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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Feed 6 on $5 or Less?


I always try to make our big meal of the day—our evening dinner, when we’re all together—for under $10. Sometimes, that’s a challenge. But in order to manage our costs right now, it’s really necessary. Recently, though, I heard of someone who challenged herself even moreso—she tries to make her family’s dinner on an average of $5. Given, her family is a little smaller—there are 4 of them, not 6—but two of ours are so small that we might come close to evening out. So, I thought I’d give it a shot and try for some $5 dinners.

Here’s my first:

Cream of Celery and Chicken Soup with Sliced Tomatoes and Corn Muffins.

I found Campbell’s condensed low-fat Cream of Celery soup at Grocery Outlet and bought 2 cans for $1.00 each.
To that, I added ½ a package (about .55 pounds) of diced chicken tenders bought on sale for $1.98/pound at Ingles. (Actually, I diced and cooked the chicken in salted water with pepper and dry parsley ahead of time to make a soup broth.)
I used 2 full-sized celery ribs and sautéed them in ½ tablespoon of butter with a touch of garlic. To that sauté, I added the chicken, broth, and canned soup.
I bought 2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix for 43 cents each, and prepared those with 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of milk.
I sliced 2 tomatoes to serve on the side—but these were free from a family member’s garden, so no added cost.

Here’s how it broke down by cost:

2 cans of soup: $2.04 (with tax)
Chicken: $1.11
Celery: $0.40
Butter: $0.04
Muffin mix: $0.88
2 eggs: $0.22
2/3 cup milk: $0.13 (milk was on sale for $2.99 this week, but who realized it was this inexpensive?)
Spices, no more than: $0.05
Tomatoes: $0.00

Grand total: $4.87

This excludes drinks, but I drink only water, Bill often drinks water, and the kids usually have less than a half cup of milk each. So even with adding in the cost of 2 full cups of milk, we’re just at $5.25, and we had leftover soup, which will be my lunch tomorrow. I know it’s not a very fancy meal, but for a cold day like today, it’s very satisfying!

Could I have done better by making the corn muffins from scratch? I don’t usually keep cornmeal in the house, so buying just the 2 boxes, what I needed for our family right now, was in part motivated by cash flow concerns. But I’m not against stockpiling if I can get a good price on something we will use regularly.

Can anyone top that? Or match it? I’d love to hear about it!

3 comments:

Emma said...

Man Mom that dinner was good can we have it too night?

Jane said...

I Like that dinner.

Elizabeth said...

Haha, great to see the breakdown. I like Go Grocery too.