Suppose you have six or eight guests approaching and only a couple of dollars in your pocket. Or dreary Sunday night is approaching and you'd like to have some people up for dinner to help you chasse the blues, but you're stuck with a thin wallet. What's a girl to do?
The answer is to make something good, filling, and cheap. So that your guests won't be expecting a triumph of French gourmet cooking, loaded with truffles and caviar, it's a good ploy to tell them in advance what they can expect -- e.g. "I just felt like making a big pot of chile con carne. Wouldn't you like to come and join me?" is good. And ask them to bring a couple of cans of beer to go along with it. Or, you could say, "Would you like to come by for a simple Sunday night supper?" Then bring out huge bowls of thick, fresh soup, lots of garlic bread, a green salad and one of those bottles of red wine you've saved. (Or ask a male to bring a bottle of wine.)
The recipes in this section are old reliables that begin from scratch; if you've got half a cold chicken in the refridgerator or some left over pot roast, check the leftover section for other ideas. You'd be surprised how many people you can feed on the remnants of a cut-up chicken.
Do sit down and make a list of everything you'll need, for you may discover that you've got on hand nearly all the makings of a full dinner. You'll never have all of them, but at least you won't have to shell out much hard cash.
Chile con Carne
2 TB olive oil
2 TB cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1.5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne (or some Tabasco)
5 tsp chile powder (or more, to taste)
1 lb. chopped meat
1 cup onions, sliced thin
2 large cans kidney beans
1 can tomatoes, drained
Heat the olive oil, brown the chopped meat and onions until the meat is brown and the onions golden. Drain the kidney beans and rinse under cold water. Put the meat, onions, and beans in a large pot, and add everything else. Cook slowly for one hour. Add more chile powder if you like it really hot. Serve with saltine crackers and cold beer. Serves 8.