Thursday, December 31, 2009

On the Cheap

Chances are, you've been among the 45% of Americans that make New Year's resolutions. And it's even more likely that if you made one, it somehow involved eating better and managing money more wisely. (We won't share ours, but it may have had something to do with a 6 pound tin of butter cookies from Costco). Happily for you, we have a solution that can help with that and unsurprisingly, it involves beans.

Here we've done a comparison of several different ingredients that one might use as the main course for a dinner meal to serve a family of 4.

1 Pound Ground Beef, 15% Fat Variety

Cost: About $3.00/pound
Calories in 1 Serving (4 oz): 243
Total Fat: 17g (that's 27%!)
Total Protein: 21 g
Total Fiber: 0g

1 Pound Ground Turkey

Cost: $2.59/pound
Calories in 1 serving (4 oz): 193
Total Fat: 10g
Total Protein: 22g
Total Fiber: 0g

Now on to the beans. One can buy and cook beans in several different way. 1 pound of dried beans at the grocery store is equivalent to about 4 cans of beans, or 6-8 cups (beans will absorb slightly varying amounts of water depending on the variety and age of the bean in question). 2 cans, or 1/2 lb dried beans is usually about right for a family meal. I have used black beans for my comparison here. Other varieties generally cost about the same, but the nutritional value varies slightly. See a more complete nutritional guide here if you're interested in the nitty-gritty of bean nutrition.

2 Standard Sized Cans Black Beans (store-bought)

Cost: About $0.75/can for store brands, or $1.50 total
Calories in 1 serving (1 cup or 1/2 can): 140
Total Fat: 0g
Total Protein: 10g
Total Fiber: 12g (50% of your daily recommendation!)

2 Bottles Black Beans (home-canned)

Cost: About $0.45/bottle, depending slightly on your energy costs. No more than $1.00 total.
Calories in 1 serving (1 cup or 1/2 bottle): 140
Total Fat: 0g
Total Protein: 10g
Total Fiber: 12g

4 cups Black Beans, cooked in the Crock Pot (equivalent to 2 cans)

Cost: About $0.75 total, depending slightly on your energy costs.
Calories in 1 serving (1 cup): 140
Total Fat: 0g
Total Protein: 10g
Total Fiber: 12g (50% of your daily recommendation!)

As you can see, even store-bought canned beans are a good bargain for your wallet and your belt. When you cook them at home, the saving increase. Coming next, we'll discuss some of those methods of home cooking.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Economical Counter

I added two new tabs today, "Economical Counter" and "$5 or Less"

If you look to the bottom of the posts with the "Economical Counter" you will see a list of all the ingredients and how much each one costs. At the end you will see a total of how much it cost you to make the entire recipe and the cost per serving. All those that total under $5 will also be labeled in the "$5 or Less" category, to make it easier than ever to find cheap recipes.

Cecilotta will also be doing a post on the cost of using store bought canned beans versus home canning and cooking in the crock pot.

Spanish Chickpea Soup

I have never used but have heard that vegan soy churizo sausage is great. Just add at the end with the peppers.

1/4 tsp. saffron threads
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 medium potatoes (yellow fleshed ones are great)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 lb. chorizo sausage (Soy Chorizo sausage)
1/4 c. chopped piquillo pepper (or roasted red bell pepper)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dissolve saffron threads in 1 Tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is tender. Add the chorizo sausage crumbling as it cooks. Drain off excess grease.

Add chickpeas, potatoes, parsley and water. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add piquillo peppers. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Potage Savoureux

Olive Oil
3 carrots, chopped or gated
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
dash rosemary (optional)
3 c. vegetable broth
3 c. beef broth (use imitation beef or all vegetable both for vegan/vegetarian)
1/2 c. water
1 can cannellini or white kidney beans
1 can hominy
2 pkg Roads End Organic Savory Herb Gravy Mix (Vegan and gluten free)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute carrots, garlic cloves, and onion in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they soften. About ten minutes. Let cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until the onion begins to caramelize. Using a fork, mash the garlic clove in the pot.

Add the parsley, rosemary, vegetable broth, beef broth, beans, and hominy. Simmer 5 minutes until heated through. Whisk the gravy packets into the 1/2 water, stirring to remove any lumps. Stir into soup pot and simmer over medium heat until thickened.

When thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste

Friday, December 25, 2009

Irish White Bean Soup

I found this gem of a recipe on a vegan blog. With minor changes here is my version and of course a link to the original
This is the picture from the original

She says "Add a smoky flavor by sprinkling on a little hickory salt or Liquid Smoke just before serving" My favorite J&D vegetarian bacon flavored sprinkle would be great here.

1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1 lb potatoes, cut in large dice
1 parsnip, sliced
1/3 cup pearled barley (optional or substitute with gluten-free grain)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

6-8 c. broth (Vegetable, chicken, or some of both)
3 cups cooked great northern beans (2 cans, drained)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 hands full of spinach, chopped fine (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Crock Pot: Place the vegetables, seasonings, and barley into a large (at least 5 quart) slow cooker. Add enough vegetable broth to just cover the vegetables (start with 6 cups and add more as needed). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 hours. Add beans, parsley, spinach, and salt to taste. Check seasonings and add more herbs if necessary. Cover and cook for another hour.

Stovetop: Place vegetables, seasonings, barley, and broth into a large stockpot. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, check seasonings, and add more herbs if necessary. Simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes before serving.

UPDATE on 12/01 - I only used one can of white beans and added 1/2 c. uncooked lentils in with the vegetables at the start of cooking

Creole Style Red Beans and Rice

A friend sent me a bean recipe and it reminded me of this recipe I had run across the other day in the family cookbook. While not as close as I had originally thought they are quite similar. This is the link to the recipe that inspired this post. Both look fantastic

2 cans red beans, undrained
olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large can chopped tomatoes, mostly drained
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp.parsley
2 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Rice to serve over

Saute vegetables (except tomato) in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour until flavors are well blended. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Southern Fried Rice

I know it says bacon, just read to the bottom for the vegetarian alterations.

6 slices bacon
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/2 c. peas
2 eggs, very lightly beaten
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
4 c. cooked rice

Saute bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve drippings. Saute onion in drippings until onion is almost tender, add carrots the last 30 seconds of onions. Add peas, beans, and rice. Toss to mix and heat rice. Push rice mixture to the sides creating a well in the middle. Add eggs, scramble until solid. When cooked, chop up fine. Mix with the rest of the rice mixture. Top with crumbled bacon and serve immediately.

Vegetarian version: Skip the bacon, saute in butter or olive oil. Season with JD Bacon Salt.

Economical Counter: (for 5, 1-1/2 cup servings)
Bacon (at 2.50 a lb) $0.85
Butter (2 Tablespoons) $0.16
Onion $0.25
1 carrot $0.18
1/2 c. peas $0.38
2 Eggs $0.17
1 can beans $0.78
4 cups rice (Uncle Bens) $1.78

Total $4.55
Per Serving Total: $0.91

Herbed Beans and Rice

2 cans white beans
4 Tbsp. Butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. sliced mushrooms, optional
2 Tbsp. flour
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
1/4 . tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. oregano

Melt butter in skillet. Add onion and garlic. Add flour and cook, stirring, until slightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened. Serve over rice.

Southern Corn Chowder

1 lb. bacon
1 large onion, chopped
10 ears fresh corn
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans chicken broth
2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large carrots, grated
1 can beans, drained and rinsed (Red or White both work great)
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. half-an-half
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Saute bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Reserve the bacon drippings. Saute onion in 3 Tbsp. of the bacon drippings.
Cut kernels from cobs into a bowl and reserve. Add corn cobs, broth, potatoes, carrots, and beans to onions in soup pot.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove cobs from soup
Whisk together 1/3 reserved bacon drippings and the flour. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, stirringly constantly, until browned.
Add milk and half-an-half to vegetable mixture. Stir in lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in flour mixture.
Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until thickened.
Stir in bacon and serve immediately

Monday, December 21, 2009

Middle Eastern Lettuce Wraps

This was inspired in part by my last post and in part my going out to lunch with my friend this afternoon.

Green leaf lettuce
Red onion slices
alfalfa sprouts
Hummus (garbanzo bean dip)
Tzatziki sauce

Fill lettuce leaf with veggies, lots of hummus, and tzatziki sauce (if using, it's not vegan)

Also, I know that bean and alfafla sprouts are different but I am tagging it with that anyway for simplicity sake

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thai lettuce wraps

Green leaf lettuce
matchstick carrots
Thinly sliced carrot sticks
Bean sprouts
Peanut Sauce or Thai Bean Dip

Cut the bottom 2 inches off the lettuce and then cut in half horizontally. Top each lettuce section with carrots, bean sprouts, and celery. Drizzle with peanut sauce and roll up. Close with a toothpick or tie with a green onion strip.

Addition ideas to fill with (just keep in mind that anything that goes into it needs to be thin)

Sliced Zucchini
Alfalfa Sprouts
Bell Peppers
Crispy Lo Mein Noodles