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The Solo Chef: $4 Dinner for One – Chicken Pappardelle

After spending $2500 on food last month with Mr. HECC I’m on a mission to cut my food budget in half. I’ll be documenting recipes I make for myself since Mr. HECC follows a specific diet and has his meals delivered, leaving me to be cooking for one. Cooking solo is tough because it’s so easy to waste food. I’m seeking out simple, easy meals that allow you to buy the right serving size for a meal fresh so that nothing goes wasted.

My goals:

Breakfast: $1.50 / meal (~250 calories)
Lunch: $3.00 / meal (~350 calories)
Dinner: $4.50 / meal (~600 calories)

Tonight’s $5 Dinner is Chicken Pappardelle

  • $.76- .3lb chicken breast (non-organic)
  • $.60 – 1 tbsp tomato paste (cento tomato paste)
  • $.50 – basil herb blend (fresh basil would go to waste so I opted for the tube stuff)
  • $.55 – half zucchini
  • $.60 – diced tomatoes from can
  • $.78 – 2oz fancy Pappardelle pasta
  • $.20 – 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    ———————————————
    $4.00

The pasta was a splurge (the fancy pasta display called to me) but it’s still a reasonably-priced meal for my first attempt at an affordable dinner.  I found I only needed a half zucchini for this dish, so I’m saving the other half and making it again tomorrow for lunch!

Health Check: Breakdown of Calories & Carbs…

  • 152 calories / 0 carbs — .3lb chicken breast
  • 35 calories / 7 carbs — 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 calories / 0 carbs — basil herb blend
  • 16 calories / 3 carbs — one zucchini
  • 25 calories / 5 carbs — $.60 – diced tomatoes from can
  • 210 calories / 40 carbs – 2oz fancy Pappardelle pasta
  • 120 calories / 0 carbs — 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

$4.00 for 564 calories / 44g carbs

*in order to save even more money on this receipe, I could do the following:

  • cheaper pasta!
  • buy chicken on sale / frozen chicken?
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4 comments

  1. VC says:

    I cook maybe one or 2 extra portions in one go. Keep them in the fridge for next day’s lunch. Portion it right away to avoid over eating. Cut cooking time in half and it’s like 2 for 1!

    1. Joy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Yes, single servings! I’d love to make a cookbook for single serving cooking where food doesn’t go to waste, but so far I only have this dish. Heh.

      1. less says:

        Trying to cook single servings is generally a bad idea because it takes the same amount of time to cook 1 serving or 4 servings and if you cook more than one serving you get more than one meal — you can eat the next day for lunch or dinner or you can freeze and eat at some future point.

        Judith Jones (who was Julia Child’s editor for Mastering the Art of French Cooking) wrote a cookbook called The Pleasures of Cooking for One. She gives tips for making multiple different meals out of leftovers from one main meal — like you cook a chicken and then eat it 3 or 4 different ways over the course of the week. It’s a pretty good book.

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