Manic Monday!

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on May 11, 2009

in Guests for Dinner, PBE, vegetarian

I was thrilled on Saturday when I found a little orange slip in my mailbox saying that I had a package from one “Jess” and knew it was from See.Jess.Run! I went and waited in the line at the post office to pick it up and giggled, because the package was packed in a running shoe box! I loved it! Upon opening it, I found an ADORABLE card, and a jar of salsa, a bottle of barbecue sauce, and homemade cookies!! Thanks Jess!!

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When we were at the international market yesterday, I saw these cans of chickpeas on sale for $0.79 per can. I thought, “Hey, I can try to make falafel!” Most falafel recipes I’ve run across have been fairly unhealthy, full of added fats, oils, tons of tahini, and then of course, are deep fried. This is part of why good falafel is SO GOOD.

I did some research on what is in traditional falafel versus some other recipes, and I found a few common threads:

      • LOTS of chickpeas
      • An overload of spices
      • little to no liquid
      • some kind of added fat, whether its tahini, oil, or egg
      • did I mention a lot of spices?

So, being me, I made up my own recipe that came out ALMOST like falafel, but still a completely delicious meal. See if you can tell what’s different about tonight’s recipe?

DSCN2569 

Freakin’ Fabulous Falafel

Ingredients

2 cans chickpeas ($1.60), drained and rinsed

2 shallots ($0.50), cut into chunks

1/4 c. Panko bread crumbs ($0.50)

1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder ($0.10)

1 Tbsp. cumin ($0.15)

3 Tbsp. PB2 ($0.50)

Salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste

Directions

*this can be done in a food processor, but I used an immersion blender* Thoroughly puree the chickpeas with the shallots. Mix with spices, PB2, and s&p. Stir in panko. Form into 12 small patties, and cook in a lightly oiled hot skillet or bake in the oven at 375* for about 20 minutes until browned and heated through.  Approximately $0.30/per falafel.

Nutritionals per falafel: 65 calories, 1 gram fat, 2 g. fiber, 3 g. protein

Oh, and they’re Vegan!

I ate mine, obviously, with sliced tomatoes and pan-roasted broccoli. Such a great treat, and very very simple to make!

Did you notice what was different about the recipe? No? I think it was fairly obvious. See the little prices next to each ingredient? Yeah, I stole that from one of my very favorite blogs, Poor Girl Eats Well. Why, you ask? Well, the author of that blog, Kimberly is my Guest for Dinner tonight! I first heard of her blog on the Weight Watchers message boards, and quickly got obsessed. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, you have to. Seriously, go click, this post will be here when you get back. I’ll give you a minute…

I read Kimberly’s blog so regularly, and am often the first commenter on it, that when the Sacramento Bee newspaper contacted Kimberly to do an article, and asked if she had any regular readers, I was the person she thought of! I did the phone interview on Friday! Ok…enough adeiu… Kimberly, pull up a chair to my table, have a seat, and tell us about your meal!

I’m pretty giddy that Mara asked if I would work on a guest post for her.  Not only do I like the idea of writing for a different audience, I think it’s awesome of Mara to take the time to spotlight other awesome foodies out there.  Anyway, because my blog, Poor Girl Eats Well, focuses solely on eating really good food on a teeny tiny budget, Mara asked that I post one of my favorite budget dinners.  It was tough to choose, but one of my recent recipes, Herbed Chicken Crepes with Fresh Rosemary Cream Sauce ended up being the winner. 

How can this possibly be a budget meal, you may ask?  After all, crepes sound like they’re French restaurant fare.  But I refuse to let my miniscule budget force me to have average dinners, so by staying creative and making most of my meals from scratch, I am able to enjoy really delicious meals for a lot less than what one would end up paying at a restaurant.  If you’ve never made crepes, don’t be afraid; they are super simple!  And one final note: the crepe portion of this recipe is nice & basic, so you can definitely use it for the more traditional dessert-style crepes.  Hope you all enjoy this one!

Herbed Chicken Crepes with Fresh Rosemary Cream Sauce

by: Poor Girl Eats Well

(makes 6-8 crepes; total cost per crepe: ~$0.90!)

1/2 c all purpose flourrosemarychicken-1
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c nonfat milk
1 T butter, melted
1 T sugar
1/2 T butter for cooking

4 chicken thighs, cubed
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t rosemary
1/4 t thyme
1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T olive oil

1/2 c half & half
1 T butter
1/2 T fresh rosemary
1/2 T corn starch or flour, mixed in with a bit of water
Salt & pepper to taste

Season the cubed chicken thighs and heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and heat until just lightly golden brown. Add the chicken, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until thickest part of the cube is no longer pink on the inside. Remove from heat, keep covered, and set aside.

While chicken is cooking, combine the crepe ingredients into a bowl and mix together well with a wire whisk. The consistency of the batter will be runny at first and it should be – we are making crepes, not pancakes! However, it will thicken slowly (if it becomes too thick while you are cooking the crepes, add a splash or two of extra milk to thin it out). In a medium skillet, heat the 1/2 T butter and coat the entire pan with it. Using either a measuring cup or ladle with a spout, slowly pour some of the batter into the skillet until it covers the entire bottom. If you pour too fast, you’ll end up with a ton of splattered batter (hey, that rhymed) and very uneven-looking crepes. Cook over medium low heat until the edges become slightly dry, about 45 seconds. With a spatula, check to make sure the crepe is starting to turn a golden brown on the bottom. If so, it’s ready to flip onto the other side. Cook for about another 30 seconds or until the bottom side is golden brown. Transfer onto a plate and cover, so that the crepes stay moist and warm. Repeat the process until all the batter has been used.

Prepare the fresh rosemary cream after the crepes and chicken are completely cooked. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium low heat until melted and add the half & half, whisking to make sure the cream doesn’t burn. Next, add the fresh chopped rosemary and salt & pepper and whisk to mix. When the cream barely starts to boil around the edges, stir in the cornstarch (or flour) and water mixture and whisk briskly so that the sauce begins thicken. Cook for another minute or so, or until your sauce thickens well. Don’t worry if it’s a little runny at first; it will thicken after removing it from the heat.

Assemble your crepes by placing a spoonful or two or chicken (depending on how full you want your crepes) in the center of each crepe, drizzle a little bit of rosemary cream on the inside if you like, roll together, and place on a plate. Continue until all crepes have been assembled. Ladle a generous amount of the rosemary cream sauce on top of each serving, garnish with extra fresh rosemary sprigs, and enjoy!

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Those look fantastic… when are you coming to cook for me?? Thanks so much Kimberly!!

Now, I do have other fun news! In conjunction with Peanut Butter Boy, Foodaphilia, and Kitchen Courage, we are proud to bring the latest and greatest peanut butter competition right to your doorstep. Of course the real prizes are the wonderful recipes but we also have a prize package for the winner courtesy of Stonyfield Farm!

We’re having a barbecue – gonna fire up the ol’ grill, make some iced tea and go swimming in a sea of peanut butter. There’s sure to be plenty Peanut Butter Chili and Southern-Style Banana Pudding to go around, but how about a peanut butter salad dressing, peanut butter baked beans or even a peanut butter marinade? Any dish fit for an outdoor feast will suffice. So what are you going to bring? To enter, submit your best peanut butter (or other nut butter) recipe following the guidelines below. The deadline is June 8th @ Noon (EST) which gives you a full 4 weeks to brainstorm, develop and create the a peanut butter sensation! Stock up on peanut butter and get ready.

Judging Criteria:

Peanut Butter Weight, Creativity, Portability and Preparation Time.

Rules:

Post and submit your “Barbecue” recipe by the deadline – one entry per person so choose wisely. Pictures are highly recommended but not required. You may use any nut butter instead of peanut butter since nut butters are easily interchangeable. Please link to this page from the posted recipe to indicate that you are entering this contest. Feel free to use any of the logos, including the following, to link back:

Blogless? Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still submit your award-winning recipe. Fill out the same form but leave the “Recipe Permalink” field blank and feel free to attach a picture to go along with the recipe!

Submission:

Click here to submit your recipe online. Alternatively, email “pbe@peanutbutterboy.com” with “PBE #6″ as the subject and the following information:

Name
Email
Recipe Title
Recipe or Recipe Permalink

Prize:

All recipes will be listed but the judges will vote for the Top 3. All 3 winners receive a badge to place on their site. Courtesy of Stonyfield, the first place winner will receive a Stonyfield yogurt cookbook, a reusable Stonyfield shopping bag, 2 (16oz) containers and 4 (5.3oz) containers of Oikos greek yogurt and various other coupons. Good luck!

I’ll be putting a logo over in my right sidebar that will bring you to the recipe submission page, or you can follow the directions above.  Happy Peanut Butter cooking!!

With that, I’m spent… I think I’m going to make a Turtle Mountain coconut milk sundae with one of Jess’s cookies warmed up in it… mmm…

 

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick May 11, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Oooh, I like the look of those falafel. I’ve wanted to try my hand at those for a while. PB2, genius…

Nick´s last blog post..The Great Peanut Butter Exhibition #6 – Barbecue

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coco May 11, 2009 at 8:37 PM

I want those falafel…. it looks so crispy!
and nice contest, looking forward to read more about it! ;)

coco´s last blog post..New home!!! Be ready to see tons of pics! ^_^

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Sarah (Tales of Expansion) May 11, 2009 at 8:52 PM

your freakin fabulous falafels sound freakin fabulous. i love that you put pb2 in — i will have to try it!

and kimberly’s crepes look perfect, too — professional quality!

hope you’re enjoying your sundae, mmmmmm

Sarah (Tales of Expansion)´s last blog post..Caked

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Andrea@WellnessNotes May 11, 2009 at 9:58 PM

The falafels look sooo good. I can imagine what they taste like with the tomatoes and broccoli… Yum.

The crepes sound and look amazing. I think they’ll be a great “impress people” meal… :) (And I can’t believe how affordable they are!!!)

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Hallie May 11, 2009 at 11:42 PM

That falafel looks SO good. I might have to try this, lady…especially since I need to think of uses for my PB2! have a great night :-)

Hallie´s last blog post..Ugly Yet Delicious: Humamole

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eatingbender May 12, 2009 at 12:16 AM

There is just so much to comment on in this post. Love it!

1) I have always wanted to make my own “healthified” falafel. Yours looks amazing and I am definitely bookmarking this for future use.

2) I love the concept of Poor Girl’s blog and can’t believe those delectable crepes are only $.90 each! Definitely a fan :)

3) Yay for the PB Exhibition! I can’t wait to see all of those entries – they always look so good!

Have a lovely night, Mara!!

eatingbender´s last blog post..I Love You, Mom!

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laura May 12, 2009 at 12:22 AM

love the pb2 idea and adding up the cost, I may borrow that :)
I guess I’ll actually have to buy pb2 if I want to use it
is it worth it?

laura´s last blog post..Duckilings and Goslings Attacked by Eagles

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Pearl May 12, 2009 at 1:32 AM

Mara – your falafel looks great!

Pearl´s last blog post..MixMyGranola Review

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MizFit May 12, 2009 at 4:29 AM

wow.
So much to say and NOTHING TO SAY in that you Foodie Blogger Peeps are so much fun,
more fun than the (what am I? healthy living blogger?) Im not saying :)

MizFit´s last blog post..You’d be so pretty if…

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Jessica May 12, 2009 at 5:27 AM

I love the PB contest, sounds awesome.

I also love falafel, I’ve been meaning to make it at home and now may be the time!

Jessica´s last blog post..Cool Cucumber Wraps

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brandi May 12, 2009 at 8:07 AM

great falafel! I’ve made them once at home before and remember how good they were!

those crepes look good :)

brandi´s last blog post..Oh, How I Missed You

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Hangry Pants May 12, 2009 at 8:44 AM

I love falafel!! You can make that for me any time. My cheater fast version is just to put hummus in a pan and cook it!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 12, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Heather, that’s GENIUS! Does it work well?

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Jess May 12, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Glad the package arrived safely. I hope you enjoy it!

Your falafel looks amazing. Everytime I try to make something like that it falls apart in the skillet.

Jess´s last blog post..Strength-training: Looking Forward

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Danielle May 12, 2009 at 10:20 AM

What a fun package!
And oh my gosh those falafels look fabulous!
That guest post has me drooling what a fantastic meal.

Danielle´s last blog post..Reappearing Act

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Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well May 12, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Thanks for having me at your table, Mara! Glad everyone seems to like the crepes, too! I’m going to have to try your Freakin’ Fabulous Falafel too… that looks very PGEW-esque! :)

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well´s last blog post..Recipe: Black Bean, Shrimp & Corn Burritos

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Shannon (The Daily Balance) May 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

LOVE falafel — thanks so much for sharing! love that you put in PB2!

Shannon (The Daily Balance)´s last blog post..Try it – I tried Honest Foods – and you can too! (giveaway alert!)

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The Duo Dishes May 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Your crepes looks simply parfait! How did you manage to get such a good picture? We tried to take a picture of crepes once…it was best to just let that alone!

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Erin May 12, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Oh my, that crepe recipe looks devine. Abso-tutely. Wow.

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mi May 12, 2009 at 2:59 PM

great guest post, and those falafels loook SO GOOD! i have looked up PB2 countless times on the net to see if i can get any here…… apparently the shipping from the sellers to the UK is $40?!?!?! crazy!

the PB exhibition sounds like so much fun, i can’t wait to see all the entries!

mi´s last blog post..glowing dough balls

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Laurie May 12, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Mara! That’s not just any BBQ sauce…it’s special. :-)

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Quix May 13, 2009 at 5:22 PM

These both look great! Why oh why did I forget to bring a snack to work and then visit this blog… :)

Quix´s last blog post..Half Marathon Training, Between Week 6 and 7

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