Friday, November 30, 2012

Final Challenge Challenge Recipe

This week I hit up the Eastside Co-op on Central looking for my nutritious, delicious and affordable challenge recipe meal.  Like I did with our last challenge recipe at the corner store, I went to the co-op without a plan, just wanting to be inspired by what was available.  My inspiration came in the bulk food section, where I stumbled across some cavatappi pasta.  I frequented Noodles & Co. in high school and my favorite dish was pesto cavatappi.  It seemed like a good time to re-create it, so I went in search of the same ingredients used at the food chain.  Here was my final list:

Cavatappi pasta: $1.50
Walnuts: $1.89
Tomatoes: $0.75
Spinach: $2.99
Broccoli: $2.29
Mushrooms: $0.81
Parmesan Cheese: $2.89

Items from Home:
Olive Oil
Basil (from basil plant)

Grand Total: $13.12

I started out by chopping some broccoli florets and the mushrooms and sauteing them.  At the same time, I was toasting the walnuts and getting the ingredients for the pesto sauce.

I used a variation on the Bittman recipe for my pesto.  The bulk of the pesto was spinach, but I also added a few sprigs of fresh basil, along with the toasted walnuts, some , salt, and olive oil, and blended them together.

When the veggies were finished, I tossed the cooked cavatappi into the skillet with a dollop of the pesto, mixed it up, and tossed it on a plate with a parmesan garnish.  It blew Noodles & Co. out of the water.

  In the end, this challenge assignment didn't feel like much of a challenge compared to the difficulties of shopping at a corner store.  Variety was certainly not a problem; I would say I had a harder time narrowing down what I wanted to make because the options were endless.  The price was definitely more of an issue this time around, partially because that is the nature of co-ops (high-quality food is just more expensive), but even more so because this was a more complex meal than the last one -- in particular, I bought a larger variety of veggies than were available at the corner store.  While I personally couldn't sustain an all-coop budget at this time, I would definitely like to incorporate co-ops into my shopping, especially for the bulk containers, which I found to be incredibly convenient and economical.

No comments:

Post a Comment