Looks tasty, doesn’t it? It’s crisp around the edges with the perfect balance of saltiness and creaminess in the center. It’s nourishing. It’s delicious. It fills you up. It only takes five minutes to make from start to finish. But you know what else dings my chimes about this dish? It costs $3.42 for four large servings. And yes, that includes garnish.
And no, I’m not joking.
I sat down today prepared to write a little ‘how-to’ on saving money in the kitchen with a family favorite recipe thrown in to boot. The keyword here was ‘little’. An hour into writing, I realized there was no way to condense what is a way of life into one itty-bitty post with a recipe. I have enough material to fill four posts and I will get to every bit of it. I want you to come back for all of this. Here’s the deal. I know saving money in the kitchen isn’t exactly the sexiest topic. I get it. So I have a little incentive to offer. But first, a question.
How much do you spend on food each month? And how many people are you feeding? You don’t have to tell me unless you feel so inclined, but just consider it for a moment. According to the USDA’s Cost of Food reports (published monthly), my family of seven should be spending $804.40* per month on our food.
*This is calculated according to the ‘Thrifty’ food plan numbers given on the chart. If I were to use the ‘Low’ food plan we would be expected to spend in excess of $1,067. This trend continues on up through the ‘Moderate’ and ‘Liberal’ plans.
Here is my incentive. I’m going to tell you what I spend every month on groceries. I’m also going to tell you what another blogger buddy of mine, my dear friend Krysta a.k.a. Evil Chef Mom, pays monthly to feed her family of six. Just one other question, though, before divulging our food budgets. Would you agree, from all appearances here at Foodie With Family and over at Evil Chef Mom that our families eat pretty well? You might even say a wee bit on the fancy-pants side occasionally? I think that’s fairly safe to say, right?
I spend $500 a month. I feed seven people and whatever friends or family happen to be hanging around at meal time out of that.
Krysta spends between $650 and $700 a month. She’s feeding three, count ’em, THREE teenagers, a pre-teen, a host of kids’ friends (also teenagers), and any family or friends who might be present at meal time.
We both make food good enough to share.
That puts me in at more than $300 under what the government believes is the least amount of money a family my size would reasonably spend per month in food.
Lest you should get the wrong idea let me tell you something important. Neither of us coupon shops. Neither of us obsessively watches sales. None of us -ourselves, our kids or our husbands- feel deprived of the food we want or crave. We are food lovers.
It’s really simple. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you!
Starting tomorrow we’ll go through a series of posts chock full of tips, tricks, and methods that can potentially help you save beaucoup bucks in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor or slaving away in the kitchen. Unless, of course, you like slaving away in the kitchen. The point is that it’s your choice.
Let me break down the food cost from today’s recipe:
- 2 cups of uncooked rice from a 25 pound bag. The bag was $16. There were 62.5 cups of rice in the bag. That translates to $0.51 for this recipe.
- 6 eggs from a dozen at a cost of $1.50 per dozen (from our own chickens). The cost for the eggs was $0.75.
- 1 cup of shredded cheese from a 3 cup bag that cost $2.79. The cost of the cheese for this recipe was $0.93.
- 1 Tablespoon of hot sauce from a bottle containing twenty tablespoons. The bottle cost $2.99. The hot sauce used in this recipe cost $0.15.
- 1 teaspoon of salt from a one pound box that cost $2.99. The one pound box contained 283 teaspoons. That puts the cost of the salt in this recipe at a fraction of a cent over $0.01.
- 2 Tablespoons of canola oil from a $1.00 jar that contained sixty tablespoons. The cost of the oil is $0.03.
- 8 Tablespoons of salsa from a jar containing twenty two tablespoons. This is the big splurge in our recipe. Since the jar cost $2.79, the total cost of the salsa for the dish was a whopping $1.04.
- That makes the grand total for the whole recipe a bank-book friendly $3.42. If you skipped the salsa you’d clock in at $2.38 for the whole entree.
This is great-tasting food, too. You can make a whole batch of them, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and take a couple a day to work or school for lunch. They reheat beautifully. If you need a little something extra, throw a handful of salad alongside. Bang. A complete meal.
There are more options. You can mix in some leftover cooked meat or vegetables. Wrapped in a piece of foil or a paper towel it’s a meal you can take on the road with you. No matter how you slice it, it’s going to be cheaper and more filling for the money than even the dollar menu.
Frugal does not have to look or taste like sacrifice.
Hang on. There’s more to it. It’s good for you. It’s great for you. The egg provides lean protein. The rice provides a healthy carbohydrate. The canola oil is non-hydrogenated. The salt is negligible. On it’s own, it’s healthy. If, however, you compare it to fast-food or pre-packaged, processed food you’re going to come out leaps and bounds and miles ahead nutritionally.
How about it? Are you interested? Try the Savoury Rice and Egg Pancakes and then come back tomorrow. This is going to be fun! I promise!
For a photo-free, printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here!
Savoury Rice and Egg Pancakes
- 4 cups chilled leftover cooked rice
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheese, whatever type you have on hand
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons Canola oil (or non-stick cooking spray)
- 8 Tablespoons salsa
- optional: thinly sliced green onion tops
Break up the cold rice in a mixing bowl (or in a resealable plastic bag) with your hands so that no chunks remain.
Crack eggs into the rice, add shredded cheese, hot sauce and Kosher salt. Mix thoroughly.
If your mixture is too thick or dry, you can crack another egg into it. Eggs vary in size, so this may happen occasionally. So, gee whiz, add another $0.10 to the total if you need to do it.
Add just enough oil to a non-stick skillet to lightly coat the pan. Place pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot scoop a scant quarter cup into the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop to gently pat the rice mixture out to a thinner patty shape. The mixture will not spread on its own.
Don’t crowd the pan. This 12″ nonstick pan can comfortably fit four pancakes at a time.
Cook for about two minutes per side, or until deep golden brown on each side.
Transfer to a waiting plate and repeat with the remaining rice and oil until it is gone. Serve with salsa. You can plate it up all perty-like if you want. And I want.
Wanted to double check on freezing rice and ended up here. I live in the tropics and 90% of our food is imported about $9.00 US for the bag of cheese and eggs, even though they are local are now $5.00 US for one dozen eggs or varied sizes — they are not graded. I have to watch my spending carefully so very happy to find your site and the pancake recipe. Rice is in freezer now but as I do not have a silpat I used parchment paper, something I happily import as I use it for baking most items. Looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you.
Hooray, Taylor! I hope you love this as much as we do!
Got to this post by the link about storing/freezing rice. I like the way you incorporated pictures at certain steps. And the rice pancakes look awesome!
Thanks so much, Elyse!
Eating these now — really good. Crispy is better than normal or under-cooked with this recipe, imo. Thanks.
Oh my gosh, these were so easy and yummy!!! Thank you! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked on my phone for a while and finally got around to making them today. 🙂 They will definitely be a regular at our table!
Love this recipe! We make up a big batch, adding Korean hotsauce and a cup of chopped collard greens, and freeze them for lunches and after school snacks. My daughter and her vegetarian friends agree, this makes a great “poor college student” meal.
Teresa, do you cook the collards before adding them into the mix or are they raw and chopped?
I’m so excited to make these – I’m an email subscriber and came here looking for something to make for a school potluck (with people of various ethnicities and food restrictions to cook for – I think this recipe is it!)
To be completely fair, part of the reason you spend way less on food is where you live. Food costs a LOT more when you live in the middle of the city. (I grew up in the country and sometimes I’ll go visit my parents and stock up on groceries there because it’s way cheaper.) That $1.50 on eggs turns into $2.50. Cheese is usually ridiculously high priced as well. Also, when you live in the city, you usually live in a much smaller place and don’t have room to buy in bulk. I can’t imagine where I’d store a 25 lb. bag of rice.
I’m not saying that this isn’t an economical (and tasty looking!) recipe, I’m just helping you understand the privileges you have in the price of your food & the ability to store bulk. (Of course, I have different food privileges like the greater availability of ingredients.)
This looks yummy to the yummo! But, I wonder if this would work with quinoa? Don’t know if it would have enough starch to keep everything together, but I’m gonna try!
I discovered your website the other day when a friend posted your famous bacon jam recipe on facebook. Scrolling through the posts I found this one and sent it along to my husband who declared that we HAD to make it for dinner tonight. So we did! I served it topped with cilantro and a little salsa. If my avocado had been ripe I would have whipped up some guacamole for it too. Maybe next time because we will definitely make these again. Thanks!
What a great way to use leftover rice!
We used to do that sort of thing, but we would put the rice in the pan to heat, add eggs, and stir like scrambled eggs. Not too appealing looking, yours really look much better, and I definitely agree, protein with starch with some fat equals complete meal. I eat 2 eggs and rice for breakfast, and am not hungry till lunch.
I’m gonna have to try it your way, it looks really yummy.
These look absolutely FANTASTIC! As a college student and a perpetual tightwad, I am most appreciative of this recipe.
I really enjoy the humor and warmth on your blog. Thank you for sharing your sage advice with the rest of us!
Now that I started reading, I can’t wait to read the subsequent posts. I need to be more frugal. You’ve already made me so, so much less wasteful. But I need to cut my budget on the food. I’m on the moderate to liberal end on that chart and I would rather be low. Thrifty will take some work.
Yum! Looks very kid friendly! Do you cook and freeze your rice ahead of time? (I was looking at your bag in the photo) I can never make perfect rice and can’t justify getting a rice cooker. Would this work with brown rice too you think?
bellini valli says
These do look delicious with their crispy edges. The bonus is that they are quick and inexpensive.
Tina Connelly says
I would love to hear your money-saving tips. I am always trying to save a buck (or two).
all i need to say is:) :):)