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Rachel Rappaport of Coconut & Lime

By Betsy Becker, September 30, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Betsy Becker
Each of our six of our finalists for the Food Blogger Budget Recipe Challenge will be featured in a blog post here. Read about them and check out their featured recipe. By posting a comment on their recipe page, you help determine the winner in our Challenge AND you'll be entered in a drawing to win a $500 gift card! Rachel Rappaport is a food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor and commentator on all matters relating to food and cooking.  Her blog, originally started in 2004 as a place for Rachel to share recipes with her friends.  It now features hundreds of original recipes and easy home cooking tips covering a wide range of international cuisines from authentic Indian curries to traditional American favorites to vegan, Korean and Japanese food. Don't lie: what did you have for dinner last night?
Last night we were in NYC to attend a taping of a blog focused episode of Martha Stewart's show so for once I didn't cook! We went out for Thai with some friends and I had a great shrimp & glass noodle dish.
Remember: Don’t comment here if you want to support Rachel in our contest. You have to comment on her recipe page. We turned comments off to help you remember! Can you give us 3 to 5 of your favorite money-saving tips when it comes to cooking and eating?
Despite having a two person household I often buy family packs of meat and divide it into meal sized portions to freeze for future meals. Buying in larger quantities is often cheaper than buying smaller sized packages. I try to stock up on baking basics like flour and sugar near the holidays when they are on sale at heavily discounted prices. The expiration dates are often many, many months in the future so it is safe to buy a few months supply at once. I always eat fruit and vegetable in season. Not only is it tastier, it is much cheaper than buying it out of season. I keep basics like rice, beans, canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, and dried pasta on hand for quick dinners-no need to make a costly last minute shopping trip or resorting to takeout. I also study the circular and plan meals around what is on sale and make a list rather than just picking out things at the store. It is a great way save money-I stick to the list and stay on budget.
How do you continue to come up with fresh ideas to share with readers?
I really like trying to recreate foods I've had out in restaurants or from bakeries at home. I also enjoy putting a new twist on an old favorite: artichoke macaroni & cheese, mango-chile cupcakes.  I always say that we have to eat every day so every day is an opportunity to try something new!
What is your "go-to" weekday meal recipe - the one you pull out in a pinch for yourself that you never get tired of?
I love to make quesadillas-it is a great way to use up leftover vegetables or meat and is super quick to make, even if you make your own refried beans.
If you could host a potluck dinner with any three people, who would you invite and what dish would each person bring along?
Simone Beck would bring the perfect loaf of French bread, James Beard would bring hors d'oeuvres and canapés, and my Grandpop would bring his perfect Maryland style fried chicken and home fries.
Comments on Rachel’s recipe from her Budget Recipe Challenge page:
SailGirl207 wrote: We made this for dinner last night - OMG it's soooooo good. My 7 year old asked to put this recipe in our "family" cookbook (she has started making one with her favorite meals). My husband was thrilled to have a differnt kind of chili instead of what I normally make, lol. The spaghetti was a great idea. I ususally use rice, but this made the meal more filling we though.
Here's a picture of my new favorite cupackes: Eye of the Tiger Cupcakes--my original recipe. Remember: Don’t comment here if you want to support Rachel in our contest. You have to comment on her recipe page. We turned comments off to help you remember!
Category: Value - Whole Deal