When I first started this blog I used to cook in “complete meal” mode (a main dish + sides) and post each recipe individually, as well as a “complete meal” summary. Somewhere along the line I got away from that format and I think the blog lost a little of its effectiveness because of it. When I took part in the SNAP Challenge last September I had to once again think about the big picture and it seemed to be very helpful to both me and you.
I’ve decided to start working in “complete meal” mode again, so I can show not only the cost of each recipe, but how the ingredients affect the total cost of my trips to the grocery store. You’ll be able to see the cost of the meals as I usually calculate them (each ingredient costed out by volume used), as well as my receipt from that week showing total purchase price and the costs associated with replenishing staple or pantry items. I think it will be very helpful to see the food costs from both perspectives. Plus hopefully it will help those of you who may need help pairing recipes and making a complete meal. Yay! :D
As you may know from my posts earlier this week, this meal included:
Mini Gardent Turkey Loaves: $9.44 (recipe) / $1.57 (serving)
Spinach and Feta Mashed Potatoes: $4.79 (recipe) / $0.80 (serving)
Total meal cost: $14.23 (total) / $2.37 (serving)
The servings included two mini turkey loaves and about 3/4 to 1 cup of mashed potatoes. They’re not huge servings, but enough to squash my hunger and make my tummy happy. If you have a more ravenous appetite or some teenagers in the house, you can bulk up the meal on the cheap with something like steamed broccoli (a bag of frozen spears is usually less than $2) or maybe some dinner rolls.
Here’s what my receipt looked like for this meal:
I did have to replenish some pantry items, like bread crumbs, ketchup, and a bag of yellow onions, but I also had some ingredients already on hand, like fresh spinach, feta, butter, milk, salt, pepper, butter, garlic, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Oh, this receipt also include some powdered sugar that I used for another upcoming recipe.
So, you can see how the unit cost calculation for the meal compares to the receipt cost for the items I had to purchase. It will be different for every person depending on what you have in your pantry and what needs to be bought. It’s interesting to compare the two.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to complete this meal. I’ve broken the list into two categories, pantry items and grocery items. Pantry items are ingredients that people are likely to have on hand or can be kept a long while and reused in other recipes, while grocery items are more specific to this recipe. As always, this will vary from person to person, so make sure to check both lists to see what you’ll need to purchase.
- Olive oil – 1 Tbsp
- Butter – 3 Tbsp
- Garlic – 1 clove
- Garlic Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1 1/4 tsp
- Pepper – to taste
- Worcestershire Sauce – 1 Tbsp
- Ketchup – 3/4 cup
- Eggs – 1 large
- Breadcrumbs – 3/4 cup
- Brown Sugar – 2 Tbsp
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 2 Tbsp
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Onion – 1 small
- Carrots – 2 medium
- Zucchini – 1 small
- Mushrooms – 8oz. package
- Ground Turkey (93% lean or higher) – 19oz. package
- Russet Potatoes – 2-2.5 lb.s
- Fresh Spinach – 2 cups packed (this can actually be bought of a salad bar, if needed)
- Feta – 2oz.
If you’re making the two recipes together, I would begin with the Mini Garden Turkey Loaves. Once those are prepped and in the oven, you can start on the Spinach and Feta Mashed Potatoes. They cook quickly in the microwave, so you should be able to have them fully prepared by the time the turkey loaves are finished baking.
If you prefer to bake the potatoes instead of microwaving them, start baking them before beginning the turkey loaves. They will bake the entire time you are preparing the turkey loaves, as well as while the turkey loaves are in the oven. They should both finish up at about the same time, then you’ll just need to mash the potatoes and stir in the seasonings.
Oh! And as always, make sure to read through both recipes completely (and check the step by step photos) before you begin, so you can have a mental game plan.
If you don’t have a house full of six people, worry not. Both of these recipes freeze beautifully.
I packed up four of the six servings in individual containers, chilled them in the refrigerator, then transferred them to the freezer. I’ve been munching on these all week. Woot!
Is this meal summary helpful to you? What other info would you like to see? I’m flexible! :)