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Sep 2, 2011 09:55 AM

Budget challenge...ever been done here

has any group ever done a 'budget challenge' here?
Making meals or menus which fall under a certain dollar amount per serving and posting their results?

I was just wondering because it's such a great way to give and get information for eating well without spending a lot of money.
(maybe this goes in the home cooking forum?)

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  1. good idea,yes
    how to craft it here at CH I'm clueless

    Along a similar line.EGullet,another site, in the past did a fun/friendly challenge regarding pantries,freezers etc. and not shopping for 1 week.Use up what you have,supplement minimally and let us know how you did.
    Some of the recipes were creative to say the least.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lcool

      I figured since we have user submitted recipes, it'd be fun and, honestly, sometimes I'm just nosy and like to know what other people are eating (and it gets me out of grilled chicken/brown rice/steamed veggie rut)

    2. I'd be game. It's sounds like fun. I'm fairly poor to start with, and it could be good inspiration to read about what everyone else is cheaply cooking.

      Would it be an actual competition with a winner declared, or would we just be given a price limit and post our recipes and cost breakdown?

      1. I don't know if it's been done by a group, but it sounds like a great idea.

        I do know that rworange did a similar thing and posted her results:

        It's a great thread and full of ideas.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cookiefiend

          I actually made small, but permanent changes after reading rworange's posts. For instance, as odd as it may seem, it never occurred to me to use one or two slices of bacon as part of a dish. Having always cooked for a large family, I used large quantities of foods even when, it turns out, not necessary. A small amount is often plenty.

          I think I ought to go read that again. There was some great info there. Glad you brought this up, cgarner!

          1. re: AnneMarieDear

            This is so true. I get housemade Italian sausages from my local grocer. Sometimes they are quite large. Faced with a whole huge sausage, my hubby will always eat the whole thing, and I usually have trouble cutting down my portion too. But I've found that one leftover sausage can be spread between 3 adults and two kids, chopped smallish and used to garnish basic frozen cheese ravioli, for example. And somehow the flavour is even more appreciated this way because you have tasty morsels instead of a giant chunk of meat.
            I've also used one chicken thigh to top a whole pizza. Most chicken breasts you buy these days are huge - sometimes twice the size of what a restaurant would serve you. Cut them in half before cooking, slice them and top a salad, or use in stir-fry... again my meat-loving husband will consume much less this way than if faced with a hunk of meat on a plate.

            1. re: julesrules

              Yes! I suppose we just did what we'd always done but this makes so much more sense and is better in every way I can think of.
              One large chicken breast is plenty for two of us but I didn't operate this way until rworange's $3 per day series. I'm grateful for it because it truly has changed the way I think about cooking and eating.

              We grilled two steaks the other day. Night one, we shared one and had veg and starch sides. Next day the second steak was cut in half, first half sliced thinly and used in a main dish salad. Used the last of it in another salad the next day because we had liked it so well the day before. :) We ate well for 3 nights.
              A few years ago we would have grilled 2 steaks and eaten them up in one meal.

              1. re: AnneMarieDear

                Same here. And I do love to sit down a nice big steak. But I just remind myself that I can stretch out this deliciousness to another meal! I like to do steak sandwiches with my leftovers, and steak salads are always good... with the tiniest bit of blue cheese crumble if I have some on hand. Less is really more here! If I can't stretch it to a family meal I get very nice work lunches out of smaller amounts, sometimes combining leftover bits from 3 meals.

        2. I think the input so far improves the idea.
          I can't/won't craft a model and likely can't/won't play.I am a trained chef,F&B trade on a small farm now producing 85%+ of our table in the $ sense.Add bambi to our domestic meat = an unlimited supply.We gift meat and vegetables etc.
          Buy legumes,rice,hard pasta,barley etc at less than retail,60% of our dairy needs at Costco.
          Barter in and out 40% of dairy and some meat or mushrooms.

          And so much sample salumi and cheese I give 20% to others.

          1. I Did read rworange’s posts previously and they along with others inspired me… I even attempted to replicate rworanges’ feat but feeding 5 adults it wasn’t easy.

            I wasn’t thinking that it would be judged for who has the “best” meals, just that we could give each other virtual pats on the back for how resourceful we can be and share out tips either for feeding just one or two, or large crews like my family.

            Not all of us have to have a “budget” for food, but even those who don’t NEED to, may WANT to participate if for no other reason than the edification.

            1 Reply