Friday, July 15, 2011

Cheap Eats >> Mujadarrah

First off, I'd like to appologize for the un-appealing photo.
That is because Mujadarrah simply isn't a 'visually stunning' dish.

Second of all, I'd like to introduce you to a new series:
Cheap Eats.

If you are like me and have a growing family who has to live (much less, eat,) on a budget, then this series is for you.  And, if you are like me, and don't mind trying new recipes, then join me on this culinary adventure. 

I have found that the first way to cut dinner costs is to decrease the amount of meat in the dish.  There are two ways to do this:  a.) Use half as much meat and substitute with more vegetables in the side dishes, or b.) Serve a protein-balanced all-in-one vegetarian main dish.

So here is a main dish which qualifies for the "b." option.  While my family would resist going completely vegetarian, so far they haven't squalked at one or two meatless meals a week.  It sure helps, too, to have fresh veggies in the garden--can't wait 'till the corn comes off and we can make our dinner be just corn-on-the-cob.  My family is quite vocal in telling me if things aren't good, so all recipes are 'husband tested, kid-approved'. 

or, Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Ready in:  50 minutes
Serves:  4 (but it easily fed my hungry family of 6, with leftovers for about 2--how's that for cheap?!)

6  Tablespoons  Olive Oil
2  medium White Onions (sweet preferred), sliced into rings
1 1/3  Cups  uncooked Lentils
3/4  Cup  uncooked White Rice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4  Cup  Sour Cream or Plan Yogurt, optional

Place Lentils in a medium saucepan with enough lightly salted water to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes.  Check the water level occasionally, adding more as needed to keep Lentils covered.

Heat the Olive Oil (start with 4 Tablespoons, adding more as needed) in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Stir in the Onions and cook about 15 minutes, until browned and starting to crisp.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Stir Rice and more water (enough to cover) into the saucepan with the Lentils.  Season with Salt and Pepper.  Bring to a boil, cover saucepan, and reduce heat.  Continue to simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until Rice and Lentils are tender.

Mix half the Onions into the Lentil and Rice mixture.  Top with Sour Cream or Yogurt and remaining Onions.  Simple and satisfying.

Now, if you like options, I thought this would be really good wrapped in a tortilla with some Lettuce and Salsa.  Maybe that's how we'll make those leftovers-for-two feed six for lunch tomorrow!

***My family likes more browned and crispy Onions than this calls for; I like to use 2 very large Onions.***


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to this series! I am always looking for new ideas that don't break the grocery budget!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try this one - my husband can't eat a lot of meat, so I'm always looking for good, easy vegetarian recipes to try out for him :) This one is cheap too, so even more of a winner in my book! Love reading your blog, thanks for all the great recipes :)

Beth said...

Looks like a great variation on Lentil rice casserole - I made it the other week and forgot the salt - blah! At least it's easily added =)

Have you ever tried the black beans and rice in the Sue Gregg Main Dishes? I wasn't sure about the hard boiled egg addition, - but my family LOVED it. It's even more visually appealing. Also, we had the leftovers on a bed of lettuce cool for a hearty salad supper. 2 meals out of about 2$! woohoo. Happy cooking!

Carolyn said...

@Beth~ No, I haven't tried that one; I lent out that cookbook and haven't got it back. Will have to look into it!