Sunday, October 19, 2008

Getting cheap ... Fisher Style

So by now we get the gravity of these's time to cut back, cynch down our economy belts, and be uber cautious about spending money. This particular Fisher family, well, we haven't been the best about spending wisely, specifically when it comes to food. The old ways ended tonight!

As Kulani puts it, "I don't work these long hours not to enjoy life." So we've adapted our spend-thrift ways to our foodie lifestyle. Perhaps you'd be interested in how to still be foodies while cutting down on the grocery budget. Here is our one-week plan that we hope leads to a lifestyle habit.

It started with a return check from Costco in the amount of $90. What should we do with $90 to stretch our food budget? Answer: Buy a 13 pound vacuum-packed top sirloin at $2.59/pound, bringing the total to $34.00. Excellent start. Then we bought some other sundries such as pineapple, milk, chocolate chips, bread, stuff for kids' lunches, and a splurge on some discounted hand soap that smelled really good, but now I'm wishing I would have spent it on canned veggies. I'm a sucker for nice-smelling hand soap that's on sale.

The plan:

About two years ago we bought the Cabela's meat slicer that comes on sale during the day-after Thanksgiving sales for $50. It has been a great investment. Tonight Kulani and I sliced up the 13 pound top sirloin to make the following six meals:
  • Two nights of chili (all total--4 pounds of the sinewy stew meat). One night is for the ward chili cook-off and the other batch we cooked tonight to try out our new chili recipe we're going to enter in the chili cook-off. We adjusted an Alton Brown recipe, and you can read more about it on our cooking blog.

  • Two nights of tasty steaks. Again, you can eat cheaper than this, and you could stretch it out too, by throwing in an egg-sandwich dinner night or grilled-cheese sandwich night. But for less than $3.00 a pound, you can also still eat very well.

  • One night of Argentine milanesa. Recipe is also on our cooking blog.

  • One night of Kalbi. Like milanesa, you slice the meat very thin and marinate it in a Korean kalbi sauce (found at Asian specialty stores). We had a leftover bottle of kalbi sauce from the luau.

Other uses for the meat could be:

  • sliced thin for philly steak sandwiches
  • stir-fry
  • stew
  • ground into hamburger for sloppy joes or meatloaf.
All total, with prep and clean-up, it probably took us an hour to get the meat sliced, diced, and bagged. The nice thing is that now everything is pre-prepped for dinner this weak. So not only are we saving money, but we're saving time and calories thanks to portion-controlled meals. For sides we usually keep it simple by either having a potato or rice with cooked vegetables.
The following picture is of the five dinners: Steaks, milanesa, steaks, chili meat, and kalbi.
Kulani slicing the meat.


Kim said...

cheap, chili will still kick your chili's butt! my secret? I'd tell you.
(actually, I will, if I win. Then maybe I can be featured on your cooking blog!)

Morkthefied said...

Honey, hush. The secret is always love. Here's the thing ... we love the chili cook-off. We look forward to it every year. Now we are looking for a great pie recipe. We may take a Costco pumpkin pie and disguise it as ours.

Oh yeah, can't wait.

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