June, Delish’s senior food producer and resident budget food expert, set out to cook an entire week’s worth of meals for herself using a $ 15 box of fresh food from FoodShare in South Carolina with a few pantry staples she salvaged from the Delish Test Kitchen. Watch to see how she fared and check out the rest of her series, Budget eats, on Youtube!
Since the very long debut episode of Budget Eats aired, viewers have requested that we make a week of sustenance with the contents of the pantry. We haven’t done one so far, because I didn’t want to distort the experience of the 37 million Americans who live in food insecurity every day, including 11 million children, a statistic that has stuck in the big picture. part unchanged from when I searched SNAP Advantages (then called food stamps) in high school over ten years ago.
On top of that, the contents of pantry boxes vary greatly from place to place, and there would be no precise way for me to describe an “average” box. But in February of this year, Courtney from FoodShare South Carolina contacted me and I wondered if I could use one of their boxes of $ 15 produce in an episode, explaining that what FoodShare does “and Budget eats holds hand in hand.
Then, in March, Nicole from America without hunger reached out, asking if we could collaborate to raise awareness of the limits of cooking on a SNAP budget.
With two incredible organizations knocking on my virtual door, the Budget Eats Pantry Edition was born.
Access to food and SNAP resources
Before we start my week of wild experimentation with the Ritz, cornflakes and ranch seasoning, I want to say this: Continue as far as the metaphorical eye can see – food insecurity will always be an issue. In this very unfair world that we have created, it gives me joyful hope that programs like FoodShare South Carolina and organizations like HFA exist.
I want to pass on some resources that the nice folks at FoodShare and HFA have given me. The list below includes programs and information that you might find helpful, as well as steps you can take if you want to get involved in supporting change both locally and politically.
Data on SNAP
Rules of the week
- FoodShare’s $ 15 box of produce is intended for a two to three person household, so I made enough to feed at least two people for each meal.
- Unlike the previous one Budget eats, aside from using leftover condiment pouches that I’ve accumulated over the years and a can of very outdated black pepper, I didn’t trust the spices and other goodies already in my pantry.
- Courtney said that at FoodShare they “often come across people who have only one griddle, one burner, mobile homes, no oven.” I ended up using only one burner, my microwave, and no oven or fancy appliances to prepare the meals for this episode.
- Nicole from Hunger Free America also asked me to consider the “time pressures low income people have due to multiple jobs and long hours”.
PLT (“Lettuce” Tomato with Peanut Butter)
Yes, you have had a BLT, but what about a PLT? Considering my undying love for peanut butter and a loaf of challah bread that had been hibernating in the freezer in the Delish test kitchen for two years, it was only natural that we started our week with a PB sandwich. Gifted with juicy summer tomatoes fresh from the farm, I brushed the bread with a packet of mayo (expired, of course) and peanut butter (also expired, of course), topped with sliced potatoes. and green onions and … are you ready for it? … corn silk.
Finely chopped, the silk tasted like fresh microgreens. I really enjoyed it.
Think twice before tossing that crunchy weed goodness the next time you’re making corn on the cob.
Score: 8.3 / 10.
Microwaveable Tamale Cornflake Pie
If you mash cornflakes and Ritz and boil them together into a paste with corn cob broth, then fill this paste with mashed bean powder with cheese and cover the whole with lightly charred corn husks. before you put it in the microwave for 10 minutes you will get this monster. This delicious monster with a strangely fast food taste. While warm and cool, the outside is nicely crunchy, the inside creamy and smooth but still textured, and the entire bite is lightly scented with the flavor of toasted cornmeal.
It’s heavy enough to serve four, at least. Incredibly tasty, the only thing that would have made it even better would have been the cheese. Always more cheese.
3-Ingredient No-Bake Banana Bread
While it didn’t really taste extraordinary, the simplicity of it all was truly breathtaking: crushed cornflakes, mashed bananas, and a touch of jam mixed together and left for three to four hours makes something like a cereal pudding with integrity. It has the texture of banana bread. If you closed your eyes and took a bite, 8 in 10 chances would agree that it was a good piece of banana bread.
If we’re being honest, the craggy surface of our banana “bread” didn’t look very appetizing, which meant that a drizzle of sexy peanut butter and some sliced fresh mango would distract your attention enough to give him a chance to fight. Try it just once before you die, maybe?
Pineapple Anti Spam Bread Pudding
My only mistake here was putting everything in the microwave: the microwave turns bread into a dehydrated piece of wood. Otherwise, I loved it so much, beyond my wildest dreams. If you’re a Hawaiian pizza fan, I bet $ 5 you’ll love this.
Score: 8.5 / 10.
Cabbage rolls filled with pinto beans, peanut butter, black olives, celery, Spam, green onions, absolutely smothered in a canned beef sauce and served with a hint of tomato soup concentrate in preserves. Sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? Well, you are wrong. Very bad. But that doesn’t matter, because the beauty of cabbage rolls is that you can stuff them with whatever you want.
Score: 8.4 / 10.
Banana Ritz Pudding
When you don’t have pudding, you are happy with watery jam and peanut butter. Add lots of sliced bananas and a thin layer of Ritz crackers and a little time in the fridge, you can make the next best thing for a perfect banana pudding: a Ritz banana pudding.
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