I've talked a bit in the last little while about how growing your own herbs can save money.
But, like the vacuum cleaner salesman who tells you that the machine will pay for itself in a year, sometimes claims like that are hard to believe. So I want to give an example.
My wife was off doing girl stuff with her mom today, so it was my turn to cook dinner.
Last night I went to the grocery store for something and, like I always do, I wandered around looking for those little orange and yellow "reduced price" tags. I found a package of something called SWAI Fish. I had never heard of Swai, but since it was half price, I figured I'd give it a try, so I got two really nice fillets for $1.99. I found a loaf of Garlic bread, again 50% off for .99 so I was all set.
We had some potatoes that were getting old and growing whiskers so I needed to use them up.
This is where the homegrown herbs really helped.
I started with the potatoes. I washed them and cut out the wrinkles and blemishes, then sliced them. I layered them in a baking dish, adding fresh oregano leaves between the layers, and put a liberal layer of sage leaves on the top. There was half a pound of leftover bacon in the fridge from the other night, so I laid it out in strips across the top of the potatoes and put them in the oven.
I took the Swai fillets, and patted them dry with a paper towel, then laid them in a baking dish. I sprinkled a little powdered chicken bullion over them, (I have found that for fish, this is much better than salt. It adds a bit of salt, but also brings out the flavor of the fish, and adds a richness and fullness to the fish) then took a handful of savory leaves fresh from the garden, chopped them fine and sprinkled them over the fish. Finally I sliced a lemon very thin and covered each fillet with lemon slices. I garnished the top with a few capers from a bottle buried deep in the fridge. Not something I use a lot of, but I play with them every now and again.
I covered the whole thing with foil and popped it in the oven.
While the potatoes and fish cooked, I made some homemade "tartar sauce". I started by mixing equal parts mayonnaise and salad dressing together, (about 1/4 cup of each). I took 1/2 a garlic dill pickle, and minced it, then took about 15-20 fresh chives, a small clove of garlic, and about 20 thyme leaves, and minced them together. I added the pickle and then just kept chopping until the whole thing was just a pile of tiny green bits. I added this to the mayo/salad dressing and stirred it together, tasted it and added just a splash of lemon juice to taste.
The garlic bread, and a can of corn, finished off the meal.
So I was able to prepare a "gourmet" meal, for under $4. I used Savory, Sage, Chives, Thyme and Garlic from our garden.
The fish was some of the best I have had in quite some time. And, because I used herb and lemon for flavor, rather than frying it, I didn't add any unnecessary fats.
It was so good it didn't need the tartar sauce, which incidentally was very good on the potatoes.
Healthy and Thrifty all at once.
Something that's much easier to do when you grow your own herbs.
For even more thrifty cooking tips and ideas, check out Amanda's Cookin' Every Thursday Amanda features Thrifty Thursday, with thrifty cooking ideas and tips!
For more Ideas on how to eat healthy, visit the Food Renegade Blog, where on Fridays they feature Fight Back Fridays, a collection of ideas for SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local. Ethnic) eating.