Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade Tortillas

We rolled them out on the table and in wax paper. I'd stick with a floured table. Slightly easier.
My fabulous friend Sara Perla offered me this recipe for Homemade Flour Tortillas. I love them.

Ingredients & Prices
3 Cups Flour - $0.36
4 Tbsp Canola Oil - $0.04
1 tsp Salt - $0.01
1 tsp Baking Powder - $0.04
1 Cup Hot Tap Water

Total Cost of Dough - $0.45
How much I spent yesterday on a package of tortillas...more than twice that.

These are so easy and quick, though, that you must make them. You can't really make a super skinny tortilla out of it, as it just jumps right back into position, but what you get is perfect for fajita or taco-sized yummy, rather than burrito. Burritos are really about the insides, though, anyway.
Sara's Instructions: (word for word! :) ) Mix it all- set aside for one hour (bowl with towel over it as per usual) Divide into 10-12 parts. form discs. roll out. heat up on stove til bubbles form, flip, done!
Here is what a bubble looks like...

And here is what it looks like if you overcook the side. It's still tasty for eating plain, but if you get that dark a brown dots, then you can't wrap stuff up inside it anymore.

Stan and I made this recipe today, to test 'em out. We just kept eating them,

so I stored the rest of the balls in the fridge until dinner. Then, I realized that I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer...which means, no tacos tonight. Tomorrow. Tonight, you get a new recipe!

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Normally, we make these and then eat them for dinner and tons of follow-up lunches. We had a birthday party yesterday, though, so we made them to enjoy for lunches this week, which means tacos for dinner tonight!

Ingredients & Prices
Pork (loin, shoulder, butt, whatever kind) - We used loin, as it was on sale. 3.6lbs - $7.20
1 Liter Root Beer (A&W this time, often Barques or off-brand) - $0.50
2 Cups BBQ Sauce (We used a 28Tablespoon container of Bull's Eye + what was left in a Kraft Bottle) - $1.75
Hamburger Buns - $2.20 for 16 (8 is not enough for 3 1/2 pounds of pork - probably need 2 8 packs - also, you could use sliced bread or nicer rolls - kaiser rolls are good...also, I made some awesome ones from my Farmer's Bread book - Perfect Buns - see my other blog's Beautiful Food post for a picture). I used those for this exact recipe back in September.

It's a ridiculously easy recipe. Lionel found it somewhere online, I believe, but I don't know where.
Put the pork into a slow-cooker and cover with Root Beer. Cook on low for 6 hours, turning once or twice. Drain and cut off excess fat (or don't - that is also fine). Put back in slow-cooker on warm. Break apart (pull) with a fork. Dump in all of the bbq sauce and stir.

It's ready. We use about 1/3 cup of pork per sandwich, on the hamburger buns. Probably more like 3/4 cup on kaiser rolls. You get about 12-14 sandwiches with this much meat. Last night Lionel and I both ate 1, he took 2 for lunch, Stan and I are eating 3 between us for lunch. So figure on lunch 3 times for 2 adults, 2 times for 1 kid. We add pickles, too.

Total Cost: $11.65 - That's less than $1.00 per sandwich! We've got McDonald's beat - plus, yummy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday

See Jen for more QuickTakes!

I thought we had potatoes yesterday, but we didn't. A can of corn and some toast had to do to supplement our dinner of frozen Stuffed Peppers. Oye.

I considered doing top 7 kitchen utensils today, but I'm saving that one.

Also, I would like y'all readers to help me out. I use a few websites to aid my creativity in the kitchen. Have you got some good websites to share? 

Also, I am looking for an amazing recipe. That's all I'm saying. Got one? You can email it to me or post it below.

Does anyone use evaporated milk as cream in your coffee? I am researching this phenomenon. Also, anyone know of a fabulous capp. machine fixer guy who doesn't charge two arms and four legs? 

These are all really short and insanely random. But, that's quick takes, yes? I'm feeling very scattered today. I went to Mother's Group this morning and ate some amazing pumpkin bread. There was something magical going on with it. Thank you mother-maker. Yum.

I have some really exciting menu ideas for the coming week. I hope that y'all will keep checking back. I am pretty excited about this project. I love food. I've been thinking this is something I should do - find out exactly how much it costs to make a meal for my family, so I can consider that while at the store. I hope I'm being at least a tad helpful to others. :) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Red Beans & Rice

Here's a nice meatless meal for the coming Lenten season. Lent starts 2 weeks from today.

Yesterday afternoon, I put 3/4 Cup of Red Beans in a small bowl and covered them with water. Late this morning (around 11:30am), I put said beans in the slow cooker.

Ingredients & Prices

3/4 Cups Dry Red Beans (soak 'em forever).  - $0.19
1 1/2 Cups Water for soaking
Soak beans overnight.

Preferably in the morning, place the beans and the following ingredients into the slow cooker on low. If you have to wait until later, put it on high, but keep an eye on it. Stir often on high.

3 Cups Water for Cooking (fresh water)
3 Small Yellow Onions - $0.15
3 Mashed Garlic Cloves - $0.15
1tsp Cumin -$0.03
1/2 tsp Chili Powder - $0.03
2 tsp Salt - $0.02

Meanwhile, cook 1 1/2 Cups Rice ($0.70). I have a rice cooker, so that makes my life easy. If you don't, follow the directions on the package. Once that is ready, heat some oil ($0.02) in the wok or frying pan. Add rice slowly. Season as desired. I am using Goya's Recaito Cilantro Cooking Base - 3Tbsp ($0.45). I can't possibly lose the cilantro this time...can I?

So that's it. It should make plenty of rice and beans for 2 adults, 1 child, with leftovers for 2 adults.
I will serve this up in a bowl, rice on bottom, beans on top, with about a Tbsp of shredded cheese ($0.45), a tsp of sour cream ($0.21), and as much hot sauce ($0.25) as we can take. I'll drop in a final product picture when all is ready.

Total Price: $2.65

Yummy Midmorning Snack - Mary's German Oven Pancakes + Coffee

This is a recipe from my friend Mary, who I went to college with. See it here.

After mass this morning, I put the baby down for a nap and decided to make some kind of yummy snack. I thought about Mark's popovers, biscuits, or scones, and wound up with a crazy craving for Mary's German Oven Pancakes. Since they taste a lot like popovers but are way easier to make, they've become one of my favorite mid-morning snacks.

Sadly, I have but 3 eggs and no Nutella, so I will have to stick to 1 pan and confectioner's sugar. Alas. However, not because it needs it but just for fun, I decided to add in a Tbsp of sugar to the batter. Already, even as it bakes, I think that it would have been better to go with a tsp, if any. Oh, well. We'll see how it goes.
Ingredients & Prices
1/2 Cup Milk - ($3.19/gal) - $0.10
1/2 Cup Flour - (Bread Flour 5 lb bag - $2.25) - $0.06
3 Large Eggs - $0.47
dash salt - $0.01
2 T butter - $0.16
1 T sugar (not in recipe, insanely added by me) - $0.01
1 T (circa) Confectioner's Sugar topping - $0.03

Total Cost of Yummy Snack - $0.86
Plenty of snack for me & Stan

2 Tbsp Ground Hazelnut Coffee - $0.60
3 tsp Half&Half - $0.04
1/2 Cup Milk for Stan to drink (no coffee for four year olds!) - $0.10
Total Cost of Drinks: $0.74

Grand Total: $1.60

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Special" Tacos

Look, y'all. Whatever you do, don't tell my husband about the "specialness" of tonight's tacos until after we eat them.

The ingredients and their proportions had to change a bit to compensate.
Ingredients & Prices
2-3 T veggie oil $0.02
1 lb. Ground Chicken (special...) - $2.99
1/2 can Rancheros Refried Beans - $0.75
2 Yellow Onions, chopped - $0.10
1 clove garlic, minced - $0.05
1 1/2 tsp Cumin powder - $0.05
1 tsp salt - $0.01
1 tsp Chipotle Chili Pepper - $0.06
9 Hard Taco Shells - $0.84 (Ortega brand - awesome)
3 ounces cheese (2 mozz., 1 cheddar) - $0.68
9 tsp Sour Cream - $0.31
Funny Story...priceless

Instructions: Warm the oil over low heat in a nonstick skillet. Throw in the chopped onions. Cook 1 minute or so. Add the ground chicken. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and put 1-2 T water in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook ground chicken, adding the garlic, salt, cumin & chili pepper at this point.
Note the lightness - there's no keeping this a secret.
See above to see how much of the powders are on there. As I mentioned before, I do not measure perfectly (which drives my husband crazy) - I take a look-see. I cover the meat with the powders in a thin layer. This, once cooked, proved not enough in the case of ground chicken. It apparently does not offer up enough of its own delicious flavoring as does fatty ground beef. Thus, I had to add quite a bit more cumin, Chipotle pepper, and even salt to get the yumminess. And yummy it was. The chicken also felt different as I used my handy dandy wooden utensil to stir it and break the pieces apart. It felt stringy and was much more difficult to break apart than is ground beef. When that tiny bit of water boils, add the half can of refried beans and stir very quickly. Then turn it off. Spread the taco shells out on a baking sheet and drop them in for 5-6 minutes. These Ortega shells are much thinner than the Old El Paso ones I'd used in the earlier recipe, so watch not to overcook. Get the Oretega ones - they come in a 12 pack box at Target. I paid $1.12 for the box!?!?! Happiness. Joyness. Loving life. 
Whatever veggies you'd like to throw in, prep them while the shells warm up. Chop the lettuce into little long slits and the tomatoes into little blocks; wash your cilantro, and grate your cheese (a large grate is much better than the super thin ones - that way you can taste your cheese). 
Take out your taco shells. Turn off the heat. Set a paper towel into a 13x9 baking dish (metal), and stand up the shells. 9 fit perfectly going the long way. Dump a teaspoon or so of refried beans into the bottom of each shell. Don't worry about spreading it - leave it in a lump at the bottom. Don't torture yourself. Then, use a large spoon to put about a Tablespoon or more of chicken mixture into the shell. Smash down the beans, it'll spread out that way. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on the mixture. Set it back in the oven (heat turned off but still warm) until you're ready to eat.

Now, whatever you do, don't lose your cilantro. My cilantro was very very dirty, and there was very little left. I took off all of the good leaves, put them into the clear lid from the lettuce container, washed them, put them on a paper towel to dry...and lost them. No cilantro with dinner tonight. I must have thrown it away during the madness that is my kitchen. Perhaps it was the 7 month old climbing up the back of my legs and screaming that she would bang her head if I did not pick her up. Perhaps it was the wasp in the box of toy bricks my son brought up from the basement...I know not. To add a little salt (always add salt...) to my wound, the lettuce and tomato...were frozen. My fridge has a cold spot - the entire back of it - if you put anything anywhere near the back, it freezes. I hoped that that just meant that my frozen lettuce and tomato would be easier to chop up with my handy dandy Cutco Petit Chef's knife. It was, most certainly, easier to cut. I usually use the serrated knife for the tomato, but I didn't have to this time...I waited, and prayed for delicious vegetables to put on the top of the go. Ice cubes, red ones. Gross. Sad day when your lettuce and tomatoes get ruined by your refrigerator. Sad day. 

Delicious Tacos, though. Yea.
These tacos fed 2 adults, no kids. Stan had 2 cheese roll ups. (2 tortillas - $0.38, 2 slices American cheese $0.28+ some lettuce & tomatoes $0.15)
Total Price of Adults Meal: $5.86
Total Price of Kid's Meal:  $0.81

Total Price of 2 adults, 1 child: $6.67

Lionel's Spicy Curry Rice

Lionel (my husband) made this delicious spicy rice Saturday afternoon. One of his new favorite things to do is to put rice in the rice cooker in the middle of the day and see what happens. Do I grab it first or does he? Anyhoo, he made this delicious lunch - intended likely to use all week - and we've got a tiny bit left.

Ingredients & Prices

1 1/2 Cups Jasmine Rice - $0.70
2 T Hot Curry Paste - $0.57
3 Carrots, chopped - $0.33
1 tsp fresh chopped Cilantro $0.05
2-3 T Veggie Oil - $0.05
1 tsp Ginger - $0.04
2 small yellow onions, chopped - $0.10
3 T soy sauce, plus more at table - $0.40 (I rounded up)
4 large eggs - $0.39

Instructions: Precook the rice. If you've got leftover rice in the fridge, that's even better. Use that. Warm the oil in a large wok. Add in the onions and carrots and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring pretty constantly. Add in the rice and other seasonings (no eggs, yet). Do lots of stirring - with something wooden - until everything is all good and uniform. Then make a circular hole in the center of the rice, moving the rice up on the sides of the wok, about 2" in diameter. In a separate bowl or cup, use a fork to whisk the eggs. Pour them into the hole in the rice and begin to cook, moving the eggs about in the circle with your wooden utensil. When it begins to cook, slowly integrate it into the rice, a tiny bit at a time, until all of the eggs are mixed in with the rice. Throw in some more soy sauce for good measure.

This fed two adults and one child lunch, and will feed me lunch again today (sorry, Lionel - I'm cooking up some red beans & rice for you, though).

Total Cost: $2.63 - This is much cheaper than Chick-fil-A. It's even cheaper than the tiny little Chinese place near Lionel's work. I suppose it's Indian, so we might have to compare it to an Indian place, but my guess is that making this at home is cheaper every time.

This is the curry paste, so you can find it. It's in the international section.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Macaroni w/ Tomato Sauce, Bacon, & Cheese

I made another crazy simple yummy meal tonight. Let's see how it adds up.


3/4 lb. Elbow Macaroni - $0.67
1T veggie oil - $0.05
1/4 lb. Bacon - $1.17
2 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese - $0.23
1 can Crushed Tomatoes w/ Basil - $1.99
1 clove garlic - $0.05
1/2 loaf French Bread from Target...(oops) - $.0.75

Instructions: Boil large saucepan of water. Meanwhile, cook bacon with oil on low heat until crispy. Add noodles to water, boil 8 minutes. Dump mac. into 8 inch glass casserole dish. Drizzle crushed tomatoes, with minced garlic, onto mac, covering. Drop crushed up bacon on top, then shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil, try not to actually touch the cheese with the foil, else it will stick to the foil. Bake in over 25-30 minutes on 350.

Total Cost of Meal for 2 adults, 1 child, 1 lunch worth of leftovers: $4.91

Legion of Leftover Lunches

Today, I ate tons of leftovers for lunch. My son ate some Ramen, and then jumped in and joined me on my leftovers. Since I've already counted the leftovers in the dinner prices, they get to be listed as free in this fabulous leftover attack. Once this war has been waged, I will pass on a lunch recipe made by my husband. He's a BIG rice fan. But first...leftover lunch day.


1 1/2 Cups leftover rice from last night's dinner (Rice, Pork Chops & Cream of Mushroom Soup)
2 ounces cut up chicken breast from Friday's Dinner at a friend's house (I ate the other leftovers from the dinner at their house for lunch yesterday)
1 pie piece-size of last week's fancy crêpes (the last piece - Stan and I shared the other leftovers on Friday)
1/2 Bag Frozen Spinach (not leftover - but GREEN!) - $0.50
2 T Butter for spinach - $0.04
Stan's pack of Chicken Ramen - $0.12

Total Cost of Today's Lunch: $0.66

And, it was awesome.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Bit of a Bomb - Pork Chops & White Rice with Cream of Mushroom Soup

Note the title...that's the ingredients. Literally all of them.

Why a bit of a bomb? My husband is not really a big fan. You should have seen the massive amounts of hot sauce and soy sauce he toppled in there. True, the pork was a bit dry. Also, he put some parmesan cheese from a little packet from Dominos on each of our bowls. I didn't like that stuff. I just go with the soy.

I am a huge crazy fan of this meal. Note that it can also be done with chicken. The easiness of prep. is awesome. Awesome. I take raw rice, raw pork, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and 3 cups of water. I put them in a big pot with a lid. Cover, cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour - until cut pork chops juices run clear. That's all. So easy. So good. A supplement of a veggie probably wouldn't hurt, actually, but the rice and pork can really fill you up. We had a snack of carrots and tomatoes about a half hour before dinner. I'll include those prices, since it was so close to meal time.

1 1/2 Cups Jasmine Rice - $0.70
1 12 ounce can Cream of Mushroom Soup - $0.93
2 pork chops - about 3/4 pound - $1.18
3 Cups Water
1 Roma Tomato - sliced w/ olive oil & Balsamic vinegar + salt & pepper - $0.55
3 Carrots, julienned - $0.33
1/3 Cup Ranch dressing - $0.42

Total Cost of Appetizer: $1.32
Total Cost of Meal, 2 adults, 1 child, quite a bit of leftover rice: $2.81

Grand Total: $4.13

Picture to Come

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BLTs & Fries

Yea! It's springy and beautiful outside, and I'm making BLTs. I even bought a 12 pack of Coke (on sale!). Simple and easy ingredients, and rather inexpensive.

1/2 pound bacon: $2.34
8 slices wheat bread - toasted: $0.95
1 1/2 Roma tomatoes: $0.99
1/8 head lettuce (Water-lettuce): $0.13
bag frozen fries: $1.98
ketchup & mustard condiments: $0.12

Total cost for this meal for 2 adults, 1 child: $6.51 Even if you add the total price of the 12 pack of cokes, at $2.88, that's quite a deal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You know you're ready to go with Julia if you've got tons of butter...

Pâte à Crêpes - Crepe Batter & Method (pg. 191 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

The recipe for crêpes was much simpler than I'd imagined. The most difficult part came when I was trying to make the batter, as Julia suggested, in a blender. I do not have a blender but a rather old food processor, and it is broken. Therefore, I put a cup of cold milk and a cup of cold water, turned away to get the eggs and heard a glug glug ... 

no, I didn't cry
Thus, I was forced to do it the hard way, and it was a pain. I think I could make crêpes daily if I had a blender, but I won't make them too soon, having to beat all the stuff together like mad - short my largest mixing bowl thanks to the grabbing hands of my seven month old daughter.

Use a cast iron if you have one. It makes your life much easier when it comes to flipping time. Also, be sure the first side is brown before flipping. It will save your first few crêpes.

Ingredients & Prices for Crêpes
1 cup cold milk: $0.19
1 cup cold water
4 eggs: $0.62
1/2 tsp salt: $0.01
1 1/2 cups flour: $0.17
4 T melted butter: $0.31
Plus Oil for Pan - $0.05

Total Cost of Crêpes (makes about 25-30): $1.35

Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine
(pg. 193 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Ingredients & Prices for Everything Else
5T flour: $0.04
8T butter: $0.62
2 3/4 C boiling milk: $0.53
1/2 tsp salt: $0.01
1/8 tsp pepper: $0.01
Big pinch nutmeg: $0.02
1/4 C whipping cream: $0.50
1 Cup Coarsely chopped grated Swiss Cheese (I substituted mozzarella) - $0.90
2 T minced green onions: $0.44
1 egg: $0.16
8 ounces Cream cheese: $1.48
1 1/2 Cups (I used 2) Spinach (I used frozen instead of fresh blanched): $1.45
1/4 lb. minced mushrooms: $1.69

Total Price Sauce & Filling: $7.85

Total Price Gâteau de Crêpes à la Florentine: $9.20

This filled 2 9" Cake pans, fed me, my husband, my 4 year old, my friend Laura and her husband, and her two daughters (ages almost 2 & almost 4). There is also a half a cake pan leftover. So we fed 4 adults and 3 kids on this meal, and will likely feed another 2 adults and a kid for a lunch meal. Nice.

My Tacos

I make home-made tacos often, at least twice a week. I made these last night - and my husband says they were the best tacos ever.

We love tacos. Much. Lionel made them weekly when we lived in New York, and it was just the two of us. He used the powder. But then we were making it so often, we got rid of the packets and moved up to a big jug of the powder. Nowadays, I've got my own recipe.

Ingredients & Prices
2-3 T oil - veggie, olive, or even butter if you want to spend too much. I used oil - $0.06
1 small yellow onion (from bag of 20 priced at $1.99) - $0.05
1 large clove of garlic (from head priced at $1.29/lb) - $0.05
3/4-1 pound of ground beef, turkey, or a mix. I use ground beef.
The fattiest tastes best and is cheapest. This time I got 85% lean that was not on sale - so the 3/4 pounds of beef cost an unseemly $3.50.
1 tsp dried cumin powder - (there is 1 cup in my container, and it cost $1.59) buy it in bulk at a discount supermarket or spend a fortune - $0.03
1/2 tsp dried chili powder or some other spiciness you like $0.03
1tsp salt - or to taste $0.01

Instructions for Meat:
Place oil in hot pan. Warm. Add in chopped onion at sizzle point. Do not put the garlic in, yet. It will burn. Cook onions until just soft. Add ground beef. Break up with wooden spoon. Then add garlic, on top of meat. Sprinkle cumin on top of meat, touching the top of each piece of meat with a bit of cumin, about a teaspoon worth, maybe a little more or less. Sprinkle tops with salt in the same way. Be a bit more sparse with spicy powder or pepper. Brown, moving around pan, breaking up into tiny pieces as you go.  Set aside.

Warm your choice of taco shells or tortillas in 350 degree oven for 7 minutes. Do the full 7 for a nice crunch, but no longer or they will burn. (I used 7 Old El Paso shells - an 18 pack cost $2.12 - We usually use 9 per meal, so we had to supplement with chips) - $0.83 + chips: $0.50 (someone gave us the chips, but I'm guessing here)

I filled each shell with about a tablespoon of meat and sprinkled ($0.45) 2 ounces (total) of shredded cheddar on each taco and on the chips and left them to stay warm in the oven while I waited for my husband and cut up the lettuce. I thought I had a tomato, and I usually dice up a half of a hot house or a whole Roma tomato to help top. I'm not counting it today, since I didn't use it. I used 1/8 of a head of iceberg lettuce that cost $0.99 - $0.13. Next I dollupped a teaspoon or so of sour cream on each taco (2.49 for entire container - $0.21) and on the chips. We each also used about a tsp of hot sauce on each taco - $0.18.

Our son is only 4 and has a rough time with tacos still, so I usually make him a roll up or quesadilla, but I had some cilantro rice for our lunches this week, so I gave him some of that with cheese on top and a side of lettuce and ranch dressing. About $0.35 for his food.

Total Cost for this particular Taco Meal for 2 adults, 1 child, no leftovers: $6.44

If you compare that to Taco Bell, it's a side of rice (0.79), 7 crunchy tacos (6.23), and let's say 2 simple nachos (1.98). Total Price: $9 + tax, so around $10.50 or so. So, just think of it as you getting paid $4.06 for less than an hour of dinner making, and it tastes better and is healthier. Cheers!

Saute De Boeuf a la Parisienne, Pommes de Terre Sautees, and Spinach with Butter

The first meal, though beautiful it was, will have no pictures. I made it on Sunday, February 13, 2011. That day was rather crazy. I was cooking this wonderful dinner for hours, with the baby in the kitchen with me, often crying. My husband was sitting at the table working on our income taxes for many many hours, and our four year old was mostly watching a movie.

So here's how this meal happened. My husband suggested that I just pick a random recipe that I liked the looks of from Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, since I was really afraid once I opened the book and saw that we do not have tons of the materials she claims must live in a kitchen. So, I did what he said. I picked a recipe, made sure we had most of the ingredients, and got down to business. At the last minute, I took her suggestion for the potatoes, and we had some frozen spinach in the freezer.

I will not copy down the recipes, though I will tell you where to find them should you so choose. I will only include recipes when they are my own.

I will, however, give you the ingredients, as the point is to show you what I bought and how much I spent on it.

Beef Saute with Cream and Mushroom Sauce (p. 325 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms - I got a pack of pre-sliced to save time, and they cost the same. $1.69
I had the large skillet, I used my non-stick.
Butter. Tons. I bought a whole pound, used a quarter of it for the total meal. The pound of salted (I always use salted) cost $2.59 - cost used: circa $0.65
Cooking Oil - 2T - I used cheap-o vegetable oil - The whole thing probably cost $3, so I'd say I spent about 5 cents, maybe.
3TB minced shallots or green onions. My grocer did not have shallots. The green onions were $0.44.
1/4tsp salt and pinch of pepper. Had that, always have that. No idea cost. Way cheap. Less than a penny worth, surely.
2 1/2 lbs filet of beef: I got a small - not quite 2 pounds - shoulder steak. It worked out. It was on sale for $2.16.
1/4 Cup Madeira or dry white vermouth - I used vermouth. We've had that vermouth for so long, I cannot begin to guess the price. Sorry.
3/4 Cup good brown stock or beef bouillon: I bought a 25 pack of bouillon cubes for $1.69, and used one of them. That's about 7 cents.
1 Cup whipping cream (I used 1/2 cup whipping cream, since that's all I had, and 1/2 cup whole milk) - The whipping cream portion cost $0.75, and the milk cost $0.09 (I got milk for $2.99 a gallon).
2 tsp cornstarch - I had this on hand, and so do you, so bah. We'll call it 2 cents.
Parsley sprigs - I used stuff I had in the cabinet, but fresh is better, so $0.75.

Total cost of Beef saute for family of 2 adults, 1 child, little leftover: about $6.66

Potatoes Sauteed in Butter (pg. 526 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

3 New Potatoes (red ones, big ones) - got in a bag of 12 for $3.97 - $0.99
I used some of the butter counted above in here.
Salt - Let's call it 10 cents worth, since I like salt a lot.

Total cost of Potatoes sauteed for family of 2 adults, 1 child, little leftover: about $1.09

Frozen Spinach with Butter
1/2 Bag Spinach - $0.50
Butter - I used 2 T from above counted butter

Total cost of Spinach with butter for family of 2 adults, 1 child, none leftover: about $0.50

Total Cost of Yumminess: $8.25