Almost every day this question is asked in our office; “What are you having for dinner tonight?”. I love this ritual because it happens near the end of the day and has become the signal for the end of the day. We all turn our chairs to the center of the room and discuss what we’re having, what we’re thinking about making, or what we should make based on what we have at home. It’s great to have ideas thrown out there when we have hit that “dinner wall”, where our minds are completely blank as to what to cook.
This little tossing around of ideas came in quite handy this past week. I was feeling a little under the weather and had no idea what to make for the next few days and almost zero creativity or motivation to get me through the task. Fortunately, one of my co-workers mentioned she had made chili the previous night. Chili! Of course! So easy and healthy.
So, I stopped at the farmer’s market after work, luckily just down the street because I wanted to put as little time and effort as possible into this and driving too far would have killed me (not really but I’m allowed to be dramatic). I grabbed an onion, some ground beef, and a few banana peppers. I’ve never had banana peppers in chili, but it couldn’t be bad, right?
I cooked up the ground beef in a pot, threw in the chopped onion and peppers, added some great northern beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce and boom. Dinner is served! I love meals that are easy and nutritious (obviously, who doesn’t?) and this one certainly is.
1 yellow onion: $1
3 yellow and green banana peppers: $3
1lb grass fed beef: $7.99
1 can organic diced tomatoes: $1.69
1 can organic tomato sauce: $1.78
1 can organic northern beans: $1.29
Seasoning already on hand
Total cost: $16.75
Cost per helping: We were able to get about 5 helpings out of it for dinner and smaller servings for lunch the next day with a salad = $3.35
Like other meals I make, the grass feed beef is going to be the most expensive, in this case it was nearly half the cost of the entire recipe and it could be much cheaper if you don’t adhere to those guidelines. However, it is important to me to support farmers that provide clean meat to consumers as well as a humane environment (their natural diet) to the animals on their farm, so I'm willing to pay the price!
My boyfriend and I tried something new this past week. My mother graciously gave us some locally raised lamb chops that I cooked up and served with my community garden haul. I had never made any type of lamb before but since they were in steak form, I cooked them like beef steaks; I fried them in our amazing cast iron skillet with butter, salt, and pepper.
Holy lamb, they were delicious. It is definitely a unique flavor but absolutely tasty. I definitely recommend snagging a few from your local farmer if you have the chance.
Earlier in the week my BF had made a medley of roasted duck and vegetables that were delicious! Duck is also a unique flavor, one that most people actually don't like. It's pretty "game-y" and I think you definitely either like it or hate it. Luckily I really like it. And I love dishes that require minimal work and dishes and that was one, just chop everything up and mix it with your oil and seasoning of choice and throw it in the oven!
These two dishes lasted us for the week and cost us basically nothing. The lamb was gifted to us and the duck was hunted ourselves. The vegetables came from the community garden and just cost my time (worth it!). So the sum total of this week's dinners I'm saying is $0. Win!