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Homemade Provençal Rack of Lamb

Posted By Jim On 02/16/2009 @ 2:04 pm In Frugal Living | 30 Comments

My wife and I have started a tradition of cooking our own meals for our special anniversaries and celebrations. It was a tradition we started in college when neither one us owned a car and a $25 entrée was a once-a-year treat. Back then, we celebrated our dating anniversary by making crab cakes, a tradition we’ve continued (this year, we added a cream of crab soup to the menu!). For Valentine’s Day this year, we decided to get adventurous and cook up this Provençal Rack of Lamb recipe [3].

Everyone knows that cooking your own meals can save you a lot of money, but the main reason we cook our special meals is because it gives us the opportunity to spend time together doing something. The money savings is significant but time spent working on a meal together is far more entertaining than getting dressed up, waiting for our reservation, sitting at a table, and waiting for food to be served. Plus, you don’t have to pay 2.6x the retail price for a bottle of wine!

I couldn’t help but break down the cost of the meal, just to see how much it really cost and was genuinely surprised (figures are ballpark):

  • Rack of lamb: We bought the rack at Costco for approximately $14, with each of us eating two chops each (just like in the picture!). $7.
  • Tomatoes: We bought two “ugly” vintage tomatoes for about $2.
  • Fresh herb pack: We picked up a package of fresh herbs designed for roasting chicken and used a little of the rosemary and thyme; I imagine the spices used cost less than $1.
  • Potatoes: We bought a 5 lb. bag for $3.99 from our local grocery store. I’m not sure how many we used but let’s say a third of the bag – $1.50.
  • Smoking Loon Syrah: Picked up a bottle from our local wine shop, $8.99.

Total price of our romantic meal? $20.49.

I challenge you to find an entree that includes any cut of lamb that costs less than $20.49. It’s a lot more work to cook it yourself and you have to clean up afterwards, but between the quality time and the money saved, you simply can’t beat avoiding the Valentine’s day crowds and cooking up your own special meal.

If you cooked something special this year for Valentine’s day, what was it? We’re always on the lookout for fun new meals!

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[3] Provençal Rack of Lamb recipe: http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2008/10/provencal-rack-of-lamb

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