Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recipe: Grilled Steak, Pepper & Asparagus Wraps

So this is a rather embarrassing and I'm trusting you all not to stop reading my blog because of this, but in the interest of being brutally honest about how hard it is for me to make ends meet, and to prove that no matter how difficult the circumstances (some have doubted the authenticity of my poverty), I will always find a way to eat well, I confess to the following:

Poor Girl forgot to pay her gas bill. *hangs head in shame*

With all the crazy practicing & performing for Easter, the increased stress at work, and some unexpected bills popping up, making this a very bare bones April, I both forgot to pay the bill and could not afford to do so. I came home today and found a friendly little disconnection notice on my door, just as I was thinking of this great new recipe to try tonight. I sighed, came in, and apologized to the cats for being such an irresponsible mother (not that the lack of stove & oven usage really affects them). Hopefully they - and you, dear readers, as I honestly value your opinions quite highly - have not lost any respect for me.

The gas will be turned back on in the next couple of days, of course. I'm just feeling a little stupid right now for letting this completely slip my mind, especially when I had so much good food planned. Still, I don't get paid well at all and am always waiting for that next paycheck to arrive just to keep body & soul together (this recession and increased price of everything out there is making matters even worse). Even if I hadn't forgotten, I would have been subject to disconnection soon enough (PG&E is getting vicious these days). However, if there's one thing I've learned about always being broke is that you absolutely canNOT let it get you so down that it rules your life. Yes, it sucks. I hate living this way. But everyone is feeling the pains of this recession more and more each day, not just me. Everywhere you look you read horrible stories of entire families taking the scary way out just because they can't escape the bills, or great renters who have been evicted because building owners cannot afford their own mortgage, or thousands more Americans losing their jobs. When you think of all these things and put them in perspective, you realize that even situations like my current one are not so dire. I have a roof over my head; I have a job; I have a ridiculously resourceful mind and spirit; I have electricity; I have asparagus and beef in my refrigerator. Life really isn't as bad as it could be.

I was originally saving the beef for one final round of steak quesadillas before trying to quit most gooey melty cheeses cold turkey, as well as using it for easy protein in salads, etc. With the cool new idea I had thought I could realize just tossed out the window with my blue gas flame, I had to quickly reassess the situation and figure out what to do with said steak. I had thought about throwing it in a baked potato, but that wouldn't work because I can't bake anything right now (and I live microwave-free, so that wasn't an option). Perhaps as part of a taco salad? Yes, but no... not today. Then I remembered a nice little bundle of frozen asparagus I'd gotten on my last TJ's run. Yes..... steak and asparagus, and some red pepper and feta, all wrapped up together in a tortilla (which should be whole wheat but beggars can't be choosers). A portable, almost dirty-dish-free meal. I was all for it. The flavors blend together beautifully, the colors are gorgeous, it's not entirely bad for you, even when made with a flour tortilla.... really, what more could you want?

This is a great way to make use of your little George Foreman grill, or any other little electric grill. These little machines are very handy and are not meant for burgers alone. Weather too bad to grill outdoors? Use this to make some tasty kebabs! Don't have time to lug out all your grilling equipment? Plug in and grill away. Poor Girl doesn't eat well just because she's good at food math; she makes use of everything in her kitchen, even the most kitschy sounding gadget. If I can have a yummy dish without the full use of my kitchen or owning a microwave, so can you. Just get creative, think survival, and start cooking. Now prepare to enjoy your indoor, outdoor-tasting meal. And did I mention it's super simple to make and relatively guilt-free, not to mention cheap? Even better!

Grilled Steak, Pepper & Asparagus Wraps (serves 2; total cost per serving: ~$2.75)

2 flour (or whole wheat, preferrably) tortillas
4 oz. flank steak
1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 c rice vinegar
1/2 T garlic salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
10 asparagus spears
2-3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Marinate the flank steak in the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic salt, and both peppers for about 1/2 hour. Heat the grill and grill the asparagus; set aside. Next grill the red pepper strips. Finally, grill the steak, making sure not to overcook so it's not tough & inedible. Cut the steak into long strips and set aside. Heat the tortilla on both sides until just golden brown, then add a bit of feta. Assemble the wraps by adding the asparagus, pepper, and steak strips, a bit more crumbled feta, then rolling together into a neat little wrap. Cut into small rounds if you like, or eat the entire wrap burrito style. Either way, enjoy!


  1. Bravo...bravo!! I must tell you my PG&E story one day. Not enough room here but girl...I can so relate.

  2. You're not the first person who either forgot or couldn't afford to pay a bill, girl. Trust me on this. And I for one appreciate your honesty and candor. I tend to also look at what I do have instead of what I don't. It puts things in perspective and allows you to live life from a place of gratitude. The recipe also looks delicious! You kicked ass on this post.

  3. I completely admire your resourcefulness, and there would be no opportunities to show it had this (and other things...) not come along.

    One more thing. Your comment about George Foreman grills and fully using your kitchen equipment got me thinking... do you think you could do a post on the gadgets you use and recommend? Say, what about a food processor or standing mixer? I am trying to outfit my kitchen to make cooking a little more convenient, but I don't want to shell out major bucks for something I don't need.

    Thanks, and please NEVER EVER stop posting this blog...

  4. I must say, I have been reading your blog for a while now and I just want to thank you for continuing to provide everyone with such creative and cheap(!) meal ideas despite your daily struggles in life.

    Hopefully this recession can end soon. Looking forward to some more creations.. and stop chastising yourself for your love of cheese. I love cheese..almost as much as you;)

  5. Totally coming out of lurkdom to tell you that your creativity is part of what keeps me coming back! I know how difficult it can be to make ends meet (Peef lost his job at the end of last year, and we were pretty broke for the last few months). And Creativity is KEY.

    This dinner looks positively stellar! It's a great idea! And I might have to try it out myself the next time I have a bit of leftover steak.

    Hang in there!!



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