Thursday, February 11, 2010

Leftover Night

Well, I suppose I should start with...yes, I've been slack. I've been working and shopping and working some more, so unfortunately my "totally awesome" new project got put to the wayside.

Consequently, I've decided to make this more of a whenever-I-feel-like-it kind of blog as opposed to an everyday block, and just put some cheap meal ideas up instead :D

I'm so great at procrastinating that I'll start tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010

Yeah, it's know how you almost always get a mental blank when someone asks you what you had for dinner the night before? It's like, it doesn't even matter how spectacular it is, once it's eaten and your plate's gone, you've had a good sleep and the next day is over you're, like, what on EARTH did I EAT!

Upon asking my boyfriend, he can't remember either. Must have been good.

I did a "big" shop on Sunday and spent exactly $40 on staple items such as flour, eggs, milk, cereal, and various fruit and vegies. It's been pointed out to me that I don't mention many vegetables in this blog, and I have decided this must change. Starting tomorrow, because ironically we had none with dinner tonight. Oops.

Anyhoo, tonight we had chicken carbonara, and it was gooood. So good, in fact, I've remembered we had it.

$3.00 -- Chicken breast
$1.25 -- Small tub of thickened cream
$0.60 -- 50g shredded ham (Yes, I do really ask for just 50 grams of the stuff, and yes, I do occasionally get weird looks from the people behind the deli counter, but what's the point in getting more than I need?)

Dinner tonight: $4.85
Total spent: $4.85

Serves 3 or 4, depending on serving size.

1 chicken breast, sliced, diced, or however you'd like it
2 eggs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (I use the cheap nasty stuff and still love it)
Around 100mL of thickened cream
2 teaspoons powdered chicken stock
50g shredded ham
Desired amount of pasta

(1) Start your water boiling for your pasta.

(2) Fry your chicken in a small amount of oil and butter. Remove from pan, and add the shredded ham. Cook for just a minute or two.

(3) Add your pasta to the boiling water. Cook required time.

(4) Drain pasta and return to saucepan over a low heat. Add ham and cream, stir well. Add the 2 eggs, again, stirring well. Add the parmesan cheese and mix (or stir...again) well.

(5) Serve topped with the chicken.

It should be noted that I just remembered what we had for dinner last night! We had very small pieces of steak, marinated in a barbecue rub, served with tonnes - and I mean, literally half of my plate kind of tonnes - of vegetables. Yay!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

End of First $40 Challenge!

Drum roll please...

And the total amount spent on dinner this week is...


Though I may not be trying this again for a while, I really learned that there are some sneaky ways you can seriously cut cost at the supermarket.

Go late in the afternoon and grab specials.

Only buy what you NEED and never buy food "just in case" or "I might feel like it." Eat recommended portions (for instance, one recommended serving of meat per person is just 100 grams.)

Make up for less meat with extra vegetables, or a little extra sauce and extra rice/pasta to fill you up.

It may sound obvious or juvenile, but when you chop up your meat for a stir fry (or anything, really) make it as thin as humanly possible so that it looks like more!

I'm sure I'll think of more as I go...I will continue to see how many bargains I can grab and how cheap I can manage dinner each day, but for now, the $40 is over, and almost $13 under budget, no less! Yay!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday, 29 January 2010

Whoops, bit late on this one, sorry. Earlier in the week I scored beef mince on special, so I grabbed it (it always, always pays to look.)

$2.45 -- 400g beef mince

Total amount for dinner: $2.45
Total weekly budget spent: $26.09

Serves 4

400g beef mince
1 egg
Approximately 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I just pour them in until I'm happy with the consistency)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestorshire sauce
2 teaspoons French mustard
2 cloves crushed garlic

(1) Smoosh it all together with your fingers until it's not really dry, but not too wet. Form into any shape patty you desire and grill.

(2) Serve on wholegrain buns with lettuce, tomato, cheese and desired sauce.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thursday's Dinner

After a lovely brunch with my beautiful mum, I'm ready to think about dinner. Tonight on the menu is the fallback risotto. Risotto is the kind of dish you can make when you only have 50 cents in your pocket - you can skip the meat and it'll still be great.

$3.12 -- chicken breast
$0.90 -- bacon rasher

Total amount for dinner tonight: $4.02

Total weekly budget spent: $23.64

Serves 2

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 rasher bacon, chopped
1 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
50g butter (approximately...I totally didn't measure, just threw a whole stack in)
1 small carrot
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup beans
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup cheese

(1) Melt a small amount of the butter with a little bit of oil in a large saucepan. When bubbling, add the chicken and the bacon. Cook :D

(2) Had a small saucepan with your three cups of stock simmering away nicely next to you; you'll need it hot and ready to use. (My stock was made with three teaspoons of Vegeta chicken stock powder and three cups of boiling water.)

(3) Add the vegetables, the rest of the butter and the rice. Stir to coat.

(4) Spoon on some of the stock and stir until absorbed. Then add some more. Then, if you're anything like me, lose all patience with it and just throw the rest of the stock in, cover, and simmer very gently for at least half an hour.

(5) Once the rice is tender and all stock has been absorbed, add the sour cream and stir in well, then stir in most of the cheese.

(6) Serve and top with remainder of the cheese.

Thursday, 28 January 2010 - Brunch, argh

I invited my lovely mum over for brunch today (it's currently 1 am, so that counts as today, right?) and it dawned on me about half an hour ago that I have no food whatsoever to offer her. Around here, lunch is a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal (we sleep late, nyah) and then, before you know it, it's dinner time. So what am I going to do?!

Fortunately, over the last few months I have discovered that baked things go a long way, and cost so little to make. I made a butter cake two days ago (I will post that dead easy recipe very soon, promise) with a coffee icing out of stuff I already had in the pantry.

Consequently, on the menu for tomorrow is this dead easy peach slice (yes, I know it says muffins but, you know, no muffin pan) and pikelets which I will be serving with choices of toppings such as raspberry jam, honey and peanut butter. (Yes, peanut butter. If you haven't tried peanut butter on a pikelet you've never lived.)

Total cost of brunch: $0.50 for one peach which I bought yesterday on a whim. Yay.

Provided this slice thing works out, I'll post a pic later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

You can't get much easier than this. I started making this now and then when the weather got really hot and all I had in the fridge was a bit of beef and some lettuce. Obviously, you can use any meat you like, and any greens you like, too.

$2.20 -- beef schnitzel (from the butcher, pre-made)
$2.60 -- asian salad greens (again, I cheated
and got the pre-mixed pack so I would get a variety of different lettuces, not just something like iceberg or cos)

Total amount for dinner tonight: $4.80
Total weekly budget spent: $19.63

Serves 2

1 beef schnitzel
1 asian salad greens pack
1 boiled egg, halved

1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar

(1) Cook your schnitzel in a little oil and a little butter.

(2) Divide your asian salad greens into two bowls. Top with dressing. (Really needed some lemon juice in that baby, so do add some if you have it)

(3) Slice schnitzel into strips, divide into halves and place on top of salad with boiled egg.