Since today is the last day of our “No Eating Out” challenge, I thought I'd have my good friend Shandra from one of my favorite sites, Deals to Meals, show us some of her favorite restaurant copycat recipes! Trust me, it's worth the read…she feeds her family of 7 for $100 per week, cooking 2-3 meals per day. Not kidding. You know how I save 1/2 on my groceries every week without clipping coupons? Her site is what makes this happen for me. I've been using it for over 3 years and still use it every single week. Read all about how I do it HERE. Take it away, Shandra!
I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is going out to eat. It's not that I think their food is any better than I could make in my own kitchen but the fact there are no kids, I'm waited on, and it's quite is a huge bonus for me! As much as I love eating out though, the expense of entertainment can add up quickly. For our family of 7 if we go out to eat it can be anywhere from $40-$100, depending where we go. That's a good chunk of change for one meal.
Considering I can feed our family of 7 for $200 for a 2 week period (using Deals to Meals), that's nearly 50% of my weeks grocery budget. It's amazing what restaurants can charge for a plate of food–it's pretty much high way robbery 🙂
I am excited to share with you today some of my favorite copy-cat recipes that can save you legitimate savings compared to eating out. Now…I know making food at home is not quite as relaxing, and takes more effort, but with a little preparation the payoff's of delicious food can be just as satisfying to eat at home. For me, it's all about great tasting food. If the food I am eating melts in my mouth and tastes even better than restaurant food I am one happy lady!! Not to mention with teenagers we have a pact that I cook and they clean–it's awesome 🙂
The other day my husband and I went out to eat for our anniversary. I love Lemon Chicken Picatta and it was $38 a plate at Christopher's Steakhouse. It came with a roll, chicken and mashed potatoes. Unreal expensive and so not worth the money. I decided to come home and recreate the same meal and was able to make it for MUCH less!
Lemon Chicken Picatta
Restaurant price: $38 a plate
Homemade for a family of 7: $10 or $1.50 a plate
That's a 96% savings!
Who doesn't love Winger's Sticky Finger Chicken Salad? Since making this from home several years ago I can't stomach eating at Winger's knowing how cheap I can recreate this recipe. This is one of our family's favorite salad recipes. Delicious!! All of these ingredients are on sale this week as well (chicken $1.69/lb., tomatoes .49/lb., croutons $1, cheddar cheese 2lb. $3.99 (use half), red onion .33/lb., lettuce .88 a head, ranch $1.50, Franks $1, brown sugar $1)
Winger's Sticky Chicken Salad
Another favorite dish of mine is at Outback–Alice Springs Smothered Chicken. At Outback Steakhouse it costs $16.99 a plate. It comes with bread, mashed potatoes, smothered chicken and honey mustard sauce. This week by following the Deals to Meals website I was able to get all of the ingredients for this dish for under $15 for a family of 7 (chicken $1.69/lb., bacon $2.50, mushrooms $1.69, cheddar cheese 2lbs. $3.99, tomatoes .49/lb., green onions .25 each, potatoes 10lb. .99, and mayo $1.99).
Alice Spring's Chicken & Sweet Pumpernickel Bread
Who doesn't love a gourmet hamburger? At Smash Burger, Five Guys or Chili's you will pay over $12 a plate. Hamburger's are one of the most ridiculously priced items out there. You can get a gross, processed hamburger for a $1 at McDonalds or pay $12 at a nicer restaurant. The bottom line is you can make a healthier, burger from scratch for under $2.00 a plate. And the fact they taste a hundred times better is fabulous!! These ingredients are also on sale–find all of the best deals at Deals to Meals! (Hamburger $2.49/lb., lettuce .88 a head, tomatoes .49/lb., gorgonzola $3, buns $1.50, mayo $1.99, onions .49/lb., mushrooms $1.69, jar roasted red peppers $1.50)