Dining On A Dime

I realize in these tough economic times people are making an effort to trim expenses in every area possible but it just pains me to see articles and recipes touting the ability to feed your family for just pennies per serving. Don't get me wrong - saving money on food is great and all, but some of the stuff being pushed is just plain garbage! Boxed items laden with sodium, sugar, and enough preservatives to equal nothing short of embalming fluid. Alot of the recipes are cheap inexpensive simply because they are full of carbohydrate fillers like rice and pasta. Again, don't misunderstand me - I am a carb junkie - but I know that moderation is the key and I don't believe in eating something just because it costs mere pennies.

Okay, okay...I'll get off of my soap box now. I guess my main gripe about all of this is, why would you want to fill your own body, the Divine Temple, with cheap garbage? There just has to be a better way to eat more economically and keep it healthy.

The first step toward eating more economically is to watch the weekly grocery sale papers. I've never been one to shop numerous stores each week based on what they have on sale, but that is most certainly an option. Clipping coupons will also save a few cents here and there. Recently, my beloved Harris Teeter had London Broil on sale and I saw that as the perfect opportunity to test my theory, seeing as how it is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat.

The term London Broil actually refers to a method of preparation and not the cut of meat. Most often it is a top round roast or flank steak and characteristics of a London Broil recipe call for marinating the beef, broiling it to medium rare in an oven or grilling on a BBQ grill. Once it's cooked, the meat is sliced thinly, across the grain, at a 45 degree angle. Alot of time London Broil gets passed over because it has a reputation for being a tough piece of meat and people equate this to mean cheap = bad. Not so, folks...you just need to start out with an awesome marinade! The one that I use was garnered from a message forum that I frequent but I believe it originated with the pint-sized chef, Sara Moulton.

I marinated the meat overnight and grilled it to medium rare on the BBQ - about 7 minutes on each side - then served it fajita-style with onions and bell peppers that had also marinated in the same stuff and were sauteed on the stove. Add dollop of sour cream, some shredded cheese, salsa and a few tortilla chips and you've got dinner for less than $3 per serving. About as cheap as Taco Bell and OH! soooo much better.....

The Perfect Marinade for Pretty Much Anything

4 large cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or spicy brown)
1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon of dried each oregano, basil, thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure you use a decent one as it is the main flavor of this marinade)

Stir all together very well, then place the meat in a zip lock bag and add the marinade*. Squeeze air out and seal and place in bowl (to prevent leaks) and marinate for 12 hours or overnight.

*If you plan to serve this as I did, reserve some of the marinade to marinate the veggies separately.



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