Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DIning on a Dime (Or Maybe a Dollar)

I'm really enjoying the creativity that comes with planning meals around a garden that's producing like crazy. Last week I prepared a meal that not only used produce in every dish, but which I estimated as costing about one dollar to prepare. Maybe a buck fifty.

For the main dish, I went to the freezer where I pulled out some sausage that my dad had given us. Every year the local Lion's Club that he belongs to does a sausage sale as a fundraiser right before the holidays. He always gives some to my sister, my brother and me and calls it our Christmas gift. I browned it up, drained it of excess grease and put in some diced onions and new potatoes, both just hours away from the garden. I added some chopped green pepper about five minutes before removing the skillet from the heat. This dish was completely free, or fractions of pennies if you go all the way back to the couple of bucks I paid for seeds and bedding plants.

While all that was going on, I roasted zucchini and eggplant (also Fresh From the Garden) in a hot oven in a variation of the method in my last post. I'm growing eggplant for the first time and learning to prepare it this summer. It has a bitter juice, which is diminished by putting the chunks in a colandar in the sink and
salting the whole affair really well. It causes the eggplant to weep and the bitter juices will drain away. Takes about 30 minutes. The cost of this dish only comes from the tablespoon of olive oil I used to coat the veggies and the dashes of salt and pepper used to season them.

At the last minute, I peeled and sliced fresh cucumbers (Say it with me, "Fresh From the Garden") and dressed them with the homemade dressing learned from Michael's prayer covering-wearing grandma. I'll guess the recipe as this: 1/2 c. sour cream, 2 T vinegar, 3 T sugar, salt to taste. This was the most expensive dish.

The meal was very flavorful and, boy, it hit the spot. Here's what I don't enjoy: Eating these flavorful, creative meals in a kitchen overrun by canning supplies. It is green bean season, after all.


  1. Hmmm I"ll have to try the sausage and potato thing. Never thought of that for our homegrown sausage and potatoes. Brent will LOVE it!

  2. Sounds delicious. I couldn't find the baking soda this morning and nearly cried....

  3. hey I like that idea for cucumber salad. I sometimes do a version where you salt the cukes for an hour and then dress them with yogurt and dill.

    Did you see the link on my blog for eggplant obsession? It's with raw beet salad (too tired from camping to, you know, find it for you - just want to cruise around on some blogs!).

  4. Oh, Margo, that sounds very good. I'd like to try it with yogurt and dill. I didn't notice the eggplant obsession. I'll go find it.


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