Friday, May 7, 2010

Super frugal dinner

As I mentioned, we didn't get to the Farmer's Market last week, which meant our meat supply was almost non-existent. This made for a very light-on-the-meat kind of week for dinners. Surprisingly, I didn't hear one complaint about it from my hubby, who is a huge meat lover and used to feel that dinner was not complete without meat. I decided to attempt falafel for dinner, which I had done once before a couple of years ago and neither one of us liked it. This time, I made the pitas, falafel and tzatziki sauce from scratch. It came out delicious...even my hubby liked it (but told me not to tell him what the ingredients were so he would actually eat it). The links above lead to the recipes that I used.

Now, don't let me fool you into thinking that this dinner took me a half an hour to prepare. It probably was more like 1 1/2 hours, but much of that time was waiting for pita bread to mix, rise or bake or for the falafel to cook in the pan. It cost me very little money (I estimated it to be around $6 for all three components) and while it was slightly time intensive, it gave us enough food for three dinners.

I used all whole wheat flour for the pita bread, along with 1 tsp gluten added for each cup of flour. The pitas came out great! Just made sure you don't roll the dough too thin, otherwise the pockets won't form and you'll end up with a dud like this one.
I had a couple of those, but most looked like these.
I had a happy customer, who liked hers with almond butter.
I actually used the falafel recipe above, but cooked it more like this recipe. I dumped the first seven ingredients, up to the baking powder, in my food processor and blended them until the chickpeas were well chopped. Then I dumped the mixture into a bowl and added the breadcrumbs (whole wheat) along with the rest of the ingredients. I ended up adding an egg white and a little bit of water so the mixture would stick together into patties. Then I placed the patties in a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil (probably 1 tbsp or so) and cooked them until they were brown on each side and warmed through, about 8-10 minutes total.

For the tzatziki sauce, I just dumped all the ingredients in the food processor and blended until smooth. I used Greek yogurt (low fat), so I didn't have to strain the yogurt through cheesecloth. I failed to squeeze the excess liquid out of the cucumber, so I ended up with a little bit thinner sauce than I would have liked. For the next night, I strained the sauce through a strainer lined with coffee filters. This resulted in more of a spread. Probably somewhere in the middle of the two would have been best, but it was still tasty.

So, there you go! Frugal, healthy, and easy (but not necessarily fast). About $1/serving...much cheaper than you can get falafel for if you were to go to The Pita Spot. Hope you'll try it!


  1. I will be trying these soon. Mmmmmmmmmm! The only thing I would add is hummus, I don't know why but I like yogurt and hummus on my falafel

  2. I've never made my own falafel before! I think it is about time I try it!
    Thanks for the inspiration!