International (Food) Delights on the Cheap

I have a confession to make – when we were first married, I was known as the ‘microwave queen’. I didn’t really cook because I thought making the dishes I loved was hard and expensive.

Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

Though I’m no chef, I’ve expanded my skills and recipes enough that cooking is kind of fun.

International Cusine on the Cheap

We still go out from time to time and we love discovering new cuisines. Turns out we’re not the only ones.

Justin McCurry, early retiree and Root of Good creator, joined me for a chat today about cooking international dishes.

During our chat we covered:

  • how to find great ingredients at low prices
  • easy (as just Justin puts it ‘Hamburger helper easy’) dishes you can try out
  • a few gems that can help you up your game with cooking

You can watch the video below or read a few of the highlights I’ve included.

Hope you enjoy!

Stock Your Pantry Right

It all starts with ingredients. What you have in your pantry and fridge will determine just how tasty your dishes are.

Fresh, high-quality ingredients with your herbs and seasoning can also be a very affordable way to expand your palette and try out some new flavors from around the world.

When I was researching for the Frugal Foodie challenge, I went back to one of my favorite books, The 4-Hour Chef.

In it, Tim lays out regions of the world based on flavors in a cheat sheet format. While there er were some unique items on the list, you’d be surprised how many times garlic, onions, citrus, cilantro, and ginger came up.

It was the combinations that make what we associate with certain cuisines. That means with some key ingredients, you can easily mix things up with your dishes at home.

These herbs and base ingredients are usually inexpensive in your neighborhood grocery store, but you can typically get them even lower by shopping at an Asian, Latin, or International market.

Justin picks up items like Somen, rice noodles, coconut milk, and chipotles at markets really cheap, but still high quality.

You may even find some deals on Amazon, like Justin has with curry paste!

Learn How Cook Quickly

Like anything new, it may take a minute to get familiar with how to prepare a dish. The good news is that there are plenty of resources (many free!) where you can get what you need.

I mentioned using books, but there are websites and videos available online where you can get an ingredient list and see the dish being made. 

Just type in ‘easy  

‘ into Google and you’ll probably find plenty of options!

Start Exploring and Experimenting in Your Kitchen

Looking to try something new this week? I found a cheat sheet on flavors from 36 regions of the world which also includes recipes. Here are a few really easy dishes that caught my eye:

Here are a few really easy dishes that caught my eye:

Try a couple of them out and see which flavors grab you!

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