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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Slow Food’s $5 Dinner Challenge

The Challenge
On Saturday, September 17th,  I participated in the Slow Food Dinner Challenge. The challenge to cook a dinner for under $5 per person. Slow Food is  the opposite of fast food, it s healthy, local and delicious. It is food that is good for you, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet
Why? Because  I believe that Real Food should be easy and accessible. Real and slow food are normal around here, and to be honest. Why $5 a person? Slow Food USA decided upon that amount because that is the average price of a fast food meal. Now to be honest $5 a person for a meal at my house means a budget of $25 for an at home meal. This is beyond doable.
Now to be brutally honest, we had gone away earlier this week, and  I had forgotten to plan a meal. So  when  I got home  I got creative and went shopping in the pantry and freezer.  I know that fresh is always best but sometimes life gets busy. But it is possible to enjoy a Slow Foods Dinner when you can’t get to the Farmer’s Market.
So what did  I make and how did it go?
Sweet and Black Soup 
Super Easy to make.  I was happy to find some of my Crockpot Broth in my freezer. When you have good home made broth you can make anything taste good. But  I dug deeper n my freezer and found some corn that was left over corn from earlier this summer.  I looked in the fridge and found some great homemade salsa made by a friend of ours. I simply combined the little bit of salsa with my crockpot broth the leftover corn, and added a sweet potato.
  • Overnight Crockpot Broth
  • 1 cup of sweet corn cooked cut from the cob
  • 1 sweet potato cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of black beans (pre cooked)
  • 1 cup of Salsa
combine all the ingredients in the crockpot and season to taste with
  • adobo seasoning
  • cumin
  • paprika
Cook until all the ingredients are heated through. Now I would like to say if I had planned ahead I might have added some grass-fed ground beef to this recipe or some precooked chicken(leftover).  But this was pretty tasty as it was. I would have also have liked to have had some cilantro, but unfortunately my garden burned up n our 100 degree summer.
I served my Black and Sweet Soup with some Black Bean Quesadilla’s on corn tortillas. 

Another easy basic at my house.
  • Corn Tortillas ( I am lucky to be able to buy locally made ones here)
  • Cooked Black Beans
  • Leftover Salsa
  • Any end bits of cheese blocks, it is fine to mix them while you are grating them.
My oldest was craving a sweet dessert for tonight. We don’t do desserts during the week, but the weekend seems to be a different story. So  made some decadent caramel apples. The best part about this dish is that I used some apples that were getting a little old and wrinkly.

Dessert – Apples with Caramel Sauce

All you need for this recipe is a little bit of butter and brown sugar and your apples. Again if  I had gone out shopping specifically to make this recipe   I probably would have used a tart apple like Paula Red or McIntosh. But I used what s on hand.

Now to break down the cost.
Soup -
  • Crockpot Broth -----------------free(this basically made from the carcass you would normally throw away)
  • Left over corn -------------------.33 ( I figured this based on a price of 3 ears of corn for $1)
  • Black Beans -------------------$1.29 (  used Organic Canned Black Beans)
  • Sweet Potato-----------------   .50  (good faith estimate as I buy these by the pound )
  • Salsa ---------------------------- free (this was a gift to us)
Total Cost for the soup was $2.12 (and we have plenty left over)
Black Bean Quesadillas
  • Corn Tortillas --------------------------------------------------------$1.30
  • Black beans- seasoned by me and pureed with hand mixer---$1.29
  • Salsa -------------------------------------------------------------------Free 
  • Cheese (bits of left over)-------------------------------------------$1.29
The Quesadillas were a bit price at $ 3.88
Apples with Caramel Sauce
  • Butter – 1 stick -----------------------------------------------------.49
  • Brown Sugar 1 cup ------------------------------------------------.39
  • 4 Apples sliced thinly(about 1 lb. in season apples --------- 1.29
Total price for Apples with Caramel Sauce $2.17
Total Cost for Three Courses for a family of 5
  • Soup                              $2.12
  • Quesadillas                       3.88
  • Apples w/Caramel Sauce   2.17
Total Cost  $8.17 for the entire family or $1.63 per person 

Since I was not able to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday due to travel,  I had to make do with what I had on hand. But sometimes  am at my most creative under pressure. I am lucky in that  I do stock my pantry with staples and source them as locally as  I can year round. Eating in season is important to me too. Apples always taste their best in fall, and peaches just are not the same here in Oklahoma because I don’t get that super sweet huge Georgia peach.
I would say that this dinner came in much under budget at $8.17 or $1. 63/per person.  But the true savings in eating slow food today was that I was able to source everything  I needed at home. Cooking the Slow Food way does not need to to be time consuming or costly. I challenge you to give it a try.


Michelle said...

found you through super stalker sunday. im alreaday a gfc follower but would love a follow back on my blog

Good Girl Gone Green said...

Love this idea, Lisa! I am so goingnto take the challenge!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

You are so welcome. I so wish I could have gone to the farmers market I could have made a spectacular meal for $25 but that was not in our plans this week.

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