I missed posting last night, so I’ll make up for it tonight: TWO dinners that can be made for less than $5 per head, with no convenience ingredients, no processed items, only real food bought from real sources.  Cool, huh?

We are REALLY enjoying this $5-a-head thing in the RRG house; I try to be budget-conscious as much as I can, so having the excuse to splurge a little has been sort of refreshing.  Not that we don’t eat well, because we do…but we don’t always get to eat the expensive imported prosciutto, either.  In fact, we almost NEVER eat that stuff.  I can’t justify the expenditure most weeks, not when I know that money could be going towards fruits, organic milk, or grass-fed meat instead.  But this week, all bets are off, and J. and I are loving it.  (I don’t know that the boys have really noticed or cared, except for the fact that we had their beloved smoked salmon on Monday.  Otherwise, it’s dinner as usual, as far as they are concerned.)

Tuesday Night’s Dinner: Slow Cooker California Chuck Roast
This is such an easy, tasty one-pot meal to come home to; it’s like a sweet and savory take on a pot roast supper.  All we had to do was warm up some homemade honey-wheat rolls and dinner was ready.

Slow Cooker California Chuck Roast dinner

Chuck Roast: $13.77
Local carrots: $1
Organic celery: $1
Onion: $0.25
Organic bell pepper: $1.50
Homemade wheat rolls: $0.75 (estimated value)
Barbecue sauce ingredients: $1.25 (estimated value)
TOTAL: $19.52
I should point out, also, that this recipe made about 6-8 servings rather than four, so in fact, this is really CHEAPER than $5 per person.  But then again, I got the chuck roast on major sale, so that factors into my thoughts about the real value of this dinner.  Either way, it was delicious, and L. took a chuck roast sandwich on one of the wheat rolls for his school lunch today.

Tonight’s Dinner: Prosciutto flatbread, slow cooker White Bean Soup, and Salad

Prosciutto Flatbreads, salad, Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

Prosciutto: $6.10
Onion: $0.25
Mushrooms: $2.49
Goat Cheese: $1.33
Homemade wheat flatbread dough: $1.50 (estimated value)
Salad fixings (greens, tomatoes, cucumbers): $3
Homemade chicken stock: FREE
(I used only vegetable scraps and chicken bones that would otherwise have been trash, so I actually gained value on this one)
White beans: $2.50
Garlic: $1
Onion: $0.25
Local carrots: $0.50
Herbs, vinegar, oil, and seasonings: $2 (estimated value)
TOTAL: $20.92
Slightly over, at first glance, but the soup made about eight servings; if I adjusted everything that was in the soup by half, we’d be well under the $20 mark.  Also, if you wanted to make the flatbreads vegetarian by removing the prosciutto, this would be a truly budget-friendly meal.  I also feel duty-bound to point out that this was a LOT of food; I’m still quite full a few hours after eating, and we had plenty of variety on our plates.  We could have easily skipped either the soup or the salad and still been perfectly satisfied.  I just wanted to see how much I could give us while staying within the budget parameters.

Tomorrow night I’ll share one more weeknight-friendly $5 dinner; after that, I’ll be preparing for our big Taco Party to benefit the RI Community Food Bank.  After we’ve recovered, I’ll post the results — and the recipes — before launching next week’s $4-per-person challenge.  I’ll miss the posh ingredients, but I don’t think my budget will!