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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, it's a good resource for planning low-cost meals...
The first section of the cookbook has some good ideas to help with shopping, coupon use, organization, and meal-planning. The suggested prices for a lot of the food items seem to be much lower than what I can find in my region, which makes it hard to buy all of the ingredients for under $5. Also, to make the recipes low-cost, some unhealthy choices are made (such as...
Published on January 3, 2010 by Brooke R. Emanuele

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159 of 173 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mary Ostyn's book is a better investment
When I became interested in saving money on my grocery bill, I purchased both this book and Mary Ostyn's book, and have read them both thoroughly. Honestly, you will be better off just getting Mary's instead.

Before I get to the negatives, I'd like to state the few positives. I give props to Erin first for recognizing that Americans eat too much, and second...
Published on January 16, 2010 by Misa


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159 of 173 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mary Ostyn's book is a better investment, January 16, 2010
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This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
When I became interested in saving money on my grocery bill, I purchased both this book and Mary Ostyn's book, and have read them both thoroughly. Honestly, you will be better off just getting Mary's instead.

Before I get to the negatives, I'd like to state the few positives. I give props to Erin first for recognizing that Americans eat too much, and second for working vegetables into every meal. The reviewer who said that this book is overall unhealthy is exaggerating a little. Yes, she uses regular ground beef, but processed foods are in only a few recipes and frozen vegetables are still vegetables (and she does encourage growing your own). Both Erin and Mary emphasize eating less meat and offer vegetarian meal options. Erin does mention the use of a price book, but Mary does to a MUCH more thorough extent.

Now the other stuff...

The tips in this book are all commons sense-stock up when it's on sale, match coupons to sales. You don't need a book to tell you that. Every positive aspect of this book can be found in Mary Ostyn's book Family Feasts for $75 a Week, and you'll find lots of other information as well. Erin gives an ingredient by ingredient price breakdown in every recipe, which is a good concept, but the problem is that price can vary largely depending on where you are. There are some items that she's apparently been able to find at prices that I've never, ever seen anywhere I've been, and I'm a very price-conscious shopper. So, a lot of her "$5 meals" I would not be able to make for $5. Also, she groups the side dishes right in with the main course, including the price tag, so if you want to change up some of the main course-side dish combos, you're going to alter the price (and if you're not eyeballing the price, there's no reason to buy this book at all). Speaking of side dishes, this book has a lot of "bare" vegetables, so if you have taste buds and like to put a little salt or butter on your veggies, that's going to affect the price.

Some people have expressed concern over the portion sizes in this book for a family of four. Erin has two children, and they are both very, very young, and thus probably consume much less than a teenager or adult. If your two kids are teenagers, most of these recipes will have to be adjusted quite a bit, and thus make the final price much higher than $5 dollars. For that reason, I don't like the concept of putting a dollar value on the meal as a whole, but rather a dollar value on a "per plate" basis. Mary states that she rarely spends more than $1 "per plate."

Mary and Erin differ greatly on their view of coupons. Erin swears by them, and devotes most of the non-recipe section of the book to them. Mary, however, outright says that she rarely uses them. Her reasons are that most food coupons are for highly processed brand name foods that are either unhealthy or have much cheaper generic counterparts. Honestly, most generic foods taste the same. Instead of focusing on coupons, Mary utilizes foods that are inherently a better value to begin with.

Erin does offer some homemade items, such as basic sauces and salad dressings, but you'll find a much larger section on such items in Mary's book. One other thing you will not find in Erin's book is desserts. I believe desserts have their place at the dinner table on occasion, especially if you have children.

As for the recipes themselves, I tried a few of Erin's, and they were just ok. Most of these recipes you could probably come up with yourself or find online, really. There were some I didn't even have to try because I knew how'd they turn out (I cook a lot), and I have a hard time believing kids will eat a few of these. Ziti pasta with plain white sauce and no spices? No thanks. I've tried several of Mary's recipes, and all but one have been really good.

Long story short...everything in this book that's worthwhile can be found in Mary's.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, it's a good resource for planning low-cost meals..., January 3, 2010
This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
The first section of the cookbook has some good ideas to help with shopping, coupon use, organization, and meal-planning. The suggested prices for a lot of the food items seem to be much lower than what I can find in my region, which makes it hard to buy all of the ingredients for under $5. Also, to make the recipes low-cost, some unhealthy choices are made (such as using 73/27 ground beef, white pasta, white rice, fattier cuts of meat). The portions are small, but the author does suggest doubling the recipes if you have larger families or appetites.

For the most part, the recipes are easy, creative, and family-friendly. I look forward to trying a lot of the recipes. However I plan to substitute leaner meat and whole grains, so the meals will not all be under $5. I like that most of the recipes use common or easy-to-find ingredients, and don't require hours of preparation.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It has been a good purchase for me but not great, August 9, 2010
This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
I cook a lot. Before my kids were born, I would have called myself somewhat of a gourmet cook. However, once my first kid was born, I had to adjust my recipes and my food budget. Kids (especially little ones) don't appreciate a lot of "adult" food and feeding them a lot of it would break the bank. I have struggled to find cookbooks that fit what I want, tasty, healthy food that can be had at a budget but that kids will eat. I picked up this book at the grocery store after thumbing through it.

First the positives:

Most of the recipes are quite healthy and if they aren't the way she has written them, you can easily substitute more healthy ingredients.

The recipes don't require any exotic ingredients that young kids might reject. The way the recipes are presented, you can add your own spices if the food isn't spicy enough for your family's taste.

The directions are clear and easy to follow.

It's all here for you in one place, you don't have to spend hours surfing the internet. I'm glad that so many reviewers have so much time to surf the internet for recipes. I don't. My time has value, too.

I like that she has recipes for basic sauces and soups to use in her recipes. I have sauces that I often substitute but I have also used hers and they serve their purpose.

The recipes are good and very appropriate for families with young children. This is NOT gourmet food. But, it is good food that is tasty for kids and relatively inexpensive to make.

She has some slow cooker recipes and some recipes that are appropriate for making ahead of time which is great for those of us who typically have the "dinner time rush" and are crushed for time to get a meal out before the kids need to be in bed.

The negatives:

The cost of food in Ohio is a lot different than the cost of food where I live. I don't think there is one recipe I can actually make for less than $5.

Many of the portions are very small for my family so I have to double the recipes which means they are most definitely not less than $5. The $5 per meal price was what attracted me to the book so it was a let down that the pricing is so off.

She relies very heavily on coupons. That's great if you do coupons but many of us choose to be frugal by buying generic brands instead. I'm glad she's proud of her coupon prowess but it's annoying for her to constantly refer to it.

Much of her advice is very, very basic. If you already know how to stock up during sales and plan meals, you will skip almost her entire introduction.

All in all, it's been a good purchase. I use some of the recipes but I don't consider it one of my favorites or a "must have". I wouldn't recommend it to a friend and I wouldn't give it at as a gift. But, I didn't return it either.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Resource!, January 10, 2010
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This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
I don't know why anyone would give this book a 1 star! I LOVE this book! I bought this one and Family Feasts for $75 a Week and have found both to be extremely helpful to keep our grocery bill down! I've had this for 2 weeks; I've planned and bought groceries for the entire month for my family of 3 for only $200! I live in LA and didn't think that would be possible! I love how Erin itemizes each of her ingredients by price per unit! Very cool! This is a great book for those like myself that don't enjoy cooking, but love to save money!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, economical, and easy to prepare!, May 16, 2011
I am a new small business owner who works from home, and for the past year, whenever 5:30 rolls around I am suddenly reminded of dinner by whining kids and I haven't given it any thought. It's been Taco Tuesday, spaghetti and meatsauce, pizza and chicken nuggets for much too long. Our food bill has also been rather large due to all of the take out.

So I picked up this book in an effort to save money and prepare healthy, uncomplicated but tasty meals for dinner, and it has been a huge hit in my family. The recipes are simple and delicious! I am using a menu planner to map out the week's meals and grocery shop, and two weeks into it I couldn't be happier. I will say that I have to double the recipe to feed myself, a 6'4" spouse, and 3 kids, aged 14, 12, and 8.

Also, if you who prefer organic and low fat products, the recipes in this book will be more expensive to prepare with those products. But if you are switching from a diet of pizza and nuggets and dining out to this book, your meals will certainly be far healthier and less expensive than what you are used to.

Highly recommended. The Maple Chicken and Peachy Pork Chops are two of our favorites!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite Book, February 3, 2011
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This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
I have been reading books of this nature for years....trying to figure out how to cut down on greoceries to spend the money elsewhere.....pay off bills, vacations, etc. This book is one of the best I have read and reviewed!!! HONESTLY!!

There is a section on couponing, but she is not a coupon diva and doesn't stock 42 years of toliet paper. THANK YOU! But there is also alot of sections on how and when to find certain products on sale...so that's great. Some basics of this book, I honestly knew before. But some things I learned new from this book as well. She talks about meal planning, shopping once or twice a month, and cooking meals in season. Also gives hints of buying produce on sale and freezing it for off seasonal months and finally alot of great basic yummy recipes with basic ingredients that you can buy at just about any store (nothing specialty) to cook meals for your family for less. On each recipe page, she makes a point to tell you how she made that recipe for under $5 for her family. For instance.....buy broccoli in season for this recipe or buy while in season on sale and blanch and freeze in the freezer. If you have to buy this in an off season month, it will NOT be under $5 for the whole meal. Things like that......

Sometimes when I buy books like this, I am afraid I will get something telling me to eat beans and rice 3 times a week. Nope.....not this book. It has some bean recipes in it...yes.....but it is well rounded with other recipes with meats in it and can be adapted very easily for those vegetarians out there as well.

I love this book and if you want to learn the basics on how to save money on your grocery buying and get some great recipes as well....this is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook with easy, practical recipes, June 4, 2010
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This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
I love this cookbook. For a mom with small children, this cookbook offers lots of easy recipes that don't have a million ingredients. The directions for each recipe are really easy to follow, and I found the first section, which is all about strategic shopping, to be a really helpful guide for saving money at the grocery store. I really like that the recipes are from scratch and therefore don't include lots of salt and preservatives. I have made at least 10 things and my family has really enjoyed them. Highly recommend!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars good concept, February 26, 2010
This review is from: The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare (Paperback)
I purchased this after following her blog for awhile. I often felt that 5.00 wasn't going to be for everyone because we don't shop at the same stores or live in the same states.

I have a larger family so i double her recipes. I don't use alot of coupons because they are mainly for processed foods that we don't eat. Alot of recipes are already online as well.

Good idea but not too much variety. I bought Mary's book which is much better and focuses on nutrition.

Not a great deal for my family but she seems super sweet!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars $5 dinner mom, May 1, 2014
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not super happy with this cookbook no pictrues and not really layed out well;/ and i found by looking at it meal are more money then i though....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing budget-saving ideas- skip if you're gluten free though!, October 28, 2013
The pros: The recipes are great! Most of them are very simple, many of them quick, LOTS of great savings tips in this book as well. I love the frugal facts at the end of each recipe. (Who knew you could freeze bread for an entire year?! lol) The recipes are by type (chicken, beef, seafood, soups) so easy to navigate through. There's also a section on how to make your own kitchen staples such as broth, spaghetti sauce, etc. to save even more money. I loved that part. I also loved that she didn't use a bunch of super processed foods in her recipes, which we avoid.

The cons: While I am not an extreme coupon shopper, I found the author's rambling about extreme coupon shoppers "clearing the shelves", not being courteous, etc... not only slightly annoying, but pointless. She makes a point to say she is not an extreme coupon shopper, so it seems she's been upset by those who are the the past? lol... not sure. But I guess that maybe it could have only been me who saw that part of the book as pointless. She also gives lots of normal everyday, well known advice to anyone who has any experience with coupons, sales, etc- but would be good information for complete newbies. I skipped past a lot of the beginning/middle of the book. So, I don't know if I'd say that was a "con" or not, since info could be useful to some. While I know the book wasn't meant to be centered around organic eating, it was disappointing that some of the items this recipe called for, I can NEVER find organic. That is not her fault though, and I will figure out substitutions or just not use the recipe. The recipes don't say how many they serve, and although you can guess to some extent- it's hard to be sure with some of them. There are very few, if any, gluten free dinners. With many of us trying to avoid flour/wheat/gluten at least some of the time, I would have hoped for more.

Overall: good buy, pretty good read, good reference and starting point for saving money on food!
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