Make 5 Dinner Recipes from One Bag of Groceries

Think you can make five whole meals from just one, $50 bag of groceries?

I recently accepted Eating Well's "5 Dinners, 1 Bag" challenge. Their test kitchen team provided me with a grocery list and I hit the local D'Agostino's supermarket in New York to collect my ingredients, which included:

one bunch each of asparagus, chives, scallions and cilantro
one lemon
8 ounces snap peas
1 pound of sea scallops
1 pound of lean ground beef
12 ounces of pork chops or tenderloin
1 15-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 16-oz package whole-wheat spaghetti
1 14-oz box instant or quick-cooking brown rice
1 15-oz can kidney beans
1 16-oz box of whole wheat spaghetti
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach
1 8-oz block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 4-oz block fontina cheese
1 dozen eggs
1 lb ball whole-wheat pizza dough or 1 ready-made pizza crust

After ringing up my items, I quickly headed over to meet Jessie Price of Eating Well to see how to put my ingredients to work. Jessie gave me the following five easy and delicious recipes, one for every day fo the work week. What do you think? My favorite is from Wednesday!

(Note: We assumed we'd have some basic ingredients already at home like cooking oil, spices like curry, salt and pepper, garlic, onions, sugar, vinegar, butter, and milk.)

Monday: Spring Pizza

Eating Well likes to advocate Meatless Mondays, so Jessie and I started by cooking up a Spring Pizza, using our minced garlic, cooking oil, about half of our fresh chives, as well as one cup of shredded fontina cheese to top the dough. Asparagus was the star vegetable. We arranged the spears in a circular fashion, just like the sun's rays over the dough. If asparagus isn't your favorite, you can simply sub in another seasonal veggie to top your pie.

Makes: 5 servings
Active time: 25 minutes
Cost per serving: under $2

Tuesday: Curry Scallops with Cilantro Rice

Our next recipe stemmed from what the magazine likes to call "Sustainable Seafood Tuesday." For this, we took our scallops and coated them with curry from our spice rack, and sauteed them in a pan. We then added the scallops to three cups of cooked brown rice. We added cilantro, scallions, lemon juice and salt for added flavoring.

Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 25 minutes
Cost per serving: under $4.50

Wednesday: Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati has a unique spin on chili, where locals like to serve it over spaghetti. Typically it's made with just meat, but you can also add beans for fiber. This recipe uses ground beef, onion, spices from home, a can of tomatoes, a can of beef broth, kidney beans, and some of your leftover cilantro from Tuesday's curry dish. Cook your entire one-pound box of pasta, and reserve half of the cooked noodles for tomorrow night's meal.

Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: under $3

Thursday: Stir Fry
For Thursday, we prepared a pork and snap pea stir-fry, which we also served over our leftover Pasta. For this, mix up a simple sauce of soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and rice vinegar. Then sautee your snap peas, adding pork, garlic, and your sauce mixture. Serve over your pasta.

Makes: 4 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
Cost per serving: under $2

Friday: Rice, Spinach and Cheddar Pie
For the last day of the workweek, this recipe proved to be cinch, especially with leftover rice from earlier in the week. Sautee some onions along with the thawed, rinsed spinach. In a bowl add your leftover rice, seasonings and crumbled cheddar cheese. Then transfer it all to a baking dish, pour an egg mixture over it and bake.

Makes: 6 servings
Active time: 15 minutes
Cost per serving: under $2

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And what are some of your favorite family recipes that use few ingredients? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit