Here we are again for another installment of Recession: Party of One.
Tonight, I made Chickpea Spaghetti with Yellow Peppers & Broccoli. A healthy vegetarian delight! Actually, now that I think about it...without the parmesan cheese on top, it's actually vegan! I never thought I'd enjoy vegan food so much!
Today was an especially recession-food-focused day, because I travelled with a band of budget-minded ladies to the Land of Plenty...CostCo! (Who knew there was a CostCo in Bling-Blingin' Lincoln Park?)
I know it may seem weird to go bulk grocery shopping when you're just feeding one person, but as you'll see later in the post, I think it's really going to pay off!
There really is a huge price difference there on many of the items that I use all the time - canned tomatoes, spices, etc. And I was pleasantly surprised at their organic foods selection. In fact, I found a giant container of my favorite organic spice blend for LESS than I paid for the original, much smaller container.
I ended up spending quite a bundle, but I have enough food to last me until I move out of the apartment! I bought a lot of meat, and just portioned everything out into single-serving size Ziploc bags when I got home - I had an amateur meat-processing plant in my kitchen. Behold, my freezer:
I also got a lot of basics - I mentioned the canned tomatoes - like chicken broth, and vegetable soup - things that don't expire and can be used for a lot of meals. I also splurged on a few fresh things (apples and bell peppers), since my Debbie Myers Green Bags (the best product EVER) keep things fresh for an absurdly long time.
Read on to see how to make this simple meal.
CHICKPEA SPAGHETTI WITH YELLOW PEPPERS AND BROCCOLI
1/4 lb. dry Barilla Plus angelhair pasta
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 lb. (approx.) frozen broccoli florets
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can stewed tomatoes
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
1 T. olive oil
parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish
Boil pasta until al dente. Set aside and keep warm, tossing with about a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent sticking/drying out.
In a skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil. Saute the onions and bell peppers over medium heat until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute, until fragrant. Add whole can of tomatoes, with juices. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes, breaking up the larger tomato pieces with a spatula or spoon.
Add chickpeas and cook for about 2 minutes. Add broccoli florets and cook until tender and hot all the way through. Taste, and add additional seasoning if neccessary.
Spoon over a serving of pasta and top with a little grated parmesan if you want. Enjoy!
Now, if the simplicity of this dish doesn't impress you, the pricetag will. Here's the cost breakdown:
CHICKPEAS: 2 servings at 10 cents each = 20 cents
SPAGHETTI: 2 servings at about 25 cents each = 50 cents
TOMATOES: 1 can = 55 cents
YELLOW BELL PEPPER: 1 at $1.08 = $1.08
BROCCOLI: 1 serving at 54 cents = 54 cents
ONION: 1 onion is about a dollar, so I'd say it came out to 25 cents
OTHER PANTRY ITEMS (cost not calculated): salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, 1 T. olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, parmesan cheese
GRAND TOTAL = $3.12
The above ingredients made about 2 and a half servings (of the sauce - the spaghetti got paired with the half-serving, and I packed the rest for my lunch tomorrow, over rice).
So, the TOTAL COST PER SERVING for this yummy dinner was...(drumroll please)...
A dollar twenty-five!!! Can you believe that?!?! I can see the Food Network show now...The Budget Friendly Cook, with your fabulously frugal host Elizabeth Stephens!
MY VOTE ON MY DISH: This came out really nicely. Nothing fancy, but a nice, healthy supper that didn't leave me feeling at all guilty, heavy, or anything else unpleasant. I give it 8 stars.
You know, you really can't put a price on how good it feels to make a delicious meal without taking a hammer to the old piggy bank. Thanks for reading!
Now onto the heaps of laundry I have to do...sigh.