In my house we like Asian flavors. Pad thai, swimming rama, coconut curry, and teriyaki are frequent visitors on my plate. In the spirit of Hunger Week, I’ll share my curry recipe that only costs $1.30 per serving, including brown rice. For those of you unaware, Hunger Week is all about learning about those with Food Stamps. They receive approximately $7 per day for one person, $12 for two people and so on. I achieved this day on under $5 for one person (I’m leaving my husband out of this though). I do have the advantage of a pantry, but that can slowly be built up by anyone.
Total Cost for Breakfast: $1.25
Now then, I started off my frugal day with a slice of .16 oat bran bread with a .15 slather of pure peanut butter. On the side I had one 1/2 cup of defrosted frozen strawberries (.25 from $1.69 package) in one 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (.31 from $2.50 quart). I drank 1 cup of organic milk for .37 (from a $2.99 half gallon).
Total Cost for Lunch: $1.46
For lunch I had a citrus salad made from a grapefruit (.20, bought on sale for 5/$1), a navel orange (.33), and 1/4 cup organic arugula (.50). I also had 1 pan-fried egg (.20) with a negligible sprinkle of sea salt and some baked potato wedges (.10 for 1/2 pound) with ketchup (.08). I had water with lunch.
Total Cost for Snack: $0.47
For snack I had 1 cup (after popping) air-popped popcorn (.15), with a little olive oil (.32) and sea salt.
Total Cost for Dinner: $1.67
Dinner was a delicious Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry, but I warn you that it is a rather untraditional recipe. It includes 2 cups brown rice (.90), 3 chicken tenders (.90), 2 potatoes (.15), 1 red bell pepper (.69), coconut milk (.99), pineapple chunks (.79), 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste (.08) and broccoli (.70). Total cost of all these ingredients is $5.20, but it makes 4-5 servings. At 4 servings it is $1.30 per serving. This will be lunch or dinner for a few more days. I had 1 cup of organic milk with dinner (.37).
If you would like to make Asian food for cheap, I suggest buying ingredients at an Asian grocer. The yellow curry paste only cost me $2.29 for 14 ounces and the coconut milk was .99 for 14 ounces. The vegetables were not organic, but I picked those up from a discount produce stand. I could have added more meat, but it’s expensive and I don’t always need to eat that much of it. This recipe is very flexible and forgiving, you can find a variant of it here. Keep in mind that to make it more inexpensive I change a few of the ingredients than what is listed in the recipe.
To read more about the Hunger Challenge, visit the United Way Hunger Challenge website. (Hunger Challenge Week was actually 2 weeks ago in Seattle, but shhhhh)
Total Cost for the Day: $4.85
I surprised myself that I spent so little, but I also found a lot of these things on great sales, like the grapefruit being 5/$1 or buying frozen fruit instead of fresh. Planning your meals around produce that is in season is one of the best ways to eat on a $7 per day budget. Incorporating cheap proteins, like eggs and peanut butter, and buying in bulk will also cut costs.
One last tip, learn to cook a few fast and healthy meals that use fresh ingredients (like curry). Then you will be more willing to cook a fresh meal (benefiting your health and budget) than choosing convenience food.
P.S. That weird looking long, dark object in the photo of the curry is a green bean. In the picture it looks a little like something inedible…