Poor man’s caprese

A favorite among foodies is fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil, dubbed an “Insalata Caprese” or Caprese Salad for its Italian roots in Capri. Although less pricey than the original’s buffalo milk mozzarella, fresh mozzarella made from cow’s milk is still a luxury item when you’re eating on a budget. And, like many types of cheese, it has a relatively high fat to protein ratio. So, this poor man’s version substitutes cottage cheese and serves it up on crackers or bread. This still has that light, fresh taste, but it’s higher in protein and lower in fat, even if you use full-fat cottage cheese. You can use any bread or cracker as the base; I used a thin rice cake for this gluten free version, but it would be great with a rye crispbread or sliced baguette, too. This makes a great snack or light meal. I think I’d like it with tomato soup, too, despite the redundancy.

Poor man’s caprese

  • Crackers, crispbread or sliced baguette
  • Cottage cheese
  • Thick-sliced tomato
  • Basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt & Pepper

Spread 2-3 Tbsp cottage cheese on each cracker. Top with tomato slice, a drizzle of EVOO, salt, pepper and basil leaf. Nosh & enjoy.

Dietary notes: Lots of lycopene & Vitamin A, C & K from the tomato and a healthy dose of protein and calcium from the cottage cheese. ♥ Vegetarian ♥ Gluten Free

Cost: about $2.50 with a half-pound organic tomato.

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The incredible egg

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Break a couple eggs, not your budget! A simple fritatta, made with local eggs, feta cheese (from grass fed cows), organic veggies and sliced tomatoes on the side costs less than $3. Eggs have been called the “perfect food” for their high food value and amino acid profile. I made this with zucchini, scallions and basil. Vegetarian & and gluten free. Yum!