$10 Challenge

02.26.08 – How far can you stretch $10 and feed 4 people?

Shopping List (at Food Town)

$2.50 – 3lb. chicken drumsticks (12) ($0.77/lb.)
$1.44 – 100ct. corn tortillas
$0.88 – 4lb. white long grain rice
$0.40 – 1 green cabbage (2 lb. @ $0.19/lb.)
$0.90 – 3 onions (2.25 lb. @ $0.39/lb.)
$0.25 – 2 oranges (8/$1)
$0.50 – 4 bananas (1.33lb. @ $0.39/lb.)
$1.00 – 3 (14.5oz.) cans black beans (3/$1)
$1.25 – 5 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce (4/$1)
$0.66 – 2 (14.5 oz.) cans corn (3/$1)
$0.34 – 1 (14.5 oz) can green beans (3/$1)

Total – $10.12 (and I would get a 4 pack of toilet paper free with the coupon from the circular! *grins*)

In the pantry:
Chili Powder
Vegetable Oil

Breakfast #1
baked tortilla chips (2 tortillas/person, cut into 8 wedges lay out on baking sheet and bake at 350 until crispy crunchy, can also toss in oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar)

Lunch #1
Taco Salad
Cut 4 tortillas into 1/4″ thin strips. Bake as for tortilla chips. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 can black beans(drain, reserving 2T. liquid, and rinse), reserved bean liquid, 1 can corn (drain), and 1 T. chili powder. Shred 1/2 head of cabbage and split among 4 plates. Top with veggie mixture and tortilla strips.

Dinner #1
Baked Chicken Legs (bake 10, seasoned with salt and pepper, serve 4)
Cabbage and Tomato Sauce (from Extending the Table)
Brown 1 chopped onion in 1 T. oil. Add 3 cans tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 cabbage (cut into small pieces), cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.

Breakfast #2
same as yesterday, sorry. 🙂

Lunch #2
Orange Chicken Rice Pilaf
Pull chicken from 2 drumsticks (save bones) and shred. Cut 2 oranges into bite sized pieces (make sure you remove the seeds). Saute 1 cup of rice in 1T. oil over medium heat until rice is opaque and smells nutty. Add a pinch of salt, chicken, and orange pieces and 1.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes over low heat.

Dinner #2
Chicken Soup with Rice
Boil 2 raw chicken legs, 2 chicken leg bones, and 1 chopped onion in 4 cups of water until tender. Pull chicken legs and bones. Let meat cool, then pull from bones (discard all 4 bones). Return meat to broth, along with 1/2 cup of rice and last of cabbage, shredded. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1 can corn and 1 can green beans, both drained. Simmer until heated through.

Breakfast #3
Yup, you guessed it, same as Breakfast #1

Lunch #3
Cubano Chicken Rice Bowls, using 2 baked chicken legs, rice, 1 can black beans, and 4 bananas (plus a little flour and oil) only (trust me, this is still good without all the toppings!).

Dinner #3
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
Make a sauce by combining 2 cans of tomato sauce with 1-4T. chili powder (depending on how hot you like yours), and pour about 2T. into a small baking dish (8×8″-ish). Without draining, mash 1 can of beans and mix in the chicken pulled from the last two legs. Spoon this mixture into 8 tortillas (12 if you make yours thin), and lay into baking dish. Top with the rest of the sauce and bake about 20 minutes at 350.
Arroz Blanco
Saute 1 chopped onion in 1 T. oil over medium high heat until transparent. Add 1 c. rice, and cook until rice is opaque, about 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 1.75 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 mintues. Turn off heat, but keep covered for 10 minutes more. Serve.

Final Thought No, there is no dairy on this, but there is a good amount of fruit and veggies, fresh and canned. There is some meat. There is no pasta. Yeah, there is a lot of rice, but it is not the focus, and I don’t think it would be considered “filler”. This is not a direction I think anyone should go for very long, but it does give you an idea of what you can do for VERY little. I think a more reasonable budget would be $10 per person, or $10 per day for a family of 4. I will see how far I can make $40 ($10 per person) go next. 🙂

04.09.08 – Another $10 challenge menu. I can’t quite stretch it past 3 days, since I am only “shopping” by circular. It’s $10.74 total, but you’ll forgive me for going a little over, right? This one has more for breakfast than just fried tortilla strips. J

Food Town Shopping List
$0.80 – 4 apples
$0.44 – 1.5 pounds onions (@ $0.29/pound)
$1.47 – chicken leg quarters (3 pounds @ $0.49/pound , about 6 quarters)
$0.33 – 1 can pork and beans
$1.00 – 2 can green beans
$0.50 – 1 can corn
$0.75 – 3 boxes cornbread mix
$0.59 – pkg. hot dogs

Kroger Shopping List
$0.66 – 1 small head cabbage (2 pounds @ 3 pounds/$1)
$0.40 – 4 snack size navel oranges
$0.80 – 4 ears fresh corn
$1.50 – 12 eggs (estimated cost)
$1.50 – 1/2 gallon milk (estimated cost)

Pantry Goods
chili powder, salt and pepper, oil, cinnamon, and sugar

Breakfast #1
4 eggs, served however your family likes their eggs (scrambled with a bit of milk to stretch would be a great way!) plus one half orange each

Lunch #1
Pork and beans from a can (there are 3.5 servings in one can, if you have larger kids than mine, you might need to stretch this with extra beans or a whole nother can), and 4 fresh cornbread muffins (made as box says using 1 egg and 1/3 c. milk) (save the other 4 muffins for other meals)

Dinner #1
Mexican Chicken – Stick 4 leg quarters in crockpot (in the morning) and just cover with water. Cook on low 6-8 hours. When done, pull meat from bones, shred and put away about a cup in a baggie for Dinner #3, and then divide the rest of the chicken in half and put half in a baggie for tomorrow’s lunch, along with the liquid from the crockpot (free homemade chicken broth). The last of the chicken gets fried up in a little oil with slices of onion (1/2 pound of onion), salt, pepper, and chili powder in a skillet. This is then served on top of toasted corn muffin slices (only use 3 muffins). Top with 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded

Breakfast #2
Baked Stuffed Apples – Take the apples and cut off the top, so that you can get at the core and scoop out core. Take last corn muffin, crumble and toss with 1/4 c. sugar and 2 T. cinnamon. Stuff apples with cornbread crumbles, and bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

Lunch #2
Cornbread Chicken Casserole – Take larger portion of shredded chicken from last night and spread in bottom of 8 inch square baking dish. Add 1 can drained green beans and 1/4 pound of onion chopped. Sprinkle with pepper (and salt if your green beans aren’t salty). Mix a box of cornbread mix according to package and pour over top of chicken and green beans. Bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes.

Baked Chicken (2 leg quarters separated into thighs and drumsticks, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly rubbed with oil, lay on a bed of shredded cabbage, and baked at 350F until the juices run clear) and boiled fresh corn on the cob

Breakfast #3
4 eggs, served however, and one half orange each

Lunch #3
Corndog Cassserole – In a large skillet, sauté onions (1/4 pound, chopped fine) and hotdogs (cut into bite sized chunks) in a little oil, about 5 minutes until starting to color. Put in bottom of 8 inch square baking dish. Mix cornbread according to box (with 1 egg and 3/4 c. milk), and pour over hotdog mixture. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Dinner #3
Chicken Soup – sauté 1/2 pound onion in a large soup pot in a little oil. Add reserved chicken, chicken stock, 1/4 cabbage, one can of green beans and one can corn and heat until all is heated through and cabbage is soft

Overall, this is a better menu than the last, but it is spring and more veggies are available for cheap. It also has a little bit more variety in protein source, but using some things (hot dogs) which I prefer not to use, generally. Again, this is good for an emergency, but not an all the time thing.

04.30 Another one, and look ma, no chicken! 🙂 Times are getting rough all over, so I am trying to make sure I have my frugality muscles well stretched just in case I need to take advantage of this sort of planning.

Shopping List (at Food town)

$2.77 – 1 gal. milk
$0.99 – 1 dz. eggs
$0.88 – 2 lb. dried pinto beans
$0.29 – 1 lb. onions
$1.44 – cheese slices
$0.99 – hot dogs
$0.35 – 1/2 lb. tomatoes
$0.33 – 15 oz. can mustard greens
$0.75 – 3 (8.5 oz.) boxes cornbread mix
$0.44 – 12 pk. flour tortillas
$0.10 – jalapeno
$0.33 – 15 oz. can corn
$0.34 – 1/2 lb. bananas (usually 6 medium)

Total – $10 exactly! Woohoo . . . (includes $1 off coupon for the gallon of milk, for spending at least $10. *grins*)

Pantry Goods
Salt, Pepper, Flour, Vegetable Oil

Japanese Rolled Omelet (Tamagoyaki)
Use 4 eggs, no soy sauce (a little salt instead), and a slice of cheese in between the layers (3 total). Bake cornbread according to package. Serve half, save half for dinner.

Lunch #1
Corn Dog Muffins with cheese on top. Cut up 2 bananas for 4 servings

Dinner #1
Beans and Cornbread
Cook up the entire package of pinto beans in a crockpot all day (after soaking overnight, of course). In a saucepan, saute 2 chopped hotdogs in a little oil with 1/4 chopped onion and 1/2 chopped jalapeno. Add 2 cups cooked beans, 1/2 c. water, salt and pepper and heat through. Serve other half of cornbread from breakfast. Save the other 4 cups of beans.

Breakfast #2
Cut tortillas into strips and fry, remove from pan. Saute 2 hot dogs, cut up, in a little oil. Add an egg to the pan and scramble. Add any leftover bits you may have (a spoonful of beans, crumbled cornbread, onions, whatever). Add tortilla strips and mix to combine. Turn off heat, place 3 slices of cheese over top, cover and let sit for a few moments, until cheese has melted.

Lunch #2
Fry and mash 2 cups beans in a little oil. Add salt if necessary. Add 1/2 chopped jalapeno if you like spicy food. Make bean burritos using 1 tortilla, 1 slice cheese, and 1/2 c. refried beans each.

Dinner #2
Vegetable Quiche – Use 1/2 chopped onion, 4 slices of cheese (cut into small squares), and 1/2 # tomatoes instead of green pepper and mushrooms. Cut quiche into 8 wedges, serve 4.

Breakfast #3
Leftover Quiche and bananas

Lunch #3
Octodogs with corn and quick quesadillas (1 tortilla with 1/2 slice cheese, fold over and fry on both sides).

Dinner #3
Good For the Soul Casserole
1/4 chopped onion
15 oz. can mustard greens
2 c. cooked pintos
1 box cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
Saute onion in a little oil, add drained greens and pintos and heat through and pour into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Mix cornbread according to recipe, and drop by spoonfuls over veggies. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through (toothpick test) and starting to brown.

Yeah, almost no fruit this time, but a good amount of veggies. Remember folks, these are for short term I need to make it to the next payday kind of eating. I do not recommend this for anything other than that. But it much better than this:

$10.56 – 12 Banquet frozen dinners

Breakfast #1
4 Banquet dinners

Lunch #1
4 Banquet Dinners

Dinner #1
4 Banquet Dinners


$1.98 – 2 (4 lb.) bags rice
$2.64 – 3 (2 lb.) bags pinto beans
$6.00 – 18 (15 oz.) cans of corn
Total – $10.62

Soak and cook all of the beans before
Breakfast #1
In each of 4 bowls put 1 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup cooked beans, and 1 cup cooked corn.

Lunch #1

Dinner #1

Breakfast #2

Lunch #2

Dinner #2

Breakfast #3

Lunch #3

Dinner #3

Both of which are questionable, nutritionally. Frugality is a tough road.


7 thoughts on “$10 Challenge”

  1. Wow nice. I’d so be okay with the breakfasts being the same. The only problem is the number of chicken dishes. Oh the humanity!

  2. Wow, where do you live? Because I am amazed by your low low low food prices…lower even than the big blow-out sales you can occasionally get an item on, in my neck of the woods. For instance, my jaw dropped when I read $1.44 for 100ct corn tortillas…honestly? It’s more like $2.29 for a 10 pack where I live. And “$0.25 – 2 oranges (8/$1)”?Incredible! I just bought a bag of eight oranges for $3.99 and that was on a HUGE BIG advertised sale!

    But reverse sticker shock aside…this is great fun! And I will try some of these recipes, they look terrific!

  3. Down here in the Houston suburbs, we are in the middle of an economic bubble. We seem to be doing bad right now, as opposed to on the brink of societal collapse like the rest of the country. *grins* Having the Port of Houston nearby really helps keep food prices down, since like it or not (and I don’t) most of our food comes from some other country right now. We also have a huge Hispanic population, which means we have very good availability and prices on Latin ingredients. Have you tried finding ethnic markets in your area? They seem to have the best prices on produce down here (not always the top quality, which is probably why, but certainly good enough).

  4. $.99 – 1 (4 lb.) bags rice
    $1.76 – 2 (2 lb.) bags pinto beans
    $1.44- 100ct. corn tortillas
    $2.00-4lb bag of sugar
    $2.00-1/2 Gallon of Milk
    $1.00-3 (15 oz.) cans of corn
    $1.00-3 (15 oz.) cans of peas

    Soak and cook all of the beans before

    For breakfast
    Rice with butter, sugar and milk put cereal to shame.
    Cook rice just like normal add everything like oatmeal.
    Crisp up Tortilla’s in oven with cinnamon sugar mix.

    Rice and refried bean rollups’s.
    Spread some refried beans on a tortilla sprinkle with rice.
    Salt, pepper and eat!
    You can add 1-2 tsp of corn/peas to add some flavor also.

    Beans- You can cook these by themselves with just spices. Add the corn tortillas to the side.
    Beans, rice and peas
    Beans, rice and corn

    Rinse and repeat for what you have left. You can also use the corn tortillas for breakfast or snacks by tossing with oil and adding herbs or spices.

    I have a family of 6 and have done this before. It’s not much but when you need it, you eat it. We were all so thankful when the hubby got paid again. We didn’t eat rice or beans for at least a month after. =)

  5. WOW… Im just now looking into OAMC because my weekly food budget has topped the $200 mark, (of course theres 7 in my family) But wow… Your real GOOD!

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