Tuesday, August 23, 2011

$20 a Week, An Introduction

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM


Twenty bucks doesn’t go far these days. So is it possible to survive on $20 of food for a week? Throw a dinner party?

My wife, Clare, and I are setting out to discover just what can be accomplished with $20 a week. Simple enough, right? I feel like it’s an especially fitting endeavor for us considering we’re newly-weds and still students (and Clare’s an artist to boot). So we’ve been living on a pretty tight budget to begin with. But not quite this tight.

For this week, we begin our experiment with $20 worth of a single ingredient, and make as many dishes featuring that ingredient as we can. Since it’s summer, and with their ever-increasing popularity in mind, we’ve chosen the always-delicious avocado.

It should be noted, before I jump into this thing, that this is an idea loosely based on the stellar 30 Bucks a Week blog by Brooklyn couple, Tina and Phil, in which the basic premise, as the name implies, is to live off of $30 worth of food each week—not counting dining out and booze.

$20 of Avocado

Eight ripe Hass avocados from Whole Foods at $1.99 each — coming to a grand total of $17.15.

The B.L.A.T.


This, in my humble opinion, is a phenomenal twist on the classic B.L.T. It’s simple, quick, refreshing — a perfect summertime lunch. So good, in fact, I couldn’t keep myself from making a second.

For a single sandwich, all you need is:

-1/2 ripe avocado
-1/2 tomato
- 2 slices bacon (we used smoked, thick-cut)
- a bit of lettuce
- mayo, to taste
- 2 slices bread (we used 12 grain bread)


Simply toast bread, slice avocado and spread on one slice of bread, spread mayo on other slice, fry up bacon, and stack with sliced tomato and lettuce between slices of bread.

Avocado, tomato, kale, and goat cheese orzo


The avocado and goat cheese make this a delightfully creamy pasta dish. You could easily replace orzo with other kinds of pasta, but it seems that the small size of orzo lends to easier distribution of the goat cheese.

What you need for three generous servings:

-1 cup orzo
-2 cups chicken or veggie stock
-1 tomato, diced
-1 ripe avocado, diced
-handful of kale
-1-2 tbs goat cheese (tomato & basil flavor recommended)


Bring broth to boil, add orzo. Wait about five minutes, add kale to wilt. Remove from heat once broth is absorbed, pour into bowl. Add diced avocado, tomato. Mix in goat cheese until melted.

Avocado Chocolate Pudding


This is a great recipe we borrowed from the (neverhome)maker blog, making a few changes along the way to adjust consistency and decided not to include the flax meal. Our version is as follows:

What you’ll need for two large servings:

- 2 ripe avocados
- 3 tbs dark cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups of almond or coconut milk (we used coconut)
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 2-3 tsp agave nectar or honey (we used honey)


Place all ingredients in blender, blend, adjusting milk and sweetener to taste

Avocado Daiquiri


I had high hopes for this one, and for the most part, those hopes were met. The avocado did a great job of cutting into the sourness of the lime juice by adding hints of its creamy sweetness without overpowering it too much.

We did learn, however, that this drink needs to be heavily strained to remove any chunks of avocado...unless you’re into that sort of thing.

What you need to make one drink:

- 1/4 ripe avaocado
- 2 oz light rum
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- lime wheel for garnish


Add avocado, lime juice, and simple syrup into mixing glass, muddle, and add ice and rum. Shake and pour into martini glass, adding lime wheel as garnish. serve immediately.

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