Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Meals From a Bag of Beans - Part Two

This is our second post on five main dishes using a one pound bag of pinto beans, with the goal of feeding a family of four, two adults, a 12-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl for $5.00 or less. And though we are vegetarians not all families are, so I've calculated the costs of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.

Also take into account that I am cooking in Western Canada, where food prices are often more than twice those found in the USA. So, depending on where you live, these meals may be even less expensive than calculated.

Does your family like chile? This perpetual favorite can be served very economically. This is a special recipe reminiscent of the famous smoked chile sauces of Mexico. It has a deep complex flavour sure to surprise and delight your family.

We begin with 1/2 pound of ground beef. In my market a pound of plain ground beef costs $2.98. So 1/2 pound will cost us $1.50.

Dice an onion and saute it in a spoonful of oil in a large pot. Onion $0.35. Oil $0.10. Add two cloves of garlic $0.05 and cook until soft. Put these aside in a small bowl and brown your burger, pouring off the fat that collects into a tin. If you are making vegetarian chile you just skip the beef and brown the onions and garlic.

Now add your onions and garlic to the browned burger, add two tbs of chile powder (or to taste). A four ounce bulk package of chile powder costs $1.59 and two tbs is about 1/6th of the total, so we will figure it at 26 cents.

Add the beans you prepared before (recipe here), plus the tomato juice drained from the can of tomatoes used the day before. We figured in the cost of the tomatoes yesterday, and calculated the cost of the beans at $1.58.

Add 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa and a tsp of smooth peanut butter (unless someone in the family is allergic to peanuts). I'll estimate the cost of these two additions at 10 cents. Cost $3.89 with burger and $2.39 without burger.

Simmer the chile for 15 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve with corn and crackers or toast.

Frozen corn is $2.98 for a 2.2 pound bag here. Three half cup and one 1/4 cup servings (1 and 3/4 cups) should cost appx $1.75.

Not calculating the cost of the crackers/toast the chile with beef and corn costs $5.64. The vegetarian meal would be $1.50 less at $4.14. Look how much you save by becoming a vegetarian! LOL

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