Nicci Morris

Frugal foodie-ing

In Food, Lifestyle, Recipes on August 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I’m frugal and unapologetic about it. I’ve never been one to buy expensive clothes, I shed a tear when Value City closed, and I don’t eat out much. Dining in is actually my favorite way to save money. I get frustrated when I go out to eat and end up paying way too much for food that I can make at home. And, more often than not, my version would taste better. Pennies in a jar

When it comes to food, I’ve become particularly penny-wise. You don’t have to spend half your paycheck at the grocery store to eat well. I buy store brands at the higher-end grocery stores and supplement that with fresh produce from discount grocery stores. I find that sticking with whole foods and avoiding processed, refined foods slashes your food bill. It’s a more healthful way to eat, too.

My motto? Keep it simple and delicious.

You do this by keeping the focus on big, bold flavors and fresh ingredients. Lemons, fresh garlic, fresh and dried herbs, good olive oil, salt and pepper are some key elements to great cooking. And when I do shell out a bit of money for an ingredient, that flavor is the star of the show. Quality cheese, for example, is absolutely worth the expense when I make Parmesan-crusted tofu (recipe follows) or my grown-up macaroni and cheese, tender pasta snuggled in Parmesan, Gruyère, fontina and white cheddar. (Look for that recipe when the weather turns cool in a few weeks…)


Parmesan-Crusted Tofu

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

4 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 ½ pounds tofu (frozen, thawed and drained)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line pan with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, lemon juice, onion, garlic, basil and lemon zest. Mix well and set aside. Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, to make “fillets.” Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Spread Parmesan cheese mixture on top of each fillet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. To finish, broil the fillets for 5 minutes or until the Parmesan topping is browned.


Photo by Simon Howden

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