Last night was the last of the $3 per person dinner nights in our house, but I don’t have a photo to share with you.  Sorry, but I couldn’t photograph that meal…because it all fell apart.

Literally.  Our evening was sort of a train wreck, come to think of it, from start to finish.  J. and I got caught in such horrible traffic leaving work that it took us almost 30 minutes to drive just 3 miles.  Then we got out of the car into a torrential downpour.  By the time we’d collected the kids, gotten everyone (and their gear) into the car, drove home, and got everyone and everything from the (detached) garage through the backyard and into the house, we were all…wet does not cover it.  DRENCHED might be more apt.

L. was whiny.  P. was obstinate and hostile.  We were 20 minutes later reaching home than we should have been.  I was working as fast as I could to get dinner ready, and the kids were clamoring for everything under the sun — TV shows, toys, help with this, come-see-that.  They’re not ordinarily so clingy or so demanding, but yesterday was just one of those days.  I finally got our dinner put together — a vegetable frittata, mashed potato pancakes, and uncured bacon — only to discover that the frittata had stuck to the pan and promptly fell to pieces when I tried to turn it out; and the potato pancakes, which I tried to turn too soon in my haste and impatience, also disintegrated into piles of mush. 

Yep.  The whole darned dinner fell apart.  Instead of attractive slices of neat, colorful frittata, we had piles of scrambled-egg mess.  Instead of golden brown mashed potato pancakes, we had a mish-mash of somewhat browned, then white, then more browned, then white again, potato goo.  I put the plates down on the table and L. said “What’s THAT?”

“Eggs and veggies,” I said, inwardly fuming over my ridiculous kitchen errors.  “It’s a big egg and veggie MESS.”

“Okay,” he responded, and picked up his fork.  J. came to the table, saw the plates, and shrugged.  P. had eyes only for the bacon.  And it occurred to me that nobody cared.

We had gotten ourselves warm and dry and snuggled into PJs before we sat down to dinner, and there was hot food in front of us, and nobody cared if it looked like something from the bottom of the kids’ sandbox.  It TASTED delicious.  We were all together.  And dinner disasters may happen, but they don’t have to ruin the EXPERIENCE of dinner.

Now with that little bit of revelation in mind, I’ll share with you the budget for this $3 feast…and then on to the October meal plan.  It’s going to be a busy month.
Organic eggs: $2
Local zucchini: $1
Local tomatoes: $0.75
Onion: $0.25
Organic mushrooms: $1
Sharp cheddar: $0.50
Nitrate-free uncured bacon: $2
Mashed potato pancakes: $1.50 (approximate value — made from leftover mashed potatoes)
Oil, seasonings, etc.: $0.50 (approximate value)
TOTAL: $9.50

An amazing value, and super-healthy.  I can’t ask for better than that, even if it was hideously unattractive.  Now, for more attractive things: the dinners for October!

Saturday, 10/1: French onion soup and roasted vegetable salad
Sunday, 10/2: Our anniversary.  J. and I are eating dinner out at our favorite gourmet Indian restaurant, and the kids are having a fun dinner of whole-wheat pumpkin waffles (I’ll share the recipe next week).
Monday, 10/3: Farfalle with creamy mushroom sauce, salad
Tuesday, 10/4: Slow cooker — turkey and bean chili, tortilla chips, avocado
Wednesday, 10/5: Tomato-poached eggs, garlicky greens, and crusty bread
Thursday, 10/6: Fish supper with local veggies
Friday, 10/7: Fend night
Saturday, 10/8: J. and P. are eating dinner alone tonight; I’ll leave them broccoli pizza dough and roast chicken to make pizzas.
Sunday, 10/9: Roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese
Monday, 10/10: Slow cooker — chicken cacciatore and whole wheat pasta
Tuesday, 10/11: Quesadilla bar and fruit
Wednesday, 10/12: Mushroom-turkey burgers, veggie “fries”
Thursday, 10/13: Quick minestrone with breadsticks
Friday, 10/14: Fend night
Saturday, 10/15: Pizza ravioli, salad
Sunday, 10/16: Chicken tikka masala, baked samosas, basmati rice
Monday, 10/17: Whole wheat macaroni and cheese, roasted broccoli
Tuesday, 10/18: Slow cooker — French dip sandwiches, sweet potato fries, fruit
Wednesday, 10/19: Breakfast for dinner, fruit crumble
Thursday, 10/20: Chicken and bean fajitas
Friday, 10/21: Slow cooker — sausage and peppers, linguine, and salad
Saturday, 10/22: Homemade pizzas
Sunday, 10/23: Roast beef supper (My parents will be in town, and this is a favorite of theirs)
Monday, 10/24: Butternut squash and pear soup, salad, crackers and cheese
Tuesday, 10/25: Slow cooker — chicken pot pie with pumpkin biscuits
Wednesday, 10/26: Turkey tacos
Thursday, 10/27: Pasta poulet and salad
Friday, 10/28: Fend night
Saturday, 10/29: DIY Salad platter and homemade whole-wheat pita
Sunday, 10/30: Sunday Roast chicken dinner
Monday, 10/31: Happy Halloween!  Pumpkin Soup and Chicken Sausage “mummies”