Frugal Fridays: Matt’s Recipe Remix

For the last two years I have been serving as an AmeriCorpsmember in Vermont with a youth outreach organization and now at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in North Carolina with Operation Frontline. As AmeriCorps members we learn to live on a limited budget in our year and in my case two years of service. Sometimes as AmeriCorps members we face challenges similar to those of our class participants in creating meals that are both tasty and nutritious on a limited budget. Since coming to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and working with the OFL program, I have had the benefit of having access to the phenomenal recipes that are in the OFL curriculum. I love to cook and do so almost every night, so I decided to utilize these recipes in my daily cooking. Working with the OFL recipes, I learned some great things that have helped me to continue to eat healthy while doing what I love, which is cooking yummy meals and sharing them with my friends. Below is a meal I put together the other night for my monthly “game night” using variations of the OFL recipes. This menu served me and seven of my friends, and cost me under $20 to make this meal for 8; keeping in mind I had the spices and oil already. The weekend is upon us so try this at home and see how easy it is!

Quick Note: You do not have to go out and buy spices for these recipes if you don’t have them, I always use what was in my cabinet until it is done. I am a big fan of Jane’s Krazy Salt.

Homemade “Faux” Hummus/Bean Dip

Inspired by OFL Eating Right, White Bean Dip recipe

Serves 8, Cost $3.50-$4.50

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (or chick peas) - $1.38 for 2 cans
  • 2 cloves of garlic – $.50 for bulb of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil - small store brand $2.99 *
  • ¼ cup of water (I have also replaced this with non-fat skim milk; it creates a creamier dip) - milk $1.09 *
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice - 1 lemon $.51
  • Fresh or dry parsley *
  • Pinch of black pepper *
  • Pinch of all spice *
  • Pinch of chili powder *
  • Dash of Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt ( *

*I already had these ingredients at home.

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve. Top with parsley for looks.

Homemade Whole Wheat Flour Chips

Inspired by: Eating Right, Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips recipe

Serves 8-10, Cost $3.00-$4.00

  • 2 packages of store brand tortillas - $1.69 per package
  • Olive oil or vegetable/olive oil cooking spray*
  • Pinch of salt or Jane’s Krazy Salt*

*I already had these ingredients at home.

Directions: Cut tortillas, very lightly spray or coat with Oil, sprinkle salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until brown and crisp.

Chicken, Spinach, and Bean Pasta

Inspired by: Eating Right, Pasta with Beans and Collard Greens recipe

Serves 8-12, Cost $10.00-$13.50

  • 2 packages of boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders - $3.01 per package (purchase what ever is on sale that week; I got mine buy-one-get-one-free)
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil *
  • 1 package of whole wheat pasta - $1.99
  • 1 package of spinach - 3.49*
  • 1 clove of garlic * (you have already have purchased it for the dip)
  • 2 onions (red, white, or yellow depending on your preference and the price) - $1.29
  • 1 green pepper - $.50
  • 1 fresh tomato or can of diced - $.75 can w/ coupon
  • 1 package of mushrooms – $1.99
  • Fresh or dried basil - Picked from my windowsill herb garden
  • Dash of salt or crazy slat*
  • 1 can of beans (white, northern, pinto, or kidney), drained and rinsed - $1.70 for a can of organic pintos
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice * (you have already have purchased it for the dip)
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper *
  • 1 teaspoon of salt *
  • 1/2 cup of water or white cooking wine *

*I already had these ingredients at home.

Directions: Cook the pasta, cook the chicken, and while chicken is cooking chop and put all veggies, except spinach and mushrooms, in a pan with oil and heat on a medium low. Once chicken is finished cooking, cut it into sizes of your liking and add along with mushrooms and beans to pan with veggies. Add water or cooking wine and bring to a simmer. You’re almost done, now add the spices and basil, mix and let simmer for 1-2 min. Finally, serve over the cooked paste and mix in the uncooked spinach to freshen the taste.

I hope you found this helpful and if you want to learn more about Operation Frontline at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle keep visiting our OFL blog with recipes, videos, class stories, and more.