I’m kind of a junkie when it comes to cooking shows. Especially the ones that have real life challenges, like, limited ingredients and budgets. I think there are a lot of people that can relate to having a limited food budget.
For the last three months, I have only traveled by foot. Because of the pandemic, I no longer need to leave the house for work, and the walking gets me away from my cave-like living space. I’m fortunate there is a shopping center within walking distance on the Bear Valley Trail. It’s about a mile and half walk, each way, and there is a grocery store and a Dollar Store there with food products.
I became interested in the variety of products available at the dollar store, which seems to have a little bit of everything from cat toys to men’s razors. The shelves have just enough products reliably stocked, alongside a rotating variety of seasonal and limited supply items you won’t see anywhere else. I love browsing the off-brand labels and knock-off products; they honestly make me giggle.
While not everything is cheaper at the Dollar Store, I have found a few things that are economical, especially for someone who lives in a household of two adults. Many times, the products at the Dollar Store are cheaper because they weigh less than the packages found at the grocery store. That works for me, actually… A full sized pan of brownies could be dangerous for two people. Some Dollar Stores even have a refrigerated/freezer section, but alas, the location closest to me does not. It makes up for it with more product selection and a cleaner store.
Shepherd’s Pie is a recipe enjoyed by my son, and this one was particularly easy to teach him. For $3-4 to feed two people, it is economical as well as it is easy.
Shepherd’s Pie – A Dollar Store Hack
You will need:
1 Can Beef Stew
1 Can of Vegetables – your choice
1 Tbsp. Corn Starch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water
Make the mashed potatoes. You can follow the directions on the package with butter and milk, or just add extra milk (omitting the butter). For a struggle meal, just use extra water…
Mix the stew, vegetables and cornstarch with water in a casserole dish (8×8). Top the stew mixture with the mashed potatoes and spread evenly.
Bake 350F until bubbly, about 25 minutes.