From Food Network's "Ten Dollar Dinners" show and season 5 winner of "The Next Food Network Star" comes Melissa d'Arabian's cookbook "Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week."
A mother of four children under the age of 6, d'Arabian knows about living on a budget and looking for the best deal when grocery shopping. She outlines how to plan menus for the week, balancing costs between main dishes and sides, doing a "clean the pantry" week, where you use up everything you've had laying around, splurge in produce and use inexpensive proteins or even beans and making sure to use up your perishables.
The recipes are divided into Appetizers and Snacks, Soups, Salads, Fish and Seafood, Chicken, Pork and Beef, Vegetables, Starchy Sides, Pasta, Dessert and Breakfast. Each recipe also has a rating according to price, between 1 and 5, to better balance costs and make those food dollars stretch.
Appetizers range from Creamy Cheese and Basil Crostini, Spanish Tortilla and Bacon Deviled Eggs with Tuna Tartare.
Soups range from Orange Carrot Soup, Roached Tomato Winter Gazpacho and Quick Black Bean Chili.
Salads are recipes like Parisian Cafe Salad with Classic Dijon Vinaigrette, Salade Nicoise with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette and Tuna Panzanella Salad.
Fish and Seafood range from Shrimp Pad Thai, Sauteed Flounder with Lemon-Butter Sauce and Poor Man's Paella.
Chicken dishes are recipes like Easy Coq auVin, Four-Step Chicken Piccata and Chicken Meatballs.
Pork and Beef dishes range from Pork Loin Marsala, Grilled Tandoori Pork Kebabs, Everyday Roast Beef and Lemon-Thyme Meatballs.
Vegetables are side dishes like Bulgar-Stuffed Veggies, Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese and Provencal Tomatoes.
Starchy Sides are dishes like Creamiest Slow Cooker Polenta, Spicy Buffalo-Style Wedges, Savory Baked Rice and Quick Sour Cream Biscuits and Parmesan Breadsticks.
Pasta dishes are recipes like Crisper Drawer Pasta, Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese and Rigatoni with No-Cook Tomato Sauce.
Desserts end the meal with dishes like Earl Grey Pots de Creme, Chocolate Pain Perdu, Buttery Shortbread and Classic Apple Tart.
Finally, make Breakfasts like Black Bean, Chocolate and Banana Smoothies, Croque Madames, Scrambled Eggs with Wild Mushrooms and Easy Scones.
My oldest likes meatloaf, so I decided to make Moroccan Meat Loaf.
This made for an more flavorful and "exotic" dish, using spices like cinnamon, cilantro, ginger and cumin for flavor. Meatloaf is a great, easy-to-prepare dish that serves many.
I was able to get the meatloaf mixed up and the glaze on, and then pretty much leave it to bake for an hour.
It was a great, hands-off dish that didn't require a lot of fuss, and was full of great flavors.
The oldest and my parents enjoyed it, the picky youngest not so much, but that was to be expected. And it made great leftovers!
"Ten Dollar Dinners" is published by Clarkson Potter. It is $24.99.
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