Family Cookoff #3 Dollar Store Meal

Welcome to another Food on Friday topic. This week it was my turn to be the judge and pick the theme for our family cookoff challenge. I chose a dollar store meal. The Dollar Tree is not close to us, but we do have a Dollar General and Family Dollar right here in town. So, I gave them both the rules of one shopping at each store and spending only 10 dollars. I did not specify they could only use the stuff they bought so both of them used ingredients we already had at home to add to their meal.

First up, my daughter. She chose Dollar General for her store. Now, where we live our Dollar General does have a small fresh food section. She chose a bag salad mix, hot dogs, and hot dog buns. She did not put much thought into this, but I was happy she chose some fresh veggies. She chose the most expensive brand of hot dog buns, instead of the freshest, and these buns were not that good due to not being fresh. Hot dogs are not something I eat often, but they were quite delicious as she fried them in butter we had at home. Not the healthiest, but delicious. Since she knows I follow diet restrictions on a regular basis, she could have chosen a lower fat hot dog and less sodium. She used salad dressing we had at home and croutons we had. This was a very simple meal and only cost $8.65, but it could have been less if she bought a more affordable hot dog bun. While I was browsing the food, as she shopped, I noticed some really good deals if you are living on a very tight budget. They had single-serve frozen dinners for only 80 cents. I forget the brand, Michelina maybe, but if you really are in a squeeze these would be a good lunch option. They probably are not the healthiest but if it is all you can afford then that is what you need.

My husband got The Family Dollar by default, lol. Family Dollar does not offer any fresh food though they do have frozen veggies and fruit. I have bought these items in the past and had no problem with them. Unlike the Dollar Tree whose frozen veggies are sometimes not that great. My husband spent $9.65 and put a little more thought into his dish. He made a traditional Goulash-type dish using one pound of ground beef, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of Hunt’s spaghetti sauce, and 1 box of Rotini pasta. He used leftover salad from my daughter’s meal the night before, a plus there. He also used some cheese we had at home to add to the salad because he has to have it, but I tend to pick it out. He also used an onion that we already had on hand. His meal was actually very good, like really really good. It had great flavor and was well thought out. I do not typically use that brand of spaghetti sauce because I think it has high fructose corn syrup in it, but it won’t kill me. This meal was fast and easy to make and even someone who can’t really cook could make this. I do like the meat selections that the Family Dollar offers over Dollar General.

I have never found organic products at either of these stores. It does not match their price point as being a more affordable option, but it would be nice if organic items were more affordable for areas that only have these kinds of stores. Now, they may be there, and I just have not seen them. I do not grocery shop at these stores often. My family did not care for this challenge and complained profusely right up to the day to cook. They felt like this was not quality enough food for them, oh how spoiled we have become. Neither of them, obviously remember the days when we were living paycheck to paycheck and living on a very tight grocery budget and eating these very foods. After their meals were created they were both very surprised at how good their meals actually were. Food does not have to be organic or expensive to taste good. The whole debate about organic vs non-organic is not settled yet. I like organic better, but I don’t always get it. Be mindful of what you eat and do the best you can.

My husband obviously won this challenge. We finally decided on a prize. Each winner gets a 5 dollar scratch-off, and yes my daughter got 2 so far. Though, I think I got ripped off, lol. She won 8 dollars too! My husband will pick the next theme and it will be mother vs daughter and I don’t intend to lose this time.

This is meant to be good family fun or friends! It is a great way to get in the kitchen with your kids and get them thinking about cooking, meal prepping, shopping, budgets, etc. Try it and let me know what you do in the comments. Share your post if you have a blog.

Sorry, I always forget to take pictures when we do this. I will try to remember for the next one.


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