Friday, November 30, 2012

Co-op Recipe Challenge

Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions
For our last recipe challenge I went to my go to food source Mississippi Market on Dale and Selby in Saint Paul.  I have to say going into this challenge I was a lot more confident and comfortable.  I knew it would still be challenging to obtain a balanced meal however I was far more comfortable in what I had available to me in the store.   I tried to think of different possibilities so that I could achieve a high quality meal at $7.50 a person.  I was inspired by the barley we had the other week in lab and decided to use that as my base.  I made a caramelized onions, mushroom and barley risotto last winter and thought those would all be fairly inexpensive.

Price Breakdown:
3-4 yellow onions                 $1.69/lb
1 lb cremini mushroom      $3.49/8oz
1 cup barley                           $1.29/lb
3-5 cups vegetable stock    $2.99 32oz

Grocery Total                       $12.95

Home items = $0
sprig rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper

I purchased the onions, mushrooms, barley, and vegetable stock. I went with local button mushrooms mainly because they were the cheapest but I could have afforded to do ½ pound of cremini However the button mushrooms were local from Minnesota were as the cremini were from California so that made me decide to stick with the button mushrooms. 

The meal was fairly simple to put together. Chopping the onions and mushrooms took the longest and after that there is little need for attention. But essentially it’s a one pot meal and takes about an hour or so to fully cook the barley.  The recipe I made feed the two of us plus there was plenty for leftovers the next day.  It was hearty and filling and a great fall/winter dinner.

What I came away with is that healthy organic food is possible to eat on a tight budget however its not easy.  I think that a lot of planning in necessary to push your budget as far as possible.  Also to not waste anything, by utilizing every single piece of ingredient you buy which can probably take some time.  But I think doing a lot of your own preparation, preserving, and creating you can eat locally and healthy on a small budget.

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