Spring Meal Challenge Winner: Tiffany Albert

We recently invited bloggers & Taste Makers to participate in a Spring Meal Challenge. The rules were simple: Spend $30 on ingredients at Healthy Living and Cafe. Each participant had 15 minutes to shop. We then asked them to cook up their most creative and economical meal possible. The entries were fantastic and all of the dishes that were created looked incredible!

Congratulations to Tiffany Albert, the winner of our Spring Meal Challenge! Tiffany is the co-owner of Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs with her husband Jonathan. They have two beautiful children as well.

Tiffany Albert

Her experience:

I was excited to even be asked to participate in the Healthy Living Spring Meal Challenge!  I fancy myself a bit of a chef with a style and affinity for cooking. I attribute this to my grandmothers and my mom. My maternal grandmother was the baker, soup maker and confectioner. She passed these joys down to my mom. My mother had a small chocolate and candy  making business when I was quite young and I remember everyone in the neighborhood ordering her handmade chocolate Easter baskets filled with hand made and painted goodies every year. Man can she bake! Don’t even get me started on the Christmas cookie and hand made chocolate platters she delivered every holiday season! The problem for me is I’ve never been much for following directions- that includes recipes (and baking is such an exact science)! I’ve always felt more comfortable following in my Nana’s footsteps. “a little a dis a pinchy a dat”! Anyone who wanted to learn how to make Nana’s home made raviolis would have to sneak a bowl as she tossed and pinched ingredients, catch the item, measure and then allow her to throw in again. And not forget to write it down  because these recipes were handed down in the old country through five generations of Italian mothers cooking with their daughters.

So what was I going to make when tasked with preparing a meal for four,  on a budget of $30 and 15 minutes to shop for the ingredients.  The fact that I cook for 4 (2 of whom are relatively unadventurous toddlers) every night helped but I never use a recipe.  I thought of my family, the spring season and decided on one of two paths.

My family doesn’t like leftovers so if I know there’s going to be some extra I try to reimagine the meal and buy the ingredients for the next day as well. I find its much easier to keep to a budget if I have a meal plan for the week and a shopping list.

So I really wanted to grill as the weather was starting to get nice and my husband had worked so hard on the yard. Maybe BBQ Chicken, grilled corn on the cob (the trick with that is remove outer husks, trim silk tips off and SOAK for 10 minutes. When you remove the rest of the husk after its cooked- its totally silk free!) And a cold tri-colored pasta salad with carrots olives and garbanzo beans- 1/2 a bottle of Drews Italian dressing is the best pasta salad marinade ever! (And I’ve tried about 50) Totally kid friendly meal! Buy one of the organic pizza crusts (they even have gluten free at Healthy Living) a package of shredded cheddar cheese and use the bbq sauce you have left over and VOILA! BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA! Under 30$ meals for two nights!

But then I thought maybe I want to  make something a little more “grown up” that could easily be served to four adults at a lively dinner party. So for my full recipe and photos see below, what you don’t know is we grabbed a crusty loaf of bread and some sharp cheeses to sample (Healthy Living hands down has the best cheese selection of any store in the area- blows the Broadway market- I won’t say any names- out of the water) had open faced pork Tenderloin sandwiches with pickles, spicy mustard and sharp cheese- basically our own version of a cuban!

I think at some point during the day we all say what the f am I going to make for dinner? ? Well I suggest posting some of our weekly meal planners or maybe even a good recipe or 2. I’d love to share ideas and offer my family dome new entrees. With the price reductions Healthy Living has made, the weekly BAM! Specials through out the store and the valuable coupon books they provide we can all afford to shop local and organic for our families! That feels great! That’s also the greatest lesson I took away from this event- I thought of four or five meals and they all came in under 30$. We even had enough cash left over for a meal for the next day or dessert! I believe Healthy Living cares about our community and is going to great lengths to be a part of our family. That’s special! And now they have a devoted customer.

Here is Tiffany’s winning recipe:

         Citrus and Cilantro Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Haricot Verts

          Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes and Mango Lime Salsa

This is all done on a grill.

Pork Tenderloin (come 2 in package)
3 limes
1 lemon
1 orange (or orange juice)
1 bunch Cilantro
Fresh garlic cloves
4 sprigs Rosemary
5 medium red potatoes
1 package Haricot Verts (or green beans)
1 mango peeled, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
Chili powder
Sea salt
half stick butter
Olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 box lemon buttermilk king Arthur brand Bundt Cake (in the baking aisle check ingredients needed on box, includes 4 large eggs)

1 package organic strawberries
You’ll need a Bundt pan

1 8 Oz whipping cream carton or organic whipped cream

Step 1:
Marinate pork tenderloins for at least an hour w/ juice from 1 lime, 1/2 lemon, juice from 1 orange, finely chopped cilantro and garlic
Chili powder and sea salt
Refrigerate and move on

Fire up grill before getting potatoes ready.  It should be nice and hot.  Potatoes take the longest

Step 2:
Cube or slice potatoes and arrange in foil pouch (or 2 if needed)
Drizzle olive oil or 2 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp coconut oil over potatoes
Sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary

Spring Meal Challenge Potatoes

Step 3:

Rinse green beans
Put in foil pouch
Drizzle with olive oil or 1 tbsp butter
Or coconut oil (which ever your preference)
Squeeze 1/2 lemon
Sea salt to taste

Step 4: (you can do this while everything’s on the grill or in advance so the flavors combine nicely)

Combine mango, cilantro, red onion,  juice from 1 lime, splash of oj or squeeze wedge of orange

sea salt and  chili powder to taste. Easiest if you have a chopper or mini food processor but can definitely be rough chopped.

(If you’re a spice person use dash of cayenne pepper)

Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Put potatoes on grill for total 25 minutes (check for your desired tenderness)

Green beans take about 10 minutes

Pork takes approximately 6-8 minutes a side. You’re going to want to put on and not touch till you flip. When you flip squeeze 1/4 lime on each tenderloin
(Save half for when u take off)

To check if pork is  cooked to perfection touch the fattest part of loin. It should feel fairly firm not squishy. When you take it off squeeze the last half lime over it, cover with foil and let it “sweat” for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Spring Meal Challenge Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Plate your beautiful meal and put some of your delish mango salsa on top of pork.

Spring Meal Challenge Final Dish

For dessert simply follow instructions on box and garnish with fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

Spring Meal Challenge Dessert

(Squeezing a little lemon and dusting strawberries with turbinado sugar will keep them nice and red and juicy! Also I dusted my cake with confectionery sugar to make it look pretty)