Wednesday, September 4, 2019

$5.13 Chicken Caesar Pasta - Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month – a time to bring attention to food insecurity.  According to the US Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 Americans were food insecure in 2017.  That’s 40 million people – more than 12 million of which are children – with a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life.  To bring awareness to this hunger crisis, I have joined forces with bloggers from across the country to create meals based off the SNAP budget for a family of four - $5.50 per meal.

Chicken Caesar Pasta - Hunger Action Month $5.13 Meal

When Kate of Kate's Recipe Box gave out the challenge of creating a recipe, based off the SNAP budget, I was all in!  The statistics on childhood hunger in the United States is amazing and sad.  Even though it might not be visible to the casual eye, one in five children in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table.  As a Mom, meal planner and cook for our family, this challenge pushed me and made me think about all those Moms working with a strict budget wanting to provide a nutritious and delicious meal for their growing kids.

$5.50 isn't much to work off of to create a meal so I knew I needed to start by looking at my local grocery store's ad to find an affordable protein.  My go to, affordable protein is usually pork and one of my favorite, versatile cuts, pork loin, was on sale for $1.99 per pound.  But even at a $1.99 per pound that was going to eat up my budget fast.  So I was very happy to see that Chicken Hind Quarters were also on sale.  I always stock up on these when they are $0.79 per pound and decided they would be perfect as part of my Hunger Action Month meal.

Chicken Hind Quarters, affordable, nutritious protein - Hunger Action Month

Chicken Hind Quarters are a tender, juicy and versatile protein, and since my kids love pasta, I decided to make a chicken pasta dish.  This Chicken Caesar Pasta is an easy, one-pot meal to put together, and one that my family asks for seconds of every time I make it.

$5.13 Chicken Caesar Pasta - Hunger Action Month

Chicken Caesar Pasta

2 Chicken Hind Quarters (around 2#)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1# Dry Pasta, such as a Penne or Mostaccioli
1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 cloves Garlic, grated
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Roast the Chicken Hind Quarters by placing them on a baking sheet with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.  Turn the chicken a few times to coat both sides with oil and seasonings.  Position the hind quarters skin side up and bake at 450°F for 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Roasted Chicken Hind Quarters

Once the chicken is done, let it cool and begin preparing the pasta.  Boil water in a large pot over high heat to cook the pasta.  Cook until al dente, according to package directions.  Right before draining, remove and reserve one cup of pasta-cooking water for sauce.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk egg yolk, mustard, worcestershire sauce and garlic in a liquid measuring cup.  Then whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil to create sauce base.  When pasta is done cooking, add reserved water.  After the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

Chicken Caesar Pasta - $5.13 Meal

After the pasta has been drained, return to pot with chicken, sauce and parmesan cheese.  Stir til the pasta is coated in the sauce and serve.

So how does this recipe work out cost wise?  Here you go:

2# Chicken Hind Quarters $1.63
Olive Oil (1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp) $0.76
Pasta $1.18
1 Egg $0.06
Dijon Mustard (2 Tbsp) $0.11
Worcestershire Sauce (1 Tbsp) $0.08
Garlic head $0.47
Parmesan Cheese (1 cup) $0.84
Total $5.13

The meals below were made with a budget of $5.50 – the average amount a family of four would have for a meal on a SNAP budget.  We’re sharing these recipes today to show you how far these dollars go – or don’t go – and to encourage you to donate to organizations addressing hunger issues.  Feeding America and local food banks are the boots on the ground helping feed your neighbors daily.  As a group, we’re supporting Feeding America’s efforts to end hunger.  We are collecting donations for Feeding America here:  Will you forgo your morning coffee stop and donate $5 to help feed the needy instead?  There are also many great local organizations fighting hunger too, including the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank.

Hunger Action Month Recipes

Thanks to Kate of Kate's Recipe Box for organizing this event!

What organizations are you aware of that are working to fight hunger?  Comment for a Cause and I will add to the cost of one meal for each comment to my donation to Feeding America.


  1. I will be sharing an adaptation of this recipe with our clients at the food pantry. I will need to substitute margarine, which we provide, for the olive oil and come up with other flavorings than dijon mustard as I cannot provide that for them. Thanks for the inspiration. We do have lots of creamed soups that I can incorporate into this dish.

  2. This looks like a terrific and flavorful dish! Pasta is always a great way to stretch a meal.

    1. Pasta was one of my first thoughts and I'm happy with how it all came together.

  3. This looks like a great meal. I coulld totally see us eating this one!

  4. This chicken pasta looks so incredibly tasty and filling!

    1. Thanks! It has great flavor and hit the spot for my whole family.

  5. This sounds delicious and I love the hint of Dijon!!!

    1. Thanks! A good, punchy Dijon is great in this pasta sauce.

  6. I love Caesar. It sounds so good as a pasta dish!

  7. I love this idea and am amazed just how little the benefits provide. This is a great way to use a small budget and still get a filling and tasty dinner on the table.

    1. It's amazing how fast your grocery bill can add up!

  8. Chicken is such a great buy- I often see it on sale in family packs and it can be a real go to for budget meals.

  9. It's funny that chicken used to be so expensive when I was growing up. Now it's cheaper than beef sometimes. And leg quarters are always cheaper than breast and so flavorful. This looks delicious.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this pasta recipe!.