'eat for eight bucks' on Serious Eats

Eat for Eight Bucks: Lemon Shrimp with Mustard-Herb Roasted Onions

This method for shrimp is inspired by Mark Bittman: cooking the shrimp fast in a hot oven. The flavor is inspired by Amanda Hesser, who zests citrus to flavor the quick-cooking shrimp. The onions are all mine: they're the cheapest accompaniment I could think of, and by flavoring them with pantry basics (mustard, dried herbs, and red pepper), you roast them into the perfect foil for the juicy, lemony shrimp. More

Eat For Eight Bucks: Crunchy Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Bacon

As spring approaches, I feel less hesitant about presenting a sandwich as dinner food. Me, I'm happy when two slices of bread protect just about any filling, but I'm also the type who's plenty satisfied with a $1.50 slice of pizza stuffed in my face on the street. In spring and summer, a sandwich is totally justifiable, easy to prepare, cool, and transportable for when the time comes to eat outdoors. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Coconut-Vegetable Rice Pilaf with Peppercorns

This rice pilaf gets much of its flavor from plain old pantry peppercorns, to the dismay of the rest of my stocked spice rack. By frying the whole peppercorns in oil at the beginning you extract much of their flavor; cooking them slowly with the rice mellows them enough to make them palatable. Vegetables, almonds, and fatty coconut milk add to the savoriness of the pilaf, but in large part the deliciousness of this hearty rice is owed to these peppercorns—which is good news for your wallet, no matter how stocked your spice rack is. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs with Potato Wedges

One of my favorite meals these days is a whole chicken roasted on top of potatoes. The chicken is flavorful with garlic, olive oil, and herbs. The potatoes are perhaps even better: they get seasoned with the chicken's juices, plus more olive oil and more herbs. But easy as it may be, roasting a whole chicken isn't that cheap, and it takes a while. So I've been experimenting with roasting chicken thighs and legs, and adding flavor even during a shorter cooking time. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Roasted Tomato Quesadillas with Cilantro Cream

Cheese is the obvious answer to what goes inside a quesadilla. Freshly roasted tomatoes are a little more counterintuitive, when we're talking cheap and when the season is winter. But pints of cherry tomatoes are relatively flavorful, even in January, and roasting them brings out all their sweet fruity tones—so much so that a bite into one of these quesadillas could almost transport you to summertime. A dollop of herbed sour cream on top brings all the flavors together and makes the presentation plenty attractive to serve to a guest. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Olive Oil Crepes with Leeks and Eggs

When I lived in France, my host mother used to heat up purchased buckwheat crepes with ham and eggs as a dinner last resort, when she was short on time and ingredients. Though she was a good cook, I liked that simple meal as much as anything else she made. You can in fact buy pre-made crepes over here, too, but frying the crepes yourself adds only a little in the way of time and really nothing in the way of ingredients. If your appetite is hardy, you can also crack two eggs over each crepe without straying from the eight-buck budget. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Sardine Linguine with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

Sardines seem to be having a moment in the sun. They're not just an easy-to-prepare bachelor food, they're also apparently a health food—just see Alton Brown. But I'm in it for the flavor. Gather a mess of Mediterranean ingredients and go to town. Chop up some pitted black olives, sweet and tangy sundried tomatoes, and fennel to complement the pungent fish. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Easy Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Red Cabbage Crunch and Avocado

I love soft tacos, at home and at restaurants. Since a taco's filling is infinitely variable, the choice lies in your hands to make them cheap or expensive. You could buy fresh fish, for example, but that would up the price a bit. You could also consider a wide range of potential garnishes, everything from salsa to shredded cheese to cilantro to black beans. On the other hand, if you're looking to save money, the trick is to minimize. Use a filling that's hearty but cheap, and practice rigid discipline with respect to your garnishes. More

Turkey Piccata

Those adhering to the eight buck budget can't necessarily afford the inflated air fare that turkey day travelers must endure in order to enjoy a table filled with family, and topped with a very big, very expensive bird. For these fellow quarter-lifers, or for those too lazy to brine and bake a whole bird, here is an everyday poultry solution: turkey piccata. More

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