Never have I enjoyed a Wendy's classic double with fries and a Coke like I did Sunday at midnight. After semi-successfully making it through the week on our $2-a-day food budget, we rewarded our noble asceticism with some good old American fast food. Not that the fast food lifestyle is something I really want to fall back into, but it's a process. I really did learn a lot over the week about making better budgetary and dietary choices, but there's definitely a tough tradeoff between frugality and eating healthy. I'm certainly guilty of wasting a ridiculous amount of perfectly good food, simply due to buying things I don't even up eating, and I think that's the biggest thing I want to learn to work on: only buying things that I have a specific plan for.
Throughout the challenge of using the staples we were limited to, I did come across some recipes that I plan on using more often for quicker and/or cheaper meals. The closest to making my own pizza I think I have ever come before this week involved Boboli brand pizza shells and prepackaged Ragu pasta sauce. I was surprised to find that making our own dough really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, even if it did come out a little heavier than I would prefer. We started off with this pizza dough recipe and, after some experimentation and down-scaling for our smaller pizza pan, found it to be as good as anything store-bought, and definitely cheaper.
I was also relatively happy with the recipe we found for homemade flour tortillas. I think I kind of wussed out when it came to rolling them out, as they turned out as something in between true tortillas and the kind of shell Taco Bell gorditas come in, but they worked out really well with our cornucopia of refried beans. On the subject, I have to give a big thanks to Chalupa for his advice on the refried beans. I'm sure his recipe is fairly standard, but I've had his beans before and I knew he would be able to point us in the right direction. I'm sure he can reiterate any specific steps missing, but his directions more or less followed this recipe.
In the end, I think we ended up saving something in the neighborhood of $100, if you assume we would have eaten out a couple of time over the week. While I'm not anxious to start again right away, it was a worthwhile exercise and something that could end up being an annual or semi-annual routine. Try it out. If you think it may be too rigid of a challenge for you, at least consider trying it with some friends; The more people you get involved, the more money you have to pool for food, which will increase your meal options considerably. For more information and ideas, check out the main site at www.2dollars.org.