Jackie Goodman, a Masters of Social Work student at the University of Chicago, is the Research & Nutrition Intern at Feeding America. When she's not in class or the office, she enjoys cooking tasty meals for her family and friends.

Throughout National Nutrition Month, we received dozens of recipes from food banks for our Recipe Challenge, and choosing three more to round out our top five was not easy (see the first two selections here). However, Capital Area Food Bank, Three Square Food Bank, and Harvesters Community Food Network submitted particularly mouth-watering recipes that met all of our recipe challenge criteria.

Having nutritious, delicious, and affordable meals is important as ever. As Map the Meal Gap 2012 shows, there are people in every county in the United States who are food insecure and don't always have nutritionally adequate and safe foods available to them. In addition, it can be expensive for families to put food on the table. The average cost of a meal in the United States is $2.52, but in some areas that cost is much higher. For example, in Washington, D.C. where Capital Area Food Bank is located, the average cost of a meal is $3.41!

The recipes below all cost less than $10 to make, make at least 4 servings, meet the MyPlate recommendations, and use foods commonly found at food banks, making them great options for budget-conscious families.

Sweet Potato, Apple, Onion Hash -- Capital Area Food Bank, Washington, D.C. A versatile recipe, the dish is great with grilled chicken or eggs, tossed into a soup or rolled into a whole grain tortilla. Serves 6 as a side dish.


1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)

1 medium apple, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until butter melts.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in onions and cook until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms (if using) and apples, cook until apples and potatoes are fork-tender, about 5-6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bean and Rice Burger with Simple Slaw — Three Square Food Bank, Las Vegas, NV This recipe features an easy, healthy, no-meat burger with a tangy and refreshing slaw on top! Serves 6.


For patties:

1 15-oz can black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup rice, cooked (brown preferred)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1 medium egg

For slaw:

1/2 head cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

1 orange, segmented

1 apple, shredded

1 carrot, shredded

1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons canola oil

6 hamburger buns or slices of bread


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash the beans. Then add the rice, onions, bread crumbs, and egg.
  3. Place on a greased sheet pan and form into patty shapes. Bake about 15 minutes, or until they begin to hold shape. Flip the patties and finish baking about 10 minutes until the patties hold shape completely.
  4. Toss the vegetables for the slaw in the oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve burgers on a bun topped with slaw.

Southwestern Pork and Vegetable Stew — Harvesters Community Food Network, Kansas City, MO This dish is similar to classic posole (often spelled pozole), a pork stew originating in Jalisco, Mexico. Any type of meat may be substituted for the ground pork in this recipe. To make a more soup-like stew, add two additional cups of chicken broth. Serves 6.


1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 pound lean ground pork (16 ounces)

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tablespoon), or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 medium onion, diced (2/3 cups)

1 small red pepper, unpeeled and diced (2/3 cup), or 4 ounces pimentos

1/2 pound small red potatoes, unpeeled and diced (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained

1 (14 ounce) can no-salt added chicken broth

1/2 cup water

2 (15.5 ounce) cans hominy, rinsed and drained

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion


  1. In a large saucepan or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork, breaking it up until browned.
  2. Add garlic, onion, red pepper, and potatoes. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until onion is tender.
  3. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, chilies, broth, water, and hominy. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
  4. Place stew in serving bowls and add garnish, if desired.

Stay Informed

Get email updates about what we're doing to help solve hunger and how you can help.