Monday, June 20, 2016

Call it Risotto for $17.95 a Serving

I used to love D'Amico and Son's for a fresh lunch.  They have delicious salads and  light sandwiches in the summer, and hearty pasta, risotto, and panini's in the cold weather. It used to be a rare lunch treat to meet a colleague for lunch at the one on Grand Ave in St Paul, though now there are franchises in several locations.  It's lost it's appeal though now that their salads and wraps are in every Target deli counter, and in the airport pit stops. Still the tastes are nice, and better than a lot of deli fair.  And it should be.These are not inexpensive  meals, hence why it was a very rare treat. I had a work meeting at one near my office quite a ways back.  Two of us got a trio of salads, scoops of our choice of the many in the case. One ordered an asparagus,  mushroom and Asiago cheese risotto. It smelled delicious, and looked very appealing.  We all had ice tea as well.  While the sald trio and tea come to around $15, way more than my PB and J would cost, we all stopped when my colleague 's lunch was rang up. $22.61, for rice! 

I remembered that lunch tonight as I was thowing together dinner.  At the end of the week is our cabin weekend, so I am trying to take ocntrol of the budget, eat from the fridge,freezer, and pantry, and use up bits.  I pulled together a creamy  dish made with long grain rice cooked long and slow with a little chicken broth and diced carrots. I found an already cooked  package of hamburger in the freezer, knowing it would come in handy some meal. I used a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of skim milk, heavily seasoned with garlic and pepper, as a binder. After mixing it all together, it seemed to need something more.  I remembered a bag of spinach greens past their salad prime, and heated them up until wilted in a 1/4 cup of water.  The wilted greens along with the water went into the dish as well.  I sprayed a pan, put it all in there and topped with a light grating of the last of the cheddar cheese I had in the bin. When DD saw it she said, "Fancy!"

So here is my tally of cost;
hamburger $2.25
Rice           $ .47
soup           $ .79
milk            $ .17
carrots        $ .25
Spinach      $1.79 *(and would have been tossed if not cooked)
broth           $ .16
butter          $  .13
Assorted seasoning let's just say included in my rounding up. Grand total $6.01, 6 large portions at $1.00 a serving. I even had ice tea at $.05 a glass, with sweetener. There's had asparagus, mushrooms, and Asiago while mine spinach, carrots, beef, and cheddar-pretty tasty as well. If not spending resulted in earning money, my meal would have earned me $129.36  in profit above cost.  How's that for competing with the big guys.  

So I could call it risotto and pretend it was served in a cute bistro by a handsome young man sporting a two day growth and man bun. Or, I could just stay true to my Minnesota roots and call it a rice hot dish.  You decide. 
Served on a salad, not dinner plate, but still very large portion. 


  1. I don't care how great it is, I'd never pay $17.95 for rice in a restaurant. lolz

    1. The cost must all be labor. A real risotto is putzy to make.

  2. You win, hands down! I love how you can throw together some odds and sods and voila - a yummy dish!

    1. My mom, while a bland cook, taught me basics but anyone can do this and add flavor to their on preferance .

  3. I've made it with steel cut oats and either onions or shallots if you want to be fancy. Then lots of parmesan cheese & chicken broth. Oh my... Now I'm hungry. Who am I kidding? I was hungry before I started typing!

  4. I would fall over if I was charged that much for rice!!!
    Great job and keep up the good work on saving money. I'm still fighting the fight here. I seem to be losing but I still fight.

    1. I have to keep fighting-to many better things to spend money on-plane tickets, train tickets, hotel rooms, kids that still need help now and again.


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