Seven for Forty

7×4 for $40 = simple wholesome food.

$35 of groceries

I am not very good at math and I do walk around with a calculator to do the most simple of calculations.
But this math I like. I like measuring cups of grains and paying less than a dollar for them!
And that’s how I start shopping at the Honest Weight Food Co-op for the class I taught at the Arts Center of the Capital Region this week.  We set  a challenge for the class to show students how to prepare seven meals for a family of 4 for $40, and using meat.
7 for 40a7 for 40b

7 for 40c
I started by getting the local meat at Tarbox Farm on Route 7, $5 per pound, which we used to make 2 meals.  Next step I got the grains and legumes, eggs and cheese. I finished by getting veggies and spices with all the money I had left and asked if the store had some cull items. I scored some green onions, a handful of basil leaves and some marjoram and two lemons that were all I needed to make a delicious “Quibe” happen.

I have taught a similar class before so this is what we did:
The plan, also my shopping list
Monday: Rice and Beans: Oven Brown Rice, Pressure cooked Red Beans and turmeric cabbage
Tuesday: Stir fry Tuesday: sprouted lentils (tutorial), garlic,  onion, ginger, carrot over leftover rice
Wednesday: Pick a new grain! Stovetop Buckwheat, Japonese inspired beef and sprout burgers
Thursday: Soup: Tagine
Friday: Eggs: Eggs in Purgatory  eggs over millet
Saturday: Baked dish: Kibe (quibe)
Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner: Oat Banana Blender Pancakes with cinnamon

Monday: Oven Brown Rice, Red Beans and turmeric Cabbage (or Salpicão–see recipe in the end)
For the rice: Mix 2 cups of brown rice, 1 cup of lentils, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp thyme, one splash of oil and bake 375F on an oven safe dish with a lead for 55 minutes. It makes about 10 cups

For the beans: Wash the beans, removing any stones or broken beans and drain. In a pressure cooker heat the water and place the washed beans and the bay leaves. and Close the pan and cook the beans for 20 minutes. (Follow instructions about attaching the lid, reducing steam pressure, and opening the pot when cooking is completed). As the pressure is removed, saute the chopped onion and garlic in oil, almost golden. Pour cooked beans and cook smashing a bit to thicken the sauce. If necessary, add more boiling water.If you want the refried beans, do not add water right way, add beans to fat and keep smashing them and stirring. You can use a wooden spoon or other mashing utensil, a little bit at a time while they fry in the hot pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water water in the end if desired.


Tuesday: Stir Fry with Sprouted Lentils over leftover rice
Stir fry: 1/4 onion, 1/2 cup lentil sprouts, 1 small head broccoli, 2 carrots, sliced, 1 cup cabbage julienne, salt, pepper. Add ginger, garlic, and soy sauce to taste in the end. For the sprouts, see the tutorial here.


Wednesday: Buckwheat with beef and sprout Japanese inspired patties
To prepare buckwheat keep ratio 2 cups water to 1 cup of grain. Bring liquid to a rolling boil. Turn water off, add grain, stir, cover the pot and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Open the pot and buckwheat is ready and not mushy.
For the Japonese inspired patties, mix 1/2 pound of ground beef with lentil srpount, chopped onions,

Recipe: Japanese style hamburger (Hambaagu or hambaagaa) adapted from
my version made 7 medium hamburgers
8 oz. ground beef
2 large handfuls of lentil sprouts
1/2 medium onion
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup oats
1 egg
Oil for cooking

Chop the onion very finely. Sauté the onion in a little oil until translucent. Let cool.
Combine the meat, cooled cooked onions, egg, salt, ground pepper. Combine using your hands until it comes together as a patty. Add more oats if too wet.
Divide into 7-8 portions. Form into patties. The recipe said to “Indent the middle with your thumb – this makes sure the middle gets cooked evenly.” First time doing that.
Cook the patties on high heat until brown on both sides. Turn heat to low, cover and steam-cook the patties for about 10 minutes  “until the middle bounces back if you press down on it. Take out and keep warm.”

We did not do this for the class but here the recipe for the sauce:1/2 cup dry red wine, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1/3 cup Japanese tonkatsu sauce such as Bulldog brand
Pour out any excess oil from the pan and turn the heat up to high again. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan with it (scrape off the brown bits and blend). Add the ketchup and the Bulldog sauce and blend. Pour over the hamburgers.

tagine spices

Thursday: Tagine
I use spices to create delicious meals on a budget! I am never tired of eating bean and vegetables. One can get a whole new dish by cutting vegetables in different shapes and sizes and adding new spice combos. If you are not sure you will like it, start by using small amounts of each spice. For this dish you may have heard you can add a mix called Ras el Hanout, which sometimes contains dozens of spices. Here my take this hearty stew.

Serve Tagine alone or over couscous, with yogurt.

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups of winter squash, if available
4 medium potatoes, I like to keep them whole for this dish, but you could cut them
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
10 prunes, cut in half (or 1/2 cup raisins)
2 teaspoon of each: turmeric, cumin, paprika (I like smoked)
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
salt and hot chillies to taste
Water or broth to cover the vegetables about 2 cups depending on the pot you use.
I added celery because I had some, but you can omit or try other root vegetables as well.

This is a great recipe for the crockpot.
Soak your chickpeas overnight. In the morning, rinse them, add to the crockpot with all other ingredients. Add broth or water to cover the ingredients and let it cook on low for 8 hours.

I also cook my chickpeas on the pressure cooker for 15 minutes.

I do not have a tagine pot, so I use a dutch oven. But any pot with a lid will work. Add oil to the pot and sautee the onion. I add all the veggies and cook them for about 5 minutes until soft but firm, stirring often. Then add the cooked chickpeas, spices, water, cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked 25-30 minutes. The house always smells incredible and the leftovers are even better!
Bom Apetite!


Friday: Eggs in Purgatory “Ovos no Purgatório”
or the eggs, heat up some oil, onions and garlic. Add tomato sauce to the pan. Next lower the eggs in enough sauce to leave the egg yolks uncovered. Cook covered for 3 minutes.


Saturday: Kibe, Quibe, (kibbeh)
1/2 lb good-quality, lean ground-beef or lamb
1 cup bulgur wheat, dry (trigo para quibe), soaked in cold water
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup greeen onions, chopped
1/2 cup mint, finely chopped, we had marjoram from cull
1/2 cup basil, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
sat and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil
stuffing: cheese, tomatoes

Pour the bulgur wheat into a large bowl, with water to cover by 1 inch and let stand at room temperature until all the water is absorbed. Drain excess water. Use for the Kibe or the same process to make taboulleh salad, by omitting the meat, adding lemon juice and eating raw, not baked.

In a blender or food processor or using pestle and mortar combine the chopped onion, the garlic, the mint and basil,  olive oil and a bit of lemon juice if necessary to make a paste. Add this green sauce to the bulgur and you can let marinate in the fridge overnight to make in advance. Add the meat, salt and pepper to taste and mix using your hands.

Oil an oven safe glass or ceramic dish, add half of the bulgur mixture pressing oil, drizzle with olive oil, add cheese, caramelized onion, tomatoes slices, etc then add the rest of the mixture, pressing and smoothing it out. “Using a sharp knife, cut the meat into attractive serving shapes (traditionally baked kibbeh is cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts). Drizzle the top surface generously with additional olive oil.”

Bake for a 350 oven for 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges and if you wish, tahini or tzatziki sauce.


Sunday: Blender Oats Pancakes
Add to the blender cup:
 2 cup old fashioned oats
 4 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
 1 cup milk or yogurt 
1 banana
 add 2 egg and re-blend
 Pour the batter onto the griddle or cast iron pan on medium heat. Cook on both sides and serve hot.
To use up extra ingredients
Salpicão, Brazilian Salad
Serves 6
2 cups cooked chicken breast,  cooked with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, cooled and shredded (ham can be used as well) also meats can be omitted.
1 cup of grated carrots
1 cup raw or cooked corn kernels, cooled
1 cup sprouted lentil, or cooked and cooled (see how-to bellow)
2 cups cabbage, finally chopped
2 small green apples shredded (optional)
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream crispy fried potatoes to serve (shortcut: package of shoestring potato chips) salt and pepper to taste, paprika and boiled eggs to decorate
Serve cold

Bonus: free cull

free cull

My goal is to encourage people to cook and eat nutrition foods, in season. I am not a nutritionist, but I am always looking for information that helps me make the right decisions for my family and my community when I am cooking for and with others.
We can find lots of resources online. Nutrition through the seasons is a nice way to keep our diets varied while eating the freshest produce. Check out this list:

But how to start? Maybe a nutrition plan calculator can help understanding how our plate should look.
It gave me a handy pdf that I can print and along with my season list, I can start shopping. One can adjust portions and add new vegetable combinations.

Hope you will enjoy.


3 thoughts on “Seven for Forty

  1. Pingback: Story Cooking
  2. Julie @ WolfItDown says:

    So many goodies here! Planning ahead is key to save money and time. I often find that if I don’t get my regular Sunday “week” shopping done, I end up spending up to twice as much money, simply by popping by the shop for an item or two that I need, and coming back with a bag’s worth! I love how you have different themes for the days as well, all the dishes look absolutely delicious! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s