I remember the days of being a single girl on her own, having her own place downtown and working like a dog in a restaurant, cooking, prepping, waitressing...you name it, to get the bills paid. I think i maybe had $20 a week to spend on groceries(thankfully soups, salads, and breads were free to employees at the restaurant!) Needless to say, I ate A LOT of ramen and popcorn! Once a week would try to make actual food though.
I used to "splurge" every now and then and make my own version of chicken (i'm about to butcher some spelling folks) caccatori, It was divine for the time being! I would get a cut up whole chicken, 2 jars of tomato pasta sauce, some pearl onions, carrots, mushrooms, and celery, some wine if i had it, and throw it all in a pot and let it simmer for a few hours on low and in the last half hour, throw in a cup of orzo(i was essentually trying to replicate a braised lamb dish i'd had at a greek restaurant in chicago, of lamb shanks braised in tomato sauce with rosa marina). It was the best thing ever! The chicken would be so juicy and fall off the bones, the veggies were rich and sweet, and, best of all, my belly would be full and i would be eating well the following 2 nights.
Anyone else have some favorite foods from the struggling young foodie days?