Oh, man, it's that time of year again. Time for me to royally overextend myself and cook enough food to feed about 16 standard-sized armies of super-sized ogres. Luckily, I work with a lot of transplants and I'm inviting them all to my apartment.
My tiny Seattle apartment.
It has one chair.
BUT! My primary concern at the moment is, of course, the food. I make $10 an hour, working about 30 hours a week, give or take, which doesn't leave me with a whole hell of a lot of money for this grand feast I'm planning. Luckily, I'm a pretty decent cook and I'm totally good at working with cheap ass ingredients. I started some of the buying today, since a lot of it could be bought frozen. This post will be my overall cost-tracking post. I know that sounds totally boring--and it really, really is--but some people might have use for money-managing tips? Maybe? So, the prices I have so far are for stuff I've already purchased. Repeat ingredients don't have prices listed. I mean, it's not like I'm using 8 different kinds of butter, you know? It's all Safeway Lucerne unsalted butter. No price at all, anywhere in the post, means it hasn't been purchased as of the latest update (or it's salt and pepper).
So, the menu, its ingredients, and their prices for the next nine days!
turkey ($20 for a TWENTY POUND TURKEY. I am awesome, I know.)
rosemary--purchased previously ($2)
thyme--purchased previously ($2)
butter--always have too much butter on hand ($1.50)
olive oil--can't live without it! ($6/pint)
onion and garlic--I am always surrounded by onion and garlic. All the time! Mayan sweet onion about $1.79/lb, garlic $0.79 a head.
carrots ($2.50 a bag)
bagged frozen because I'm lazy as sin--($4.49/36 rolls)
arborio rice--already purchased, don't remember how much it was. It's been a while.
stock--simmering on the stove as I type this
pinch of parmesan --
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI WITH SAGE BROWN BUTTER
ravioli (already made and in the freezer)
-one butternut squash ($1.49/lb)
-1/2 c marscapone cheese ($2.99/tub)
-1/4 c parmesan cheese ($3.49/tub)
-round dumpling wrappers (2 packs) ($1.99 each)
Yukon Gold potatoes --
cream cheese ($1.49)
half and half ($1.69)
OK, remember how I said, like, a week ago that I was doing stuffing from a box? Well, I'm not. It occurred to me that people who have never eaten my cooking are coming over just to eat my cooking. How I could I serve them stuffing from a box? And my friend from work said he LOVES stuffing and I was like, "nooooooooo!" So I'm making stuffing from scratch. Not the rolls, though I'm sure I'll doctor them up somehow.
sage ($2 for a fatty container of it)
chicken stock (homemade)
peas with mint
green beans with lemon
-green beans ($2.00)
-olive oil --
SPINACH AND CHEESE CASSEROLE (if we can afford it once everything else is purchased)
courtesy of Safeway
DESSERT FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE PUMPKIN PIE (ME)
I haven't decided yet!
So far, the total is up to $12 for today, and slightly less than that for stuff that's already made. Really, the meal shouldn't be too pricey overall, once all is said and done. The big purchase will, of course, be the turkey. I'm thinking we'll shoot for around $20-$25, but I've budgeted up to $30 for it. So far, I've overestimated all of my projected costs, except the rolls, which were 50 cents more than I guessed, so I'm under budget so far. I might be able to squeeze in my mom's world-famous spinach and cheese casserole, if I'm careful to catch sales!
I love the fall and winter holidays. Christmas is my favorite, totally, and I love decorating and getting ready for it. Luckily for me, I'll be in Florida for a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I'll get to spend at least a little bit of time with my family and Justin's! :D Yay! That DOES mean a week of missed work, so I think I'll be a little more skinflinty with the menu than I normally would like. But, it should still be good. As in freaking delicious!
**Almost Thanksgiving update**
So, I put a couple of dashes after everything that I already have, but didn't list the price for. Today, I'm going to assemble my stuffing and my mashed potatoes. I got the turkey, fresh, TWENTY FREAKING POUNDS, for $0.99/lb. It was the last one and I NABBED it. And I'm going to cook the CRAP out of it. OH YEAH.
...Okay, I'll stop, I promise. But I'm really happy about that turkey! Sure, it meant I had to carry 20 pounds of dead bird all four blocks from the grocery store, but it's so worth it. And it's going to be DELICIOUS. I actually have too much bread for the dish I'll be baking my stuffing in, so I'm going to crush the rest of them into bread crumbs. Goodness knows I could use more of those, since I always forget to buy them. Why bother buying when you can just make? So I have nearly everything. I think I might go ahead and splurge and make up a pan of the spinach and cheese casserole. I've never in my life had a holiday without it, and I don't think I want to start. Oh, and desserts. Have to get some kind of desserts. But that's it! I'll make Justin get the pumpkin pie and probably the stuff for the spinach.