Budget Meal #3: Mediterranean

I’ve got an eggplant and feta, two things that don’t normally show up in my grocery cart, so I’m going Mediterranean!

I’m going to make the following recipes:

Rice and Beans

Adapted from Low Budget Vegetarian

  • 1 c Israeli Couscous
  • 1-1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pat butter (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can garbanzo beans, drained

Cook the couscous as usual, or use leftover rice.

While the couscous is cooking, heat the oil (and butter) in a skillet on a medium flame. When the butter is thoroughly melted, add the cumin seeds. Wait about a minute, add the garlic, and let cook until the garlic starts to brown. Add onion, stir and cook until onion starts to turn transparent. Add the zucchini and spices, stir, and cook until zucchini is desired softness.

Add diced tomatoes and the beans, stir, and heat until thoroughly hot. Stir in the cooked couscous and cook for 3-5 minutes to blend flavors.

You can serve immediately, or keep in a covered dish in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

Adapted from EatingWell.com

(I’ll be using this as a sandwich spread)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
  3. Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, basil, parsley, cayenne and salt. Taste and add sugar if needed.

Panera-esque Mediterranean Veggie Sandwiches

Adapted from Greek.Food.Com

INGREDIENTS

2 slices whole wheat bread (or whatever flavor you prefer)
2 tablespoons Roasted Eggplant & Feta Spread (see above)
6 slices cucumbers (skin on)
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into strips
2 slices red onions (optional)
2 slices tomatoes

PREPARATION

  1. Wash and dry spinach and set aside.
  2. Spread each slice of bread with Roasted Eggplant & Feta Spread.
  3. Lay spinach on one slice of bread.
  4. Top with cucumbers, spinach, roasted pepper, onion (if using) and tomato.
  5. Top with other slice of bread.

The only ingredient I don’t already have is spinach. I’ll pick some up at Costco for $3.49, leaving me with $31.51 of my $35 food budget. But it will also buy me enough spinach to be able to use it for other meals!
Read more at: http://greek.food.com/recipe/mediterranean-veggie-sandwich-415493?oc=linkback

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2 thoughts on “Budget Meal #3: Mediterranean

  1. This meal sounds amazing!! I love reading about your meals, they are so creative and interesting- seems like dinner is never boring at your house! I definitely want to try that Mediterranean version of “rice and beans” 🙂

    • Thanks, Clara!

      We have our share of “boring” meals, but I try to expand our horizons, and tastebuds, on a regular basis. I’ve got a few more budget meals this week that I’ve scheduled for the blog, so check back!

      ~ Katie

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