Recipe: Eech (An Armenian Salad)

I make a lot of Armenian recipes at home.  While some are very labor intensive, others are really simple and use a lot of the ingredients on my list of pantry staples.  Lately I’ve been making Eech, a delicious Armenian salad that is usually served as an appetizer with pita bread.  It tastes like tabbouleh and uses most of the same ingredients but is less labor intensive.   This tasty vegetarian dish doesn’t require any cooking so during busy weeks or heat waves (like this week in NYC)  I know I can turn to this recipe.  I hope you will too!

Eech

1 cup of bulgur wheat (medium or fine blend)

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce

¼ cup of lemon juice (either 2 fresh lemons or RealLemon)

¼ cup of vegetable oil

1 small onion or half of a medium onion finely chopped

A handful of parsley, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.  Refrigerate 1-2 hours until bulgur expands (it will cook itself in the liquid).  Give it another mix before serving and serve with pita bread.  This pairs really well with hummus in a sandwich.

I’ve found myself making this on Sunday nights and letting it refrigerate overnight.  As far as entertaining, it’s a TOTAL crowdpleaser people will think you’re the greatest cook ever when all you’ve really done is put ingredients in a bowl.  My aunt takes this to people’s houses and it’s devoured in seconds.

Drop a comment if you decide to make this, I’d love to hear your raves!

One Package of Chicken, One Week of Meals

Hello everyone! It’s that time of the month, the last two days before my budget replenishes and I am running on fumes until payday. Which means I literally can’t spend one cent until Wednesday. On top of that, my pantry is running pretty bare of staples. Yesterday I had one package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts left in the freezer and was determined to make them work for dinners and lunches until at least Wednesday.

Lately I’ve been wondering if my recipes really fit in with my blogging, but Carly from (Re)Creating Carly had told me to “keep them coming!” Thanks for the feedback, Carly! And to everyone else, if you ever need a motherboard installed on your computer, then she’s your girl.

My findings in the pantry/’fridge/freezer revealed zucchini, arborio rice, brown rice, parsley, cilantro, frozen shrimp, frozen broccoli, half of a tomato. I started to dream up yummy concoctions in my head, google search my ingredients and came up with the following options:

  1. Saffron Risotto with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage
  2. Chicken dressed in Chimichurri Sauce with Brown Rice and Zucchini
  3. Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

Making bulk dishes that combine ingredients are a great way to stretch your food budget for the week and preparing multiple dishes will prevent boredom. I made a trip to the grocery store for pizza dough, cream cheese, one Italian sausage and sliced mozzarella cheese (sliced cheese at the deli counter is way cheaper than buying the shredded kind, I think it covers the pizza much better too). I spent a total of $10.

I started by cutting the chicken into one inch cubes and sauteing them in a fry pan Followed by the sausage. Then got started on the risotto.

If you’ve never made risotto before, it’s pretty easy. I get the Arborio rice from Trader Joe’s and prepare according to the package directions. You’ll have to keep a pot of heated broth on while you’re preparing. I used a bouillon cube to make the broth and then whatever was left over to prepare the brown rice for my chicken/chimicurri meal. I added onion and garlic at the bottom of the pot first. After adding the first laddle of broth I added the saffron to allow the color to diffuse throughout the cooking process. About half way through I added chopped tomatoes and then at the end added one quarter of the chicken, sausage and a handful of frozen shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are thawed.

I had left over broth so I added a cup of brown rice to the pot and left it alone until it cooked through. I cut my zucchini by halving first length wise and then width wise and then into half inch pieces. I threw them in another fry pan with a bit of olive oil. I then prepared my chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri is one of my favorite sauces. It’s typically used on steak but I put it on chicken, burgers, corn on the cob. I like this recipe found on Epicurious.

Before mixing the chicken with the chimichurri, I held out a handful of chicken which I will use to make my pizza tonight. The rest of the chicken was mixed with the tangy green sauce and served with rice and zucchini.

This evening, I will be making my pizza. I found a recipe for a really easy alfredo sauce using cream cheese right here. I’ll top the pizza with frozen broccoli and chicken and bake off this evening and enjoy some leftovers tomorrow!

What are some ways that you stretch your budget until the end of the week?

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