This is not the post I had planned for today, that one can wait, this one can't.
Yet again we're being convinced that buying our meals ready-made from the supermarket is better, easier, cheaper and more convenient, that we can't cook for ourselves and it's just not true. Convenience is not always better, especially in this case. It is expensive, tasteless and horrible.
As I was trawling the catalogues last night, looking for the specials, I noticed at the bottom of the Coles catalogue they had 600g scalloped potato (frozen) for $4, save $1. That equates to $6.67 a kilo for sliced potato, onion and a little cream. Ouch!
We love scalloped potato, I make it often and it doesn't cost anywhere near $6.67.
Don't think for one minute that making a dish of scalloped potato is hard or time consuming because it isn't. The time is in the cooking, which you'll have with a frozen convenience meal anyway. And while it's cooking you can be setting the table and enjoying your family's company, perhaps talking about how easy it was to save $4.10!
Here's my scalloped potato recipe with a price breakdown.
Our Favourite Potato BakeIngredients:
1kg potatoes, washed, peeled and thinly sliced - $1
1 large onion, thinly sliced - 15c
300ml MOO evaporated milk* - 30c
1 pkt French Onion soup mix - 75c
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup grated tasty cheese - 30c
Grease a large casserole or baking dish well. Layer the potato and onion, ending with a potato layer. Mix the evaporated milk and the soup mix well (I usually shake it a drink shaker) and pour over the potato and onion. Mix the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs together and sprinkle evenly over the top of the potato. Cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook a further 10 minutes until the cheese and crumbs are golden brown and the potato is cooked.
Total cost $2.50, saving:$4.17 - and that's being generous with the cost per kilo for potatoes.
MOO Evaporated MilkIngredients:
2/3 cup milk powder
1 cup cold water
Dissolve milk powder in cold water. This recipe makes the equivalent of one can of evaporated milk.
Light evaporated milk: Substitute skim milk powder for full cream for a lower fat version.
If you don't want to use evaporated milk, use 600ml of cream. This will increase the cost by 90 cents, making the total dish $3.40.
I pay no more than 80c per kilo for potatoes and that's when I simply cannot get them anywhere any cheaper. At that price I only buy enough to last a week and I keep looking for cheaper spuds. When I find them cheaper I stock up - I'll buy 20 kilos at a time and store them in hessian bags in the bottom of the pantry where they stay dark and cool. Twenty kilos lasts us about two months.
I MOO evaporated milk, using Aldi milk powder.
French Onion soup mix is also MOOed. For the costing of this recipe I used the price of a generic bought soup mix from the supermarket as not everyone MOOs.
Breadcrumbs are MOOed from leftover bread crusts, dried and then processed into crumbs.
I buy tasty cheese in 1 kilo blocks from Aldi for $6 and grate or slice it as it is needed.