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Frugal Tuna Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts #HungerActionMonth #SNAPChallenge

Next month several bloggers are tackling the challenge of creating nutritious meals that stay within the budgetary constraints of what a family of four receives on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which is $5.53 or $16.60 for the day. Yes, really. Challenge accepted. 

For my first attempt at the challenge, I eschewed my usual grocery stop and headed to our local Grocery Outlet. There are good options there, including organic produce but it's not a consistent inventory. So I never know what I'm going to find. But, if you hunt, it's not bad...and it's a highly affordable option.

I picked up ingredients to make a tuna pasta and roasted Brussels sprouts. The grocery bill was $5.66. And while I did add half of an onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper from my pantry and fridge, I went with serving sizes and only used half of the pasta package and half of the jarred sauce - which I will use for another meal. Plus we had enough leftover that my husband has another portion for lunch. So, creating five servings, I'm calling it definitely under the budget of $5.53!

Here's the breakdown for five servings...

can of tuna, cost $0.99
pasta, package serves 8, so I used half (will use for another meal), cost $0.89 = $0.45
marinara sauce, used half (will use for another meal), cost $1.99 = $1.00
Brussels sprouts, serves 4 = $1.99
one onion, used half, cost $0.79 = $0.40
olive oil, cost negligible = $0.25
salt and pepper, cost negligible = $0.05

Total = $5.13

Frugal Tuna Pasta with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Not only was this dinner within the budget, but it was on the table in less than thirty minutes which is a major plus on a busy school night.

Ingredients serves 5

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Brussels sprouts, package served 4
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Tuna Pasta
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 package pasta, only used half since package served 8
  • 1 jar pasta sauce, only used half
  • water

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, then place them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle them with enough olive oil to coat them and make them glisten. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 10 minutes. Move the sprouts around in the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes. When cooked and slightly browned, season with more salt and pepper and drizzle with more oil.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tuna Pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a splash of olive oil. Add the sliced onions and cook until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in the tuna. Add in 1 C pasta sauce and 1/2 C water. Bring to a simmer.

Give the pasta a rinse so it isn't sticking together and turn into the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta completely. Serve immediately.

Though the dinner was within the constraints, it was certainly a challenge; and there was no room for extras. Typically when I make this pasta, I stir in sliced kalamata olives, capers, and fresh herbs. For the Brussels sprouts, I would squeeze fresh lemon juice over them. So, there's not a whole lot of room for additional flavors and ingredients. It's basic. But it was plenty filling...with a protein, a carb, and a vegetable. I think this qualifies as a nutritious dinner for four within a SNAP allotment.


  1. I am including these recipes and ingredients in our upcoming pantry distributions. I will have to suggest they substitute margarine in place of the olive oil as they are given margarine each time but olive oil is hard to come by, especially the hundred bottles needed for a month's distribution.


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