Face it. You cannot hide from fried takeout food all of the time, but the authors of The $5 Takeout Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Want to Eat In say you can hide from the prices. This cookbook features 200 recipes for Mexican, Thai, pizza and Chinese food – all listed at under $5 per meal.
The idea is to satisfy the takeout cravings by making it at home quickly for only $5 per meal. Most of the meals make only 2, sometimes 3 (and the rare occasion 4) servings. For me that is perfect since I cook for just one or two people most of the time. But a family would probably need to double the recipe, resulting in “The $10 Takeout Cookbook”. Not that that’s an expensive meal by any means, but while I am on the subject of $5 meals, I would really love to know where they did their grocery shopping. When I made the Taco Skillet Casserole, the ground beef alone almost cost the same as what the entire meal was suggested to cost ($2.98) and I’m a pretty good bargain shopper. But I have to admit, my total still was under $5 – $4.44!
Another thing about the prices: I sometimes found myself buying several fresh ingredients of which I only needed a fraction for the recipe. Don’t get me wrong I prefer fresh ingredients, but whatever remaining portion of each item is left I needed to repurpose. If you don’t figure out how to use them before they spoil, that increases the meal cost, don’t cha think? Guess you could freeze them for later.
Lastly, a recipe is referenced within another by only listing in which chapter it can be found. I prefer actual page numbers to minimize page flipping. Especially since one recipe I was looking for (Focaccia pizza crust) was referenced in the wrong chapter. I thought I was losing my mind, but then found the recipe in question in another chapter. (Oh and the Focaccia crust recipe should change the water from 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup. My dough did not come together until I added extra water.)
Critiques of the meals abiding by the books title aside, the recipes themselves really are good and quick to make. I made one from each section, but I have several others bookmarked for later that I look forward to making. It’s good stuff and am glad to have this in my cookbook collection. I just think it needs a different title.
Mexican – Taco Skillet Casserole
Thai – Vegetarian Stir-Fry
Pizza – Spinach Artichoke Pie with Focaccia Crust
Chinese – Kung Pao Stir-Fry
What is your favorite takeout meal?