Tagged with Cooking

$10 Upgrade Your Dinner Challenge

This weekend I started a game with my kids. It's called the $10 upgrade your dinner challenge. The goal is to use $10 or less to upgrade your standard Sunday dinner.

At my house, I cook Sunday dinners and I enjoy doing it. I decided to 'up' my cooking game since the New Year it's been a rewarding but frustrating journey. I have a long way to go before I can even consider myself a 'decent' cook.

I practice cooking as much as I can and I'm starting to experiment these days. I no longer stick to a recipie but start exploring the boundaries. I try not waste food, use everything I can, and make it delicious along the way. It's harder than I've ever imagined.

I planned this past Sunday's dinner a week ago. It was to be oven baked salmon and cauliflower rice. I've been eating low carb since I've been on the Keto diet and and when I cook for the family, they're on the Keto diet too.


As I was mentally preparing for the dinner I went to YouTube to see how to cook the salmon better. I came across many $5/$10 lunch challenges and got inspired. I thought, what a neat way to jazz up Sunday dinner AND involve my kids in the process.

I came up with the idea to spend no more than $10 and upgrade your standard Sunday dinner with two more courses. Instead of the same old meal, now add an appetizer and dessert for $10 more.


My son and I drove over to the local farmer market Sunday morning with $10 in our hand. We took note of what we already had, so this extra $ was to buy a few more ingredients for an appetizer and dessert.

Walking around the store was inspiring, we had no set agenda, but we figured out what we'd do.

We had day old bread at home, why not use that as an appetizer? We bought $2.00 worth of shrip with the plan to cut it up, fry it, add lemon and drizzle it woth homemade Hollandaise sauce.

We knew we had brown sugar and apples, so we bought two sticks of Rhubarb for $2.76 to make a compote dessert. The question was what to put it on. We say that Cottage Cheese was on sale for $2.00, so we bought that.

For a whopping $6.76, we had the ingredients to turbo charge our Sunday dinner.


The family gobbled up the appetizer. It turned out better than I expected.

Dinner was success too! Salmon with Cauliflower Rice worked incredibly well. My daughter loved it.

The dessert was successful to but not recieved well by the children. The texture of the Cottage Cheese didn't really work well with the Rhbarb and Apple. I think using Yogurt would be better next time.

Still, for just under $7, this challenge was a success!!!

Tagged ,

Making Stock from Bones

I like to make things from scratch, so yesterday I made beef stock from scratch.

It was pretty simple to do. Get some beef bones with marrow in them ($1.99/lb), rough cut up some onions, carrots, and celery. Coat the bones with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper.

Put everything on a tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. When half way done, rotate the bones. When the roasting is done, it should look like this:

Making beef stock for French Onion Soup.

A post shared by Thomas Ott (@neuralmarket) on

Then take all that pre-stock goodness and put it into a large pot. Cover the bones with water and then simmer the hell out of it. I think I did mine for 6 hours. You're going to have to watch the portion of stock you get. Adjust the amount of water as needed.

I used mine to make French Onion Soup (FOS) later and came up a bit short in quantity but it was still delicious. This was my second attempt at making FOS and I managed to get it almost right. The daughter complained that it wasn't 'salty' enough.

The moral of the story is that you can make delicious food from scratch that's pretty darn cheap. I saved the marrow from the bones and made another batch of stock overnight For about $7.00 I got more than 1.5 quarts (about 1.5 liters) of delicious beef stock. The rest I'll freeze to make something else with it in the future.

Tagged ,