Cooking and Baking

Kosher.com $5 Dinner Challenge: The Fried Family

Sandy Eller May 28, 2024

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Welcome to Kosher.com’s $5 dinner challenge, where we invite our readers to transform weeknight meals into delicious, budget-friendly feasts. Each menu in this series ensures you can enjoy a satisfying, kosher dinner for just $5 per person. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that proves eating well doesn’t have to break the bank!

Name: Leah Fried

Family size:  2 adults, 7 children 

Location: Montreal, Canada

With seven kids at home ranging in age from 3 to 14 and sky-high food prices in Montreal, Leah Fried is ready, willing, and able when it comes to cooking from scratch.  Sushi? No problem, Leah has her own mat and even has sushi-style plates so that her family can get the authentic vibe at a fraction of the price of store-bought for their once-a-week sushi nights.  Gnocchi?  Pesto? Sourdough?  Check, check and check – Leah made all of those and more for her $5 dinner challenge! The Fried family enjoyed their Kosher.com adventure, with sushi being the hands-down favorite, although spaghetti and meatballs was a close second. 

As a portrait photographer, Leah’s schedule can be a little erratic, so she saves her kitchen adventures for the days when she isn’t working full time.  Only one of the Fried kids is a picky eater, while the rest love intricate flavors and sampling new foods, which works great for Leah, who is good with her hands, loves the kitchen, and is willing to try just about anything.

What Was Your Shopping Strategy?

Feeding a family of nine can generate huge grocery bills, but Leah still believes in shopping locally and supporting Jewish-owned stores.  She has all of the store apps downloaded to her phone and uses them to check the sales and to comparison shop, which she finds can often generate huge savings.

Leah also stocks up on pricier frozen items like frozen broccoli and spinach when they are on sale so that she has them on hand when she needs them, without having to splurge. She always makes her own dressings and sauces, higher priced items that typically cost just pennies to make.

What Did You Find Most Challenging?

With the $5 dinner challenge starting right after Pesach, when Leah’s pantry and freezer weren’t as well stocked as they normally might be, she focused on fresh produce and sale items when she made her menu for the week. 

The actual cooking for the $5 dinner challenge didn’t prove to be particularly difficult for Leah, although meal planning and calculating costs was definitely time consuming. Still, she looks forward to coming up with more $5 dinner nights and hopes that others will try the challenge in their kitchens as well.

“You can have a gourmet meal for $5 per person if you do it from scratch,” Leah advises Kosher.com readers.  “If you want a really good meal for less, making it yourself is the way to go.”

Dinner #1

Total Spent- $38

Total cost per person – $4.22

On the menu:

– Chicken corn soup

– Sushi

– Strawberry pops with chocolate ganache

Dinner #2

Total Spent – $45

Total cost per person – $5

On the menu:

– Vegetable barley soup with egg dumplings

– Chicken salad

– Loaded cauliflower with garlic mayo

– Gnocchi with pesto

– Chocolate chip pie

Dinner #3

Total Spent – $28

Total cost per person – $3.11

On the menu:

– Vegetable barley soup with egg dumplings

– Spaghetti and meatballs

– Roasted eggplant

– Fruit compote

Dinner #4

Total Spent – $35

Total cost per person $3.89 

On the menu:

– Onion soup

– Sourdough toast and cheese

– Spinach lasagna

– Chocolate pudding

If you’d like to take on the Kosher.com $5 Dinner Challenge, and for your results to be featured in an article, email us at [email protected].