My girlfriend and I tend to eat out at a lot of restaurants. Often times, its not much more expensive than buying all the ingredients and cooking for just two, but there are a few great meals that consistently save big bucks and taste awesome. Our favorites so far this summer:
1) Homemade bean soup – We made this last weekend, it was awesome. Recipe is easy. Take a bag of pinto beans (16 oz), a cup or two of ham chunks (ham hocks if you want, or just cubed ham), a chopped onion, a diced jalapeno, a couple cloves of diced garlic and a couple teaspoons of salt. Throw it all in a crock pot. Put it on high for 1.5 hours. Turn it down to low and let it cook for 2-3 hours. The beans will be tender when its ready to eat. Its awesome. Eat with cornbread and you’ve got a full meal for two for $10 with leftovers.
2) Homemade pizza – We’ve made this several times this summer. A trader joes opened up nearby that sells pizza dough in a bag (thawed, not frozen) for $1.20 a bag. Its enough to make a whole pizza, plenty for two with leftovers depending on the toppings. Our choice: Buy a jar of pizza sauce for $2, buy some pancetta for $4, buy some fresh tomatoes for $2 and a log of fresh mozzarella for $3 and you have an excellent pizza from start to finish in 30 minutes for $12 (with leftover pancetta and cheese for omelettes on the weekend). We just push the dough out into a regular 9×13 baking sheet and go that route for a doughy but good crust. I’m thinking about buying a pizza stone next. It looks like they are about $30, but the consistent and high heat is supposed to give your pizza that excellent crispyness on the bottom.
3) Breakfast for Dinner – I’m a sucker for sweet stuff so pancakes with syrup are pretty much heaven for me. My girlfriend goes for savory stuff so omelettes are her favorite but, either way, breakfast for dinner is super cheap and quick to make. Its hard to go wrong with pancakes, eggs and bacon anytime of the day as far as I’m concerned.