Have you ever cooked on a budget? I don’t mean picking between name brand or store brand or using a coupon – I mean having only a few dollars for food and needing to stretch it. For millions of Americans, food insecurity is an everyday reality.
As a food blogger, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of fancy ingredients and latest trends. It’s easy to forget that the plentiful food and well-stocked pantry we have is privilege – but it’s one I really don’t want to take for granted.
September is Hunger Action Month – a time to bring attention to food insecurity. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure in 2017. That’s 40 million people – more than 12 million of which are children – with a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
To help raise awareness of food insecurity, I challenge my fellow bloggers to make a meal with a budget of just $5.50 – the average amount a family of four would have for a meal on a SNAP budget. We’re sharing these recipes today to show you how far these dollars go – or don’t go – and to encourage you to donate to organizations addressing hunger issues. Feeding America and local food banks are the boots on the ground helping feed your neighbors daily.
Hunger Action Month Recipes
- Kielbasa and Vegetable Skillet from Kate’s Recipe Box
- Italian Sausage Alfredo Tortellini from Intelligent Domestications
- Budget Beef Vegetable Lo Mein from Palatable Pastime
- Veggie Burrito Bowls from Simple and Savory
- Cheesy Black Bean Frittatas from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Creamy Spinach & Black Bean Flautas from Savory Moments
- Mindful Shopping, Cooking Frugally, and Helping Others from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Feed a Family of Four for One Day in under $16 from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Bean Pasta) from The Baking Fairy
- Sausage Green Bean Alfredo from Cookaholic Wife
- Sheet Pan Crustless Quiche from Frugal & Fit
- Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet with Buttered Rice from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chicken Caesar Pasta from Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
- Stove-Top Chicken Noodle Soup from Blogghetti
- Pepper Jack Quiche with a Potato Crust from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Broccoli Mac Kielbasa Casserole from
A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Hunger Action Month from the Foodette & Family
When I went shopping for this challenge, I knew I wanted to include a protein, vegetable, and starch – and I knew I wasn’t going to have a lot of wiggle room for ingredients. I chose to shop at Aldi because I knew my money would go further.
I circled the store for the cheapest protein option, kielbasa at $2.49, and then headed to the frozen section for veggies. I ended up picking a California mix costing $0.95, but omitted the carrots in the recipe – they were picked out and saved for another meal. Since you can’t buy potatoes per-pound at that store, getting fresh potatoes would have pushed me over budget – so 2 $0.44 cans would have to suffice. A $0.45 can of tomatoes with diced green chilies was my pick to give the dish some flavor and spice. A $0.25 can of tomato sauce rounded out my purchase – to make the dish more saucy – and I clocked in with a grand total of $5.02. Since I was $0.48 under, I added some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder from my own pantry.
Was it the most inspired meal ever? No. Was it hearty enough to keep us full? Yes. Am I incredibly grateful this was just one meal for a blog post and not my daily struggle? Yes – but it also breaks my heart to know there are so many people who fight this fight every day.
As a group, we’re supporting Feeding America’s efforts to end hunger. We are collecting donations for Feeding America here: http://help.feedingamerica.org/goto/FoodBloggers
Will you forgo your morning coffee stop and donate $5 to help feed the needy instead?
Kielbasa and Vegetable Skillet
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 package kielbasa, coin sliced
2-14 oz. cans whole potatoes, rinsed, drained, and sliced
1 package frozen broccoli and cauliflower (or California mix)
14 oz. can tomatoes with diced green chilies
8 oz. can tomato sauce
Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the kielbasa and cook until beginning to brown. Add the potato slices and cook until both the kielbasa and potatoes have browned bits.
Add in the frozen vegetables, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Stir to combine and cover. Cook until everything is heated through.
a Kate’s Recipe Box original