By: Mrs. FrugalEnginerds
When we started assessing our financial problem areas, one major bill that stood out was our grocery bill. We spent more than $1,000 a month for two, not counting dining out. This is someone’s mortgage! I grew up in an immigrant family of four kids, and I don’t think my parents ever spent that much within a month for food, ever! It was a horrendous, excessive habit. We knew we had to do something. By living frugally means we’d need to do some serious cutback, but without deprivation. One saving grace for me is I enjoy cooking. I figured if I had to start somewhere, then food would be it. I plan to cook more at home with dishes that we both love. Real delicious, restaurant inspired food that will not break the bank. On this series, I will track our food spending and including a cost analysis/comparison of home cooked meals versus restaurant meals.
This is my Frugalicious series of home cooked meals, homemade crafts, and DIY projects.
It’s Spring time! Here in New Orleans we’re known for abundant seafood, and one of our family’s favorites is crawfish – and Spring is their prime season. These tiny creatures look almost like mini lobsters, and taste similar to shrimp, except they’re a bit chewier. Mr. FEN usually can devour 5 pounds in one sitting, and with drinks and all the extra fixings, it can be an expensive pastime meal. What we’ve started doing is buy these crawfish live from the seafood market and boil them at home. Not only they cost a fraction of the price compared to restaurant, but the best part is we can enjoy getting messy in the comfort of our home.
After many trials and errors, I’m finally happy with my very own crawfish boil recipe and Whole Shebang sauce.
Total time: 45 minutes :: Prep 5 minutes, boil time 40 minutes
Crawfish boil ingredients for 6lbs of crawfish:
- 1 cup of Crawfish Shrimp Crab boil seasoning (Louisiana brand or Zatarain’s brand)
- ½ cup of Cajun seasoning
- 1 bag of dry herb seafood seasoning (Zatarain’s brand)
- 2 Tbsp of concentrated seafood oil (Zatarain’s brand)
- 1 Tbsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ white onion (quartered)
- 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1 big orange (halved)
- 1 lemon (halved)
- 4 stalks of celery
- 2 cups of orange juice
Wash crawfish to remove mud and sand. Then set aside in a dry bowl/container.
Cut, chop, wash, and pour everything into a large pot that can contain 1 gallon of water with some extra room. [To avoid hot water splashing, do this step before pouring in water]. Bring to boil for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, put in crawfish and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, close lid and let it sit for 30 minutes. During this time, you can choose to put in shrimp and/or sausages.
In the FrugalEnginerds family, we love pairing corn and potatoes with our crawfish to help settle with all that spices.
On a separate pot, boil fresh corn and [small] potatoes for 20 minutes and combine them with the crawfish after heat has been turned off.
**If you prefer no sauce, then add another 1/2 cup of seafood seasoning to the above recipe for more defined flavor and spice**
Making the Whole Shebang sauce (optional):
- 1 whole clove of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1 Tbsp of sugar
- ½ cup of Cajun Seasoning
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp of Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 Tbsp of lemon pepper (dry rub)
- 1 ½ Tbsp of Louisiana hot sauce (yields to medium spice level)
In a sauce pan, melt butter and mix in all of the above ingredients, except garlic. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low for 5 minutes. Add in garlic and turn off heat, remove from stove. Pour over crawfish and ready to serve. Enjoy!
Cost comparison :
|Home Cost (all unit prices include taxes)||Price||Restaurant||Price|
|Crawfish – 6lbs @$2.84/lb||$17.04||Crawfish – 6lbs @$5.50/lb||$33.00|
|Potatoes, 1 lb (4pieces) @$1.09/lb||$1.09||Potatoes – 4 pieces @$0.50 each||$2.00|
|Corn – 2 pieces @$0.25 each||$0.50||Corn – 2 pieces @$0.50 each||$1.00|
|Shrimp – 1/2 lb @$4.50/lb||$2.25||Shrimp @8.99/lb (not avail in 1/2 pound)||$8.99|
|tax + tips||$0.00||subtotal||$44.99|
|TOTAL||$23.88||tax (10%)+ tips (15%)||$11.25|