Monday, January 7, 2013

4 Under $40 - Eastern European Style

I received an email last week from someone who was very interested in my 4 Under $40 and how it was working out. I thought I'd begin again and really work on getting creative with the menu. Once my house guest is gone I'll review how 4 Under $40 works. I'm also still in the process of working out a good format so bear with me as I proceed. But, since I have an Eastern European in my home for another week I though cabbage and sausage might be a good place to begin . . . .

Monday - Crockpot Roast ($9.68 less Potatoes)

Round Roast (3+#) $6.12
Carrots (2#) $1.88
Potatoes (ok, forgot to purchase, but already had plenty at home) <$3
Seasoning Packet $1.68 (Next time grab a can of Campbell's Beefy Mushroom Soup)

Throw it all into the Crockpot and cook on Low for 8 hours. Dinner is DONE!

Tuesday - Stuffed Cabbage ($12.21) 

Head Cabbage - ($1.87/lb) $1.08  - - organic cabbage is only $1.98/lb
2 qt Water
1 Tablespoon butter
1 onion ($1.98/3 lb) chopped
1clove garlic ($1.26/3 bulbs) chopped
2 cups cooked rice ($.93/lb - Laura Lynn Brown Rice)
1lb ground beef ($1.21lb) $3.60
salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon dried parsely
4 cups Tomato Puree ($.84 can Laura Lynn) $3.36+/-

*Cook Rice according to package directions.
*Core cabbage. Boil in water until leaves begin to peel back (2-3min). Reserve 1 cup of cabbage water for later use. Separate leaves and shave/trim thick stems (do not cut off, just trim down so they aren't as woody).
*Saute' onion and garlic in butter.
*In large bowl combine onion mixture, cooked rice, raw ground beef, salt & pepper, and parsley.
*Place 1 cup tomato puree in bottom of Dutch oven. Put 1/3cup rice filling into each cabbage leaf, fold stem end first and place into dutch oven. 
*Mix remaining tomato puree with reserved cabbage water and pour over stuffed cabbages. Bring to a boil, immediately simmer. Cover and cook 1 hour until very tender. Use remaining puree mixture to cover stuffed cabbages as needed.

This recipe was taken from HERE. It's by far the most involved of the week, but it sounds delicious and should be worth the effort.

Note: The full cost is $12.21, but that is your full price for onions, garlic and rice and you won't use it all with this meal so your "per serving" cost is much lower.

Thursday - Kielbasa Dinner ($2.48)

5 medium potatoes, cubed 
4 whole carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 large onion, quartered or smaller
1 lb Kielbasa, cut into 1in pieces - Johnsonville Polish Kielbasa $2.48

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 in baking dish and fill with all ingredients. Salt & pepper as desires. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.

This recipe was taken from HERE. And there is also a "creamy" version with milk,  cream of mushroom soup, and cheese. I've also already included the full cost of potatoes, carrots and onion in Monday & Tueday's prices so there's no need to repeat them here. 

Friday - Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Salad ($10.82)

Whole cut-up chicken ($1.28/lb) $5.34
Large Laura Lynn Cream of Chicken Soup $1.68
Manischewitz Fine Egg Noodles (in ethnic foods) $2.12
Bakery Croissant Rolls ($1.68/6)

*Boil chicken as desires. (I add salt & pepper, thyme, rosemary, and anything else I think might make my broth yummy - sometimes even a chicken bouillon.) Remove chicken and strain broth. Add Cream of Chicken soup to broth continuing to simmer.
*Debone chicken and return 2 -3 cups to broth reserving the rest for another meal. 
*In separate pot, cook egg noodles per package directions. When done, drain and add to chicken broth.

At $10.82 this meal gives you a bonus Chicken Salad to go with your soup or as lunch on Saturday or Sunday. 

*Mix reserved, chopped chicken with desired amount of mayonnaise. Salt & pepper to taste and stir until creamy. Add other ingredients as desires.  Place into Croissant Rolls ($1.68/6).
Whammo! It's a two-fer! 

Here's my entire receipt. I did forget the potatoes and I don't usually include pantry staples like butter and spices into the price. This week you get not 4 but FIVE very healthy mostly whole-food meals for $36.25 (unless you have to buy potatoes and you'll still be under $40) and that is quite a deal.


**Let me add that if you a plan-ahead-er, you might also want to grab some of the ground turkey and chicken breasts that are on sale for meals I have in mind for next week. Throw 'em in the freezer and we'll discuss on Monday.

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