A new cookbook targets those who want to save money without sacrificing quality.As a college freshman, rebecca lando, author of the working class foodies Cookbook: 100 Delicious Seasonal and Organic Recipes for Under $8 Per Person (Gotham Books, $20), took a Scarlett O’Hara–style vow: She would never eat Ramen noodles again. Instead, she taught herself to cook good food on the cheap, and she shares her experiences in her Web series, Working Class Foodies, and in this engaging paperback. Each recipe includes an estimated price per serving, and the book gives a solid introduction on shopping wisely and stocking a pantry. American Way gave a few of the recipes a shot to see if you really can eat well without breaking the bank.
Lando excels at finding the small touch that elevates a dish. At $1.25 per serving, SURPRISINGLY VEGAN “CAESAR SALAD” KALE CHIPS are perked up with a hit of hot paprika. As Lando promises, they taste as though they’re coated in Parmesan cheese. The chips lost their crunch by the next day, but a few minutes in the oven revived them.
We were skeptical about ZUCCHINI PANCAKES WITH SEASONED RICOTTA (about $1.50 per serving), which consist of little more than flour, seltzer and grated squash, but they hung together and browned beautifully. A generous quart of fresh, creamy homemade ricotta was ready in less than a half-hour. A little mixed with lemon zest was the perfect foil to the pancakes. The rest we ate with a spoon.
CRANBERRY DARK CHOCOLATE OATMEAL LACE COOKIES (less than 50 cents each): crisp at the edges, chewy at the center, not overloaded with fruit or chocolate — just perfect in every way. The only flaw is that the recipe makes about four dozen rather than the two to three promised. But who’s complaining?
Cranberry Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Lace Cookies
I love the balance of these cookies: not too sweet, not too tart. Like true oatmeal lace cookies, they spread out and get thin as they bake, meaning crisp edges and an almost toffee-like, toasted oat center. But be mindful of the spreading when you bake them, and give them generous space on your baking sheets so they don’t glob together into one mega-cookie.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons grated nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
¼ cup milk, plus more if needed
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a fork or whisk. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate. Add half of the dry ingredients to the dough, beat for a moment, then add the milk. Beat for about 10 seconds, then add the remaining dry ingredients and a little more milk, if necessary, to make a soft dough.
4. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes to chill. Using a measuring spoon or kitchen teaspoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets. Be sure to leave plenty of space around each cookie—they will flatten and spread out quite a bit as they bake.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pans once halfway through baking. Let cool slightly, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Butter: $1.70 to $2.35
Granulated sugar: 75¢
Brown sugar: 60¢
Total price: $9.30 to $9.95; per cookie: 26¢ to 42¢