The Department of Agriculture's thrifty food plan for 2008 suggests a budget of $77 a week for two people. But nutrition educator Jodi Balis challenges herself to do it for $60 a week or less.
You won't see pricey packaged or processed food in Balis's pantry. "It is ultimately cheaper to cook from scratch, as opposed to buying convenience foods," Balis says.
Below are a few of the recipes Jodi Balis uses to stay within her food budget and still eat delicious, nutritious meals.
Chicken Breast With Citrus Pan Sauce
4 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin
5 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 425°F. Slide fingertips beneath skin of each chicken breast to loosen.
Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1 teaspoon cumin and salt and pepper; rub seasoning beneath and on top of skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken, skin side down, in pan and cook until skin browns, about 5 minutes; turn chicken over. Place skillet in oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer chicken to plate. Add remaining oil to drippings in skillet; add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, orange peel, lemon peel, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin; boil until reduced to 1 scant cup, about 3 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken; sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
2 TBS butter
**Other extra ingredients you can add from this week's menu (1/2 cup shredded carrots, ½ cup cabbage)
Turn on broiler.
Melt butter in 8-inch oven proof skillet over medium heat.
Add corn, edamame, salt, and rosemary. Saute 2 minutes.
Cook slowly until frittata is set but top is still runny- 7-9 minutes.
Add cheese and put under broiler until browned and top is set- 2-3 minutes. Check frequently so top does not burn.
Remove from oven (pan will be hot!) and cut into four pieces.
Quinoa Quesadillas with Chipotle Roasted Corn and Greens
4 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
1 med sweet potato peeled, cooked, and mashed (1 cup)
¼ cup salsa plus more for dipping
2 tsp adobo sauce (use sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup roasted corn (stick under broiler 5 minutes)
½ cup frozen or fresh spinach chopped (if using frozen, drain all water)
Juice of ½ lime
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1 TBS chopped cilantro (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, etc.)
Oil for cooking