Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 13, Low-Cost Mexi Meal (93...Free!)

In the beginning, 'LilDude's gluten/casein intolerance appeared to make our food budget go up because we were paying for specialized flours, mixes, etc. that were new to us. Over time, however, we realized that we were also giving up "convenience foods" that, while momentarily easier to cook with, were sometimes expensive and low in nutritional value. I could no longer make enchiladas with canned cream of chicken soup. Forget the boxed mac-n-cheese. No more 3-cheese lasagnas. Sound tough? Well, actually it hasn't been nearly as hard as I anticipated.

We quickly discovered that dishes from other countries were often naturally gf/cf...Thai noodles, Korean Bee-bim-bop, stirfry, and even Mexican food. While Mexican food often uses cheese, it easily becomes an option that can be omitted in individual portions or the entire dish if necessary.

An inexpensive meal that our family enjoys is tacos. I use one pound of ground beef, seasoned with chili powder, and then add a full can of refried beans, mix, heat, and serve. Each person adds his/her choice of toppings: shredded lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, salsa. Those without casein issues add cheese or sour creme.

I add a side dish of "Rice Guiso" from the More With Less Cookbook. (Now do you believe me when I say I use this cookbook a LOT??!!) ;)

Rice Guiso (my version, original recipe in More With Less)
Serves 3-4

Heat in heavy saucepan or covered skillet:

1 T. oil

some chopped onion
some chopped green or red pepper
1 c. rice
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Saute briefly. Add:

1 3/4 c. water
2 T. tomato paste

Cover, lower heat, and cook very slowly about 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

You have to avoid peeking so the steam doesn't escape...but you also have to be careful that it doesn't stick. It might take a little experimenting.

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