Hunger Challenge Week Day 2

January 27, 2010

For yesterday's $7.00 hunger challenge, it was all about purchasing a couple items and re-purposing those items for multiple dishes.  I was talking with someone about the beauty of using leftover spelt and polenta for breakfast, say as a warm cereal or even added on  the side of some fried eggs.  So the day before, I made a pan of polenta  to use for two or three meals this week.

One pound of bulk cornmeal was $1.75. There are 16 ounces in one pound, approximately two cups, therefore, one cup would come to approximately .90 cents.  To make the pan of polenta, (with four servings) I used one cup of polenta and four cups of water and four tablespoons of butter (I'm allotting .25 for the butter).  I spread the mixture into a shallow pan, covered it and refrigerated it for the next day. The next morning I made an over-easy egg with a reheated slice of polenta.  One dozen organic eggs cost approximately $2.50. One egg would come to about .20 cents.  I also bought a 12 ounce drip coffee: $1.75

Total cost for breakfast $ 2.18
$1.75 coffee, .20 cents 1 egg,  .23 cents for 1 square of the .90 cent pan of polenta and butter (This did not include my salt and pepper.)

Next, I packed my lunch with another square of the polenta, .23 cents and 1 cup of a $3.00 26 -ounce  jar tomato sauce, (I used approximately $1.00 of sauce). I heated the polenta with the tomato sauce  in the microwave for lunch.
Total cost for lunch: $1.23
(.23 cents polenta and $1.00 tomato sauce)

With my remaining $3.41, I purchased a $2.00 package of sliced white mushrooms and one yellow onion for .33 cents, to make a frittata  with some of my remaining eggs at home for dinner.  I sauteed the sliced mushrooms and the chopped onion with two tablespoons of butter, (.15 cents). Next  I scrambled three organic eggs, (.60 cents)  in a bowl with salt and pepper and poured the eggs over the mushrooms and onions. I baked this pan in the oven for 10 minutes. While that was cooking, I made myself a cup of tea, (.25 cents) to have with dinner.

Total dinner cost: $3.33, not including salt and pepper.
($2.00 sliced mushrooms, .33 cents onion, .15 cents butter, .60 cents eggs, and .25 cents tea)

Total cost of breakfast, lunch and dinner:

As challenging as it seems, $7.00 for three meals can be done.  It's all about getting creative with the resources that are available. The luxury of picking up a roasted chicken at the grocery store on your way home from work just isn't an option when you have to make your dollar stretch.  When it comes to nutrition, it is eye-opening to know that the price of good food, meaning  fresh and organic fruits and vegetables and quality fish and meat are often out of reach for families looking to simply provide "enough."  When a liter of soda or a fast food cheese burger costs the same price or less than an organic apple or a can of tuna, it's not too hard to see why so many people choose the convenience of instant, hot food over taking the time and effort to plan and cook a meal for the same price.

Above photo: by Kykyru2



United Way of King County Blog » Blog Archive » 's picture

[...] Foodista: Made it through another day just under budget and gave some advice: “As challenging as it seems, $7.00 for three meals can be done.  It’s all about getting creative with the resources that are available. “ [...]

Candy's picture

Good job! I'm interested in following this!

Olga's picture

Hi Candy, check out our blog at We are doing the hunger challenge too. Takes some planning, but no one is hungry so far, including my teenage boy....

Melissa Peterman's picture

Nice work Olga!

I like your potato idea, very inexpensive and filling. That sounds like quite a challenge with a teenager! Best of luck with the rest of your week, I'm looking forward to following along with you!

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[...] Hunger Challenge Week Day 2 [...]