10 March 2011

Eating on the Cheap

We've been on a strict grocery budget recently, so I'm keeping a particularly close eye on food prices and have decided it's time to create a new price log for groceries, a list of how much the foods we regularly buy cost at each market in town. ( I learned about price logs from The Tightwad Gazette, which remains my favorite book about frugal living.)

The grocery budget crackdown has coincided with a project Steve's working on that's introducing and encouraging increased home production among the families at church.  He's specifically working on the gardening end of things, which is very much connected with food and eating and cooking.  When we talk about this topic, we always say the same thing--the benefits of home cooking are enormous.  Besides being (generally) healthier and tastier, home cooked food is so much CHEAPER than buying ready meals or eating in restaurants.

I was curious about how much our meals cost per plate, so I ran the numbers on a new recipe we tried last week.  It's a North African dish similar to huevos rancheros but a bit mellower and sweeter.  This version is made in the slow cooker and we loved it.  I had a budget bag of red peppers, so we used all red peppers instead of 2 red and 1 orange and we didn't have any crusty bread, so we just ate it with the sliced bread we had from the bakery.  Also, the recipe doesn't specify a slow cooker setting (high/low), so we cooked ours on high.  I think it should have been cooked on low, but the meal was still delicious.  The total cost of the meal was £3.17 or £0.79 per serving.

Chakchouka

2 T olive oil (£0.16)
1 large onion, roughly chopped (£0.13)
2 red peppers, chunked (£0.50)
1 orange pepper, chunked (£0.25)
2 large courgettes, cut into large dice (£0.71)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (£0.06)
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes (£0.33)
2 t caster sugar (£0.03)
4 eggs (£0.68)
salt and pepper (negligible)
crusty bread or garlic bread, to serve (£0.08/slice)

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onions and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the peppers, courgettes and garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil.

Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and cook for 2.5-3 hours. Stir the mixture, then make 4 shallow indentations using a spoon. Crack an egg into each hollow, replace the slow cooker lid and cook another 25-30 minutes until the egg whites are firm and yolks still slightly soft. Spoon onto serving dishes and serve with bread.

3 comments:

eliana23 said...

what are courgettes? All I think is of Cougar Cheerleaders.

MBC said...

Zucchini. I forgot to translate into American English.

Meg said...

That does sound good. We will have to try it this week.

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