Meatless Monday – Veggie Quesadilla’s with Smoked Gouda

Ok, seriously?  Smoked Gouda?  In case you didn’t hear that the first time let me repeat myself.  Smoked Gouda.  There’s NO WAY this recipe could be bad.  Unfortunately, it’s another night time kitchen shot and the only thing bad about this recipe are the photos.

And ok, so it’s not my most frugal meal but it’s still frugal, kinda.  The Smoked Gouda was something I bought last January and even though it was on the pricey side, I did use a coupon.  I remember because the exact same coupon came out again this year.  And once this hunk of yellow goodness hit my kitchen my Super Frugal Spidey Senses started tingling.  So what did I do?  I cut it up in to pieces and hid them in the deep freeze.  Yes, that’s right.  I actually hid them.  I managed to make that small wedge of  creamy gold last a full year.

A few months ago I pulled a small piece out and made something similar but the other night I perfected an ooey, gooey treasure that Meatless Monday dreams are made of.  The Veggie Quesadilla with Smoked Gouda and Cheddar.

Once again, I have no specific measurements.  This is more of a method, than a recipe.  Just use what you have available or your favorites in quantities that are reasonable.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tortillas
  • 1 Red Pepper, roasted
  • 2 Portobella Mushrooms
  • Carmelized Onions (I keep baggies in the freezer and will do a post on that some day)
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Cheddar

Steps

  1. The first thing to do is roast the red pepper. Cut the pepper in half, remove all the seeds, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill, skin side down, until the skin is black and blistering.  Put in a bowl, cover with a towel or even plastic wrap for a minimum of 20 minutes.  This does a few things.  It helps cook the flesh of the pepper a bit in a smoky atmosphere from the charred skin and makes it soft and flavorful.  It also helps steam the skin so it pulls right off.  It also saves a lot of the juices from the pepper.  Since you grill them skin side down, a lot of juices pool on the flesh side.  You can carefully set them in a bowl without losing all the yummy juices.
  2. Next is the Mushrooms.  There’s two schools of thought when it comes to cleaning mushrooms.  Brush lightly or rinse quickly with water.  Alton Brown says it’s ok to rinse with water  (check out the video at the 8:15 mark) which is a good thing because I’ve always given my mushrooms a quick rinse.  However, I also allow them to air dry afterward.  So do what you want with your fungi.  I’ll rinse and air dry mine.  Next, comes the cooking part.
  3. Slice the mushrooms and saute in a hot pan.  Don’t keep flipping them around, leave them be so they can caramelize.  Also, don’t fill the pan too full or you’ll steam them in stead of saute’ them.  I did mine in a couple different batches.
  4. Once the mushrooms were done remove them from the pan, wipe it out and added a small amount of oil.  Then fill one side of a tortilla with the ingredients above, fold the tortilla over and cook it in the pan until it is crispy on one side then flip.

These are over the top delicious and the bonus is they’re not that bad for the waistline.  Just a small amount of Smoked Gouda goes a long way to adding a mouth watering smokiness without making you feel like you’re chewing on a piece of burnt hickory wood.

Enjoy these…soon.

5 Ways To Save Money When Eating Out

Even though it can be a lot cheaper to cook for yourself than eat out, it’s also nice to relax, hang out with friends, and enjoy a meal at a restaurant every once in a while. Here are some tips on how I do it without breaking my budget.

Lunch instead of dinner. Lunch specials are cheaper than dinners, and breakfasts are usually even cheaper. If possible, I’ll meet up with my friends earlier in the day, we save some money, and it’s still just as fun!

Share. If you go to a restaurant with a significant other or friend, split a dinner and an appetizer between the two of you. At most restaurants this will be plenty of food for two people and cheaper than paying for two dinners.

Eat leftovers. Most restaurant portions are so huge these days that you can easily take home the leftovers and eat it as another meal. Two meals for the price of one!

Drink water. This one is simple. Water is free. Save and few bucks every time you eat out, and the savings add up quickly. If water is too bland, ask for a slice of lemon or lime for taste.

Wait for dessert. At most sit-down restaurants, desserts are a rip-off. Drop by the grocery store on the way home, pick up some ice cream, and make your own delicious concoction for only a fraction of the cost.

8 Ways To Earn Extra Money

1. Become a Mystery Shopper

Signup to as many Mystery Shopping companies out there. Here you work an independent contractor and get paid to shop and eat. While you probably can’t replace your day job with your earnings as a Mystery Shopper this is a great way to earn some extra money. I have gotten paid to eat at some of my favorite restaurants, shop at shoe stores and I even get to evaluate associates at gas stations and convenience stores to see if I get ID’d when buying tobacco and alcohol.

You will have to sign up for these mystery shopping companies individually as each companies specialize in different niches and clients. I have found a lot of them by just performing a google search for “mystery shopping”. I would say that I do not do that much mystery shopping and I have made an easy $100-$200 per month in the past. Not too bad! If I was more active I could make much more money.

2. Sign up and Drive for a Ride Sharing Company

Sign up for a ride sharing company such as Uber or Lyft. They pay you to drive people around. I signed up and started driving. It seems worth it based on what they pay. The best part is it is all done through an app on your phone and all payments are electronic – no need to worry about cash. Accepting rides and all payments are done through their app. The best part is it is on your own time – you turn the app on and off as you choose.

3. Become a Freelancer

Sign up on a freelance job site and start freelancing. There are a bunch of jobs available from writing gigs, to online marketing to accounting, to IT gigs. Easy way to make some extra money. Sites have popped up that help you get gigs include Outsource.com , Elance and Upwork. Check them out.

4. Signup for Airbnb

Do you have an extra bedroom you are not using? List your space on Airbnb and rent it out. On Airbnb you can rent out your spare bedroom on a nightly basis and make money at the same time.

According to their website, Airbnb is a “trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world”. No matter what you want, it is on Airbnb. Whether that is an apartment just for one night, a house for a week or a villa for a month. Airbnb provides an easy way for people to monetize their extra space.

5. Signup for DogVacay

Ce.ate a profile and signup to take care of other people’s dogs. You charge a rate and all the payments and admin matters Dogvacay does for you. I charge $30/night for boarding. For instance if you did this for just 8 days that is $240 in your pocket!

6. Rent your car

Sites like Turo exist where you post an ad of the car you have to rent. People then inquire you to rent your car for a day or two or maybe even a week. You set the price of what you can accept. For instance if you charge $50/day for your car and rent your car for 7 days over the course of the month that is $350! This doesn’t really work for me since I rely on my car a lot throughout the month.

7. Sell Things on eBay

Create a free account on eBay and sell things you have that you don’t really use anymore.

8. Start your own blog or Youtube Channel

Create valuable conentent such as articles on a blog or videos on your own Youtube Channel. Once you gain enough interest and visitors you can start earning ad revenue by placing ads on your site or in your videos through Google Asense. Note, this is not a quick way to earn money. It takes time to get an audience. Once you build a big enough audience and interest there is a potential to make some considerable amount of money!