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