Many hard working families face empty pantries before their next paycheck is available to replenish them. Community food pantries are a blessing when a family's food need is significant. But what if you just need one meal on the cheap to get you through a budget emergency?
Thankfully, most food pantries have a daily bread line - where day-old goods are distributed from local grocery chains for free - and most of these bread lines do not require any paperwork for eligibility. Call your local food pantries and find where bread is distributed, stop by and pick up a loaf (or loaves if it's a day of bounty!) and bring it home to whip up this simple and satisfying meal.
$2 Make It To Payday Meal
One loaf of French, Cuban or other baguette-style bread
One 8oz can of tomato sauce ($.25 at Aldi)
One 8oz block mozzarella cheese ($1.79 at Aldi)
Italian Spice Blend, Garlic Powder, or other seasoning to taste
Cut the loaf of bread into 1 inch rounds. Place the rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly on each side in oven or toaster oven. Mix tomato sauce with favorite pizza seasonings - about 1/4 tsp each of basil, oregano, parsley (or Italian blend equivalent) and garlic powder to taste. Lightly spoon sauce on the top of each bread round. Grate the mozzarella and top each round with cheese. Return to oven and use the broiler setting to melt the cheese. Keep an eye on it! It melts quickly!
Remove from oven and enjoy!
Consider other favorite recipes that use day old bread for more even more budget heroes - French toast, bread pudding, croutons, garlic toast, etc. This simple resource may help round out a meal when the pantry is bare and things look bleak.
I'm writing this post as a shout out of encouragement to people I love and admire - the staff of the South Brevard Sharing Center in Melbourne, FL. They provide resources to support, strengthen and empower families in need. Those resources include an amazing daily bread line and food pantry. Make use of these types of community resources when your family needs them - and when you're back on your feet, support them as volunteers or donors!