Today’s giveaway: Poor Girl Gourmet

Eating gourmet at home is now easier than ever. Amy McCoy’s “Poor Girl Gourmet” cookbook will help you eat in style while on a budget. To win one of five copies we are giving away, see below.

While employed, McCoy used to spend $160 to $200 a week on food for two people. She shopped at Whole Foods, bought fancy cheese, and didn’t wait for sales. McCoy’s mother had taught her how to stretch her dollars when she was a little girl and there were many mouths to feed, but she hadn’t implemented the lessons. This all changed when the economy tanked. She writes:

Thus, it was a short jump from luxury-food girl to this new food-shopping paradigm. I already had the tools for cooking good food on a budget, I simply hadn’t employed them—nor had it been required of me—until my television work evaporated.

The 222-page cookbook is easy to read and understand. If you enjoy Italian food as much as I do, this book is for you. The cookbook includes McCoy’s spin on many traditional recipes, which she also writes about on her blog by the same name. She introduces each recipe with money-saving tips and a back-story to how it came about.

One of my favorite recipes is for Ribollita, a soup that utilizes leftovers. It has all my favorites: tomato, bread and cheese. Peasant food never tasted so good!

McCoy also included techniques necessary to perfect your cooking. Don’t know how to roast garlic? She shows you how. At the end of the book, McCoy shares her menu suggestion on how to pair the recipes while staying on a $15 per meal budget.

To win a copy of “Poor Girl Gourmet,” leave a comment sharing how your mother has influenced your cooking and money-saving skills. You can also win one of 20 copies we are giving away as door prizes at Frugal Festival Food! on June 25 in LA. Come early and have your pick of all the door prizes! Winners will be revealed June 15.


49 responses to “Today’s giveaway: Poor Girl Gourmet

  1. I would love to win this book. My mom made alot of beans, potatoes and cornbread to feed us 4 kids on a tight budget. We had alot of meals with out meat. We saved everything and also had a garden. Yum! Nothing taste better than a garden fresh tomatoe sandwich!!

  2. My mom has probably influenced me the most in quick, easy meals that you need on the fly. She worked full time, and was a master at whipping together quick meals.

  3. I would like it!!! I don’t know how to cook, well I’m kind of disaster and this will help me to save money without burning my wallet!!

  4. Pingback: Reader winners: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half | Frugal Festival

  5. My mom had to make poor girl gourmet meals! There were 4 kids, 3 boys and me! She could make 3 meals out of a whole roasted chicken, for all 6 of us plus have enough from the ‘pickings’ to make chicken salad for lunch! And we never left the table hungry!

  6. My mother is a beautiful, social person and not a cook. Though, she taught me to check out cookbooks at the local library and copy down the recipes that appear interesting to the palate.

  7. I would love to win this!

  8. My mom made a mean hot-dish, a staple meal at our house. We raised our own chickens, so we had chicken every Sunday…every Sunday…like forever. Took me a long time to appreciate chicken again, after I left home! Baking was her strong suite – can’t beat it!

  9. My mom always let me help her in the kitchen ever since I can remember. She loves to make food and feed people. I also love to cook and took culinary arts in school because I love it so much. Also, when I was little she always took me to the grocery store with her and we always had her coupons. She would let me cut out the coupons we would need every Sunday. These are the things I will always remember!

  10. I would really love to win a copy of this book. My mom is famous for feeding our family of 4 through the years of tighter budgets with her $5 meals. She would base our menus on what ingredients were on sale, use inexpensive things like rice and pasta to stretch portion sizes, and we never thought we missed a thing!

  11. Would love to win a copy! My mother could not cook at all! I had to teach myself everything. Most of the time we ate hot dogs, fish sticks & boiled potatoes!

  12. My mother was not a cook. She would give me the menu. I cooked for our family. Momma taught me generics are sometimes as good as name brands but not always. Also, that using coupons could make name brands a lot less expensive than generics.

  13. my mom taught me how to live frugally by reusing leftovers to make other dishes. she’s so creative and is always able to whip up something tasty from common, seemingly-nothing ingredients – that is something i will always strive to achieve.

  14. I would love to win a copy of this book! I can always use new ideas for meals that do not cost an arm and a leg!

  15. My mom was a cooking and baking fool (I mean that in a good way) She always made everything from scratch and always let me help which taught me how inth process. I have learned that it is actually more cost effective and better tasting to make things myself rather than purchse premade food. And like her,I stock up on kitchen essentials like canned tomatoes, olive oil etc when they are at the lowest price ,which is about once ot twice a year. I may spend a bundle on that one shopping trip but it saves me a whole lot more therest of the year.

  16. homemade chicken and noodles, even showed me how to make noodles from scratch!!! thanks mom!

  17. My mother died when I was 12 so it was my grandma who influenced me. I cook just like her. No written recipes, all in my head. A little of this a little that. Problem is I can’t hardly recreate a fantastic recipe because it’s not written down.

  18. My mother had a lot of personal problems and ended out leaving when I was pretty young. I didn’t see or hear from her again until I was grown. But, before she left she gave me the most important cooking tools there are: a tattered copy of a simple recipe book (the name of which I can’t remember) and enough informal lessons in how to follow a recipe, make an ingredient list and shop frugally at the grocery store that I was able to help my father keep my sister, brother and myself fed on a very, very small budget. Years later I am still cooking and grateful for the gifts she left me. It serves as a daily reminder that gifts often come out of unexpected and even undesirable happenings.

  19. From mac-n-cheese to beans to spaghetti, all my first meals I cooked on my own were taught by my momma, she gave me the confidence to not be scared of the kitchen.

  20. My mother couldn’t cook so I learned NOT to do what she did!
    My grandmother was a great cook and baker and most of what I learned as a child I learned from her.

  21. My mom cooked good food, but she didn’t do the shopping. She did read the ads and I read them with her so we had a list ready when my father did the shopping. He would drive across town to save a penny on bread, not thinking how much he was wasting in gas and time. I had 10 kids at home at a time and learned to cook dollar stretching meals that were both tasty and filling for my 9 sons with hollow legs!

  22. My grandmother lived with us, and she taught me how to cook and bake.

  23. My grandma always went to the grocery store early in order to find the best and freshest bargains

  24. My mother was a single working mom so money was always a bit tight for us. She and my grandmother taught me to cook and bake using up whatever is in the pantry which still rings very true in today’s economy! They also taught me that food doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy to be delicious. They have simple recipes that are filling, hearty, and tasty.

  25. My mom is an amazing cook — at least in my opinion. Being from an Italian and Argentinian family, our dinners often consisted of meats, potatos & pastas. Whereas I branch out a lot more in my cooking, her style influenced me in that everything that is made should be made with love, ease and appreciation. I try and consider those aspects when planning and executing a dinner menu – even if I’m just cooking for myself.

  26. When I was growing up, I had my own cooking show — watching my mother! LOL I stuck to her like glue and couldn’t wait to assist. This is where I learned to crack an egg, use the toaster and oven, and chop vegetables. So, although her range of cooking styles was not wide, she did experiment with new recipes. It was a great launchpad for my own exploration and enjoyment of cooking … and eating 🙂

  27. My mom can make a meal out of anything we have in the house and that is a skill I wish I had it helps save a lot of money.

  28. My mom taught me to make cheap dishes such as macaroni cheeseburger cassarole using boxed macaroni. Also she taught me how and when to shop for food items

  29. My mom taught me to always use your leftovers.

  30. Because my parents worked long hours at a family business, my mom had little time to spend in the kitchen. But she cooked delicious, inexpensive meals that took little time. She cut coupons, shopped sales and utilized shortcuts such as prepared sauces. Today all of us siblings use coupons. I would love to have this cookbook and share it with my mom.

  31. We always had a pot of beans on the stove as money was more than tight. My mother’s skills taught me to be frugal im many ways. Iwould love the book to learn modern skills.

  32. Veronica Suarez

    I was influenced by my mom’s cooking in that she was a terrible cook! I learn how to follow recipes in home ec class and that’s how I started to get good at cooking. I learned how to make them my own by adding/exchanging ingredients. My mom was not very frugal either. She would spend most of my dad’s money on clothing and jewelry. So I learned by making mistakes and from my husband. Now I can stretch my dollar a lot better than I did. So my mother taught me what not to do.

  33. I was influenced by mom’s cooking in that she couldn’t cook at all, and if I wanted to eat it I had to learn how to cook it.

    My mom was frugal though and could really stretch a buck. I didn’t know there was any other rack in the store except the one that said “clearance:!

  34. She taught me how to bake. Period. I owe her my LIFE.

  35. My mom taught me not to cook like her. God if she ever read that I would be so dead.

  36. My mother and grandmother taught me to look. The best memories are those in the kitchen. The taught me to use what I had on hand and not be wasteful with leftovers.

  37. My Mom grew up rural poor in the Midwest, so she came from a place where the only way to eat was from scratch and ‘putting up’ veggies from the garden for winter. As the oldest child, I recall how her food budget stretching was able to ease as my father was promoted at work. But with a single income family of 5, she still cooked 95% of all our meals at home, from scratch. Luckily, I was able to learn all the basics from her, so I had a great grounding later when I expanded my food horizons beyond my Midwestern roots.

  38. ranchersdotter

    Mom taught me you don’t have to cook fancy gourmet meals to feed your family a balanced diet they will love! Sure we tried new fun things occasionally, but basics from the garden & meat from the freezer are always winners.

  39. Christine Judd

    My mother taught me, casseroles, crock pot meals, and soups…. Cheap to make, and large amounts to share with many.. Spaghetti, I can remember throwing the noodles in the air with my mother to see if the pasta would stick to the ceiling. Potato soup.. 5lb bag of tomatoes, onion, bacon and little milk.. Again very cheap, and goes along way.. When feeding many on a cheap dine… mom always suggested a meal type above..

  40. Christine Judd

    Opps for the Potato soup.. i meant 5lb bag of potatoes..sorry..

  41. As the daughter of “depression era children” I learned about sustainable living before it was trendy. Buy/eat what it is in season and grown locally. Eggs from the local farmer, produce from the garden or stand by the road. Fresh is best! Can/freeze what you have in excess. Mom and Dad shared the local goodness.

  42. My mother was a great teacher in the kitchen and in all types of stores. She taught me to be on the lookout for sale items but also make sure you use the items you buy. I love her!

  43. Shannon Bennett

    My mom taught me the importance of clipping coupons as well as one pot cooking…that lasts for days due to the huge pot it’s in 🙂 We ate lots of pasta casseroles & meatloaf growing up.

  44. My Mom, who finally married and “settled down” at 37, after living a long single life, learned to cook out of necessity. She really made up for lost time, learning traditional family recipes, ethnic foods of all our neighbors, and of course creative leftovers! Her openmindedness in cuisine, culture, and people sparked my interest in food, cooking and adventure!

  45. I grew up in the Middle West (Missouri) during WWII days, when rationing was in force. My mom taught my sister and me to bake simple rolls and biscuits, before going on to more complicated things. She made a cheap and tasty “S.O.S.” (creamed chipped beef on toast or noodles), and could stretch a holiday turkey for an eternity. One fave was a Sunday night supper of turkey-rice soup and club sandwiches while we listened to the old comedies on radio. Mom also preserved fruits and veggies in jars in the basement, and we always had a “Victory Garden” in the back yard. To this day, those days of making do, and stretching different foods to feed a family stay with me. A long time friend once told me he planned to market a Mother Earth doll based on me: “Wind it up and it feeds everyone in sight!” I’m still called Mother Earth by friends and family, which I consider a compliment.

  46. My mom is not much of a cook, but she married one!

    Seriously, my father was a cook in the military, and he can whip up anything from leftovers and the meal would still be delicious. To this day, my dad cooks all the big family meals for holidays. His saying is, “If you can read, you can cook!”

    I can only aspire to me as creative as him…

  47. What a great book

  48. Oh gosh, my story is totally the same. My mom didn’t have to be frugal when I was growing up, but she couldn’t help herself; it’s in her blood. I love to eat and cook and spent way too much money on food until our financial situation changed, and I had to pull out all that early training. From repurposing leftovers to making whatever’s on sale build the menu, I had all the tools too, and thank heavens, because boy have I used them!

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