August 25, 2012

Dinner on a Dime

My husband and I are trying very hard to watch our spending right now, and as a result we have gotten a little creative with what we are eating. I will be honest, this has resulted in a few gross meals - not gross as in unappetizing, but gross as in very unhealthy. I am ashamed to admit that we have taken a trip to McDonald's one at least one occasion. However, we have recently decided that this is no longer acceptable, as we are going to get super fat super quickly if we keep this up.

So we are now trying to eat as healthy as we can while spending as little money as possible. It means making changes to the way we shop, as well as the places we shop. It means planning ahead and often thinking outside of what we are normally accustomed to doing.

One of the biggest changes we have made is in the way that we grocery shop. We used to do a once per week trip to the grocery store, where we would get all of the groceries we thought we needed for the week. Unfortunately, this more often that not resulted in a lot of the fresh fruit and vegetables we bought going bad before the week was up, as we were just unable to eat it in time. So we changed the way we shop: Rather than buying everything once a week, we now go to the grocery store at least once every other day. This ensure that the fresh produce we buy doesn't sit around and rot. It also ensures that we have good food available and that we use it right away.

Another more recent trick is shopping at the local Farmer's Market. Our town hosts a Farmer's Market every Saturday morning and we have made it a habit to attend every week and support the local vendors. I have even have a friend who runs her own catering business who attends the Market to sell her fresh backing. If you reside in the GTA and may be requiring a caterer anytime soon, be sure to check out Nutmeg Catering! Anyways, enough of shameless friend-promotion...

The point is that at the Farmer's Market we are able to get a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat right there, while supporting local vendors. So being that it is Saturday, we attended the Farmer's Market this morning and bought some fresh peaches and cream corn. The other amazing thing about the Farmer's Market is that everything is so cheap, since the "middle man" has been cut out. We were able to get 6 cobs of corn for $3.50. It doesn't get better than that!

So we knew we needed to have something other than just corn for dinner, but we weren't sure what to pair it with. So we went to the grocery store to have a look around. I suggested that steak would be a great accompaniment, but given that we are trying to save our money this was a bit of an unrealistic suggestion. However, we didn't immediately rule it out, and I'm glad we didn't: As we were passing by the meat display, we noticed that the top sirloins were of a fairly large size. After considering the size and the price, my husband and I decided that we could easily purchase just one and cut it in half, and that as they were so big, that would be enough for the both of us.

When we got home we cooked up four pieces of corn and grilled the steak on the BBQ. Not only was the dinner delicious, but it was the perfect size for both of us. And it was cheap! The steak was $12.40 tax included, and as I mentioned about, the corn was only $3.50 (plus we still have two cobs left over for tomorrow). That means that a steak dinner for the both of us came to just over $15.00! Amazing!

Are there any tricks that you have making a nutritious and tasty dinner while on a budget? If so I would love to hear about it!

Photo Credit: CBC: In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita

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