July Food Stamp Challenge — Day Three, Recipes

by Katy on July 3, 2011 · 10 comments

Today was day three of The July Food Stamp Challenge, and was essentially unremarkable. I worked a shift at the hospital, bringing leftover pasta salad for lunch and helping myself to a couple tiny packets of Peanut M&M’s. (They’re free and as legumes, they’re in the same category as lentils, right?!) I also work tomorrow, and plan a repeat of the pasta salad, as it’s really quite good. (Pasta salad is a great way to use up leftover bits of food!)

My husband made dinner, which was teriyaki chicken with rice and a big green salad made with my Tea Towel Salad Dressing. Which, if you haven’t started making it yet, you need to start, as it’s the best vinaigrette to ever exist. Period.

You may have an arsenal of standard recipes that call for expensive ingredients, which means that you need to figure out some Cheap Eats for the month. And guess what? You’re in luck, as I have written up multiple Cheap Eats recipes through the years. Such as:

These recipes may look like they’re all over the map, but they all can all be concocted using simple inexpensive ingredients and taste delicious. Because seriously, what else is there?

If you have inexpensive, simple recipes to share please share them in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley July 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

Most of my recipes originated in The Tightwad Gazette. I’m a major fan of her “Universal” recipes that allow you to use what you have on hand, rather than rush out to buy specific ingredients.

As a result of what I learned from that, I tend to read a recipe for a general idea and then substitute pretty freely, like for like: if you don’t have chopped celery, use chopped green pepper, for example. A good number of dishes that call for prawns will work fine with chopped chicken. If I don’t have nutmeg, I’ll put in cloves or cinnamon.

Of course, baking involves Chemistry, which doesn’t tolerate as many substitutions, but there are still universal recipes for bread and muffins; it’s about keeping the proportions right.

I think ‘experimenting’ is what keeps cooking fun and interesting!


Ellie July 3, 2011 at 11:53 am

My suggestion for cheap eats is not so much a recipe as a concept, common in various cuisines, just with different details: beans & greens.

My Italian family makes a version using white canola beans, broth, garlic, onion, pasta (leftover works great), and escarole. But the same basic concept (beans + starch + broth + greens + seasoning = cheap quick tasy meal) is widespread and can be made with whatever combo of bean/starch/green/seasoning you have on hand. You can even use water instead of broth, or just thow in a bullion cube. Use vegetarian broth, and the meal is vegan. (The Italian version also works with tomato, fresh or canned, or by just throwing in a little leftover tomato sauce.)

As soon as the weather gets cold, I make a virtual vat of the Italian version and freeze it in individual portions to eat as a quick meal whenever. (It’s especially good with a little grated cheese, if you have it.) But there is no reason you can’t eat some variation of beans-and-greens in July, using whatever variations on the theme you have handy (or can get cheap).


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending July 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm

First of all, Katy’s black bean burgers are delicious, and so convenient to have in the freezer for meals. They’ve become a staple at our house, especially when we’re doing the Food Stamp Challenge or trying to eat from the pantry.

Many of our staples are use inexpensive ingredients. Here are a few simple recipes:
Crockpot chicken tacos: http://www.slim-shoppin.com/crock-pot-chicken-tacosgetting-back-to-basics/
Puttanesca sauce: http://angelabarton.com/2010/06/meatless-monday-recipes-puttanesca-sauce/
Broccoli/potato soup: http://angelabarton.com/2010/05/meatless-monday-broccolipotato-soup/
Guadalajaran Swiss Chard Quesadillas: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/10066?section=
Mjederah lentils: http://angelabarton.com/2009/03/pantry-dinners-mjederah-lentils/
Hunter chicken: http://angelabarton.com/2009/04/one-pot-dinners-hunter-chicken/

My husband makes pizza from scratch on friday nights and adds any kind of cheese and mushrooms. It only costs a few dollars to make, and it’s delicious.

Thanks for all the recipes, Katy! I needed the reminder to make up a batch of freezer burritos.


Kris July 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Have read your blog for years – love it! A question on the 1 hour bread – can it be made with all whole-grain flour? I try not to eat white flour but would love to have another quickbread in my repertoire!


Marie July 4, 2011 at 4:29 am
Kathryn July 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I won’t be officially participating in the challenge, but the average SNAP allotment matches my family’s monthly food budget exactly. I just have to say that we are also big pasta-salad fans. Eating almost no meat has been a primary budget-saver for us, so we usually make our pasta salads with black or kidney beans as the protein; then we pick a theme and add ingredients and seasonings to fit. E.g., a Mexican theme= corn, red/green bell pepper, cilantro, and a lime-base vinaigrette. Also, I’ve been trying to eat less wheat lately, and I’ve found that substituting rice for the pasta works pretty well. Whatever the starch, we really like whole grains because they have a nutty taste that adds to the flavor of the dish and can stand up to all those added ingredients.


Jessica July 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I love the recipe ideas (in both the post and the comments!) but I do have a question that maybe you can answer. Many of your recipes include cooking beans in the slow cooker. I may be dense but I am not sure how you do this. Do you soak the dry beans overnight and then cook? Do you cook from dry? I very much want to start cooking slow cooker beans. We are currently in the middle of a whole house addition/renovation that includes the kitchen. We cannot afford to move out so I am stuck in a construction zone. Maybe you could do a post on using your slow cooker??


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary July 5, 2011 at 5:54 am

Yippee for Katy’s Tea Towel Dressing. I made a batch yesterday to bring (along with salad) to a friend’s 4th of July potluck barbeque. It was a huge hit! I love that stuff. 🙂


Diane July 5, 2011 at 7:45 am

Help! I just checked out your tea towel salad dressing recipe. What is oil rice vinegar?


Mary July 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

One of my favs: Fiesta Black Bean Chili – it’s vegetarian (unless you toss in some meat) and can be adjusted to suit what you have – my favorite combo is:
Black Beans (I use canned, but if you know your way around dried, go for it),
Tomatoes (fresh, canned, or even sauce or paste),
Red, yellow, or orange Bell Pepper,
Some kind of hotter chili – Jalapeno floats my boat,
Chipotle with a bit of the sauce in which it’s canned,
Corn (frozen, stripped of the cob, or canned),
Lime (Juice it, get as much flesh out as possible, then toss the carcass in the pot),
Cumin, Chili Powder, Cilantro and Garlic.

Use proportions that taste good to you, and top it with plain yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche. Of course, the homemade plain yogurt is the frugal choice, and tastes GREAT! I’ve been known to toss other vegetables in there, depending on what needs to go. This is my go-to when the guy at the farmers’ market has limes! Most everything else is in the pantry or freezer…


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