My personal finances have made me feel a little bit like the governor of a cash strapped state. I have to keep slashing services to keep up with the loss in revenue. The truth is that even the job I wanted paid only a fraction more than what this job pays. So while I try and figure out my next move jobwise, I’ve had to figure out how to slash costs.
I have pretty much cut out any eating out, and have been exploring how to nutritiously, but cheaply, feed my family at home.
Cooking Lite has a feature called “Feed for 4 Less than $10.” One of my favorite recipes is below:
Gingery Pork Meatballs with Noodles
½ c of chopped fresh cilantro
¼ c dry breadcrumbs
¼ c finely chopped red onions
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 pound lean ground pork
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces uncooked wide rice noodles (I can never find these. I just use wide noodles)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 cup red bell pepper stripes
1 cup julienne-cut snow peas
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
- Place a foil lined jelly roll pan in over. Preheat to 450 (We just use a cookie sheet).
- Combine 8 ingredients in a large bowl; stir gently just until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Divide pork mixture into 20 equal portions; shape each portion into a meatball. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on preheated pan. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until done.
- Cook noodles according to package direction; drain. Rinse noodles under cool water; drain. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper, peas, salt and crushed red pepper, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add noodles and toss. Place 1 ¼ cups noodles mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 5 meatballs. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons green onions.
Like I said, I really like this dish. But Jen took issue with the idea that this meal costs less than $10. 00. In the magazine, they say it costs $2.06 a serving. I went to Peapod, and put all the ingredients in the shopping cart. The cost: $29.66.
I figure, they must be taking the cost of soy sauce which is $3.29, and then dividing it so that the recipe only counts the cost of a tablespoon. If you had the soy sauce, sesame seed oil and bread crumbs on hand, this might be a less than $10.00 recipe. If you have to buy all those things, not so much.
But it does yield a lot of servings for us. The baby isn’t eating food like this yet. Between Jen, Parker and me, we get a couple of meals out of it. I usually take leftovers to work. It definitely costs less than going to a restaurant for dinner, and then eating food at the cafeteria the next day.
Legal Note: the one thing I remember from my Intellectual Property class in law school is that recipes cannot be copyrighted. So don’t worry, it’s ok for me to snag this recipe and reprint it.