Route 66: Money Saving Recipes

For Moms,How-To
January 17, 2012

Relish editor Jill Melton, attempts the seemingly impossible—feeding her family of three for a week on nothing but $66 and her pantry staples.

Pantry Staples
Jill Melton
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Well it’s official—I’m broke.  A series of unfortunate events have conspired to send me into financial ruin–for the time being anyway. So instead of pouting over my pickle, I decided to turn it into relish, and learn along the way.  My challenge is to see how well I can feed myself and my kids (not necessarily in that order) for a week on $66. Why that random amount? Because that’s what I spent at the grocery store, when with all my might I was trying to stick to $50. Nonetheless, this is still a fourth of what I would typically spend for a week.  So follow my week along route 66.

$66 worth of groceries for my week of frugality.

Shopping: Things go wrong right off the bat, when I’m met with a bag of beautiful fresh cherries, the first of the season, for $4.99. I succumb. Then a plump, soft avocado for $2.69 for spreading on toast.  I do however opt for the 8 pound bag of russets for $3.49 instead of the 3 pound bag of Yukons for $4.99. Next 2 La Brea fresh baguettes for the price of one. But for the kids, a bag of store brand white sandwich bread, which of course they love. For 2 weeks, they’re free of artisan bread made with yeast spores from the fresh San Francisco breeze. Next a few cans of new sparkling blueberry cranberry juice, which will make a nice substitute for Coke, which Sam begs for. Chicken leg quarters–check, salmon for $17.99 /pound, nope–wait for sale. Gallon of milk, absolutely. Motts applesauce–healthy snack for Sam. Large box of Cheez-its, cheaper than the smaller one. Chobani Greek yogurt for lunch at work, waffles for kids snack, but this time I get house brand. Club soda and OJ concentrate (instead of Tropicana Fresh). 38 ounce bag of popcorn for $1.47 which will pop up the old-fashioned way for a year’s worth of snacking. Eggs, check. No fancy designer ones, but the plain brown ones for $1.47. Simply Lemonade, yes, because we love it.

Fortunately I have a fridge full of beer, leftover from a party over the weekend. And a good stash of cheese. And of course a kitchen full of all sorts of pantry staples.

Using her grocery purchases, existing pantry staples, and an ingredient or two from friends, Jill recommends making the following recipes.

To check out Jill’s additional weeks on Route 66 go to therelishdish.com

—By Jill Melton

Caprese Salad with Peppers

Caprese Salad with Peppers

What goes better with fresh, ripe tomatoes than mozzarella and roasted peppers?

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Pomodoro Sauce

Meaty Roma tomatoes are the basis for a quick sauce for polenta, pizza or pasta.

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Vinegar Cake

You likely have all the ingredients for this simple chocolate cake in your pantry.

Chicken Maque Choux

Chicken Maque Choux

A Cajun-country side dish gets a tasty make-over with the addition of spice-rubbed chicken.

Pantry Staples

Route 66: Money Saving Recipes

Relish editor Jill Melton, attempts the seemingly impossible—feeding her family of three for a week on nothing but $66 and her pantry staples.

Chicken and Squash with Chimichurri Sauce

Summer squash and herbs make this chicken dish fresh and bright.

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