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2013 Frugal Cook-Off

The Frugal Cook-Off is all about creativity and resourcefulness. That's why we gave each participant only $15 and 45 minutes to put their frugal cooking skills to the test and wow the judges.

Feel like flexing your frugal cooking muscles?

Try an at-home version of the Frugal Cook-Off and see what quick, delicious and affordable dishes you can come up with!

Need a little inspiration?

Check out the recipes from this year's Roanoke and Baltimore Food Lion Frugal Cook Offs:

Roanoke Recipes

Stir Fry Beef and Brown Butter Pasta >
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings

  • 1 box (16 oz.) my essentials™ small sized pasta
  • 1.5 my essentials™ sticks butter
  • 32 oz. my essentials™ chicken broth
  • 1.5c my essentials™ shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Stir Fry Beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Dash of Food Lion Soul Seasoning
  • 2c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can my essentials™ whole peeled tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried my essentials™ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Green onions, diced for garnish
  1. Melt the butter in a large stock pot on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, continue to cook butter until it bubbles and turns a caramel brown color. Add pasta to stock pot and stir. Let cook for 1 minute while continuously stirring. Add in chicken broth. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed by pasta, stir occasionally.
  2. While the pasta is simmering, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a skillet. Season beef with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and soul seasoning. Heat oil to medium heat and add beef. Cook beef until medium - medium well. (slightly pink but mostly browned).
  3. Remove beef from skillet and set aside, cover with foil to keep warm. Leave any sauce from the steak in the pan.
  4. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes to the skillet. Sauté until mushrooms are soft. Season with a dash of soul seasoning. Add in spinach and cook until spinach has wilted.
  5. Once all of the chicken broth has been absorbed into pasta, stir in mozzarella cheese until melted.
  6. Serve Beef with a side of Brown Butter Pasta and a Side of Sautéed Vegetables. Garnish with diced green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Steak Kabobs with Rice and Cucumber Salad >
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 5 Servings

  • 1 package of Food Lion Sirloin Kabob meat
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 apple
  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • Food lion Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 package of instant rice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Skewers
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Beef broth
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • Red wine vinegar
  1. Take 1 cup of the Food Lion Teriyaki sauce and place in a pot on the stove over med/low heat. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. Let it reduce by about 1/3. Cut up the mushrooms, peppers, onions and apples to be places on a skewer. Roughly 1 inch cubed. Cut up the steak kabobs from the package into smaller 1 inch cube pieces.
  2. Mix the meat, onions, mushrooms, peppers and apples with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then places the onions, mushrooms, peppers, apples and beef onto skewers.
  3. Season the skewers with some salt and pepper.
  4. Place the skewers on a grill with medium high heat. As you are grilling them brush on the reduced teriyaki sauce. For the beef to reach a Medium grill on each side for about 4 minutes.
  5. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the box, but instead of water use the beef broth

Cucumber salad
Peel the cucumber then cut into 1/4-inch disks. Peel and cut the apples into 1/2 cubes combine together. Add the juices of 1/2 lemon and add red wine vinegar to taste. Start with 1 tablespoon then add as needed.

Hickory Grilled Sirloin Fillets >
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 4 Sirloin Fillet Steaks
  • my essentials™ Hickory BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • 1 Green Bell Peppers
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • my essentials™ Frozen Corn
  • my essentials™ Mild Salsa
  1. Steaks
    Lightly coat steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the steaks for 4-6 minutes per side on medium high heat. Serve with my essentials™ Hickory BBQ Sauce.
  2. Vegetables
    Slice the pepper in ¼” strips. Slice the onion into rings. Chop 2 cloves of garlic. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic. Sauté the garlic until it turns slightly brown. Add peppers and onions and sauté until onions turn clear. Add mushrooms until they begin to turn brown.
  3. Roasted Potatoes
    Cube potatoes and lightly toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour onto a sheet tray and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Garnish with sautéed garlic.
  4. Fiesta Corn
    Boil water. Reduce heat to medium and add bag of my essentials™ frozen corn. Cook corn in water for 5-7 minutes. Top with salsa.

Flat Iron Steak Topped with Onion >
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 5 Servings

  • 1 Flat Iron Steak
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  1. Potatoes
    Dice 4 potatoes and cook in 1 32 oz. container of chicken broth. When tender but not cook through, transfer to a sauté pan with 2 tbsp. butter. Sauté and sprinkle with seasoned salt, Italian seasoning and paprika.
  2. Mushrooms
    Clean 1 package of sliced mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tbsp. of olive oil with 2 cloves of garlic, diced. Season with ½ tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  3. Steak
    Using hands, rub steak with 1 T extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tsp paprika. Rubpaprika into the olive oil. Set aside. Saute onion and green pepper in 1 T olive oil.When tender, set aside. Grill steak to desired temperature, slice into 1/2 pieces and top with onion/pepper mixture.

Baltimore Recipes

Apple & Spinach Stuffed Pork Chop >
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 1 Fuji Apple
  • ½ Sweet Onion
  • ½ Bunch Spinach
  • ¼ Cup Parsley
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • ½ Carrot
  • 4 Pork Chops
  • 2 Beaten Eggs
  • 2 Cups Breadcrumbs (Seasoned
    with salt, pepper, paprika and
    Italian seasoning)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Dice apple, onion, spinach, parsley and garlic. Finely chop the carrot. In a nonstick pan, sauté the apple, onion, spinach, parsley, garlic and carrot for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pound boneless pork chops with a meat tenderizer and season each one with salt and pepper.
  4. Place ¼ cup of the stuffing in the pork chop, roll the pork up and secure with a toothpick. Dip the pork roll in the beaten eggs and coat with seasoned breadcrumbs.
  5. Lightly coat a pan with olive oil, place the stuffed pork chops on it, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 20 minutes (or until cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees).
  6. After pulling out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it. Garnish with a little parsley and apple.

Balsamic Candied Carrots

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 8 Carrots (cut into ¼"-thick rounds)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dash of Parsley
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

  1. In a nonstick pan, sauté carrots with olive oil and a dash of salt, pepper, parsley, sugar and garlic, stirring frequently so the carrots do not burn. Cover about halfway through cooking.
  2. Once the carrots soften (in about 10 minutes), add the balsamic vinegar. Let cook for another minute.
  3. Serve the carrots with a sprig of parsley.

Rustic Roasted Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 4 Red Skin Potatoes
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • ½ Sweet Onion (chunky cut, roughly the same size as the potatoes)
  • ¼ Cup of Minced Parsley
  • Olive Oil
  • Paprika
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut potatoes into halves and each half into 8 pieces (roughly 1" cubes); toss with minced garlic, onion, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and a dash of paprika and Italian seasoning.
  3. Place on a sheet pan and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, or until potatoes are tender.

Lemon Basil Chicken Over Summer Salad >
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 1 pound chicken
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 cup white rice
  • ½–¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 chopped/diced green pepper
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1–2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh basil (torn)
  1. Sauté chicken in ¼ cup olive oil with garlic and 1 sprig of basil.
  2. After sautéed, squeeze fresh lemon over chicken.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Scrape oil from fry pan and spoon over chicken.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Cook rice according to directions.
  7. Rinse beans and corn; mix together and add to cooked rice.
  8. Squeeze lemon (about ½) over rice, beans and corn mixture.
  9. Add cayenne pepper to bean and rice mixture.
  10. Add torn fresh basil to taste. Mix in green pepper.
  11. Stir well.
  12. Add ¼–½ cup olive oil and ¼–½ cup red wine vinegar to taste.
  13. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Zucchini Boat

  1. Cut length wise, spoon out seeds. Coat in olive oil.
  2. Place on baking sheet. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.
  3. Roast 400 degrees 20 minutes.
  4. Remove and add mozzarella cheese to top and then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  5. Roast until golden brown.
  6. Fry basil leaves that are remaining in left over olive oil from chicken and sprinkle over zucchini boat.

Deliciously Frugal Tilapia >

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

  • 4 pieces of tilapia
  • 2 cups of instant white rice
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1½ onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Ground red pepper
  • Lemon peel, for garnish
  1. Season tilapia pieces with salt, pepper, paprika and ground red pepper to taste on both sides.
  2. Combine diced tomatoes, ½ of an onion, and green pepper into a skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, paprika and ground red pepper to taste and stir. Turn onto low heat for 10 minutes and then transfer to a bowl.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a pot. Add the chopped onion and simmer for 5–7 minutes on medium heat or until onion is translucent. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat and cover. This rice will be ready to serve in 5 minutes.
  4. While the onion is cooking, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet on medium heat once pan is warm. Add the tilapia to the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  5. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet used for the salsa. Add the spinach. Add salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper to taste. Cook for 2–3 minutes or until slightly wilted.
  6. Put one scoop of rice onto the plate. Cover the rice with pieces of spinach. Top the spinach with the tilapia and add a dollop of salsa on top of the fish. Finish with a lemon garnish.

Vietnamese Turkey Lettuce Wraps >
Yield: 4-6 Servings

  • 1 pound fresh ground turkey
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon my essentials™ teriyaki sauce
  • 8 scallions (2 per serving) trimmed, dark green top removed — finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons my essentials™ vegetable oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, medium to large leaves (red leaf, iceberg can be substituted) — washed, dried and leaves separated
  1. In a medium sized bowl, add the ground turkey, garlic, teriyaki sauce, scallions, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. In a large sauté pan, add the oil. Cook about a tablespoon of the turkey mixture; taste and adjust any of your seasonings.
  3. Shape the turkey in a firm ½-inch thick log shape about 3 inches long. Cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F.
  4. Guests should wrap one turkey log with a lettuce leaf and dip in Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.

Vietnamese Rice Recipe

  • 2 cups my essentials™ chicken broth
  • 2 cups my essentials™ white rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 scallions (one scallion per serving) trimmed, dark green top removed — thinly sliced
  • 1 naval orange, finely zested — reserve orange
  • 1 lemon, finely zested — reserve lemon
  • 3 tablespoons my essentials™ dry roasted peanuts — coarsely chopped

  1. Bring two cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add white rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; stir, cover and remove from heat.
  2. Wait 20 minutes and then add sliced scallion, orange and lemon zests, and chopped peanuts.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

  • 1 ½ teaspoons my essentials™ soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced — use reserved lemon from Vietnamese rice (lime can be substituted)
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ scallion trimmed, dark green top removed — thinly sliced

  1. Combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, granulated sugar and water and stir until sugar dissolves. Taste and add either more sugar if too tart or more water if too salty. Once you are pleased with the flavor, stir in the 1/4 scallion.

Sautéed Zucchini

  • 4 large zucchini (one zucchini per serving), cut in 1" strips
  • 2 tablespoons my essentials™ vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon my essentials™ lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. *Trim the bottom off the zucchini and cut it lengthwise into quarters; trim off the seed section of the zucchini. Then cut the quarters in half lengthwise. Cut the strips into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil in large sauté pan. When hot, add the zucchini and then season with the lemon pepper and salt while shaking the pan. Toss a bit and let sauté for a minute or two until the underside starts to brown; shake pan again until zucchini gets lightly browned. Test one for doneness. Add additional seasoning if needed. Drain on paper towel.

Orange Slices

  • 1 large naval orange, peeled, sliced in rounds — use reserved orange from the Vietnamese rice

  1. Once the orange is peeled of all its rinds, slice it in rounds depending how many guests you are serving. Top each round with some chopped peanuts.


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