Thursday, May 15, 2014

Add Some Spice with Chorizo--weekly specials with Mary Anne

Aldi has strawberries for 99 cents a pound! Also seedless watermelons for $3.89 each. Iceberg lettuce is 69 cents a head. Tomatoes on the vine are 99 cents for a 24-ounce box, or 67 cents a pound. Frozen broccoli cuts are 89 cents for a 1-pound bag. They have a good deal on meat, too, this week, for a change. A 5-pound chub of regular (73% lean) ground beef is $10.99, or $2.20 a pound. These prices are good through Wednesday, May 24.

IGA has fryer wings for $1.39 a pound. Pork chorizo and beef chorizo are both 99 cents for a 10-ounce chub. That’s Mexican chorizo, which is raw, not Spanish or Portuguese chorizo, which is a hard sausage like salami or pepperoni. Smoked sausage and Polish sausage are both 99 cents for a 9-ounce package, or $1.76 a pound. Roma tomatoes are 99 cents a pound. Three 8-ounce packs of shredded cheese are $5.00, or $1.67 each. Six ears of corn on the cob are $2.00, or 33 cents an ear. Barbeque sauce is 99 cents for 18 ounces. Spicy mustard is 99 cents for 12 ounces.

Chorizo, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. If that doesn’t just scream TACO SALAD I don’t know what does! The problem with chorizo, though – not that I’ve tried this particular brand, but other brands – is that it really cooks down a lot. All the recipes I’ve seen for making chorizo call for adding water to the meat and spices, and that may be what cooks out. At any rate, I find that you don’t end up with as much as you thought you would. Be sure to save the drippings and use them for cooking eggs. This is going to be just about the easiest taco salad ever. Just cook the meat and assemble your salad. No need to even season the meat, since you’re using chorizo.

The whole batch costs just under $5.75, or $1.45 per person if you make it into four servings. Let’s call it $1.50 for four servings, $1.00 for six. Or you could cut the cheese back to a cup (a fourth of a cup per person) and the sour cream back to half a cup (two tablespoons per person) and leave it at four servings for just under $5.00 and add a pound of strawberries for dessert. Me, I’d rather have more cheese and sour cream, but suit yourself. If you cut the corn from a couple of ears and added them to the salads, they’d definitely serve six, and you could leave the cheese and sour cream and still have strawberries for dessert.

I’m sure anyone who knows anything about Mexican food (or anyone from Mexico or the Southwest) would disagree, but it seems to me that chorizo turns up most often in CHORIZO AND EGGS. In fact, I just did a google search and came up with about 1,760,000 hits! This is how I make it.

Assuming $1.69 a dozen for eggs (have you noticed how the price keeps jumping around?) and using whipping cream (though you could use half and half or even milk), this will cost about $2.95. You could stop here and have this for breakfast, but it’s probably not enough for supper.

Let’s start with the $2.95 for the Chorizo and Eggs, and add a salad/dessert of half a pineapple and half a pound of strawberries. The fruit comes to another $1.25, for a total so far of $4.20. At this point it would be a good brunch.

There are lots of things you can do to make it a supper meal. You could add a salad of lettuce and tomatoes and dressing. You could top the eggs with some chopped tomatoes. Or salsa, though it’s a shame to use jarred salsa when the tomatoes are so cheap. You could make your own salsa. You could add some shredded cheese. You could make breakfast burritos if you wanted to include tortillas, though technically they’re bread so I can’t include them in my menus. At less than 60 cents for a generous serving of meat and eggs, there are lots of things you could add and still keep it under $1.50 per person.

Taco salad and chorizo with eggs are pretty much no brainers. You might not have thought of them immediately, but it probably didn’t take much to make you think of them on your own.  NEW WORLD PUMPKIN AND CHORIZO SOUP is a bit different, and it may not be something you’re familiar with.

I come up with a total cost of about $3.30 for this, but that’s estimating the cost of the cilantro. Aldi had packages of it when I was there yesterday, but I didn’t bother to check the price. Two ounces of cilantro is equal to one and a half cups, and the packages were three ounces, so that should be about two and a quarter cups. Let’s call it two cups, and we only need half a cup, or about a fourth of a package. I doubt that the packages cost more than $2.00, so 50 cents should be plenty. This makes about six cups if you use all of the broth, or four servings at 85 cents each. It’s a filling soup, but you’ll need something to go with it.

How about a tomato and cucumber salad to go with it? The soup and salad comes to $5.15, which leaves 85 cents, which is enough for half a pineapple. Or, instead of the tomato and cucumber salad, you could have a salad of lettuce, tomato, and fresh corn. You could add a few other veggies, too, if you wanted, but you wouldn’t be able to have the fruit.

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