Tax season menu

Good eats on the cheap for tax season

April 15 is looming and for some of us, that means writing a check to the IRS and pinching pennies for a while, which might take restaurant dining out of the equation. If this sounds familiar, these dinner recipes and menu are for you.

Are you paying The Man more than you’d care to think about this year? One place to save significantly is food. Cutting back on food expenses doesn’t have to mean cutting back on flavor. Even on a budget you can eat more than ramen noodles and fast food value meals. Cook this restaurant quality meal at home that will comparatively cost you pennies to the dollar.

Sesame-crusted Asian pork tenderloin recipe

When you cut into this tender and juicy pork, you’ll wonder why you ever ate out in the first place.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Whisk together garlic, ginger, green onions, brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice and all oils. Pour into a zip-top bag.
  2. Add trimmed pork tenderloin and marinate in refrigerator for three to four hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Remove pork from marinade. Combine sesame seeds on a large plate. Roll pork in seeds, coating entire surface and pressing to adhere. (Discard marinade.)
  5. Place coated pork into a glass baking dish. Roast for about 25 minutes, turning once, until a thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork is 145 degrees F (for medium).
  6. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Let rest for at least five minutes (temperature will raise to about 150 degrees F).
  7. Whisk together all ingredients for sauce.
  8. Slice and serve with a drizzle of sauce.

Twice-baked potatoes recipe with hot mustard

Classic twice-baked potatoes recipe get a twist with a hint of hot Chinese style mustard and fresh green onions and cilantro.

Serves 2 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot Chinese style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for boiling potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and generously salt water. Boil potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl, mash potatoes with two tablespoons butter, cream, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir in green onions and cilantro. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  4. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Brush the insides of two ramekins with butter. Divide potatoes among the ramekins. Brush tops of potatoes with butter.
  5. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until tops are starting to brown.

Ginger-sesame green bean recipe

Steamed green beans get a huge flavor boost in this amped up side dish.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Steam green beans over boiling water for about seven to eight minutes (adjust time depending on desired tenderness).
  2. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté shallots until soft; then add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for about one minute more.
  3. Remove green beans from steamer and add to pan. Add butter, let melt and toss to coat green beans completely.
  4. Serve immediately.

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