Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iron Chef Mom Challenge: Day Two

I'm on the run today, so my Sale Shopper menu is quick, easy, and ready for spring.

One advantage of cooking with the sales is that you tend to eat seasonally, too.

Cabbage is popular for St. Patrick's day, and--like the art of psyanky--is also a traditional part of Eastern European Easters.

This recipe for crockpot cabbage rolls has many variations. I cut it by half, because it makes more than we can eat.

Here's the loss leader inspiration for tonight's menu:
  • 44-cents/lb Kroger cabbage
  • 99-cents/lb. ground beef
  • $1/28 oz can tomato sauce
  • Spring asparagus ($2/lb)
  • Florida strawberries ($1.25/lb.)

I can prep everything before leaving home: load crockpot, splash a little orange juice over the bowl of sliced strawberries, and chill the steamed asparagus.

Cost breakdown:
  • 1/2 cabbage (.50)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (.50)
  • 1 egg (.10)
  • 1/2 can of sauce (.50)
  • 1/4 cup raw brown rice (.20)
  • 1 lb. asparagus, steamed ($2) *save extra, including cut ends
  • 1/2 lb. strawberries (.65)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (.10)
  • Note: Other seasonings are considered pantry staples and not included here. I omit the sugar and carrot; you can also substitute just about any tomato product for the sauce, even ketchup.
TOTAL estimated cost: $ 4.55, or $1.13 per person

Click here to see ALL the posts in the Iron Chef, Aldi vs. Sale Challenge!

18 comments:

Maggie said...

Nice dinner! We love cabbage here and plan on having it a few times this week. Kudos for presenting a meal that is frugal, attractive and healthy ( I am sure its tasty too!).

Anonymous said...

Your dinner looks really good. I love your blog. Does this freeze well?

Noreen

cdorsey said...

Sounds GREAT! And how economical!

Catherine
http://angelfoodcakeisntacandle.blogspot.com

2boysmama said...

if this is for today how do you already have a picture?

Alexandra said...

That looks delicious! I just bought a head of cabbage, so I'll have to try this. Thanks. :)

Lynn Marie said...

Thank you for the recipe. I love finding out what others are cooking and eating. I'm so tired of my stand bys. I'm going to make this week.

jthorne said...

I'm enjoying the food challenge very much..thanks for sharing this with us! I have a couple questions though:
1- are there any rules about the meals as far as balancing food groups, ie: saying each should include a green veggie for instance? b/c it is a fact that in most cases, potatoes and rice cost less than most green veggies. Just curious.

2-when you say your week's groceries total $50, are you including all your diapers, cleaning supplies, paper goods, etc? if not, do you mind sharing your overall cost for these things too sometime?

Thanks!

Meredith said...

The next couple of days are crazy for us--my mom's here during the daytime, my husband is defending his dissertation tomorrow, both kids have doctor appointments! So I set the cabbage rolls to cook overnight in the crockpot, prepped the asparagus and strawberries this morning before leaving. Since everything was ready, I plated it for a photo because I won't have time this afternoon.

As to rules--Amy and I are cooking the way we normally would for our families. Since my husband is diabetic, we normally avoid the cheap-but-good standards of potatoes, rice, and pasta! I find ways to stretch those green vegetables throughout the week. Asparagus, while a pricier choice, is a perfect low carb veggie, so we buy it whenever we can afford it.

Meredith said...

A few more answers:

Noreen, I haven't tried to freeze these before. However, Stouffers used to sell a similar frozen cabbage roll, so I suspect it would.

Yes, $50 a week includes diapers and cleaning supplies. I'll try to put a rough breakdown of that budget in a future post for you.

Lyn said...

I love how you are incorporating different kinds of side dishes (unique!) and also love the healthiness of your meals & dessert (which I have to strive for as well).

This idea is so fun - I look forward to reading what you are making each day!

Sincerely, Lyn

Aine said...

Meredith, that menu sounds delicious. Sometimes, when I have leftover rice, I freeze it in little bags, so I can add it to my cabbage rolls, soup, etc. When pork sausage goes on sale, which it seems to do frequently here, I can buy a package for less than the cost of hamburger, and that makes for a very nice cabbage roll.

Anonymous said...

Meridith,
I usually combine the two methods--I shop the store specials with coupons and fill in the gaps at Aldi, so I will be really interested to see the results of this week's challenge. I love your table settings! Do you have any suggestions for setting a pretty table inexpensively? We eat most of our meals at home, so I am always looking for ways to add color and variety. Thanks, Mrs. G

maryanne helms said...

I love, love, love your blog. I am so on-board with your frugality tips. I love to be creative for as little as possible. Check out my blog...I am posting a pic tonight of an outfit I made for my daughter. Total cost: $1.48.

Enjoying the frugal comraderie...

Maryanne Helms
www.happyhelms.com

PeppermintPearl said...

mmmmmm! Cabbage Rolls!! I love 'em! I grew up eating tons of cabbage rolls, especially for Easter! My gramma would make ham, cabbage rolls, sausage and pirogis for Easter Lunch.
YUM!

i am so loving this weeks cooking challenge!!!

Anonymous said...

Asparagus? Cajun spinach? CABBAGE ROLLS? As President of FMFE (Frustrated Moms of Fussy Eaters), I have to ask:

HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CHILD TO EAT THESE?

Jora, who will have to have pasta as a side dish for the kids -- who won't eat stuffed cabbage, asparagus, or cooked spinach.

Anonymous said...

Now, my problem would not be getting my kids to eat like that, my problem would be getting my husband to. He drives me crazy! And as great as that looks to me, it wouldn't be enough food for him.

Meredith said...

Well, this photo shows a sample plate. The recipe makes about ten cabbage rolls--plenty extra for big eaters! Plus, the rolls are dense with meat and rice. For the chicken quarters on Wednesday, my husband might eat two of the four quarters, my son would eat a drumstick, and I would eat a thigh, leaving the fourth quarter for my husband's lunch.

Meredith said...

Jora,
My son is fairly picky, but I will modify some of the original recipe to suit him. I WON'T cook a separate meal.

I had a little extra meat-and-rice filling, so I formed it into meatballs and cooked it in the same pot. Kids love meatballs. He will eat asparagus--they are SPEARS, after all! And while he would only eat his required big bite of spinach, he did eat the okra. (Pssst, don't tell him, but he'll happily eat the remaining spinach in Friday's meal.)