Category Archives: $7 Dinner Challenge

The $7 Dinner Challenge Part 3

Okay, here is big entry number three in  Cate and Sarah’s $7 Dinner Challenge.  If you have not heard of the $7 Dinner Challenge, these two amazingly talented food bloggers have challenged the rest of us still pretty talented food bloggers to create a  two-course meal for four including a full serving of vegetables for just $7 total.

Today, I decided to do something because last time I checked, it’s November.  And it should be cold or at least cool or something.  Hrmm…

Anyway, when it does get cold, here’s a $7 Dinner for you:

Tomato Vegetable Soup with Garlic Bread

Every Christmas, my mother makes tomato vegetable soup, so for my family this meal has come to mean cold winter nights and family togetherness.

The good thing about the soup is that it is packed full of vegetables, it is hearty, and it comes with garlic bread.  Everyone loves garlic bread.

It is also the one dish that I have made for the $7 Dinner Challenge so far where I have not had to reforumulate a recipe because of the dollar limitation.  Still, had this been the $8 Dinner Challenge, there would be some fresh celery and maybe some garlic thrown in the soup, but as it stands I like this soup just fine.

Recipe: Tomato Vegetable Soup

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound, onions 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 bottle low sodium V8
  • 2 bags frozen mixed vegetables, thawed to room temperature

This one is really easy.

In a soup pot over high heat, add the vegetable oil and let it get hot.  Add the onions and a teaspoon of black peper and saute until the onions begin to brown around the edges, maybe 4 minutes.

Add the V8, the mixed vegetables, and a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil.

The soup can be served anytime after the vegetables have gotten warm, though I like to let it thicken so I boil it on medium for about 20 minutes.

Recipe: Garlic Bread

  • Half a loaf of Italian Bread (I like day old for garlic bread), sliced into eight pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon, garlic salt*

Preheat the broiler.

This one can be easy, if you are up to the challenge.

Arrange the bread on cookie sheet and brush or drizzle the butter on the slices.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.

When the broiler is hot, put the bread on the shelf nearest the coil and broil for about 90 seconds.

Now, here’s where things get difficult. It may take a little longer than 90 seconds, but while you are broiling bread, you do not want to make any plans.  Don’t look at the TV.  Don’t answer your phone.  Ignore your children, your dog, and your friends because the minute you forget about that bread, the quantum mechanics that rule the universe will char the bread to a crisp.  Something about Schrodinger’s Cat or something.

Sorry, that was a bit of a tangent but Rachel Ray and I have lost enough good loaves to the broiler pan, I don’t want it happening to you, too.  And really, since you already melted the butter, all you are doing is crisping the bread a bit.  It doesn’t need to stay in too long.  In fact, sometimes I’ve skipped the broiler step all together.

And that is dinner.  Okay, everyone, go eat!!

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Filed under $7 Dinner Challenge, vegetarian

The $7 Dinner Challenge Part 2

Okay, here is my second entry in  Cate and Sarah‘s $7 Dinner Challenge.  If you have not heard of the $7 Dinner Challenge, these two amazing food bloggers have challenged the rest of us to create a  two-course meal for four including a full serving of vegetables for just $7 total. So for today:

Pea and Potato Burritos With Roasted Bananas

To get the evening started off right, our family of four will be dining on pea and potato burritos, a great vegan go-to dish that is hearty and tasty.  Half a bag of peas provide a serving of vegetables to the family (A bag of frozen corn can be substituted instead, though it will change the taste pretty dramatically.)  Desert is cinnamon roasted bananas.

Pea and Potato Burritos

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1 inch dice
  • 1/4 pound of onion, finely diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 12.5 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 bag of peas
  • 4 tortilla shells
  • salt and more pepper to taste

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the can of tomato sauce, chili powder, the tablespoon of black pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce.  This can stay on the stove until dinner is ready.  The longer it has a chance to reduce, the better it will taste.

Put the potatoes into just enough cold water to cover them and bring to a boil.  Boil until fork tender (15-20 minutes.)

Remove the potatoes from the water to cool and put about 4 tablespoons of the starchy potato water into a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and boil/saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the potatoes and two teaspoons of black pepper back into the skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are dry.

Mash the potatoes with a fork and add the peas.  Mix and cook until the peas become warm.

Take out the flour tortillas and fill each with a quarter of the potato/pea mixture.  Right before you serve, test the tomato sauce for salt, adjust if necessary, and pour the tomato sauce on top the burritos.

Roasted Cinnamon Bananas

  • 1 pound bananas
  • 1 tablespoon, cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons, powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the cinnamon and the powdered sugar.

Leaving the banans in the peel, cut the bananas in half lengthwise and then cut each half into two.  Cover with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and bake peel side down for 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

(Now would be a good time to pour the sauce on the burritos.  It should be reduced by now ;))

Well, what do you think?

Oh, yeah, the tab:

Tortilla .75
*Garlic .38
*Potatoes 2.38
Peas .55
Chili powder .57
Tomato sauce .47
1/4 lb. onion .33
Bananas .58
Cinnamon .57
Powdered Sugar .10

For a total of 6.68

If you want, you can add 32 cents of cheap oil when sauteing the onions and garlic.  I just am not smart enough to do the math on that.


Filed under $7 Dinner Challenge