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The 99-cent dinner

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

With the current recession, money is on our minds. Which is probably why there've been several recent stories about dining off dollar stores.

First came NPR, with a story about cooking from the packaged and canned foods available at 99-cent stores. Then came the New York Times, with a piece on doing exactly the same thing. Both feature shoppers trawling the aisles and getting (sometimes dubiously) creative in the kitchen.

As the blog Get Rich Slowly pointed out, finding enough reasonably decent items to eat at dollar stores takes work: "For that much trouble and travel, you might as well shop at a regular grocery store, where there are plenty of frugal options." 

The NPR story profiled Christiane Jory, author of the new cookbook [%bookLink code=1598694693 "The 99¢ Only Stores Cookbook"]. According to Jory, you can make a gourmet meal entirely from 99-cent-store purchases; her book has recipes for salmon soufflé and scalloped potatoes made with Cheddar and green chiles. But while the meals are good, according to NPR, the recipes also use mostly packaged and canned foods. Need those apples in your pie to be fresh, not canned? Dollar stores ain't where it's at.

For recipes with a fresher, healthier feel, head over to The Culinary Review, where you can browse 10 recipes that break down to less than $1 per serving.