I had the privilege to share some of my ideas on “Comfort Food on a Budget” during the class I taught at the Honest Weight Food Co-op.
The Plan: 7 Dinners for a family of 4 for $40. And yes, I made it! $40.97, but I got more food than I had in the list. Must confess that I did the shopping without a calculator and I did not think I would stay in my budget. I stood watching the numbers at the cashier register and I could not believe my eyes. Most importantly, there was a lot of food in the cart and I was ready and excited to cook.
Monday: Rice, Beans and greens or cabbage
Tuesday: Stir fry Tuesday with sprouted lentils (tutorial) use leftovers rice, onion, ginger, carrot
Wednesday: Pick a new grain! Oven Roasted Millet, with tomatoes, onion and eggplant sauce
Thursday: Soup (red bean (leftover from Monday) tomato, basil or cucumber soup and bread
Friday: Frittata = eggs, garlic, onion, seasonal veggies, spinach salad, etc
Saturday: Pasta & Pesto (use nuts and herbs) seasonal veggies, cheese
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: oatmeal with sautéed apples and cinnamon
The Shopping List:
1 pound of rice to feed 2 times
1 pound of beans to feed 2 times
1 cup of lentils makes 6 cups of sprouted lentils
1 pound millet to feed 2 times
bunch of carrot and carrot top
1 dozen of eggs
2 ears of corn
2 heads of garlic
12 ounces of pasta
1 bunch of parsley or basil
4 ounces of nuts
4 ounces of cheese
12 ounces oatmeal
8 ounces olive oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 inch of ginger
Photo by Mary E. Lofrumento-Hooper
Photo by Jillian Hooper
Oven-Baked Brown Rice:
Preheat oven to 350. Place 1 cup rice, 1 teaspoon salt, in an oven-safe dish with cover. Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and cover. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off and let it sit in the oven for another 30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and allow to stand covered for 5 minutes.
Red Beans: bay leaf, red beans, pressure cooker for 25 minutes– check out some pressure cooker resources from Mother Earth News
1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces 1 small zucchini, chopped into small pieces 1 cup of scallions, chopped 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 8 eggs beaten vigorously
1. Set oven to broil to preheat
2.In an oven safe pan (we used a 12 inch cast iron), add olive oil to coat the pan and cook vegetables and oregano until soft, a couple of minutes.
3. Add beaten eggs to the cooked hot veggies.
4. Place the oven safe pan under broiler in the middle rack of the oven, for about 5 minutes until golden and eggs cooked. Check around 3 minutes as ovens may vary in temperature.
Bring water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook stirring, 15-25 minutes or until starts releasing on the sides of the pan. Can be chilled in the fridge, cut into squares and baked in a 450 oven or grilled
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of millet 4 cups of water or broth 3 cucumbers, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 2 radishes, grated (radishes and turnips should be lightly scraped not peeled) 2 small turnips, grated 1 fennel, grated 1/2 cup lime juice 1/2 cup olive oil 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1. Pan roast the Millet, stirring until golden on a cast iron, dutch oven or heavy button pan.
2. Add bowling water, a drizzle of oil or butter if desired and salt to taste
3. Turn the pot off, cover it, and transfer to pre heated 350F oven for about 30 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the grain is al dente. Let it cool to use for the salad.
4. Transfer millet to large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, adjusting salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Hand Chopped Pesto
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/2 bunch of basil
4 ounces of walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from one lemon
I start by chopping the garlic with some salt, I chop a bit, add some basil and parsley. I add some nuts and then the rest of the basil and parsley. I chop some more adding olive oil and finish with juice of one lemon and adjusting salt. Other options would be to omit the lemon and chop in some cheese. Easy way to use all kinds of herbs. Hand Chopped pesto gives a great texture and it is delicious and fun to make while enjoying the aromatic experience.