Everyday Mom's Meals: Dollar Store Delight

Monday, February 4, 2019

Dollar Store Delight

A couple weeks back there was a convo on Facebook about buying food at Dollar Tree and how 99% of what they sell is pre-packaged, processed junk. Now, I will no dispute that much of it is exactly that, but I also know there are some things I can find at me that not only are exactly what I would find at my major super market, but a whole lot cheaper, helping me stay on budget.

One of the things I mentioned in the thread was gnocchi. I discovered my local Dollar Trees (yes, we have 4 within just minutes of our house) carry 1 lb. packages of gnocchi. They are a fine quality, and taste the same as the $4 packs I can find elsewhere. I can honestly say every single gnocchi recipe you can find on this blog was made with $1 gnocchi.

So the next time I was in there I decided to create a new recipe around those; and see what else I could find too. In this recipe alone, the gnocchi, Italian seasoning, and pepperoni came from DT. I would have been able to get the marinara sauce there too, they just happened to be out of it the day I went. But...and here is the funny part...I got the sauce at Kroger...for $1 and the 2 cans of mushrooms at Aldi for $1 total. The only thing in the recipe that cost me more than a buck was the bag of mozzarella cheese, and I actually had a coupon for that too!

I guess this is my point. Do I want my family eating cheap, processed food every night of the week? Absolutely not. But there are some things to be found at the dollar store that you can turn into something delicious, yummy and stay on a pretty strict budget. This casserole fed our family of 4 (and I've got big eaters) plus enough for a lunch the next day, for around $7. That is less than $2 per person!

In my opinion, there just needs to be less judgment all around when it comes to where we buy our food, and what we are buying. We all do what we can, in the way we can, and I refuse to turn my nose up at something just because it came from a discount store! After all, look what you can do with it!

Pizza Gnocchi Bake
2 (1 lb.) packages potato gnocchi, cooked to directions
1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce
2 (4 oz.) cans mushrooms
1 (4 oz.) package pepperoni, chopped, reserve a few whole for top
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. When gnocchi are cooked, drain and return to warm pan. Add chopped pepperoni, mushrooms, sauce and 1 cup cheese. Stir well to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese, top with pepperoni slices, sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 10 minutes more until cheese melted and bubbly. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

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