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$3 Meals: Feed Your Family Delicious, Healthy Meals for Less than the Cost of a Gallon of Milk [Paperback]

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Item Description...
A treasury of simple and nutritious meals places an emphasis on affordable cooking and shares tips for planning weekly shopping trips that take sales and seasonal availability into account, in a volume that features such dishes as Cheddar Potato-Topped Shepherd's Pie, Southwest Spinach Loaf, and Seafood Gumbo. Original.

Publishers Description

Food prices may be skyrocketing, but is that any reason to leave your taste buds in the lurch?  $3 Meals is a new kind of low-cost-cooking book, comprising more than 250 simple recipes—none requiring more than twenty minutes of “hands-on” time—that cost less than a gallon of milk—and yet look and taste darn good . . . and are good for you, too.


Ellen Brown begins with the premise that planning each week's meals should start with a survey of foods on hand, factoring in sales and seasonality. The cost-busting cook wastes nothing. Carrot peels and parsley stems are used to make stocks, for example. The dishes—from American favorites to popular ethnic foods such as Tex-Mex, Asian, and Italian—include Cheddar Potato-Topped Shepherd's Pie, Southwest Spinach Loaf,  Chicken and Dumplings, and Seafood Gumbo. Who will miss “luxury foods” when these are on the menu? And say goodbye to expensive convenience foods like salad dressings and barbecue sauces with more chemicals than foods on the labels when it is revealed how easy—and inexpensive—it is to make these at home.

Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 14, 2009
Publisher   The Lyons Press
ISBN  1599216078  
EAN  9781599216072  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Delicious recipes, more expensive than thought  Nov 21, 2009
I checked this book out from the library before buying it, looking for some meal ideas that were more affordable to feed the family. While I was disappointed that they cost more than she gives the impression of. every recipe so far is delicous! Seriously, I was actually surprised at how flavorful they are. I seldom take seconds, but when we made the pot pie (ex, the crust alone was almost $4) I took one bite and declared they better save me some more. My family cleaned that up, and much healthier than stuff with cream of _____ soup mixes.
Misleading Title  May 26, 2009
Based on the title of this book, I was eager to see how I could spend so much less money on meals for my family. $3 for dinner! Not until halfway through the book, in the introduction to a recipe, do we find out that the title refers to $3 PER SERVING, not $3 for the whole meal. With four of us in our family, that's $3 times four, seven days a week--making $84 per week spent on dinner alone. Heck, I spent less than that before reading the book! Of course, the book's premise that if you make everything from scratch, you will spend less and eat better is true, for the most part, but who didn't know that already? The recipes are fine, but nothing extraordinary. Save your money by not buying this book.
Wonderful, Easy-to-Use, Must-Have Cookbook!  May 14, 2009

We've been eating better, and for far less money, since I bought "$3 Meals" a few weeks ago. I love the fact that she doesn't use any convenience foods that are loaded with chemicals. I didn't realize how much they cost, too. I did her Chicken Pot Pie recipe the other night and it was the best one we've ever eaten.
Not realistically possible for $3  May 8, 2009
This book does a brief overview of how to save money at the grocery store (nothing really new). It goes on to present a major money saving strategy -- making every sauce, stock, dressing, and marinade from scratch. From there, the author presents recipes for main dishes. She finishes with recipes for baking breads and muffins from scratch.

The recipes are sound, and I have no doubt that they will produce reasonably healthy and tasty results. But...
#1 -- there is no reason to make every sauce from scratch. With sound couponing and savy shopping, I can get a bottle of bbq sauce for free (same for salad dressing, bottles of marinade, etc). If I make those things from scratch (and I frequently do), it is a question of quality, not cost.
#2 -- the main dishes presented are not complete meals. Most of them require additional side dishes (vegetable, fruit, and/or starch) to complete the meal. Beyond a passing mention of a crispy salad and fresh bread, the author does not provide any assistance in how to complete the meal and stay under budget. No ideas for inexpensive sides are provided.
#3 -- many of the recipes are not make-able for the advertised $3 pricetag. Unless I were to catch the fish myself, I simply do not see how I could make a dish calling for a pound and a half of bass or cod for a total cost of under $3. Nor could I make a dish that calls for 2 bulbs of fennel along with a pound of chicken and come in at that price.
#4 -- the serving sizes are a bit unrealistic. Most recipes call for 1 to 1.5 pounds of protein (beef, fish, chicken, or pork) and will serve 4 to 6 people. For six people, that's a 4 ounce portion of protein. Admittedly that is the recommended serving for many, but it is not enough for some men-folk and growing boys.
#5 -- virtually none of the sauces/marinades/dressings presented in the beginning of the book are used in the remaining recipes. so what are they for?

I think this book does have some good points, and a lot of good basic recipes. It presents some of the information and tools needed to control grocery budgets, but not all of them. If the author intended to present meals that were under $3 per serving, she succeeds. However, her book implies that it is $3 for SIX people... an unrealistic and unrealized promise. If I caught all of the ingredients on sale at their lowest price of the year, I could conceivably make most of them for under $6 each. If I were shopping on an average day, many of them would come closer to $10.
What a wonderful cookbook!  May 4, 2009
The information is great, and I was also impressed by the wit and charm of the presentation. This is a terrific cookbook that offers a wealth of recipes and how-to-save-on-grocery-shopping information for the budget-conscious. And who among us is not budget-conscious these days?

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