Not too long ago I was browsing the magazine rack waiting to checkout with my weekly groceries. If you have been following along on my Wife, Mom, House…Oh My! journey then you are well aware that I am a bargain hunter, deal finder and pretty tight with a budget. So it probably won’t come as too big a surprise that Better Homes and Gardens’ Dinner on a Dollar special publication caught my eye. After all, I’m all for groceries and finds at the 99 Cent Store so a dollar for a meal was right up my alley. So the magazine made its way into my weekly purchase.
With a moment to relax, I thumbed through it more thoroughly – which really means I was watching So You Think You Can Dance (so bummed that Virgil didn’t win) and I looked at the magazine during commercials – and saw a whole lot of meals that looked appealing, easy to make and easily modifiable for my allergies and family’s tastes. Then it dawned on me. I am so not the only mother out there working on a budget that could use some fairly simple, yummy recipes that are super budget friendly. So I decided to be the guinea pig…okay me and my family. Up first – breakfast for dinner.
I spotted the Egg and Potato Casserole and thought it looked good. Pictures draw me in. Taking a look at the ingredients, asparagus and broccoli caught my eye. I didn’t stop, go ewe with a wrinkled up nose and move on. I gave it a chance and thought peas and tomatoes might be good alternatives. Plus I’m not the biggest fan of frozen hash browns but I LOVE fresh potatoes. This was definitely a modify dish from the original but I knew my modifications would not change the price tag and probably could even tally up a total less than the $1.85 per serving cost with some savvy 99 Cent Store and Albertson bonus buys. Below is my version – mishaps and all – of Egg and Potato Casserole.
3 small to medium sized russet potatoes
1 medium yellow or white onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 slices bacon (or 1 1/2 cups reserved left over ham if bacon burns)
1/2 cup of whole milk
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 cup shredded Mexican blend or Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (or any strong cheese really)
5 to 6 leaves of fresh sweet basil – minced
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
Non-stick olive oil cooking spray or other cooking spray
Long and shallow casserole dish
Putting It All Together:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a casserole dish with the non-stick olive oil spray.
2. Clean and thinly slice the russet potatoes. They need to be thinly sliced so they will cook thoroughly. Layer them evenly along the bottom of the casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Cook four pieces of bacon in a large pan. Once cooked, drain off oil, cool and crumble over the potatoes.
If you happen to burn the bacon because your stove exhaust fan fails to work and you are running around opening windows to prevent the smoke alarm from going off, trash the black bacon. Pull out left over ham and warm it in the bacon fat rendered from cooking the bacon. Allow to cool, chop up into small bits and spread over potatoes.
4. Chop the onion and cook it in the bacon fat until translucent. Remove and drain. Sprinkle over the bacon, I mean ham in my case, and potatoes.
5. Slice grape tomatoes in half and spread over potato, meat and onions.
6. Warm frozen peas in a small bowl with water until al dente. Drain the water and spread over top of the casserole.
7. In a bowl, gradually add and mix the milk into the flour. Add the basil, fresh ground pepper, and the Mexican blend cheese and stir together. Pour over the casserole evenly, making sure it is completely coated. Most will drop down to cover the potatoes. This liquid will help cook the potatoes.
8. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle the Monterey Jack cheese on top. Cool for about 5 minutes and serve.
Other than my bacon fiasco, I think the dish came out pretty well. The original recipe had asparagus or broccoli, and bell peppers and onion. I’m allergic to bell peppers and we don’t have any big fans of broccoli or asparagus so I did change those with comparable items. As I mentioned, per serving this dish costs less than $2. For a family of four that’s a whole meal for less than $8! Not bad and healthy!
As I also mentioned I’m sure I’m not the only parent looking for a deal on dinner and dinner for dollars sounds awesome. So for the rest of 2015, I will be trying out some of the recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine as my Monday Munchies and giving you my two cents and tweaks on how they go and how they taste. I hope you enjoy the series and would love your thoughts!
Until next post!