Monday, January 30, 2012

Dinner for four comes in under $20

한국어: 2008년 7월 대한민국 제주도 여행. English: Korean foo...
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Live fluke from Jeju Island in Korea are sold in Fort Lee.

Editor's note: Today's bill of fare includes an inexpensive meal at home, good buys in Target's grocery section and a sale on free-range, grass-fed beef at ShopRite.

The cost difference between dining in and dining out is dramatic, and when you eat at home, you have a lot more control over the quality of the ingredients.

This afternoon, I stopped at the H Mart Fresh in Fort Lee and purchased fresh and prepared items that will feed four at dinner for only $17.35. 

The fresh fish at this small Korean market is always displayed on plenty of ice, so the wild-caught porgy at $1.99 a pound caught my eye. The fish monger said they came in earlier in the day. 

I asked him to clean five porgy, leaving the heads and tails on. The total was $7.22. 

A tank held live fluke from Jeju Island in Korea -- at $17.99 a pound. But this flat fish is wonderful raw as sushi or sashimi, allowing you to avoid all the mercury you'd consume with tuna. Maybe next time.

Fresh Chinese broccoli was on sale for 58 cents a pound, so for $1.13 I bought just under 2 pounds to blanch, drain and drizzle with sesame oil and a little soy sauce. 

I also picked up two prepared items -- a seaweed, rice and vegetable roll called kimbap or gimbap ($4.99 for 20 ounces) and a trio of pan-fried kimchi pancakes ($3.99).

Kimbap and Kimchi
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Kimbap and kimchi.

How do you say, "Dinner's ready," in Korean?

H Mart's discount coupon book hasn't been issued for about two months, but there are plenty of in-store sales. Employees say they don't know why the supermarket chain stopped issuing its own coupons.

H Mart Fresh, 1379 16th St.,Fort Lee; 201-944-9009.
Metered spaces in front of store are free after 12 p.m.

Target's stealth discounts

I drove to the Target in Hackensack on Saturday to pick up lactose-free milk and eggs, and they rang up for much less than the shelf price. I didn't see anything about a sale.

A half-gallon of Market Pantry lactose-free milk usually is $3.19 -- about 20 cents less than at ShopRite. I bought two half-gallons of 2% lactose-free milk, and they rang up at $2.89 each.

A dozen large white Nearby Eggs from Pennsylvania were on a shelf with a price of $1.49, but I paid only 79 cents for them. I saved another 5% or 33 cents by charging the items to a Target credit card.

Sale on free-range beef

Nature's Reserve Whole Beef Tenderloin for Filet Mignon is on sale again at ShopRite for $7.99 a pound or $5.99 a pound with a store card through Feb. 4.

This beef, from Australian cattle, is described as grass fed and free range. You usually have to buy 4 to 6 pounds of beef.

When you get it home and trim it, you can cut it into filet mignon steaks or slice it thin for Korean barbecue. 

The same cut of conventionally raised, USDA Select beef is on sale for $9.99 a pound or $7.99 with a store card. 

Two 59-ounce clear-plastic containers of Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice are on sale for $5 with a store card (limit of 4).

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