More Opinions

Hey, since it’s Saturday and all, I thought I’d toss another opinion out there. This one is actually a book review I promised to do quite a few weeks ago of the book Supper Swapping by Susan Thacker.

This is a book of recipes by famous chefs that can be used to trade dinners with a friend. I love this concept. If you could find a regular dinner-trading partner, it would mean fewer days cooking for everyone.

For my big crew it would be tough to find a willing partner or an equitable trade. Most big families I know, mine included, already share cooking chores. We just do so with our teenagers instead of our friends. (At this very moment, my 16 year old is making cookies.)

Despite the fact that trading dinners with a friend would not be practical for my family, I have been enjoying the book. I enjoyed reading the snippets about the various chefs and restaurants. Many of the recipes sound yummy and are on my to-try list. However, I noticed that some include more-expensive meat than what I usually buy for my family: salmon, shrimp, steak, etc….

Salmon may not seem out of this world expensive if you are feeding a couple toddlers and a couple adults. But at the moment there are 6 ‘adult’ eaters in my house, and my 8 year old boys are getting close to eating adult portions. A meal’s worth of salmon for us costs $20. Splurges like that would eat up my $600/month grocery budget in no time!

However, there are affordable recipes in this book too. Here are the ones we’ve tried so far.

Chicken Curry Suzanne is a dish that my family really enjoyed. I added broccoli to the curry sauce, since we all enjoy broccoli.

Sweet Broccoli Salad with raisins and bacon. This was easy, used ingredients I always have on hand, and was a big hit with my entire family. That bowl went round and round the table till every speck was gone.

Thai Soong– Ground chicken (I substitued beef) and finely chopped carrots in a sweet ginger-garlic sauce wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves. Oh, my! We just had this recipe for lunch today with our own homegrown lettuce and everyone raved about it. Yum, yum! I have never seen this family put away this much lettuce in one meal. My son with the broken jaw made me promise to make this when his jaw in healed. We will most definitely be making this again.

Others that fit our budget and that I intend to try include:
Sopa Mexicana– a Mexican-spiced chicken soup.
Steak, Mandarin Orange, and Pecan Salad–that will use more garden lettuce!
Pasta With Artichokes, Mushrooms and Tomatoes–I love artichokes and my kids love fun pasta shapes!

I think that if you enjoy trying new recipes, you will most likely enjoy this cookbook, whether or not you end up supper-swapping with a friend!


  1. OT, I wanted to make sure you are aware that we are having Carnival of the Blogging Chicks. Details at the Blogging Chicks Metablog.

  2. Oh, WOW! This is SO right up my alley. Great!

  3. That Thai Soong sounds sooo good. I'll have to get the book from the library.

    I also am humbled by the fact that I feed my family of 4 on about the same budget you feed your family of, what, 10?

    BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog!

  4. Thanks for commenting on my blog, I've enjoyed reading yours and love your "Wow what a trip" line at the bottom!
    It sounds like you have an amazing family. And they eat lettuce. I'm still working on that with mine. I know what you mean about recipe books, especially chefs, not thinking about families on tight budgets. Maybe a book on how to stretch meat to go as far as possible and still taste good, published in paperback, would be a good one.

  5. you only spend $600 a month on food. My DH would be jealous. I need to do better on that. It's one of our short term goals.

    Book sounds interesting.

  6. Thank you, Owlhaven, for the nice review of Supper Swapping. Another wonderful book for the budget minded cook is Dining on a Dime by Tawra Kellam. She gives so many creative ideas for saving money.

    I'm glad you liked the recipes you tried in Supper Swapping. There is definitely a mix of chefs' easiest recipes because I tried to make the cookbook global, appealing to different budgets. Substituting ingredients is a good tip you gave. For example, I always use imitation crab meat ($2.00/ pound) when I make the crabcakes–a recipe from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami. The imitation crab meat has similar nutritional value to real crab meat.

    Thanks again,
    Susan Thacker, Author Supper Swapping