Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loco Moco

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re easing into the long dark of winter here in Scotland. The gloom doesn’t quite hit until after the holidays because we’re all battling against it with Christmas lights right now, but it won’t be long before it’s dark both when you arrive at and when you leave work. This is the time of year when I wonder why I ever left Hawaii.

In Honolulu, we would have started making more trips to Diamond Head Lookout to spot whales. We might start to close the windows in the house at night and get out a thin blanket for the bed, but we’d still be putting on sunblock every day and walking on the beach on a regular basis. Even when it rains in Honolulu, you know the sunshine will return before too long. It couldn’t be more different from Scotland.

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loco Moco is the simplest way to feel like I’m back in Hawaii. It’s such a humble dish, and while making it at home doesn’t quite compare to the true beautiful greasiness of a Hawaiian drive-in, if I close my eyes for a minute, I can almost see the palm trees swaying in the trade winds. And almost nothing is made worse by putting a fried egg on top of it..

All you need to do is make up some white rice (I made mine in the microwave because we don’t eat rice enough to have a rice cooker and I’m too lazy to wash another pot), cook up some simple and delicious hamburger steaks, use the drippings to make gravy, then fry a couple of eggs, making sure to leave yourself a beautifully runny yolk. Put that all on a plate or in a bowl, and go to town. One benefit of making it at home is that there’s no styrofoam container to throw of at the end.

Loco Moco | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I am grateful to live in Scotland for so many reasons, not least of which is how easy it is to travel to other beautiful places, which we could never do in Honolulu. I miss our Hawaiian home, but at least I can make Loco Moco from time to time to take me back.

Loco Moco
Serves 4
Loco Moco is the easiest way to bring Hawaii into your home, no matter where it is.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 servings white rice
  2. 1 pound ground beef
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  7. 2 tablespoons green onions, the white parts only, finely sliced (or scissored)
  8. 1 tablespoon oil
  9. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour
  10. 1 to 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon butter
  13. 4 eggs
  14. Green onions, the green parts, thinly sliced (or scissored)
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine beef, seasonings, soy sauce, and onions. Work quickly with your hands and try not to handle it excessively.
  2. Form into four patties.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to medium high. Cook patties about 4 minutes a side or to desired doneness. Just make sure you get some good browning on the outside.
  4. As your meat is cooking up, make sure your rice is ready to go. Divide your rice between four plates or bowls.
  5. Place a hamburger steak atop each mound of rice so that the juices will soak into the rice. Don't waste the flavor.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low on the remaining fat and delicious bits in your skillet. Sprinkle flour over the fat, just enough to absorb the fat and create a paste. Cook for a few minutes until the flour mixture turns brown.
  7. Add stock about a quarter cup at a time, stirring well to remove lumps. Also make sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. They are full of flavor. Keep adding liquid until you get your favorite consistency and season to taste.
  8. Spoon your gravy generously over your hamburger steaks and rice.
  9. Add butter to a nonstick skillet and melt over medium low heat.
  10. Crack you eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper if desired. Cook slowly until whites are just set for over sunny side up eggs, or give them a quick flip, just 15 seconds on the other side, for over easy eggs.
  11. Place on egg with its gorgeously runny yolk, on top of each gravy covered hamburger steak, and dig in.
Adapted from How to be Awesome o $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/
White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day Recently we went on holiday to Greece and did practically nothing for three days. Even though I’m generally a lazy person, I tend to struggle with doing nothing. Not accomplishing things makes me feel guilty and anxious, so initially, the thought of being halfway up a huge hill in the middle of nowhere seemed stiflingly boring. Usually when we travel, I’m rushing to pack in as much sightseeing as possible, but in Kefalos, we saw the whole town in a couple of hours. 

But when I finally accepted that there was nothing to do but read, nap, and eat, I let go of the guilt and embraced the boredom wholeheartedly. Laying in the shade by the pool with my kindle all day and only leaving the hotel in search of hummus and halloumi was pretty spectacular. My only regret is that we didn’t discover the gelato place sooner. I definitely would have gone every day to try all the different flavors. 

Since we’ve returned home, our house has been in utter chaos because of some renovations we’re having done, and I’ve just been reverting back to that do nothing mode. Given that things have gone back to utter chaos at work as well, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than reading in bed.

I’ve finally put down my book long enough to tell you about a delightful recipe we enjoyed recently, White Cheddar Polenta Souffle. I know, you think souffle is fiddly and complicated, and while there is a tiny bit of technique involved, it’s really much harder to screw up than you’d think.

This souffle has tons of flavor from the sharp white cheddar and a great texture boost from the cornmeal. Don’t be a doof like me and forget to butter your dish right to the top so that you can get the ultimate rise in your souffle. This is best served right away, but as there are only two of us, we ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and still enjoyed it. 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes trying new things means doing next to nothing, other times it’s cooking a souffle to impress no one other than yourself. This White Cheddar Polenta Souffle is definitely worth it.

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (stone-ground if possible)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make sure you've removed any racks from the top of your oven and that you've placed a rack in the bottom third of your oven, then preheat it to 375F.
  2. Butter the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 1.5 quart souffle dish, and make sure you get right into the corners.
  3. Add the grated parmesan to the souffle dish, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Tap and shake the parmesan all the way around the pan to coat it completely in the cheese. Remove the plastic wrap, pour out any remaining cheese into a dish and set aside for later. Place the souffle dish in the fridge until you're ready to fill it with souffle.
  4. Place the butter, 2 cups of water, cornmeal, garlic, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir together and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat until light in color and slightly thickened.
  6. Ever so slowly, add bits of the polenta mixture to the egg yolks, whisking continually until you've worked in about a third of the polenta. This allows you to raise the temperature of the egg yolks slowly so your eggs don't scramble. After you've worked in about a third, you should be okay to add in the rest of the polenta and whisk it together until smooth. Add the cheddar, cayenne, and the rest of the parmesan. Stir it all together and set aside while you get on with your egg whites.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat your egg yolks and 1 tablespoon warm water with an electric mixer (using the whisk attachment if that's an option) until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and continue to whisk to medium peaks.
  8. This is the perfect time to remove your souffle pan from the fridge.
  9. Add a quarter of your egg whites to your polenta mixture and fold gently until combined. Keep adding egg whites about a quarter at a time until everything is incorporated being as gentle as possible. The bubbles in the eggs is where you're going to get all the lift, so be careful with them.
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Breakfast Pizza | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Right, we’ll talk about breakfast pizza in a minute. First, can we chat about working out? You know I hate it intensely. I’ve managed to make it to week 5 of a couch to 5K app without dying, but I’m on the verge of quitting again. I have to run 20 minutes straight, and if I don’t die of a heart attack, I’ll surely die of boredom. I can’t think of anything more dull than running for 20 minutes straight. Running is the actual worst.

We watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the first time the other night, and I think I may have found my dream workout class. Not that it exists. If someone ran a sexy super spy fight choreography fitness class, I’d sign up for sure. I always hear women talking about going to pole dancing classes rambling on about how empowering it is. I’m giving a hard eye roll to that. Teach me to kick ass like the Black Widow. That’s gotta be some real empowerment. 

I don’t want to actually hurt anyone. I just want to learn movie fighting. It’s so beautiful somehow. Does anyone else want to sign up for this imaginary class with me?

Breakfast Pizza | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I doubt Scarlett Johansson gets to eat Breakfast Pizza before getting geared up in her leather suit with her choke wire. She probably has to be carb-free for a month and go on a juice cleanse to fit into all of that. But we’re not action movie stars, so we can eat as much breakfast pizza as we want. Lucky us because it’s pretty hard to stop eating this.

To make this recipe in the UK requires a few adjustments because of the different ingredients that are available. I used puff pastry for the crust because they didn’t have any croissant dough available. I used this triangular frozen hash Breakfast Pizza | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day browns but smashed them up in the pan as they were cooking. I also used my old standby of Cumberland sausage jazzed up with cumin and crushed red chilli flakes. Cheddar cheese and eggs are still cheddar cheese and eggs.

 

Maybe if we go to super spy class, we can eat Breakfast Pizza without feeling guilty. Or we could just skip the guilt, and eat what makes us happy. It’s gonna be awesome.

Breakfast Pizza
Serves 6
Breakfast Pizza has all your morning favorites delivered on a flaky crust.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans crescent rolls (you may not need them all, but buy two just in case) or 1 can croissant dough or 1 sheet puff pastry
  2. 1 pound sausage meat, casing removed
  3. Frozen hash browns (enough to cover a 10 inch skillet)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  6. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  7. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  8. 4 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Start cooking your sausage in a skillet over medium high heat. Break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. You can add some extra seasoning if you like.
  3. In the meantime, spread a layer of crescent rolls over the bottom of a pizza pan or baking sheet. Rectangular breakfast pizza is completely acceptable. Pop this in the oven for five minutes to get a head start on cooking. This will prevent soggy crust.
  4. When the sausage is cooked through, carefully remove it from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. In the same pan with the fat from the sausage, brown your hash browns. You may even need to add a bit more oil to prevent sticking. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss the potatoes from time to time to brown them on all sides. This should take five to ten minutes depending on how brown you like them.
  6. Assemble your pizza by spreading the sausage around your parcooked crust. Next pile on the hash browns. Scatter the whole thing with cheese.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, beat four eggs. Ever so carefully, pour the eggs over your pizza, allowing it to seep through all the crevices.
  8. Bake your pizza in the oven for 20 minutes until golden. It will smell like sausage heaven when it's ready.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. I like mine dotted with hot sauce.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/
Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast Pot Pie

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I love breakfast, but I’m not a morning person. During the week. my husband graciously makes tea while I stumble around pretending to be human. Breakfast is usually a granola bar or a bowl of instant oatmeal at my desk once I’m properly awake. 

But I absolutely adore breakfast foods, which is why I think I’m going to have to start throwing weekend brunch parties. There are so many great recipes to share. Plus is just so relaxing to be able to start your day laughing with friends. I think I’m going to invite everyone to come over in their pajamas some Sunday soon. Who’s up for it? Is this a terrible idea? I think it might be brilliant.

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve got a lovely little breakfast casserole for you today that’s a semi-homemade, two pan wonder to make your friends and family smile in the morning. I mean, obviously, you could also eat this for dinner. That’s what I did. It’s dang good all the time

This Breakfast Pot Pie starts with a layer of hash browns. Here in the UK, you can basically only get pre-formed, triangular hash browns from the freezer section, so that’s what I used. I loosely fitted as many as I needed into the pan I was going to build my casserole in before cooking them to tell how many I needed. Once they’re cooked, you can give them a bit of a squish to make a more solid crust.

You’ll also want to be careful not to overcook your eggs, but don’t undercook them either, or your top crust will be perfectly golden brown before your eggs are set. I making it sound complicated, but it’s really not. Basically, when your eggs look like they’re about halfway to scrambled, starting to set but still quite loose overall, it’s time to turn the heat off and transfer them to the casserole dish. 

Finally, if you’re making this in the UK, I used a tube of croissant dough, but of course, in America, go for crescent rolls. And don’t overthink the geometry when you’re adding them to the top. Get everything covered and leave yourself a nice edge that will get golden and puffy and buttery and amazing.

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When was the last time you made breakfast for some friends. With this Breakfast Pot Pie, you’re out of excuses. Get on it, kids.

Breakfast Pot Pie
Serves 6
Breakfast Pot Pie is a delicious casserole layering hash browns, cheese, eggs, and buttery pastry that's totally awesome.
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 10-12 frozen hashbrowns (however many it takes to cover the bottom of your casserole dish
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 cup shredded cheese (I have used cheddar and swiss, but most anything that melts well would work)
  4. 8 eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1-1/2 cups chopped deli ham
  9. 3 ounces cream cheese
  10. 1 tube croissant dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a rectangular casserole or baking dish.
  2. Warm your oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook your hash browns until crispy on each side. You may have to do two batches. Once your hash browns are crisped, arrange them in your baking dish. You can give them a bit of a squish to make sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  3. Spread the cheese evenly over the hash browns.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, chives, salt, and pepper. Add ham and cream cheese.
  5. In the same skillet that you cooked your hash browns in, add your egg mixture over low heat. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go to scramble your eggs. When about half of your egg mixture is set, turn the heat off, and transfer the eggs to your baking dish. Spread them evenly over your hash browns and cheese.
  6. Finally, arrange your croissant dough over your casserole by placing the point of the triangle in the center, and rolling up any portion that would hang over the edge. My roll of dough had six croissants, but I only needed five to cover my casserole.
  7. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the eggs are fully set. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Savory Pie Recipes
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/
Bacon and Egg Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bacon and Egg Salad

Bacon and Egg Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I never ever want to eat salad. Like basically ever. Every once in a while, I will convince myself to do it. I’ll occasionally swap out french fries for a side salad if I’m feeling really guilty, but only if there’s a creamy dressing of some type. I’ll go to the salad bar at Pizza Hut since it’s included, but it’s mainly to have something to distract me while I wait for cheese and carbs. I seriously don’t think there’s ever been a moment in my life where I thought having a salad was actually a good idea.

Bacon and Egg Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

But I made you a salad anyway because it’s what people do sometimes. It’s okay, though, because I put bacon on it. I also used the bacon grease in the dressing. It’s basically not healthy at all. 

Putting bacon and eggs in a salad is not as awesome as putting them on toast with cheese, but as salads go, this one is pretty good. And you actually feel like you’ve eaten something when you’re done. You’re not just wandering around desperate for more food and feeling like a terrible person because the whole reason you ate a salad in the first place was because you know you eat too much.

Bacon and Egg Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m not really selling this, am I? My point is, this salad doesn’t suck. Make yourself a bacon and egg salad and leave the self-loathing at the door for a night.

Bacon and Egg Salad
Serves 2
Bacon and Egg Salad turns awful into awesome.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 large head of your favorite lettuce (or two smaller ones, ya know, enough for two people)
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. 4-6 slices of bacon (whatever's leftover in your fridge)
  5. 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  6. 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Put your eggs in a small saucepan and fill with water just until your eggs are submerged. Put this over high heat and bring to a boil. Allow the water to boil for one minute and then turn off the heat. Leave everything alone for ten minutes. Pour cold water over the eggs, then park them in the fridge until you're ready for them.
  2. Chop or tear your lettuce and throw it in your salad bowl.
  3. Crack a clove of garlic by placing it under the flat of your knife and giving it a good whack. Peel the garlic and put it in your frying pan with just a touch of oil if you have it. Turn the heat under your frying pan to medium
  4. Using scissors, cut your bacon into small pieces over your frying pan. Stir frequently and cook until the bacon is crisp.
  5. Drain the bacon on a paper towel lined plate, and discard the garlic. (Or not, if that's your thing.) Remove the frying pan from the heat.
  6. Add the Dijon mustard to your bacon fat and carefully whisk these two together until combined.
  7. Whisk in the vinegar and Worcestershire.
  8. Season your lettuce if you like and add your bacon and dressing. Toss lightly.
  9. Peel your eggs, then cut them into quarters and add these to your salad. Give it a final gentle toss, then try to convince yourself you're having a healthy meal whilst eating lettuce coated in bacon fat. It's gonna be so awesome!
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/
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