Today I'm joining 200+ other bloggers in dedicating this post to the event Food Bloggers Against Hunger. Today's event was prompted by the new film, A Place at the Table (created by the amazing folks who brought us Food, Inc.), which seeks to promote awareness of the over 50 million people living in U.S. who don't know where their next meal is coming from.
"Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides-as they have in the past-that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all."
Together with The Giving Table, Share Our Strength, and ALL OF YOU, we can make a difference by uniting against hunger in America. A Place at the Table is showing in cities near you so take a moment to check the locations and take your friends and family to the viewings. Or view it on demand with iTunes or Amazon and hold an awareness gathering at your home! The Civil Wars helped with the soundtrack so we know the music it great.
You can also help in the cause by taking just a few minutes to submit a letter to congress through Share Our Strength's website. They've provided a simple fill-in form, with the message pre-filled for those of you who want to help but fear you lack the eloquence to address the issue formally. Though the form also allows for the addition of a more personalized message, if you choose. It takes just a moment to fill in the form and I encourage you not only to do so, but to share it on your social media accounts, as well.
Hunger is something that has touched my life in many ways. Growing up, my father was in and out of work at times and my family was forced to live on canned goods (that my mother had gratefully stocked up on) and very simple meals. Our meals were not always very flavorful, fresh, or nutritious. And a little knowledge on preparing healthy meals on a very tight budget is likely something my parents could've used a bit more of.
A little later on, I had the opportunity to serve for a time in a food storehouse (somewhat like a food bank) run by our church. Money donated by members of the church goes to supplying food to the storehouse for those who are in need. Items ranging from canned goods, frozen meats, household products, and even fresh dairy and produce. As a volunteer, I helped with a number of things but one of my favorite responsibilities was assisting those who came in to fill their food orders. It was heart-wrenching at times to hear about the hardships many were facing but it was also surprisingly uplifting to see the gratitude in people's faces, hear their kind words of thanks. I miss serving there and try to go back occasionally as life permits. I miss the reminder of just how much J and I are blessed with.
More recently, we've become the foster parents to two brothers named Xavier and Juan, now ages 2 and 9 mos. Their young mother, aside from struggles she has personally in raising them, lives in a very low income area and has lacked in providing them proper nutrition. It is likely that she relied on the Food Stamps or SNAP programs for her children but still struggled to keep them fed well. Both boys have flourished with the regular meals we can provide them and it's become even more important to me these days that the aid is available to those who need it. These sweet little boys, and so many others like them, desperately need our thoughts, prayers, and actions in keeping their bellies full.
In putting together this recipe, I thought long an hard about those facing hunger in today's economy. Food prices are on the rise and both wages and work are scarce for many. Those forced to utilize the Food Stamps or SNAP programs often only get an average of $3 per person, per day to supplement their meals. This small amount causes many to reach for quick and easy solutions, such as junk food, freezer meals, and other foods lacking in the balanced nutrition we all need. So for today's recipe, I sought to put together a meal that is not only accessible AND budget friendly (all the ingredients can be purchased at most any grocery store and can often be found on sale), but nutritious, as well. This meal cost me about $8 and it will feed 4 and likely provide leftovers.
This One-Pot Spanish Chicken gives energizing protein, an array of nutrients from vegetables, and the satiating element of carbohydrates from the potatoes. The simple preparation of combining all the ingredients in one pan keeps the recipe accessible to everyone who has at least one pan to use, while requiring very little cooking skills to create a delicious meal.
Check out the trailer below for A Place at the Table and I urge you to do something small today to help create more awareness for hunger across the U.S. How has hunger effected your life? I hope you'll share your stories.
One-Pot Spanish Chicken
2-3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 14-oz pack of pork sausage (bought fully cooked), sliced
6 baby red potatoes, cubed
2 medium onions, cubed
4 large carrots, cleaned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 T. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t. dried)
1 T. smoked paprika (any paprika will work here)
juice and zest of 1 orange
EVOO, for drizzling
s & p, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a 9 X 13 pan, combine potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme. Drizzle generously with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well to combine. Tuck sausage and chicken thighs among the veggies, pour over a little more EVOO (about 1 t.) over the chicken skin. Sprinkle over zest, paprika, and more salt and pepper.
Place pan in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes (rotating the pan about halfway through), or until potatoes are tender and chicken juices run clear when pierced. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.