September is Hunger Action Month! I am joining other food bloggers in a challenge which is meant to bring awareness to the difficulty of feeding a family on a SNAP budget and highlights the organizations that help reduce hunger in our areas.
I was challenged to create a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) that feeds 4 people while spending $5.50 or less (total, not per person). A family of 4 receives roughly $16.60 a day on a SNAP budget which, split evenly, comes to $5.50 per meal. This challenge was so enlightening and incredibly challenging. I wanted to be mindful of a couple of things when I took on this challenge; first I wanted to keep my recipe as nutritious as possible- including vegetables and steering clear of heavily processed items. You can easily buy a box of Mac-n-Cheese for $0.62 and a pack of hot dogs for $3 and stay well under $5.50 but there is NO nutritional value to that! Also, we have two teenagers in our house. Which means, my meal needed to feed 4 but be FILLING.
What I landed on, ultimately, was a sort of soup/goulash. Depending on preference it can be thicker or thinner depending on how much water you choose to add. I chose to use a bag of frozen soup vegetables because it was the best value for a variety of vegetables, and they're already chopped so it's a big time-saver. The bag I used is a store-brand blend of carrots, peas, potatoes, okra, onion, celery, corn, green beans, and lima beans. It's a good source of vitamin A which is an antioxidant that supports a strong immune system and promotes healthy skin and eyes. I included canned tomatoes for the flavor as they were preseasoned, black beans for their fiber, and I used some pre-cooked chopped chicken leftover from a previous meal but, to be honest, I think I could have left it out altogether.
Here is the cost breakdown of my meal:
Store brand low sodium Chicken Broth, 32 oz $1 (on sale)
Store brand Soup Vegetable mix, 16 oz- $1.58
Store brand bow-tie noodles, 16oz- $0.99
Store brand canned no salt added black beans 15oz - $0.78
Store brand canned Italian seasoned diced tomatoes 14.5oz- $0.35
1lb chicken (leftover from a whole chicken that was cooked for the night before) $1
Total Recipe Cost- $5.70
I boiled the noodles until al dente then added everything in a separate soup pot and simmered until thoroughly heated through. My husband added hot sauce to his bowl while I ate mine as-is. I do think a little Parmesean cheese would have been a nice touch on top.This recipe made a TON. We have plenty left over; it would probably would have fed 6 adults! I feel like maybe next time I will only add half the bag of noodles and half the bag of frozen vegetables.
Help set the table for a hunger-free America,
Other ways to help: