Okay, so turnout was pretty crappy, which you gotta expect when the organizer herself wusses out on the event. And then one person completely neglected the whole “theme” thing – is there something about my readership that renders you congenitally unable to read rules? – meaning a full 20% actually weren’t participating at all.  So the maddest of props to the five of you who churned out some cheap-ass food, with slightly diminished props to the person who didn’t follow the rules

I mean, I let that one in, but with the full awareness that we’re totally going to talk about her behind her back.

Let’s get the shaming out of the way with contestant #1, Terri, whose chicken gruyere is (1) a lie, because there is no gruyere and (2) disqualified because WHERE ARE THE CHICKPEAS. But it does have chicken, and mushrooms, and cheese, all of which are things I love. Especially cheese – although fortuitously enough I LOATHE gruyere, so the fact that the recipe is a big fat lie actually works in its favor. Well played! (Full recipe at the end of the post, since Terri is one of the six people left in America without a blog. Stay strong, Terri!)

Jenny over at See Food made some seriously good dal that is, apparently, to be kept a secret from all of us. PICTURES, PEOPLE. THE MASSES DEMAND PICTURES. If a dish is made by a food blogger but there’s no photo, did it happen at all? Think about that. It’s okay if I just blew your mind. It happens a lot. Also, apparently I’m not safe for work. If that’s really the case, I’m going to start photographing all my food on platters being held by nude men, because why not go whole hog?

So I guess you could click over there and check the dal out. While you’re there, take a moment to note See Food’s tagline and compare it to the header image of wheel after wheel of cheese. Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman!

But I will gladly pay her tomorrow for some of that dal today. Cost per serving, an impressive $1.73.


Balls Out Domestic Club* weighs in with these killer looking tequila-lime fish tacos with chili chickpeas. I enjoy the “let’s take chickpeas and put them on something that’s already good” approach to the challenge.

The chili chickpeas actually sound like I’d like to be eating now, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s too hot in here to use the oven and also I’m a little tipsy from a giant glass of frozen sangria. (Sangria! In slurpee form! Great idea, or the GREATEST idea?) In honor of the yummy-sounding chickpeas, I will graciously overlook the $0.03 over budget she came in. Cost per serving, a par $2.50.

*Totally a club I would join.

Effort to Deliciousness always holds down the Hobo Monday fort; I officially dub her a Hobo Monday OG. She does not disappoint this month either, with a chickpea, zucchini and eggplant salad.

This salad, aside from looking like something I want to smear on my face – in a good way – has two big plusses going for it (1) it’s a riff on an Orangette recipe, so we get all the benefits of Orangette without having to spend the extra ten minutes on the poignant story about a trip to Paris with her mother/something about how she met her husband/a meditation on the daffodils in the window box* and (2) tahini. Cost per serving, $1.71.

*I like Orangette, I’m no heretic. It’s just sometimes, you know…stop. I know, I know: pot, kettle.

Dark Side of the Fridge also earns her OG status this month with a slightly-scary sounding Chick Peas with Turkey Chorizo Sausage Product and Rice; I can’t help but be immediately distrustful of any foodstuff modified by the word “product;” I instantly think of “potted meat product.” In this case, however, they created the product themselves using the time honored paprika = instant chorizofication trick.

I see that they’re also employing the “green herb on something that might otherwise look like dog food” photography trick, which I always appreciate. AND they used a cookbook, so it’s like a Hobo-Monday-First-Thursday frankenentry. Kudos! Cost per serving, a staggeringly low $1.09.

Dark Side of the Fridge handily wins this month’s smugness rights with their $1.09 a serving dish – an all time low, which means the rest of us need to STEP IT UP.

The first Monday of June actually falls on June 1. In honor of the auspicious dating and Dark Side’s feat of prowess this month, June’s theme is ULTRA MEGA CHEAP ASS: $3 for people or $6 for 4, with an extra $1 for anyone over 4. Hop to!

*As promised:

Terri’s Chicken Gruyere (or Chicken Domestic Swiss)
Original recipe calls for Gruyere* (it is expensive, so I improvise and use good ‘ol shredded “domestic swiss”, 1/2 lb., $2.00)
2 boneless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb) ($5.00)
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced ($.50)
1 c. chicken broth ($.50)
2 eggs, scrambled
Bread crumbs
Salt & pepper
Stove Top Stuffing (or your favorite veggie) for a side ($2.00)

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, scramble the eggs with some salt & pepper. Cut chicken breasts down the middle (large chicken tenders, not cutlets – does that make sense?) and place pieces into the egg mixture. Let them sit about a 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in a little butter to soften them. Season with a little salt (and other seasonings), if you wish. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saute pan, melt 2 tbsp. of butter. Dip chicken pieces in bread crumbs and place in pan. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 mins. each side. Remove from heat.

Place chicken pieces side by side in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle mushrooms over the chicken. Place the swiss cheese over the mushrooms. Pour the broth over the cheese. Lightly season with salt (if desired). Cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Place dish in oven – bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

Serve with stuffing or veggies.