Sandra Lee and other bargain sites

So lately I have been paying closer attention to bargain cooking shows and sites like Sandra Lee’s Money Saving Meals or $2 Chicken Dinner from All You. Maybe things are significantly less expensive in other areas of the country (I live in Chicago), but holy geez.

Here’s one on Sandra Lee’s last show –
White Bean Hummus that she priced out at $3.00

1 head garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

The cheapest olive oil I could find was Trader Joe’s brand at $0.25 an ounce. Their garlic is 2 heads for 1.69, or $0.85 a head.  I saw garlic on peapod is $0.69 a head before taxes.  And trader joe’s garbanzo beans (chick peas) were $0.89 a can.  If I shopped only at TJ’s, (and I’ve had good experiences with their brand), I’d be at 3.17.  If I shopped mostly at TJs and bought the garlic on peapod (forgetting the delivery cost), I’d be at 3.01.  That’s close though still over, but I think pretty ambitious for most people. 

Maybe she shops at some place where the generics are cheaper.  Still, I find those shows often stretch the limits of believability to present the most attractive bottom lines.  However, based on that research, I am going to try TJ’s olive oil and garbanzo beans…

Here’s one from All You –
1 (3-4 lb.) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups self-rising flour
Vegetable oil

They priced this out at $0.65 cents per serving with 4 servings…

For real?? That’s 2.60 total. Where can you even get a whole chicken for $2.60, and who would want to eat it if you did? Wow.

I don’t think the entire price of the menu should be contingent on sale prices. I look for sale prices on meat and produce at WF. It’s not every day I see steak for 5.99 lb. It was a lucky find and the only reason I ate steak for a week. But I did actually find that, and could find a protein within that range easily. I don’t understand the pricing structures of some of the bargain media, but my site operates from the standpoint that most ingredients in the recipes are not on sale.

So there will be no $0.65 cent dinners. Because that’s just crazy talk.

In unrelated news, I’ve been cooking like a mad woman and have many new meals to post (some new things have been showing up in the alphabetical recipe list), but it will take some time to get them up. I have one more day up and will have a few more by the weekend.

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