Monday, November 11, 2013

Bistro dining on a budget

A cottage roll with vegetables done in a slow cooker makes for an inexpensive bistro meal.

Sometime ago a reporter with the local paper moaned about the prospect of eating pet food in retirement. Stories about the high cost of food are popular in the media and how the unemployed and struggling, retired seniors are forced to eat pet food. What silliness.
My wife watches the food ads carefully. About twice a year she picks up some cottage rolls for about $1 to $1.25 a pound. Three pound cottage rolls can be picked up for as little as $3 and what cannot be used immediately can be frozen for later. I confess that I paid a little more for the one in the picture but it still came with a big discount. It was near its best before date.

I placed the three pound cottage roll in a crock pot, surrounded it with chopped onion (1), chopped celery (2 stalks), chopped carrot (4) and chopped potato (4 peeled). I poured in a litre of vegetable broth and added enough water to just cover all. I didn't salt the cottage roll. It didn't need it. I did pepper the meat and float a dozen pepper corns in the liquid. Six hours on high and the bistro quality meal was ready to serve.

All the vegetables plus the broth were bought on sale. I like to stock up on boxed broth, low sodium version, whenever it is on sale. When stocking up on sale priced food stuffs, all must have a good shelf life, but done with care this can help slash your food budget.

We'll get about ten meals from my slow cooker dinner. I'll bet these meals are costing us less than some popular pet foods. Truth be told, if you want to eat pet food in retirement it will cost you. Pet food is not inexpensive. You will do better learning how to cook.

p.s. If you watch the sales at the LCBO, you can pick up a box of Shiraz containing a mix of Canadian grapes and imported grape concentrate, often South American, and for about a dollar you can enjoy a small glass of wine with dinner. We like the offering from Jackson-Triggs.

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