For My Food Stamp Challenge Friends
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Hey! I heard you’re having a tough time trying to get food for the week with $31.50, thought I’d send some love and a little recipe to see if this helps.
You can do it, I know you can!
I’m not going to do your whole week for you, you should plan on going to the store more than usual this week. You don’t want to spend all your money at once. I’ll send some other suggestions later, but for now here’s what you can buy for dinner for two nights, with a little left over for later.
1 lb pasta ($0.99)
8 oz mushrooms ($1.99)
1 green pepper ($0.84)
1 onion ($0.75) [est. - I already had an onion, not sure what the going rate is these days]
1 can crushed tomatoes ($1.99)
(Those prices are from Whole Foods, and the tomatoes were organic; you might be able to get things for less where you are.)
If you are allowed to use oils and spices from home, then you will be using olive oil and basil and oregano that you already have.
If you are not allowed to use oils and spices from home, then you should buy tomatoes with Italian spices already in them and either buy some olive oil, if you can get a small bottle for not very much, or buy some bacon. If you’re somewhere with a butcher counter where you can get a quarter pound of bacon, that’s probably going to be cheaper. (At the Whole Foods where I shop, you can get a quarter pound of bacon for $1.50).
Total cost (excluding fat): $6.56
When you’re ready to eat, chop up the onion and heat a saucepan with olive oil (two tablespoons or so), or cook a couple pieces of bacon to get some fat.
Put most of the chopped onion (three-quarters or so) in the pan with the heated fat, along with some oregano and basil. When it’s soft and translucent, add the crushed tomatoes along with some pepper and (if needed) salt — if you used low-sodium tomatoes you’ll have to add salt, otherwise they’re probably plenty salty without adding anything. (You can also add garlic if you have it, and you might want to put in a little bit of sugar depending on how acidic the tomatoes are; I didn’t use any, but you should taste it and see.) Let the sauce come to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer.
Put on some water to boil for cooking the pasta.
Chop the green pepper and slice up half of the mushrooms. Put some fat into a frying pan, then add the remaining quarter of the chopped onion. When that’s soft and translucent, add the green peppers, cook for a minute or two until they’re softened, then add the mushrooms. When that seems about right, soft but not mushy, take it off the heat.
When your water is boiling, add a few ounces of pasta — the amount depends on how big you are, how hungry you are, if you’re trying to lose weight, and/or if you’re trying to ration pasta. I cooked three ounces last night and that was just right for me.
When the pasta is cooked to your liking, put it in a dish with half of the green pepper/mushroom mixture on top, and half a cup of the tomato sauce on top of that.
Mix it all up and eat.
Tomorrow, cook another round of pasta, and heat up the leftover green pepper/mushroom mixture along with half a cup of tomato sauce. Same meal, no muss no fuss. Still yummy.
After you’re done with those two meals, you’ll have maybe a cup and a half of pasta sauce remaining, along with 8+ ounces of pasta and half a pound of mushrooms. You can use those later in the week, or you can save for later. (Don’t worry, I’ll send some more ideas if you’re still stuck.)
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any questions.