New Years Dinner and Spending Less

One of M and my goals this year is to spend (much) less money on food and booze. We don’t “go out” much—happy hour twice a month, either delivery or dining out once a week, and a nice date night once a month. Somehow, we still manage to spend a ton of money on food. I know part of our high spending is because of where we live (DC) but part of it is also because we have a huge amount of food in our pantry, freezer and fridge. I’ve set a goal this month of cleaning out our stockpile of food, and to spend less than $80 a week in groceries for the month. If we succeed, we’ll reduce our spending in the grocery category by $400+ for the month.

The first part of my “Pantry Cleanout” was to come up with New Years Dinner. One of M’s vendors had sent us a bunch of Stockyards steaks for Christmas. I pulled two filet mignons from the freezer and decided to go with a horseradish crusted filet, sweet potatoes with pecans and blue cheese, and a mushroom and leek gratin. Our favorite dish was by far the Mushroom and Leek Gratin [make this for your next dinner party]; but all of the components were equally delicious.

I used a ton of items in the pantry and overall the groceries cost less than $10. Not bad for a holiday meal!

new-years

Horseradish-Crusted Filet Mignon
Serves 2
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Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 25 min
Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 25 min
For the Horseradish Crust
  1. 3 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  2. 1.5 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish or prepared white horseradish
  3. 1/4 cup panko
For the Horseradish Sour Cream
  1. 2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
For the Filet
  1. Two filet mignons
  2. Salt and pepper
Horseradish Crust
  1. In mini food processor or small bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Incorporate horseradish and panko. Shape the butter into two disks the same size as your filet. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Horseradish Cream
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin mix together horseradish and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Filet
  1. Remove filet from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat broiler to high. Over medium-high, heat a cast iron pan. Add in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sear the filets 5 to 6 minutes on the first side. Turn the filets over and cook another 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Place the horseradish disk over each filet and place in the broiler until the crust becomes golden, approximately 2 minutes.
Adapted from Cooking.com
Adapted from Cooking.com
Two Forks One Love http://twoforksonelove.com/
Sweet Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Pecans
Serves 3
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 sweet potatoes
  2. 4-ounces packages cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. 1/4 cup mild blue cheese
  6. 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Roast sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
  3. Remove skins and transfer sweet potatoes to a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add cream cheese and butter. Mash until well blended and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon into a warm serving dish and garnish with cheese and pecans.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Two Forks One Love http://twoforksonelove.com/
Mushroom and Leek Gratin
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  3. 2 leeks (white and light-green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons and rinsed
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Splash white wine
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  8. 1 tablespoon thyme
  9. 1/8 cup Parmesan, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until softened and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  2. Return skillet to heat, and add 1 tablespoons oil. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add wine, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream, lemon juice, and thyme leaves.
  3. Transfer leek mixture to a 1 to 1.5-quart baking dish. Arrange mushroom slices on top, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake until edges are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
Adapted from Everyday Food
Adapted from Everyday Food
Two Forks One Love http://twoforksonelove.com/

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12 Responses to New Years Dinner and Spending Less

  1. […] outside with him. The cold weather was perfect for something warm and comforting, so I continued cleaning out the pantry by making buffalo chicken tenders with a salad and blue cheese dipping sauce. It was quite good; M […]

  2. […] I don’t like to go to the trouble of making something just for myself. But M has embraced the Pantry Challenge so when I mentioned I might make a quiché he was on […]

  3. […] goal last week was to spend $80 or less at the grocery store. Since we’re doing a pantry cleanout, I’m trying to be smarter about using the items we already have and only purchasing essential […]

  4. […] I think and I would continue to use that in the future. But, I made this dish as part of the pantry challenge, so I used what I […]

  5. […] synonymous with the holidays (and really dinner) for me. For New Years dinner, I made a delicious mushroom and leek gratin. Stuffed mushrooms (a sausage and cheese varietal) were served for Christmas afternoon appetizers. […]

  6. […] the last week of January, and therefore the last week of the Pantry Challenge! I couldn’t be happier with our spending, even with a few indiscretions throughout the month […]

  7. […] past, I pinned/read/googled something about making tomato sauce in a slow cooker. During the pantry challenge, I removed our last portion of homemade sauce from the freezer and I knew I needed to restock […]

  8. […] one for the books. My goal for this month was to eat more out of the pantry and to spend less then $80/week at the grocery store. Success! I went $1 over this past week, but since I had to buy olive oil and vegetable oil ($13 […]

  9. […] plate. This dish is quick and easy to make and you could add or subtract ingredients as needed to clean out your pantry. For example, the original recipe called for fresh shiitake mushrooms (Yay! More mushrooms!) and I […]

  10. […] the second full week of the Pantry Challenge. Our grocery spending is definitely down: we’ve only spent $64 this month, which includes $9 […]

  11. […] we’ve passed the half way point in the month, I’m doing awesome at keeping to my $80/week budget. This week, chicken breasts and ground turkey are on sale, and I’m using up more items as […]

  12. […] delicious–salad for lunch today too.) Since I’m back to trying to use up my pantry ingredients, I decided to use up a package of four chicken thighs I had in the freezer. They were small, so I […]

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