Saturday, June 14, 2014

dollar store dal :: $25 vegan dollar store challenge part 2, update

vegan dal
Dollar Store Dal
Apologies again for my absence. F-stop has been home for 3 weeks now [yay!] after 6 weeks in the hospital, but he's still on the mend. When your honey isn't feeling well, you don't much feel like cooking or blogging. But happily, F-stop getting better, slowly but surely, save for some occasional setbacks.

Today, I needed a little blog therapy. And it's high time I give you an update on my $25 vegan dollar store challenge part 2. [See my haul and read about the concept here.] Half the dollar store provisions are still lounging in my pantry; I haven't been cooking much since F-stop's been sick [salads, soups and leftovers have been my mainstays] Here's what I used up so far, and how.

I used 1/2 bag of lentils, the spinach and carrots, and some brown rice to make what I've named Dollar Store Dal, a one-pot wonder that so yummy and easy. It also freezes well. [Pictured above. Recipe is at end of the post]

Dollar Store-based marinara sauce
I threw together some homemade marinara sauce using the Family Dollar tomato sauce as a base. I basically just "doctored it up," first sauteing loads of garlic, minced onion and hot pepper flakes in oil, then adding the sauce, some veggie broth, Italian seasoning and a few baby carrots. I let this cook down a few times on low, over the course of several hours, adding more broth as needed. I must say that the Family Dollar brand sauce is a tad salty, though.

Tex-Mex Casserole from the Oh, She Glows Cookbook

I used some brown rice, a can of beans, the hot chiles, corn, some of the Italian seasoning [yeah, I "fusionized" it], a few handfuls of corn chips, and the salsa to make the Tex-Mex Casserole from the Oh, She Glows Cookbook [Review and giveaway coming soon]. One thing about Dollar Store cooking or cooking in general: don't be afraid to substitute. Angela called for fresh hot chiles and green peppers in this recipe, for example, and I used the canned. And of course, I used Italian Seasoning in a Mex-centric dish with good success.

The gingersnaps and the rest of the corn chips? Well, I just munched on those as snacks. Long gone!

The use-up tally so far:
  • 1 container Quick Oats
  • 1 small box raisins
  • 1 bag brown rice
  • 1 bag slices almonds
  • 1 bag dried lentils
  • 1 bag dried navy beans
  • 1 can Family Dollar tomato sauce 
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small container Italian seasoning
  • 1 small can hot chiles [jalapeƱos]
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can sliced carrots
  • 2 small cans mushrooms
  • 1 can sauerkraut
  • 1 bag nachos
  • 1 can spinach
  • 1 bag gingersnaps

Here's the easy, tasty recipe for Indian-Inspired Dollar Store Dal. Remember, you can always substitute fresh veggies. If using canned, please only buy preservative-free, check the sodium levels, and rinse well if they are salted. The point of the challenge was to show that, when you are faced with an extreme budget situation, you can still eat relatively healthily.

Dollar Store Dal
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
Up to 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes, to taste
1 T oil [eg, coconut, olive]
1 tsp garam masala
1 15. oz can chopped carrots [or 2 large carrots, diced]
1 15 oz. can chopped spinach [or 1 pound, fresh, chopped finely]
1 cup lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth or water
Optional additions: stir in fresh cilantro when finished. Add or substitute other vegetables [eg, peas, edamame, corn, crumbled broccoli or cauliflower]

Makes 6 servings. Serve over brown rice

Ina large casserole, heat oil over medium. add garlic, onion, ginger and red pepper flakes and cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garam masala, stir well, and cook another minute.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes


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5 comments:

Andrea said...

You've really shown us how much milage we can get from inexpensive dollar store purchases. Today, as we were driving home from Costco, I spied a Dollar store out the window and thought of you. I really need to go see what's available in our local store.

Hope F-stop continues to improve steadily.

Tina Muir said...

Whoa! This is amazing, truly shows how far we can stretch our money if we put our mind to it and use creativity! Great job Dynise!

GlutenFreeHappyTummy said...

WOW!! kudos to you, that's impressive...and delicious too!

Joey said...

Good news about F-stop, hope things are uphill from here. The challenge looks like it's going great too - necessity is definitely the mother of invention when it comes to food. There's so many times when I think I'll just pop down the shop to get some forgotten ingredient to make the perfect version of whatever it is, when I'd be way better of just using up what I've got.

Joey said...

Good news about F-stop, hope things are uphill from here. The challenge looks like it's going great too - necessity is definitely the mother of invention when it comes to food. There's so many times when I think I'll just pop down the shop to get some forgotten ingredient to make the perfect version of whatever it is, when I'd be way better of just using up what I've got.