Review: Sandra’s Money Saving Meals

When I first heard about this show, I was interested to see an episode. I’m familiar with Sandra’s other show, Semi-homemade and liked a lot of her suggestions in the early years, however, in more recent episodes the food was less appealing to me. I think the food got too fancy.

I had previously looked at some of her recipes on the web, but I finally caught an episode this morning. I’m always looking to save money so I came into this with an open mind. She opened the show by making pulled pork tacos. She made some good points about shredding your own cabbage and carrots, slicing your own onions and using what you have in the house to make the sauce. Where she lost me was on her discussion of meat prices. She stated that the 10lb pork shoulder she purchased was $9.74. I don’t know where she’s purchasing her meat, but I can’t get pork shoulder, even on sale for less than $1 per pound. I’m looking at $1.49 – 2.00 a lb here. She compared it to the price of boneless chicken breast at $2.20 per lb. Now I can get boneless chicken for $1 per pound on sale,  but I’ve never seen pork shoulder that low around here. Maybe it’s where she lives, so I look at the next recipe.

The next recipe was a fresh corn salsa and homemade tortilla chips. She used the leftover tortillas from the tacos. Nifty idea. She then started making her salsa: fresh corn, black beans, canned diced tomatoes, jalapenoes, fresh cilantro, lime juice, red onion and a few other things you’ll probably have around the house. Her cost to make this recipe in season was $4.29, including the tortillas for the chips. Even with my coupons and shopping at the local discount store, I would have trouble purchasing these ingredients at that cost. It was a lovely looking salsa but I think her cost was a bit low, especially when you consider that you’ll need a 280z can of diced tomatoes. She then compares her cost to purchasing chips and jarred salsa, which she prices at over $9.50. Are you kidding me? A bag of store brand chips (which is about the equivalent of how many chips she made) is about $2.00 per bag. With my coupons and sales, I never pay more than $1.50 for a jar of salsa. So I may not get fancy roasted corn salsa, but it’ll cost me about $3.50; hell, lets throw in 2 jars and bring the cost to $5.00.

Don’t get me wrong, I think many of her recipes look great. I’ll probably try a variation of the salsa next time I have a party, but I think that her pricing is low for her recipes and high for her comparisons. I just want to make sure that you all keep that in mind before picking up one of her recipes based on her price projections.

Have you tried any of her recipes and found the pricing to be accurate? Maybe the prices are just odd in New England. Have you tried other money saving recipes and found that the price projections were off? I used to get Everyday with Rachael Ray and found the same problems with its cost estimates.

Where do you find inexpensive recipes?