Published on March 30th, 2024 | by Chris O'Connor

$10 Meals with Chelsea Book Review

$10 Meals with Chelsea Book Review Chris O'Connor

Summary: Tasty meals that help keep your expenses down.


Affordably appetizing

I’m a very frugal cook, over the years I have reduced recipes/meals to what my children will eat and what I can afford reasonably well. With that in mind I want to quickly get something out of the way… the meals in this book are not really $10 meals. At the very beginning it is pointed out that the meals only attain the $10 mark assuming you have a number of things already in your pantry. This is a trick a supermarket used a few years ago and got into trouble for as it was deemed misleading. I think the same could be said for the title of this book. Inflation not withstanding (it also notes the the recipes were basically put together in early 2023… as we know prices have gone up considerably since then), I think it would have been better (ie more honest) to call the book “cheap eats”… but I guess that’s less catchy (and the book equivalent of click bait).

But with that said… are the recipes any good? Well in short, yes! But let’s expand on that.

For me there are a number of things that make a good cook book, one is that the meals are actually appealing (given the buttermilk fried chicken was universally approved of in our house and I actually made it again within about a week and personally prefer it to KFC… I think it’s safe to say they are some appealing meals).

Two is presentation, in this case I appreciate that Chelsea has taken efforts to make the book accessible to neurodivergent people. There is a pleasant use of colour and symbols to help make key elements quick and easy to find and understand and the ingredients and method are laid out nicely.

Three and in some ways this is the most important… how easy it is to follow the recipe. Some cook books seem to assume a certain level of knowledge or skill and as such they omit techniques or processes that they presume everyone will know to do/use, Chelsea not only explains each process but goes one step further and gives extra tips/instruction. A key example of this is with the aforementioned buttermilk fried chicken recipe, when it comes to the actual frying portion, Chelsea takes the time to note how much oil should be used (about 5cm)… this may seem like a small detail but can have a big impact on the end result… compared to another book I followed recently that essentially just said “put in the oil and cook…”.

There is a good variety of dishes here that should please all family members and with the lovely photography, you can hand it to your fussy eaters and let them find meals they like the look or sound of and make your own meal plans around that. Which is another good point of this book… it breaks each section down into weekly meals and gives a weekly shopping list. So if you want to follow it to the letter you can indeed go through the book and make your meals as set out within.

If somehow you do manage to have leftovers (not really likely with the fried chicken), there are tips for how to store and how long is likely to be ok. Some meals use leftovers from previous meals (so be sure to check that if you are planning on making them in your own order as you might have to make sure you make one meal before another in order to have the leftovers to use for the subsequent meal)

It has been said that you sometimes “eat with your eyes”, with $10 Meals with Chelsea that starts with seeing a recipe in the book and feeling your taste buds tingle… then it’s a case of cooking the meal and watching as your family devours the food by sight before tucking in with forks. Whether sticking to more familiar meals or trying some of the more international options, there are plenty to choose from here for the whole family.

Final Thoughts?

Despite my (annoying) pedanticism regarding the naming of the book I quite enjoyed trying some of the recipes and certainly enjoyed eating the results. Would I recommend the book, yes I would, treat it as a guide to cheap meals rather that meals of a specific dollar amount and it’s a great resource to have at hand… seriously… you have to try that buttermilk fried chicken!

About the Author'

Father of four, husband of one and all round oddity. Gaming at home since about 1982 with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Moving on to the more traditional PC genre in the years that followed with the classic Jump Joe and Alley Cat. CGA, EGA, VGA and beyond PC's have been central to my gaming but I've also enjoyed consoles and hand helds along the way (who remembers the Atari Lynx?). Would have been actor/film maker, jack of many trades master of none.

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