This chicken nacho recipe is the final recipe I want to share from our hunger challenge week. Eric loves cheese nachos and that’s pretty much what he would eat twice a day if I didn’t prepare some meals for him before heading out of town. I’m fine with (or even crave!) nachos once in a while, but like to add onions, chicken, and bell peppers to give it some nutritional value and added flavor.
Looking back at the hunger challenge week, any hunger I felt was usually due to not bringing snacks to work, or seeing something like a panini on a Starbucks sign and knowing I had to wait until I got home to eat something. We had plenty of apples, oranges, cheese, and tortilla chips (plus leftovers from dinners) to snack on when needed, we just didn’t always remember to bring them with us and couldn’t just eat something else where we were at if we got hungry.
It was also exciting how much we were able to stretch the ingredients we had. One chicken breast made nachos, fried rice (like the photo below), pasta, stir fry, and quesadillas. Although it was a huge piece of meat, it was really about stretching the expensive ingredient with more affordable ones like rice, tortillas, chips, and pasta.
As I’ve said before, our food budget is $100-$125 a month, partly from necessity and partly because I’ve done everything possible to whittle that budget down. So $60 for 5 days of food is quite an indulgence. But again, I had to factor in buying everything from scratch. I realized that if a family has a well stocked kitchen when trouble strikes and they need to go on food stamps, they can really make it work. But if they have to move suddenly, or are starting from scratch, it would be a lot harder.
I think a lot of people see the amount of $60/week and say “Whoa! That’s not enough to live on!” But for us it was more than enough, and it wasn’t even summer when seasonal ingredients are so cheap and plentiful. It did mean having to choose the lowest priced ingredients, I don’t think anything we bought was organic. But again, as you build up a good pantry of food items, you can afford to making more expensive food choices like all natural or organic. I know eating well on a food stamp budget is possible, but a lot of people need education in how to do it.
This takes me to one of the most exciting things going on for me right now…a chance to teach free cooking classes in my city! I’m working with the City of Auburn to find a venue and funding for me to teach classes on cooking healthy on a tight budget. Although the classes will be open to anyone, they’ll be specifically targeting people on food stamps to help them learn how to use their food budget wisely and nutritiously. I’ll have more about this soon! If you know of any individuals or companies who might be interested in sponsoring a class, series of classes, or donating funds (no matter how small) please contact me!
Chicken Nachos Recipeserves 2-4
12-15 oz tortilla chips (enough to cover cookie sheet)
1/4 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
sour cream and hot sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Spread out the tortilla chips to cover the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle chicken, peppers, and onions evenly over the chips. Sprinkle cheese over top of the other ingredients.
Bake for 5-8 minutes, until cheese is completely melted. If desired, sprinkle with hot sauce and dip into sour cream.
Approximate cost/serving: A 22oz bag of chips was on sale for only $1.99, and I only used 1/5 of my $3 chicken breast. The total cost was only $1.80. It can fill two people up on its own for 90 cents a serving, or feed four with a side for only 45 cents a serving.
Vegetarian/gluten free: For vegetarian, skip the chicken and add more vegetables, or even some black beans. For gluten free make sure you read the labels to get gluten free tortilla chips.
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.