Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I love Greek food. I could probably eat it everyday. I love the freshness of it. Since I've put cooking on the back burner for awhile I wanted to make something fresh and cool. I did a tweak on one of my fellow August cooks blog post about Pita Burgers.
The original recipe was to make burgers but I wanted to use things I had. Instead I  used sliced skirt steak and greek yogurt for the sauce instead of mayo. I’m not a big fan of mayo I also like the fresh quality of Greek yogurt.

I prepped the sauce first Greek yogurt, fresh garlic, 1 cucumber, and some fresh dill. I seeded and diced the cucumber and mixed all of the ingredients in the bowl and set aside to meld the flavors.

Since the steak was sliced so thin I baked it in my convection oven so it would still be juicy along with some paprika and spices.

Diced some onions (last weeks chili), tomatoes and lettuce I had lying around. Creating what ultimately became more of a gyro then burger. As soon as the steak was finished cooking I swiftly assembled them added some fresh Tabouleh salad. Viola a really quick dinner that was inspired by the pita burger post.

$6.67- skirt steak
$1.99- fresh dill
$2.58- greek yogurt
$.65- cucumber
$3.70- pitas
$15.59 Total

So a meal that consisted of many things I had lying about and a few I had to purchase that will feed us for two days and still fit into my budget. Yippee

I've sort of fallen off the wagon...

I am still fine tuning my eight dollar dinners. Works just kept me very busy so I haven't had time to really cook or blog about it. I have still been keeping up with my eight dollar dinners but in a more mass cooking style.  I made a pot of chili last week that fed Eric and I for a 5 days. It was the same chili I posted about before but on a larger scale. The orginal purchase went way over my budget it was about $28.00 but it fed two people for quiet a while panning out to about $4.80 a day.

This experiement has really helped me see what I spend my money on. I am also more conscious of what I buy and how much and if it can be used for other meals. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last nights sad dinner

My dinner last night was good, though not extremely healthy. I have to admit I was being lazy and I wasn't very hungry. Dinner last night consisted of something I would have eaten in college. A simple box of mac and cheese. It was slightly special though, it was white cheddar shells from Trader Joe's.  They were on sale last week and I picked up a box to try. It want to say that it was $1.89. So while watching past episodes of Top Chef I ate my cheap but tasty dinner. I did add some garlic salt to spice it up a bit. For dessert... an orange.

So Dinner was under $3.00. I'll work on the health factor tonight, I think I'm going to make tacos. If I can make it under eight dollars.

Dinner secret..

So I've come to realize that it is possible to do a healthy dinner for eight dollars. I've realized though that it is even easier to make a larger something and make it last for a few days. Especially during the work week. I'm very busy and don't always have or want to spend hours in the kitchen. That is where my crockpot has become a great friend.  Last week I bought a roast, a can of diced tomatoes and a can of french onion soup and an onion. I added all of this to my crock-pot along with some dried herbs, salt and pepper. I let it cook for almost 11 hours. While I was at work it was on low. after I got home I turned it on keep warm since Eric was working late. Woah, it was the best roast I've ever made. It completely fell apart.  I strained out the tomatoes and half an onion to top my roast and reduced down the remaining liquid to make a sauce. For a side I diced the potatoes and onion and roasted them in oil and seasoning until the were tender. Hands down this is my favorite easy meal. To make it even better It lasted 3 days. On the last day I bought some buns for sandwiches. The roast just fell apart like pulled pork.

Pot Roast $9.59
Can of diced tomatoes $0.79
French onion soup      $.89
Onion                       $1.00
Sweet Potato           $ 1.05
Potato                      $1.10
  = $14.42 

Buns $0.89

This super easy work week meal fed Eric and i for 3 days giving me a dinner total of $5.10 per person for two days. We couldn't eat at a fast food place for that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trader Joe's and Chinese

Oh how I love Trader Joe's almost everything is somewhere around $2.50-$4.00 and so very good.   Eric and I were looking for a quick meal yesterday so we stopped by our local TJ's to get dinner. I was craving Chinese food so we decided to see what they had.  We ended up picking up Honey Chicken- $3.50 and some chicken and vegetable dumplings for $2.49. We had rice at home so viola awesome cheap Chinese dinner for $6.00. :)

*not the healthiest dinner we've made but well sometimes you just have to scratch an itch.*

Monday, August 23, 2010

Farmers Markets

I've sort of been on a crazy hiatus from my eight dollar dinners. I went on vacation again, my Dad came over for dinner. I made a roast chicken, veggies and risotto all under my eight dollar mark, but I know the cheese Eric bought to share kicked us over our budget. It was the first time my Dad has come over for dinner so I didn't want to cheap out. My Dad was lonely My Mom and brother were still away in Michigan so I said come on over for dinner. It was good times but now I need to get on track. Bringing me to the title of my post. Farmer's markets! Unlike most large cities Atlanta doesn't have many markets, but the two we do have are really good. So this past Sunday Eric and I trooped over to the Dekalb International Farmer's market. Eric had never been before. It's an amazing indoor market with produce, food and dairy from all over the world. We decided to spoil ourselves a little and do some grocery shopping and get dinner. So for the whopping total of $27.00 We got a ton of items. Ground Lamb for lamb burgers, buns, goat cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, onions, a bag of grapefruits, two fuji apples and two nectarines, a bagette, and two danishes. (We were hungry we don't usually buy pasteries.) ALL FOR $27.00. Why haven't I been doing this all along. So cheap, so good and so fresh. I am going back soon to make sure I stay on my $8.00 a day.

Chili Dogs!

While in Washington D.C a few weeks ago. Eric and I went to Ben's chili bowl. We had a half-smoke, a chili dog half hot dog/ half sausage, smothered in chili, diced onions and mustard.  We wanted to recreate what we had there at home. We tried to do it last week but I ran out of time and homemade chili. I still had half an onion though that I didn't use from my own chili. So our version of half-smokes for dinner. Eric picked up turkey sausage. We don't normally eat this much turkey it just keeps being on sale. Fresh buns, some Hormel Chili and dessert two oranges.  For a whopping total of $0.00

Once again I forgot to take a picture. Oy I need to step up my game. 
Eric cooked dinner this time so I'm not exactly sure of his process but it was very good.

$19.10 = 3 days, 2 dinners for 2 adults

Yes I went over my budget. but if I could make it last for 2 or more days I could adjust my budget accordingly. So I decided since I was going out of town, and had a busy week that chili would be perfect.  Eric and I headed to the grocery store to pick up supplies, ground turkey, beans, sour cream, an onion, tomatoes, cheese and the necessary fritos.  All in all it came out really well. Chili is such a fast thing to I forgot to take a picture I was so hungry to eat it. I continued to forget every day too. I am a big fan of chili. I did find a picture that looks kinda like mine.

receipt total:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vacation Break.

I've been on a slight hiatus. I went home to my family's lake house in Caseville, Michigan. To visit family and par take in the hilarious Cheeseburger in Caseville. It's a week long festival full of Jimmy Buffet, Margaritas, renaming parts of the town Key North, (like key west just cooler in temperature), and you guessed it Cheeseburgers.  I did actually stick to my eight dollars a day while up there.  It's a small town so things are pretty cheap.  I had an Elk burger. It was delicious and only $5.00 and made to order. Yum.
I did however make an eight dollar dinner before I left. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Saturday: London Broil.. aka Flank Steak

So on this quest to cook dinner for as cheaply as possible I'm looking into using cheaper and usually leaner proteins.  London Broil is a pretty lean piece of beef. It's also super cheap but if cooked improperly can taste like bad beef jerky and leave your jaw unhinged.  Saturday I set out to see if I could make a london broil tender with out a sous-vide. (We're plotting on how to make one. An actual sous-vide machine can cost $500.00-$1,000.00.)
I was hopping with this meal I could make it last for two days so my budget was upped to $16.00.

I purchased, a large can of diced tomatoes, my London broil, an onion, a sweet potato,a Russell potato, 2 carrots and a loaf of french bread, for the grand totall of $12.33.

I seasoned my London Broil, and threw it with the tomatoes, onion, garlic (on hand) and other seasonings in my crock pot on super low for about 8-9 hours. low and slow. I was hoping it wouldn't come out tough.

About 45 minutes before I pulled the meat out of the crock pot I chopped up all my vegetables and tossed them in olive oil and roasted them for until done at 450.

In all my dinner did feed us for two days. :) making it the cost for a dinner a whopping $3.08 cents.  The London Broil wasn't as tender as I would have liked but I made a reduction sauce out of the remaining tomato and garlic that it cooked in and that came out fantastic. The true winners were the vegetables. They were sort of crispy on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. That I will definitely do again. I'm not so sure on this method with London Broil. I think I'll grill it for stir-fry next time.

Sorry also for no pictures. I completely forgot until it was all gone.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

One of the perks of being an adult.

One of the perks of being a grown up. I still feel like I'm not quite there yet. Is dessert for dinner. :) Eric and I both worked late yesterday and didn't really feel like doing to much for dinner. So we decided to eat dessert for dinner. 1 slice of creme brulee tart for dinner with a glass of milk.  I'll pull the old Bill Cosby defense, it had an egg, milk and fruit in it it has to be healthy.  Needless to say dinner was great.  Also our laziness means that my chicken is up for tonight's dinner.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roast Chicken

I made last nights dinner. Which was a rotisserie chicken, garlic and herb couscous, and some more sauteed  green beans we still had from the dinner the day before.  We received a convection oven with a rotisserie attachment for our wedding. I've just recently gotten to use it. It's fantastic. It takes about 1.15 minutes to roast an entire chicken.

The chicken, I covered in olive oil, rosemary, fresh garlic, oregano, parsley, honestly whatever looked good. There really is no method to my cooking rubs. Then I just let it do it's thing. The green beans were sauteed with garlic and herbs and a bit of olive oil. The couscous alas from a box, but fast easy and delicious.

I also made dessert tonight. I made a strawberry creme brulee. I am also apart of another cooking blog where we take one ingredient a week or a recipe and make that and report back. See my post there for details on that endeavor. Which came out smashingly.

Tonight's dinner included a few things I already had on hand and I had all but 2 ingredients for the dessert and we still had fresh green beans from yesterday. So the couscous was the only thing that I had stored away in my cupboard. So my trip to the grocery store, still calculated but I didn't need to buy to much.

Dinner receipt breakdown.

Perdue Chicken $4.90
Strawberries      $2.50
Eggs                  $0.70

before tax $8.10
with tax $8.42

I did go over but once everything was made and eaten we have enough left over for dinner tomorrow making tonight's dinner $4.21 cents. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First round sucess

Eric's cooking the first round of our dinner's came out amazing. For a total of $8.21 cents we had an amazing dinner. In fact he didn't just feed the two of us. He fed 3 since his brother came over to visit. Our dinner included Cajun catfish, garlic grits, and fresh green beans.  It was really great and tasted even better since we spent so little on it. I didn't watch his process, but he baked the fish, and made traditional grits on the stove. The green beans he sauteed with seasoning.

Dinner Breakdown
Green Beans            $1.16
Cajun Catfish Filet   $4.96
Quaker White Grits  $1.87

order total= $7.99
with tax      $8.31
Tonight's dinner is up to me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eight Dollars a day.

Is it possible to create a good healthy dinner for eight dollars a day? Eric and I intend to find out.  We are setting out on a month long adventure to create good dinners each night for only $8.00. That has to include at least a protein and a vegetable. Tonight's the first night and Eric's cooking.

We arrived at this idea when we left our local grocery store and had dinner for around 9.00 and change. As we walked home we talked about how we could probably do it for eight dollars. We went on vacation and contemplated the idea a bit further. We both love to cook and thought this might be a really good challenge. Make us eat a little more conscientiously about what we put in to our bodies as well as how we spend or money.

**The eight dollars is what we have to spend that day. If we already have something in our pantry or fridge we are free to use it.  Spices and other extra seasonings aren't included in the price.**