05 February 2011

Weekend Cooking: Review: The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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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)
I haven't yet cooked from this book, but I absolutely like what I see. I don't think I'll ever be a committed coupon user and price shopper, but Chase's scheme for feeding a family economically with nutritious ingredients is sane and doable. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this cookbook.

For more information, take some time to visit the $5 Dinners website and blog.


Published by St. Martin's Press, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312607340
YTD: 17
Rating: B
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)



27 comments:

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 2/5/11, 7:09 AM  

Yum! It's only 7am and I'm craving a chicken pesto sandwich!

This cookbook sounds like a good one for me and my gang.

caite 2/5/11, 7:16 AM  

..can I have half that sandwich?

it is hard to believe you could prepare a meal for 5 for $5 but it sounds great!

Heather 2/5/11, 7:55 AM  

I just came back from my run and I am stuck on those raspberry cereal bars.

I'd love to get off the $12. pieces of salmon for my son. this sounds like a very helpful book. Thanks.

Beth 2/5/11, 8:46 AM  

It's good to hear all of the budget cookbooks aren't full of processed food!

Alex 2/5/11, 8:46 AM  

I have always read other people's Weekend Cooking recipes, but never participated myself until now. Thanks for hosting this.

I am always tempted by your Raspberry Cereal Bars too. I think I am going to have to give them a try this week.

Alex 2/5/11, 8:54 AM  

Beth, is there any way you can remove my link. I linked to a book review instead of a recipe post. I will sign up with the correct link as soon as I get my head screwed on correctly this morning.
Thanks!

Chrisbookarama 2/5/11, 9:22 AM  

Sounds really interesting! I'll have to check it out. I made oat-molasses bread this week. :)

Julie P. 2/5/11, 9:24 AM  

This book sounds fun! I'm not sure that there would be many recipes for my picky family, but I'd love to check it out!

bermudaonion 2/5/11, 9:51 AM  

This sounds like a great book! I love that it emphasis quality food at a great price.

Amy 2/5/11, 10:54 AM  

What a great concept! I have to say, though, that I went to the store yesterday with one coupon, and promptly lost it somewhere in the store. I don't know if I'll ever be coupon-savvy.

Margot 2/5/11, 12:46 PM  

Who couldn't use help with nutritious meals for less money? Great idea. I'm glad you told us about it.

nat @book, line, and sinker 2/5/11, 12:49 PM  

that cookbook actually sounds good! i was a bit leery of the title but am now interested in reading it! i just received a cookbook for review and hope to get through some recipes soon so i can play along with weekend cooking. i've been down with the flu for an entire week. hope to catch you later in the month with some delicious recipes, links, and photos!

Kim 2/5/11, 1:10 PM  

I gave up using coupons years ago--not enough return for what a hassle it was! My boys would be all over sausage breakfast muffins like white on rice. Thank for sharing this book with us.
*smiles*

Peaceful Reader 2/5/11, 1:36 PM  

This book sounds really useful. I would love to see the breakdown of many of the meals I make.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 2/5/11, 1:58 PM  

This sounds like a perfect book! I cringe at what I spend at the grocery store...usually coming home with maybe three worth of meal prep for around $60.... and there are just two adults and one teen.... I could clearly do this better.

Michelle 2/5/11, 3:07 PM  

Three dollar brownies? Yes please! Looks like a good cookbook to have when on a serious budget.

Belle Wong 2/5/11, 3:42 PM  

I like the idea of sausage muffins!

Chinoiseries 2/5/11, 4:12 PM  

This cookbook sounds very inspiring, I think that it wouldn't hurt anybody, whether poor student or family with an average income, to learn a bit about economizing and still put good and healthy meals on the table. I look forward to you posting about your experiences :)

Vasilly 2/5/11, 6:42 PM  

This sounds like an excellent source for great recipes at a low cost. When I first read the title, I had my doubts too about the author not using fresh food. Glad that both of us were wrong.

Jenners 2/5/11, 8:28 PM  

Sounds like a cookbook that every family could use in these weird economic times.

Diann 2/5/11, 10:13 PM  

I have been wanting to check out this cookbook. Thanks for the reminder.

Alex 2/6/11, 7:37 AM  

This sounds like the kind of cookbook I would like to use. I'll check it out.

Esme 2/6/11, 10:52 AM  

What a great turnout of participants. I took care of the neighbors cat last weekend and came home with the scent. It has never been an issue before but this time it set them off. What I forgot to mention in the blog is my vet recommended composure calming treats and to plug in feliway which is a calming scent. All seems well this morning as they did the kitty Olympic sprints together.

thank you for your supportive words.

Rose City Reader 2/6/11, 12:23 PM  

This book sounds great. I always think that you can cook more economically if you actually cook -- use ingredients and make it from scratch. It's pre-made stuff that costs a lot. It sounds like this book might support my theory.

This weekend, I finally got around to trying the pretty Spanish cookbook that's been on my shelf for almost a year.

Marie 2/6/11, 5:07 PM  

This book sounds great. I love the idea of making muffins during the commercials. Awesome!

Zibilee 2/6/11, 9:27 PM  

This is a book I could really use. Often I spend way too much time and money on meals. If I could trim our grocery budget even a little, and not have to sacrifice taste or ingredients, I would be all over it. Thanks for posting this review, Beth. I am going to be checking this book out.

Kris 2/7/11, 4:20 PM  

Sounds like an interesting book, I'm going to see if my library has it. Of course, I'm guessing if I buy mostly organic the prices would be well above $5, but still within reason.

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