Dinner Party for 4 under $35. Happy 4th from Revolution and Beer!

We’re doing a lot on the cheap lately. But being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t live a little. More than that, I’m watching fat and sodium these days and trying to eat a bit healthier. Being summer and busy I also can’t afford to spend a day prepping and cooking, but healthy cooking and convenience aren’t exactly congruent things.120_0711

There are few things as fast, tasty, healthy and flexible as hummus. Save the groans. If you think Hummus is the boring chick pea paste found in your neighborhood grocery, you ain’t heard nuttin’ yet. The great thing about Hummus is that it is really an open palette. Have fun with it, and be creative!

One large can of chick peas, a bunch and a half of cilantro, one Avocado, 2/3 of a fresh jalapeño, 2 garlic cloves, 1/3 cup olive oil, one lime and a table spoon of lemon juice, and heaven is a food processor away. I like a little bite, but not hell-fire, so I usually leave the seeds aside and just use the meat of the Jalapeño pepper. More heat? Throw in the seeds for some fire. Once its finished, and the whole thing takes about 6 minutes to prepare, you have this really pretty looking green Hummus, with wonderful aroma and a great fresh taste. All fresh, and totally healthy!

Over a very low heat prime a 1/3 cup of olive oil in a skillet with chopped garlic and crushed coriander seed. The seeds have a different character and flavor then the leaves (cilantro). Warm the oil as you are preparing the chicken. Just before you are ready to cook the chicken turn the heat up to a medium high.

To prep the chicken I sliced a boneless breast into thin slices. Throw that into a dish and toss with hot paprika, golden turmeric, curry and ginger powder, a touch of cumin and a couple pinches of salt. Toss all that in the dish with the chicken strips then sauté in the prepared oil on medium high to brown lightly.

This is how I like to serve Hummus: Spread a healthy amount in the bottom of a bowl. I served it with the chicken so I left a space in the center and filled it with the cooked chicken. Chop tomato and cilantro and sprinkle it over the plate and drizzle a bit of olive oil across the plate. Chop pita bread, crustini, Indian Naan or Kulcha, or any good flat bread. 120_0715

I might have gone with a beer with a sweeter side to balance the spice in the Hummus. I’ll confess to a malty dark Austrian beer, Hirter Morchl, ($2.99 for a half pint from a local grocer) from the heart of the Alps as I was preparing dinner. For service we switched to a Piesporter Michelberg from the Mosel region. We went cheap. Two bottles would have been about $17 bucks. Total grocery cost, $2.39 for the chick peas, $5.89 for the chicken and about $4 bucks for the produce for a grand total of $34 with tax.img_0371

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post