Food Stamp Challenge Meal Ideas

chicken breasts .99 a pound

organic. celery $1,
8 pounds oranges for $5,

cheese 2.99 #

Turkey is .79 pound

At random, I looked up Kroger sales fliers and found this one in Clarksburg, West Virginia. I mainly picked the area because I am assuming it’s going to be more expensive. That’s where the above prices come from. I also looked up Kroger in Houston, and found the cheese is there for the same price, chicken leg quarters are only .59 a pound, and I am jealous because almonds are only 3.99 a pound, although that’s still out of range for food stamps.

Organic baby carrots are 2.00 a pound, so I assume the nonorganic ones are less.

What to do with five pounds of oranges? Well, in my large family of fruit fiends, I hide them so they last more than a day. But in a family of two or three- eat them for dessert, eat them with breakfast, have them for a snack, juice them, or slice them thin and put them in the glasses of water you should be drinking liberally, especially if you are not used to just drinking water. Save the peels in the freezer.

Going by what’s on sale, it looks like we have the makings of a basic crockpot chicken adobo– all you absolutely must have for this recipe, in my opinion, is the chicken, and it needn’t be boneless, vinegar, and grated carrots and onions. You can even skip the garlic and soy sauce if you are penny pinching, and we are for our purposes, or use powdered garlic.

Save the skins from the onion and garlic (if you used them)- in fact, keep the onion and garlic skins and bits of vegetables and broth from cooking water in the freezer for soup later, keep this going all winter long, cooking soup whenever your container is full. Save the orange peels in the freezer, too, for a separate purpose.

Meanwhile, cook the crockpot chicken adobo, pull all the meat off the bones (save the bones), serve it over rice, or with extra water in it as a soup. Have an orange for dessert. Freeze leftovers, or have them again the next day for lunch, or use them in a pot pie you make from scratch, or have them in a white sauce over toast, pasta, or over a baked potato (or over sun chokes if you’re going low carb, thought those are harder to find, they are in season. Having leftovers in an omelette might be a better bet).

What to do with the bones? Make the most nourishing soup broth you’ve ever had, of course. The same principles for making this turkey bone broth apply to any bone broth.

Hamburger was about 1.99 on sale at most of the Kroger ads I looked at- potatoes are always cheap, and the cheese is on sale, so I’d probably make this cheeseburger soup (use your home-made broth instead of storebought, or use water and a bouillion cube for the broth). It serves five people- and the food stamp challenge allows you 7.50 for a full meal for 5 people, so this meal (and all of these) comes in far below that. You have enough leftover for some salad vegetables and salad dressings, a bag of flour for future baking, and maybe even another pound of chicken.

Other cheap meals with hamburger meat: homemade hamburger ‘assistant.’=)

Use for the meat in 15 minute chow mein, reserving the fat for stir frying whatever vegetables you have on hand or were on sale this week.

Orange Peel
Why have you been saving orange peels in the freezer? It’s easier to get the zest that way. The zest is the bright orange part of the peel, and it has a lovely, er, zesty, bright orange flavor to salad dressings as well as to breakfast oats, and baked goods. If you do not have a zesting tool, it’s easiest to get at this by using a vegetable peeler to take thin orange strips off the frozen orange peels. Discard the rest. What to do with it?
Add it with a pinch of cinnamon to your slow cooked grain cereal, your soaked oats in the morning (muesli, essentially- just combine uncooked oats, not instant, with milk or yogurt and let it soak until the texture you prefer) or to your home-made granola. Be sure to buy your oats in bulk with a friend, or at least from the bulk section of a natural foods store. Oats in cartons are being sold to you at ridiculously high prices. I also like to add the flavor boost of orange zest to cookie doughs, muffins, and coffee cakes.

Make a meat marinade of 4 tablespoons oil or other fat, a teaspoon worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon grated orange peel, 2 teaspoons of mustard, and a teaspoon rosemary, and just enough liquid to cover the meat- you can use wine, water, broth, and even, actually, a carbonated clear soft drink.

Well, I had more, but I have to run. Picking and choosing carefully from the above will feed a large family more than generously on an average food stamp budget. I’ll link to part II on Monday.

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One Comment

  1. EllaJac
    Posted October 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

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