How a Foodie Can Save on Expensive Meals Out

I do most of the cooking in our household. I love that because it gives me full menu control which is important, because I’m a dyed-in-the-wool foodie. I’d go without shoes before giving up decent food. Don’t get me wrong, dinners out are great too but at $250+ a pop, too many can be a real killer to our future fun(d). I’ll talk more about this in future posts but for now, suffice to sSouthwest squash dinner Feb 21 15ay we’re deeply committed to growing our future fun(d)

I hate feeling restrained or conflicted when it comes to deciding between one of my loves (food in this case) and the future fun(d). Last Saturday’s dinner is a great example of how I don’t have to.

I have four cooking goals; cheap, easy, good, leftovers. It’s not always possible to nail all three (good is non-negotiable) but with a little creativity I hit more often than miss. Saturday is usually the highpoint of my foodie week. The time’s available to cook and we get to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning. It’s winter here in Canada which is perfect timing for one of my go to comfort food favorites, Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash Let’s see how it squares with my four goals:

Cheap:

1 acorn squash $2.97 (on special)
1 can black beans $.90 (on special)
I package of turkey sausage (4 links) $3.26 (on special)
1 onion $.30
1/2 red bell pepper $.75
1 cup cherry tomatoes $1.00
Sour cream/Cheddar cheese $.50
Spices $.25

Total $9.93 serves 2

Easy: Cooking squash is easier than making toast, it just takes a bit longer, allow 1 1/2hrs. The turkey mixture takes about 20 minutes and is impossible to screw up.

Good: The picture says it all, yum! (We paired dinner with a Perez Cruz Cab $15.95)

Left overs: After heaping 2 spoonfuls of turkey mix on the squash there’s still 2 – 3 cups left over for a free lunch. Cha-ching! Just heat in a microwave for a wonderful meal (with or without the cheddar and sour cream). Add an apple for desert ($1). Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Here’s my scoring summary out of 10:
Easy: 10
Cheap: 10
Good: 10
Leftovers: 9 (I usually shoot for at least two free lunches)

Add another cha-ching for the future fun(d) too! The thing to understand about managing money is that it’s really just about managing our decisions.

Note: I sometimes make a great non-meat version of this dish by substituting a wonderful Jamie Oliver vegetable chili. I make it in a big batch, which has the advantage of dropping dinner for two to $8 and yields four free lunches!

P.S Drop me a note if you’d like the recipe.