Dinner on the Cheap

>> Monday, June 27, 2011

We're not experts with the whole budget grocery shopping thing. But we're slowly finding our way and making the most of the ingredients we buy. Take this meal, for example. It fully satisfied my pregnant tummy and cost nearly nothing to make!

  • 2 baked potatoes: 90 cents
  • Half a bag of collards: $1
  • 2 corn cobs: 50 cents
  • 1 container of Greek yogurt: $1 (on sale)
  • Chives: Free -- from our garden
That's a grand total of $1.70 per person. If each meal cost only this much, we'd be well under our $50 goal each week. However, we realize that's a bit unrealistic (and we'd get bored of eating potatoes alone pretty quickly!).

TRUTH TIME: From our weekend fund, as it was Sunday, after all, Stephen supplemented his meal with some shrimp ($7) marinated for an hour in home-brewed beer and tossed with lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Like I said, though. Even without the shrimp, this plate of food filled me and baby up.

And it was oh-so good . . .

The BEST part was the baked potato. So much, in fact, that I just have to share our favorite way to bake them. The skin is crisp, but not too crisp. Salty, but not too salty. The center is soft, but not too mushy. I'm sure you get the idea.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grab a long sheet of tin foil and fold over once or twice.
  • Rinse and scrub potatoes. Dry well. Then prick all over -- deeply 6 to 8 times with the tines of a fork.
  • Place potatoes on tin foil and rub with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil each. Then sprinkle on some coarse kosher salt -- roll to get it well distributed.
  • Place foil/potatoes (note that you DO NOT cover the potatoes with foil, you merely use it as a sheet underneath them) in the center rack of your oven for 1 hour.
  • Flip potatoes halfway through cooking and remove from oven to cool for a few minutes before serving. The salted skin = incredible.
  • 1 small container (6 ounces) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives -- chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • Just mix 'em up and serve on the side!

And don't forget the corn! Our prepared it by boiling in a large stock pot on the stove until the yellow color really pops. There's not true right or wrong way to do it, as we haven't screwed it up yet, but we also like to let it sit in the water as it cools for 5 minutes, so it gets extra tender.

What are some of your favorite meals created on a dime? I feel like it's much easier in the summer to eat on the cheap because I crave more simple foods. A little salt and lemon juice goes a long way, too.

Be sure to check out (never home)maker, baby! today for some preliminary details on our nursery design. We've got a long way to go . . . but we've been inspired!

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