A friend recently emailed me to ask for some inexpensive, but good recipes. I figured it was a great opportunity to post a few staple menus in our house. I am more of a "throw it together" cook than a "follow the recipe" cook, so please forgive me if these aren't specific enough.
1 large flour tortilla for each person
1 can refried beans - you should have left overs
diced onion maybe 1/4 an onion?
Diced green/red/yellow/jalapeno peppers - any, all, or none of these will work fine
diced tomato - canned petite diced work fine if you drain them
reduced fat or part-skim mozz. cheese
On each tortilla, spread about 1/4 cup refried beans on HALF the tortilla. Add more if you like. I usually add beans until there is a even, somewhat thick layer of beans on 1/2. Fold tortilla in half, covering the beans. Sprinkle cheese on the top. There should be enough cheese to give a nice layer, but not so much that you can't see the tortilla through the cheese. Top with diced peppers, diced onion, canned tomato. This really is to taste, so I can't offer suggestions here. You should have some of the peppers and onion left over for another Mexican pizza dinner later that week. You can either put the pizzas on a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 350* or until cheese is melted or you can put in the microwave individually for 1 minute at a time or until warm. Top with desired amount of salsa just prior to serving.
Split Pea Soup (crock pot recipe)
1 bag dried split peas
8 cups of water*
8 cubes beef or chicken boullion*
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or garlic powder to taste
2-3 tsp. marjoram or to taste
4-5 slices cooked bacon (you can use ham, too, but this is a good cost-efficient alternative)
1 onion, diced
carrots (I often use 1-2 cans, drained)
In a large crock pot, add water, bullion cubes, garlic or garlic powder, marjoram, and rinsed split peas. Cook on High. After a few hours (this time may depend on your crock pot), stir. The peas should at least have puffed up quite a bit. Add chopped or crumbled bacon. If you're using fresh carrots, add when you add the bacon. If you're using canned, hold off on adding the carrots. Start checking on the soup hourly or so, stirring when you do. The peas should start to disintegrate and the liquid will thicken. Once the peas have pretty much lost all form and the soup has thickened, turn the crock pot to low and add your canned carrots and onions. This should be about an hour or two before you will serve dinner as the onions need to flavor the soup. If you like a chunkier soup, add extra carrots or onion. The liquid will start to separate at the cooler temperature, but stirring will even things back out. Stir before serving. This is good with shredded cheese sprinkled on top and bread on the side. This soup should comfortably serve a family for at least 2 dinners.
*For a healthier, but slightly more expensive alternative, use chicken or beef stock without MSG in place of the water and boullion.
*If the soup is too thick for your liking, add warm water about 1/2 cup at a time to the entire batch. You may need to add extra boullion if you add a great deal of water.