One of the blogs that I read regularly is Thursday Night Smackdown. I find it hilarious, but a warning to people who read this blog, TNS is rated “R”. As in Mature Audiences Only, so if you do not find that humor, well, humorous then I would advise against checking it out. I won’t hold it against you, I personally do not find humor focusing on bodily functions and other things best relegated to the bathroom to be entertaining in the least. But somehow Rob Schnieder et al continue to be employed – so obviously there are people out there who disagree with me.

But this particular blog post is part of TNS’s blog event Hobo Monday if you clicky that link you will read the rules. When I discovered this blog event I felt it meshed nicely with my own Raison d’être on this blog so this is my first attempt. It figures that the first time I decided to play the monthly theme would be “Super Cheap A$$” and entries are supposed to feed 2 people for $3.

Pshaw, I taunt your silly $3.  I shall make it as cheap as I can.

Dinner or UFO?

Dinner or UFO?

The truly frustrating part of this endeavor came when I was working on the pricing. I decided to go through the past Hobo Monday challenges to see what the standard going rate for onions seemed to be. Please note that I did not do this until after I had prepared, photographed and consumed my Hobo Monday Meal. And what did I find? The very first winner of Hobo Monday was a Lentil and Rice dish. Mighty-mo-finky-stinky-son-of-a-biscuit-eater, now it looks like I cheated. Rat Farts.

from The Best Recipes in the World – Mark Bittman (go buy this book, you must have it)

Red Lentils with Rice

2 T Canola Oil
1 lg Onion, chopped
1 T Garam Masala
3 C Water (he didn’t have this in the list, but I like all of the ingredients to be in the list, nyah)
3/4 C dried red lentils (rinsed & picked)
1 C long-grain rice (I used Jasmine)
2 T Butter (Bittman says optional, I say essential)
Salt & Pepper to taste (the Ba$t4rd – I ended up putting well over a teaspoon of salt and multiple grinds of pepper)

1) Heat oil over medium high heat, add onions and stir frequently until they start to get brown around the edges. Add garam masala and stir for another minute or so. Dump in 3 cups of water carefully (water & hot oil you know – spatter city) and bring to a boil.

2) Add rice & lentils and return to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. I pulled mine with about 3 minutes to spare and it was still overcooked. But then again I cook on a gas range and managing a simmer on a gas range is as about as easy as juggling rabbits.

3) Stir in butter (you have no option, I don’t care what Mr. Bittman says about the subject) and add salt & pepper in increments until it tastes good to you.

The Damage:

And now for the cost breakdown, technically if something is what you consider to be a pantry item then you don’t have to price it in the total. I made this entire meal out of my pantry – but I am not a cheater so I will count everything.

Lentils- .89 per lb
.89 / 16 = .055 per oz
.055 x 5.75 = .32

Rice – 25 lb bag for $17 at local Asian market (it is where I get all of my Asians)
25 x 16 = 400 oz
17.00 / 400 =.0425 per oz
.0425 x 8 = .34

Fixinsreally and truly pantry items, but I am counting them
Onion = .25
Butter= .10
Oil = .05
Spices = .10
Water = free

Because I am apparently incapable for cooking for a small number (1 or 2) of people this dish will feed 6. Really, have you ever attempted to cook a small amount of rice or lentils? Do it, I dare you, you will be cursing my name as you are scraping the charred remains of your dinner off the bottom of the pot.

I drink water with all of my meals, which falls into the free category. So the final damage is $1.16 to feed 6 people. Which comes out to $.193 per person. If you felt you needed more veggies you could put together a quick side salad which might run you about .25 per person. That could be added to the total if the queen of Hobo’s feels this isn’t a complete meal. But it was all I ate for dinner.


Lentils revisited - rejected by the Eman

Lentils revisited - rejected by the Eman

Unfortunately I still feel a pain in my heart that the Lentil and Rice thing has been done. It wounds me –  c’est la vie. So I thought I would bust out a bonus which I feel is in keeping with my thematic genre – leftover usage. For lunch the next day I pulled the 5 peoples worth of food out of the ‘fridge and decided the consistency would lend itself well to shaping. I shaped some little balls and some big patties. Put some canola oil in a non-stick pan and heated it up good. Tossed those little puppies in and fried them so that they were GBD on both sides. Crunchy, savory, verrah tasty. With a salad it made a lovely lunch. I believe it would also be delicious treated as a veggie burger.

ps: for those of you who regularly read my blog, I hope that you will pardon my french. I felt it was in keeping with the soiree. As they say: Le singe est sur la branche.

*Pronounce this out loud a couple of times, see if you find the joke.