Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cactus and potatoes, anyone? (Nopalitos con papas)

How about some black beans and quinoa (keen-wa) on the side? With homemade tortillas?

This is another of our trusty el cheapo meals. Super-healthy, totally meat-free, tons of flavor and most important, it makes a lot for very little money.

Really, potatoes are pretty inexpensive. The jar of cactus isn't more than a few bucks. I used dried black beans and quinoa, which is an ancient grain grown by the Incas, fluffs up a lot like rice- again, pretty good bang for your buck. I keep most of the spices used on hand in my cabinet and only have to replace those every few months.

My favorite part of this meal is the tortillas, made from dried masa harina. I get at least a few hundred tortillas out of every bag.

For the tortillas, I get to use my great-grandmother's tortilla press, given to me by my dad. It's probably my most prized piece of kitchen equipment, for the simple reason that she used it.
I can crank out a pile of tortillas in a fairly short amount of time for probably pennies.
One of my main requirements for an inexpensive meal is that it also be fairly healthy, and this one certainly is. Quinoa is actually a complete protein, all on its own. Paired with the black beans, it packs a double whammy. It's low-fat and full of fiber. The potatoes and cactus with onion and jalepenos are one of my favorite side-dishes.

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