Healthy Living Market Spring Challenge: $30 Dinner for Four

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I had the unique and fun opportunity to participate in a ‘supermarket sweep’ style event at Healthy Living Market in Saratoga.  Myself along with about a half dozen other local bloggers and tastemakers were each given $30 to spend at the store in a 15-minute time frame.  Our challenge?  Come up with a delicious spring meal for four under $30.

Challenge Accepted.  #HealthyLivingSpringChallenge #GameOn!

I can’t say that I didn’t go in with a little bit of a strategy.  I may or may not have had notes, recipes, game plans, fallback options.  I like to be prepared, but I also like to WIN 😉  My personal challenge was to create a gluten-free and paleo-friendly meal (paleo is a no grain, no dairy diet).  I’ve been using my Paderno spiralizer like crazy lately and making noodles out of everything from zucchini, to potatoes, daikon radishes to carrots of all colors.  For my main dish meal, I wanted to use a base of sweet potato “rice” topped with veggies and barbecue chicken.  Grilling is super easy in the spring and summer and barbecue chicken is something my whole family enjoys.

I conserved money by using sweet potatoes as my “grain” and chicken thighs which are always one of the cheapest cuts of meat.  I also picked up kale, red onion, avocados and I had plenty of money leftover to purchase frozen berries and ingredients in the bulk section to make an easy berry crisp!

Sweet Potato Rice BowlThe Main Event…

Sweet Potato, Kale, Onion, Avocado Rice Bowls with Barbecue Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • large bunch of Kale
  • red onion
  • 2 avocados
  • package of chicken thighs
  • Jar of barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth (pantry)
  • salt and pepper (pantry)
  • olive oil (pantry)

Directions:

Main Dish Collage 1Marinate the chicken in barbecue sauce for a few hours if you have the time.  When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 or fire up the grill!  Coat the chicken with barbecue sauce then bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or grill until fully cooked.  About halfway, flip the chicken and brush on more sauce.  While the chicken is cooking, use a spiralizer if you have one and make your sweet potato noodles.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can cube the sweet potatoes and use a food processor to pulse them into smaller rice-like pieces.  The best method is to spiralize first, then pulse in the food processor.  Spring Challenge Saute

Saute the onion in olive oil, then add the chicken broth and the sweet potato ‘rice’.  Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped kale and salt and pepper to taste. I use food scissors to quickly and easily cut the kale. Cook for about 5-7 more minutes until the kale starts to wilt.  Cube the avocado then add it in.  Remove from heat, place the saute mixture in bowls, top with the cooked chicken and serve!

For Dessert…Paleo Berry Crisp

Paleo Berry Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags of frozen berries (thaw them out prior to starting recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (for non paleo, substitute brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or coconut flower (for non paleo, substitute white flour)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup almond flour (for non paleo, substitute white or wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 cup of raw unsalted cashews (found in the bulk section)
  • 10 dates (found in the bulk section)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (for non paleo, substitute brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut (found in the bulk section)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)

Paleo Berry CrispDirections:

Preheat oven to 350.  Place the thawed berries in a square baking dish.  Add the arrowroot powder and coconut sugar and mix to combine.  In a food processor, combine the almond flour, cashews, dates, coconut sugar, coconut and cinnamon and pulse until the mixture looks like gravel.  Add in the melted oil or butter and pulse again until it starts to clump.  Spread topping over the berry mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  This delicious fruit crisp is packed with healthy ingredients and the kids loved it for breakfast!

#HealthyLivingSpringChallenge Conclusion

For $30 (actually, $29.94), I was able to shop for and prepare an amazing paleo dinner and dessert for my family of four, plus we had leftovers!  Eating healthy can be expensive, but if you shop smart and take advantage of the great sales at Healthy Living Market, it is very possible to stay on budget.  Bon appetite my friends!

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