This is one of those dinners that I absolutely love because it is ridiculously easy and cheap to make. That’s right, easy and cheap! In fact the entire meal cost us less than 30 cents to make, and we had leftover salad. I had just finished reading the book by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, called “A Homemade Life”. It was due back at the library so I was furiously writing down the recipes I wanted to try. One of them was this red cabbage salad with parmesan, lemon and black pepper. I don’t know if I would have thought of putting parmesan with red cabbage, but it was amazing! Eric honestly wasn’t too impressed with it, but I ate more cabbage in one sitting than I ever have before. I was also super excited to have leftovers to take to work the next day.
For the cheese tacos or quesadillas, we have about 60 pounds of potatoes stored up for winter, and didn’t have any meat at the time. So I originally was just going to saute the potatoes with onions and garlic and serve them with the salad, but I really wanted some protein in the meal. I saw we had some cheddar we’d shredded a couple days earlier, and I had corn tortillas in the freezer. I’d never had potatoes in quesadillas before, so thought it’d be a fun experiment. I also had some cilantro in the freezer (TIP How to Preserve Fresh Herbs: to freeze fresh herbs, chop them finely, make a line of them across a sheet of saran wrap. Sprinkle with a little bit of water, fold the sides over the ends of the line of herbs, then begin rolling the saran wrap tightly to make a log of the herbs. Label, place in the freezer, and simply cut off the amount you need and re-wrap each time.) so used some of that as well.
Like I said, this meal was a super affordable dinner. The cabbage, green onions, and potato were all from our CSA. We have a package of about 100 corn tortillas that we got for $2 and keep in the freezer. We buy a huge block of cheddar at Sam’s Club, as well as a big block of parmesan. The fresh parmesan is really the one expensive item in the meal, so I thought I would see if I can save you some money in that area as well. I tried making the salad with both freshly grated parmesan, and the parmesan in the big green can. Although it was better with the freshly grated parmesan, it was still delicious with the cheap stuff, and even more affordable. So quick, get yourself some red cabbage, and give this a try!
Red Cabbage Salad with Parmesan, Lemon and Black Pepper (adapted from Molly Wizenberg)serves 4-5 as a side
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS lemon juice (fresh or from a bottle)
1 small clove garlic finely chopped
pinch of sea salt
1 small to medium red cabbage
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
dash of black pepper
Make the dressing by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a small bowl.
Discard any bruised cabbage leaves, and trim the end of the cabage to remove dirt. Cut the cabbage into quarters and then slice each quarter cross wise as thinly as possible (1/4 inch or less). Discard the white cores.
In a large serving bowl, toss the cabbage with the dressing. Add the parmesan and toss again to distribute evenly. Season generously with pepper and serve.
Potato Quesadillasmakes 8
4 TBS olive oil
1 potato chopped into bite size pieces
5 green onions chopped
1 TBS fresh cilantro chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste
8 small corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Heat two table spoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add chopped potato, 2/3 of the green onions (reserve the rest for garnish), cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper to the pan then stir to coat. Let cook in the pan 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender.
Remove from the pan and add another TBS of oil to the pan. Place 2-3 tortillas in the pan (whatever fits) and heat about 30 seconds, then flip. Place 1/8 the potato mixture on half the tortilla and sprinkle with 1/8 the cheddar. Fold the other half of the tortilla over. Cook one minute, then use tongs to flip over and cook the other side another 30 seconds.
Remove the cooked tortillas and repeat, adding the remaining TBS of olive oil as needed. Sprinkle with reserved green onion to serve.
Approximate cost per serving: This only cost us 28 cents for the entire meal, but even if you get your produce in the store, it can still be really affordable. A small head of cabbage is usually $1 or less, and potatoes are cheap too. The whole meal should not cost more than $3 to make, and at 4 servings it’s only 75 cents a serving including both a main dish and a side!
Vegetarian/gluten free: Yes and yes! But be careful, just because it’s a corn tortilla, doesn’t mean it’s gluten free. Read the bag it comes in carefully.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.