By Jessie Price
The other day I heard my mother-in-law, who was visiting, yell at some corporate bigwig on the evening news to “Give us our money back!” Like many of us, she’s thinking about her finances these days. Eating at home more often is one easy way to cut costs. But by how much? We started calculating the price tag for recipes in EatingWell a couple of months ago. It turns out that eating healthfully at home can be pretty affordable compared with going out. And we’re not talking about converting to a strict beans-and-rice diet every night of the week. We’ve even included New York steak and wild Alaskan salmon in this lineup of weeknight meals and they all come in at $4.50 or less a serving—a fraction of what they would cost in a restaurant.
These meals are so affordable, in part, for the same reason that they’re so good for you: we don’t overdo it on meat. Eating less meat or even vegetarian meals occasionally is healthy. When we include meat or fish in our recipes, we recommend a reasonable-size portion of 3 to 4 ounces per serving. That may seem small if you’re used to plate-size porterhouse steaks, but we promise that these recipes won’t leave you hungry. We make sure they also include plenty of whole grains, veggies, fruit and flavor. Besides the New York steak (on kebabs with potatoes and peppers) and the salmon (with a spicy red pepper sauce and grilled zucchini) we’ve also got a pizza topped with arugula and fresh tomatoes, huevos rancheros with green salsa and oven-fried fish-and chips. I definitely can’t fix the stock market for my mother-in-law. But I can offer these five recipes as a personal financial stimulus plan that’s both tasty and healthful.Next: Monday's Meal »