With the sounds of Steppenwolf, The Bee Gees and the Beatles wafting up from the basement, I chopped, minced, stirred and mixed my way to some fantastic budget friendly family meals for the weekend. There were a few rainy days; so my dad decided it was the perfect time to go through his record collection in the basement. You heard right! Remember those round vinyl things that you play on a record player? The collection was dusted off and a variety of nostalgic music was played throughout the weekend for my cooking sessions.
I did have one day off from cooking when we visited family in the Sarnia area on Sunday. It was a very beautiful, entertaining day. We even managed to get down to Point Edward on the lake for a walk and I snapped a few pics.
Bring on the food (and the financial facts)!
Normal Grocery Budget for one – $50 per week – ACTUAL SPEND for weekly and weekend $133.16
Budget for booze $20 per week – ACTUAL SPEND $39.85
Total cost of just weekend $84.51 (my family bought the burger beef $15.90, and had a whole chicken in the freezer).
*Note: meal calculation numbers have been broken down taking total cost of the ingredient and dividing it by portion used to get final cost. I.e. Risotto is $3.27 and usually provides 3 pots (each serving 4). $3.27/3=$1.09 per pot of 4 servings. Some items I already have in my cupboard and have tried to place a small dollar value on them.
Friday – Meal for 3 plus leftovers – COST $21.31
Chipotle Burgers and Potato Salad
The burgers are fairly straightforward and very easy to make. This recipe I came up with makes about 6 large burgers.
3 pounds Lean Ground Beef
½ of a Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tbsp Chili Powder
¼ cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Tabasco Chipotle Sauce (or half a bottle)
½ tsp salt and pepper
I usually have the beef in one bowl, add bell pepper, onion, garlic, bread crumbs and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and tabasco together. Before adding egg/tabasco mixture, mix the beef with all ingredients. It’s easier just to get your hands into it and squish it all together. Once its mixed fairly well, add egg/tabasco mixture and do the same thing. Squish it all together with your hands.
Form into patties and BBQ at 400F for 20-25 minutes.
Michelle’s Famous Potato Salad (at least I like to think so)
3lb Red Potatoes, cubed
2 celery stalks, diced
3 Dill Pickles (approx ¼-1/2 cup) diced
4 Radishes, diced
½ cup Green onion, chopped (approx. 3)
4 Eggs, hardboiled and chopped
1 cup Mayo
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard (I like Keen’s)
¼ tsp black pepper
If you like, add a couple dashes of paprika too! Adds a nice flavor.
Potatoes can have the skin left on but scrub them in cold water first. Dice into approx. 1 inch cubes then boil for 8 minutes. They should be tender but still firm. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Celery, pickles, radishes, green onion and eggs should be chopped and added to a large bowl. Once cool, add potatoes. In a separate smaller bowl, combine mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Add to potato mixture, stir until combined and voila! Easy Potato Salad in about 30 min to an hour tops.
*Special note for boiling eggs with best results: Place eggs into pot of cold salted water and bring to boil. Once at a boil, turn down to medium and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain, then let sit for 5 minutes in cold water. Crack shell gently the peel! Eggs should not break open while cooking and should be fairly easy to peel.
Saturday – Meal for 3 plus leftovers – COST $16.29
BBQ Chicken and Moroccan Quinoa Salad
BBQ Chicken Rub
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp Chipotle Powder
2 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Cumin, ground
1 Tbsp Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp Mustard Powder (again I like Keen’s)
1 tsp Black Pepper
Mix all ingredients together and in 5 minutes you have your own rub. This will cover 1 whole chicken. I find I usually have more left over that you can store in an airtight container for later use. Usually it last a month or so. It cooks up with a nice crispy skin from the Brown Sugar. In my kitchen, we usually cut the whole chicken in half as its easier to BBQ and cook at 400F for 40 minutes.
Moroccan Quinoa Salad
This is a fantastic recipe I found on CTV.ca from the Looneyspoons. I’ve modified it quite a bit. I’m not a fan of currants, mint or grated carrots in my salad so I’ve omitted them. Full recipe is here.
Step one ingredients:
1 cup uncooked Quinoa (prewashed)
2 cups vegetable broth or I use Chicken broth
¼ cup dried currants – I OMIT THESE
1 tsp medium curry powder
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey – I OMIT THIS
½ tsp salt
Step one Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a medium pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 10 min. Fluff with fork and leave uncovered until completely cooled.
When quinoa is cool, transfer to large mixing bowl.
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, diced English cucumber (peeled) – OMIT grated carrots
1/3 cup chopped green onions (approx. 2)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or a half a lemon)
Lots of freshly ground pepper
Step two directions:
Mix well and refrigerate for at least one hour or two before eating. Tastes even better the next day!
Monday – Meal for 3 plus leftovers – COST $30.54
Saffron Risotto with Scallops
I found this recipe in the Early Summer 2013 edition of the LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine. You can find the recipe online here (Too much typing!). I followed the ingredients and instructions to the letter and it was a fabulous meal! I really wasn’t one for the Fava (Broad) beans and later realized from the picture that they probably meant Lima beans. The beans are much smaller in their picture for the recipe. All in all, it was still a great meal.
Even though I didn’t really set a budget in stone or on paper for this holiday weekend, I managed to do quite well. We still have quite a bit of Potato Salad and the Quinoa Salad left over for during the week.
Hope you enjoy the recipes! Please share in the comments your budget friendly holiday weekend tips.