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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!


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.