$5 Meal Challenge Report

As I promised earlier, I would report to you the results of my own $5 challenge (cooking a fresh, local, healthy meal for $5 or less and sharing it with others that was initiated by the Slow Food Movement).  As it turns out, I cooked my own meal and shared it but I also participated in the Katy Trail Slow Food Movement $5 meal challenge fundraiser for Centro Latino.

The meal I made falls into my category of “healthy fast food.”   Just as a reminder “healthy fast food” has the following requirements.  Has to be EASY!

  1. Doesn’t take a lot of time.
  2. Not expensive.
  3. Tasty and delicious.
  4. Good for you (loosely defined on purpose)
  5. When possible, it includes ingredients that can be found locally and are seasonal.

I prepared organic polenta, black beans, and goat cheese and served it with an organic spinach salad topped with tomatoes.  Talk about healthy, quick and easy.  All I did was get the polenta that comes in a roll.  I cut the roll in pieces and sautéed them in olive oil until they were lightly browned.  I placed them on a plate, poured the warmed up black bean soup over it, and topped it with goat cheese.  I love the “black bean soup” by Goya and definitely prefer it over their can of “black beans.”  The black bean soup is much more flavorful and I use them just as I would black beans.  I can usually find it at World Harvest and always ask them to order it if I don’t find it on the shelf.  For the salad, I just bought organic spinach.  Spinach is one of those foods you really want to buy organic.  I had prepared so many tomatoes at the fundraiser the night before, that I was able to take some home to use for my meal the next day.  They had been prepared for the pasta that was served, so they had been lightly sautéed in olive oil with garlic.  I’ve broken down the cost of the meal below.  It is approximate on the tomatoes because I borrowed them, but I’m close enough.

Per person cost:

Organic Basil Garlic Polenta – (Food Merchants) (bought at the locally-owned health food store) –  $1

Black Bean Soup (Goya) – $.45

Fresh Goat Cheese (Goatsbeard Farm) – $1

Organic Spinach and Local Fresh Tomatoe Salad – $1.50

TOTAL = $3.95

This is just one simple suggestion for having a cheap, healthy, fast, locally-produced meal.  Get to your farmers market this weekend and pick up some fresh squash, green beans, sweet potatoes, or anything else that strikes your fancy.  A sweet potato with some black beans and goat cheese makes a meal.  Cut a squash in two and bake it in the oven.  Fill it in the middle with your favorite toppings.  I love brown rice, feta, and raisins inside.  Be creative! Taste the goodness of fresh and easy.

Have a glorious fall weekend!