Tag Archives: food

5 Fast and Frugal Recipes to Kickoff the Football Season

Football Party

Planning a tailgating party on a budget requires more than a few good shopping maneuvers in your playbook.

Assuming you’ll want to watch the game rather than be stuck in the kitchen, think ahead, says Paul Sidoriak of GrillingMontana.com.

“Most dishes can be prepared almost entirely in advance and finished before kickoff, often coming out better than if they were made completely on game day,” he says.

For example, boil and cook bratwursts ahead of time. “Then, on game day, re-heat in boiling beer and sauerkraut, and then finish on the grill,” Sidoriak says.

Here are 5 more suggestions for tailgating fare that’s worthy of a place on the grill:

“Sam Can” Chicken

Chef David Burke came up with this twist on beer can chicken, using the new canned Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

In a large bowl, prepare marinade of one cup soy sauce, a tablespoon chopped ginger, a tablespoon chopped garlic, a tablespoon ketchup, a teaspoon mustard, two tablespoons honey, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon.

Add a three- to five-pound chicken and marinate for two hours.

Get grill hot and open beer. Remove about a tablespoon of beer from the can. Put a few holes in the top of the can. Place your chicken right side up on the can, so that it sits up straight.

Place the beer-can chicken in the middle of the grill and let cook for about one hour or until it reaches the temperature of 165 degrees.

Grilled Hanger Steak with Bacon Chimichurri

Even tailgating is better with bacon.

This steak recipe uses bacon to spice up the accompanying sauce.

Honey BBQ Pulled Chicken

LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints devotee Chef David Guas suggests preparing this chicken ahead of time and serving it cold on buttermilk biscuits.

But it’s just as tasty hot from the grill.

Potato Dippers

Served with a trio of sauces, these potato wedges cost less than $2 per serving to prepare.

Grilled Crab Cake

Make crab cakes on the grill instead of baking to pick up great flavors from the charcoal, Sidoriak says.

In a large bowl, combine one egg and a quarter cup each of Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. Whisk until smooth.

Fold in one can jumbo lump crab meat, taking care not to break up the crab.

In a separate bowl, mix together a half-cup Panko breadcrumbs and 12 crushed Ritz crackers. Sprinkle half the crumbs onto crab mixture and fold in.

Repeat with remaining crumbs.

Form cakes carefully and try not to over-handle. Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

5 Fast and Frugal Recipes to Kickoff the Football Season” was provided by Mint.com.

Mint is a free personal finance tool that brings all your financial accounts together online or on your mobile device, automatically categorizes your transactions, and helps you set budgets so you can achieve your financial goals.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.

6 Easy Hacks for Saving on Fine Dining


If it’s true that we all have a budgetary weakness, then mine is most certainly a love of fine dining. I can live in a shoe box, take public transportation rather than drive, and buy all my clothes on clearance at discount stores, but I just can’t seem to shake my love of good restaurants. But being a budget-conscious financial writer, I understand the potentially ruinous impact of paying full price regularly for fancy meals and devised cheaper means of experiencing the city’s best food. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lunch, not dinner

When most of us imagine fine dining, it conjures images of romantic dinners and moon-lit tables. But if it’s the food, itself, you’re after, going for lunch can afford you the same meal at a significant discount. Though most restaurants alter their menu somewhat for lunch, many core dinner items are still served (and for about 2/3 of what you’d pay at dinner). The easiest way to ensure you’re able to taste your preferred foods is to examine both the lunch & dinner menus online. By comparing these, you’ll spot which items are offered at both meals. As an example, I recently ate at a highly-rated, upscale Italian steakhouse and paid just $18.00 for a three-course prix fixe meal. That same salad, pasta and dessert would’ve cost me nearly $40 at dinner. A la carte fish, chicken and steak dishes were also about 30% cheaper than the same at dinner.

Cordon Bleu/Cooking Schools

The finest cooking schools (such as the famed Cordon Bleu) often have restaurants or dinner nights open to the public. When I lived in San Francisco, I frequently ate at the Cordon Bleu’s Technique Restaurant, enjoying gourmet five-course meals for about $15. These restaurants feature student chefs nearing graduation, and are overseen by professional chef instructors to ensure quality. The culinary creations of these same student chefs will likely fetch many times as much money once they graduate a few weeks later, so why not take advantage of their “student” status now?

Prix Fixe/Restaurant Weeks

Many fine dining restaurants offer prix-fixe and/or specialty weekly meals on slower nights. Dining out on say, a Monday night, can yield some significant savings; your best bet, again, is to check the restaurant’s website or inquire directly about such specials.

And in most major cities, upscale restaurants join forces to create a yearly “restaurant week” , enabling locals to sample their city’s fine dining offerings without breaking the bank. Spots get taken quickly, however, so you’ll need to make reservations well in advance – but the savings are usually on the order of 25-50%.

Appetizers & Dessert

One of our favorite hacks for enjoying the city’s best restaurants on a budget involves only ordering appetizers and dessert. We’ve discovered that in many cases, restaurants focus their greatest creative force on these courses, since entrees are usually somewhat more standard affairs. We’ll make a meal of pseudo-“tapas” and share two or three appetizers and a couple of desserts; this usually costs us about $40-50, including tax and tip, and we are able to sample some of the finest cooking in town. A full dinner at a five-star restaurant might have cost twice that.

Don’t buy alcohol

Just don’t. Period. This is where restuarants employ their biggest mark-ups — and where you will part with the most dollars uneccesarily. Focus on the food, and if you must, have drinks somewhere less expensive afterward.

Open Table

Most foodies know of OpenTable.com as a uber-convenient way to secure reservations at the restaurant of your choice. But if you dine out often, consider signing up for their loyalty program; you get “points” toward a free meal with every reservation. Restaurants having a slow night may even offer several extra points, enabling you to accrue a free meal quite quickly.

Do you have any other hacks for fine dining on the cheap? Share them below!

The $1 Million Turkey Sandwich

sandwich

I know, I know – you’ve heard it before: If you’d just quit buying lunch out every day, you’d save a ton of money. And although you know it’s true, giving up your favorite deli sandwich or salad over a few dollars in savings here and there just doesn’t seem to be motivating you to stop. You like the convenience too much, and if you spend a few hundred dollars a year on it, so be it. You’ll find ways cut elsewhere.

We’ve done the math on what you’re actually spending, however, and have some surprising news for you: If you spend just $10 a day at lunch, over the course of a 35-year working career that amounts to $947,000. Yep, assuming average stock market returns, you could’ve had a cool million instead of that turkey sandwich.

Of course, we all have to eat lunch, so it’s not as if we could’ve saved all of those $10 per day — we would’ve had to pay something for lunch, somehow. Here’s how a few options stack up:

  • Buying a turkey sandwich and a drink at the likes of Jason’s Deli, Panera or Starbucks averages about $9-$10, including taxes. This is our standard assumption, which after 35 years would cost you about $1M.
  • Buying a turkey sandwich and a drink at a local grocery store (Publix, Whole Foods and Kroger offer them for about $2-$4 per sandwich) would average approximately half that – $5. This option earns you $500,000 over a career.
  • If you were to bring lunch from home every day (averaging a daily cost of about $2), you’d earn an extra approximately $750,000 over your career.

Of course, few of us have the discipline to stick to a regimented plan day in, day out over our entire working lives. It’s perhaps more realistic to think of subtle changes, such as choosing a cheaper option a few times per week. As an example, you could:

Pack a lunch from home a couple of days per week ( $2/day), eat at a lower-cost place twice per week ($5/day), and a higher-cost deli once ($10/day).

This would total $24/week, for a savings of $492,000. Half a million dollars. Repeat after me: “Half a million dollars.” Just for switching up your daily lunch a bit. Why haven’t we all done this yet?

Have you found easy ways to trim your daily lunch costs? If so, we’d love to hear them! Post them in the comments section below.