Lasagna is often my go-to entrée when company comes to visit over the holidays. It’s warm and comforting on cold nights, easy-to-prepare in advance, and makes the house smell amazing. Plus, a simple salad and a loaf of garlic bread is all that is needed to complete the meal – less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
When I was recently challenged by my friends at Save-A-Lot to come up with a holiday meal for a family of four for under $25, lasagna was the first thing that came to mind. I liked the idea of a meal that could be prepared over the weekend, frozen if needed, and then served for dinner during the week.
It was an early Sunday evening, after running errands, when I decided to stop by the Save-A-Lot in Carnegie, PA before heading home. The store is located in a plaza in the heart of the town’s main shopping district with easy access onto the highway to my house.
Inside, the store was brightly lit and followed a logical flow. It’s stocked with the basic staples families looking to get the biggest bang for their buck can appreciate. The fresh produce section is modest containing many of the most popular vegetables including salad ingredients, carrots, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, etc. The meat, dairy and frozen food sections followed the same format – basics and biggest bang for your buck.
After snaking around the store, gathering my lasagna ingredients, I turned my attention to the salad. I wavered on the different topping combinations I had available to me and noticed a container of candied chopped dates. I knew at that moment a pear salad with candied chopped dates and crumbled blue cheese, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil would be perfect. On a side note, I already own these two items and did not include it in the $25 total. Though both ingredients, along with several bottled dressings are available at the store. I grabbed a loaf of garlic bread from the freezer section before heading to the checkout counter.
At home, both the salad and lasagna turned out perfectly. Surprisingly, instead of preparing a meal for four at $25, I ended up with enough servings to feed six to eight people. Bonus! There will be plenty of leftovers for lunches the rest of the week. I also only used about half of the chopped dates. The rest just might end up in a cookie recipe at some point.