Jump to content

10 Dollar Dinners: $10.01 d'Arabian Nights


  • Please log in to reply

1740 replies to this topic

#1

Futhark

Futhark

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 1:16 PM

From the Food Network site:

On her daytime cooking series, season five winner of The Next Food Network Star and stay-at-home mom, Melissa d'Arabian, shows viewers how to incorporate creative and tasty meals into their budgets by sharing her tried-and-true recipes. With countless tips to save time and money in the kitchen, she keeps her $10 promise in every episode: four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities. From approachable Parisian and Moroccan menus to sophisticated upgrades for everyday chicken and pork, Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian demonstrates home cooking at its finest.


The show premieres August 9, at 12:30pm/11:30c.

I'll watch it. I hope it's far better than Money Saving Meals. Then again, how could it not be?
  • 0

#2

KCMOCook

KCMOCook

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 1:53 PM

Whats even funnier is that FN has scheduled MSM and Melissa's show back-to-back!
  • 0

#3

Baysu

Baysu

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 2:24 PM

Yes, that is funny, MSM is the lead in for Melissa's show. I wonder if the person who is doing the " math " for Sandy's show , is also going to do the " math" for Melissa's show? Heaven help us.
  • 0

#4

KCMOCook

KCMOCook

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 2:46 PM

I'm perplexed about a couple of things, and I've mentioned some on another thread.

1. Wasn't the pilot for Melissa's show something like "Kitchen Survival Guide?" Now, that sounded promising and interesting.

2. What I've mentioned previously...if FN already has Sandra doing a "budget show," why is Melissa also doing one, unless FN is pulling the plug on MSM? Is it even on tomorrow? As usual, I can't get into the FN website schedule for next week.

I hope that FN doesn't spoil Melissa's show with annoying pop-ups and "ka-ching" sound effects with the dollars and cents comparisons.

Well, Melissa is a smart, savvy, well-educated woman who has worked in finance, so I hope she asserts herself about the math, so it actually makes sense. But again, are we going to split hairs about what one "should" normally have in one's pantry already versus what you need to buy?

Don't you think that there is some kind of economic-related website out there that would have national average prices for stuff like chicken breasts, or in Sandy's case, ground beef?
  • 0

#5

osomarie

osomarie

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 8:34 PM

I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what they put out there for us. Anything that might make Sandy disappear would be a good thing.
But the math. I mean, it's tedious to count out what every single 1/4 cup of oil and 1 tsp. of cumin - etc. - costs. I guess they should just consider the main ingredients. And maybe they could tell us, in some general way, up front, that prices are based on the same neighborhood "regular" supermarket's prices - and mention the actual neighborhood for comparison purposes.
(now I hope I remember to watch . . .)

Clever thread title, btw.
  • 0

#6

PlathsDaddy

PlathsDaddy

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 10:02 PM

I almost choked on my coffee this morning when I happened to roll across the description of tomorrow's kick-off show. It's..."Perfectly Priced Parisian!" Gruyere cheese ain't cheap; this will be interesting. Predictions for casseroles and salads seem to be panning out, with the addition of an "applesauce granita."

I wonder if French and Moroccan will turn off the mom demographic this show is clearly targeting? Is the fare going to be too sophisticated? We'll see, I guess.

For someone who is more enterprising than I (and dares to brave the FN site), it's always interesting to compare the air order to the order in which the shows were taped.
  • 0

#7

buttersister

buttersister

    Stalker

Posted Aug 8, 2009 @ 10:29 PM

."Perfectly Priced Parisian!"

Wow. French really isn't a dirty word on FN these days. Or maybe they're just catching on or cashing in on the Julia publicity (knowing in the way-back when Julie/Julia would be released).

Freezing applesauce? Genius! I'll wait to call bullmerde.
  • 0

#8

whitepepper

whitepepper

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 9:49 AM

I almost choked on my coffee this morning when I happened to roll across the description of tomorrow's kick-off show. It's..."Perfectly Priced Parisian!" Gruyere cheese ain't cheap; this will be interesting.


Yeah... my biggest problem with all these "budget friendly" shows is that they only factor the costs of the ingredients in the dish itself, like what osomarie said re: cost of 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 cup of oil, etc. Unfortunately, you can't buy oil or cumin in that little quantity, so if you don't have it, you have to buy closer to $2-4 of oil or cumin rather than $0.30. After a while, that $10 meal ends up really costing $15 or $20. Make sense?

I am curious to see Melissa's spin on it, however. We'll see how it goes...
  • 0

#9

Buffy11bnl

Buffy11bnl

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 10:41 AM

Yeah... my biggest problem with all these "budget friendly" shows is that they only factor the costs of the ingredients in the dish itself, like what osomarie said re: cost of 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 cup of oil, etc. Unfortunately, you can't buy oil or cumin in that little quantity, so if you don't have it, you have to buy closer to $2-4 of oil or cumin rather than $0.30. After a while, that $10 meal ends up really costing $15 or $20. Make sense?


I see what you're saying, but you can also think of it the opposite way - say you get lunch at McDonalds for your family and all get 2 $1 menu items - if you do this 5 times you've spent @ $50 if you buy the $8 thing of oil and the $3 thing of cumin you may have a larger initial outlay, but you end up saving in the long run.
  • 0

#10

IngoFanFirst

IngoFanFirst

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 11:32 AM

I never stored bacon in the freezer, but living alone it would always get nasty.

I like this show already!

Gruyere is expensive, but if you're not going to add a protein, and are using it as a main dish, using home-made pastry dough the price will end up being under 10.00.

Edited by IngoFanFirst, Aug 9, 2009 @ 11:39 AM.

  • 0

#11

osomarie

osomarie

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 11:32 AM

whitepepper -
And don't forget cost of water and gas and electricity in your home cooking - plus the initial cost of appliances, which you'll have to figure depreciation on.
haha j/k ; )
But what I meant was that I don't really care if they omit the things that just cost pennies per meal - it's almost too much bother to calculate such trivial amounts.

On the other hand, Ms. Lee is happy to point out how she saved, like, 50 cents! by using fresh vs. pre-chopped (or whatever).
I hope Melissa's show won't make ridiculous EXACT comparisons like that. Probably it will make more sense, if AB is involved.

Edited by osomarie, Aug 9, 2009 @ 11:34 AM.

  • 0

#12

scripted

scripted

    Stalker

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 11:59 AM

So far, I like this show. Too often "inexpensive" = "cooking with cheap food for picky eaters." I'm glad to see that she's working with flavorful ingredients and making her crust from scratch.

Unfortunately, you can't buy oil or cumin in that little quantity, so if you don't have it, you have to buy closer to $2-4 of oil or cumin rather than $0.30. After a while, that $10 meal ends up really costing $15 or $20. Make sense?


That's true for the oil, but I buy all my spices from the bulk bin at the local natural food store. I realize not everyone has bulk bins available, but for those that do, it's a great way to save money and not have large quantities of infrequently used spices hanging around.

But what I meant was that I don't really care if they omit the things that just cost pennies per meal - it's almost too much bother to calculate such trivial amounts.


Yeah, I'd rather have the concept be "$10.00 dinners assuming you have some basic ingredients in your pantry" than to account for every ingredient down to the penny.
  • 0

#13

Futhark

Futhark

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:01 PM

I liked the recipes, though her math was a bit fuzzy. There is no way it all cost $10, even from her own prices.

Torte -$4
Salad -$3
Granita- Did she say? My guess is $4 when you add in maple syrup, yogurt, and apple sauce.

Still, it wasn't gimmicky, which I will give her credit for and I really want to make her torte.


Edited because it's granita, not a city in Mississippi

Edited by Futhark, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:11 PM.

  • 0

#14

bookwirm

bookwirm

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:05 PM

Yeah... my biggest problem with all these "budget friendly" shows is that they only factor the costs of the ingredients in the dish itself, like what osomarie said re: cost of 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 cup of oil, etc. Unfortunately, you can't buy oil or cumin in that little quantity, so if you don't have it, you have to buy closer to $2-4 of oil or cumin rather than $0.30. After a while, that $10 meal ends up really costing $15 or $20. Make sense?


It makes sense, but I don't think factoring in a full bottle/container give a meaningful idea of the cost of a dish. Most of those things are pretty shelf-stable, and they're assuming that most people will use them in other things until they're gone. So you had that one $15 meal, but you're going to get a few $9 meals because now you have that ingredient in your pantry. Unless you're buying a bottle of oil and chucking the unused portion each time you make a meal, estimating the cost of what you use is going to give the most realistic picture of what a dish actually costs you to make.

That being said, I find the $10 concept artificial and restricting in the first place. I like the idea of economical cooking, but I would be more interested in ideas about using all parts of the food you buy (bones and scraps for stock, etc.), making things from scratch or using a more economical variation of them (dried beans vs. canned), or planning a couple of meals in a week that taste different to use up a large package of a perishable ingredient. And definitely some good, inexpensive recipes, but not with an arbitrary limit imposed primarily to make a catchy title.
  • 0

#15

cissyboo

cissyboo

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:06 PM

I think I will make the Torte for dinner tonight-I have bacon, butter, and potatoes. I will have to use Fontina cheese, though-I have that but not Gruyere. I'll sub tempered yoghurt for the cream-I don't have that either...
  • 0

#16

IngoFanFirst

IngoFanFirst

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:08 PM

Futhark, it's granita.

Don't you have maple syrup already in your pantry?

Regarding the spices, the grocery stores in my area have cellophane packages of spices. I usually buy those instead of the bigger containers because I don't use them that often.

Cissyboo, please report back on your results. I'd love to hear how it turned out.

Edited by IngoFanFirst, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:10 PM.

  • 0

#17

spaghettijimmy

spaghettijimmy

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:10 PM

Just OK. Prehaps if I were a less experienced cook I'd like it better. Most of her "tips" I already do: bacon in the fridge? check, although in my case it is pancetta (here is MY tip, fresh garlic freezes beautifully and won't go green), pastry in the food processor? Check, that is how Giada makes it, and I've been doing it too, Soy Sauce in the vinaigrette? Been doing it for years. The only interesting idea I got out of the show is the applesauce granita, I might give that a try.

Melissa's food profile is quite similar to Amy's; French home cooking, however, my cholesteral went up just watching Melissa make that torte, LOL, although, to be fair, a tiny sliver would be a "serving." I do take issue with the $10 thing since one would have to make an investment in some pantry items she used such as the Balsamic, and the maple syrup, etc. I also question her contention that the whole salad cost only $4 since fancy mixed greens aren't cheap, but whatever.

I guess that I'll have to keep day-dreaming about Jeffrey's show concept; how to utilize some of those intriguing ingredients one sees in International Markets.

Edited by spaghettijimmy, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:15 PM.

  • 0

#18

Wondra

Wondra

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:13 PM

It didn't help her cause that Ina's show this morning also had home made pastry dough (for a lobster pot pie). Ina made it look so much easier, even though the recipe was essentially the same. Because I had watched Barefoot Contessa first, Melissa's delivery for crust making looked harried and less confident.

I do like the idea for this show, but the math is off. I buy those mixed baby greens almost every week, they are normally $3.99 per container, but I sometimes find them on sale for as little as $2.99. I don't really believe the salad could be made for $3.00, I'd say $4.50 would be about right. I think the torte for $4.00 sounded a little off as well, at my grocery store, gruyere is very pricy, at about $12 per pound. To keep it at $4, I'd have substituted a less gourmet cheese, like Swiss. But I did like the recipe and the resulting product was very lovely to look at, something I'd be very proud to serve to guests.

The dessert was essentially frozen apple sauce with yogurt/maple topping. Didn't sound very appetizing to me, but it did sound like something kids would enjoy.

Overall, nice job for Melissa's first show. I will watch again.
  • 0

#19

Buffy11bnl

Buffy11bnl

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:14 PM

Did anyone else laugh when Melissa said the secret ingredient to the dressing was soy sauce? Somewhere, Debbie is super pissed.

I did learn a couple of things - the bacon trick is great, especially because you end up with small chunks which will cook more quickly. I also never realized the reason I can't make a pie crust is because I have warm hands - its always ended up a gooey mess.

Frankly I'm thrilled that they (may) be "fudging" on the $10 or at the very least that it is an afterthought - I want to see Melissa cook great food, not see her calculating to the penny how much it cost.


ETA - if you are looking for cheap spices & you have an "ethnic" grocery story, or even aisle, check that out. We got a 14oz container of cumin seeds for $3.00 - I worked out the math and the same amount at the grocery store would be @ $65!! We put it in the spice grinder as we need it to get cumin powder and it stays fresh much longer.

Edited by Buffy11bnl, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:18 PM.

  • 0

#20

Futhark

Futhark

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:16 PM

Don't you have maple syrup already in your pantry?


I don't make sweets, and my breakfasts tend to favor savory items when I bother to make breakfast. The curse of living alone, I suppose. Never had maple syrup in my pantry, to to be honest, I don't think my mother or grandmother ever did either.

Still, I could make it sans the topping, and just sprinkle some cinnamon on top. That actually sounds pretty good.
  • 0

#21

IngoFanFirst

IngoFanFirst

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:18 PM

Why did I suddenly get an image of Sandra Lee at the grocery store this afternoon with a calculator?

J'Accuse!

I saw Sandra's new show today for the first time, and when she talked about being at the grocery store at 7:30 am comparing the prices of eggs, my eyeballs almost stuck in the up position at the top of my head.

Edited by IngoFanFirst, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:20 PM.

  • 0

#22

ThreeDimen

ThreeDimen

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:24 PM

Granita- Did she say? My guess is $4 when you add in maple syrup, yogurt, and apple sauce.

Around here it would be closer to $2 -- she wasn't using a full can of applesauce nor a full container of yogurt.

Watching her made me realize I'm getting my pie crust too wet. She was also using ice water, but that was edited out.

I enjoyed it, and thought she did a good job for her first episode. She definitely seemed more at ease than I remember Amy being. Tuschman would be happy with me because I enjoyed her stories. I also appreciated her approach of making things from scratch to save money, then putting that into nicer ingredients.

Futhark, you could also use honey for the topping.

(here is MY tip, fresh garlic freezes beautifully and won't go green)

Really? I never would have thought of that. I lost my mind and bought a large bag at Costco recently -- thanks!

ETA:

Really, what audience do they anticipate is attracted by relatively sophisticated cooking at budget prices?

There appears to me, at least, to be a lot of people that need to keep food costs down and also don't like cheap convenience food. I think it fits in nicely with the emphasis on "fresh and local" I hear everywhere.

Edited by ThreeDimen, Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:31 PM.

  • 0

#23

TrueColors

TrueColors

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:24 PM

IngoFanFirst wrote:

I never stored bacon in the freezer, but living alone it would always get nasty.

I like this show already!

ITA. Just stuck my bacon in the freezer, lol.

I wish they would not put the tedious price restraint on her cooking. Really, what audience do they anticipate is attracted by relatively sophisticated cooking at budget prices?

Oh, and, isn't Gruyere fabulous? (actually visited the cheese factory in Switzerland when I was a student, lol!)

Melissa did good.
  • 0

#24

PaminBB

PaminBB

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:29 PM

Not bad for a newcomer. FAR better than MSM, with respect to both food quality and not sweating every nickel and dime.

From a production perspective, did any one else notice that when Melissa put the bacon back in the freezer, the granita seemed to have disappeared?

Anyway, I'm willing to watch again. I just watch SL for the LOLs, Melissa's show might be a little more interesting.
  • 0

#25

JohnnyBravo

JohnnyBravo

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:29 PM

I saw Sandra's new show today for the first time, and when she talked about being at the grocery store at 7:30 am comparing the prices of eggs, my eyeballs almost stuck in the up position at the top of my head.


For. Real. Brown eggs are more expensive than white eggs? Gee, thanks for that nugget, Aunt Sandy. Sigh.

I doubt that Melissa is actually responsible for making certain that her dishes cost no more than $10.00. She's probably bringing the recipes to the table, and production works some fuzzy math to make the total reach around that amount.

I'd rather have the concept be "$10.00 dinners assuming you have some basic ingredients in your pantry" than to account for every ingredient down to the penny.


Exactly. When I watch Aunt Sandy's money-saving show, I crack up when the graphic shows that she used .72 worth of olive oil and .04 worth of ground black pepper. Come on! The amount should be for the ingredients you'd need to buy specifically to make the dish, like Melissa's gruyere. Of course, everyone's pantry is different, but let's just go with the general concept of the show.

I'm glad she's toned down her frantic-ness. I think she'll just get better, and it's a pleasant diversion for a half hour. Good job, Melissa!
  • 0

#26

IngoFanFirst

IngoFanFirst

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:32 PM

I'll add my thanks for the garlic tip. I'm another person with the Costco bag of garlic.
  • 0

#27

Nannav

Nannav

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:34 PM

Melissa did a fabulous job today!! Her potato torte looked great. I thought she was very relaxed in front of the camera.

I am quite impressed with her first show.
  • 0

#28

ThreeDimen

ThreeDimen

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:39 PM

I swear during the final three episode there was a shot of Melissa laying some strips of bacon in her potato torte uncooked. I wonder if her pricier version uses more bacon?
  • 0

#29

Tackhead

Tackhead

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:40 PM

Every time I see this thread title, I think how keckler used the term "dinners" and snicker. $10 for some dinners, eh?

I got bored by yet another cheap, formulaic FN show and turned it off almost immediately.
  • 0

#30

IngoFanFirst

IngoFanFirst

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 9, 2009 @ 12:46 PM

The Chef's dinner did have raw bacon strips added to the top of the Potato Torte.
  • 0