This week, we start frying. I chose peanut oil due to its low flavor, high smoking temperature, and relative healthiness for an oil. Frying oils aren’t ever health, but some are less unhealthy than others. Unfortunately, it is also one of the more expensive frying oils. Olive oil is more expensive, and makes everything taste like olive oil. Canola oil is cheaper and healthier, but tends to smell like fish when you heat it. Peanut oil is common used for deep frying, and that is why. Also, at this point you are probably not interested in another roast chicken. So we’re going to bread it and fry it. Yes our meal plan leans a bit Southern, so fried chicken was bound to appear on the menu eventually. But the process is simple, versatile, and very fast. Expect some mess on your first try, but you can minimize it with practice.
But don’t worry, it’s actually not going to be an all-fried food week. Sorry if you were hoping for that. It’s just the introduction of another method of preparing food for relatively little expense.
Fresh Produce ($15):
- Broccoli ($2)
- Green Beans ($2)
- Bananas or Apples or Seasonal/discounted Fruit ($3)
- Corn (on the cob if it’s in season) ($2)
- Potatoes ($4)
- As needed: Carrots, Celery ($2)
- Optional: Fresh Tomatoes
- Optional: Peppers
- Roughly 2 Chicken Fryers ($12 at $1.20 per lb and 1.25 lbs per person per bird)
- Pork Loin or Shoulder – based on price ($8 at $2 per lb and 1 lb per person)
- Any frozen or fresh white fish ($8 at $4 per lb and 0.5 lbs per person)
- Breakfast Meat ($4 for 1lb at $4 per lb)
- Pizza meat (pepperoni or Italian sausage) ($3)
- Optional: Ground Beef or cube steak
- Whole Milk, at least 1.5 quarts per person – that’s a glass a day ($6 at $3 per gallon)
- Eggs, about a dozen per person ($8 at $2 per dozen)
- Mozzarella cheese (for pizza) ($4)
- Yogurt ($2)
- As needed: Butter
- Rolled Oats ($2)
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes ($2)
- White Vinegar ($4)
- Peanut Oil (1 gallon for $15)
- Olive Oil ($5)
- As needed: Flour/Sugar – consider buying larger bulk amounts if you need more already
- Dried basil* ($2)
- Dried Rosemary* ($2)
- Dried Tarragon* ($2)
- Onion Powder ($2)
- Worcestershire Sauce ($4)
*Usually overpriced at the local grocery. Make a special trip or spend extra.
- Hamburger Buns ($1)
- Coffee/Tea ($5)
- Optional: BBQ Sauce**
- Optional: Bread**
- Optional: Tortillas**
**Make your own instead of buying it. You should already own the ingredients for every one of these.
For a grand total of $132 this week. We’re starting to see the downward spiral. That oil will probably last a few months, roughly 8-12 uses if you clarify it with some potatoes a couple of times in that window. With the $7 you have left, consider picking up some cheap cube steak. Country fried steak is delicious and prepared pretty much the same way that the chicken is. The protein is a little light this week because we spent about $7 less on meat than normal and because fish is fairly expensive if you don’t live near a coast. If you want more protein, swap the fish for the same dollar value in chicken breasts.