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Thread: Soup kitchen meal plans on a TIGHT budget? page

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    Leanne's Avatar
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    Soup kitchen meal plans on a TIGHT budget?

    I have become involved with a local soup kitchen and have come out to cook and serve a few meals recently. Each day they do a hot lunch for 130 or more people. No questions asked, anyone is welcome. The thing I have really noticed is how much the people who use this soup kitchen's services really appreciate the fresh veg and proteins. So much of the donated foods are processed carbs like pasta, bread, canned processed soy based blends etc. Often in the serving line the patrons will ask if they can forgo the pasta dish in order to get twice as much salad instead. The kitchen is part of a decommissioned church with a small yard. The entire back yard of the church is a vegetable garden maintained by volunteers and every scrap coming out of the meal prep is composted to help improve the garden. They grow lettuce and strawberries, snow peas, tomatoes and potatoes to supplement the donated foods, but it is still not enough, and of course is seasonal as well.
    Lately I have been arranging groups to come in and do the meal prep. This means I am having to come up with menu plans, ingredients etc. and have a budget of about $50 a day to feed 130 or more people. I would love to make the meals as nutritious as possible. The more I research nutrition the more obvious it is that a lot of the depression, social anxiety disorders, ADHD etc that is growing in today's society is linked to the North American diet high in sugar and grains. When you are working with the low income and homeless you really see how bad their diet is an start to think how much their lives would improve in every aspect if they could break the emotional and hormonal roller coaster that poor diet creates in their lives.

    If you have ideas of LARGE meals that are easy to make and not expensive please share them with me! Where, other then grocers with a small weekly donation, can you get free produce that is not past it's prime or bruised to all heck. How can you stretch something primal to feed 130 people on such a tight budget?

    Thank you for all your advice.
    The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

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    DarthFriendly's Avatar
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    Ask a local butcher for bones to make soup stock. Excellent cheap source of nutrition.

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    Leanne's Avatar
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    Good idea.
    Any thoughts on large casseroles that are not potato or pasta based?
    The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

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    TigerLily's Avatar
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    Cabbage, turnips, and onions are cheap.

    How about making a soup with the above plus rice and ground ________ (turkey/chicken/beef -- whatever is cheapest or on markdown)?
    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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    TigerLily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leanne View Post
    Good idea.
    Any thoughts on large casseroles that are not potato or pasta based?
    Casserole of cabbage, canned tomato soup, rice, and ground meat (again, whatever is cheapest at the moment).

    Who does the shopping? Here in my area, most stores put out the marked-down meat at about 10 a.m.
    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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    MvEssen's Avatar
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    Caramalized onions and broth make a great cheap soup .
    Canned tomatoes with ground meat can go a long way with some herbs and spices.

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    kiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leanne View Post
    Good idea.
    Any thoughts on large casseroles that are not potato or pasta based?
    It's possible to make a Shepherd's Pie without potatoes and it's easy to use canned or frozen vegetables and ground beef. You can puree turnips or cauliflower to use as the topping and voila a hot, inexpensive and filling meal.
    kiss = keep it simple, sister!

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