Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Road to Recovery Recipes and some FEMA advice

Hello Everyone!
Today's post was inspire by one of my friends who was deeply effected by the flood.  People are starting to move on with their lives and trying to repair their homes.  In the meantime, their houses are not safe to stay in and they are living with friends, family, or are in small apartments or rental houses that do not have the space that they are used to.  Also, they are going thru a rebuilding stage that most of us only experience when we leave home for the first time and we start renting our first apartment. 

This is my Frugal Femme wearing one of the LA strong shirts.  I am very proud of how my city has come together and helped each other.

This really didn't hit me until one of my friends and coworkers, knowing that I write this blog, asked me: "Okay Carole, you're frugal.  Come up with some menus for me that don't take up a lot of space, ingredients or cookware, because I am low on all of these items."
Mission accepted.
So, I thought back to my college days when I had a crap kitchen, virtually no cookware, and a refrigerator that didn't even go up to my waist and tried to think of some recipes that could be modified for my friend that would still be delicious and nutritious, but would (hopefully) not be boring and repetitious.

Costco Chicken Breasts (One omelette pan,  6 different Flavors)

If you have ready my blog, you already know that I tend to purchase my chicken breasts from Costco where they must have mutant chickens because, you split the breast in half and you have enough protein for two people.  The following recipes are for one chicken breast, usually the bag will contain 12 mutant chicken breasts.  This means that you have enough chicken, for two people, to last you for 12 days if you use one chicken breast per day.  Chicken can get boring if it is all made the same way, but I am going to show you how you can make the same dish and have it taste different every night just by changing out the herbs and liquids that you cook it with.  This dish also does not take very long, so you can cook this and have the protein for your dinner ready in under 10 minutes.

Chicken Provencal with Balsamic Vinegar

1 chicken breasts, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp.  balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
1 tsp. Herb de Provence, or more to taste
kosher salt (optional and to taste)

1.  Heat oil in a non-stick omelette pan on medium heat.
2.  While oil is heating pound the halved breasts flat so they are each about 1 inch thick.  This will help the chicken cook uniformly when you put it in the pan so that both breasts will be done at the same time.
3.  Sprinkle the breasts with the Herb de Provence and kosher salt.  Rub into the breasts.
4. Once oil is heated, place the chicken in the pan and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar on the chicken.
4.  Cook for 4 minutes and turn chicken.
5.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar on chicken breasts.  Move  breasts around the pan with prongs to try completely cover the breasts with the vinegar glaze.
6.  Cook for 4 more minutes.  Flip chicken once more and stir around for a few more seconds to try to completely cover with vinegar.

Remove from pan and serve warm with side of choice.  (I will give you some options a little further down this blog.)
I recommend the French onion Ramen with this recipe.

For the other recipes listed below,  ingredients are listed in the same order they were listed in the recipe above, and follow the same steps following the same order and instructions unless otherwise specified.
For example, in the Italian recipe, tomato paste replaces the balsamic vinegar in the recipe.


Italian Chicken Breasts

1 chicken breast, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. tomato paste, halved *
1 tsp. Italian season mix
Creole Seasoning mix (Optional)

* If you want your "glaze" slightly thinner for this recipe, add one tbsp. water when you add the tomato paste.
Goes well with the garlic angel hair pasta recipe.

Mexican Chicken Breasts

1 chicken breast, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lime juice, or more to personal taste (can also use malt vinegar)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Creole seasoning mix (Optional), to taste

Rub all spices into the chicken breast before placing in the omelette pan.
Serve with the spicy Ramen mac and cheese

Indian Chicken Breasts

1 chicken breast, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. plain yogurt, halved
1/2 tsp. curry, (more or less to your personal taste)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Creole season, optional, to taste

This recipe is great with the yogurt, but if you are afraid to try the yogurt, you can skip the yogurt step.
Serve with the Indian style Ramen


Asian Chicken Breasts

1 chicken breast, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. garlic rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
Creole seasoning, to taste

Serve with Asian style Ramen Noodle recipe

Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

1 chicken breast, cut into two equal portions
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice  (If you really like lemon you can add more per your personal taste)
1 tsp. freshly ground garlic
Creaole seasoning, optional, to taste

This recipe actually goes well with any of the Ramen sides mentioned above.

Next we move on to side dishes using once of the scariest yet least expensive ingredients known to the modern shopper:  Instant Ramen Noodles.
On their own these things are too salty and gross, modified and cooked differently than the directions on the package,  these noodles can be an inexpensive way to add a side to your dinner.  It will also only take one medium sized pot so, in theory, you can cook your dinner and own only one omelette pan and one medium sized pot.  If you truly do not want to use instant Ramen noodles, these recipes work just as well with angel hair pasta.  I like to get the pasta in "nests"  each of these recipes would take two "nests".  Just remember, the cooking time for the pasta is going to take longer, so check the package for cooking instructions.

Ramen noodles aren't very retro.  So I thought I would give you a picture of a lady and a leopard.

Ramen Noodle Recipes you can Stomach

French Onion Ramen

1 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup low sodium beef broth, divided
1 cup water
1 package of instant Ramen noodles
1/4 cup freshly shredded gruyere or freshly shredded mozzarella or freshly grated parmesan

1.  Melt butter in medium soup pot. 
2.  Add onion.  Stir to coat with butter.  Add 1/4 cup beef broth and cook, stirring constantly until broth is mostly absorbed, about two to three minutes.
3.  Stir in remaining 3/4 cups broth and 1 cup water and bring to a boil.
4.  Add uncooked Ramen noodles.  DO NOT ADD THE SEASONING PACKET!
5.  Cook,uncovered, stirring occasional for 2 to 3 minutes.
6.  Season with salt and pepper if you desire.
7.  Pour soup into a bowl and sprinkle with the cheese and cover with a small plate until the cheese melts, about one minute.


Garlic Ramen or Angel Hair Pasta

1 pckg.  instant Ramen Noodles
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated, to taste

1.  Bring water to a boil in medium pot.
2.  Add the uncooked instant Ramen noodles.  DO NOT ADD SEASONING PACKET!
3.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes until pasta is softened and separated with a fork.  Drain and set aside.
4.  In the same pot, heat olive oil on medium heat until oil is heated all the way through.  Once oil is heated, lower heat to the lowest possible setting for your burner, wait 2 minutes and add your garlic.  Cook 15 minutes stirring constantly until garlic is a golden brown.  Do not do this on high heat!  The garlic will burn and the dish will taste bitter.
5.  After garlic has cooked about 15 minutes add the noodles and salt to taste.  Toss the pasta so the noodles are completed covered in oil and garlic.  Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on low heat to warm up pasta.
6.  Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Spicy Ramen and Cheese

1 pckg. instant Ramen Noodles
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack or mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. Siracha Sauce, can add more if you like it spicier
Kosher salt to taste

1.  In medium soup pot bring water to a boil and add instant Ramen noodles.  DO NOT ADD SEASOING PACKET!  Boil 1 minute or 1 minute 15 seconds.  Do NOT cook longer, if you do the noodles in this one get mushy and disgusting.
2.  Drain Ramen in a colander and rinse with cold water.
3.  In the same pot, heat butter on medium heat and add the flour to make a quick roux.  (For those of you who are Cajun, this is not our idea of a roux as you do not cook it until it is brown.  But you do cook it enough to get the raw flour flavor out.)  Cook about one minute, stirring constantly.
4. Pour in the milk and cook until it becomes frothy and thick, stir semi-constantly.
5.  Reduce heat to low and gradually add cheese a little at a time.  Making sure the cheese has melted before you add more.
6.  In the final batch of cheese, add Siracha and stir until cheese is melted.  Taste.  Add salt at this time if so desired.
7.  Increase heat to medium and toss in cooked Ramen noodles, cook until heated through about 1-2 minutes.
At this point you can add a little milk to the recipe if you prefer your sauce to be thinner.

Indian Style Ramen Noodles

1 pckg. instant Ramen noodles
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 tsp. curry  (Garam Masala actually tastes better, but if you don't cook a lot of Indian its not worth buying.)
1/2 tsp. red chili powder or Cayenne pepper or paprika (which ever you prefer)
1 tbsp. olive oil

1.  In medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until they start turning color.  Once onions have changed colors, add the tomatoes.
2.  Into the onion and tomato mixture add the curry (masala) and chili powder (Cayenne pepper or Paprika).  Simmer until tomato has softened slightly.
3.  Add about 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, add the noodles and cook for two minutes.

Asian Style Ramen Noodles

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper diced  (You can use the trinity combos that are already cut for you in the grocery store, if you do this, you only want to use about a half a cup of the mixture)
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1 tbsp. garlic rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. Siracha sauce, optional
1 pckg. instant Ramen noodles

1.  In a medium sized pot, boil water.  Put package of instant Ramen noodles in water.  DO NOT ADD SEASONING PACKAGE!  Cook for 2 minutes.
2.  Drain in colander and rinse with cool water.  Set aside
3.  In same medium pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Once oil is heated add onion, celery, bell pepper and carrot.  Saute for about five minutes, stirring constantly. 
4.  Add garlic rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and Siracha.  Cook for another two minutes stirring constantly.
5.  Add cooked Ramen noodles and toss until thoroughly coated.

Serve warm.

Since I am sort of on the topic of the flood and people who have suffered from it, I have these pieces of advice that I have learned from FEMA.  Every Friday, almost since the day of the disaster FEMA has sent Darrell Habisch to Classic Hits 103.3 to be on the Jeff and Company morning show so that he can answer questions that people may have concerning the help that FEMA provides. 

I know this isn't FEMA, but I thought it fits the attitude that most Louisianans in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas have right.

The advice below is the advice that I find he gives out the most on the show.

1.  Even if you don't think you qualify, go ahead and apply for help.  Even people who haven't been flooded have been effected and may be eligible for assistance.  Also, very often, FEMA is also going to send you to the SBA to fill out a loan with them as they have assistance they can offer that FEMA cannot.
2.  Denied does not necessarily mean DENIED.  FEMA does not have a status of: PENDING due to lack of documentation. Read through your denial thoroughly, you may just need to provide more documentation.
3.  If you believe you were denied and that is incorrect, APPEAL the decision.
4.  The squeaky wheel gets the attention.  FEMA is helping ALOT of people, don't be afraid to follow up so that you do not have to wait longer than necessary.
5.  Make sure that you also apply for state assistance. If you applied for FEMA you did not apply for state and vice versa.
5.  If your house is flooded and you are currently living at two addresses, make certain that FEMA has both of those addresses.
6.  If you are renting an apartment and thought that you would be safe because you were on the second floor, but now you are finding out that you have to move because of structural damage to the apartments below you, you are eligible for assistance.
7.  FEMA is here to help and they have lots of resources they try to provide to help you to do so. Check out
This sight has links to TONS of useful information.  In the news sections is a specific section on replacing lost documents and several other helpful tips.

The next post we get crafty and we start some Frugal Femme decorating crafts for Halloween!!!!

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