From the Food Challenge

Rosemary-Artichoke Hummus
Courtesy of Genie Gratto
Approximately 24 cents per serving, with a two-tablespoon serving size
According to Gratto, this recipe makes a light and delicious spread for sandwiches, or a festive dip with crackers or chips. “Canned artichokes aren't necessarily cheap, but they're not out of reach, either, and the serving portions are substantial.”

Two garlic cloves

Three or four tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

One 15-ounce can chickpeas

One 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts

Juice of one lemon

Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Combine the garlic and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse eight to ten times to chop. Add the chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and lemon juice and process for approximately 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and process again while drizzling in the olive oil. Feel free to add extra oil until it seems smooth enough. Add salt to taste and serve with crackers, bread, or vegetables for dipping.

Green Pea Pesto with Pasta
Courtesy of Amy Sherman
56 cents per serving, with approximately five servings of sauce
During Sherman's Hunger Challenge, she came across frozen organic green peas, which seemed like a bargain. “I had hoped to come up with a kind of sandwich filling, but ended up with a creamy sauce for pasta,” she says. Luckily, this recipe is ideal for times when the cupboard is looking a little bare because it uses a lot of pantry staples. “Surprisingly, this ended up being my easiest, fastest, and cheapest meal, and one I know I will make again.”

One cup frozen organic green peas

Two garlic cloves

Two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Two tablespoons Parmesan

One cup (about two ounces) penne

Roughly chop the garlic. In a small pan, combine the garlic and peas with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to simmer and cover the pan. Cook for three minutes, or until peas are cooked through and garlic is no longer raw. Drain the peas, reserving the water. Add the peas and olive oil to the blender and blend, adding just enough water to make a smooth paste (about one tablespoon). Combine mixture with Parmesan. Serve two tablespoons of sauce over each serving of penne.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Potato and Greens Soup)
Courtesy of Faith Kramer
$1-$2 a serving; makes six to eight servings
This filling, flavorful, and frugal soup was Kramer's attempt to re-create the flavors she experienced during a trip to Portugal. Depending on where you shop, the size of portions, and whether you use the optional sausage, the price per serving size will vary.

One large onion, finely chopped

One large garlic clove, minced

Four tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Six large baking potatoes, such as russets or Idahos, peeled and thinly sliced

One quart water

One quart vegetable or chicken stock

Six ounces thinly sliced dry garlicky sausage such as chorizo or pepperoni; optional (vegetarians can add soy sausage)

Two teaspoons of salt, divided (to taste)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)

One pound mixed sturdy greens such as collard, kale, or turnip, or a combination (washed, trimmed of thick stems and veins, and sliced into very thin threads)

In a heavy soup pot, heat three tablespoons of the oil and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes over a medium heat until ingredients begin to turn lightly golden, being careful not to brown them. Add the potato slices and sauté, stirring for two to three minutes until they, too, begin to color. Add the water and stock, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. If you are using the sausage, fry the slices in a separate skillet over a low heat until most of the fat is cooked out. Drain on paper towels and pat to remove excess fat.

When the potatoes are soft, turn off the heat and mash the potato slices in the pan. When the mash is as smooth as you can make it, add the sausage, half the salt, all the black pepper, and the optional red pepper. Put the pot back on medium heat, cover, and bring back to a simmer for about five minutes. Add the sliced greens and cook uncovered until the greens are tender (about five minutes). Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and taste to adjust for salt and pepper. Depending on how salty your chicken stock is, you may not need to use the last teaspoon of salt.

Serve with crusty bread and perhaps a little hot sauce on the side for those who like their food a bit spicier.

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