The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare by Erin Chase
This cookbook is a fabulous concept, and has so much going for it, particularly for a young family. The meals remind me very much of how my mom used to cook when we were growing up during less than stellar economic times. Like my mom, the author uses easy-to-find ingredients, canned goods, generally inexpensive produce, and cuts of meat that can usually be found on sale.
One thing I really like about this cookbook is how few ingredients are required for each recipe. A pantry stocked with frequent sale items and a few basics, plus a weekly trip to the grocery store for perishables is all you need to keep the dinners coming with this cookbook.
In terms of preparation, the recipes are also quite simple and made for a family with little time to slave in the kitchen. If you have young children, this cookbook could be considered priceless – A seemingly endless bounty of ideas with simple enough flavors for little ones to enjoy. Families with older kids may need to adjust that $5 upwards, since the serving sizes may not be big enough for growing teens.
The recipes in The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook aren’t quite oriented to our simple adult simple household (two plus cat) from an ingredient and taste perspective, so I didn’t trial them myself. But my sister (who has four kids) just loves the easy recipes in this cookbook and appreciates the varied supply of dinner ideas for her finicky crew.
We tend to cook from scratch and use more herbs and spices along with different cooking methods, while Erin doesn’t hesitate to make her life easier with some prepared sauces, canned goods, and simple seasonings. If you are looking for cooking adventures, then this probably isn’t your match. But if you need nutritious food on the table now with little fuss, some kid-appeal, and only a few dollars to spare, then don’t hesitate to pick up The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook.
Dairy-Free Recipe Note – if you follow Erin’s $5 Dinner Challenge Blog, you may be used to the fact that she frequently cooks dairy-free, so most of her recent recipes online use dairy alternatives or have non-dairy options. This is not the case in this cookbook. There are many naturally dairy-free recipes (Southwest Chicken Pasta Salad, Sweet Potato Beef Roast, Poached Salmon over Dill Rice, Honey Wheat Rolls, etc.), but many of the recipes do call for cheese, milk (skim or 2%), sour cream, butter, etc. If you are used to her dairy-free style online, you will need to be prepared to make your own substitutions with this cookbook, and read labels carefully on any prepared foods that are utilized in the recipes.