We all know our pocketbooks are being hit at all sides right now. Where does that leave eating healthy? Am I the only one that feels like good, filling, nutritious food is becoming a luxury item? It’s bad enough there is junk food galore in the grocery store, but it is easy to get derailed when you find some whole-wheat pastas for $2.50 a box for three servings, and down the aisle Ramen noodles (which can average 830-1000 milligrams of sodium, well over a third of the recommended daily intake) for 5 servings for a dollar! I think some “experts” fail to understand that when people are left with a choice of getting a few veggies or getting fast food, it isn’t always because people just like to eat grease. The choice can often be an economic one: which item will keep my family fuller, longer?
Or, my favorite paradox, why on earth is bottled soda cheaper than bottled water! The first ingredient in soda is water, often filtered! Conspiracy I tell, you! But I digress.
So I decided to tackle some home economic and nutritional issues in one fell swoop. Dr. Oz claims that you can have filling, nutritious meals for around a dollar per serving in his “Dollar Diet” and I wanted to take it on because: a) I’m feeling a little broke right now and b) see “a”. 😀
My challenge: Could I make a week’s worth of meals (at least lunch and dinner, I don’t really eat breakfast, but am working on that as I should) with about $25 and some standard stuff I keep at home? (I have an upcoming post on how to stock your kitchen so you are always prepared).Meals that won’t have me gnawing on a pencil 20 minutes later, and are simple to create and share with my beloved BIGGYsmallers. Not all of the items he recommended fit my budget or taste range, or were available at my store, but I did learn a few things.
Here’s how I did with the shopping (I went to my normal grocery store to keep it fair):
Salad (on sale): $2.50
Pita bread 1.99
Crumbled Feta 2.00
Ground Turkey, with Italian Seasonings (on sale) 3.50
Steam-in-a-bag mixed veggies and Rice (sale) 1.00
Parmesan (small block) 2.99
Vanilla Greek Yogurt 3.49
Chicken Tenders (sale) 3.80
Bosc pears(2, at 1.99 per lb.) 1.57
Pretty close, now I have a question and a confession.
Question: Why is beef so expensive right now?! Are cows becoming extinct or something? Just looking at the ground beef was gonna put me over budget.
Confession: Before I made the above discovery about the beef, I was NOT going to get the ground turkey. Aside from the recent recall (make sure to check labels, talk to your butcher/grocer to make sure they checked the meet out) I had a really bad experience cooking with ground turkey once (anyone say salty hamburger helper, in front of someone I was really trying to impress? But I digress) and that was it. Not touching it. However, since ground beef, even the fattier stuff, was coming in at over $4
hundred dollars per pound, I had to try something new! I was actually quite pleased with the turkey. As promised, here is the first recipe, we’ll see how I do throughout the week! (I’m sure the recipe is inspired by something I saw in a magazine, if I can find it I’ll post it.)
Mediterrean-Style Ground Turkey pockets (makes 2)
About 1/2 lbs of Ground Turkey (Italian seasoned, or see modification)
1/2 cup of frozen kale or spinach
1 tsp dried minced onion (or fresh if you have it)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Pinch or two of salt and pepper or to taste
2 small pita pockets
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 roma tomato, sliced (optional)
*Modification: If Italian-sausage inspired ground turkey isn’t available, season ground turkey with an Italian seasoning blend (oregano, sage, salt, garlic, etc) and red pepper flake.
Turn a medium sized pan to medium heat. Add 1 tsp of olive oil, and brown turkey (about 5-6 minutes). Once turkey is almost browned (no pink!), add frozen kale or spinach. Stir frequently and add more oil if needed. As kale or spinach thaws, add dried minced onion, and 1 tablespoon water. Cover to let onions reconstitute, or about two minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir, uncovered, and add feta once kale/spinach is heated through, and any remaining water has evaporated. Turn off heat and cover for about 2 minutes if you want feta to soften.
Fill pita pockets with mixture. Add sliced tomatoes for color if you wish. Serve with salad.