Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cheap and Easy in the Kitchen

I just got back from a great cooking demonstration class. (Thank you, Groupon!)

Personal chef Zan Dial of Nova Personal Chef taught us how to cook 3 of the recipes from his upcoming book Cheap and Easy in the Kitchen. His whole idea is to share tips on cooking meals for a family of 4 for a week for under $100. He gave us all 7 recipes from the book, so I've got lots of stuff to try. (I'm not going to reproduce the recipes here, out of respect for his upcoming book. I will post in the future if I make my own variations on them.)

In the demo, he made - and we sampled:

- Shrimp Creole - This was delicious and had great heat to it. I loved it with the shrimp, and he said it can be made with chicken, scallops, or white fish too. I asked about reheating, and he recommended that it would be better to make it with chicken for a meal to eat all week, since microwaving shrimp is NOT a good thing. I will definitely make this.

- Baked Ziti - A good simple recipe, with a great basic tomato sauce that I loved. It's got the usual, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, onion, and garlic plus a little sugar to cut the acidity. His recipe can be made with or without meat, and it also would be a great meal to make once and eat leftovers for a few days.

- Braised Beef with Root Vegetables - OMG this was delicious. What a great reminder of how awesome beef is when braised in red wine. :-) This is similar to my beef stew recipe, just slow cooked either in a crock pot or on a stove top. I need to start adding wine to my stew, cuz it just makes it out of this world.

In addition, we got recipes for:
- Penne with Vodka Tomato Sauce
- Pasta Primavera with Chicken
- Grilled Flank Steak and Red Peppers
- Beef or Chicken Kabobs with Cucumber Salad

I will most likely be buying the book when it comes out, cuz these recipes are all pretty easy for a beginning cook. Zan also has a weekly email list where he shares new recipes - you could probably email him (at the address in the comments) to be added yourself.


Zan Dial said...

Glad you had a great time and I hope you enjoy the recipes. I noticed the link to email me wasn't working for some reason in your blog. I can be reached at

Thanks again!!

Zan Dial

DC Food Blog said...

I totally agree with the shrimp thing. I make gumbo a lot and switched to chicken or crab gumbo because reheated shrimp is just vile. Also yay wine! It's a great way to add flavor without adding salt.