Sunday, April 7, 2013

Golden State Gourmet for a Budget Friendly #SundaySupper

Golden State Gourmet

The #SundaySupper Movement is tackling budget friendly dishes this week, so I thought I'd use this opportunity to test the accuracy of a TV show's assertion. Melissa d'Aranian won the fifth season of The Next Food Network Star in 2009, which resulted in her cooking show Ten Dollar Dinners. The tagline for the program is four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities.

The Challenge

Can the dishes contained in one episode of Ms. d'Arabian's TV show be prepared with a budget of $10? Considering inflation, I chose an episode from her most recent season. In this particular case, Golden State Gourmet, which first aired in August of 2012.

The Source

The episode contains recipes for a roasted chicken, a tomatillo sauce and an Asian cole slaw.


1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 Anaheim chile, seeded, deveined
1 white onion, quartered
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, deveined, 1/2 left whole and 1/2 chopped finely, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 3 1/2-pound roasting chicken, giblets removed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
4 flatbreads or pita breads, warm, for serving
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped


1. Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss the tomatillos, garlic, Anaheim chile, white onion and the half of the jalapeño left whole with the olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until the tomatillos turn a dark-green color and the onions golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the vegetables cool slightly. Peel the garlic and transfer all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the lime juice and season with more salt and pepper, to taste. (This sauce can be made 1 day ahead, covered and chilled.)

2. Roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Combine the butter and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry inside and out. Season the inside of the chicken with the salt and pepper, then apply the butter mixture to the outside of the chicken with a brush, then season with additional salt and pepper. Truss the chicken, then place it in a roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh (without touching bone) reads 165° Fahrenheit, about 1 hour. (If the chicken is browning too quickly in the oven, lightly tent the chicken with aluminum foil.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil, about 20 minutes to allow for any carryover cooking.

3. While the chicken cooks, prepare the cole slaw: Whisk the vegetable oil, vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce and sugar in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the green onions, onions, cabbage, the chopped jalapeño and green pepper in a large bowl. Toss the salad with enough of the dressing to coat, and season salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, mix in the cilantro and garnish with the peanuts. Serve with warmed flatbreads.


The preparation of this dish is simple, but the mise en place is a little labor intensive, however it wasn't anything I couldn't control. From a flavor profile standpoint, it was a very light and refreshing dish. Mrs. Stuntman normally eats white rice with her meals, but she enjoyed the dish without.

Execution aside, how much did the meal cost? Many of the staples I already had in the pantry but I was going to the supermarket anyway so I priced out the items:

Butter: $2.49 for 32 tablespoons (or 1 package of 4 sticks); Cost: $0.31
Sesame oil: $2.19 for 8 fluid ounces (or 48 teaspoons); Cost: $0.18
Salt: $0.72 for 123 teaspoons; Cost: approximately $0.01-$0.02
Pepper: $2.19 for 2 ounces (or 27 teaspoons, according to; Cost: $0.08
Garlic: $0.33 for 1 head (10 cloves in this particular head); Cost: $0.03
Extra-virgin olive oil: $17.34 for 2 liters (or approximately 134 tablespoons); Cost: $0.13
Vegetable oil: $7.14 for 1 gallon (or 256 tablespoons); Cost: $0.11
Rice vinegar: $2.19 for 12 fluid ounces (or 24 tablespoons); Cost: $0.18
Soy sauce: $5.29 for 2 quarts (or 384 teaspoons); Cost: $0.01
white sugar: $2.64 for 4 pounds (or approximately 435 teaspoons); Cost: less than $0.00
Cilantro: $0.50 per bunch; Cost: approximately $0.01-$0.02

The items I had to purchase:

Whole chicken: 3.51 pounds at $1.69 per pound; Cost: $5.93
Pita breads: $2.29 for a package of 8 breads; Cost: $1.14
Tomatillo: 0.85 pounds at $1.99 per pound; Cost: $1.69
Anaheim chile: 0.19 pounds at $0.97 per pound; Cost: $0.18
Jalapeño chile: 0.15 pounds at $0.97 per pound; Cost: $0.15
Lime: $0.34 for 1 lime; Cost: $0.17
Ginger: 0.09 pounds at $2.99 per pound; Cost: $0.27
Green onions: $0.77 per bunch of 6 onions; Cost: $0.38
White onion: $0.99 per onion; Cost: $0.99
Red cabbage: 2.06 pounds at $0.99 per pound; Cost: 1.02
Green bell pepper: $0.49 per pepper; Cost: $0.49
Peanuts: $3.34 for 16 ounces (or approximately 53 tablespoons); Cost: $0.12

Grand total: $13.60

Obviously over the $10 budget by 36%, however it still works out to $3.40 per serving which is cheaper than a kids' meal at the drive thru (not to mention better, healthier food). I emailed Ms. d'Arabian's people to respond to my findings and will update if I get a reply.

Other Sunday Supper Participants

And finally, please check out this week's other Sunday Supper participants:

Starters, Soups, and Salads
Drinks and Desserts
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter Sunday! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest boardfor more delicious recipes and food photos.

Coming to Orlando July 19-21, the first annual Food and Wine Conference sponsored by #SundaySupper. Visit the website to learn more and join in on the fun. #SundaySupper. Visit the website to learn more and join in on the fun.


  1. It's interesting on how your total is higher than the one on the show. I think it is the same for cooking times. Lots of TV show recipes are way off on how much time it really takes to cook the meal. Nice post! And I agree that even though it is over $10 it is much better and healthier than drive-thru.

  2. Well done! That looks like a delicious challenge and I am actually surprised that it didn't end up costing more. It sure looks fancy! I hope you hear back from them!

  3. I love that you made this a little bit of a challenge, taking one of Melissa d'Arabian's $10 dinners and seeing if it truly worked out to $10. Heck even at $13 though like you said it's still better than fast food or a restaurant.

  4. Ok, you realize that you made this dish just for me right? I LOVE everything about it! You took my two loves peanuts and peppers and put it into one recipe! Man, I really LOVE it!

  5. This sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! ~ Bea @ The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

  6. What a fun challenge! I just made one of her $10 Dinners salads the other night, and man was it good! Will have to try this one soon... thank you for sharing, and breaking it all down for us!

  7. Nothing like a great challenge in the kitchen!! You made it look delicious and made it fun!

  8. You made it look delicious and made it fun by adding the challenge! Love it!

  9. Your pictures are lovely! This definitely doesn't look like a budget meal!

  10. I love finding new ways to use my tomatillos, this looks delicious.

  11. Wow! That's dedication! The chicken looks delicious btw

  12. LOL - I love that you did the cost analysis of this recipe! I kind of always chuckle at what a recipe is *supposed* to cost to make. Prices of certain food items can vary drastically depending on where you live. I know when we moved to Alaska from North Carolina, my shopping patterns stayed pretty much the same, but I spend 50% more here than I did in NC. I look forward to that expense going down a little when we move to Alabama. It costs a lot of money to ship groceries to the middle of the wilderness, and the consumer of course pays for it.

  13. Yummy! Sounds delicious and I love that you threw in the budgeting stuff. Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  14. Love it. There is nothing I like more than a great chicken.


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