Lunch Specials for Wednesday, April 26, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Linguini Chicken Fajita

Sandwich: Curry Chicken Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Mix Green Chicken Salad Feta, Walnuts, Raisins, Cherry Tomatoes & Cucumbers

Pizza: Small Hawaiian Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon With Arrabiata Sauce

lunch specials, 7.99, pasta, pizza, salad, fish specials, Italian

Lunch Specials for Tuesday, April 25, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Capellini Scallops With Mushrooms in Pesto Sauce

Sandwich: Hot Pastrami Sandwich With Pasta Salad

Salad: Tuna Apple Salad

Pizza: Small Alaskan Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long):Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Monday, April 24, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Penne Chicken Siracusa

Sandwich: Sausage Sandwich With a Small Salad

Salad: Greek Salad with Chicken

Pizza: Small Pizza Plus Two Topping

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Talapia Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

 

The trick to perfectly cooked pasta

The formula for pasta seems oh-so-obvious: water + pasta = dinner—right? But sometimes it’s the supposedly simple things that prove to be the trickiest.

It turns out the window for pasta perfection—not too mushy yet not too chewy—is dangerously slim. And then there are all the other factors to consider. Should you add salt to the water? Or oil? What about a cold-water rinse at the end?

If your head is spinning (ours certainly is!), take a deep breath and let go of the pasta panic. We’ve assembled the best (and easiest) tips for excellent pasta every time.

Steps 1. Use a large pot.

Pick a roomy pot that gives the pasta plenty of space to move. As in, don’t reach for the dinky covered pot you use to boil a pair of eggs—it’ll crowd the pasta into a tight ball. Instead, this is a good time to call that eight-or 12-quart stockpot into action.

2. Load up the pot with lots of water.

When you’re hungry and want to get to spaghetti time stat, you might be tempted to use less water so it comes to a boil quicker. Don’t. Just like pasta needs a roomy pot, it also needs plenty of H2O so it can be totally submerged. (Any strand sticking out above water won’t get cooked.) You want five or six quarts for a standard package of pasta.

3. Salt the water.

Then salt, salt, and salt again! Don’t just give a single tap of the shaker—you want to use at least a tablespoon. You know when you get a mouthful of seawater at the beach and it’s disgustingly salty? You want that level of salty. This gives the pasta a flavor boost. Trust us, everything starchy tastes better with a generous hit of salt.

4. Bring the water to a full, rolling boil.

Again, don’t let hanger make you dump in the pasta when the water is at a mere simmer. That could result in a few raw, uncooked pieces—truly heartbreaking for any carb lover.

Don’t stray from the pot to see what people are tweeting or settle in for another episode of House of Cards—you’re on pasta stirring duty! Stand guard and stir the pot at least two or three times during cooking. (Or keep at it the whole time and get a mini biceps workout.) The benefit: Occasionally stirring the pot will keep your pasta from clumping.

6. Test the pasta two minutes before it’s “ready.”

Check the pasta packaging for the cook times, but don’t assume that time is gospel. About two minutes till go time, start checking the pasta’s doneness. Using a slotted spoon (or your utensil of choice), fish out a single strand of pasta, let it cool, then bite into it. In general, you want pasta that’s springy and chewy (but not like a stick of hardened gum). Everyone has different opinions on pasta, though. Italian chef Mario Batali prefers his pasta cooked just past the point of raw, a.k.a. “toothsome.” No matter your preference, it’s better to err on the side of al dente, as overcooked pasta will break down and become carby mush.

7. Save a scoop of pasta water.

Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, take two seconds to do this little step that most home cooks skip: Before you drain the water, save a single cup. This starchy water can work wonders in sauces, binding the sauce and pasta together, and breaking down thicker sauces so they’re less likely to clump at the bottom of your bowl.

8. Drain, stir with sauce, and enjoy.

Place a colander in the kitchen sink and drain your pasta. Put the drained pasta back into the pot with sauce (or into the saucepan if the sauce is still cooking), add your pasta water, toss, and serve.

Tips

  • Cooking times can vary according to pasta shape, amount, and type (whole-wheat, gluten-free, etc.).
  • Unlike dried pasta, fresh pasta takes only two or three minutes to cook, max.
  • Stuffed pasta, like ravioli, will rise to the surface and float when ready.
  • Don’t add any oil to the pasta water. Some cooks are under the false assumption that a glug of olive oil will keep the strands from clumping. But that’s nothing a good stir won’t solve, plus oil could leave your pasta too slick for saucing.
  • Don’t do a cold-water rinse on your pasta when it’s done cooking. That washes away all the happy starches that bind it to the sauce. (And the delicious salty flavor!)

Lunch Specials for Friday, April 21, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Farfalle Sausage

Sandwich: Chicken Salad Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Greek Salad with Chicken

Pizza: Small Roma Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Linguini Shrimp Carciofi

 

Lunch Specials for Thursday, April 20, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Penne Amatriciana With Grilled Chicken

Sandwich: Chicken Bacon Avocado Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Spinach Chicken Salad

Pizza: Create Your Own Calzone Two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia Over Linguini in Pink Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Wednesday, April 19, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Baby Shrimp With Onions, Fresh Tomato,& Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Sandwich: Chicken Pesto Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Beef Fajita Salad

Pizza: Small BBQ Chicken Pizza

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Salmon With Arrabiata Sauce

 

Lunch Specials for Tuesday, April 18, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Spaghetti Scallops In a Light Pesto Sauce with Feta Cheese

Sandwich: Turkey Sandwich With Sweet Potato Fries, Pita Bread, Pepperoncini Aioli

Salad: Chinese Chicken Salad

Pizza: Small Margarita Pizza With Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long):  Salmon Lemon Caper Sauce

Lunch Specials for Monday, April 17, $7.99 plus tax for Dine In or Pick Up Only Monday – Friday (11:00am-2:00pm)

*Specials are subject to change without prior notice. Please feel free to call and verify specials before coming in (213) 742-0303.

Pasta: Penne Forno With Cherry Mozzarella Cheese on Top

Sandwich: Hot Pastrami Sandwich With a Small Garden Salad

Salad: Caprese Chicken Salad

Pizza: Small Pizza Plus Two Toppings

Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus Today’s Chef’s Special ($12.95 plus tax – all day long): Tilapia Spicy Pomodoro Sauce

 

10 Smart Tips for Eating Healthy on a Super Tight Budget

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

When you’ve got a tight budget, meal planning and grocery shopping has its challenges. And, when you have a tight budget and you’re dedicated to eating healthy, it’s even trickier.

We’ve talked about each of these topics quite a bit in the past, and every time you guys responded with so many great tips and suggestions. Here are 10 smart tips from our readers that make eating healthy on a tight budget feel easy!

1. Buy fresh produce when it’s in season and freeze it.

Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up fast. Stick with buying what’s currently in season, and consider stocking up when you find a good deal.

In the summer I will buy three or four dozen ears of corn when it is two ears for a dollar (or less). You can cut it from the ear and freeze it in bags, or freeze it whole (though the former takes up less freezer space). Then you have (really great tasting) corn for cheap for several months. Same goes with other vegetables. – doilyglove

2. Look for sales and plan meals accordingly.

If your local grocery store offers a savings card be sure to sign up, and check the weekly circular to see what’s on sale. Instead of shopping for groceries based on your weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what’s on sale.

If the store you usually shop at has a weekly circular my best piece of advice is to check it every week and plan your meals around what’s on sale. This has saved me so much money lately. It can also force you to get creative and maybe try some items or dishes you’ve never had. – kristen44

If you do not like prep I strongly recommend watching for sales on frozen vegetables. Here we sometimes get 10 for $10 sales on frozen vegetables, so I always stock up on onions, bell peppers, carrots, and peas. Makes it super easy to make something healthy. – Liz@LamentingLizzie

3. Try less expensive cuts of meat.

You can still enjoy meat, even when you’re on a tight budget. Look for less expensive cuts of meat, like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, and try different cooking methods, like the slow cooker, to make tougher cuts of meat tender and juicy.

If you’re a meat-eater, learn to love cheaper cuts! Bone-in, skin-on, tougher cuts of red meat, and organ meats are all dirt-cheap (and more nutritious and flavourful!) compared to, say, boneless skinless chicken breasts, even if you’re buying the organic/free-range stuff. Don’t be afraid of (good-quality) fat, especially if you’re trying to lose weight! – the enchantress

The Crock-pot does an amazing job of taking cheap cuts of meat (pork shoulder, chuck roast, etc) and making them tender and juicy. – Sarah_L.

Look for cheaper cuts such as lamb neck fillets, pork belly and cheeks, shin of beef, whole chickens that will yield enough for leftovers, plus a carcass for soup or congee, chicken livers, gizzard, etc. Perhaps borrow a book from the library that will show you the techniques for bringing out the best from these cuts. – pearmelon

4. Embrace whole grains and beans.

Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves.

I use black beans to stretch my meat. You can spend $15 and get the ingredients to make chili which will last for one person, 10 meals. I mix (cooked) black beans with ground turkey and make turkey burgers using that. – Christy Belville

Whole grains can really bulk up a meal and make it more filling and they’re generally on the cheaper side. Buy a package of wheat berries, whole wheat couscous, cook it up and freeze it in single portions to throw into salads or soups when you need them. The whole grains will also keep you full longer and may help aid in your weight loss efforts. – kristen44

5. Plan and prep meals ahead.

Whether it’s veggies for the week, tomorrow’s breakfast, lunches or dinners, prepping food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy. Plus, it’s also a good way to make sure you’re eating what’s in the fridge, to minimize waste.

I spend some time every weekend planning my meals for the week. I don’t mind eating leftovers so I plan on eating the same thing several times. I try to at least get my lunches prepped on Sunday so I’m starting the week off right. Then I might make something to eat on Monday night for dinner and eat that several times as well. – sweetautumn

I can cook two meals on Sunday night, package them up in portable containers and be set for lunch and dinner all week — with just one night of cooking. (This only works if you don’t mind eating the same thing every day – and I’ve learned it’s important to stick with what you like or outside temptations will be everywhere!!!) But it’s great to save time and money! – PropTart

6. Broaden your culinary horizons!

Cuisines, like Mexican and Indian, rely heavily on inexpensive ingredients, like beans and rice.

If you don’t like Indian or Mexican food, learn to. From my experience it’s the best value to flavor ratio. In both cuisines, rice is a staple, which is cheap. Both are not meat heavy, which is also cheap. Both also allow a lot of ingredients to be used interchangeably. Less waste which equals cheap. – Baxatax

If you like Mexican food, you could do burritos filled with anything you like. Or you can do a tortilla-less version of huevos rancheros that I often make for dinner. Very filling, loads of protein and fiber. – miabica

7. Keep an organized fridge and pantry.

Leftovers are always great, but it totally defeats the purpose if they get lost in the back of the fridge. Label leftovers and keep your fridge organized to help minimize food waste.

Waste of leftovers or frozen food can be minimized by keeping an orderly fridge/freezer and by labeling. I use a strip of masking tape and a Sharpie to identify food and date on the container. Package foods in amounts you will use, such as freezing chicken pieces by twos and hamburger in patties separately wrapped. Keeping a list of items in the fridge also sounds useful but I admit I’ve never been able to stick with that one. – janmarie

If you freeze stuff, make sure you periodically go through your freezer and eat everything in there. Sometimes I forget this step, but my wallet and my evening hours benefit when I use up all my frozen food! – becster.henrich

8. Repurpose leftovers.

If you don’t like eating the same meal over and over, consider repurposing leftoversinto an entirely new and delicious meal.

Last night I made a garlicky spinach and white bean soup with leftovers from a rotisserie chicken. It made a really delicious soup that was simply lovely with toasted bread. – vintagejenta

Things that you can make into a sandwich later work well (poached chicken, meatballs, meatloaf, roast beef/pork/chicken). When whole chickens are on sale I buy two and cook them both. The first night is roast chicken and then I can make sandwiches, soup, pot pie, throw some in fried rice…you can really stretch a couple of chickens and make a lot of portable options.

Find the day when you can do some prep cooking and do a roast, then portion it out, make soup etc. to last you the rest of the week. – anotherjen

(Image credit: Jayme Henderson)

9. Go to the farmers market at the end of the day.

Depending on where you live, farmers markets may or may not save you money during regular hours. Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals.

My best tip: When I was on a *really* limited budget, I would go to the public market/ farmer’s market about an hour before they closed.
You can get some very good bargains on produce that way, since the sellers want to unload as much as possible before they close up for the day. (And sometimes, they’ll throw in a little extra just to be nice!) – skd80

10. Shop at farmers markets.

Consider checking out local farmers markets. Not only are you likely to find a bargain on certain products, you’ll also find some really interesting ingredients.

You can buy really varied, interesting, healthy foods in farmers markets. I never buy fresh produce in a supermarket – they’re very overpriced. That goes for just about any fresh ingredient and most whole foods. You can also find really fresh fish and meat. Get to know your local farmers maket vendors and ask them for tips. – MaddyWho