Frugal recipe series #3: Mojitos

Okay, sometimes you just need a drink, right? Enter our third post in the Frugal Recipe Series!

We try to plan out all our meals ahead of time, which means 99% of the food we eat is cooked at home. Because of this, we are constantly looking for new recipes to try out, but we have some pretty stringent requirements when it comes to what we are willing to make, especially on a weeknight. Besides being delicious, which is a non-negotiable, there are three other necessities for our top recipes. We present, the Frugal Recipe Trifecta:

  1. Healthy – we’re often only willing to cook one “thing”, which means we aren’t usually making vegetable or salad sides. If we can get the vegetables into the actual main dish, that’s a plus. We’re also looking for some lean protein and healthy fats here.
  2. Relatively inexpensive – sometimes we splurge a bit, but we are generally looking to stay under about $4 / serving, often well under.
  3. Easy to make – this is slightly more important to me than Mr. Paradise. If we’ve planned out a complicated recipe for a weeknight and we don’t get home until 7 or 8pm, there’s a chance we (I) might throw our hands up and declare that we are having canned soup instead. Also frugal but not the healthiest choice.

Sometimes we can’t hit all three of these (e.g. we might be willing to sacrifice #1 on occasion for uber delicious recipes, #2 when we have been doing really well with groceries otherwise, or #3 if we have some extra time on a weekend). Today’s recipe definitely meets #2 and #3, and it’s not so bad for #1 if you think of it in terms of “healthy for your soul” (humor me here).

Our third frugal recipe is…Mojitos! This is Mr. Paradise’s favorite summertime drink, and I have been known on occasion to indulge in one myself.

Sure wish I could have Photoshopped some sun into this picture.

Sure wish I could have Photoshopped some sun into this picture.

We usually make it by the pitcher because it makes us feel fancy. We first found the recipe on All Recipes. Here it is, with a few tweaks of our own!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 36 fresh mint leaves (or however many you want, 36 is a lot)
  • 3 limes, quartered (also wash them first)
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 liter club soda (or sparkling water)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, muddle the sugar and the mint leaves together until the mint is broken down.
  2. Add the limes and muddle some more to get the juice out.
  3. Stir in rum.
  4. Stir in club soda (gently) until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour everything into the pitcher (or straight into your glass).

The expensive part of this recipe (besides the rum), is the mint. To defray some of that cost, we decided to take a crack at growing our own at home. We bought five different little herb plants at Lowe’s last weekend. They were $1.99 each. Check this out, we are pretty much expert gardeners now:

IMG_0262

The mint is on the far right. The big one in the middle is rosemary, and we also have thyme, oregano, and sage. We had to bring the pot inside because we were worried about temps going below freezing last night. WTH, isn’t it May?!

I’m really hoping these plants last all summer or longer. Having fresh mint is doubly awesome because it smells and tastes amazing, and it feels like it is free.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost. It’s not even $1 per serving! Enjoy on your patio, balcony, or inside looking out the window while wondering why it is snowing in the middle of May.

IngredientCostNotes
Total$5.82Price per serving = $0.97 (or make it virgin and you save half)
1/2 cup sugar$0.14Target Market Pantry sugar, 4lbs for $2.59. Cheaper if you buy more but we don't use it too often.
36 fresh mint leaves$1.00Cost depends on how often you have to raid your plant!
3 limes$1.50Limes have been expensive lately! This is how much we paid when we bought them on Friday.
1 cup rum$2.84We bought the 1.75 liter Captain Morgan from Costco for $21. I was actually sort of amazed that it came to this much. I guess I never did the math before!
1 liter club soda$0.34Store brand, the two liters are $0.89, by three get one free. We love our sparkling water!

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