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In these difficult economic times, Erin Chase, a.k.a. The $5 Dinner Mom, decided she had to find a way help her family's bottom line. She worked out a solution by changing her habits in the kitchen and grocery store. Chase challenged herself to find a way to feed her family of two adults and three children for no more than $5 a meal.
I admit that when her newest book, The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook, showed up in my mailbox, I had my doubts. We like to eat fresh food, and I like to cook from scratch. I was sure Chase had sacrificed health and taste for economy. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Chase starts each of the three main sections--breakfasts, lunches, and snacks--with all the information you need to shop for nutritious ingredients on a budget and then how to plan ahead so you won't be caught in a time crunch when it's meal time. Chase virtually holds your hand; for example, she breaks down the instructions for making from-scratch breakfast muffins so you can prepare them in the evening during commercial breaks when you're watching TV with your family. And get this, her Southwest Sausage Muffins with fruit will cost you $3.89 for 12 muffins.
For each recipe, you'll find the cost per meal, the cost per ingredient, serving tips, freezing tips, and a "Frugal Fact." There are no unusual ingredients and the directions are easy to follow. A few recipes require specific appliances (like a food processor), but the vast majority of dishes can be made in a fairly basic kitchen. Note that there are very few photographs of the finished dishes.
Here are a few from-scratch recipes that look good to me. I've included the cost per recipe in parentheses:
- Raspberry Cereal Bars ($3.99 for 14 to 16 bars)
- Italian Herb Frittata ($4.74 for 4 servings)
- Chicken Pesto Sandwiches on whole wheat ($4.96 for 4 sandwiches)
- Spinach Orzo Pasta Salad ($4.18 for 8 servings)
- Autumn Salad ($4.63 for 4 servings)
- Blueberry Smoothies ($1.89 for 4 servings)
- Double Chocolate Brownies ($3.94 for 16 to 20 servings)
For more information, take some time to visit the $5 Dinners website and blog.
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Published by St. Martin's Press, 2010
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)