Budget-Friendly Meals: Take the $5 Challenge

Take the Slow Food $5 Challenge with a little help from The Whole Deal’s budget-friendly recipes and daily dinner planner and you’ll redefine the “value meal.”

When you think “value meal” do you think of greasy foods served through a drive-thru window? Well, think again! Slow food – the opposite of fast food – is food that is good for you, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. It’s all that and it doesn’t have to cost any more than fast food! Now that’s what I call a value meal! And that’s why on September 17th, Slow Food USA opens in a new tab launches a Day of Action and encourages everyone to take their $5 Challenge opens in a new tab and take back the value meal.According to Slow Food USA, all you have to do is pledge to cook a fresh and healthy meal for five dollars or less, or you can attend a local event. It could be your regularly nightly meal with your family, a dinner party with friends, a neighborhood potluck or a slow food meal event in your area. The only “rule” is that the meals should reflect slow food values opens in a new tab and cost no more than five dollars per person. If you’re taking the challenge you can find out more and register your event and share your story at SlowFoodUSA.org/5challenge opens in a new tab.Are you up for the challenge but not sure what to make? The Whole Deal value guide opens in a new tab has got your back! Did you know that all of the recipes in The Whole Deal are always less than $5 per serving? Pick from over 180 budget-friendly recipes opens in a new tab on our website or choose from these fall favorites featured in the September/October issue opens in a new tab:

Learn to Cook: Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs opens in a new tab ($2.13 per serving)

Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken opens in a new tab ($3.40 per serving)

(We do our best to estimate the cost of ingredients used in each recipe, but slight market variations are entirely possible.)

Why stop at one day? The Whole Deal daily dinner planner opens in a new tab sets you up with a week’s worth of dinner ideas that feed four for under $5 per person.MONDAY: Veggie Monday

Make a Halloween Spooky Supper by tossing Whole Foods Market™ Organic Farfalle opens in a new tab (think bats!) with 365 Everyday Value® Organic Pasta Sauce (download the coupon) opens in a new tab.  Add some garlic bread to repel the vampires.

TUESDAY: Slow and Simple

Make Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches opens in a new tab in the crock pot while you’re at work. Pick up coleslaw and frozen oven fries or “tots” on the way home and dinner is done.

WEDNESDAY: Soup-er SupperMake the simple and tasty Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup opens in a new tab with our house-made pork or chicken bratwurst. Grab a loaf of fresh-baked hearth bread to serve alongside.

THURSDAY: Chicken & Crunch

Buy our famous rotisserie chicken or make your own Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken opens in a new tab and serve it with the Mediterranean Crunch Salad (download the coupon) opens in a new tab from Prepared Foods. Pair it with Paso a Paso Tempranillo opens in a new tab.

FRIDAY: Fish FridayMake our Cornmeal Catfish Fingers opens in a new tab and serve with braised collard greens and rice, couscous or quinoa.

WEEKEND: Oktoberfest (or whenever)

Cook and serve our house-made sausage with sautéed onions and apples atop a bed of sauerkraut. Add a loaf of rye or pumpernickel bread and don’t forget a six-pack of German beer!

I hope these tasty dishes have changed your perception of the value meal for the better. Take a look at The Whole Deal value guide online opens in a new tab and in stores for coupons, deals, recipes and more tips for putting the value back in to your meals. Interested in learning more about the slow food movement? Visit the Slow Food USA website opens in a new tab to find a local chapter near you.Do you plan on taking the $5 Challenge? What will you make?

Explore More