Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.
Today: Dinner always tastes better when you eat it with your hands.
My favorite part of eating toast for dinner is how decidedly grown-up it makes me feel. Not because it's a particularly involved method of preparation or because it requires any real mastery -- it's quite the opposite, actually. I experience the same feeling of adult bravado when I eat chips or candy in lieu of a real meal. It's the old "I can do whatever I want for dinner because nobody's going to stop me -- whether it's eating dessert first, ingesting 200 grams of sugar, or eating dinner with my hands."
Unlike a bag of Swedish fish or Smartfood (hey, everyone has their vices), toast -- topped with vegetables and proteins -- is a low-key, affordable dinner that will keep you satiated on a budget. It also somehow feels fancier than a regular sandwich.
Some tips to get you started:
- Don't settle for sliced white bread. Pick a toothsome loaf -- a seeded multigrain boule, or crusty ciabatta -- to give your base some heft.
- Start with a creamy base like hummus, ricotta, smashed avocado, or pesto. The flavor will saturate the bread and add some punch.
- Top with fresh vegetables and your protein of choice. Stick with what's in season -- tomatoes now, kale in winter -- for the freshest-tasting toast possible.
Here are a few recipes for inspiration:
Tell us: What are your favorite ways to eat toast for dinner?