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Economy.Class III: What’s For Dinner?

So I made a list and checked it twice, and it looks like I can feed us pretty well within the iron-clad budget this week. Nothing fancy, no culinary exotica, but certainly not a drab and soul-killing rotation of variations on the same two or three ideas.  [A side note: interestingly, the same sort of dishes that nearly led to mutiny while I was working full time and throwing things in the crock pot appear to be the same sort of things generally proposed as “cheap eats” recipes. As near as I can tell, the crossover is that the proteins that are well-suited to the “throw and go” school also tend to be tough, and therefore fairly inexpensive].

Here, without further ado, is what we’re eating next week on Forest Street:


We will be out to dinner, celebrating my father’s 80th birthday. This is a double bonus since it’s not only a “free” night in terms of buying dinner ingredients; we’re eating at one of the only “serious” restaurants in town, which will give me something to write about. I will be making the carrot cake for dessert, and I am deeply touched to have my own humble baking trump the potential offerings of an upscale Pan-European bistro.


Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Both Chuck and Round roasts are on sale, so I’ll buy two (you’ll see why in a bit) and make them into pot roast using this recipe. I will buy Yukon Gold potatoes, which are not on sale, and which are more expensive than regular old potatoes, but which are, in my personal opinion, so good that they are worth the cost. Additionally, since they start out with such a nice flavor on their own, they require much less in the way of butter and other additions, so they may really be thriftier in the end, in addition to being delicious.


Pea Soup and Homemade Bread

I’ll make this pea soup, but instead of the usual ham I’ll use thin slices of smoked sausage, which is on sale. Pea soup is one of those dishes where magic is clearly involved – a bunch of things are put in a pot and simmered, and in a few hours there is a dense, flavorful, comforting meal. Served with a slice of warm homemade challah or oatmeal bread with sweet butter, I’m betting this won;t even taste remotely like “thrift.”


West Indian Crispy Pork Bits, Rice and Pureed Butternut Squash with Ginger

The pork recipe is Mark Bittman’s, and calls for pork shoulder. Pork shoulder is on sale, winter squash is always relatively inexpensive and I always have rice and all of the necessary spices.


Beef Pot Pie and Green Salad

Remember the extra pot roast? Tonight it gets trimmed of anything yucky, cut into small pieces and incorporated into my version of pot pie. I may or may not make my own crust; I have a great and allegedly “foolproof” Dorie Greenspan recipe for pie crust, but I still have a deep, abiding and irrational fear of failure in the pie crust department. We’ll see….


Crunchy Curried Chicken Breasts, Rice Pilaf and Citrus Salad

Chicken breasts are on sale, and I have what seems like a gross of oranges on hand already as the result of last week’s buy-one-get-one-free deal. The chicken dish is another Bittman recipe which basically involves adding curry powder to breading mixture, coating chicken and frying.


Baked Pastina Casserole, Homemade Bread and Green Salad

This recipe is Giada’s, and looks cheap, filling and cute in a teeny-tiny pasta sort of way.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

10 responses »

  1. Ann,

    I would voluntarily come to your house for any of those nights. This is not austere by any measure, and half the price of junk. Maybe I should be planning out my weekly menus………

  2. Very glad to see you’re feeling well enough to blog…I was quite worried about you. Yay, another meatpie. As they said in some movie I never saw “you had me at pot pie…” You go girl.

  3. She is still feeling pretty wrecked. It really is amazing that anyone can write like this while under the influence of the entire periodic table of elements. I am anxious to get home to take care of her. Getting close now.

  4. Robert, thanks for the kind words – there is always a chair for you at the table on Forest Street. It’s not austere, but I am probably losing the crowd that’s looking for a ounce of veal liver furtively embraced by a taro leaf with a kiss of Malbec recduction…oh well…..

    Eric, for some reason I can always write. You know, “when the dog bites, when the bee stings,” etc…

    Mr. Annie, you are taking great care of me. I WILL COOK AGAIN!!

  5. MARIA?

    Is that you Maria?


  6. Robert, I don’t get it!

  7. Ann,

    Was just timewarped for a second, Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp beautifully singing ” I don’t feel so bad……..”

    Was unaware that bloggers could sing too. It was good.

  8. Oh, we sing…I am here in my kitchen at this very moment belting out “I am sixteen going on seventeen” as I chop chicken thighs….

  9. …..” I still have a deep, abiding and irrational fear of failure in the pie crust department”

    i knew it! i absolutely KNEW we were sisters, separated at birth!

  10. jayedee, it’s a shameful, shameful secret. Particularly because my paternal grandmother made beautiful pie crust. I am glad to know, however, that you join me in supporting the Pillsbury franchise on this one….


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