Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Week 21 - Cheap Meals

When the theme for Week 21 popped up as cheap meals, I figured most of our everyday dinners would probably qualify and I could just make whatever I wanted. I always prefer for our dinners to be under $10 for the two of us (although sometimes if they are meat or seafood-heavy, it makes sense that they don't), and like it even better when they come in under $5. I figured I would aim for close to $5, but if it went a little bit over, that would be okay.

I thought some cheap options could be vegetable omelettes (especially since the price of eggs seems to have gone down recently), but I've made so many omelettes for previous challenges, or maybe something basic like pasta with some olive oil and garlic. Those would both probably come in under $5. But I had some soy chorizo in the fridge, so I decided to go with soy chorizo and mushroom tacos. The tacos would definitely be under $5 without the mushrooms (and we often make it without them), but I wanted to get more vegetables into the meal to make it more balanced. Working out the total costs of a lot of the other challenges really helped with this challenge, as I already had a pretty good idea of how much various ingredients cost and it wasn't a foreign concept to me to be keeping that in the back of my mind while meal planning. (I didn't realize until writing this post that I actually made soy chorizo tacos for the Mexican challenge last year, but that one was really more about the homemade tortillas. We also posted about tacos the first time we used the soy chorizo. It's clearly our favorite use of the soy chorizo.)

The ingredients for the tacos ended up coming out to a total of $5.33. They didn't put a cap on the cost of the challenge since cheap means different things to different people, but as much as I would have preferred to come in under $5, I'm fine with it since it was close. The ingredients were:

- 4 tortillas ($0.30)
- 1 package of soy chorizo ($1.99)
- 1 onion ($0.50)
- about 12 oz of mushrooms ($1.90)
- 1 potato ($0.49)
- olive oil for sauteing ($0.15)

Making the tacos was pretty easy. There was some prep - chop onion, chop mushrooms, boil potato until tender and then chop potato, heat tortillas in a nonstick skillet (without oil) - and then just cooking the onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and soy chorizo together in a large pan until it was all done. It's one of our easier dinners and works out well for Meatless Monday (or Taco Tuesday or any other day). Definitely part of our rotation.

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