Friday, January 19, 2018

Thrift Week 2018, Day Three: Skillet Kugel

For Day Three of our Thrift Week menu, Brian prepared a recipe of his own invention: Skillet Kugel, which appeared as my Recipe of the Month in September 2014. He created this dish a few years back, adapting the potato kugel recipe from The Clueless Vegetarian to make it both lighter and quicker to prepare. Since then, it's become one of our go-to-recipes because, first of all, we both like it, and second, it's easy to make with ingredients we always have on hand: potatoes, onions (or leeks if we happen to have any), eggs, oil, flour, and salt. So if we're ever stumped for a dinner recipe, we can always trot out this old standby.

We generally serve this dish accompanied by frozen peas and applesauce, which Brian has become adept at making in the pressure cooker. The recipe for this is so simple it hardly deserves the name, but if you want to try it, here's how:
  1. Peel and core 2 large apples and cut them into small pieces. (We do this with an old-fashioned apple peeling machine like this.)
  2. Load the pieces in the pressure cooker with a tablespoon or two of water.
  3. Cook for 6 minutes at full pressure.
So, for this complete meal, the ingredients and their costs were:
  • 3 potatoes (about l pound): about 25 cents. Our most recent purchases of potatoes were 5 pounds for $1.50 and 10 pounds for $2, so it works out to 25 cents a pound on average.
  • 1/3 onion: about 3 cents, from the bag we bought at the H-Mart.
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil: about 6 cents. We generally pay either $1.80 per quart for canola oil at Aldi, or $2 per quart at Shop-Rite.
  • 2 Tbsp. flour: about 2 cents. We last paid $1.81 for a 5-pound bag at Aldi)
  • 2 large eggs: 50 cents. This is the priciest ingredient, since we only buy organic, Certified Humane eggs. We last bought these for $3 a dozen at H-Mart. If you made it with conventional eggs, you could cut the cost by around 34 cents.
  • 1 tsp. salt: less than a penny.
  • 2 apples (12 ounces): about 25 cents. We got a ridiculously good deal on apples at Aldi recently: 99 cents for 3 lbs. Normally we pay more like a dollar a pound, which would triple the price of this ingredient.
  • 3 ounces frozen peas: about 37 cents. We buy the organic frozen peas from Trader Joe's for $1.99 a pound, so once again, you could cut this price nearly in half by buying conventional, store-brand peas.
That comes to $1.48 total for roughly four meals: one dinner for the two of us, and leftovers for two lunches. That's just 37 cents for each meal. However, we usually don't have any peas left over, so we end up having to supplement the lunch a little bit - maybe with another piece of fruit. So, factoring that in, it might average out to as much as 50 cents a meal, which is still pretty darn good. And pretty darn tasty, too.
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