Monday, January 26, 2009

A little switch = big savings

I’m always looking for simple ways to spend less. Brad and I changed the way we make one of our favorite meals, and it has really cut down our weekly grocery bill. We like to eat salmon once a week because it is yummy and full of healthy omega 3’s. For almost a year, we purchased pre-packaged lemon butter salmon fillets and pre bagged salad mix. It made for a fast, healthy, and fairly cheap dinner. However, this meal still cost about seven bucks for both of us, and I felt like I could make a homemade version for less.

Wal-Mart has these great wild Alaskan salmon fillets in the seafood section. A bag of four is only four bucks and change - less than half the price of the pre-packaged kind we used to buy.

When I get home from work I pull two out of the freezer and stick them in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes or so. Once they are almost thawed, I melt a smidge of butter in a grill pan over medium heat. You can also use a plain skillet. I like to use Smart Balance 50/50 stick “butter” for this, but you could use pretty much anything. While the butter melts, I grind some of Trader Joe’s awesome lemon pepper over both sides of the fillets. I usually add an extra dash of plain ground pepper to Brad’s.

The fillets only need to cook for five minutes on each side so it’s a super fast dinner. While the salmon is doing its thing, I make a salad. I used to love the pre-shredded bagged salads because of how fast and easy they were to just dump in a bowl. Fast and easy does not equal cheap, however. Now I buy Trader Joe’s organic hearts of romaine.

It really only takes a few seconds longer to wash and tear a few leaves for a salad, and it tastes so much better. Plus, you get twice as much lettuce for almost half the price, and it stays fresh for about a week longer. Back to the salmon - once it flakes with a fork, I pull it off the heat and squeeze lemon juice over each fillet. Fresh lemon is great, but they make some pretty good organic stuff in a squeeze bottle. Add some bread and you have a cheap, healthy, and yummy dinner in about 30 minutes. Who doesn’t love that?



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