from Good Housekeeping. If you’re feeling a little strapped for cash right now, what with all those price hikes on EVERYTHING, GH has the answer for you! Or, at least, that’s what it’s cover promised me when I went to the grocery store earlier this week: “2 Weeks of Dinners Under $10!” Excellent! As you have noticed, I can only get $10 to stretch for 3 full days, about 9 meals. So I picked up the magazine, eager to see what their secret was (because if it was good, I’d go ahead and buy the mag). As I was poring through the endless ads, the thought occured to me: maybe they mean $10/dinner for 4. Um, well, that would be okay. Not really tightening the belt, IMHO. That’s pretty much normal dinner price for me, maybe even slightly high. Finally, I found the article! Now what is their suggestion . . . (insert mental image of me scanning the article quickly)
That’s the big secret. The large print waxed eloquently about how you can have breakfast for dinner, quiche, or other egg-filled delicacies as a remedy for your rapidly dwindling food budget. Are they serious?!? Okay, for those of you who live on a budget, raise your hand if this was news to you. Also, go ahead and keep them up if you haven’t noticed that eggs have doubled in price over the past year. If your hand is up, you need to pay more attention. Eggs have always been one of the first things you learn to incorporate into dinner plans when your budget gets pinched. However, it also used to be true that cheese was a wonderful cheap filler. Well here is some of the prices I have noticed at my grocery stores:
eggs – $1.50 per dozen (on sale!), that’s $2 per pound
cheese – $7 for 32 oz., that’s $3.50 per pound
beans – 75 cents per pound (that’s in a 16 oz. package of dry beans)
cottage cheese – $2.50 per pound
I can always find some kind of meat within my price points: up to $1/lb. for bone-in (sometimes I will go $1.50 for nice looking pork chops), up to $2/lb. for boneless. We don’t eat a lot of steak, or even ground beef these days, but I could put a 4 oz. portion of meat on the table every night if I chose to. Especially because it would be as cheap or cheaper than the equivalent amount of eggs, and way cheaper than cheese. I put cottage cheese in there, because that is what I use for lasagna.
So what am I doing to tighten my pursestrings? I’ve been cooking one vegetarian meal each week, and I am thinking about adding a second, and not things based around cheese. This is not just for my budget, but also for better nutrition. So, instead of cheese enchiladas, the next batch I have planned is bean with veggies. I have a bunch of vegetarian meals saved in a cookbook on Zaar, things that are low on cheese, and aren’t a “veg version”. I just don’t like the idea. I don’t mean like vegetarian pizza, or vegetarian lasagna, or vegetarian enchiladas – those could all just be labeled “vegetable” instead of “vegetarian”. But I am not a vegetarian, so I don’t feel the need to make vegetarian “meatballs”. Or General Tso’s Tofu. It just seems silly to me. Meatless main dishes can be enjoyed simply for the food that they are, not the food that are pretending to be.
Okay, the omnivore will shut up now. 🙂