler and doesn’t use mayo which can be an advantage for a picnic).

When it’s hot (like it has been around here for the last couple of weeks—try several days in a row of 95-100 in an apartment with no A/C) a bowl of slaw can be a welcome treat. The bite of the cabbage combined with whatever other ingredients you put in it can wake up your mouth and help cool you off for a bit. And cabbage is inexpensive $.49 a lb at Frasiers where I go for produce. With just the 2 of us I find that half a head is the right amount and will make a couple of bowls of slaw.

So here’s my take on slaw (and it only takes about 5 minutes to make):
Cheap Bastid’s Southern Slaw (for 2)
¼ head of cabbage (more or less—about 3-4 cups)
Red onion (about 1/3 cup)
Juice from 2 small limes (to taste)
Salt & pepper
And, your choice:
1 roma tomato or tomato and ½ cup cucumber or 1 granny smith apple

Chop the cabbage (it doesn’t matter if you cut it in strips or chop it—whichever you prefer just cut everything the same general shape and size). Cut up the onion and whatever other ingredients you’re using (tomato, cuke or apple). Put them all into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar (about a teaspoon of sugar). TASTE IT! Then adjust the seasoning if needed.

This tastes great with its touch of sweet and sour plus just a hint of pepper bite. It’s refreshing and goes great with pretty much any meal. And, even better, it’s cheap!


Now let’s turn our attention to Sliders. It seems as though every fast food joint on the planet has jumped on the slider bandwagon. Midwesterners have been doing sliders forever! It’s the perfect size for a pot luck when you want to offer sloppy joes or MaidRites but want it sized so that people can eat them one-handed while balancing a plate. I used to be able to buy “mini-buns” at HyVee in Iowa but can’t find them in SoCal. But I’ve found that good old fashioned dinner rolls work just fine—and I can pick up a dozen at the dollar store for a buck (no need to spend $2-$2.50 on ‘em for crying out loud.
I cooked sliders on the grill last night. It’s simple. I usually make about a 6 oz. burger patty each. So, I made 3 small, thin hamburger patties each. One advantage is that they only took about half the time to cook. And I convinced Carolyn that it would actually seem like we were eating less and we would actually eat a bit more lettuce and tomato than usual (healthier!). That’s a hell of a rationale for trying the same old thing just a bit differently isn’t it?

Anyway, I did come up with one advantage. Usually with a nice thick burger, the meat dominates and it’s messy. These are smaller and less mess (think school night dinner!). Even better is that the flavor was a lot more balanced. With each bite I could taste meat, lettuce, tomato, melted cheese, a bit of onion, and a hint of mustard. MORE FLAVOR!

Give it a try, and maybe you can cut it back to 2 sliders for a total of about 4 ounces of beef and both save money and calories! It’s a great school night meal and can be done on the grill or on the stove really quickly.

So, that’s the Cheap Bastid story for this week. Next week I’m going to start with some school night recipes. Just because the kids are back in school, you’re working all day, etc. doesn’t mean that you can’t cook a good, cheap, nutritious meal in less than a half hour and sit down to eat as a family!

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way. Eat Good! Eat Cheap! Be Grateful!

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