Day 3: Here’s where explaining things gets a little confusing. I still had black bean soup and some rice left over Wednesday, so that’s what I had for lunch, along with some cornbread. How does that factor into my serving price? I have no idea…it’s like a 1/2 serving of each, but they also had more servings than I originally thought, so my other servings cost more than they should have….oh hell, who cares. No one said this was an exact science.

Also, my linguine for dinner was supposed to have shrimp in it. But when I got to Trader Joe’s, the frozen shrimp I wanted was $8.50 a bag. Even using half the bag would ruin my per serving price. I stood there, holding the bag of shrimp, putting it back, picking it back up again. Finally I put it back and hurried to the line so I wouldn’t change my mind. Suddenly though, I had to come up with something to go with the pasta, which I feared would be too plain all by itself, and the chicken breasts I had in the freezer would take too long to thaw.

Luckily I had a couple of small beets left from a farmer’s market trip last weekend before my budgeting got started, an apple I’d just bought, and celery. I decided on a little beet, apple, and celery salad with a lemon-yogurt dressing. Plain yogurt is a great staple to have around, since you can use it in place of sour cream, make dressings with it, or just eat it with fruit. Plus, it lasts forever.

In any case, here’s the price breakdown for Wednesday:

Breakfast: Brown Bread = $.23 x 2 servings = $.46
Lunch: Leftover Arroz con Pollo & Black Bean Soup & cornbread = $1.58 + $.74 +$.76 = $3.08
Snack: Grapefruit = $.50
Snack: Peanuts = $.45
Dinner: Linguine with Lemon & Arugula and Beet, apple, and celery salad: $2.82

Total for the day: $7.31 – argh, just over!


Linguine with Lemon & Arugula

1 lb. linguine = $.99
1/2 bag arugula = $1
1 lemon = $.25
1/3 c. olive oil = $.40??
handful parsley = $.17
parmeggiano cheese = n/a
salt & pepper = n/a
2 shallots = $.40
2 cloves garlic = $.05

Total = $3.26 / 4 servings = $.81 / serving

Zest 1 lemon and combine zest with the olive oil. Let it sit while you are prepping everything else. Thinly slice the shallots and mince the garlic. Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil over medium heat, and cook the shallots and garlic until softened. Chop a handful of parsley. Cook the linguine until al dente and drain; return to pot. Add olive oil with lemon zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Mix in parsley, shallots and garlic, and arugula. Toss until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated parmiggiano cheese.

Beet, apple and celery salad with lemon-yogurt dressing

2 small beets: $.62
1/2 fuji apple: $.25
1 large stalk celery: $.20
1/2 lemon: $.13
2 T. plain yogurt = n/a
salt & pepper = n/a

Total = $1.20 / 2 servings = $.60 / serving Total meal cost: $1.30 / serving

Wrap the beets in foil and roast at 400 degrees until easily pierced by a knife. Let cool and the skin should easily slide off. Cut into a small dice and refrigerate. Cut the apple (with skin) and celery into the same size dice as the beet and mix the three together. In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1/2 lemon with 2 T. of plain yogurt. Mix to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the beet mixture, chill, and serve.