Cooking Matters $10 Meal Challenge: Tofu Lettuce Wraps #NoKidHungry

Disclosure: For posting my recipe ideas, I will have a chance to win a restaurant gift card. 

When I hear about a good challenge, it’s hard for me to say no. So when the great folks behind Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters™ contacted me about creating a healthy, family friendly meal for $10, I knew I had to try it out!

About Cooking Matters: It’s a nutrition-education program that connects families with food by teaching them how to prepare healthy, tasty meals on a limited budget. Professional chefs and nutritionists volunteer their time and expertise to lead hands-on courses that show adults, teens and kids how to purchase and prepare nutritious foods in healthful, safe and tasty ways. This knowledge can mean the difference between feeding families just for one night, and making sure they never again have to worry about when their next meal will come.

Here in Southeast Michigan, Cooking Matters works with Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. {If you’ve never volunteered with them, DO IT. I’ve done it several times and it’s fun and makes such a huge difference for our community! Learn more here.}

As a gal on a budget, I LOVE that this program exists to help families. So, what did I create for $10? Read on…

First, I headed to one of my favorite stores for low prices — Walmart. As a busy mama, I love that Walmart price matches other stores so I don’t have to run around town to find the best deals. All you have to do it bring in the ads to show them. I almost always get great deals this way {Tip: Aldi generally has the BEST price on milk – $1.99 or less!}. For example, I knew Aldi had bananas for 35 cents per pound this week, so I made bananas our dessert to help save on cost.

Here’s my check proving I spent $10. Well, OK it was $10.81, but that was because I got more bananas than I really needed for this meal.

$10 Meal Bill

For the main course, I’m sharing something that’s a tad different, but healthy and delicious: Tofu lettuce wraps.

I know what you’re thinking because I *used* to think the same thing — Tofu is gross. I assure you, it just takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

Other perks to tofu? It has a relatively long shelf life, is a healthy replacement for meat, it’s packed with protein, low in fat/calories and is inexpensive at approx $2 per container! I get it — the word ‘tofu’ is so pretentious, so instead just think of it as what it is — soybeans that have been ground up and boiled. YUM, right? ;)

Now for the scoop on how to use it…I’ve adapted this awesome recipe from rockin’ blogger The Pioneer Woman to make it even more budget-friendly.

INGREDIENTS

Tofu Lettuce Wraps - Ingredients

  • 1 – 14 oz. container of tofu {firm/extra firm}
  • Romaine lettuce {iceberg totally works as well, but doesn’t pack as much nutritional value}
  • 1½ cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce {I prefer low sodium when possible}

DIRECTIONS

Drain the water from the tofu container. Heat a large saucepan or non-stick skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Place the tofu in the saucepan. Now, do what I call slicing and dicing the tofu a with a spoon to break it up into chunks. Cook it for approximately 10 minutes or until it starts to have a little color. You may feel like you are making scrambled eggs, which is good. Cooking tofu is a lot like making eggs! {That’s not scary, right?}

Cooking Tofu

As it starts to add color, drain it to get rid of excess water. Then, add the corn, chili powder and soy sauce.

Making Tofu Lettuce Wraps

After it cooks for a few minutes, drain again. The juices are yummy, but make the wraps a tad messier and not so kid-friendly if you don’t drain it.

Turn off the stove and allow it to cool a bit, then place it in the lettuce pieces. Wrap them up taco style and go to town. They are definitely kind of messy, but oh-so-delicious.

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

And ya’ll? Kinley LOVES these! I think it’s because they are just different…and she can eat them with her hands :)

Toddlers love Tofu Lettuce Wraps

She likes to eat the lettuce…then all the filling…

Karina loves them too, but she eats everything. It’s nice and easy for her to chew too…since she doesn’t have any teeth!

Delish Tofu Wraps

MEAL ADD-ONS:

I can eat 4-5 wraps and be full, however, I do like to add a little something to make it feel more meal-like. To save on time and get in our whole grains group, I served it with some Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice {SO convenient}, but plain brown rice works, too {and would be healthier!}.

$10 Meal

For dessert, I made banana “ice cream.” It’s in quotes because it is not ice cream but it fools my kids! All you do is chop and freeze two ripe bananas in a plastic bag, then throw them in a food processor right before serving. It makes for an amazing consistency and kids go crazy for it. Little do they know it’s just banana. If we’re feeling fancy, we’ll throw on some peanut butter, honey, cinnamon or sprinkles.

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

There you have it: A relatively healthy and delicious meal for only $10. The only food group I missed is dairy, so I highly suggest serving with a nice ice cold glass of milk ;)

What are your favorite inexpensive meals? I’m always looking for ways to eat healthy and save money!

P.S. Make sure you follow Cooking Matters Michigan on Facebook and Twitter and check out their sweet smartphone app too!

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Comments

  1. Okay, so I am a little skeptical about tofu. However, so much of what you posted sounds like what I would post…I love shopping at Aldi, I too think that Pioneer Woman is a rockin’ blogger, and I have been known to fool my kids with banana “ice cream” as well. Considering how much we have in common, I think I will give this recipe a try! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Love your blog!
    Jenifer @ Not Quite Mom of the Year recently posted..Slow Cooker Colorado Beef BurritosMy Profile

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Yay! I promise — it’s fun to cook with weird foods and actually like it! I’m trying to expand my horizons :)

      And for the record, my hubby actually loves these and he is a HARDCORE meat eater!

  2. I do like tofu… it just takes getting used to is all. If you press it to get all of the water out and marinate it it’s even better!
    Jackie recently posted..BlogHer & FriendsMy Profile

  3. Great post! One way that I recently started preparing tofu and LOVE is to cut it up into squares, marinate in your sauce and then roast for 16-18 minutes at 450, flipping halfway through. It gives the tofu a more meaty texture.

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Oooh, I love that idea! What do you serve it with, or do you just eat it on its own? Totally going to have to try!

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