Restaurateur and celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli knows how to implement fresh produce in inventive, delicious dishes for a price that can't be beat.
The host of Food Network's new show "Supermarket Stakeout" shared two of her favorite cost-effective late-summer recipes, full of fresh veggies that are easy to make at home any time.
Guarnaschelli was able to create two meals for a familiy of four for under $25.
Check out the full recipes below.
Eggplant and Beef Burgers
The tomatoes and scallions are almost like the vegetable hybrid version of mixing ketchup and caramelized onions.
The eggplant completes this vegetable-laden burger by subbing in as the bun. Cook the burgers and let them rest while you cook the "buns."
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 4 burgers
6 scallions, minced, green and white parts both
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 pounds ground hamburger meat
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Canola oil
3 medium eggplants, cut into thick (about 2-inch) rounds (You need at least 8 rounds)
To prepare the scallion tomato jam, heat a large saute pan, toss the scallions and garlic with two tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until the scallions are caramelized and tender, five to eight minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and cook for an additional three to five minutes so they meld together. Stir in the vinegar and reduce for two minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, break up the meat and spread it up on the sides so that the seasoning really permeates the meat. Add the soy sauce and gently mix with your hands to make sure all of the flavors get integrated. Do not over mix. The more you "work" the meat, the tougher the burger. Form the meat into four even patties that are about 3/4-inch thick.
Heat a large cast iron skillet and add the Canola oil. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, arrange the burgers in a single layer in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and cook, undisturbed, for about three minutes. Turn them a quarter turn and cook for three more minutes. Use a metal spatula to flip them on their second side and cook for an additional three to four minutes for rare to medium rare. Remove the burgers from the heat and let them "rest."
To cook the eggplant "buns," pour about 3/4 of the excess grease from the pan. Add the remaining olive oil and the eggplant slices in a single layer. Season with salt. Cook on the first side until golden brown, five to eight minutes.
Turn on their second side and cook until tender but still holding shape, three to five additional minutes.
To assemble the burgers, arrange four of the eggplant bun "bottoms" on a flat surface and top with one of the burgers. Spoon some of the scallion tomato jam on each and top with another eggplant slice.
Supermarket Mushroom Pasta
I love making a dish like this from what I have on hand. The mushrooms are so meaty that this makes for a hearty dish without being super heavy. You can use almost any type of pasta shape here, though I am partial to spaghetti.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Crimini mushrooms, ends trimmed (stems still attached)
1/4 cup dry Marsala
1 pound dry pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the mushrooms: Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the onions and garlic and lower the heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, five to eight minutes Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Marsala to the mushrooms and cook until the flavor of the alcohol has mellowed considerably, five to eight minutes.
Cook the pasta: In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt. The pasta water should taste like sea water. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom as it cooks. Cook the pasta until "al dente", chewy but not hard or raw tasting, eight to 10 minutes, and drain the pasta in a colander until the sauce is finished. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking liquid in case you need it later.
Finish the dish: Add some of the pasta water and the butter to the pan to loosen the mushrooms. Stir in the pasta and the cheese and toss together. Serve immediately.