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Video: Curtis Stone maps out four budget-friendly dinners

  1. Closed captioning of: Curtis Stone maps out four budget-friendly dinners

    >> four budget friendly recipes for your family to try. they come from curtis stone and his new book, "what's for

    dinner: delicious recipes for a busy life." curtis good morning.

    >> how are you?

    >> how many books is this for you?

    >> number five.

    >> this one is not only budget friendly but it also gives you the good flavors in having foods last throughout the week.

    >> we have such busy lives these days. this book is designed for people that want to get a good nutritious healthy meal on the table for their families but don't have all the time in the world and i've categorized all the chapter business different days of the week.

    >> what are you putting in there?

    >> this is a beautiful, big ribeye.

    >> beautiful.

    >> this is four portions and we're doing peppered steaks with creamed spinach.

    >> this is our monday meal we're making.

    >> what we're doing is doubling up on the ingredients later in the week so you can sort of get the most out of your meal. so what i've done with this, and there's a whole chapter dedicated to five ingredient recipes. the ribeye, onion over here which i'll saute there and you get your spinach and this wilts down in just a second. you turn that up. so the idea here is that perfect steakhouse, you go and get that peppered steak with that creamy spinach. so we're going to cook this down, takes just a minute, once that starts to wilt.

    >> what are you adding in?

    >> cream and bleu cheese .

    >> how long does that take?

    >> literally 30 seconds. little bit of the cream and a little bit of the bleu cheese .

    >> do it the way do you.

    >> come out looking just like this.

    >> that looks great.

    >> isn't it beautiful? you get dinner on the table and with five ingredients and super uncomplicated.

    >> may i taste a little bit of this steak, looks too delicious. my favorite thing about your books is the dedication to your wife.

    >> oh, my beautiful girl .

    >> and how is the baby?

    >> he's amazing.

    >> delicious.

    >> he's incredible. can't get enough of him.

    >> one meal, okay, two. another five ingredient dish, chorizo and we're going to make case d ques quesadillas, you get it all together on here and build it up, get your cheese, once you've had that on for a second you get your cheese and chilies in.

    >> you do it on the heat right there?

    >> exactly. what happens is you get that beautiful flavor from the tortilla coming through and the cheese will start to melt.

    >> can i ask you how you cook this meat, what did you put in there other than the salt?

    >> the chorizo sausage, you remove the casing and cook it and don't need to use all of the fat and the quesadillas come out. it's simple. the motivating chapter which is all healthy to get you back in the mood, that's on monday, motivating monday, i've got one hot wednesday.

    >> of course you do.

    >> hardly any cleanup.

    >> have a taste.

    >> i will, looks delicious. you use the ingredients to make a couple more dishes.

    >> we used the ribeye earlier on, you come back and do a stir-fry later in the week.

    >> tell me how did you that.

    >> this is simple, you sort of start off with the steak and a little bit of flank stank eak or

TODAY recipes
updated 4/8/2013 10:02:26 AM ET 2013-04-08T14:02:26

Save precious time by planning a week's worth of meals all at once. Here, celebrity chef Curtis Stone prepares four meals that will get you through the week, including peppered rib-eye steaks, chorizo quesadillas, steak and green bean stir-fry and conchiglie pasta with chorizo, red bell peppers and spinach.

Grocery list:

Chicken broth

Oyster sauce

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Chinese rice wine or dry white wine

Soy sauce

Canola oil

Sesame oil

Olive oil

Heavy cream

Blue cheese

1 pound flank steak

4 rib-eye steaks

6 oz chorizo links

8 oz smoked chorizo links

4 to 6 chicken drumsticks

4 large red bell peppers

3 yellow onions

1 cup green beans

Baby spinach



1 1/2 cup shallots

3 scallions

11 garlic cloves

Recipe: Peppered rib-eye steaks and creamed spinach with blue cheese

  • For the creamed spinach:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, such as Maytag
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the steaks:
  • Four 12-ounce boneless rib-eye steaks (about 1 inch thick)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper (use a mortar and pestle or crush under a heavy skillet)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To make the creamed spinach:

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the onions and cook, stirring often, for about 3  minutes, or until  translucent. Add the spinach a handful  at a time  and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until  it wilts. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and press firmly to remove as much liquid as possible.

Add the cream to the saucepan, bring to a simmer over high heat, and simmer for  about  2  minutes, or  until  slightly  thickened. Stir in the spinach. Coarsely crumble half of the blue cheese over the spinach and toss to coat. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat.

To cook the steaks:

Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and the cracked pepper, pressing the seasonings into the meat. Heat two large, heavy skillets over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to each skillet, then add 2 steaks to each skillet and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until the meat feels only slightly resilient when touched with a fingertip (for medium-rare preparation). Transfer to the wire rack and let rest for 3 minutes.

Place the steaks on four dinner plates and spoon the creamed spinach alongside. Sprinkle with the remaining blue cheese and serve.


The touch test: An instant-read thermometer is a must-have kitchen tool, but its probe doesn't register the temperature of thin chops and steaks well. For those cuts, rely on the touch test. As meat cooks, its liquid evaporates and the flesh becomes firmer, and the texture changes as well. Press the meat with the tip of your forefinger. If the meat is rare, it will yield quite a bit. Cooked to medium, it will feel more resistant. Well-done meat will be firm. Let the meat stand for about 3 minutes before serving so that the juices can redistribute themselves.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Two-cheese quesadillas with chorizo and hatch chilies

  • About 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 12 ounces fresh Mexican-style chorizo, casings removed
  • 4 large, fresh hatch, Anaheim or poblano chilies (about 10 ounces total}, seeded and cut lengthwise into long thin strips
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 11 ounces)
  • 2 cups crumbled queso fresco (about 8 ounces)
  • Four flour or whole wheat tortillas

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil, then add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up into bite-size pieces with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a bowl; set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet, or add canola oil if needed.

Add the chilies to the skillet, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until crisp-tender and slightly charred. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a medium bowl, mix the Jack cheese and queso fresco together. Brush one side of each tortilla with canola oil. Turn the tortillas oil side down on the work surface.

For each quesadilla, sprinkle a heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture over the bottom half of a tortilla and top with one-fourth each of the chorizo and chilies, then another heaping 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling and press lightly to compact.

Working in batches, place the quesadillas on the griddle and cook, turning halfway through cooking, for  a total  of about  6 minutes,  or until golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Transfer to a cutting board, cut into wedges and serve hot.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Steak and green bean stir-fry with ginger and garlic

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound flank steak, excess fat trimmed and cut across the grain into 4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal
  • 1 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 large scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Rice, for serving

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water with the oyster sauce, rice wine and soy sauce; set aside. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and swirl it to coat the cooking surface. Add the beef, spreading it out in a single layer, and cook, without stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until well browned on the bottom.  Transfer the beef to a rimmed baking sheet.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to the wok, then add the bell peppers and green beans and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly. Stir in the shallots, garlic and ginger, then stir the oyster sauce mixture, add to the wok, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the sauce has reduced slightly. Return the beef and its accumulated juices to the wok, add the scallions, and stir for about 1 minute, or just until the beef is heated through. Stir in the sesame oil and remove from the heat.

Divide the stir-fry among four dinner plates. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves and sesame seeds and serve immediately, with the rice.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Conchiglie pasta with chorizo, red bell peppers and spinach

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces smoked Spanish chorizo links, casings removed and cut into pieces
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound conchiglie (pasta shells)
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 7 cups not packed)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, and then add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add the bell peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, for about 8 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite. Scoop out and reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.

Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and the spinach to the chorizo mixture and stir until the spinach wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta among four pasta bowls and serve.

Serving Size

Serves 4

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