a balanced plate with room for dessert

SNAP Challenge: Day 1

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Today’s prompt from Feeding America: “What have you cut out of your routine to stay on budget (e.g. COFFEE)?”

On paper, I thought that little had changed in our routine. After a half day, I knew things were different.

I didn’t have snacks to munch on when I got hungry or a little bored. I’m used to being able to whip up a batch of kettle corn if I craved something crunchy. This week, I can’t do that.  Mike’s used to having his morning (and afternoon and evening) coffee. This week, he gave it up and got tea instead since it’s a lot cheaper. My lactose intolerance was already hard for me to deal with since it’s so new. This week, I couldn’t fit almond milk or lactose-free cheese into the budget.

Our first day of the SNAP Challenge was already… well, a challenge. We did all our grocery shopping on Friday and planned to start the SNAP Challenge on Saturday. I didn’t sleep well that night. I had dreams about not having enough food for the week.

Breakfast for me was some oatmeal with a sprinkle of brown sugar and raisins and Mike had some whole wheat toast with peanut butter. We both had some tea and water with our meal.

Mike’s dad came in to town to visit and we went off to the farmer’s market with him. I always love going to the market, but this visit was a little less enjoyable – I couldn’t buy any of the fruits or veggies that looked good. I couldn’t give in to the freshly-baked breads. I instantly regretted spending all my money already, but I knew it was a smart move – buying food from the farmer’s market is way more expensive than buying it at Aldi.

By the time Mike and I got home, we were hungry. We didn’t have anything to snack on,  so Mike drank tea while I threw together lunch (and dinner) as quickly as possible.

I had decided that chili would be a great meal to make during this week. I stretched the turkey by adding in lots of beans and I used simple ingredients to cut down on cost. I’m used to eating “chili seven ways” aka chili with elbow mac, cheese, olives, onions, sour cream, hot sauce, and Fritos. I obviously couldn’t afford to buy Fritos and olives to use as a garnish for one meal , so those were nixed. My main attraction to this chili was that I knew it would reheat wonderfully for lunch during the week (if it lasts that long…)

The chili was hearty and delicious. We ate it with elbow mac for lunch and then had it over a baked potato for dinner to switch it up a little.

Three Bean Turkey Chili |

Three Bean Turkey Chili

1 pound turkey
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 ounce can black beans, drained
15 ounce can kidney beans, drained
30 ounce can pinto beans, drained
2 quarts tomatoes, diced
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprkia
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni

garnishes – 
light sour cream
2 green onions, thinly sliced
extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Heat a large non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Place turkey in pot and cook until browned. Drain off excess fat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until onions are tender.
  2. Pour in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer chili for 30 minutes.
  3. While chili is cooking, cook elbow macaroni according to package directions.
  4. Place a serving of macaroni in a bowl and top with a scoop of chili,. Garnish with sour cream, green onions, and cheddar cheese.

Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

One thought on “SNAP Challenge: Day 1

  1. Pingback: SNAP Challenge: Day 5 |

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