Recently, my friend & fellow lady food blogger, Noelle, challenged our Google group to put that stupid "Walmart lets me feed my family for less than $2!!1!!111!!" commercial to shame. She suggested that we try to feed ourselves and our families for $2 per serving...but using good stuff and not that shit that Walmart slops together and calls "food". Tonight, I took that challenge and made homemade multigrain bread & minestrone soup.
Streamlined (i.e. no knead; use a mixer) Bread (from Betty Crocker's 1960 cookbook)
You simply take 3 c of flour (from Westwind Milling via By the Pound cost $2.19 per pound and I used 1.5 pounds, or $3.28), 2 T shortening (okay you got me here...hadda use Crisco, probably about $.20 worth), 2 T of Pioneer sugar (let's be generous and say $.50 worth), 2 t salt (negligible) & 1 packet of yeast (out of a jar that cost $8.00 and has lasted me forever but I'll be generous and say it was $.75 worth).
You dissolve the yeast into 1 1/4 c warm (not hot) water and then add everything else. Using your dough hook, knead for about 4 minutes on medium speed. Put a towel over the bowl and let it rise in a warm place. The recipe said to let it rise about 45 minutes but I fell asleep and it ended up rising for 1.5 hours. It still turned out great!
Put it into a greased bread pan and let it rise about 40 minutes. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.
I cut it into 8 slices (188 calories per slice, btw). Rounding up, this costs about $.60 per slice.
Minestrone Soup (from Cook's Illustrated)
I didn't follow the recipe exactly, so let me tell you what I did! I took some carrots & kale from my garden (grown from seed so the cost is negligible), an onion (I bought a bunch from the farmers market and I think the whole bunch cost $3.00, so let's say the onion was $.30), green beans and peas from Locavorious (I paid $200 for the subscription and I think I will get about 30 bags of produce, so I guess each bag costs about $6.67 and I used about 1/4 of each bag so I am thinking that would be about $3.00 for both?), 1/2 cabbage from the farmers market ($1.00 for the head; I used $.50 worth), celeriac from my garden (free--a gift from my friend and fellow food blogger, Vivienne), 1 cup cannelloni beans from the Ypsi farmers market (I think the whole bag cost $2.00 and I used about 1/2 at $1.00), the rind of my Parmesan cheese from Morgan and York (the whole shebang cost me like $10, so let's say the rind was $1.00 of it), a quart of my canned tomatoes (about $1.00 worth), 4 cloves of garlic from the farmers market (I got the reject garlic and I think it cost me $.25 a head) salt, pepper, a dash of red pepper flakes, fresh basil and parsley from my basement stash. I used 2 c beef broth (frozen in an ice cube tray) that I made from farmers market beef...no idea on the cost but let's say $.50. I also used about 2 T of olive oil from a jar that cost me $8.00. I would guess I used about $.50 worth?
I boiled my 1 c of beans in 2 Q of water for about 10 minutes and then turned off the heat, covered it and let it sit for a couple of hours.
After the beans had been softened, I sauteed the onions, celeriac, carrots, peas, green beans and kale in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. I then added the garlic, dash of red pepper flakes and chopped up cabbage and sauteed for about 2 minutes. I then set that aside in a pan.
Now, I put the beans, 2 c of beef broth, 8 c of water and a bay leaf (I used a leaf from the Detroit Eastern Market pack that I bought; the whole pack cost $1.00) and the Parmesan rind. I brought the whole batch to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour. I then added the veggies and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. I served it with some Parmesan cheese.
There are at least 8 cups of soup in there, probably much more. Jeff did the math for me and it came out to $1.00. I canz add so I know that $1.00 + $.60 = < $2.00!
Now, to be sure, I had some help in the veggie department, thanks to growing my own and getting the celeriac but I still think that the cost would be fairly cheap, even if I had to buy a carrot and some kale leaves.
So!! Walmart, peeps, you can eat your partially hydrogenated high fructose sodium biocarbonickityickityick heart out!