Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Cheap Eat Challenge Begins and Polska Kielbasa

6 people. 6 dollars. Every day.

This month (and maybe for the next many months that follow depending on how well we do) we're eating on about $200/month ($6/day plus the $20 vitamin credit I gave us).

Yes, I'm nervous. I'm confident we can do it for at least one month. But I'm curious to see how well we do it, how much we really feel the pinch.

Click away to find the rules for the challenge, our menu, and a rough shopping list. You'll also find an accounting of the money we've spent on food. And you'll find the stockings hung with care. Oh wait; that was last month. You'll find this beautiful picture of the things I already have marked with a line (at least those that would fit in the frame well).

At the end of the month, I'll mark them with another line and then scientifically determine about how much the used part was worth by the very scientific method of eyeballing it and then roughly estimating. And then we'll add that bit in to the costs too.

I've weighed myself and asked Kip to weigh himself. We're not huge people so we're not looking to lose weight. In fact, one of my goals is that we don't really lose weight (I might drop a pound or two as my baby keeps getting bigger and I keep getting gradually smaller), but Kip isn't interested or in need of weight loss and my kids sure as heck aren't. So if we drop a bunch of weight, I'll consider this a bust because we're probably not getting as much food as we need.

And so. It begins.

And what amazing recipe do I have to present to you on this first day. On this day of days. On this momentous occasion? Leftovers. You heard me. That's classic cheapskate after all. And we've got them. They're more expensive leftovers than I would have preferred since they're from New Year's Day, but we're not just going to let them sit there.

My favorite ones are the polska kielbasa leftovers. The meat is somewhat expensive (close to $3/lb at Walmart; was only $2.50 at Aldi, but I'd already bought from Walmart), but the sauerkraut is just $.64/can, so it's really a $3.00 meal. And if you stretch it out over a couple of days with some homemade bread, it's even cheaper. And it's easy. So easy. To fall in love. With polska kielbasa. Especially if you like pickled things. Once when I was pregnant I made this and it was so good to me, I just sucked on it. It makes my tongue pucker. If you like that it a food, then pucker up. It's the new year after all.

Here's the "recipe" should you wish to make this traditional New Year's fare.

Polska Kielbasa
Serves 6

1 lb polska kielbasa (it's a pre-cooked sausage thing if you've never made it before)
1 can sauerkraut

Heat skillet to medium. Cut kielbasa into thin rounds and toss on skillet. Heat for a couple minutes. Throw sauerkraut in and heat everything through.

Serve with a crusty bread.

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