May 2016 Cooking Challenge Is :<= $10

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Joined May 27, 2013
A Spectacular Dish For $10 Or Less



Hiyya folks!!



I know this is a bit different, but economics always plays a part in how we feed ourselves. This is something we’ve not seen before, so I thought we’d give it a go. You didn’t think I’d choose something easy, did you? 



The challenge is to combine ones talents with food as well as how we manage our money. It's an integral part of food, and this challenge is extended from the kitchen to the market as well. We've used limitations like ingredient selections or technique. This is just another limitation.



You can use whatever is in your pantry, i.e. spices, oils, vinegar etc. If it plays an important role in your dish, it needs to be counted toward the $10. We’re working basically on the honor system here, but each dish should have an ingredient list and how much it cost. For example : 



Pork Chop, Potatoes, Veg. Legumes, Onions, Garlic  = $7.23. 



The price should include the entire bag of legumes, even if you use only a small portion for your dish. I should also mention that if you have basil or other herbs growing at home (like I do), you can use that free of charge, unless of course it’s pesto. It can’t be a dominant ingredient, otherwise it counts toward the $10. Garnishes are ok, but if thyme is used to flavor a stew, then it counts. I think you guys get the idea. . . 



I chose $10 so that some proteins can be included, but it doesn’t mean you have to. No limit on how many or which ingredients. If you live in another country, use the equivalent. I know that might put people at a disadvantage (beef in Argentina is cheaper) but that will be factored into a decision. 



Following is a United States Department of Labor website with average unit costs. 



http://www.bls.gov/regions/mid-atlantic/data/AverageRetailFoodAndEnergyPrices_USandMidwest_Table.htm



You wanted a challenge, right?



If this doesn’t go over well, I have a few more conventional ideas in my back pocket. (smiley face) I didn't place the actual challenge in the title so I can change it if everybody hates this. (frowny face) You have 24 hours since I cannot edit after that. 



Whaddya think?


EDIT : Nicko locked this challenge in, so away we go. . . !!!!
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2011
This is funny. I had to buy a new fridge and dishwasher, and pay for repair for a leaky roof, so I'm fairly broke right now. This is the perfect challenge theme for me as most of my dishes will be under that this month.
 
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Interesting challenge. Can salt and pepper be free? But what about water and utilities, doesn't that factor in?
 
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Some of us buy everything in bulk,  definitely the pro crowd all does.   I think it is fair to cost out food pricing per dish.
 
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I just did my first shop for the challenge and although I can make $10 or less meals all day, it is harder than I thought to do with a more desirable dish. What about portion amounts? I know you mentioned factoring whole bag of beans if used, but even though I am under for what I am making tonight, for future, i may just make single serving items. It is easier if it is vegetarian dish, but i like meat.
 
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Salt and Pepper don’t count. It’s a pantry item. Water also doesn’t count unless it’s flavored and/ or you have to buy it. What comes out of your faucet doesn’t count. Neither do utilities. Nor gas money, nor rent or mortgage payments. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

The idea is to start at the market and not the recipe book. What’s available? What’s in season? What looks awesome? What's on sale?

Try to use the above posted unit cost guideline as a reference point and not vendors or friends that get you foie gras or local fresh tuna at cost or with minimal mark up. 

Already made homemade stocks, broths, or demi-glace (unless purchased) cannot be used. You have to start from scratch. Bacon from the last challenge can count if you can price it accordingly, per pound unit (slice) cost at your local butcher. Etc etc. 

Good Luck!!!
 
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Guess I sit this one out... I buy beef by the quarter, 50 pound bags of rice and beans, I buy wheat for bread 100 pounds at a time...
 

cerise

Banned
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I hope so. 
I didn't think a dish or two would disrupt an established routine. Sorry. Maybe I should have selected the other one. . . 

:( I thought it was a great idea, since many have noticed and expressed the pinch at the checkout line and want more bang for our bucks. I wanted to learn how to make porcupine meatballs again :)
 
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I think this is the best challenge idea I've heard yet. Spectacular doesn't have to mean expensive and affordable doesn't have to mean boring. I'm thinking this is a great way to showcase techniques as well as foods. Pureed, fried, strained, frozen, shaved, layered, marinated, fermented, salted, coated, roasted, perhaps all at the same time. 

 As I recently found my misplaced camera, I may actually submit an entry this time. 

And fwiw, MaryB, I think you are not giving yourself enough credit for being imaginative. Coming up with an appropriate dish for under ten dollars doesn't have to involve any of the items you buy in bulk. No sitting this one out. 
 
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My impression is $10 for everything, not $10 per serving.

Had I gotten home from work earlier, I would have made a tasty dinner for about $4 to kick things off.  But leftover soup is what it is tonight.

mjb.
 
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I'll throw my hat in!

Tuna "not like the lunch hall" Casserole

  
½ lb. Barilla Medium Shells $1.40/lb = $0.70 (I buy mine on sale $1.00/lb)

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil $12.00/2liters at Costco = $0.10

4 Tbsp. Butter $2.24/lb at Costco = $0.28

1 C. minced Onion $0.99

1 C. minced Celery  $0.30

½ C. minced Red Bell Pepper $0.44

1 Tbsp. Flour $0.52

½ C. Dry White Wine (like Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc $2.99/750ml) $0.50

½ C. Chicken broth Homemade $0.00

1 C. Half and Half  $0.50 (we use this in our morning coffee, so it's in the `fridge all the time)

1 C. frozen Peas  $1.25

2 seven ounce cans of Tuna $0.24/oz at Costco = $3.36

1 ½ C. Bread Crumbs homemade $0.00

Total $8.19

I made this the other night, we have it often.  This 9x13 inch Pyrex casserole will feed a family of 4 and still have room in the budget for a side green salad with homemade vinaigrette.
 
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Seems like the previous post implies it, but just wanted to confirm - buying items like potatoes or tomatoes at a X$/lb price and then using 2 out of the 5 I purchase, I make a rough estimate of how much those 2 tomatoes I use for a recipe cost out of the purchase of all 5?
 
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Joined Apr 24, 2011
 
I'll throw my hat in!

Tuna "not like the lunch hall" Casserole

½ lb. Barilla Medium Shells $1.40/lb = $0.70 (I buy mine on sale $1.00/lb)

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil $12.00/2liters at Costco = $0.10

4 Tbsp. Butter $2.24/lb at Costco = $0.28

1 C. minced Onion $0.99

1 C. minced Celery  $0.30

½ C. minced Red Bell Pepper $0.44

1 Tbsp. Flour $0.52

½ C. Dry White Wine (like Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc $2.99/750ml) $0.50

½ C. Chicken broth Homemade $0.00

1 C. Half and Half  $0.50 (we use this in our morning coffee, so it's in the `fridge all the time)

1 C. frozen Peas  $1.25

2 seven ounce cans of Tuna $0.24/oz at Costco = $3.36

1 ½ C. Bread Crumbs homemade $0.00

Total $8.19

I made this the other night, we have it often.  This 9x13 inch Pyrex casserole will feed a family of 4 and still have room in the budget for a side green salad with homemade vinaigrette.
I'd like to preface this recipe and say, the bread crumbs and chicken broth were made

with all leftover tidbits and old bread that would have been tossed, 

which I don't do, I save these things in zipbags in the freezer to make bread crumbs

and broth/stock, so it didn't cost me... okay, I'm really frugal  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif  
 
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On the general topic of frugal cooking: Maybe not spectacular food, but pretty good food...

Is is anyone familiar with Leanne Brown's blog and her cookbbook, Good and Cheap? The book is available as a printed, bound, trade book but also as a free, downloadable PDF. Healthy eating on $4.00 a day. Intended to help educate and inspire people living on the USDA average  "food stamp" aka "SNAP" benefit of $4.00 a day. She created the book as a capstone project for her masters in food studies at NYU. Meal planning and shopping strategies, as well as recipes. She is one of my food heroes.

http://www.leannebrown.com/
 
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ooohhh @ChicagoTerry  ... I bookmarked that site and will be reading more in depth later ... I like frugal!

like I said, I fed my husband and I on very little money for the entire day's worth of food when we were first married, I think I'd like to try it again.  My new trick is to not buy anything other than fresh necessities for a month, twice a year, just use whatever is in the freezer, `fridge and pantry...I saved a bundle!

oops, off topic ... back to your regularly scheduled programming ..... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 

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