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Dinner $5 per person!?

Being someone who cooks mostly from scratch I attract the attention of skeptics. The short conversation usually goes something like, “I can eat out cheaper than cooking at home.” which generally has words like McDonald’s, whatever Chinese food restaurant and Denny’s or whatever cheap food is available around town.

Last night I was approached with the idea that dinner can’t be made for under $10 therefore eating out is cheaper. If you’re a home cook you know it’s not true unless you just don’t watch your numbers or portions but if you do then hands down it’s cheaper to cook than to pay someone else to cook.

I’m seriously considering doing some copycat meals of popular fast-food just to prove a point. I haven’t bought fast-food in a couple of months and generally don’t but it might be fun to see what I can do in the kitchen. We’ll see.

This post is one fantastic meal for 4 that is less than $20 to make. It’s not beautiful but it was pretty good. I’ve never been great at technical names for food but from a short spell on google I’ve come down to it’s either a veggie and beef ragu or ragout. I call it a ragu but I also call my pancake flipper Jack. So…

If you follow the slide show, I just saute a few sliced up veggies then put them in a bowl while I brown the cubed chuck roast. When the chuck is browned on all sides I toss the veggies back on top with a can of tomato paste some dijon mustard and a little wine and let the flavors stew for a couple of hours on low heat. When the meat is fork tender I remove it from the veggies and put them in the blender to make the sauce. I like leaving the meat chunky but a person could blend that also.

Then serve it on your favorite pasta. I used spaghetti but it would work with just about anything. The veggies are easily switched up also. Even the pickiest eaters will be eating vegetables without knowing it.


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Just a Mom?

For about 18 years I’ve been a mom, homemaker and potentially significant to an other. Naturally, with kids I’ve gravitated towards cooking or at least learning something about it, about 14 years ago after acquiring my little piece of paradise I’ve become intrigued by the process of growing the food that I cook. This is the basis of the blog I’m attempting to set up. I would like to think that I appeal to the average housewife/husband. I watch a little too much TV, my house could use a little more attention, I could stand to lose a few pounds or at least exchange some of this fat for muscle, somewhere in the back of my mind I figure if I have a Bachelors degree I will somehow be able to achieve a higher status so I’m back in school. I have bad habits and guilty pleasures. Mostly I live vicariously through my kids and whatever is streaming through my Ruko stick. I am single which adds a bizarre twist to the whole thing. Mostly though, hopefully, I’ll share my love of growing and making food.

In the past 14 years I’ve gotten familiar with growing, processing and cooking some livestock and garden produce. I’ve yet to write about it, maybe because I was so new it was a lot of trial and error or maybe the lack of sit down time. This year I will be experimenting, practicing and perfecting a lot of rabbit, lamb, chicken and quail dishes as these are the primary livestock on my little piece of property along with garden produce. I want to add on a couple of pigs and turkey after I hang up the lambs which will give me a little more room. If ambition plays a role in all of this I hope to train my two miniature horses to pull and help out on the farm. I like the idea of avoiding buying another tractor though it would definitely make some of the heavy lifting easier.

I’m in the process of making a meat locker so I can butcher animals year round without worrying about meat spoiling. I’m moving my garden this year with the goal to build up a partially washed out pasture and improve upon it. Three small livestock barns with a winter’s worth of compost should help with that project along with digging out a fish pond that’s been on my to-do list since I moved here and an abundant garden should have that pasture looking pretty good by the end of this year. I’m also going to be selling garden “kits”, salsa garden with tomatoes, peppers and such, salad garden with a variety of lettuce, carrots and peas, so on and so forth with the hope to help fund my growing and cooking adventures and get my kitchen remodel finally finished.

With all that information coming at you I hope you will follow along my little venture, maybe I’ll teach you a few things about the kitchen and garden that you don’t know and maybe you all will teach me a thing or two. This is my last full summer before my teenager heads off to college so I guess maybe I’m hoping to teach her a few more things in the kitchen to help her avoid the college diet of ramen and mac n cheese.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention we have honey bees coming in mid-April. So much fun I’ll be sharing with you this year.