I was pleasantly surprised to find catfish on sale for $2.29/lb. I never see fish this cheap. It was in chunks marketed as "nuggets", though each piece was maybe a quarter of a full fillet, many times bigger than a fast food chicken nugget. There was also a great sale on veggies and bagged salad. I buy when the sales are on. Here's the writeup for a substantial dinner for two, $2.45 and 660 calories for each person:
Entree - $2.92 - 630 calories:
catfish, 1 lb - $2.29, 240 calories
flour, 1/2 cup - $0.08, 100 calories (half gets eaten)
eggs, 2 - @ $1.80/dozen = $0.30, 140 calories
breadcrumbs, 1 cup - $1/can = $0.20, 150 calories (half gets eaten)
paper towels, 2 - $0.03
aluminum foil, 16" - <$0.02
Garlic Bread (or Toast) - $0.61 - 400 calories:
bread, "French", 1/4 loaf - @$2/loaf = $0.50, ~300 calories
butter or olive oil, 1 tbsp - $0.06, 100 calories
garlic powder, 1/2 tsp - <$0.05
Salad - $1.38 - 290 calories:
baby spinach, 2.25 oz - @$1/9oz bag = $0.25, 15 calories
salad mix (mostly iceberg), 3 oz - @$1/12oz bag = $0.25, 15 calories
mushrooms, 2 oz - @$1/6oz = $0.33, 10 calories
walnuts, crushed, 2 tbsp - @$4.50/lb = $0.15, 100 calories
cheese, 1 oz, diced - @$4/lb = $0.25, 90 calories
dressing, 2 tbsp, light - @$3.50/24oz = $0.15 , 60 calories
Stir the two eggs together in a bowl. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a large baking sheet. Optionally spray oil on top. Set the oven to 425 F.
Dry the fish between the paper towels, coat in flour, dip in the egg, then coat in bread crumbs. Place on the aluminum foil with a little space between each. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes. Season with black pepper, thyme, or cayenne as you like.
The fish is a nice treat that should be a more common part of the American diet. It is usually expensive, though. You can use chicken instead, cutting the cost of the meal by at least $1. Just set the oven to 350 F and increase the baking time a few minutes. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F, and juices should be clear.
This salad is something I make very often, but the price is usually higher. Even with sales, this salad for two people usually costs me closer to $2. The difference is in the prices for bagged spinach and salad mix. If you buy your own greens, you may cut your cost a bit, but do more work. Mushrooms are often $3/lb, though they've been $3.50/lb lately.