Spinach Salad – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on June 15, 2009

I do believe I have DIED AND GONE TO SALAD HEAVEN!  Seriously, it’s divine!

When I first saw this recipe last week, I wanted to reach through my computer screen for a taste!  PW is the most amazing food photographer and I love the way she photographs her recipes.

The made a few small modifications to her recipe, like using spinach from the garden, omitting the mushrooms (I’m not the biggest mushroom fan!) and adding pepper to my bacon, instead of buying the more expensive and already peppered bacon that she recommends.

Adding pepper to the bacon

Cooling hard boiled eggs in water instead of with ice (as PW suggests)…we have no ice maker in our freezer! Cold water does the trick too!

NOTE: I got the bacon on sale for $2.50 and will use it in this meal, the spinach bacon frittata on Thursday and the Crockpot Beans this weekend.  I also got a humongous red onion on sale for $.58 and will use half for this meal, and the other half in tomorrow night’s BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Here is the cost breakdown of her original recipe, plus what else we had for dinner!

Pioneer Woman’s Spinach Salad

3 eggs ($.30)
7 slices thick cut, peppered bacon ($.83)
1 small red onion (or 1/2 large onion) ($.29)
1 package white button mushrooms (about 12 mushrooms)  (omitted)
8 ounces baby spinach, washed, dried, and large stems removed (free from the garden)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar ($.15)
2 teaspoons sugar  ($.04)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard ($.05)
Dash of salt

Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs.
Fry bacon until crispy/chewy. Remove to a paper towel. Remove 3 tablespoons grease and set aside. Add 2 add’l tablespoons of grease to a separate skillet over medium heat.
Slice red onions very thinly, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Slice mushrooms and add them to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Chop bacon.
Peel and slice eggs.
Make hot bacon dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, sugar, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.
Add spinach to a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, and bacon on top. Pour hot dressing over the top; toss to combine.
Arrange eggs over the top and serve.


Total for the salad: $1.66  (Yeah for gardening!!!)

We also had 2 cups of frozen corn (on sale for $.68/bag this week!!!), leftover meatloaf ($1.50) to round out the meal.  I didn’t think the boys would go for the salad…they had a taste and moved on to the rest of their meal.  They each had a hard-boiled egg as well the corn and meatloaf and a watermelon juice popsicle ($.25) for dessert.

Total Cost $4.09 (Not for him!  He’s priceless!)

Be sure to head on over to check out the PW’s full photo tutorial here.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie June 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

This looks delicious! I need to peruse PW’s recipes for gluten free goodies soon. I love an inexpensive meal. How much $$ do I get to alot for a family of 6? LOL!
Jessie at Blog Schmog


Jessie June 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Well, I haven’t participated here before I hope I did it right… :) Thanks
Jessie at Blog Schmog (Potato soup for a Party)


Frugal Girls! June 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm
Melissa June 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Here’s a recipe you can make for 4 for $4 if you can find the ingredients on sale. It is one of our favorite recipes! (Barbecued Smoked Sausage & Lima Beans with Brown Rice.)



susieshomemade June 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

So yummy!!


Lauren June 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm

That looks so yummy and light for summertime!


Kristen June 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Here is a frugal dessert that costs about $1.25 for a family of 7 and everyone gets to choose their own flavor and make it themselves!


Marianne June 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm


This makes me think of Easter dinner – I make this salad every year and wait until the last possible second to pour the warm mustard dressing over the greens.

Sooooo good.

Love the melon pops – that’s such a great idea if I could get everyone to stop eating the melon!!

Best to you.


Sharyn June 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm

We joined the challenge this week! BF Mark and I made Upside Down Deep Dish Veggie Pizza….yummy! Actually, he’s the cook, but I supervised :)


ElizabethG June 15, 2009 at 9:06 pm

The spinach salad looks great. I’m serving up salad as well:

Thai Chicken Salad


Kate @ Stolen Moments June 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I’m not usually a big fan of spinach salads, but wow! That looks delicious!! As does that watermelon popsicle. I’m so making those this week.

Here’s my $5 Dinner – Monterey Chicken Quesadillas


DarcyLee June 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Our Sunday dinner

That spinach salad looks great!


Savings Ninja June 15, 2009 at 10:48 pm

This is my first time participating too. I got a deal on eggplant and spaghetti sauce this week, so made some Eggplant Parmesan: http://savingsninja.blogspot.com/2009/06/eggplant-parmesan.html. I’ve never had it before but I think it was pretty good. I hope you’ll check it out!


FishMama June 15, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Ree always has yummy inspiration, doesn’t she? Here’s my good.cheap.eat for the week: Shredded Beef Tacos – http://www.goodcheapeats.com/2009/06/good-cheap-eat-shredded-beef-tacos.html


Hope :) June 16, 2009 at 8:28 am

Ooooh … this looks great. I can’t wait to give it a try!


Amber June 16, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Chipotle Chicken Pizza – uses Kraft BBq sauce, which I have an abundance of right now ;o)



Melisa June 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Sounds similar to what we’re having tonight, but the eggs on ours will be fried. Found the recipe here –
and thought it sounded yummy. And frugal. And won’t heat up my kitchen much!


Sharyn June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I forgot the recipe for the Upside Down Deep Dish Veggie Pizza
Here it is!


Vicki July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm

I love your website…just made this salad and was skeptical about using the bacon grease instead of olive oil, but girlfriend this is delicious…thanks :)


life's uncertainties July 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

A really “divine” find. I am an advocate of only toxic-free and preservative-free food and this find is a truly “immaculate” one. I loved the way the green leaves were prepared, looks really crunchy.


Marylou April 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

How do I look up frugal butter cream filling and end up here withsalad?


Derek January 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

By far the best salad I have ever ate!!!


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