Clean, Cost-Effective Culinary Creations

Don't you love a well alliterated title to kick off a conversation? All kidding aside, today's blog post is about getting creative in the kitchen. Eating clean doesn't have to clean out your bank account. In fact, today for lunch, I whipped up a delicious, nutritious meal for two -- for a whopping $5.15. 

It was a recipe I modified based on what I had on hand. We'll call it stir-fry wraps for now. If and when I publish a cookbook, I reserve the right to give it a fancier name. Here's the breakdown of ingredients, along with an approximate cost for each:

1 can organic garbanzo beans: $1

3 stalks celery: 50 cents

2 cups sugar snap peas: 75 cents

1/4 small onion: 25 cents

2 cups kale: 50 cents

3 cloves garlic: 35 cents

3 tablespoons olive oil: 25 cents

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: 15 cents

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar: 20 cents

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar: 20 cents

10 whole leaves romaine lettuce: $1

The organic garbanzo beans and vinegars came from Trader Joe's; the olive oil from Costco; and the produce from Canino's farmers' market a few blocks from my house. I estimated prices for each ingredient using a rough calculation of the unit price divided into fractional servings. In other words, I dusted off my fourth-grade math skills. Mrs. Sinner would be proud of me.

Last I checked, the fast-food drive-through lines were charging that much or more for one super-sized serving of heart disease and diabetes. By comparison, for just over $5, my husband and I both had plenty to eat. The macros balanced out nicely (protein-carb-fat ratio), and it was yummy to boot. Score one for clean eating on a budget!

I'm going to wrap up this blog post about my stir-fry wraps without going into the details of the recipe itself, as the point to this particular musing was how to eat clean on a dime. But don't fret -- if you want the recipe, feel free to comment on my blog and let me know.