Pizza Rustica | How to be Aweome on $20 a Day

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica | How to be Aweome on $20 a Day

At my job, I have earned an insanely undeserved reputation for being highly efficient and always up to date on procedures. People always seem to think I know what’s going and and what’s to be done about it. I don’t know where this delusion formed, but I can tell you, not only is it a lot of pressure, it’s mostly not true.

While I do strive to be well organised at work, in my real life, I am a master procrastinator. For example, it’s taken me a week to actually write this post. I can ignore dishes like a champ, and I’ll walk around with chipped nails for weeks. By far my greatest accomplishment in procrastination is my ability to avoid working out. Any excuse to not sweat, and I’m right on top of it. Yesterday I went to the dentist and couldn’t feel half my face for about four hours. My legs worked perfectly fine, but that didn’t stop me from sitting on the couch all night.

Pizza Rustica | How to be Aweome on $20 a Day

This Pizza Rustica takes a bit of time and effort up front to make. Nothing tricky, just a lot of steps. Make it on a lazy weekend, then when the week nights roll around and you don’t feel like making dinner, you can procrastinate by eating your leftover Pizza Rustica. It will be just as awesome the next day, and there won’t be any pots and pans to clean up.

Pizza Rustica is really more of a meat pie. Layers of cheese and Italian sausage and deli meats are tucked inside a flaky crust. You can definitely adjust based on what’s available at your grocery store. As long as you keep the measurements roughly the same, the flavors can be switched up as you like. It’s gonna be delicious any way you make it. And don’t worry if, like me, you’re terrible at rolling out dough. It’s got the word rustic in the name. 

Pizza Rustica | How to be Aweome on $20 a Day

Procrastinators get a bad rap. When dinner tastes this great, who cares if you made it yesterday.

Pizza Rustica
Serves 6
Pizza Rustica is an Italian inspired meat pie loaded with flavor and just as great on day two.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
55 min
For the pastry
  1. 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 2 tablespoons water
  5. 1 teaspon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
For the filling
  1. 4 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 8 ounces ricotta
  4. 2 ounces provolone, shredded or cut into small cubes
  5. 4 ounces fresh mozarella, cut into cubes
  6. 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  7. 1/2 clove garlic, chopped
  8. 2 tablespons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  9. 2 pinches crushed red chili flakes
  10. 4 ounces proscuitto, roughly chopped
  11. 4 ounces mortadella, roughly chopped
  12. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  13. Black pepper
  14. About 1 tablespoon dried bread crumbs
For the glaze
  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 2 tablespoons milk
  3. Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Put the flour and butter together in a dish and stash it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Stir together the egg yolks, water, and salt, and put that in the fridge as well.
  2. Once everything is well chilled, place your butter and flour as well as the sugar into a food processor and pulse until you've got a mixture that looks like wet sand. Add the wet ingredients and process until the dough starts to come together but is still a bit loose. I sometimes have to add a bit of extra water, but just add a teaspoon at a time.
  3. Tip the mixture out onto a clean counter and press it together with your hands. Divide the dough 60/40 into two discs (you'll need more dough for the bottom than the top), wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge while you get on with your filling.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C), and if you have a baking sheet that your 8-inch springform pan can rest comfortably on, pop that in the oven to heat up as well. If you don't have one, it's not the end of the world, your bottom crust will just be a little more wet.
  5. Heat your olive oil in a skillet and crumble your deskinned sausage into the pan. Cook up your sausage until it nice and brown, then transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
  6. To your sausage, add your remaining filling ingredients except for the bread crumbs. Gently mix it all together.
  7. Roll out your larger disc of dough between two layers of plastic wrap until it's big enough to cover the bottom of your 8-inch springform pan and come up the sides. It's okay if it hangs over a bit. Sprinkle the bottom of your pie with the breadcrumbs. Don't worry about measuring. Just sprinkle until you have a fine layer across the bottom. Pour in your filling and spread it evenly over the crust.
  8. Roll out your second disc between layers of plastic wrap until it is big enough to cover the top of your pie. Place it on top of your pie, then fold over any overhanging dough to seal in your filling. Press the edges down with a fork, and poke several holes in the top of your pie with your fork for ventilation.
  9. In a small dish, whisk together your glaze ingredients and use a pastry brush to brush it evenly over the top of your pie. This will give it a lovely brown shiny top.
  10. Place your pie into the oven, on the hot baking sheet if you have it. Bake for 10 minutes at this temperature, and then lower the heat to 350F (175C) and bake for another 45 minutes.
  11. Allow your pie t cool for at least 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife before removing the collar and slicing into it.
  12. Store any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator. It will be totally awesome the next day.
Adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Eating Out: Little Italy

Eating Out: Little Italy

Eating Out: Little Italy

We’re fanatical about pizza and pasta. Lucky for us, there are plenty of great Italian restaurants in Glasgow. It somewhat makes up for the complete and total absence of decent Tex Mex. 

We’ve fallen for a great little spot in the West End called Little Italy. The atmosphere is bright and relaxed, and the staff is warm and friendly. There’s a counter at the front for takeaway, but we dined in and enjoyed every minute. 

Eating Out: Little Italy

Geoff wanted something on the lighter side, so he opted for Napli Pollo Picante. His big bowl of pasta was loaded up with veggies, chicken, and spicy chillies. He devoured it.

Eating Out: Little Italy

I went for a simple pepperoni pizza. My favorite thing about the pizza at Little Italy is the crust. It’s on the thin side, but it’s cooked perfectly. Soggy crust is one of my pet peeves, but I didn’t have to worry about that here. The crust was just the right level of crisp, there was plenty of cheese, and the sauce was delicious.

The prices are very reasonable, making Little Italy a great choice for a lunch break while thrift shopping in the West End. Let’s get into it.

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Risotto Bolognese

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Now that we have a new flat with a spacious kitchen, I find myself wanting to be in there all the time. It’s not quite our dream kitchen yet, but I like being in the space and daydreaming about what we could turn it into. I find myself wishing I could spend all day every day in my kitchen somehow. 

If you’re looking to spend a lot of daydreaming time in your kitchen, you should definitely make risotto. Few recipes lend themselves so perfectly to spacing so well. 20 minutes of constant stirring is the perfect excuse for uninterrupted reflection. 

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Risotto Bolognese is a bit of a project recipe. This is not something you can make on a Tuesday after soccer practice. This recipe is for those times when you really feel like cooking, when you want to linger in the kitchen and revel in your domesticity. The good news is, this makes so much risotto that you won’t have to cook for two more days.

We start by making bolognese sauce from scratch. If you have a food processor, it’s really easy. Get out your biggest oven proof pot because this dish has a built in nap time while your sauce bubbles away for an hour. I’m telling you, this is a cook’s indulgence.

Risotto Bolognese doesn’t require any special skill, just a bit of attention. And I mean a bit. It all pays off once you get it on the table, though. We took the time to develop deep flavors. I could eat this by the bucketful. 

Risotto Bolognese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let’s take the time to make something awesome.

Risotto Bolognese
Serves 6
Risotto Bolognese takes time, but the result is completely worth it.
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  2. 1 carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
  3. 1 stick celery, cut into large chunks
  4. 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  5. small handful of fresh parsley
  6. 75 grams bacon
  7. 50 grams plus 1 tablespoon butter
  8. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  9. 250 grams ground beef
  10. 80 ml marsala
  11. 1 can chopped tomatoes
  12. 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  13. 2 tablespoons milk
  14. 1 to 2 liters beef stock, divided
  15. 2 bay leaves
  16. 500 grams risotto rice
  17. 6 tablespoons grated parmesan
  18. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150C and dig out a big oven proof pot.
  2. Add your onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and bacon to your food processor. Blitz away until you have a colorful mush. Don't put your processor away yet. We're using it again in a minute.
  3. In your large pot, heat the butter and olive oil. Add your veggie/bacon mush to the pot, and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the ground beef and break it up with your wooden spoon. Allow it to brown, then add in the red wine.
  5. Tip your can of chopped tomatoes into your food processor and crank it up until smooth. It will only take a couple seconds. Add to the pot and give it a stir.
  6. In a small dish, stir together the milk and tomato puree. Add that to your pot along with 500 ml of your beef stock and your bay leaves. Give it all a good mix.
  7. Bring this to a boil and then clamp the lid on your pot. Transfer it to the oven, and allow it to bubble away happily for an hour.
  8. Once your meat sauce is out of the oven, put it back on the stove over low heat, and fish out the bay leaves. Add your remaining stock to a sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. Make sure the rest of your ingredients are ready because you're about to enter deep stirring reverie.
  9. Add your rice to your meat sauce and start your stirring. Depending on how much liquid is already in your sauce, you may need to add a ladleful of stock at this time.
  10. Continue to stir your rice for about 18-20 minutes, add another ladle of stock every time the liquid becomes absorbed. I never need all the stock, but if you need it and don't have it ready, you're screwed. Give your rice a taste to check it's cooked through.
  11. When it's ready, turn the heat off and stir in a tablespoon of butter and your parmesan cheese. Taste it to see if you want to add any salt and pepper.
  12. Serve hot with an extra sprinkle of parmesan.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

Osteria Del Tempo Perso has definitely become my favorite Italian restaurant in Glasgow. All the flavors are deep and rich. Every dish I’ve tried has been great. Plus, it’s located in the heart of the city centre, just off George Square, so it’s easy to access for a week night date or long lunch.

Osteria has the potential to be very expensive, but if you order off the set menu, it’s quite affordable, especially for the quality. Lunch is the best bargain if you can manage to get there on a weekday afternoon.

Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

I’ve had many great dishes here, but my favorite is definitely the spaghetti bolognese. If a restaurant can’t make the basics outstanding, there’s no point in bothering with fancier dishes. The pasta is cooked absolutely perfectly, and the flavor developed in the sauce is deep and delicious. I never want to stop eating it.

Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

Geoff had the lasagna this time. It’s layered with cheese and the same rich bolognese. It’s a classic done absolutely perfectly.

Eating Out: Osteria Del Tempo Perso

We also had dessert this time. They make a different version of ricotta cheesecake each day. We opted fr white chocolate this time, but they also had mango that day. This is a no-bake, fluffy confection. I dare you not to like it.

They also have a selection of wines by the glass or bottle, a few of which are quite affordable. 

I love simple Italian food, and Osteria Del Tempo Person does it perfectly. Go check it out. I promise, it’ll be awesome.

Chicken Parmesan from Awesome on 20

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan from Awesome on 20

When my husband and I first moved in together, it was after five months of being on different continents. Even though we had been seeing each other for a couple of months before he went back to England, much of our relationship developed online. When we found ourselves in the same apartment, we still had a lot to learn about one another.

The one thing I was most excited about was to show off my cooking skills. I finally had a kitchen again, and even better, someone to cook for. I wanted to make sure he knew he’d gotten himself into a good situation. I remember the first time I made this chicken parmesan in our tiny Taiwan kitchen. Geoff flipped out over it and immediately declared it the best chicken he’d ever eaten. It turns out he does that a lot, but at the time, I was pretty proud of myself.

Chicken Parmesan from Awesome on 20

It is super awesome, no matter how easy you are to impress. Thin, crispy, well-seasoned chicken topped off with your favorite tomato sauce and oozing with a layer of salty mozzarella cheese. This is a pretty standard recipe. Nothing flashy. I guess you could call it classic and for good reason.

Chicken Parmesan from Awesome on 20

Some of my favorite moments in my marriage are when we still manage to surprise each other. Every now and then, I still manage to create a new favorite. But this was one of his first favorites, and I’ll always remember that when I make it.

Chicken Parmesan
Serves 2
Crispy breaded chicken, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese hangs out on a bed of pasta and makes everybody happy.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. About 1 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 2 eggs
  5. About 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  6. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  7. 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  8. 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  9. 8 ounces spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 and put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Put your chicken breasts in a large zip top bag and give them a good whack with something heavy like a mallet or a rolling pin. You want it to be of equal thickness all over. About a half an inch.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Get out three plates or other shallow containers. Fill one with flour, one with your eggs, lightly beaten, and one with the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure the ingredients are spread out into a thin layer.
  5. Place your chicken breast on the flour plate, then give it a flip. Lightly shake off excess flour. Next dip both sides in the beaten egg and let it drip for a second to remove excess. Finally, press both sides into the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the second breast.
  6. In a large skillet, heat oil to medium high heat. Cook your chicken for about 3 of 4 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  7. Top each breast with a large spoonful of tomato sauce and two slices of cheese. Put chicken in the oven for about 7 minutes to finish cooking and melt cheese.
  8. While the chicken is in the oven, boil your pasta.
  9. To serve, fill each plate with spaghetti and top with tomato sauce. Place the chicken on top of your pasta bed and prepare to impress your loved ones.
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Adapted from Bobby Flay
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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