Friday, April 20, 2012

The $33 Challenge

          Yesterday I bought one bag of groceries from Whole Foods for $33. In an effort to save money and eat healthy, I’m trying to cook more at home. In order to continue to have material for my blog, I decided to turn this into a challenge and write about it. I do have a backlog of restaurants to write about and I’m not going to stop going out entirely, so the $33 challenge posts will be mixed in with the standard restaurant and wine posts.

         The challenge is to see how many meals I can eat for $33 dollars. I’m allowing myself to use anything from the bag of groceries, anything on hand in my kitchen right now, and I’m counting meals based on the actual number of meals I get out of it rather than the number of unique dishes. For example, if I make a dinner one night and eat the leftovers for lunch two days in a row it will count as three meals.

The $33 bag of groceries included the following:

· One container of chicken broth
· One container of vegetable broth
· One package of precooked grilled chicken strips
· One can of white beans
· One can of lentils
· Three boxes of seasoned couscous
· One container of spicy curry rub
· One jar of balsamic vinegar
· One container of shredded parmesan cheese

Items on hand in my kitchen include:

· Eggs
· Egg whites
· Mushrooms
· Onion
· Frozen spinach
· Dried pasta
· Chicken sausage
· Misc. spices and seasonings (basics plus truffle salt and taco seasoning)
· Milk
· Butter
· Olive Oil
· Frozen turkey meatballs
· Frozen veggie burgers
· Frozen multigrain waffles
· Multi grain English muffins
· Soft corn tortillas
· Frozen polenta

Some possible meals I’ve come up with include:

· Turkey meatball and tortellini soup
· Curried chicken soup
· Curried lentil soup
· White bean, pasta, and vegetable soup
· Curried lentils and couscous
· White bean and parmesan couscous
· Pasta with chicken sausage and veggies
· Truffled pasta with mushrooms and spinach
· Polenta with truffle and parmesan cheese
· Chicken fajitas
· Bean and vegetable fajitas
· Vegetable omelets
· Chicken Sausage omelets

          The plan is to report back regularly on how many meals I’ve eaten with items from the list, and post about the interesting recipes I’ve come up with (if I eat a veggie burger or frozen waffles without doing anything creative I won’t post about it). Has anyone ever tried anything similar? Please comment with recipe ideas or if you want to share a related story!

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